kneeling fisherman

kneeling fisherman

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What does God do with his promise?

He makes you a preacher of it, rather than a hoarder.

Verse for the week: For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— Ephesians 5.8

Prayer for the week: “Lord God, whose strength is sufficient for all who lay hold on it, grant us in you to comfort our hearts and be strong.  Humility, meekness, temperance, purity, largeheartedness, sympathy, zeal – grant us these evidences of faith, servants of hope, fruits of love; for the sake of Jesus Christ, our strength, our righteousness, and our hope of glory.  Amen. (Christina Rossetti, quoted in Fox, A Chain of Prayer, p.161). 

Bible reading for the day:  Ephesians 3.1-13
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. 13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.

Prayer(based on TRIP** method):  Gracious and almighty Father thank you! Thank you for revealing the mystery of yourself for us – for Jew and Gentile alike – in Christ. Thank you for your plan to make known through the church – through my congregation – your manifold wisdom. Repent me and my congregation of sitting on the promise rather than going out with it, of avoiding people rather than engaging them.  Stand us up in the boldness and confidence that is already ours in Christ and use us to make Christ known to anyone with ears to hear. I ask this in his name, amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a beloved classic that gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord:

“I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord…”
What does this mean?
I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!   (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

benediction:  And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you this day.  To him be the power forever and ever.  Amen.   (1 Pet 5:10)  

*There are many patterns for devotions.  This pattern has been followed by God’s people for centuries.
**The T.R.I.P. approach to prayer is based on the way Martin Luther prayed and taught others to pray.  It was later developed by Walter and Ingrid Trobisch and then adapted by Mount Carmel Ministries (Alexandria, MN  The method is founded on scripture and easy to remember:                                                                                        T: thanksgiving
                                                          R: regret (repentance)
                                                          I: intercession (asking God to take a specific action)
                                                          P: plan or purpose
Reading a biblical text and then applying this method gives one a sound, simple way to form one’s prayers...not to mention that it helps one learn how to faithfully reflect on God’s Word and talk to God.  

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