Monday, August 29, 2016

The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Almighty God, You gave Your servant John the Baptist to be the forerunner of Your Son Jesus Christ, in both his preaching of repentance and his innocent death. Grant that we, who have died to sin and risen with Christ in Holy Baptism, may daily repent of our sins, patiently suffer for the sake of truth and fearlessly bear witness of His victory over death; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Time in the Word - Pentecost 16 - Proper 18

Christ Jesus Has Paid the Cost of Discipleship for You
A disciple of Jesus Christ will “carry his own cross” (Luke 14:27) and follow the Lord through death into life. Discipleship is costly because it crucifies the old man with “all his own possessions” (Luke 14:33), in order to raise up the new man in Christ. The disciple disavows “his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life” (Luke 14:26), in deference to Christ. That way of the cross is impossible, except that Christ Jesus has already paid the cost. His cross is set before you as “life and prosperity, and death and adversity” (Deut. 30:15). Taking up His cross is to “choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him” (Deut. 30:19–20). To live that life in Christ is also to bear His cross in love, “that your goodness should not be as it were by compulsion, but of your own free will” (Philemon 14).

Prayer for Christian vocationHeavenly Father, grant Your mercy and grace to Your people in their many and various callings. Give them patience, and strengthen them in their Christian vocation of witness to the world and of service to their neighbor in Christ's name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for likeness to ChristO God, by the patient suffering of Your only-begotten Son You have beaten down the pride of the old enemy. Now help us, we humbly pray, rightly to treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has of His goodness borne for our sake that following His blessed example we may bear with all patience all that is adverse to us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for agricultureAlmighty God, You bless the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper the work of farmers and all those who labor to bring food to our table. Grant them seasonable weather that they may gather in the fruits of the earth in abundance and proclaim Your goodness with thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for industry and commerceLord Jesus Christ, as once You shared in our human toil and thus hallowed the work of our hands, bless and prosper those who maintain the industries and service sectors of this land. Give them a right regard for their labors, and grant them the just reward for their work that they may find joy in serving You and in supplying our needs; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist (29 August): Almighty God, You gave Your servant John the Baptist to be the forerunner of Your Son, Jesus Christ, in both his preaching of repentance and his innocent death. Grant that we, who have died and risen with Christ in Holy Baptism, may daily repent of our sins, patiently suffer for the sake of the truth, and fearlessly bear witness to His victory over death; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 29 August 2016Psalm 119:28–32; antiphon, Psalm 119:27—The readings for Sunday reflect the theme of discipleship. Whose disciples shall we be? That is, in whom shall we place our trust? Let us be like the psalmist, who boldly pronounces, I have chosen the way of faithfulness . . . I cling to your testimonies, O Lord. This he can say with confidence, not because of anything in him, but because he prays, Make me understand the way of your precepts, and the LORD answers.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016Psalm 1—The contrast between the righteous and the wicked is brought into sharp contrast in this, the first of the psalms. We know that we are not righteous in ourselves, but, since we are in Christ, His righteousness is our righteousness. Those who are in Christ are fit the description of the description of the blessed man, the righteous man, in the psalm.

Wednesday, 31  August 2016Deuteronomy 30:15–20—In Moab (Deut 29:1), before they entered the Promised Land, Moses re-iterated the covenant between the LORD and His people, the Children of Israel. He reminded them of how the LORD led them out of bondage in Egypt and cared for them throughout their sojourn in the wilderness. Then, Moses tells the Israelites that they must follow one of two paths: to continue as God’s Chosen People or to turn their backs on the One who chose them, made them His own, preserved them, and promised to take them into a land where He would continue to shower blessings upon them. It seems that the decision would be easy to make: Choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, yet we know that most people, including most of the Jews, the descendants of the Children of Israel, have chosen instead the way that leads away from God, and into death, eternal death. Let us ever remain faithful to the One who provides life through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, 1 September 2016Philemon 1–21—During the summer months, our epistle readings make their way through some of the letters (epistles) in the New Testament. This summer, we read through Galatians, the first half of Colossians, and, last Sunday, we finished the latter portion of Hebrews.
Sunday’s reading is from Philemon, but it is the only reading we shall have from that book, as it is only 25 verses long.

