DEVOTIONS Read: Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52. Jesus tells five short parables: two about growth, two about valuing something very highly, and one about separating good from bad. There are details of these parables that have challenged Christians throughout the ages. However, Jesus asks the disciples if they “understood all this,” and without any sense of hesitation they simply say, “Yes” (v. 51). Perhaps there is a cautionary tale here. Solomon simply wants wisdom and is praised by God for such a humble request (1 Kings 3:5-12), yet the larger story in 1 Kings reveals that Solomon ended up wanting and claiming much more than a humble quest for wisdom. Instead of preserving the kingdom of Israel, the twelve tribes become split into two realms because of Solomon’s failures. The Apostle Paul acknowledges our human frailty by noting that we do not know how to pray and that the Spirit helps us in our weakness. In the midst of seeking a life of faithfulness and wisdom, it is good to be reminded with much humility that our wisdom has its limits. Finally, what we need is a God who intercedes for us “with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). Recall when God has been with you during a time of personal weakness or difficulty. How did God help you then? Pray: The Lord’s Prayer.
PRAYERS AND BLESSING
A Prayer for the Week: Come Holy Spirit, help us in our weakness and sustain us with faith that trusts your never-failing care through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Mealtime Prayer: Dear God, we thank you for daily food; as you restore our bodies with this meal, restore our souls with joy in your presence. Amen.
A Blessing to Give: May you trust that nothing will separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39)
Join Pastor George for Adult Summer Bible School during the Wednesday’s in August as we learn from some remarkable women of the Old Testament.
1. August 5 – Miriam and Rahab
2. August 12 -Deborah and Jael
3. August 19 -Esther
4. August 26 – Widow of Zarephath and the Shunammite Woman
The sessions will be held on Zoom beginning at 11 a.m.and will last 1 hour. Please contact the church office for the zoom meeting link.
Vacation Bible School begins for the young and young at heart. Join Noah and his family as they find God’s promise in the rainbow. We have a craft for you and a song (of course it’s “Arky Arky!”). Contact the church office for the video link.
A Messsage from Susie Overton
The members of the Mary-Martha Circle have decided to send a $250 check to Janet Arning director of Inspiritus (formerly Lutheran Services). They are helping plant raised-bed gardens for Buena Vista neighbors. They continue working with children this summer with their art program and also have a feeding program. We are sending a $250 check to Rachel Hester at Room in the Inn. They provide meals each day for many of the homeless, clothing and shoes are provided as needed, as well as a helping hand to meet various needs.
We decided, after contacting the directors of both programs that money to use when needed would be most helpful in providing services to those in need. If you would like to contribute to this project, you can mail a check to the church marked for the Mary-Martha Circle project. We will send money again later this year.
The Renewing of our Minds
Christian stewards are set apart by God for his purposes. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). Christ is our best example. He was so engaged in the world that he was criticized for associating with sinners (Luke 19:7). Rather than taking on the characteristics of the world, however, Jesus, during his brief time on Earth, effected the world as no one before or since him has ever done. As he brings about the transformation of our minds, he will enable us to do “his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your mercy, grace, and love. Help me to offer my heart as a living
sacrifice to you. Change and transform me into a person who places my entire trust in you and
who is eager to follow your ways. Help me to ignore the enticements of the world to follow its
ways. I know that only in you will I find lasting peace, joy, and contentment. In Jesus’ name I
Blessings on your stewardship journey!
Next Week’s Readings
Isaiah 55: 1-5
Psalm 145: 8-9, 14-21
Romans 9: 1-5
Matthew 14: 13-21