Who is in charge? That’s a question many ask, including government leaders, emperors, and conquerors. Today’s First Reading, from Isaiah 45:1-7, reminds us that God is ultimately in charge, and He will use leaders, including emperors, to accomplish His will. In this reading, the Lord is using Cyrus of Persia to defeat the evil Babylonian Empire and then to allow the people of Israel to return home. As the reading tells us, Cyrus did not know the Lord, but the Lord knew him and used Him to accomplish His will. All leaders need to realize that ultimately they are accountable to God, and that all leaders should seek the wisdom and the will of the Lord.
Lord of all, King of kings and Lord of lords, send Your Holy Spirit to all who are in positions of authority, that they will acknowledge their dependence on You for wisdom and guidance, and move them to seek Your wisdom and will as they lead others. In the, Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
The Psalm for today, 96:1-13, proclaims God’s sovereignty over all nations, and over all creation. He created all by the power of His will, and He is superior to all nations, and He is superior to all the false gods of the nations. Let us humbly worship the Lord Who has made us His own in His Son Jesus, let us continually sing His praises because He is Lord of all, and let us proclaim Him to all people, calling them to faith in Jesus.
All honor, glory, power, might, and thanks be to You, O Lord, for Your sovereignty over all, and especially for Your mercy and forgiveness in Jesus. Empower us to proclaim You as the only Lord and Savior through Jesus. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
Today’s Second Reading, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10, is filled with joy as the apostle Paul recounts the wonderful reception and great faith of the Thessalonians. In this passage we see the power of God to fulfill His promises to bring the Thessalonians into relationship with Himself. Notice also that the faith of the Thessalonians is a witness to all who know them of the power and grace of God.
Is our faith clearly shown in our lives? Do others know we are Christians by what we say and do? Do others give thanks to God for us? Let us be faithful disciples of Jesus.
Holy Spirit, please continue to work in our hearts and lives so that all we say and do is motivated by Your love for all so that through us others may see Jesus and be drawn to Him in faith and discipleship. Amen.
As today’s Gospel unfolds, recorded in Matthew 22:15-22, we see enemies of each other banding together against a common enemy – Jesus. They are trying to find a trap with which they can either turn the crowds away from Him, or they can turn Him over to the Romans as a rebel. They thought they had an inescapable trap, but they are the ones who end up in their own trap, being confronted with the question of what do they give to God? To whom is their allegiance, to God or to the state? Where do our ultimate allegiances rest, with the world, or with God?
Holy Spirit, continually turn us from the enticements of the world and worldly power. Please continually work in our hearts and lives so that we give ourselves to Jesus, Who has already given Himself for us. Keep our eyes, hearts, and lives centered on Jesus. Amen.