The Tenth Sunday after Trinity     August 13, 2023   

The Twelfth Sunday of the Pentecost Season



Faithfully Dealing with Discouragement


            One day in hell the Devil decided to have a rummage sale.   He put out all of  his demonic tools for sale to whomever would pay his price. On the night of the sale they were all attractively displayed,—and a bad looking set of tools they were:   Malice, Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Sensuality, Deceit and many other implements of evil were spread out, each marked with its price.   Separated from the rest of the tools lay a harmless looking wedge-shaped tool, very worn and priced much higher than any of the others. Someone asked the devil what it was.

“Oh, that’s Discouragement,” was the reply.

“Why do you have it priced so high?”

“Because,” replied Satan, “it is more useful to me than any of the  others. I can pry open and get inside a

 man’s consciousness with that, when I could not get near him with any of my other tools. Then once inside, I can manipulate him in whatever direction suits me best.  It’s well-worn because I use it with nearly everyone, since very few people have any idea that it belongs to me.”

The devil’s price for discouragement was so high that it was  never sold.  He’s still using it today , in fact – and

 quite effectively… each of us knows – sadly – all too well.

            Did you ever notice that when our Lord in Luke 5:1-11 told the discouraged fishermen to cast their nets again, it was right in the same old place where they had just caught nothing?  Sometimes we think, when we’re discouraged…..”if only I could go away somewhere else.   Then maybe things would be easier and better for me..”  If we could be somebody else, or go somewhere else, or do something else, it might not be easier to have fresh faith and courage.   But God gives the same old net in the same old pond to most of us.   Perhaps that’s because the old temptations with which we struggle are the most important ones that we need to learn to overcome.   It’s our old faults and failings that need to be conquered first.    And so those old trials and discouragements before which we failed yesterday….well, we get to face them again today.   We must learn to better deal with the same, old, unique difficulties and difficult people that are part of our everyday lives.   How?   With the daily guidance of God’s Word;  through prayer;   with the strength of faith in Him that the Lord provides through His Holy Spirit:    by resolving to live more righteously;   by surrounding ourselves with godly people to encourage or correct us, as needed;   in testifying to others about how God is working in our lives to bless us (this encourages them and makes us more accountable);   and by being grateful for whatever circumstances God, in His wisdom and love, chooses to give us.

            Today, through the inspired and inspiring Word of our Lord, your attention and mine will focus on the burden of discouragement, which – when we succumb to it – is a sin that can be harmful to us physically and emotionally – but especially, Spiritually.  We’ll see how other believers dealt with the discouragement, as God enabled them both to face it (for their Spiritual growth) and to successfully deal with it (for His glory and their blessing).  

            Our Psalm reading is very familiar to us, since Psalm 32 is one of the best known chapters of the book of Psalms.   Traditionally, this is one of Scripture’s  “Penitential” Psalms (along with Psalms 6, 38, 51, 102, 130 and 143).    By custom, we often read these Psalms during our midweek Lenten season worship services.    Parts of Psalms 51 (“Create in me a clean heart, O God”…) and our Psalm for today (“‘I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin”) are used in our traditional worship orders/liturgies.  Our Psalm was written by David under God’s inspiration following his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, David’s murder of her husband to cover up his own sin, and – finally – David’s confession of his sin….after which the prophet Nathan assured David of God’s forgiveness.   Subsequently, David wrote this Psalm in which he reflects on the burden of his sin, and on the blessing of God’s gracious forgiveness and restoration.

            Today’s Old Testament Lesson comes to us from the first chapter of the book of Joshua.   In the final chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses dies without being able to lead the Israelites across the Jordan and into the Promised Land.  As a result, the nation is facing the future without its trusted leader of 40 years.   The mantle of leadership had fallen to Joshua, Moses’ able assistant.   But being an assistant is far different from being the man “in charge” of in excess of 2 million people.   The responsibility was daunting, and clearly Joshua was apprehensive.   So the LORD, in His grace, comes to Joshua and assures him that He will be with him, keeping – through Joshua – all the promises that He had made to Israel under Moses.    The LORD also encourages Joshua to remain faithful to His commandments, and to daily meditate on His Word, with the promise that such faithfulness will be blessed by Him.

            Today’s Children’s Lesson is an “encouraging word” for every young person – in fact, for every “child” of God… matter how old we are.    We look into the future every day, not knowing what this day, or tomorrow, or days beyond that will bring.   Occasionally, we also find ourselves in difficult and discouraging situations where we have little, if any, control to make matters better.   That’s why it’s so important for us to remember that not only is our God “Almighty” (has power over everything), but He loves every one of us.   His will is always to do that which is best for us, not necessarily from an earthly perspective, but for the eternal salvation of our souls.   God’s perfect plan to accomplish our salvation led Him to send His Son, Jesus, to earth to earn our redemption….and He sent His Spirit into our hearts enabling us to believe this Good News.   That’s why, we never need be discouraged – ever!   Our God is in control, and He has a perfect plan for the lives of every one of us.

            In our Epistle Lesson Paul speaks about a tremendous blessing God gave Him…the blessing of being able to get a “glimpse” of heaven.   That’s the kind of privilege that can go to a man’s head and result in conceit.   To protect Paul from that, the Lord gave him a special gift:   a “thorn in the flesh” (as Paul described it) that made his life and ministry very difficult.   Paul prayed multiple times to the Lord that this “thorn” might be removed frm his life.   God’s answer, simply, was “No.”  The “thorn” was going to stay….because the Lord was using it to keep Paul humble AND dependent on His God for daily strength and support.    Eventually, Paul “got” that lesson… the point that He rejoiced and thanked God for his “thorn.”   Has your faith matured to the point where you, too, are able to thank God for the burdens He gives you…..burdens that grow your faith?

            Our Gospel Lesson is a portion of some of Jesus last words to His disciples before He was taken captive by the Jews.   What we’ll be reading was first spoken by Christ in the upper room on Maundy Thursday evening.    He told them that He was going to be leaving them to be with His Father again, but that He would not leave them alone;   He would send the Holy Spirit to them.   But before that occured, they would have to go through a very troubling and discouraging period…..His capture, crucifixion, and death.   Jesus said they would “weep, while the world rejoices,” but God would use that challenge to grow their faith.   Finally He gave them (and us) another reason not to ever be discouraged:    He was going to defeat the Devil, death, and sin at the cross and open grave……In fact, He has overcome the world, so why should any one of His followers (us, included) ever be discouraged?   We are all “winners” and “victors” through Christ, our Savior.”

            Finally, in today’s Sermon, we’ll be continuing our study of the life of Joseph, the patriarch.    At the point where our sermon begins, Joseph has been sold into slavery by his jealous brothers.  He was subsequently purchased as his by an important Egyptian official named Potiphar, in whose employ he rose to the position of head administrator in his master’s household.    As we saw last week, Potiphar’s wife repeated attempted to seduce Joseph, but he repeatedly rejected her offers until finally she falsely accused Joseph of attempting to seduce and rape her.   That brings us to today’s sermon text, which is the end of Genesis 39 and all of chapter 40.   Joseph, though innocent of any wrong-doing, has been thrown into prison by Potiphar, but – as was the case in Potiphar’s house, so also in prison – the LORD is with Joseph and causes him to proper.   In no time at all Joseph becomes the head trustee of the prison.   In that capacity, he meets two former servants of the Pharoah, who had been imprisoned by him.   Each has a disturbing dream that Joseph offers to interpret with the wisdom God has given him.    Joseph says the Pharaoh’s cupbearer’s dream indicates he will be restored to his former position three days, while the baker’s dream indicates that in three days he will be hung…and so it happened.   All Joseph asked as that the cupbearer, in gratitude, would seek justice for Joseph from the Pharaoh.  Of course, the cupbearer forgot to do that…for more than two more years.  In our sermon, we’ll talk about how Joseph had to deal with yet another disappointment…..and he did, relying on his faith that God was still in control and that He had a plan to bless Joseph, even though Joseph had no idea what that plan was.   Likewise, God has unrevealed plans for us to bless us, even in the disappointments that we endure in life.




The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,    The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831



Pre-service Silent Prayer      

Lord, open now my heart to hear    And through Your Word to me, draw

Let me Your Word e’er pure retain.  Let me Your child and heir remain.

Your Word does deeply move the heart,    Your  Word does perfect health impart,

Your Word my soul with joy does bless,     Your Word brings peace and happiness.  Amen.



Silent Prayer                                                                                                                            Pre-service music


We Praise Our God


The Introduction and Invitation to Worship


after which the Congregation will rise for


The Invocation


Leader           We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.”


Our Psalm Reading for Today                                                                                                   Psalm 32


L:         Blessed is the person whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

C:        How blessed is the person whose guilt the LORD does not charge against him, in whose spirit there is no deceit.


L:         When I kept silent, my bones wasted away as I groaned all day long. 


  • For day and night Your hand was heavy on me; my moisture was dried up as by the droughts of summer.


L:         I acknowledged my sin to You and I did not cover up my guilt.



  • I said, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD”– and You forgave the guilt of my sin.



L          Because of this, let everyone who receives favor pray to You at a time when You may be found;   surely when the mighty waters overflow, they will not reach him.



  • You are my hiding place; You will protect me from distress.   You surround me with shouts of deliverance.                                



L          I will make you wise.  I will instruct you in the way that you should go;   Will will guide you, keeping my eye on you.



  • Do not be like a horse or a mule, which has no understanding. It’s mouth must be controlled by a bit and bridle, or else it will not come to you.




L:         Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but mercy will surround those who trust in the LORD.

C:        Rejoice in the LORD and celebrate, all you righteous; and shout joyfully, all you upright in heart!

The Congregation will then be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                       Hymn 256   “How Great Thou Art”





After which, the Congregation will rise as



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Leader             God, our Heavenly Father, invites us to come into His presence and to worship Him with humble and

                        penitent hearts.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness for all our sins.


Congregation          Holy and merciful Father, +   I confess that I am by nature sinful   +   and that

 I have disobeyed You in my thoughts, words, and actions;    +    I have done what is evil in Your sight   +   and have failed to do what is good.   +    For this I know that I deserve Your punishment,   +    both now and for eternity.     +     But I am truly sorry for all my sins,     +   and trusting in the perfect life   +   and innocent death of my Savior, Jesus Christ, +   I plead:    +  God have mercy on me, a sinner.


Leader             Our gracious Lord and Master has shown us His mercy:   He has given His one and only Son to save  us from all  our sins.     And now, under His command and authority,   I forgive you all your sins   in

 the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.   


Congregation   Amen.



Lord Have Mercy


L:        For all that we need in life, and for the wisdom to use all Your         gifts with gratitude and joy, hear our prayer, O Lord.


C:        (sung)   Lord have mercy


L:        For the steadfast assurance that nothing can separate us from         Your love and for the courage to stand firm against the assaults of Satan and every evil, hear our prayer, O Christ:


C:          (Sung)   Christ have mercy.


L:         For the well-being of Your holy Church in all the world and for those who offer here their worship and praise, hear our prayer, O Lord


C:         (Sung)    Lord have mercy.


L:        Merciful God, Maker and Preserver of life, uphold us by Your          power, and keep us in Your tender care:


C:        (sung)   Amen.


L:        The works of the Lord are great and glorious;   His name is worthy of praise.


 O Lord, our Lord,

How glorious is Your name in all the earth.

Almighty God, merciful Father,

Your crown our life with Your love.

You take away our sin;    You comfort our spirit;

You make us pure and holy in Your sight.

You did not spare Your only Son,

but gave Him up for us all.

O Lord, our Lord,

 How glorious is Your name in all the earth.

O Son of God, eternal Word of the Father,

You came to live with us;

  You made Your Father known;

You washed us from our sins in Your own blood.

You are the King of glory;   You are the Lord!

