Bible Readings for Sunday July 23, 2017

The First Reading is recorded in Isaiah 44:6-8. This passage clearly proclaims that there is only one God and LORD, the God Who reveals Himself in His Word. It is this God Who reveals the future before it comes to be. It is this God Who alone is a sure foundation for life. It is this God Who takes away our fears and anxieties because the future is in His hands. It is this God Who redeems us in His Son Jesus. Let us worship and serve this God alone.
Lord God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, keep our eyes fixed on You to trust, follow, and worship You alone because You are the only Lord and God. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

The Psalm for this Sunday is Psalm 119:57-64. Notice how much the psalmist loves the Word of the Lord, and notice what blessings the Word of the Lord brings into the psalmist’s life. May the Holy Spirit work in our hearts to love God’s Word and to receive great blessings from it.
Holy Spirit, open the Scriptures to us so that we see the Lord more clearly, especially as we see Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Keep us in faith, relying on the Word of God. Amen.

The Second Reading is found in Romans 8:18-27. This passage deals with suffering in life. At times suffering comes into all of our lives. Notice the hope that the apostle Paul proclaims in this passage: yes, suffering is part of this life, but in the life to come in Christ there will be no more suffering. What a great hope to look forward to! Notice also the last paragraph to see part of the work of the Holy Spirit: to help us pray. There are times when all we can do is sigh, when all the prayers have been prayed; it is a great comfort and hope to know that the Holy Spirit knows our needs and hearts and intercedes on our behalf. What a wonderful God we have!
Holy Spirit, uphold and sustain us as suffering enters our lives, keep us in faith in Jesus, knowing that one day all tears, suffering, and sorrow will be put away. We thank and praise You that You know us better than we know ourselves and that You intercede for us in our prayers. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Gospel is recorded in Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. There is an attitude in our world today that no one will face God’s punishment for sin, but this Gospel reading refutes that view: in the parable there is a clear delineation between those who follow the Lord and those who follow the devil, and at the End of Time there will be a separation – those who follow the Lord will be gathered into His kingdom, those who follow the devil will be punished. This Gospel is both a warning to those who follow the devil, and hope to those who follow the Lord. Let us be diligent in proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Savior so that more and more people will follow the Lord in faith.
Lord Jesus, let Your Holy Spirit work in our lives to keep us in faith in You, and empower us with Your Spirit to reach out to others to bring them into Your kingdom. Drive back the forces and powers of evil and bring in Your glorious kingdom. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

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