Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tuesday of Lent 4



Tuesday of Lent 4, March 28, 20167 Psalm 36:9
                                 

Psalm 36:9 English Standard Version (ESV)

9 For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light do we see light.

God and His Word are compared to as refreshing waters. (See Proverbs 18:4; Isaiah 55:1) God give life in both the temporal and eternal realms. Ultimately, for sinners, God provides the water of life through Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, we are in darkness. Knowing Him brings enlightenment and joy.   1

Christ gives us the eyes of faith. So we can see God. Because of our fallen nature, because we live in a broken world, we cannot always see clearly. St. Paul reminds us, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;” - 1 Corinthians 13:12 During this Lenten season, ask the Father to give you the eyes of faith to see not only the beauty in this world but the heart to make your community better. 

O God, with you is the well of life, and in your light, we see light: Quench our thirst with living water, and flood our darkened minds with heavenly light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. 2

[1] Lutheran Study Bible, © 2009 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[2] Collect  for Tuesday of Lent 4,  http://www.liturgies.net/Lent/LentenCollects.htm

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday of Lent 4

                                


Monday of Lent 4, March 27, 2017 Psalm 27:4-6
                             

Psalm 27:4-6 English Standard Version (ESV)

4 One thing have I asked of the LORD,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
    and to enquire[a] in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up
    above my enemies all round me,
and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.

David is not asking to be a priest. He wants to enjoy God’s presence all his life. As sinners, we cannot see God in worship. But we recognizes God’s goodness and charter. God’s children who come in faith do not find a wrathful, terrifying God. God is beautiful to those who receive the Gospel.  1

It is the Gospel, which has changed us. God the Holy Spirit earnestly wants to convert all people and bring them to salvation through the Gospel. The Holy Spirit turns us through the new birth of Holy Baptism. The Gospel is that means by which the Spirit offers us all the blessings of Christ and creates faith in us. 

O Lord our God, in your Holy Sacraments you have given us a foretaste of the good things of your kingdom: Direct us, we pray, in the way that leads to eternal life, that we may come to appear before you in that place of light where you dwell forever with your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen 2







[1] Lutheran Study Bible © 2009 Concordia Publishing House, St, Louis

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Lent 4 outline and questions


Lent 4
John 9:1–41


Prayer of the Day: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children and provide for all our needs of body and soul. 

Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

By His Word of the Gospel, Jesus Calls Us Out of the Darkness into His Marvelous Light

1. The disciples ask, “Who sinned…this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” This question is still asked today. We don’t deserve bad. 

2. Faith hears the promise not the explanation. It is not that this many had sinned but that the Father’s work might be revealed.

3. The real miracle is seeing Jesus. The man is born blind only that he might receive faith. The man is able to see Jesus as the God who goes to die. 

4. This blind man first responds to Jesus' voice. Jesus tells him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam," which the blind man does. He hears Jesus before he sees Jesus. The story also narrates his gradual sight, from seeing Jesus as "the man called Jesus" (9:11) to addressing him as "Lord" and worshipping him (9:38). In fact, in 9:37 Jesus himself reveals the importance of both sight and hearing when it comes to belief, "You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is that one."

Points to ponder

1. People ask the question, “Why does she deserve this?” How might you respond? Why?

2. What is Jesus’ purpose in this miracle? Is there deeper meaning to merely receiving the gift of sight? 

3. Is it possible to see Jesus without first hearing His word? How? Why?

Image: Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for private and congregational use

Images: http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/jesus-blind-man-pharisees/

Sunday of Lent 4



Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 26, 2017 Psalm 142:5
                            


Psalm 142:5 English Standard Version (ESV)

5 I cry to you, O LORD;
    I say, “You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.”

Here, the earthly inheritance is spiritualized to encompass “the land of the living” i.e. life itself in which God is our true inheritance.  1

Georg Pfefferkorn writes the following, ‘What is the world to  me! My Jesus is my Treasurer. My Life, my Health, my Wealth, My Friend, my Love, my Pleasure, My Joy my Crown my All, My Bliss eternally. Once more, then I declare: What is the world to me!” 2

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread, which gives life to the world: Evermore give me this bread, that he may live in me, and I in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen 3

[1] Lutheran Study Bible © 2009 Concordia Publishing House, St, Louis
[2] “What is the World to Me”, Stanza eight, The Lutheran Hymnal © 1943 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[3] Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, http://www.liturgies.net/Lent/LentenCollects.htm



Time in the Word ~ Lent 5


Time in the Word
Life out of Death
A Study for Lent 5
March 27 –April 1, 2017



The theme “life out of death” appears in all three lessons. In the Gospel, Jesus raises Lazarus and teaches that he is the Resurrection and the life. Paul in the Epistle lesson teaches that the Spirit will raise our mortal bodies. It is the Word, which carries the Spirit, that brings new life to the dead. Through Ezekiel’s preaching of the Word, Israel’s dead bones came to life. Jesus raises Lazarus by a word of command, “Lazarus, come out!” The cross is getting very close. This experience with the raising of Lazarus was the immediate cause of the Passion. Caiaphas claims that it is expedient for one man to die for the people rather than for the nation to perish, and that one man should be Jesus. The result was a concerted effort to bring Jesus to death – premeditated murder.