O Lord, our Lord, How glorious is Your name in all the earth



Today’s Early Prayer


Almighty God, Heavenly Father,   +   We humbly ask that You would send Your Holy Spirit into our hearts.   +   Let Him so rule and direct us according to Your will,   +   that we will be comforted in all our temptations and afflictions,   +   steadfast in the face of all error,  +   and committed to every truth from Your Holy Word.    +   Through that same Holy Spirit,   +   empower and strengthen our faith in You,  +    so that we might grow in our love for You and others,   +   and that we might live in a more godly and productive way for You.   +   And finally, when our last day on this earth comes,   + grant that we will leave in faith,   +   and thus receive Your gracious promise of everlasting life in heaven.  + We ask all of this  +  in the name and for the sake   +  of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Savior,   +   Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit,   +   as the one, true God,   +   now and forever.  +  Amen.



We Listen to the Word of God


The First Lesson                                                                                                                     Joshua 1:1-9


This is what happened after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord.

            The Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, the attendant of Moses, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. So prepare to cross the Jordan River that lies in front of you. You and all this people, prepare to go into the land that I am about to give to the people of Israel. 3 I have given you every place where the sole of your foot has stepped, just as I promised Moses. 4 From the Wilderness and from Lebanon to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the land of the Hittites—as far as the Mediterranean Sea, where the sun sets, this will be your territory. 5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, I will be with you. I will not abandon you, and I will not forsake you.

            6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will divide this land among these people, this land which I swore to their fathers that I would give to this people. 7 Just be strong and very courageous. Be careful to act according to the entire Law which my servant Moses commanded for you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may succeed wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law must never depart from your mouth, and you are to meditate on it day and night, so that you will act faithfully according to everything written in it, because then you will prosper in everything you do, and you will succeed. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified and do not be overwhelmed, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”



The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                      Jeremiah 29:11


11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to give you peace, not disaster, plans to give you hope and a future


It’s Enough for us to Know that

God has planned our Future



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                II Corinthians 12:1-10


            I must go on boasting, although there is nothing to be gained. So I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago, was carried up to the third heaven (whether in the body, I do not know, or out of the body, I do not know—God knows). 3 And I know that such a man (whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know—God knows) 4 was carried up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words that a man cannot possibly speak. 5 On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except about my weaknesses. 6 Indeed, if I wanted to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain from doing this, so that no one will think more highly of me than what he sees in me or hears from me.

            7 Therefore, to keep me from becoming arrogant due to the extraordinary nature of these revelations, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me, so that I would not become arrogant. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that he would take it away from me. 9 And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, because my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will be glad to boast all the more in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may shelter me.

            10 That is why I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For whenever I am weak, then am I strong.


After which the Congregation will please rise,

out of respect for the words of Christ


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                               John 16:16-33


16 “In a little while you are not going to see me anymore, and again in a little while you will see me, because I

 am going away to the Father.”

            17 Therefore some of his disciples asked one another, “What does he mean when he tells us, ‘In a little while you are not going to see me, and again in a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going away to the Father’?” 18 So they kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he’s saying.”

            19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you trying to determine with one another what I meant by saying, ‘In a little while you are not going to see me, and again in a little while you will see me’? 20 Amen, Amen, I tell you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth has pain, because her time has come. But when she has delivered the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, because of her joy that a person has been born into the world.

            22 “So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. 23 In that day you will not ask me anything. Amen, Amen, I tell you: Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask, and you will receive, so that your joy may be made complete.

            25 “I have told you these things using figurative language. A time is coming when I will no longer speak to you using figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I am not telling you that I will make requests of the Father on your behalf. 27 For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world. Now I am going to leave the world and go to the Father.”

            29 “Yes!” his disciples said. “Now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative language. 30 Now we know that you know everything and do not need to have anyone ask you anything. For this reason we believe that you came from God.”

            31 Jesus answered them, “Now do you believe? 32 Listen, a time is coming, in fact it is here, when you will be scattered, everyone to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not going to be alone, because the Father is with me. 33 I have told you these things, so that you may have peace in me. In this world you are going to have trouble. But be courageous! I have overcome the world.”