Philemon is a personal letter from St Paul to a man named Philemon. Paul intercedes for Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus, who had stolen from his master, but subsequently became a Christian. In what is a model of Christian reconciliation, Paul pleads on behalf of Onesimus, just as Christ pleads to His father on our behalf. “We are Christ’s Onesimi,” wrote Luther, “restored by Christ, who, by giving up his rights, compelled the Father to lay aside his wrath.”

Friday, 2 September 2016Luke 14:25–35—We are told that great crowds accompanied Jesus, but accompanying Him is not enough. A person must be ready and willing to turn his back on the things of this world: his family, his life, indeed, all he has. The things of this life must never stand in the way of our discipleship with Christ, that is, our faith in Him as the sole procurer of our salvation, and the only thing that matters.

Saturday, 3 September 2016—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Oh, That the Lord Would Guide My Ways(LSB #707). Our readings speak of the necessity of being Christ’s faithful disciples, shunning the things and ways of this world. This, we can only do when the Lord guides our ways: He grants us grace to know and do His will.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der B├╝cher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS


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

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Pentecost 15 - Proper 17

Proper 17
28 August 2016
Luke 14:1–14
We Are Humbled and Exalted by the Cross of Christ

Most people invite friends and associates to dinner. They are people we enjoy. Or, people with whom we want to develop closer relations. Often we invite people because they first invited us, and we return the courtesy. The more prominent and more important the guests are ~ the more honor they bring to us. According to Jesus, a humble person takes the lowest place and invites the needy. In this parable, Jesus teaches we should do the opposite – invite the humble, the unimportant, and the poor who cannot return the favor. This calls for a reversal of the usual attitude that most people have. What does it take to invite the lowly? It takes both humility and grace.

1. Humility – To invite those who can bring us no advantage. Romans 12:16 - Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

A. Humility is one of the great laws of the kingdom. It shows us what we are we are only by the grace of God.

B. Do not be proud / puffed up if you achieve some success. When you do. You will surely be humbled and made aware of your insignificance.

C. One commentator (Farmer) but it this way, “humble we must be as to heaven we go…high is the roof there. But the gate is low.”

D. Deeds of charity we do should not be done merely because we expect to be rewarded in heaven. True, love is unselfish; it shows kindness not to be rewarded, but because of a desire to do good to the one who loved. “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love you enemies, do good, and lend, hope for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” – Luke 6:32-35

Transition: What does it take to invite the lowly? It takes both humility and grace.

2. Grace – To invite people because they are unworthy and cannot help us. We get nothing out of it. It is pure grace – love to the undeserving. Compare this with our situation and the heavenly dinner.
Christ invites us – poor, dirty, naked – without any merit or worthiness to be in His presence at His table in the Kingdom.

A. To experience the grace of God means we are blessed. Blessed is a powerful word. In the New Testament, when used of persons, it always refers to the condition of the repentant; a fruitful believer in Jesus. Jesus says in His Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be glad. For indeed your reward is great in heaven. For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.”

B. The Lord in Revelation 14:13 defines the blessed as He reminds us “their deeds will follow them.” “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ “Yes.” Says the Spirit, “that they may rest form their labors, and their works follow them.” True. Good works cannot save. But these works will be rewarded “at the resurrection of the just”, those justified by faith. The love and good works, which Jesus here asks, are the fruits of faith produced by the righteous alone.

Jesus condemns self-righteousness and selfishness. Both are works of the flesh. With these two illustrations, Jesus skillfully preached what we call the second use of the law. He shines the mirror of God’s truth. He lays the sin of His hearers. He speaks for all to see. This is not always pleasant. It exposes our true nature. Yet He does this because He loves us. As we respond to others, we have no other way to respond other then with mercy and grace.

A genuine humble person will take the lowest place at a dinner and invite the needy to fellowship. Pride wants only the prominent and the important as guests. Genuine humility is expressed by the way we reach out to others. Make no mistake; this is more than mere manners. Christ is the one who humbled Himself. Even to the point of death. He bore your sins and took your misery to Himself that in exchange for your sin you might receive the righteousness of God your Father. If this is how the Savior has treated you. How much more should you demonstrate the same hospitality to others?

