Friday, August 28, 2015

Augustine

A prayer adapted from a benediction by which Augustine ended at least two of his sermons...


We turn to You, the Lord our God and as best as we can give we give You thanks. We beseech You that in Your goodness You will hear our prayers and by Your power drive evil from our thoughts and actions, increase our faith, guide our minds, grant us Your holy inspiration and bring us to joy without end through Your Son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Monica, Mother of Augustine


O Lord, You strengthened Your patient servant Monica through spiritual discipline to persevere in offering her love, her prayers, and her tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine, their son. Deepen our devotion to bring others, even our own family, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, who with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bartholomew

Almighty God, Your Son Jesus Christ chose Bartholomew to be an apostle and to proclaim the blessed Gospel. Grant that Your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Time in the Word Pentecost 14- Proper 17


Time in the Word
24-29 August 2015

Preparation for next week, The 14th Sunday after Pentecost


The theme for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost is Faith in Action. The Pharisees of Christ’s day adhered strictly to the dietary restrictions laid down by God in His Law. They even extended them. However, they believed that this strict outward fulfillment would save them. They gave little thought to the condition of their hearts, for even as they were outwardly pious in following the letter of the Law, inwardly, they were filthy with sin, hating Christ and His disciples and even hatching a plan to murder Him.

Jesus tells us that what matters is not the outward act, but the condition of one’s heart. Now this does not mean that we are free to act however we will. True faith will always manifest itself in doing good works, and a desire to adhere to the Word of God. People will be able to see that we have put our faith in action by our love for others.

As for the dietary laws of the Jews, we can be thankful that Christ has fulfilled the Law and has declared all foods clean. We are free to enjoy bacon cheeseburgers, pork chops, shrimp, and much more without guilty consciences.

Wickedness and evil come “from within, out of the heart,” and that is what defiles a person (Mark 7:21–23). Hence, we cannot save ourselves, because we are sinful and unclean from the inside out. But as the Lord Jesus “declared all foods clean” (Mark 7:19), so He cleanses us by His Word, by the preaching of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Therefore, “listen to the statutes and the rules” of the Lord, “and do them, that you may live” (Deut. 4:1). For His Word is righteous, and to live according to it is “your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples” (Deut. 4:6). Cling to His Word, and also teach it “to your children and your children’s children” (Deut. 4:9). Put on this “armor of God” by hearing and heeding what He speaks to you, that you may “stand firm” in the evil day (Eph. 6:11–13). Gird yourself with the righteousness of Christ, by faith in the “gospel of peace,” and take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” by confessing Christ Jesus and “praying at all times in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:14–18).

Prayer before confession and absolution: Almighty, everlasting God, for our many sins we justly deserve eternal condemnation. In Your mercy You sent Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who won for us forgiveness of sins and everlasting salvation. Grant us a true confession that, dead to sin, we may be raised up by Your life-giving absolution. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may be ever watchful and live true and godly lives in Your service; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for teaching the faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, even as You have committed the care and nurture of children to Your people, graciously enlighten those who teach and those who are committed to their instruction that they may know Your eternal truth and trust in You all the days of their lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for steadfast faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and finally come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for aid against temptation: O God, You justify the ungodly and desire not the death of the sinner. Graciously assist us by Your heavenly aid and evermore shield us with Your protection, that no temptation may separate us from Your love in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for spiritual renewal: Almighty God, grant that we, who have been redeemed from the old life of sin by our Baptism into the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, may be renewed by Your Holy Spirit to live in righteousness and true holiness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for deliverance from sin: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, You desire not the death of a sinner, but rather that we turn from our evil ways and live. Graciously spare us those punishments which we by our sins have deserved, and grant us always to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.

From Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Monday, 24 August 2015—Psalm 51:7, 10–12; Antiphon, Psalm 51:2—Sunday’s Introit is a portion of David’s pÅ“nitential psalm, the one he wrote after being confronted with his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:1—12:14). David evinces true repentance: grief, shame, and contrition over his sin, but also faith and trust in God that he would be redeemed of all his iniquity. When we sing this as the Offertory, we make David’s plea our own: we ask for—and receive—a clean heart, a right spirit. We have been washed thoroughly from iniquity and cleansed from all sin by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015—Psalm 119:129–136—Psalm 119 is the longest psalm, and it extols the virtues of delighting in the Word of God. One who is righteous by faith has a great desire to live according to the precepts of God’s holy Word. The Word of God gives light and understanding; it keeps us from having our iniquity getting dominion over us. We the redeemed long to live by faith according to the Word; we shed tears because people do not keep God’s Law.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015—Deuteronomy 4:1–2, 6–9—As the Children of Israel were about to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving them, Moses reminds them of all that the LORD had taught and commanded them. His advice is to them and to us, heirs through Christ of the spiritual Promised Land, the Kingdom of Heaven. We must be diligent to hear the Word of God and preserve it, making it known, not only among ourselves, but to our children and our children’s children.

Thursday, 27 August 2015—Ephesians 6:10–20—This last reading from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians fit exceptionally well with Sunday’s other readings. Moses had given his instruction to the Israelites because he knew how easy it is for people to fall away from God. In times of both adversity and prosperity, people may be tempted to forsake the Lord. Attacks will come, for the devil hates God and all whom He loves.

The Christian must gird himself for spiritual warfare with the weapons which God has provided: truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation—with these, we are equipped for the assaults of the Evil One.

Friday, 28 August 2015—Mark 7:14–23—What defiles a person? Is it what goes into him? No. We are all defiled by sin. We have inherited our sinful nature from our first parents, and are inclined toward evil. Jesus gives a whole laundry list of wicked thoughts and actions which proceed out of our sinful hearts. We must ever be on guard, not only against the attacks of Satan, as in the epistle lesson, but even on the treachery of our own hearts. We must not depart from the Word of God, but read, hear, and learn it daily to know of both our salvation and of the will of God.

Saturday, 29 August 2015—Sunday’s hymn of the day, Be Strong in the Lord (LSB 665) exhorts us to make full use of the armor of God, that we may withstand the wiles of the devil and our sinful nature. Having been equipped by our Lord, we can be certain of the victory.

Time in the Word - Pentecost 14 - Proper 17

Time in the Word
17-22 August 2015
Preparation for next week, The 14th Sunday after Pentecost



The theme for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost is Faith in Action. The Pharisees of Christ’s day adhered strictly to the dietary restrictions laid down by God in His Law. They even extended them. However, they believed that this strict outward fulfillment would save them. They gave little thought to the condition of their hearts, for even as they were outwardly pious in following the letter of the Law, inwardly, they were filthy with sin, hating Christ and His disciples and even hatching a plan to murder Him.

Jesus tells us that what matters is not the outward act, but the condition of one’s heart. Now this does not mean that we are free to act however we will. True faith will always manifest itself in doing good works, and a desire to adhere to the Word of God. People will be able to see that we have put our faith in action by our love for others.

As for the dietary laws of the Jews, we can be thankful that Christ has fulfilled the Law and has declared all foods clean. We are free to enjoy bacon cheeseburgers, pork chops, shrimp, and much more without guilty consciences.

Collect for Pentecost 13O God, the source of all that is just and good, nourish in us every virtue and bring to completion every good intent that we may grow in grace and bring forth the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Let us pray for all who are outside the Church, that our Lord God would be pleased to deliver them from their error, call them to faith in the true and living God and His only Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, and gather them into His family, the Church:

Almighty and everlasting God, because You seek not the death but the life of all, hear our prayers for all who have no right knowledge of You, free them from their error, and for the glory of Your name bring them into the fellowship of Your holy Church; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Prayer before confession and absolution: Almighty, everlasting God, for our many sins we justly deserve eternal condemnation. In Your mercy You sent Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who won for us forgiveness of sins and everlasting salvation. Grant us a true confession that, dead to sin, we may be raised up by Your life-giving absolution. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may be ever watchful and live true and godly lives in Your service; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for teaching the faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, even as You have committed the care and nurture of children to Your people, graciously enlighten those who teach and those who are committed to their instruction that they may know Your eternal truth and trust in You all the days of their lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for steadfast faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and finally come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for aid against temptation: O God, You justify the ungodly and desire not the death of the sinner. Graciously assist us by Your heavenly aid and evermore shield us with Your protection, that no temptation may separate us from Your love in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for spiritual renewal: Almighty God, grant that we, who have been redeemed from the old life of sin by our Baptism into the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, may be renewed by Your Holy Spirit to live in righteousness and true holiness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for deliverance from sin: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, You desire not the death of a sinner, but rather that we turn from our evil ways and live. Graciously spare us those punishments which we by our sins have deserved, and grant us always to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 17 August 2015—Psalm 51:7, 10–12; Antiphon, Psalm 51:2—Sunday’s Introit is a portion of David’s pÅ“nitential psalm, the one he wrote after being confronted with his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:1—12:14). David evinces true repentance: grief, shame, and contrition over his sin, but also faith and trust in God that he would be redeemed of all his iniquity. When we sing this as the Offertory, we make David’s plea our own: we ask for—and receive—a clean heart, a right spirit. We have been washed thoroughly from iniquity and cleansed from all sin by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015—Psalm 119:129–136—Psalm 119 is the longest psalm, and it extols the virtues of delighting in the Word of God. One who is righteous by faith has a great desire to live according to the precepts of God’s holy Word. The Word of God gives light and understanding; it keeps us from having our iniquity getting dominion over us. We the redeemed long to live by faith according to the Word; we shed tears because people do not keep God’s Law.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015—Deuteronomy 4:1–2, 6–9—As the Children of Israel were about to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving them, Moses reminds them of all that the LORD had taught and commanded them. His advice is to them and to us, heirs through Christ of the spiritual Promised Land, the Kingdom of Heaven. We must be diligent to hear the Word of God and preserve it, making it known, not only among ourselves, but to our children and our children’s children.

Thursday, 20 August 2015—Ephesians 6:10–20—This last reading from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians fit exceptionally well with Sunday’s other readings. Moses had given his instruction to the Israelites because he knew how easy it is for people to fall away from God. In times of both adversity and prosperity, people may be tempted to forsake the Lord. Attacks will come, for the devil hates God and all whom He loves. The Christian must gird himself for spiritual warfare with the weapons which God has provided: truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation—with these, we are equipped for the assaults of the Evil One.

Friday, 21 August 2015—Mark 7:14–23—What defiles a person? Is it what goes into him? No. We are all defiled by sin. We have inherited our sinful nature from our first parents, and are inclined toward evil. Jesus gives a whole laundry list of wicked thoughts and actions which proceed out of our sinful hearts. We must ever be on guard, not only against the attacks of Satan, as in the epistle lesson, but even on the treachery of our own hearts. We must not depart from the Word of God, but read, hear, and learn it daily to know of both our salvation and of the will of God.

Saturday, 22 August 2015—Sunday’s hymn of the day, Be Strong in the Lord (LSB 665) exhorts us to make full use of the armor of God, that we may withstand the wiles of the devil and our sinful nature. Having been equipped by our Lord, we can be certain of the victory.

From Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcut used with permission from WELS

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Proper 13 - Pentecost 16




Proper 16
August 23, 2015
Mark 7:1-13


Almighty and merciful God, defend Your Church from all false teaching and error that Your faithful people may confess You to be the only true God and rejoice in Your good gifts of life and salvation.

The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were an interesting sort. They were outwardly pious. They were serious about their faith. They practiced their religion. They kept the law. They even devised new rules to follow. In order to promote their self-righteousness. But they only gave lip service to God’s Word. They were interested in the letter of the Law not the spirit. They were focused on the rubrics and the mechanics of the law. They were not interested in the fulfillment of God’s law. They had no need of a Savior. They were convinced they could earn favor with God. On their own terms.

They followed the law in order to measure their own righteousness. And to compare themselves to others. Thus, the confrontation with Jesus’ disciples. They criticized Jesus’ disciples for not following their traditions.

Godly living comes from a believing heart. Our text begs the question – which is worse – dirty hands or a dirty heart?  Some are obsessed with dirt. They are super-clean. We might call them “neat freaks.” They are ever dusting, cleaning, scrubbing, vacuuming. At the same time, they can be dirty on the inside as their hearts are filled with dirty thoughts, motives, interests. This is the issue from this morning’s Gospel lesson. The religious of the day were concerned with washing hands pots, pans but neglected to wash their hearts. Jesus points out that dirtiness is not from without but from within the heart. A dirty hearts causes a person to perform dirty acts.

