Readings for the week of September 23, 2018

The First Reading, recorded in Jeremiah 11:18-20, is a personal account from the prophet Jeremiah about the way he was being treated by the people around him. They did not want to hear his message, and plotted against him. Jeremiah was alarmed when he learned of their plots, but he still trusted in the Lord to protect him and to bring vengeance upon those who sought to kill him. Jesus did the same by trusting in the heavenly Father; however, He did not call down revenge on those who sought to destroy Him, rather He entrusted Himself to His Father, and prayed that those who sought to kill Him would be forgiven.
What is our attitude toward those who seek to harm us, and/or seek to harm the Church of Christ? Do we want revenge? Do we want them to be led to repentance? Do we entrust ourselves to the Lord?
Almighty Father, You have seen the affliction of Your people throughout the generations. In our day, there are those who would seek to destroy You by destroying Your people. Like You did with Saul of Tarsus, lead those who try to destroy You to repentance. Empower us with Your Holy Spirit to pray for their forgiveness. Give us the strength of Jesus to trust ourselves to You. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Today’s psalm is recorded in Psalm 54:1-7. The context of this psalm is that enemies of David told king Saul that David was hiding among them, their goal was to have David killed. This psalm is a similar tone to the First Reading. Notice David’s complete trust in the Lord; he trusts the Lord to rescue and protect him, and to wreak vengeance on his enemies. David had many enemies, but he always turned to the Lord for help. May we do the same in the face of our enemies, especially the enemies of sin, death, and the devil.
O Lord, protector of Your people, keep us safe in Christ as we face the foes around us, especially as sin, death, and the devil seek to destroy us. Continually remind us that through His death and resurrection, Jesus has won the ultimate victory, and that nothing can separate us from You as we are in Christ. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Today’s Second Reading is a continuation of reading through parts of the book of James. The Reading is recorded in James 3:13 – 4:10. Notice how James continues to encourage us to live the faith we proclaim; to let faith make a difference in our lives. Notice 3:17, and how the wisdom from above changes our lives.
The section of 4:1-10 calls us to further examine our lives; how do we live in relation to the world and the Lord? The call to humbleness and repentance is just as necessary today as it was when James wrote these words 2,000 years ago. May the Holy Spirit examine our lives, lead us to repentance, and enable us to be humble before the Lord, Who is Lord of all.
Lord of all, too often we seek our own will and way, or we follow the way of the world. Let Your Holy Spirit examine our hearts and lives and lead us to repentance, keeping us ever mindful that You are our Lord and Savior. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

As we continue reading through the Gospel of Mark, today’s Gospel is recorded in 9:30-37, we see again Jesus’ teaching to His disciples about the up-coming crucifixion. Even though He explained everything clearly to them, they did not understand what He was preparing them for. Not until after His crucifixion and resurrection would everything be clear to them.
They were so out of the loop regarding what He was telling them that, instead of considering His crucifixion and resurrection, they argued among themselves which of them was the greatest. How the disciples and we are so much alike! Patiently Jesus demonstrated that the greatest in the kingdom of God is the servant. Jesus is the ultimate Servant. He laid aside His divine glory, took on our humanity, died and rose again for our justification. May we follow His example of being a servant.
Lord Jesus, glorious Lord of all, and the most humble servant of all, we thank and praise You for all You gave up to redeem us. Humble us by Your example, and lead us to be servants so that through us others will be led to You, the only Lord and Savior. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

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