August 8 Read Luke 7
Jesus shows miraculous grace to several different people in this chapter, including a centurion’s servant, a widow’s only son, and an immoral woman. Notice especially the contrast between the sinful woman, whom the Pharisee did not think was even worthy to touch Jesus’ feet, and the centurion, whom the elders of the Jews deemed deserving of Jesus’ attention. Despite the opinion of the Jews, Jesus helped both of these people and commended them for their great faith.
Do you ever find yourself thinking that someone is unworthy of Jesus’ attention? Or have you ever thought that about yourself? When we contemplate our sinfulness over against Christ’s goodness, the realization of our unworthiness can be overwhelming. Yet we must remember the words of Paul (a former persecutor of God’s people) in I1 Timothy 1:15 and take them for our own,: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”. God brings dry bones to life; he makes new what is old, and saves those who are hopelessly lost. There is no child of God who is too far gone to be redeemed by the blood of Christ.
Sing or pray Psalter #83.
August 9 Read Matthew 11
When you read about Jesus’ earthly ministry, do you ever wish that you could have experienced one of his miracles in real life? What an amazing sight that must have been! It is hard to believe that anyone who was physically in the presence of the Son of God on this earth and witnessed his mighty works firsthand could still remain unrepentant. But when you think about the fact that we have access to the full text of the Bible in our own language, we are also witnesses to the mighty works of God in the context of his entire revealed Wword. How can we not believe as well?
It is tempting to become proud of the knowledge of God that we learn from reading the Bible and hearing sound, gospel preaching. But with greater revelation comes greater responsibility. Doctrinal knowledge alone cannot save sinners. If it does not lead you to true repentance, it only serves the purpose of increasing your condemnation. Matthew Henry comments on this chapter, “Though the damnation of all that perish will be intolerable, yet the damnation of those who had the fullest and clearest discoveries made them of the power and grace of Christ, and yet repented not, will be of all others the most intolerable.”
Sing or pray Psalter #85.
August 10 Read Luke 11
Prayer was an important part of Jesus’ life on this earth. There are numerous instances recorded in the Bible of Jesus praying with others or withdrawing to pray in solitude for long periods of time. Following his example, prayer must be an essential part of our lives as well. However, it can be difficult to prioritize prayer, because it can feel like a waste of time. It is often more satisfying to try to fix a problem ourselves rather than pray about it. Yes, it is true that we will not always immediately receive what we ask for. But if we consistently pray according to the will of God, our prayers will certainly be heard and answered.
Persistent prayer does not serve the purpose of persuading God to give us what we desire; instead it nurtures our relationship with him. Even though he already knows all of our needs, God still delights in the prayers of his people. Our prayers show that we trust him to take care of us and give us what is good because he is good. And just as an earthly father will not ignore the request of his child, or a neighbor will surely give assistance to his brother in need, even more so our Hheavenly Father will always answer the prayers of his dear children in his perfect timing.
Sing or pray Psalter #91.
August 11Read Matthew 13
One purpose of the parable of the sower that is recorded in this chapter was for Jesus to teach his disciples to expect mixed reactions when he sent them out to preach the gospel on their own. But this parable is also instructive for the church today because it illustrates several improper responses to the preaching of the Wword that we must be on our guard to avoid. Although we certainly need the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts in order even to receive the preaching of the gospel, we are still responsible for how we respond to that preaching.
The seed that falls by the wayside represents those who hear what the pastor says, but find it boring and are easily distracted during the service, so they don’t really take anything away from it. The stony soil represents those who are enthusiastic at first about the Wword of God and being a part of the church, but when persecution comes they very quickly fall away. And the thorny soil represents those who are too anxious about their daily life, money, and pleasures really to focus on heavenly things. Do you recognize any of these bad listening habits in your own life? Pray that the Holy Spirit will cultivate the soil of your heart so that the Wword of God can take root and grow, producing the fruits of faith and obedience.
Sing or pray Psalter #92.
August 12Read Luke 8
Jesus displayed his divine authority over the forces of nature when he calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee. He soothed the raging seas with only the power of his word,; the same word by which he created the heavens, the earth, and everything in them. “Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:8––9).
The almighty creator that is sovereign over everything he has made is also sovereign over all the parts of our lives. When we face physical or spiritual difficulties in our lives, we can trust in God’s supreme power and heavenly protection to carry us through the storm. Psalm 107 speaks of God hearing the cries of his people in their trouble and that he brings them out of their distress, calms the storm, and brings them into the refuge they desire (vv. 28––30). Our God never fails to deliver and restore his people. Thank the Lord for his steadfast love!
