Home > Reading > Daily Reading – March 19, 2023

Mark 8:17–21 (Listen)

17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”


Fourth Sunday in Lent

Jesus always instructed his disciples about vision for ministry, and also about provision for mission.
Although the current day Church is engaged in the mission work of Jesus Christ, we often struggle with the subject of provision. Where is the next paycheck going to come from? Are we going to have enough money or enough resources for the work we are called to do? What are we going to eat? What am I going to wear? Where are we going to live? These are pertinent questions in life. However, if they are not properly answered or settled, they continue to be matters of burden for the missionary, minister of the gospel, or layperson.

In this text, Jesus points to the fact that for every mission, He gives the church the provision to accomplish it. In particular, he reminds them of when he provided food miraculously to thousands of people. The reason he was reminding them was to raise up faith to believe that if he can provide food for so many people, out of such small and meager resources, their needs can also be met miraculously. 

Throughout scripture, the Lord has called individuals, families, nations, and religious institutions for different kinds of assignments. Throughout scripture we do not see any moment where people fail for lack of resources because God always provides. The same promise is still with us. He has never called us to let us down. He has never sent us without preparing the ground, or without putting the seed in the ground for us.

Everything that is needed to fulfill the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ is already provided. We have to believe that our God is our provider, and we have to march with undivided vision to fulfill his great commission.

However, as human beings, there are moments in time when we doubt more than we believe. When doubt dominates our lifestyle, we have to go back to the stories and scriptures — just like Jesus did — and uplift our spirit by looking at examples where Jesus is at the center. That way, we lift up our faith, and we start to look and talk to our mountains. We are mountain-moving believers. We are called not to run away from challenges, but to run into challenges — and change those challenges into opportunities for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Satan usually puts fear in us by pointing to all kinds of shortages and lack that surround our lives. But we are also called by Jesus Christ not to look at what we are lacking, but to focus on the overflowing power and provision of Jesus Christ. May God grant us the grace not to take our eyes away from Jesus.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank you so much for the opportunity to serve you. We are deeply grateful for the continuous provision that you give us to enhance the vision of the ministry that you’ve called us to do. As we remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, please help us not to take our eyes from what He has done for us, but to focus on His provision and run after that vision that you’ve given us. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, amen!

Devotion written by The Rev. Dr. Gemechis D. Buba

Jeremiah 14 (Listen)

Famine, Sword, and Pestilence

14:1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:

  “Judah mourns,
    and her gates languish;
  her people lament on the ground,
    and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
  Her nobles send their servants for water;
    they come to the cisterns;
  they find no water;
    they return with their vessels empty;
  they are ashamed and confounded
    and cover their heads.
  Because of the ground that is dismayed,
    since there is no rain on the land,
  the farmers are ashamed;
    they cover their heads.
  Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn
    because there is no grass.
  The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights;
    they pant for air like jackals;
  their eyes fail
    because there is no vegetation.
  “Though our iniquities testify against us,
    act, O LORD, for your name’s sake;
  for our backslidings are many;
    we have sinned against you.
  O you hope of Israel,
    its savior in time of trouble,
  why should you be like a stranger in the land,
    like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
  Why should you be like a man confused,
    like a mighty warrior who cannot save?
  Yet you, O LORD, are in the midst of us,
    and we are called by your name;
    do not leave us.”
10   Thus says the LORD concerning this people:
  “They have loved to wander thus;
    they have not restrained their feet;
  therefore the LORD does not accept them;
    now he will remember their iniquity
    and punish their sins.”

11 The LORD said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. 12 Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”

Lying Prophets

13 Then I said: “Ah, Lord GOD, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’” 14 And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. 15 Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. 16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword, with none to bury them—them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them.

17   “You shall say to them this word:
  ‘Let my eyes run down with tears night and day,
    and let them not cease,
  for the virgin daughter of my people is shattered with a great wound,
    with a very grievous blow.
18   If I go out into the field,
    behold, those pierced by the sword!
  And if I enter the city,
    behold, the diseases of famine!
  For both prophet and priest ply their trade through the land
    and have no knowledge.’”
19   Have you utterly rejected Judah?
    Does your soul loathe Zion?
  Why have you struck us down
    so that there is no healing for us?
  We looked for peace, but no good came;
    for a time of healing, but behold, terror.
20   We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD,
    and the iniquity of our fathers,
    for we have sinned against you.
21   Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;
    do not dishonor your glorious throne;
    remember and do not break your covenant with us.
22   Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain?
    Or can the heavens give showers?
  Are you not he, O LORD our God?
    We set our hope on you,
    for you do all these things.

Galatians 4:21–5:1 (Listen)

Example of Hagar and Sarah

21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,

  “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
    break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
  For the children of the desolate one will be more
    than those of the one who has a husband.”

28 Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

Christ Has Set Us Free

5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Mark 8:11–21 (Listen)

The Pharisees Demand a Sign

11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” 13 And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.

The Leaven of the Pharisees and Herod

14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”


Morning Psalms

Psalm 84 (Listen)

My Soul Longs for the Courts of the Lord

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

84:1   How lovely is your dwelling place,
    O LORD of hosts!
  My soul longs, yes, faints
    for the courts of the LORD;
  my heart and flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.
  Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may lay her young,
  at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
    my King and my God.
  Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
    ever singing your praise! Selah
  Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
  As they go through the Valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
  They go from strength to strength;
    each one appears before God in Zion.
  O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
    give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
  Behold our shield, O God;
    look on the face of your anointed!
10   For a day in your courts is better
    than a thousand elsewhere.
  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11   For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
    the LORD bestows favor and honor.
  No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.
12   O LORD of hosts,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you!

Psalm 150 (Listen)

Let Everything Praise the Lord

150:1   Praise the LORD!
  Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens!
  Praise him for his mighty deeds;
    praise him according to his excellent greatness!
  Praise him with trumpet sound;
    praise him with lute and harp!
  Praise him with tambourine and dance;
    praise him with strings and pipe!
  Praise him with sounding cymbals;
    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
  Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
  Praise the LORD!


Evening Psalms

“St. Joseph, Husband of Mary and Guardian of Our Lord”

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After several challenging years in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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