The Apostles’ Creed                                                                                                                                      


I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;   Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;   Born of the Virgin Mary;  Suffered under Pontius Pilate;   Was crucified, dead and buried;   He descended into hell;   The third day He rose again from the dead;   He ascended into heaven And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;   From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Ghost;   The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints;  The forgiveness of sins;   The resurrection of the body;    And the life everlasting.  Amen.


After which the Congregation will be seated for


The Sermon Hymn                                                                                Hymn 429     “What God Ordains Is Always Good”



after which the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for


The Greeting


Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge

of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.


Sermon Text                                                                                                             Genesis 39:20-40:23


20 Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were confined, so Joseph

was kept in prison there.   21 But the Lord was with Joseph. He showed mercy to him and gave him favor in the sight of the warden of the prison. 22 The warden of the prison made Joseph responsible for all the prisoners who were in the prison. Joseph was responsible for whatever they did there. 23 The warden of the prison did not pay attention to anything that was under his authority, because the Lord was with Joseph, and the Lord made everything that he did succeed.

            40:1      Sometime after this, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt committed an offense against their lord, the king of Egypt. 2 Pharaoh was angry with his two officers, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. 3 He put them under custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the prison, the place where Joseph was confined. 4 The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he was responsible for them. They stayed in prison for some time.   5 While they were confined in the prison, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt each had a dream. Each man had his own dream during the same night. Each man’s dream had its own meaning. 6 Joseph came to them in the morning, looked at them, and saw that they were troubled. 7 He asked Pharaoh’s officers who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so troubled today?”

            8 They said to him, “We each had a dream, but there is no one who can interpret it.”

            Joseph said to them, “Interpretations belong to God, don’t they? Please tell me the dreams.”

            9 The chief cupbearer told Joseph his dream. “In my dream, there was a vine in front of me, 10 and the vine had three branches. As I watched, it budded, it blossomed, and its clusters produced ripe grapes. 11 I had Pharaoh’s cup in my hand. I took the grapes, pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and handed the cup to Pharaoh.”

            12 Joseph said to him, “This is its interpretation: The three branches are three days. 13 Within three days, Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office. You will place Pharaoh’s cup into his hand, the way you used to do when you were his cupbearer. 14 But remember me when everything is going well for you. Please show kindness to me, and mention me to Pharaoh, and bring me out of this jail, 15 because I was kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and I also have done nothing here to deserve to be put into the dungeon.”

            16 When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph, “I also had a dream. I saw three baskets of white bread on my head. 17 In the top basket there were all kinds of baked goods for Pharaoh, but the birds ate them out of the basket on my head.”

            18 Joseph answered, “This is its interpretation: The three baskets are three days. 19 Within three days, Pharaoh will lift up your head from upon you and will hang you on a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh off of you.”

            20 And so it was that on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, Pharaoh had a feast prepared for all his officials, and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his officials. 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position again, and he again placed the cup into Pharaoh’s hand. 22 But he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had explained to them. 23 Nevertheless, the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.


Joseph Faithfully Deals With Discouragement


after the Sermon, the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for



The Post-Sermon Blessing


May the God of peace, Who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, now equip you with everything good for doing His will!   Amen.



We Offer Our Gifts to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.

   However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash) to the church address:   (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can donate on our website:

Lord, Receive our Prayers


Today’s Prayer


Included in our prayers is a Prayer of Thanksgiving for

Laura and George Layton, whose anniversary is tomorrow


The Lord’s Prayer 


Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Kingdom come;  Thy will be done    on earth as it is in heaven;    Give us this day our daily bread;   And forgive us our trespasses,    as we forgive those who trespass against us;     And lead us not into temptation;     But deliver us from evil;  For Thine is the kingdom,  and the power,  and the glory,   forever and ever.  Amen.



We Leave with the Lord’s Blessing


The Benediction


P:         Brothers and sisters, go in peace.   Live in harmony with one another.   Serve the Lord in gladness.

The Lord bless you and keep you

The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

The Lord look upon you with favor, and grant you His peace.   


C:        (sung)                       Amen.   Amen.  Amen.



The Closing Hymn                                             Hymn 439    “Lord, Take My Hand and Lead Me”


Announcements, Silent Prayer