Sing or pray Psalter #94.
August 13Read Mark 4
As we read through the parable of the sower again, pay special attention this time to the seed. A seed is a truly amazing thing. The work that the farmer does to cultivate the soil helps the seed to grow bigger and stronger, but the spontaneous act of starting to grow is worked mysteriously inside the seed, and no one can affect that. How a seed starts to grow is unknown to the farmer, yet he labors and has faith that his crops will yield a plentiful harvest.
The seed in this parable represents the word of God. In the same way that a farmer cannot make a seed sprout, no mere man can make another person a believer. Both pastors and those doing personal evangelism put forth effort to spread the message of the gospel, yet they must trust that the Lord is carrying out the actual work in people’s hearts. We do not know exactly how this happens, but we must continue to share the gospel with others and have faith in the power of the Holy Spirit to change their hearts.
Sing or pray Psalter #96.
August 14Read Mark 5
While actual demon possession may not be common today as it was during the earthly ministry of Jesus, we still may experience times in our lives when Satan seems to be in control of us. We may be caught in a habitual sin that we just can’t seem to overcome or plagued by anxiety or depression. Even if they have a physiological basis, the devil most certainly takes advantage of mental afflictions to attack our minds and cause us to sin. In the midst of our suffering, it can feel as if there is no escape from his power.
But there is hope! Jesus had the power to cast a whole legion of demons out of the man described in this chapter, and he has the power to cast out your own personal demons as well. By his death and resurrection, he has overcome the power of evil. But if we try to rely on our own strength, the devil will win every time. If you find yourself under attack from Satan, put on the full armor of God (especially the shield of faith) and trust in his power. Only then will you be able to defend yourself against the “wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).
Sing or pray Psalter #103.
August 15Read Matthew 10
For a Christian pilgrim living in an ungodly world, the fear of man can be a crippling affliction. We may be afraid of life-threatening things such as persecution and bodily harm. Or we may have lesser fears such as the disapproval of those around us, facing difficulty in our careers, or just plain discomfort. These fears cause worry, and anxiety and may prevent us from spreading the gospel or making public confession of our faith.
But when we open God’s Wword to passages like Matthew 10, we come to realize that the only thing we really need to fear is God. Our Lord is the only one who has the power to destroy not only the body, but the soul. Only he can save us unto an eternal life where there will be no suffering and we will live in peace forever. When we weigh these two fears against each other, it is clear that the approval of God is so much more important than the approval of men. As Jesus proclaimed in verse 32, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.”.
Sing or pray Psalter #106.
August 16Read Matthew 14
Peter exemplifies all of us in our Christian walk by showing both great faith in Jesus and doubt even within a single situation during the storm on the Sea of Galilee. At first he shows great faith by trusting in Jesus and walking out on the water to him. But as he starts to look around and notice how strong the winds are and how big the waves are, his faith wavers and he begins to sink. Just like Peter, when we take our eyes off Jesus and focus on our surroundings instead, fear will begin to creep in. Or if we trust in our own measly strength and forget how strong our God is, our troubles will seem exaggerated and insurmountable.
Because of our sin, we will never be able to have perfect faith in this life. There will be times when we will sink in the waves. But our Lord will never let one of his little ones drown. As we mature spiritually and know God more and more through studying scripture and through prayer, our faith and trust in him will be strengthened. 1 John 5:4 reminds us, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”.
Sing or pray Psalter #112.
August 17Read Mark 6
When you read about the actions of Herodias surrounding the beheading of John the Baptist, did you notice the similarities to wicked Queen Jezebel from the Old Testament? Both of these women were ambitious and, manipulative and exercised ungodly influence over their weak husbands. Jezebel had innocent Naboth killed for listening to God’s commands instead of what Ahab and Jezebel wanted. And Herodias similarly has John the Baptist killed because he openly condemned her and Herod Antipas for divorcing their other spouses and committing adultery. Even the way in which she schemes to take John the Baptist’s life by convincing her daughter to dance for Herod (in a manner that was so provocative he offered to give her whatever she wanted) shows that Herodias would use whatever means necessary to get what she wanted.
Yet as evil as these women were, they could very easily be heroines from today’s popular movies and shows. Hollywood tries very hard to glamorize sins like adultery, divorce, disrespect, and even murder. Are you watching these types of dramas? I would encourage you to evaluate your media habits and make sure you are not consuming shows and movies that are making you increasingly desensitized to sin.
