We see the Lord's great love for His people. He is mad at the shepherds for leading the sheep astray, but He has compassion for the sheep that have been lead badly by those shepherds. There is a word for us today in this passage. We are all shepherds to someone. There is someone in your life that looks to you. There is someone in your life that thinks you are the example. There is someone that follows you and wants to be like you.
May we each live in a way that gives that person and example to follow.
Paul reminds us not to grow weary in doing what is right. Sometimes that's what it feels like. We can grow tired of forgiving in a world that does not forgive. We can grow tired of serving in a world that does not serve. We can grow tired of loving in a world that does not love.
Let us know grow weary from doing right, but instead, let us remember that it is, as the prayer that is attributed to St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Jesus tells us to let the little children come to Him. For it is in their childlike faith, wonder, and joy, we can see the beauty of a walk with God. The faith to trust in God, no matter what. The joy that comes from that faith. The hope and belief that God will take care of us. The trust that God is there.
Today, in this day, may we live with childlike faith.
There is a great verse in this passage. Have we not one Father? Has God not created us? In this age of divisiveness, in this age of disagreement, in this age where people are torn down each day; isn't that a great phrase to remember? Hasn't God created each of us? Aren't we each made in His image? Doesn't He desire to know and love each of us?
And if that is how God feels towards each of us, shouldn't we feel that what towards one another? If God cares of you, shouldn't I care for you? If God forgives you, shouldn't I forgive you? As God loves each of us, so are we called to love one another.
Even those people that we might not like. For, isn't God their Father too?
James warns us today about getting too confident in our own selves, our own worth, our own plans. Instead of thinking so highly in our selves, we should remember that all the good in us, all that we can accomplish, all the promise that today holds; that is a gift from God. God is the giver of all good gifts, and He should be praised for all the good gifts in our lives.
One of the things that fascinates us, and all Christians, is the end of the world. There are books written. There are websites. There are TV shows. There is everything under the sun. There are many that claim that they know and they understand when it will be and what it will be.
Jesus tells us, no one knows. It will come when God deems it is ready.
And of all the things that we can spend out time worrying about, He doesn't encourage that to be one of them. He wants us loving each other, forgiving each other, spreading grace, healing the hurting, teaching the children, seeking the lost, visiting the sick, caring for the poor, working for what is right.
Let's do these things that He has called us to, and we'll leave the unknowable mysteries up to God's wisdom and mercy.
The Lord restores. That is the hope of so many of the prophets. The bad times will not last forever. It will not always be as it is now. The Lord restores. The Lord restores hope and peace and life. The dark days will not last forever, the sun will come out again, tears will cease. Whatever you are going through right now, the Lord is with you, and even the darkest moments, remember, there will be peace again.
I love the book of James. There are so many passages in this book that mean so much to me, that have inspired me, that have been a foundation of my life and faith. Today, this passage has several of those, but I'll reflect quickly on just one.
If any of us lack wisdom, let us ask God. I love that passage. There is no shame in not knowing everything. There is no shame in having all the answers. There is no shame in having all wisdom. Whatever we lack, let us turn to God, and He will give us what we need. When we turn to God, He will grant us His wisdom, His knowledge, His grace.
In the story of the prodigal son, the most amazing thing to me is the father. When the wayward son returns home, the father doesn't make him grovel, instead when the father sees the son returning home, he runs to meet the son. We have a God that runs to us. When we make one step towards Him, He will run to us. The minute we turn to God, He will run to save.
Let us rejoice in that we serve a God that doesn't just meet us halfway, He meets us where we are.
There is one constant refrain in each of the prophets. The Lord wants to forgive His people. Every prophet works up the Lord's anger, the Lord's justice, the Lords might. But, then there comes a point like today's text where it says, the Lord will forgive. The Lord will relent. If we turn to the Lord, He will forgive what has happened, He will forgive the sins of the past, He will spare His children.
The Lord is always eager to forgive, longing to restore, ready to give grace. No matter where we are or what we've done; when we turn to Him, He will forgive.
Revelation is fill with some wonderful imagines isn't it? Who doesn't like reading about birds eating people? But, the greater point is that Jesus is the King, He is victorious, He will reign over all. Things in this time may look bad or discouraging, it may look like evil is winning at times. But, don't lose hope. God will win. Jesus will reign. God's will will be done. Live in the freedom of knowing that no matter how things look now, God will win.
We serve a God that seeks the Lost. We serve a God that seeks the forgotten. We serve a God that seeks the one that has been cast aside. We serve a God that seeks the ones that have wandered far from home. We serve a God that leaves the 99 to go and find the 1. We serve a God that longs to see His people come home.
