The Word Gives Light 

SUNDAY, August 6
Tenth Sunday After Pentecost
Psalm 119:129-136

Consider the psalmist’s prayer for help during many adversities. He asks God to intervene actively against those who would do the psalmist dirty. They seek to keep him from doing what he wants to do, which is follow the commands of God. He asks for God’s divine intervention so he could keep on keeping on with following the covenantal promise. He “illuminates” the point—God’s Word provides the basis of wisdom and meaning for all who engage it.

This section closes with the psalmist’s request to be taught the right way to live. We echo that focus with lives dedicated to God’s directives on how we are to live. There is no confusion here. God’s way needs to be our way as well.

God, shine the light of your word on our path so we can see a way clear to love you and serve our neighbor in all we do. AMEN.


A Discerning Heart

MONDAY, August 7
1 Kings 3:5-17

Imagine being the one given the chance to answer God’s question put to Solomon: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (v. 5, NIV). What would you say? I wonder how long it would take me to answer that!

Solomon could have asked for anything. He chose, however, to ask God for a “discerning heart” (v. 9), so that he could govern well and distinguish between right and wrong. We know the rest of the story: God was so taken by this simple request he gave it to him and added lots more.

I am more impressed by Solomon’s clarity in his request than I am by all his wisdom. Solomon needed help. He knew that. He asked for it, and he received it. That kind of focused thinking in the face of such an open invitation from God is incredible. 

Creator God, hear our prayer. Help us share our hearts with you. AMEN.

Small Talk

TUESDAY, August 8
Matthew 13:31-34

In a world that focuses on “super-sizing,” it is unusual to hear small talk. Matthew points out that Jesus’s talk about the kingdom is forthright and to the point. The problem is the disciples did not always get the point. They often missed things due, in part, to their lack of conceptual strength for such talk. 

Jesus told the parable of the mustard seed, not so much to be a first adopter of the phrase “good things come in small packages.” He might have mentioned this so his disciples would not measure according to the standards of the world. They knew that the smallest seed would develop into a robust plant. The kingdom of God, manifest in their midst, would do the same.

Let us not underestimate God’s plan due to size. What may seem tiny in your life at this moment may continue to grow in ways you did not expect.

God, use us to further the growth of your kingdom! AMEN.


The Real Value of the Kingdom

Matthew 13:44-46

The two parables in this passage point to the kingdom of heaven. In one, Jesus compares it to a treasure that renders the finder overcome by the need to do whatever he can to possess the treasure. In the second, the flawless pearl, a finding of great importance and just as costly, leaves the jewel merchant to pay the price quickly and happily.

Possessing the kingdom is so valuable, so necessary, that we must do everything in our power to possess it. We will not quit until we make it ours. 

As listeners of our Lord’s story, we realize this kingdom is readily available to those who would give up everything to get it. We also realize not everyone will pay that kind of price tag. Yet the incomparable worth begs a question: Are we ready to invest it all for a treasure of eternal consequences, or are earthly treasures enough? 

Lord, help us discern the real worth of the things we hold dear. AMEN.

Children of the Promise

THURSDAY, August 10
Romans 9:1-8

Paul shares his pain here. God gave Israel all the tools they needed to live in conformity to his purpose, while they did everything but that. Paul would have gladly exchanged himself for their lack of performance. 

The apostle reminds us it is not God’s Word that is weak or somehow unable to make things right. It was Israel’s historic rejection of life within the promise that God gave to them. The promise, Paul contends, was not up to humanity’s directing or ultimate rejection. It would find a way. 

As a child of that promise, do I take every opportunity to use my time, energy, wealth, comfort, even safety to share the news of that promise with others? Do I follow that promise each day, or do I let it slide and allow other things to become more important? 

Jesus, keep me close as I walk with you. AMEN.


In Judgement and in Mercy

FRIDAY, August 11
Romans 9:19-26

Paul wrangles with the church in Rome over the questions he addresses in this passage. Is God allowed to do what God wants to do? Who around here has the “stuff” to stand up and advise God on how to be God? 

Historical acts that paint God into the proverbial corner might be the reasoning behind such deceptive thinking. For example, why is Pharaoh judged so harshly when God is the one who hardened his heart (Exodus 4:21)? 

Paul reminds the Israelites—and us—that we need to exercise caution in applying what we might consider human value judgments to God. Can God not still choose to be God in both applying judgment and mercy as well, at his choosing? Let us let God be God! 

God, forgive us for our insistence on putting you in our mental “box.” Show us a better way! AMEN.

A Good Family Life

SATURDAY, August 12
Psalm 128

In six short verses, the psalmist lays out the case for living a godly life. Those “who walk in obedience to him” (v. 1) will reap the blessings God has in store for his people. God will be with them, strengthening their home life and even blessing them across generations because they followed his guidance.

While not mentioned, one can almost feel the love God will invest back into his people who are faithful. Their reward for that faithful walk would be a good family life. 

In our broken world these days, this might sound like a pipe dream. It might seem to the uninitiated an impossibility. But God will act on his promise. It becomes a good place to start if we find ourselves broken. Prayer can lead us back to that path. 

God, keep our families close, and strengthen us all with your love in our daily lives. AMEN.



  • Jonathan Kosec

    I have served churches in eight states and now have the pleasure of being the lead pastor of the Evangelical Covenant Church Bay Indies in Venice, Florida. My wife, Cheryl, and I enjoy our spirited group of members and friends who make up our Sunday gatherings as we work toward our continued community healing after the effects of Hurricane Ian and the fire that destroyed the building where we worship last spring. In years past, I have served federal, state, county, and city law enforcement organizations as both a teacher in their academies and chaplain to their departments. I served at the rank of captain in the fire service as an officer, EMT, and chaplain and was a team leader in a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing team in Illinois. Cheryl and I have two exceptional sons and their wives, as well as three incredible grandchildren. I write for a variety of publications in South Florida as a freelance writer and photographer.

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