Sing or pray Psalter #113.
August 18Read Luke 9:1––17
When Jesus sent out his disciples, he instructed them to preach the gospel and heal the sick. Although he had equipped them with miraculous power to cast out demons and cure diseases, these tasks were not the primary focus of the disciples’ assignment. They were sent out first and foremost to preach the kingdom of God.
The primary mission of the church today as well is urgently and sincerely to proclaim the kingdom of God in a way that people can understand. This is not to say that the church should ignore the needs of those whom they are evangelizing to. Evangelism must involve the whole person. But we must not make the mistake of elevating social work to the main mission of the church. It is incidental to the preaching of the kingdom of God. Our first concern must be for the soul and eternal life of our neighbor. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26).
Sing or pray Psalter #117.
August 19Read John 6
After the feeding of the 5,000, the people got very excited because they thought that Jesus must be a great prophet like Moses, perhaps one that would care for their physical needs or help them gain power against the Roman government. They wanted him to do more miracles similar to the ones that Moses had done in the wilderness. You will remember that the children of Israel had been held captive in Egypt, and they were unable to save themselves. But God sent Moses to bring them out of slavery in Egypt, and then sustained them by sending manna in the wilderness.
But what the multitude did not understand was that Moses was just a dim picture of this even better Savior. Similar to the children of Israel, we are stuck in slavery, slavery to sin. But God sent his only, begotten Son to free us from this bondage. And as the bread of life, he sustains not just our physical life, but he
also gives us everlasting life. Jesus is sufficient to meet every need that we have. He assures his people, “he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (v. 35).
Sing or pray Psalter #119.
August 20Read Matthew 15
Why do you worship God? Is it so that other people see you and think you are a good person? Is it to make you feel better? Is it to follow the traditions of your family? It can be very easy to worship hypocritically because we are concerned about our image, while inwardly our heart is far from God. This type of false worship is the sin that Jesus condemned in the religious leaders of his day, and one that we must be on our guard against as well.
The purpose of our worship must simply be to worship, not to gain anything for ourselves. Worship is about honoring and drawing near to God. It is not just a matter of outward actions, but an experience of the heart. It is important for our worship to contain sound, theological content that stirs in us godly emotions such as repentance, fear, awe, gratitude, hope, and joy. And these godly emotions should in turn motivate us to live thankful, godly lives.
Sing or pray Psalter #123.
August 21Read Mark 7
Not every part of the Christian life is a matter of black and white, right and wrong. Many things are matters of personal conscience before God, which we sometimes refer to as Christian liberty. For example, we must not look down on those whose conscience compels them to abstain from doing something that we think is fine. And we must not rebuke others for refraining from doing something that we think is a good thing for Christians to do, but is not necessarily commanded in Sscripture.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were too concerned with their own non-biblical traditions, such as the way that they should wash their hands, pots, and pans. They were making their own rules more important than the doctrines of God. Because of this, they excluded everyone who did not keep these traditions like they did, and were preventing people from learning about God. Have you ever hesitated before inviting someone to church because you were afraid that they wouldn’t follow the traditions that you are used to, such as how people dress for the worship service? We should never let inconsequential traditions get in the way of sharing the true preaching of the word with others.
Sing or pray Psalter #124.
August 22Read Matthew 16
Sometimes we can get the idea in our minds that if we are living ourlives the way that God commands us to, things will be easy. But when you study the word of God, you will clearly see that that is not the case. As we read in verse 24, self-denial and suffering are an important parts of the Christian life. Starting from his humble birth in a stable, Jesus’ life on this earth was one full of suffering that peaked with his crucifixion. So as those who are being conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29), we should also expect to endure adversity in this life.
When we face the very real difficulties of life on this earth, remembering that we are sharing in Christ’s suffering is an incredible consolation. Jesus’ suffering ultimately ended in heavenly glory, and the same is true for the child of God. Our suffering is not only a blessing, but also serves to confirm our salvation. In Romans 8:17 we are reminded that our suffering means we are children and heirs of God along with Christ. And if we suffer with him, we will also be glorified together.
Sing or pray Psalter #127.
August 23Read Mark 8
Those who would follow Christ must obey his command in Mark 8:34 to “deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”. But what exactly do these three commands mean? Self-denial means that we must renounce our own will and seek to obey God’s will instead. To take up our cross means to accept the trials and suffering that we have been appointed to endure in our lives on this earth and bear them willingly. And to follow Christ means to live in communion with him and in obedience to his instruction.
