James 1:1 (ESV)
a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:
Verse 1 tells us that the author is James, and this is the brother of Jesus. It is a book written to remind us (Christians) how to live. It is a book of action that is often misunderstood. After the death,
resurrection, and ascension of Jesus into heaven, Christianity quickly becomes illegal and the Christians are on the run. The “Dispersion” is this period where (Christian) Jews are scattered throughout the Mediterranean world. This
is a time of persecution and being on the run.
I pray: O Lord, we are moving back into a time of persecution. Help us to stand our ground and to
share Jesus all the more. Protect us and guide us. Amen.
Hebrews 13:22–25 (ESV)
appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23 You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon. 24 Greet
all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings. 25 Grace be with all of you.
sets forth God’s grace in Christ, earned on the cross, ratified in the new covenant, and distributed in Word and Sacrament. By holding fast to the teaching of this sermon and by receiving God’s grace through faith, we have fellowship with the writer
of Hebrews and all the saints and look forward to our inheritance with them in heaven.
I pray: Grant us grace,
O Lord, to bear all the crosses of this life. Bring us, with all the saints, into the heavenly city. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20–21 (ESV)
may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working
in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
We should pray for ourselves and others that God
would equip us for all good works to do His will. By His blood, shed on the cross, Jesus our Shepherd redeemed us and made us well-pleasing to His Father.
I pray: O God, through the blood of Christ’s covenant make us complete in Your sight, and cause us to do Your will. Amen.
Sacrifices Pleasing to God
your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. 18 Pray for us, for we
are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. 19 I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. 
To summarize all of chapter 13, The Lutheran Study Bible states: “Instead of sacrificing bulls and goats, we should offer up true speech about God to praise Him and
do good works to serve our neighbor. These sacrifices please God when they come from hearts trusting in Christ. To obtain pure hearts, Christ sacrificed Himself on the cross.”
I pray: O Lord, open the mouths of Your humble servants to speak Your praise so that leaving behind all error, we may rejoice in the confession of Your name. Amen.
Hebrews 13:7–16 (ESV)
Sacrifices Pleasing to God
7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.
Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it
is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11 For
the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through
his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through
him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
There is a gem of a verse hidden in today’s reading: “8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” For all those who say the Bible changes over time … and times
have changed, God doesn’t change. I hear people that say that God has spoken to them or revealed to them what is right… yet their interpretation goes against God’s Word. NO! God doesn’t change, and his Word endures
forever. These people often say that they believe the Bible IS God’s Word and that it is inerrant and infallible. Then why are you changing it? Stick to God’s Word! In the news this week, the Episcopal Church is discussing
changing the Bible to be gender neutral. Really? Then you are saying the Bible is errant and fallible.
I pray: O Lord, help me to keep your Word as it is written and not change it… but let it change me.