One of the most often repeated messages in the Bible is the assuring words—“Fear Not.” But our confidence and lack of fear does not come from our own imperfect striving but in God’s amazing love and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Because of Jesus we can live in “God Confidence” in all facets of our lives. Through Jesus, we are tethered to God in our time on earth, confident of our final home. We can be confident when we pray that God is listening. We can be confident in the guidance of the Holy Spirt when it matters most. God sent his Son that we might know Him, and by knowing him, know God. Rest assured, that if in any way you are missing Jesus right now or feeling distant, know that He will find you if you but seek Him. As part of the family of God, He calls you by name, and He will never let you go. Claim your “God Confidence” today and every day.
Introduction to this week’s readings
Today’s festival rejoices in God’s blessings. We recall and celebrate our adoption as God’s children, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the promised company of almighty God when we “pass through the waters… the rivers… the fire.” On this day the heavens open again for this assembly, and we receive the gift of God’s Beloved, Jesus, in bread and wine.
Reading: Isaiah 43:1-7
Introduction to reading: Near the end of Israel’s exile in Babylon, God promises to bring them home. They need no longer be afraid, because the one who formed, created, and called them by name now redeems them from all their enemies. God declares them precious and honored, and God loves them.
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Reading: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Introduction to reading: The reading opens with questions about the identity of the Messiah. John the Baptist insists that he is not the Messiah; instead, he points ahead to one who is coming. And whether the voice of God was heard by all or only by Jesus, God settles the matter: Jesus is God’s beloved Son.