The only way to be a disciple of Christ is to do these three things. God did not place us on this earth so that we could chase our own ambitions and pleasures, but to bring pleasure to him. Although in this life we can only be imperfect disciples, by the power of the Holy Spirit even our flawed discipleship can be a witness to the world around us. And we look forward to heaven, when we will be able to learn from Christ firsthand in an even better way than his disciples were able to while he was on this earth.
Sing or pray Psalter #130.
August 24Read Luke 9:18––27
One question that I had when studying this section of the New Testament was, why did Jesus instruct his disciples on more than one occasion not to tell anybody that he was the Messiah? Wasn’t the purpose of his earthly ministry to proclaim who he was? Why would he want them to keep it a secret?
After reading several commentaries on the subject, I believe the reason was that his disciples did not yet fully understand what it meant that he was the Messiah. They were still hung up on the belief that Jesus was going to establish an earthly kingdom, as evidenced later in the chapter when they started to argue about who would be the greatest in this kingdom. Although they were beginning to understand who Jesus really was, they still were not prepared to preach Jesus as the Messiah until they fully learned what this meant by witnessing his final suffering, death, and resurrection.
The disciples were so intent on making Jesus the kind of savior they wanted him to be that they were missing out on the complete truth of the gospel. Do you sometimes make God out to be a certain way in your head so that he serves your purposes? We must carefully study God’s Wword to remind ourselves of whom he really is, and not trick ourselves into believing that he is only who we want him to be.
Sing or pray Psalter #133.
August 25Read Matthew 17
During Jesus’ transfiguration, his earthly body was temporarily transformed into a more glorious form. We read that his face shone like the siun and his clothes flashed like lightning. Jesus radiated just a tiny glimpse of his full, divine glory for a select few of his disciples to see. If there was any doubt left in their minds about whether Jesus was truly the Son of God, this event drove away all uncertainty.
Think about something on this earth that you would describe as “glorious.”. Maybe you pictured a natural wonder that you have visited, such as the Grand Canyon? Or maybe you pictured that awesome car you wish you could afford? Or maybe you have a certain person in mind? God’s glory is so much more than any of these amazing things. We cannot even begin to comprehend his glory and majesty, because we can only relate it to earthly things and it is a heavenly glory. How wonderful it will be to experience God’s glory even more fully when we get to heaven!
Sing or pray Psalter #136.
August 26Read Mark 9
Unbelief is often the root underneath a variety of sins. Our outward actions reveal the unbelief that lies in our hearts. When we worry and have anxiety about the future, we are not trusting in God’s plan for our lives. When we lose our temper when things don’t go our way, we are seeking comfort from being in control and not from trusting in God. When we become obsessive about our finances, we are seeking security in money and not in God.
The father who was seeking healing for his demon-possessed son in Mark 9 perfectly summarizes every Christian’s struggle against unbelief with his tear-filled statement in verse 24, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”. When we try to believe on our own we will continually fail. But when we cry out to God for help he will work faith in our hearts by the power of his Spirit. And as Jesus told this desperate father, “all things are possible to him that believeth” (v. 23).
Sing or pray Psalter #139.
August 27Read Luke 9:28––62
As he prepares to make his final trip to Jerusalem, Jesus commands two different men to follow him. But they both have different excuses for why they cannot. It is interesting to note that both of their responses contain the words “me first” (vv. 59, & 61). There is no room for “me first” when following Jesus. Jesus must always come first. No part of our life on this earth is an excuse to defer our duty to God.
The man who wanted to wait for his elderly father to die before he would follow Jesus is an example of prioritizing your own desires above what God wants you to do. He wanted to be a disciple, but just not yet. Perhaps this same thought would pop up in your head this way,: “I really need to focus on school/work/dating/having fun right now. I’ll get serious about following Christ later, once I’m finished with what I want to do.”
The man who wanted to go say farewell to his family is an example of only half-heartedly following Christ, while gazing longingly at the things of this world. This was also the sin of Lot’s wife. Being a disciple of Christ requires a full-time, constant commitment. Look at the example given in verse 62;: you cannot plow a straight line if you keep looking back over your shoulder. You can’t follow Christ while also harboring a love for the things of this world.
Sing or pray Psalter #143.
August 28Read Matthew 18
Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18 concerning how we should deal with brothers and sisters in the church who have sinned against us is probably quite familiar to you. However, it is always good to review these verses, because when someone sins against us our natural inclination is not usually to seek out reconciliation with them in private. More likely, we want to text ten other people to tell them about how horrible this person is, or write a very passive-aggressive social media post to let everyone know that we have been wronged.
Proverbs 10:12 instructs us, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”. The idea of this verse is not that we are forbidden to confront sin in others. Matthew 18 makes it clear that confrontation is necessary. Rather the idea is that we forgive others easily and do not get unnecessarily aggravated over the slightest of offenses. In the Lord’s forgiveness of our sins, he perfectly exemplilfied the characteristics of longsuffering and sacrificial love that we should strive to show to our fellow believers. Do you forgive others as you have been forgiven?
Sing or pray Psalter #145.
August 29Read John 7
Following the example of Christ in this chapter, those who are in leadership positions in the church must be willing to have their doctrine tested against Sscripture. A pastor or teacher who believes that they areis teaching the truth should have no reason to take personal offense if his doctrine is questioned, because in the words of Jesus, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me” (v. 16). It is necessary for each of us to listen carefully to the preaching of the gospel to discern if it is in line with what we know to be true from Sscripture. In this way the church can make sure that it is following the will of God and not being led astray by the will of man.
At the same time, those who raise inquiry against the doctrine of others must do so for the right reasons. It must not be to promote their personal interests or to serve a hidden agenda. Rather, one who confronts potentially false teaching must act out of a desire to please and glorify God, just as Jesus did in his life on this earth.
Sing or pray Psalter #146.
August 30Read John 8
After the Feast of Tabernacles has ended, Jesus resumes his teaching in the temple courts. He is interrupted by an incident involving the scribes and Pharisees and an adulterous woman, but afterwards he begins to speak to them again by proclaiming, “I am the light of the world” (v. 12). As was just celebrated at the Feast of Tabernacles, God had guided the Israelites through the wilderness by the light of a pillar of fire. Jesus proclaims that he is a light and guide not just to the Israelites, but to all of God’s people throughout the world. He is Immanuel, God with us.
Light is essential to our existence on this earth. It provides sight so that we may carry out the necessary tasks of our daily lives, and it allows us to gain knowledge by illuminating the things around us. As the light of the world, Jesus is essential to our spiritual life. It is only because of his light that we are able to come to God. On our own we hopelessly wander around in the darkness.
When a child of God are exposed to the light of Jesus they do not simply stare at it,; they follow the light by doing what God commands. It is a light not just for our eyes, but for our feet as well. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105).
Sing or pray Psalter #147.
August 31Read John 9
By describing the life of the blind man who was healed by Jesus, this chapter also paints a picture of how Jesus saves all of his people from the spiritual blindness of sin. We are all born spiritually blind. Our heavenly Father takes the initiative to heal us of this blindness; we do not seek him out, because we are not able to. God works spiritual sight in us by his own power, and after he works in our hearts we are obedient to his commands.
As regenerated children of God, we must display faithfulness to Jesus in the face of persecution and testify of his work in our lives to those around us, just as the formerly blind man did. This man worshipped Jesus after discovering that he was not just a prophet, but the Son of God. We also continue to grow in our knowledge of God by reading the Bible and praying. This knowledge leads us to even greater worship and love for our Savior.
Sing or pray Psalter #149.
September 1Read John 10:1––21
As the Good Shepherd, Jesus knows his flock, and we know him. Jesus knows his people, not just as a group, but each one individually. He does not simply know their names, but each individual’s unique personality and characteristics. Jesus cherishes each one of them like a husband cherishes his beloved wife. And he loves his sheep so much that he is willing to lay down his life for every single one of them.
Because Jesus has such an intimate knowledge of his people, he is aware of every single one of their needs. What a comfort that is for us! Church leaders must follow the example of Jesus and know the flock so that they can care for them. We must also strive to get to know our fellow church members so that we can care for their needs as well.
Sing or pray Psalter #152.
September 2Read Luke 10
Have you ever been told that your emotions are bad, or that you should not pay attention to them? Although we can certainly be led astray by only listening to our emotions, they are part of God’s good design for man. We read several times in the gospels about Jesus showing emotion during his earthly ministry. In verse 21 of this chapter he rejoiced, and we read in other passages that he marveled, grieved, and even wept. Godly emotions that are in harmony with God’s Wword serve the purpose of motivating us to godly action. The parable of the good Samaritan demonstrates how godly emotion (pity) moved the Samaritan man to godly action (mercy).