 Fasting in the season of Lent – Fasting as a means of spiritual discipline was a part of past Lenten observance. Form the time of the Apostles, Friday, the day of Jesus’ death, was a day of fasting. During Holy Week, Good Friday and Holy Saturday were days of fasting. In the 4th Century, fasting was extended to the entire period of Lent. The purpose of fasting is twofold. It was for personal discipline and for participation in the sufferings of Christ who in this season was on His way to Jerusalem to suffer and die. The second purpose of fasting was to render some service through fasting. There was a positive side to fasting: it was not only for personal benefit. Said one author, “What we forego by fasting is to be given as alms to the poor.” 

Prayer for Lent 5 Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Almighty and eternal God, because it was Your will that your Son should bear the pains of the cross for us and thus remove from us the power of the adversary, help us so to remember and give thanks for our Lord’s Passion that we may receive remission of sins and redemption from everlasting death; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen


Monday, March 27, 2017 – Psalm 116 - The Antiphon for this coming week’s Introit is taken from Psalm 43:1, Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from deceitful and wicked men. This is a prayer of an appeal for God to hear the petitions of the soul in prayer and to vindicate him according to his grace. This is our prayer when spoken in faith.   

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 – Ezekiel 37:1-14 - In the Old Testament lesson God’s Spirit through the Word raises a dead people – National death. The dry bones of Israel come to life through the preaching of the prophet.  While the outer person is living, he may be dead inside. Israel consisted by dry, dead bones. They were “dead” because they lost hope during their captivity in Babylon. A lifeless people, a dead church, can be revived with hope and love through the preaching of God’s Word.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 – Romans 8:1-11 - In our Epistle lesson the Spirit raises us from death of the flesh to life as sons of God – Spiritual death. The Spirit makes us children of God. We can have both death and life in us. Though dead, we can live, and though living we can be dead. There is one type of life – existence, the physical, natural, earthly life. It is the life of the flesh lived in faith. This life is a product of the Spirit received at Baptism. Through Baptism a person is born again in the Spirit, adopted as a child of god, and now lives in the Spirit of righteousness. The new person knows he is related to God, because the Spirit witnesses to our spirits that we are God’s offspring.   

Thursday, March 30, 2017 – John 11:7-27, 38-53 – In the Gospel lesson Christ raises Lazarus from death – Physical death. Christ raises Lazarus from the dead.    In this passage, illness and death are considered means by which God is glorified. When we are ill, God’s healing reveals His glory. When we are dead, God’s raising us, like Lazarus is for the glory of God. In the Resurrection, the glory of God’s power is manifest. This offers hope to the afflicted, for they are assured of God’s help.

Eternal life is a present possession. It is not life after death, not life after life, but life during life. Jesus emphasized the present life – “I am the resurrection and the life.”  The quality of life begins at the moment of faith in Christ. It is not a natural endowment but a gift to those in Christ. We do not wait until death to go to heaven for life. We are given eternal life before death. If we do not have it before death, we will not have it after death.


Friday, March 31, 2017 – Psalm 130 The Psalm appointed for this coming Sunday is a testimony of trust in the Lord by one who knows that even though he is a sinner the Lord hears his cry out of the depths.  

Saturday, April 1, 2017 – John 11:16 – This verse is the inspiration for the hymn, “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus” {LSB #685} The Hebrew word from which we get “Thomas” and the Greek word Didymus both mean ‘twin.”  We usually remember Thomas for his doubting, but he was also capable to devotion and courage. Our sermon hymn for tomorrow speaks of both aspects.

 Sources:
THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK A – John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH  

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lent 4



Lent 4
March 26, 2017
John 9:1–41

By His Word of the Gospel, Jesus Calls Us Out of the Darkness into His Marvelous Light


Prayer of the Day: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children and provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.




The words and actions of Jesus appear - at times - to be – Absurd. Puzzling. Strange. The poor and filled with good things. The rich are sent empty away. The righteous are declared to be sinners. Sinners are made righteous. To those who laugh He brings weeping. He gives laughter to those who mourn. The last He puts first. The first are last. The wise He shows to be foolish. To the foolish. He grants wisdom. He is the world’s Savior. But today He declares, “For judgment I came into this world.” (v.39)

1. The disciples ask, “Who sinned…this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” This question is still asked today. I don’t deserve this pain. I did all the right things. I followed the rules. I made the right choices. What we’d like to hear is, “You don’t deserve bad. You deserve to be happy. You deserve somebody who doesn’t complicate your life. You deserve…better.”  Or, do you? Today we address the issue of pain, grief, loss…

We live in a world compromised by sin. And suffering is the consequence. Sorrow is the result and by-product. Enter a children’s hospital, a burn unit. Are these suffering for some specific misdeed? No.  Yet they certainly are the casualties of this broken world.

Jesus answers. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  Faith hears the promise. Not the explanation. It is not that this man had sinned but that the Father’s work might be revealed. The Father’s work is found in the sending of His Son Jesus - 

Every single Sunday we confess, “…who for us men and our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made man.” (Nicene Creed)  Jesus, the Word who was made flesh, - your Lord and Savior, - remains with you at every juncture of life. Yes, there is a person who knows and understands you. His name is Jesus Christ. We need to remember, the Son of God inserted Himself in the grittiness of human flesh. He was a person who knew pain and anger. He became angry Himself on occasions, and ultimately became the victim of anger. This life that you live. Your struggles.  Your weakness.  Your woes.  Your sorrows. - Your Lord knows all. Because He became a man. 

The incarnation changes everything. You do not have a God who was too proud to know His people. Or, a God content to rule from a great distance. Or, a God whose majesty was too awesome for us to behold. Jesus is just the opposite. Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph, experienced the very same humanity, the very same problems, and the very same challenges that you do. No, you do not walk this road alone. Jesus is the God who came down from heaven. He was that man. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” –Isaiah 53:3

When we confess that we are, ''poor, miserable sinners,'' we aren't saying how terrible we feel. As in, ''It's so hot … I'm miserable.'' Miserable comes from the Latin word for mercy. We are saying, ''I am poor. I have nothing to offer. I am miserable. That is, I stand in need of your mercy.'' To be a miserable sinner is to be in need of Christ's mercy. To be miserable is to be exactly the kind of person in whom the Lord delights, for He delights in nothing more than showing mercy. That is the story of Christmas. And Good Friday. And Easter. That’s your story. It’s the story of Christ.  

2. The real miracle is seeing Jesus. The man is born blind only that he might receive…faith. The man is able to see Jesus as the God who goes to die. The author of the Hebrews reminds us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” – Hebrews 12:1-3

3. This blind man. First responds to Jesus' voice. Jesus tells him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam." Which the blind man does. He hears Jesus before he sees Jesus. The story also narrates his gradual sight, from seeing Jesus as "the man called Jesus" -John 9:11 to addressing him as "Lord" and finally worshipping Him. -John 9:38. In fact, Jesus Himself reveals the importance of both sight and hearing when it comes to belief, "You have seen Him, and the one speaking with you is that one." –John 9:37

So, how do we make sense of all this? Recall Jesus words "For judgment I came into this world.” (v.39)   Jesus did not come to condemn but to save. It all boils down to what your stance is concerning the person and work of Jesus. In this broken world, you might consider yourself like this blind man. Total other. An outsider. Condemned. Misunderstood. Convicted. You might feel more like a criminal than a citizen might. Yet we always have hope. “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”  - 2 Corinthians 4:7-11


But lo, there breaks
A yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant
Rise in bright array;
The King of Glory
Passes on His way
Alleluia!  

Points to ponder…

1. People ask the question, “Why does she deserve this?” How might you respond? Why
2. What is Jesus’ purpose in this miracle? Is there deeper meaning to merely receiving the gift of sight? 
3. Is it possible to see Jesus without first hearing His word? How? Why?
_________________________
Words-1,245
Passive Sentences –5%
Readability –80.7%
Reading level –4.2
Image: Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for private and congregational use
Images: http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/jesus-blind-man-pharisees/
Sources/Notes: http://www.chadbird.com/blog/2017/3/22/how-can-a-blind-man-thank-god-for-his-eyes via @birdchadlouis
For All The Saints stanza 7 Lutheran Service Book  ©2006  Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Saturday of Lent 3



Saturday of Lent 3, March 25, 2017 Psalm 25:20                
 

Psalm 25:20 English Standard Version (ESV)

20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!
    Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

God promises to answer prayer. But we may be impatient or tempted to question His answers. Even when our faithfulness fails, God is faithful. He hears our prayers and truly acts for our good. In faith, we patiently wait for Him. Almighty God, give us the trust and patience to wait for You and the faith to believe Your promises. 1

We only have the perspective of time. We know the past and are aware of the present. Yet often we might not know all of the details or all of the circumstances which have brought us to a certain moment in time. God is eternal. He knows and sees everything. Faith trusts in Christ who is all in all. With the Psalmist we pray, “My times are in Your hand, rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!” –Psalm 31:15

O God, you know us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright: Grant us such strength and protection as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.  2

[1] Lutheran Study Bible © 2009 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[2] Collect for Saturday of Lent 3,  http://www.liturgies.net/Lent/LentenCollects.htm
Luther’s Seal © Ed Riojas, Higher Things