Bible Readings for Sunday August 27, 2017

The First Reading is from Isaiah 51:1-6. It is a passage filled with hope for the future, that God will accomplish His promises. As a verification that God will keep His promises, God, speaking through Isaiah, reminds the people of His promises to Abraham and Sarah, that He has fulfilled His promises even when the fulfillment seemed impossible.
In Christ, the Lord has made wonderful promises to us, e.g. forgiveness, life, and salvation, God’s constant presence with us, and many more promises as well. Just as the Lord fulfilled His promises to Abraham and Sarah, so He will fulfill His promises to us; and even more so will He fulfill His promises to us because of Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf. Trust Him!
Oh Lord, we give You thank and praise that You fulfill Your promises that lead to Jesus. We thank and praise You that in Jesus all Your promises reach through fruition. Enable us to trust You to keep Your promises to us, especially forgiveness, life, and salvation. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Psalm 138 is a wonderful psalm of praise! The psalmist begins with praise of the Lord. The writer then goes on to list some of the things the Lord has done for him, and calls on all kings and people to give praise to God for His faithfulness. Let us join the psalmist in this hymn of praise for all of God’s blessings, especially the blessing of life we have in Jesus.
I give You thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart! Thanks and praise be to You for hearing and answering prayers! Thanks and praise be to You for being Lord over all. Thanks and praise be to You for redeeming us through Jesus. Amen.

Today’s Second Reading, Romans 11:33-12:8, begins with a hymn of praise for all that the Lord has done, and for His awesome greatness over and above us. Let us join the apostle Paul in praise to God for His greatness! In response to God’s greatness, Paul then calls on the Romans – and us – to give ourselves to the Lord as living sacrifices, loving and serving Him with our whole beings! He also warns against conformity to the world, a message we need to hear today as there are so many worldly pressures to turn away from the Lord. Paul concludes this reading by reminding each of us that we have been given spiritual gifts (charisms) that are to be used for the benefit of others. In what ways has God gifted you so that you can share His blessings with others?
Holy Spirit, enable us to grow every way into Christ the Head of the Church, because He is our Lord and Savior. May our lives reflect Christ in us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Jesus asks His disciples one of the most crucial questions in today’s Gospel (Matthew 16:13-20) – Who do they say He is? The question is also asked of us: Who do we say that He is? What do our words and actions say as to what we believe about Jesus? Would anyone who sees and hears us know that He is our Lord and Savior? Do our words and actions bear witness to Him? Let our lives be consistent with what we believe about Jesus.
Holy Spirit, conform us more and more into the people You have called us to be in Jesus. Bless the witness of our words and actions so that they bear witness to Jesus as the only Lord and Savior. Through Christ we pray. Amen.

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