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of man. Mark 7:8
Do not use religion to avoid the demands of faith. Leadership of Jesus day built for themselves a religion of traditions and proceeded to use tradition to escape the demands of faith. Jesus has a word for this – hypocrisy. Whose voice will you listen, the voice of God or the voice of the church? That was the issue of the 16th Century. Certain reformers repudiated those traditions that they found contrary to the word of Scripture. Is the church today in need of another overhaul? Some believe that a reformation is long overdue. If so, who is to be the arbitrator? At all costs, we need to avoid making religion our religion.

Traditions can and do change with time. They mask the real issues. Here religion was used to avoid the demands of religion. Building a religion of traditions and the use of traditions for tradition’s sake helped one escape the demands of true religion. Jesus calls this hypocrisy v 6. Tradition can become a substitute for true religion. Customs and ceremonies lose their significance and meaning. We do things without knowing why we do them. Traditions can become like barnacles that gradually grow on a ship and impede the progress of the boat. In the 16th Century, the issue was the Bible vs the traditions of the Church. The reformers repudiated traditions contrary to the Word of God.

1. There is a religion centered in man’s traditions.

A.      Traditions can become a substitute for true religion.

1.       The leadership of Jesus’ day – they were godly, they had it right, they fulfilled the very letter of the law, including the traditions. They were convinced that the external cleanliness of their lives, as was exhibited by their ritually clean hands, pots and pans made them clean before God.

2.       When tragedy strikes our lives, do we not sometimes wonder why God seems to take no notice of our godly and clean living? After all, we are faithful in our church and communion attendance. We are regular in our witness and generous with our offerings. We work hard at our jobs and try to raise our children rightly. We’re upright and moral people. When such thinking occurs, we make self the object of our worship, making tradition our religion, and fall into the trap believing external living in compliance with God’s law somehow makes us clean and godly before Him.

B.      When we live for tradition – customs and ceremonies can soon lose their significance and meaning.

1         We may wake up finding ourselves following practices and ceremonies not even knowing why we are following them.

2         This happens when we follow blindly never questioning why we practice such rites, rituals and ceremonies.

3         Cleanliness before God must flow from the inside out. From the heart out. It is the condition of the heart, not the position of the body that concerns our Savior. It is the state of your heart that determines whether you are clean before God.
We dare not let tradition become like barnacles that gradually grow on a ship and impedes its progress.

2. We need a religion based on the clear word of the Lord

A.      His Word will not fail. What does His Word teach us? It teaches us that mere ritual, washing, or clean living will never do. However, His washing will always make us clean. St. Paul reminds us, “When we were baptized into Christ Jesus, we were baptized into His death. We were buried with Him by our baptism into death that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we were united with Him in a death like His we will certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.”[1]

In Baptism, you were incorporated into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ is the only one who has ever lived a perfectly good, clean life before God. He alone is the spotless Lam of God. He never soiled Himself with the stain of sin, even though He was tempted as you are.

B.      His Word gives salvation and life. Jesus chose to cover Himself with the entire dirt and filth of your sin. The Father chose to give Him your punishment for that sin and to give you His cleanliness.  Now in the waters of Baptism the Father give you Jesus’ clean, holy life as your own and washes away the stain and dirt of your sin.

This is the Father’s idea of godliness. Not what we can do to look impressive before God rather it is what He has done for you. The power of forgiveness in Baptism we are able to really do what the leaders of Jesus’ day and our own hypocritical nature can only mimic – offer a life to God that is also externally clean and godly.

In Jesus Christ all our actions as God’s people – from the rituals of our worship to the duties of our daily lives are now clean in God’s sight. No wonder the Scriptures call Baptism a “washing of regeneration” and “a renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
Christ alone can make a good heart.
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Words- 1,189
Passive Sentences –
Readability- 74%

Reading Level -6.4

Monday, August 17, 2015

Samuel

Almighty God, in Your mercy You gave Samuel courage to call Israel to repentance and to renew their dedication to the Lord. Call us to repentance as Nathan called David to repentance, so by the blood of Jesus, the Son of David, we may receive the forgiveness of all our sins; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.