He will never leave, nor forsake us. Let us always remember that God loves and us will seek us out, no matter the situation in our live. God will come for us. God will bring us home.
When the prophets describe the day of the Lord, the one thing we see every time is the greatness of the Lord. Even the sun darkens when the Lord brings forth judgment. God is so much bigger, stronger, more mighty than anything in all of creation. He is the source of creation, and the giver of life. He is above all, and king of all.
So, why do we not thing He can't handle our problems? If He created everything, if He is the Lord of all; He can handle our worries, our fears, our concerns. Nothing is bigger than God. That means we can trust Him in all of life.
We see the continued greatness of God in the celebration of the destruction of evil and in the wedding feast of the Lamb. In a world that sometimes seems like it's spinning out of control, we must stop, and remember. God is at work. God is doing great things. God has a plan, God has a way, God is at work. Let us give thanks for all God has done and for all God is doing.
Jesus tells us to be His disciple, He must come first. He must come above all. Obedience to Him must be primary. He must be our first love, our rock, our foundation. He is to come first in our lives. Lots of things compete for our time, our love, and our affection. And many of them are good things. But, Jesus tells us, He must come first.
For, only when He is first, can we really live life fully. Only when He is first can we really understand and know the fullness, the joy, the hope of really, lasting, and amazing life. Only when He is first do we know where everything falls into place. May He be first in our lives today.
Today, the Lord tells the people to wake up. Look around. See what is happening. I think that can be an apt concern for us. We, too, should wake up. But, perhaps, in a different concern. Wake up to life all around. Wake up to life in our churches, life in our families, life in our world. Sometimes we get so consumed with the concerns of the day, work, responsibilities, the pains of life that we can fall into a slumber. And forget to look around at life!
Today, may we wake to the life that is all around us!
We see in this passage the destruction of Babylon. We see that God has overcome that which was harming His church. He has overcome that which was oppressing His church. He has defeated that which harms His people.
And that is the glorious hope of Revelation. In the end, God will overcome all. God will defeat that which harms His children and His church. Good will win! Hope will win! Joy will win! Today, we can trust in a God that is and will be victorious!
We see the love and mercy of our God today in this passage. He is a God that invites all to His table. He is a God that invites all to come to His feast. He is a God that longs to welcome those in need. He desires all to know Him, love Him, and be loved by Him.
Today, may we seek to love others as our God in heaven has sought to love us!
No matter if your guy won or lost last night, let us remember that God is at work, grace is abundant, and their is a hurting world that desperately needs to know that is is loved.
Today, in all we do, may we be a means of grace to all. Old Testament Lesson Ezekiel 26:1-14
Today in the text, it talks of how Nebuchadrezzar would be used by God for a great purpose. Nebuchadrezzar was not a Jew, he was a Gentile, he was not even a believer in God. Yet, God used him. Remember, can use anyone, even you and and mean. He is a good that can slay a giant through the stones of a child, he can talk through Baalam's donkey, and He can use Nebuchadrezzar. May He use each of us today. New Testament Lesson Revelation 16:1-11
One of the things we see over and over in Revelation is that God has a plan. He's always up to something, always seeking to bring forth His plan. Remember that in your life, right now, in this moment, He is at work. He is calling you to Himself, seeking to know you in a deeper and more personal way. Gospel Lesson Luke 13:10-17
The text says that there was much rejoicing over the wonderful things that Jesus has done. Do we take time to celebrate the miracles of life? All the ways that God works? All the good that God does? All the ways He brings about healing and wholeness in our lives? Let us never get too busy to remember all the good that God is doing.
We see here the Lord say that He will judge the people for how they have acted, how they have served Him, how they have been His people. One of the things we are reminded in the prophets is that we have an obligation to live not just for ourselves, but for God. To live for His purpose and His life and His way. Today, let us live a graceful life before our God and for our God. And doing that, may we be a means to show His love and mercy to all.
We see this overriding message of Revelation here. God wins in the end. He sits on the throne. All creation will bow down before Him. He reigns now, He reigns forever. And, in the end, He is victorious.
Today, let us live in the victory of God. Let us live in the knowledge of God's reign. Let us live with the confidence of God's children.
We see Jesus debunk the myth that if something bad happens to you, it's because you've committed some great sin. He says this tragedy did not befall those in the text because they had done something wrong. He said, instead make sure you heart is right.
I believe in the end we'll not be responsible for the mysteries of God that we don't understand. We'll be responsible or the things of God that we do understand, and how we live be them.
I don't understand all the mystery, but I know that God has called me to love and forgive, to serve and be to be salt and light. I'm gonna worry more about that then the mystery. So should we each. Let us focus on what we know, on what God has called us to, and let us live out His grace.