Passive Sentences –6%
Reading Ease –81.3
Reading Level -4.6

Face of Christ -

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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


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 21, 2016

Time in the Word - Pentecost 15 - Proper 17

We Are Humbled and Exalted by the Cross of Christ

Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,” Jesus proclaims, but “he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11). Your hope is in the name of the Lord, who humbled Himself unto death on the cross and was exalted in His resurrection. So are you humbled by His cross, and “at the resurrection of the righteous,” He will say to you, “Friend, move up higher” (Luke 14:10; 13–14). By His grace, the King will honor you “in the place of great men,” where your eyes will gaze upon the Prince, His dearly-beloved Son (Prov. 25:7). As He has dealt so graciously with you, “Do not neglect doing good and sharing” (Heb. 13:16), and “do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (Heb. 13:2). Humble yourself and exalt your neighbor.

Collect for Proper 17: O Lord of grace and mercy, teach us by Your holy Spirit to follow the example of Your Son in true humility, that we may withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds avoid ungodly pride; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for the Feast of St Bartholomew (24 August): Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, chose Bartholomew to be an apostle to preach the blessed Gospel. Grant that Your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

For the mission of the Church: Almighty God, You have called Your Church to witness that in Christ You have reconciled us to Yourself. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may proclaim the good news of Your salvation so that all who hear it may receive the gift of salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer for humilityO God, You resist the proud and give grace to the humble. Grant us true humility after the likeness of Your only Son that we may never be arrogant and prideful and thus provoke Your wrath but in all lowliness be made partakers of the gifts of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

For those outside the Church: Almighty and everlasting God, You desire not the death of a sinner but that all would repent and live. Hear our prayers for those outside the Church. Take away their iniquity, and turn them from their false gods to You, the living and true God. Gather them into Your holy Church to the glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Monday, 22 August 2016—Psalm 75:1–2, 6, 9; antiphon, Psalm 75:7—The readings for Sunday speak of being humble, and the Introit sets the tone by reminding us that we are not to judge people according to worldly standards; rather, It is God who executes judgement, putting down one and lifting up another.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016—Psalm 131—This psalm of David is the psalm of a humble man, one whose heart is not lifted up by himself and one whose eyes are not raised too high. Instead of relying on himself, David has calmed and quieted his soul with the knowledge of the LORD and that all our hope is in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016—Proverbs 25:2–10—About 250 years after the death of Solomon, blessed by God as the wisest man ever to have lived, King Hezekiah’s men collected some of Solomon’s wise sayings from a larger collection. The first section used for Sunday’s Old Testament reading (vv. 2–7) relate to earthly kings. Whereas part of God’s glory is due to the fact that He is beyond our understanding, it is the glory of earthly kings to search out and discover. When he became king, Solomon humbly asked God for “an understanding mind to govern Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). To search out justice and enlightenment is to a ruler’s glory.

The second portion of the reading (vv. 8–10) teaches us humility in relations with our neighbor. We are not to be hasty in pursuing litigation to elevate ourselves over our neighbor; he may thereby put us to shame. Neither should we engage in gossip, warns v. 9. Similar warnings are also given in Proverbs 11:13, 20:19, and, of course, the Eighth Commandment.

Thursday, 25 August 2016—Hebrews 13:1–17—How does a person’s humility manifest itself with regard to those around us? The writer to the Hebrews exhorts us to care for the needy: Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers . . . remember those who are in prison . . . and those who are mistreated.

We ought always to bring to mind Christ’s example, who suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Furthermore, we ought to recall those heroes of the faith whom we heard about in the epistle readings a few weeks ago and imitate their faith. In the Church, we are to humble ourselves and obey our leaders and submit to them, for God has appointed them to keep watch over your souls.

Friday, 26 August 2016—Luke 14:1–14—Sunday’s Gospel speaks of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath, but first challenging the puffed-up Pharisees to show Him why this would be wrong. They could give no answer. Jesus then tells a parable which exhorts those puffed-up Pharisees—and us!-–to humble ourselves. One who has the mind of Christ will not seek to exalt himself over others, but will put himself in their service, as Christ did for us when he bore our sins to Calvary. When we bow in humble submission to the Lord, He shall exalt us. Indeed, He has already, by making us His children through the washing of Holy Baptism and giving us a seat at His heavenly banquet.

Saturday, 27 August 2016The first stanza of the Sunday’s Hymn of the Day, Son of God, Eternal Savior (LSB #842), proclaims the salvation that Christ has won for us. It then beseeches the Lord to reign among us that here on earth, His will be done. Our example is Christ, who lived for others, our plea, then, is So may we for others live. The hymn beautifully proclaims in song the theme for the day: that we are humbled and exalted by the cross of Christ, and our lives reflect His humility.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
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