Monday, November 30, 2015

St. Andrew

Almighty God, by Your grace the apostle Andrew obeyed the call of Your Son Jesus to be a disciple. Grant us  also to follow the same Lord Jesus Christ in heart and life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Time in the Word - Advent 2

Time in the Word
30 November—5 December 2015
Preparation for next week, the Second Sunday in Advent

Repentance Prepares Us
for the Coming of the Lord

The preaching and baptism “of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3) prepares us for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The historic work of John the Baptizer was completed with the first Advent of our Lord Jesus in the flesh, but the ministry of the Forerunner continues in the preaching of Law and Gospel and in Holy Baptism. Through His messengers, the Lord calls people of all nations to “see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). Our haughtiness is removed, and our mountains of pride are brought low, but the Lord humbles us in order to exalt us in His mercy; He fills up our valleys with His peace. As the Lord has begun this good work of repentance in us, so also does he perfect it by His Word and Holy Spirit, and He “will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). He purifies us to be His priestly people, precious in His sight, abounding in faith and love, so that our very lives are offered in righteousness to the Lord (Mal. 3:3–4).

Collect for the Second Sunday in AdventStir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for St. Andrew’s Day (November 30) –  Almighty God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay; Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfill thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A 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.

A prayer for a right knowledge of Christ: Almighty God, whom to know is everlasting life, grant us perfectly to know Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the way, the truth, and the life, that following His steps we may steadfastly walk in the way that leads to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for innocence of life: O God, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, put to death in us all vices and so strengthen us by Your grace that by the innocence of our lives and the constancy of our faith, we may glorify Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for responsible citizenship: Lord, keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Grant that we may choose trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and serve You faithfully in our generation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for peace in the world: Heavenly Father, God of all concord, it is Your gracious will that Your children on earth live together in harmony and peace. Defeat the plans of all those who would stir up violence and strife, destroy the weapons of those who delight in war and bloodshed, and, according to Your will, end all conflicts in the world. Teach us to examine our hearts that we may recognize our own inclination toward envy, malice, hatred, and enmity. Help us, by Your Word and Spirit, to search our hearts and to root out the evil that would lead to strife and discord, so that in our lives we may be at peace with all people. Fill us with zeal for the work of Your Church and the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which alone can bring that peace which is beyond all understanding; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 30 November 2015Psalm 81:8, 10–11, 13; Antiphon, Luke 3:4b—The children of Israel had been delivered by the Lord out of their bondage in Egypt, and yet rejected Him. The antiphon for Sunday’s Introit exhorts us to heed John the Baptist, who came to prepare the way of the Lord by preaching repentance. During this pÅ“nitential season, let us examine ourselves, repent of our sins, and prepare to meet our Savior who comes to us.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015Psalm 66:1–12—A song of praise to the Lord for all of His benefits to His people. All the earth worships You and sings praises to You; they sing praises to Your Name. is echoed in a later Christian hymn which we sing in the Office at Mains, the Te Deum Laudamus.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015Malachi 3:1–7b—Four hundred years before the birth of Christ, Malachi prophesies about Him (the Lord whom you seek and the messenger of the covenant) and His fore-runner, John the Baptist (my messenger). Jesus will usher in the last judgment and will judge between the self-righteous who simply pay lip service to Him and those who worship Him in truth and purity, trusting not in their own efforts, but in the Savior who alone can gain our salvation.

Thursday, 3 December 2014Philippians 1:2–11—In Advent, we look forward to the coming of Christ, not only as the holy infant born in Bethlehem, but also His Second Coming. In the epistle for Sunday, St Paul speaks of the increasing sanctification of the Philippians as that day comes nearer. His prayer for their preparation is also his prayer for ours: that our love may abound more and more, that we have knowledge and discernment, and that we may be filled with the fruit of righteousness.

Friday, 4 December 2015Luke 3:1–14—The Gospel reading tells of the work of the fore-runner of Christ, John the Baptist, in preparing for the coming Savior. John’s message was simple: ‘Repent.’ That is his word to us, also, every day, but especially in this pÅ“nitential season. The life of the baptized is always one of repentance and the subsequent bringing forth of fruits in keeping with repentance, as we confess in our Small Catechism: the Old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die…and a new man daily come forth and arise, who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Saturday, 5 December 2015The hymn of the day, O Bride of Christ, Rejoice (LSB 335), expresses the joy that Christ’s Church has as she waits in expectation of His coming, not only into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, but especially at the day of glory foretold in ancient story, the Last Day, when He comes to judge the world and take all believers to eternity in heaven.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Almighty and eternal God, according to Your strict judgment you condemned the unbelieving world through the flood, yet according to Your great mercy you preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all. 

You drowned hard-hearted Pharoah and all his host in the Red Sea, yet led Your people Israel through the water on dry ground, prefiguring this washing through Holy Baptism.  Through the Baptism in the Jordan of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood, and a lavish washing away of sin.

We pray that You would behold us according to Your boundless mercy and bless us with true faith by the Holy Spirit that through this saving flood all sin in Him which has been inherited from Adam and which he himself has committed since would be drowned and die.

Grant that we be kept safe and secure in the holy ark of the Christian Church, being separated form the multitude of unbelievers and serving Your name at all times with a fervent spirit and a joyful hope, so that, with all believers in Your promise, we would be declared worthy of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Advent 1

Advent 1
November 29, 2015
Luke 21:25-36
"Today's Terminal Generation"

What could be said concerning this generation? How will people remember us? Only the history books will tell the next generation how we lived and experienced life. And then come the words of our Savior for this morning. According to Jesus, there is a distinct possibility that this will be the last generation to inhabit planet earth. Could it be that the history books will not be written concerning this generation?  According to Jesus, there is a distinct possibility that we are looking at today's terminal generation. Let's examine Jesus' prediction of the end of this age.

