Sabbath Encounter – July 2, 2021

Silence and Centering – Pause for 5 minutes of Silence    

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:10

Confession: 

Heavenly Father, As Your people, we know that our salvation is not based on any good things we might do for You. We further acknowledge the perfect work that Christ completed on the cross on our behalf. And yet, we still have this tendency to try to add merit to what You have already provided for us. Have mercy on us, Lord. Forgive our efforts to earn or add to our own salvation. Keep us from attempting to do that work that only the Holy Spirit can achieve. May we instead carry out the good works that You have especially prepared for us in advance and by Your grace alone. We ask this in Christ’s name.  Amen.

FIRST READING: Psalm 48

The Lord is great and is to be highly praised
    in the city of our God, on his sacred hill.[b]
Zion, the mountain of God, is high and beautiful;
    the city of the great king brings joy to all the world.
God has shown that there is safety with him
    inside the fortresses of the city.

The kings gathered together
    and came to attack Mount Zion.
But when they saw it, they were amazed;
    they were afraid and ran away.
There they were seized with fear and anguish,
    like a woman about to bear a child,
    like ships tossing in a furious storm.

We have heard what God has done,
    and now we have seen it
    in the city of our God, the Lord Almighty;
he will keep the city safe forever.

Inside your Temple, O God,
    we think of your constant love.
10 You are praised by people everywhere,
    and your fame extends over all the earth.
You rule with justice;
11     let the people of Zion be glad!
You give right judgments;
    let there be joy in the cities of Judah!

12 People of God, walk around Zion and count the towers;
13     take notice of the walls and examine the fortresses,
so that you may tell the next generation:
14     “This God is our God forever and ever;
    he will lead us for all time to come.”

SECOND READING: 2 Corinthians 10:7-11

 You are looking at the outward appearance of things. Are there some there who reckon themselves to belong to Christ? Well, let them think again about themselves, because we belong to Christ just as much as they do. For I am not ashamed, even if I have boasted somewhat too much about the authority that the Lord has given us—authority to build you up, not to tear you down. I do not want it to appear that I am trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 Someone will say, “Paul’s letters are severe and strong, but when he is with us in person, he is weak, and his words are nothing!” 11 Such a person must understand that there is no difference between what we write in our letters when we are away and what we will do when we are there with you.

REFLECTION:

The Corinthian Church was a challenge to Paul. As we read his letters we discover that there were factions in conflict with one another. We discover that they had become so self-absorbed that they weren’t sharing when they gathered together for meals, including communion. And they were even challenging Paul’s credentials as an apostle, questioning whether he had any right to lead them.

One of the readings that is set for Sunday is Paul’s statement that he will not boast about anything but the cross, and that he celebrates his weaknesses because in them God’s strength is made perfect. Paul had no need to defend his ministry. As we see today, he was confident in God’s calling and in the authority he had been given as an apostle (which means “sent one”). Paul was not arrogant, but he was no doormat either. He had confidence in his relationship with Christ, and in the task he had been given to do.

How can you find your confidence in Jesus and his calling today?

DO: When we focus on who Jesus is, we more easily rest in the confidence that comes from knowing Jesus. The practice of praise is a great way to do just that. Today, praise God for who you are in Jesus, and for God’s call on your life.

PRAY: Praise be to you, O God, for you have called me to be yours in Christ.

Prayers

In peace, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For endurance as our Lord leads us through a hostile world that rejects His Christ and shows no honor to His wisdom or Church; that we would not lose heart; that the Holy Spirit would steel us for opposition; and that we may rest confidently on what God has said, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For all preachers and hearers of God’s prophetic Word, that the great and mighty work of God to create faith in Christ’s eternal blessings by His Holy Spirit would continue; that God would remove all stubborn ears from our midst; and that Christ would not leave us without His Word, but make His home among us and restore the joy of His salvation, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the home, that God would soften hearts, turning parents and children toward each other in love and patience; and that He would banish the spirit of impudence, stubbornness and rebellion from all, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For our nation, that it may be defended against its enemies; for our leaders, that they may be preserved from temptation; and for the work of all civil authorities, that we may be enabled to live quiet and peaceable lives according to His Word, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For those whose pain is chronic, whose sustained suffering is unknown, who wrestle with difficult thorns in body or mind, or who are tempted to despair, that they may know that in their weakness they are strong for the sake of Christ, whose grace is sufficient for every need, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

And for courage in weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities, to boast in Christ and His cross, by which we and our sufferings are sanctified, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For all who commune this day, that in repentance and faith they may taste and see that their Lord is good in the abundant blessing of Christ’s true body and blood, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

All these things and whatever else You know that we need, grant us, Father, for the sake of Him who died and rose again and now lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

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