Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Peter & Paul, Apostles

Merciful and eternal God, Your holy apostles Peter and Paul received grace and strength to lay down their lives for the sake of Your Son. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that we may confess Your truth and at all times be ready to lay down our lives for Him who laid down His life for us, even Jesus Christ, our lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Almighty God You upheld Your servant Irenaeus, giving him strength to confess the truth against every blast of vain doctrine. By Your mercy, keep us steadfast in the true faith, that in constancy we may walk in peace on the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Commemoration of Cyril of Alexandria,

Heavenly Father, You used Your servant Cyril to confess the mysteries of the Holy Trinity and of Your Son being one person with fully divine and human natures. Grant that we, also, might be constant in Your Word, bold in Your confession, and steadfast in Your worship, to the glory of Your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. -- Collect for Cyril of Alexandria.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Time in the Word - Pentecost 7 - Proper 9

Pentecost 7 – Proper 9
The Lord Grants Peace and Life to His Church
June 27 –July 2, 2016

The Lord restores Jerusalem, His Church, because she is the mother of His children, whom He comforts “as one whom his mother comforts” (Is. 66:13). We are “satisfied from her consoling breast” with the pure milk of the Word, and we “drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance” (Is. 66:11). The messengers of Christ bestow such gifts upon His Church. For He sends them out “as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3), bearing in their bodies the sacrifice of His cross, by which “the kingdom of God has come near” (Luke 10:9, 11). Wherever He enters in with this Gospel, Satan is cast out and falls “like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). Thus, we do not “boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14). Rejoicing in this Gospel, we “bear one another’s burdens” in love, according to “the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).

 Collect for the Sixth Sunday of PentecostAlmighty God, You have built Your Church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. Continue to send Your messengers to preserve Your people in true peace that, by the preaching of Your Word, Your Church may be kept free from all harm and danger; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for Psalm 16Lord God our Father, keep safe Your servant on the path of eternal life, for You alone are my refuge. When my last hour comes, may my body rest secure in the promise of the Lord's resurrection; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for pastors and their peopleAlmighty God, by Your Son, our Savior, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful shepherds to guide and feed Your flock. Therefore we pray, make all pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and to administer Your means of grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for increase of the holy ministryAlmighty and gracious God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, You have commanded us to pray that You would send forth laborers into Your harvest. Of Your infinite mercy give us true teachers and ministers of Your Word who truly fulfill Your command and preach nothing contrary to Your holy Word. Grant that we, being warned, instructed, nurtured, comforted, and strengthened by Your holy Word, may do those things which are well pleasing to You and profitable for our salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 27 June 2016 Psalm 19:2, 4–6; antiphon, Psalm 19:1—Many of the psalms praise the Lord for His deliverance from enemies, both mortal and spiritual. Psalm 19 is a hymn of praise to God because of the majesty and glory that are His by His very nature. The glory of God is revealed by the entire creation. Those who attribute the earth and the cosmos to mere happenstance are only deceiving themselves.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 Psalm 66:1–7—Psalm 66 calls upon all peoples of the earth to join in with God’s chosen people, Israel, in praising Him. His deliverance of His people from bondage in Egypt and the threat of Pharaoh and his army at the Red Sea is specifically recounted, but all of God’s deliverances of all His people are to be included, especially the deliverance of mankind from the bondage of sin, and the threat of death.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016 Isaiah 66:10–14—Those who remained faithful to the Lord during the days when Isaiah prophesied in Judah had reason to mourn over Jerusalem: hypocrisy, unbelief, and idolatry were common among the people. Likewise, through the ages, including our own, God’s faithful people have reason to mourn when they see the condition of the visible Church: rejection of the authority of the Word of God, acceptance of sins, rather than forgiveness of sins, being preached, and so on. Yet, we know that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Lord’s Church (Matthew 16:18), so we can rejoice. We can rejoice, for the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ provides nourishment, comfort, and abundance for our souls. As a mother nurses her child, so we are nursed by the Holy Word of God.

Thursday, 30 June 2016 Galatians 6:1–10, 14–18—This Sunday, we shall celebrate our nation’s independence. Our political liberty and freedom is a gift from God. Yet, in the Church, we are not independent. We are member of one body, the mystical body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). As such, we are not to live our lives for ourselves independent of others, but are to bear one another’s burdens. The strong Christians are to help the weak.
St Paul urges us, let us not grow weary of doing good, for we are a new creation in Christ, and, as such, our wills are conformed to God’s will, which desires what is best for all people.

Friday, 1 July 2016 Luke 10:1–20—Our Lord desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). But how are people to believe in Jesus Christ, if they have not hear of Him, if they have not had the Gospel proclaimed to them? (Romans 10:14) In our Gospel reading for Sunday, we hear how Jesus sent out 72 men to proclaim the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus. Likewise, He still call pastors to labor in His harvest fields. As in the days of Christ, their labor is met by different responses: some people are eager to hear of the forgiveness of sins wrought by Christ’s death on the cross, whilst others reject it. The Day of Judgement will be a horrifying one for those who have refused the forgiveness Christ offers, but a glorious one for us who are in Christ, who gratefully receive His gift of salvation.

