July 31, 2021

The Temptation of Wealth

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.
Deuteronomy 8:18
Many people have trouble with the part of the Lord's Prayer that says, Lead us not into temptation. "If God is good, why would God tempt us to do evil?" they ask. Indeed, so prevalent is this opinion that the Roman Catholic pope wanted to change it in the mass to Do not let us fall into temptation. One modern translation perhaps comes closer to the mark with Do not bring us to the time of trial. There's no "time of" in the original, though. It should probably be rendered just Do not bring us to trial. The reality is that Jesus was telling us that there's a component to temptation that also involves God.

The way I make sense of this is by thinking about those foibles and sins that Jesus warned us most strongly against.

July 30, 2021

Trust and Hope

Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.

Psalm 32:10
The world may change from old to new,
from new to old again;
yet hope and heaven, forever true,
within our hearts remain.

Hope leads the child to plant the flower,
the man to sow the seed;
nor leaves fulfillment to her hour—

July 29, 2021

The Lord Has Planted Grace

But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot out your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they shall soon come home. See now, I am for you; I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown.

Ezekiel 36:8-9
Joy is a fruit that will not grow
in nature’s barren soil;
all we can boast, till Christ we know,
is vanity and toil.

But where the Lord has planted grace;
and made his glories known;
there fruits of heavenly joy and peace

July 28, 2021

In God's Hands

In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.
Job 12:10
Don't worry about whether or not people are with you or against you, but take care that God is with you in everything you do. Keep your conscience clear and God will protect you, for human malice cannot harm a person whom God wishes to help. If you know how to suffer in silence, you will undoubtedly experience God’s help. He knows when and how to deliver you; therefore, place yourself in his hands, for God alone is able to help us and free us from all that burdens us. 

It is often good for us to have others know our faults and rebuke us, for it gives us greater humility. When people humble themselves because of their faults, they easily placate those about them and readily appease those who are angry with them. 

July 27, 2021

The Hand That Created

Oldest known full-size casting of The Thinker, in front of Grawemeyer Hall, University of Louisville

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who by myself spread out the earth.
Isaiah 44:24
  • Michelangelo's depiction of the Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
  • Paradise Lost, by John Milton
  • Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa
  • Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
  • John Calvin's Institutes
  • Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night

July 26, 2021

Intercessory Prayer

I said, “O Lord God, forgive, I beg you! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” The Lord relented concerning this; “It shall not be,” said the Lord.

Amos 7:2-3
As an encouragement cheerfully to offer intercessory prayer, remember that such prayer is the sweetest God ever hears, for the prayer of Christ is of this character. In all the incense which our Great High Priest now puts into the golden censer, there is not a single grain for himself. His intercession must be the most acceptable of all supplications—and the more like our prayer is to Christ's, the sweeter it will be; thus while petitions for ourselves will be accepted, our pleadings for others, having in them more of the fruits of the Spirit, more love, more faith, more kindness, will be, through the precious merits of Jesus, the sweetest oblation that we can offer to God, the very fat of our sacrifice.

July 25, 2021

July 25 Worship

We are entering that extended period during which, once every three summers, the appointed gospel reading comes from John 6. Today's theme, therefore, is the feeding of the five thousand. with five loaves and two fish. Our hymns include Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (Bread of Heaven), Break Thou the Bread of Life, and Great Is Thy Faithfulness.

Here is the video of today's worship service, and beneath it you will find a manuscript of the sermon: