Readings for the week of Oct. 14, 2018

The First Reading is recorded in Amos 5:6-7, 10-15. Amos was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, sent to warn God’s people to repent or disaster would come. As you read through the message of Amos notice what Amos is telling the people: return to the Lord, or God’s justice and judgment will fall on them and destroy them. The people were no longer living in the covenant the Lord had established with them, either in their covenant relationship with God, nor in their covenant responsibilities with others. The Lord took notice, but before punishment was exacted, He sent Amos to call His people back to the covenant. Notice the response of the people – they treated Amos, as they did all true prophets of the Lord – badly. Really they treated the Lord badly. The eventual response of God was to send the Assyrians to punish His people.
Often people think that the Bible is a dusty old book that doesn’t speak to our world today. Reread this passage from Amos, reading it as if Amos were speaking to us and our culture today. This passage from Amos is relevant for us today. Our response? Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of the United States.
Holy and just Lord, open our hearts and minds to Your Holy Spirit. Lead us to repentance as individuals and as a nation. Lead us to the covenant You have established with us. Renew us in Christ, and enable us to be faithful witnesses to Your love and care. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The psalm is recorded in 90:12-17. This is a psalm of lament, asking the Lord to give us perspective on our lives, and also to grant us grace in the face of suffering. To give us His grace and mercy, God will be establishing His work and showing His powerful love to all people. May the eyes of faith be opened to see His mercy and blessings.
Most merciful God, in the midst of hardship and heartache, restore and renew us by the assurance of Your faithfulness to keep Your promises. Let us see and follow Jesus, the One through Whom all Your promises find fulfillment. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

The Second Reading, Hebrews 3:12-19, continues reading through parts of Hebrews. The passage reminds us of Jesus’ parable about the Sower – some of the seed sprouted but was chocked off by the weeds, by the cares and deceitfulness of sinful life. The writer of Hebrews calls on us to remain deeply rooted in the Lord, not to let sin and evil draw us away from Christ. And the writer intimates that we are to support and care for each other so that we all remain in faith.
Most holy Jesus, we thank and praise You that You have called us to follow You in discipleship. Let Your Holy Spirit continue to work in our hearts and lives so that we don’t drift away, nor are drawn away, from You. Keep us in faith, always looking to You and trusting You as Lord and Savior. In Your Name we pray. Amen.

The Gospel is recorded in Mark 10:17-22. This is a simple and straight forward Gospel – the young man wanted to be saved on his own terms, but the terms were too severe – he would have to give up his self-righteous striving to gain life, he would have to give up his dependence on the good things and his own efforts of this life and instead follow Jesus.
What stands in the way of your following Jesus? What keeps you separated from Him? What do you stubbornly want to keep for yourself? Let Jesus put that thing in its proper place and replace that most precious thing with Himself.
The young man ultimately tried to attain eternal life for himself, but refused to give up himself to Jesus. Turn to Jesus, He alone is the Lord and Savior, He alone is the way to the heavenly Father.
Precious Jesus, we strive to gain life for ourselves, not realizing You freely give us life by grace through faith. Turn us from ourselves, take away all barriers to our relationship with You, and lead us each day into eternal life. We thank and praise You for Your faithfulness. In Your precious and holy Name we pray. Amen.

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