Readings for Sunday, August 5, 2018

The First Reading is recorded in Exodus 16:2-15. The context is that God has rescued His people from slavery in Egypt. The people have seen the miracles of God which He used to show His power over pharaoh and the gods of Egypt, they walked through the midst of the sea, and saw the drowned bodies of the Egyptian charioteers who tried to follow them. Now they are in the wilderness; they are hungry and thirsty. They complain that it would have been better to die with full stomachs in Egypt than to die by starvation in the wilderness. God could have let them die, or even destroyed them, but in His grace and mercy, and to show His faithfulness, He gave them the impossible – more than enough meat in the evening through the quails that landed on the camp, and then for 40 years by miraculously providing bread each morning as the dew of the night lifted.
We read these accounts and shake our heads – why didn’t they trust the Lord to take care of them, especially in light of all He had already done for them? Yet, aren’t we like the people in the wilderness, how often do we forget what God has done, including redemption through Jesus, and complain that He isn’t taking care of us? As we read this passage, let us allow the Holy Spirit to examine our lives and lead us to trust in the Lord.
Gracious heavenly Father, You are so merciful to us, giving us blessing after blessing. Enable us to trust in You for all the blessings we need in life, including the blessings of food, shelter, friends and family, but most importantly reconciliation in Christ. Keep us from complaining, fill us with rejoicing in Your steadfast love. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Today’s psalm is recorded in Psalm 145:10-21. Notice that this part of the psalm begins and ends with praise because of what God does for His people. The heart of this section then lists many of the blessings of the Lord. Let the eyes of faith be opened to see God’s blessings in our lives, and then, like the psalmist, let give thanks to, and praise, God, and let us tell others of His blessings.
Most merciful Lord, we give You thanks and praise for all of Your blessings. Each day open our eyes to see Your blessings so graciously showered upon us, and keep us thankful. Move us to share of Your blessings with others, and empower us with Your Holy Spirit to tell others about You, calling them to faith in You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Second Reading is recorded in Ephesians 4:1-16, and continues reading significant portions of Ephesians. The first two readings for today deal primarily with physical food and the necessities for life, and how the Lord provides us with what we need. In this passage from Ephesians the apostle Paul reminds us that God also provides for our spiritual needs, giving us apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers to equip us for our Christian lives and enabling us to grow in every way into Christ. This faith and knowledge keeps us firm in Christ even when others try to lead us from Him. As those so equipped and who are part of the Body of Christ (the Church) we are then ready to help each other.
Grow in Christ. Be a blessing to others.
Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, open our hearts and minds to the teaching You would have us hear so that we can grow every way into You. Equip us for our place in Your Body, the Church, so that we can help others to grow in You as well. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

The Gospel is part of John chapter 6, vs. 22-35. We will be reading through most of John chapter 6 over the next few Sundays. The evangelist John does not have a Lord’s Supper account in this Gospel, but many of us believe that John 6 is the evangelist’s teaching on the Lord’s Supper. It begins with the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. After the miraculous feeding, the people wanted more free food, and referenced God’s gift of manna in the wilderness (see today’s First Reading). Jesus affirms that God gives daily bread for our needs, but He wants to raise the people’s sights to realize that through Him God gives what we need for eternal life, He gives spiritual food and drink, this food and drink being Jesus’ body and blood, as He will point out later.
Let us realize that God gives us all we need for life – physically and spiritually – and that all comes through Christ. Let us trust Him for our daily bread (physical and spiritual), and let us be filled with Christ.
Lord Jesus, Bread of Life from heaven, each day fill us with Yourself so that our physical and spiritual needs are met in You. Thank You for giving us what we need to live here and with You forever. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

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