But our emotions can also serve the purpose of exposing sin that is in our hearts. You will be able to tell what you truly care about most by the intensity of your emotions. What makes you the most angry or upset? Do your emotions reflect your love for God and your neighbor (v. 27)? Or do they reflect a love for yourself?
Sing or pray Psalter #154.
September 3Read John 10:22––42
So many things in our lives are uncertain. We just don’t know what the future holds. You may be unsure about what school you will go to, what classes you will take, what kind of job you will end up doing, or who your future spouse will be. But the salvation of a child of God is one thing that we never have to be uncertain about.
John 10:28––30 brings out this wonderful doctrine of the preservation of the saints. They remind us of the great assurance we have in our Savior. We are preserved in Jesus Christ! Our salvation is not in our own care, but in under the protection of a powerful Mmediator. No matter what lies ahead in our lifelives on this earth, we can rest in the knowledge that our salvation is secure. Paul writes in Romans 8:38––39 that he is confident that neither angels nor demons, nor any other creature, nor time nor space can separate us from the love of God that we have in Christ Jesus. And we can have this same confidence as well.
Sing or pray Psalter #156.
September 4Read Luke 12
While Jesus wais teaching the people about heavenly things, a man interrupts to ask a petty question about earthly riches. After rebuking the man, Jesus goes on to instruct the people with regard to his sin of covetousness, using the illustration of the parable of the rich fool. The rich fool made the mistake of placing all his hope in his possessions and forgot that they actually belonged to God, not him.
We must properly view our possessions as tools to help us on our pathway to heaven, not as sources of peace, joy, or contentment. What benefit is anything that we have gained on this earth if we are cast out of the kingdom of God? The only thing that we will be able to take with us is the spiritual treasure of the word of God. Do you put more effort into hiding his word in your heart than into accumulating earthly possessions?
Sing or pray Psalter #157.
September 5Read Luke 13
The healing of the crooked woman in the synagogue that is described in verses 10––17 is just one of the numerous examples of Jesus healing people on the sabbath day. The reaction of the Pharisees to these acts of mercy exposed their erroneous view of both Sabbath observance and the law in general. They were more concerned with following their list of rules for what you could and could not do on the Sabbath than they were about showing mercy to their sister who was suffering. This behavior stemmed from the Pharisees’ belief that they must earn their own salvation by keeping the law.
We have been rescued from the bondage of having to follow a list of specific rules to earn our salvation. Therefore we are free in Christ to worship and serve him. Resting on the Ssabbath day is not about following specific guidelines or being idle. It is about setting aside things that you can do during the rest of the week in order to focus on the things of God. As Rev. Langerak pointed out in a recent sermon on this text, if we concentrate on filling our sabbath day with worship and showing love to our neighbors, there will be no time left for questions of whether we should be doing this or that for our own personal pleasure.
Sing or pray Psalter #158.
September 6Read Luke 14
The parable of the marriage supper presents us with quite a different message than today’s popular beliefs. Jesus says that if we proudly strive after the glory of men, God will humble us. But if we humbly esteem others better than ourselves, we will receive honor from God. What is more important to you? Honor from those around you, or honor from God? Being accepted and applauded by your peers in person or on social media can seem so important in the moment, but once we take a step back we can recognize that glory from men is fleeting, but honor from God is everlasting.
We can look to Jesus’ life on this earth as the ultimate example of humility. Though he is God, he took on a weak, human form. He chose to suffer for our sins to save us from eternal suffering. But this path of suffering ended in glory when he was exalted to the right hand of God. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). If we cultivate a mindset of humility, we will be able to recognize that the opinion of God matters much more thant the opinions of people. How would having this mindset change the way that you act?
Sing or pray Psalter #160.
September 7Read Luke 15
God is not like people. This may sound like an obvious statement, but it is easy to forget. Because we are human, we tend to think about God in human terms. But if we think of God as a human we severely limit his power. This thinking manifests itself in our actions when we do things such as sin in private and think God doesn’t see us, or we worry about the future because we don’t trust that he is really in control of everything.
Our heavenly Father is so much better than even the most loving and generous person that we know. He loves and pursues those who reject him, as exemplified by the love of the prodigal son’s father for his wayward son. God loves us even while we show hatred to him; he forgives us when we don’t deserve forgiveness and will probably commit the same sin again.
God has no need for us, which is what makes his love for his people so remarkable. But we desperately need him. When we are aware of how great God really is, our fears of other people and the future will fade away in the light of his glory.
Sing or pray Psalter #162.