Saturday, 2 July 2016— Sunday’s Hymn of the Day, Jesus Has Come and Brings Pleasure Eternal(LSB #533), is a majestic hymn of praise to Jesus. It proclaims Jesus as God in the flesh, as our great Deliverer, Redeemer, and the King of all glory.

Prayer for the nationAlmighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember Your generosity and constantly do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Grant that we, who came from many nations with many different languages, may become a united people. Support us in defending our liberties, and give those to whom we have entrusted the authority of government the spirit of wisdom, that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, may our hearts be thankful, and in troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Luther’s Seals © Higher Things

Commemoration of Jeremiah

Lord it is not for them to direct their steps. Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure—not in your anger, or you will reduce me to nothing. Jeremiah 10 23-24

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Pentecost 6 - Proper 8

Proper 8
26 June 2016
Luke 9:51–62
Christ’s Messengers Proclaim His Kingdom

Lord of all power and might, Author and Giver of all good things, graft into our hearts the love of Your name and nourish us with all goodness that we may love and serve our neighbor; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

In Luke 9:51, the whole tenor and tone of Luke’s gospel changes. Jesus sets His face. To go to Jerusalem. Meaning unwavering determination. Now the focus is on the cross. Where He will redeem humankind. From the clutches of Satan. From bondage to the Law. From everlasting death. 

Our eyes, too, must ever be focused on the cross of Christ.  It is there alone that we are able to find true freedom. If we are going to faithful to the Lord, as was Elijah, they must always proclaim Christ - Crucified as a sacrifice on your behalf.  He has “set his face” toward THE CROSS.

The words of Christ in today’s Gospel are difficult. And deliberate. These words of Jesus are not rainbows and butterflies.  He speaks of the demands of discipleship. Following Christ requires discipline. Many would not mind being a Christ follower if it did not cost anything in the way of personal hardship and sacrifice. The Savior confronts us. With the truth of the high cost of being one of His followers. He turns away several who want the honor and the prestige of following Christ without fulfilling its demands. This morning we consider what Christ requires of His followers.

1. There is no money in it! As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. [Luke 9:57-58] You won’t get rich by becoming a follower of Christ. A Christian does not make money the goal of his life. If he has money, his love for Christ will cause him to share it.
This raises a question. It’s easy to talk about modern sects who get amazing amounts of money to buy hotels, banks, and estates. It’s easy to single out radio and television evangelists living in luxury. But what about you? Look at the ledger of your checkbook. It shows the priorities in your life.

It’s a window to your soul. It shows what drives you. Where is your first love?

2. There is urgency about it! He said to another man, "Follow me." [Luke 9:59] Being a Christ follower. Being a disciple. Demands an immediate response. διάγγελλε, Keep proclaiming. On every side. The Kingdom of God. That. Is your only business. Everything else. Must be sacrificed. Seek first the kingdom.

Not even something as important as arranging and attending a family funeral should keep you from responding. Let someone else attend the funeral. The Kingdom cannot wait until you fulfill lesser responsibilities. And that is Jesus’ point. Were it up to us to achieve our place in the Kingdom we would never make it. Thankfully, Jesus invites us by grace. He makes it possible for us to become members of His eternal communion.

3. There is a singleness of purpose. Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." [Luke 9:61-62] No one who plays looks back. The eye is on the goal ahead. You cannot go back to say “goodbye” to your family.

A disciple is likened to St. Paul who said “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind…” A follower of Christ has a one- track mind. One purpose in life. One task. One devotion: Jesus Christ.

4. For what are you living? Some today lack a purpose in life. They are committed to no one, nor to anything. This results in double-mindedness, shiftlessness, drifting here and there, inconstancy. They have not made up their minds what they are to do with their lives. A genuine Christian is not one of these. He follows the example of Christ. He knows who he is for he knows whose he is. He knows where he is going, what he is to do, and why he is doing it. Here we see Jesus’ total commitment to the Father’s call to be the Messiah. This requires His total interest, effort, and sacrifice. What Jesus does in terms of commitment He expects of his own. There are many forces at work calling for our attention. Yet our chief focus needs to be totally committed to Christ.
In many respects, this may be called commitment Sunday. As Elijah is committed to the tasks God gave him.

Elisha is committed to the call to serve as Elijah’s successor. Paul is committed to a life lived by the Spirit of God. The Savior is committed to go to Jerusalem to fulfill His destiny as the Messiah.

Thus, He calls you to total commitment of anyone who desires to follow Him. Remain committed to Christ as He is committed to you.

Words- 911
Passive Sentences –4
Readability –78%
Reading Level –4.7

 Image by Ed Riojas © Higher Things for personal and congregational 

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Nativity of John the Baptist

Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation. Now grant that we may know this salvation and serve you in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, now and forever.