Today is Sunday, the 20th of November, 2022, in the 34th week of Ordinary Time. It is the last Sunday after Pentecost, the last Sunday before Advent begins. It is also Christ the King Sunday.
May the peace of Christ dwell within you today!
Four days until Thanksgiving!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!
(Psalms 119:29 ESV)
Lord our God, we come to you burdened and driven by every kind of need and oppression, but you will bring light into every situation; in your great goodness and faithfulness you will continue to help. We come to you because you are our help. We want to draw strength from your Word so that we can remain steadfast in these times, awaiting your help and already finding joy and certainty in our expectation. For your kingdom is coming, and your will is being done on earth as in heaven. Amen.
LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, “Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.”
(Jeremiah 16:19 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
- that God is my strength, my refuge, and my fortress and my help
- that His will is being done on earth as in heaven
- for His steadfast love which endures forever
- for the words in Scripture, “But God . . .”
- that, because of the blood of Christ, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we have access to the Father and are as close to Him as Jesus is
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For "Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." (1 Peter 3:9-12 ESV)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
(1 Peter 3:18-20 ESV)
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalms 136:1-3, 26 ESV)
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
(Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
A Song of Ascents. Of David. I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD!" Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! "May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!" For my brothers and companions' sake I will say, "Peace be within you!" For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good. (Psalms 122:1-9 ESV)
“And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
(Matthew 10:42 ESV)
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
(Ephesians 2:18 ESV)
This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
(Ephesians 3:11-12 ESV)
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
(Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV)
“But God . . .” Two of my favorite words in all of the Bible, right up there with “fear not.”
We were dead in trespasses and sins, without hope of any kind. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, . . . made us alive.”
Not only have we been made alive, we have access to the Father, because of the blood of Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit, whom He sent when He ascended to the Father.
Before Jesus came, there was a heavy, thick veil between the Holy Places and the Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, and he could only enter once a year. If anyone dared to enter that place at any other time, they were struck dead.
But, when Jesus died on the Cross,
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
(Matthew 27:51 ESV)
“When Christ died, the veil was rent in two. Christ Jesus not only entered into God’s presence by His blood, but He opened a new and living way through the rent veil of His flesh for every believer to enter.” (Andrew Murray, The Believer’s Call to Commitment, quoted in Power in Prayer)
Furthermore, “The access through Christ brings us as near to God as Christ is, in an intimate, divine fellowship that passes all understanding.” (Ibid, emphasis added)
So, because of these things, let us, indeed, consider how we might stir up one another to love and good works; let us encourage one another, especially on this day, when we gather together for worship. And let us proclaim, along with David,
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
Father, let us be glad as we enter into the house of the Lord, today, wherever we choose to worship. As we attend the service at Living Word Lutheran Church, I pray that Your Spirit will be evident in everything that happens there. May we celebrate the intimate, divine access that we have to You, because of the blood of Jesus Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent to be our helper when He ascended to You.
Let us rejoice, Father, and let us encourage one another with these words today. And may this access, this close presence with You be felt, in Christ, every day, every hour, every minute, and with every breath that we breathe.
Things are dark in this world, right now, Lord, but we know that, we believe that (or at least some of us do) You are in control of all things, and we have the confidence that Your will is being done on earth as it is in heaven, not matter what our eyes tell us. Our faith is in You; our Hope is in You; our trust is in You!
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:24 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends!