Is 66: 18-21     The latter part of the Book of Isaiah is written in the context of the restoration of Jerusalem as the Holy City of the world. It anticipates both the coming of the Messiah and perhaps even heaven itself in its imagery and hope. As we read a text such as the one before us today we need to be mindful that the intention of the writer is to encourage the people to trust that God will see them through to a life of ultimate glory no matter how hard things might be or seem at the moment.

 

Jesus, help me keep my eyes fixed on the vision of the promise of eternal life as I struggle with sin in my life so that I will never forget that with you victory is ultimately assured.

 

Heb 12: 5-7. 11-13      Spare the rod and spoil the child – it is an old saying and one that is true despite the fact that in many countries today such punishments are illegal! Discipline is essential to every life of success every known in history. Nobody will achieve success without it. This is true of the spiritual life as well. We have to be willing to embrace suffering when it comes our way or else we will be in danger of making the mistake of believing that nothing can go wrong if I just trust in the Lord. The martyrs are the most obvious example of such a belief being blatantly incorrect.

 

Holy Spirit, help me to see the wisdom in embracing a life of discipleship so that in working through the difficulties and trials of my life I can be strengthened in my faith and trust in God.

 

Lk 13: 22-30There is a fairly common hymn that says the road to salvation is broad and wide. I do not know where the writer got that idea from! We hear today that the road to salvation is narrow and that few choose willingly to take it. Let us make sure that we are some of those few in that we will not allow ourselves to be led astray by thoughts that salvation is something easy and cheap to achieve – after all Jesus died on the cross to make it happen!

 

Jesus, thank you for your willingness to embrace the cross for my sake. Help me to open my life to the fullness of salvation that you offer me through embracing the cross