Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Thursday after Oculi Sunday

Posted on March 16, 2023 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 (NKJV)
2:1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. 3 For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.
4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. 5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
Sometimes we are amazed at how the faith spread in the ancient world. The contrast is all the more stark when compared with the withering and dying faith in the West today. What is different now? One thing that is different is our wealth and comfort. The West, in this sense, is a victim of its own success. Western man is no longer motivated by hunger or poverty. Even with disease, Western man puts his faith in pharmaceutical companies, face masks, and the Center for Disease Control. Ancient man could only pray.
Today’s Western man isn’t trying to appease any god. He is being entertained to death. St. Paul spoke “the gospel of God in much conflict.” There was much violent opposition to the Gospel. Our conflict today is battling the idols Western man loves: comfort, entertainment, respectability. We live in a much safer world, but if we are not in conflict with the world, something is wrong. St. Paul spoke “not as pleasing men, but God.” The world should be amazed at how radical we are. Christ bids us to take up the cross and follow Him through everything, both great and small.
Prayer: We beseech Thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of Thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of Thy Majesty to be our defense against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Collect for the Season of Lent
Almighty and Everlasting God, Who hatest nothing that Thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of Thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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