An end is certain - This generation? V. 36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man."  There will come a time. When this world. As we know it. Will come to a close.  As the Father spoke this world into existence in the beginning. So the Son will return in glory. To judge both the living and the dead. Jesus is coming soon!  As we anticipate the celebration of His coming into this world as an infant. We anticipate Him return. As Judge and King. Will He come in this generation?  There is a distinct possibility. All we are called to do it to look for the signs of His coming.

Signs of the end - vv. 25, 26 "There shall be signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars and upon the earth distress of nations which perplexity the sea and the waves roaring. Man's hearts failing them for fear; and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."   What will be the signs of the end? 

Jesus tells us that there will be distinct and specific signs. May I suggest two. There will be signs that are visible in the physical world. And, there will be signs that are apparent in the spiritual world.
There will be signs in the physical world.  Jesus tells us that there will be anxious times in which man's hearts fail them for fear.   There appears to be that we are living in a time of high anxiety in our world.  There are general fears affecting people. People fear about their future. Will I have enough saved for the future? Will my children be prepared to survive and continue in this world? We sing these days that there is "peace on earth, good will toward man" and yet it appears that there is strife on this world that has not been experienced up unto this time.

Jesus further explains that there will be signs in the spiritual world. The heavenly bodies will literally be shaken.  We are living in a time in which many are calling it a time of low morals. Some experts have referred to this time as a “postmodern world” in which many are claiming that we no longer need the morals that has governed our society for so long.  Each seems to be living according to his own law. There are no longer any moral absolutes.

How often have heard the moral climate of our time expressed in the phrases similar to the following: "I'm OK and you're OK…you live according to your standard and I'll live according to mine. Don't judge me and I won't judge you. Live and let live…everything is relative!" Like the Roman culture, which was not over run by a foreign force but simply collapsed from within there are many so called experts who predict that our society cannot last unless there is a revival.

Notice how subtle the end comes. It comes like a thief in the night. It sneaks up on us as almost to catch people unawares.  So often people look for the times of the end to be when the threat of war and disaster are all around us. Jesus explains that the end will come in a time that most people are caught off guard. It comes when people are not looking for His immediate return.

Illustration:  Place a frog in a pot of boiling water and he will quickly jump out. But if you turn up the heat ever so slightly he will boil without ever knowing it! So it appears that slightly over time, the moral fabric of the world crumbles and few see it unless there is a keen eye, which can read the signs of the times. May the Savior give us eyes to see and ears to hear, and minds that set our sights upon Jesus.

Preparation for the end - vv. 34-36 "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with fighting and drunkenness and cares of this life and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man."   We prepare by being watchful.  Ask ourselves. What needs to happen before Christ would return physically to this earth?  The answer is nothing. Nothing needs to happen before we see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven.

The time of Christ's return could come at any time. Yes, it is true. This could be the last generation on planet earth.  Is this a terminal generation?  Only time will tell. As we prepare for the celebration of Jesus' first visit to this planet at Christmas, may we also prepare ourselves for His 2nd return. His 2nd Advent.  When we do that. We will be fully prepared and ready to receive Him when He comes in His glory.
Words – 1,000
Passive sentences –9%
Readability –79.3%

Reading Level –5.3

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Thanksgiving Day
26 November 2015
Luke 17:11-19
Were Not Ten Cleansed?

Almighty God, Your mercies are new every morning and You graciously provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may acknowledge Your goodness, give thanks for Your benefits, and serve You with willing obedience all our days.

Have you ever helped someone who showed no appreciation? Needless to say you were – disappointed. Perhaps, frustrated. Possibly upset or saddened. Jesus had a similar experience. Ten were miraculously healed. Only one returned to give thanks. What happened to the nine?

1.       This question points to the common failure to give thanks.
A.      The nine who did not return thanks had faith enough to ask but not to thank.
1.       They looked to Jesus for help.  “They raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” (v.13)
2.       They obeyed Jesus’ word without question. When he saw them he said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went along, they were cleansed. (v.14)
3.       They were glad to be healed but felt little gratitude to the healer.
B.      Are we inclined to ask more often than to thank?
1.       When delivered from a calamity, we perhaps cried out, “Thank God!” But did we continue to live each day in conscious gratitude to God for fulfilling His gracious purpose in our lives?
2.       If things have gone well for us, have we remembered to thank God for those pleasant and successful days?
3.       If things have gone badly for us, have we been able to thank God for the good that can come to us eve through trials?

What happened to the nine? Where are they? Then and now this question points to the common failure to give thanks. We so easily begin to take God’s blessings for granted. In our lives, is there more petitioning than praising?

2.       This question reminds us there is a reason to give thanks.
A.      Jesus healed all ten from an incurable disease.
1.       The Samaritan understood better than the others did the meaning of this healing.
2.       He looked beyond the healing to the healer. Then one of them, when he saw he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He fell with his face to the ground at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. (Now he was a Samaritan.)  (vv.15-16)
3.       He grasped the greatness of Jesus.  Then he said to the man, “Get up and go your way. Your faith has made you well. (v.19)
B.      Jesus has not healed us from leprosy, but for all of us He has done something infinitely greater.
1.       As the Christ of God He died for us to deliver us from Satan, sin, and hell and then rose from the dead to prove His deliverance.
2.       He creates and sustains our faith in Him by means of the Word and sacraments.

C.      Jesus gives us many other things that we request, as well as things for which we may not be asking.
1.       He gives us health and strength to endure illness.
2.       He gives us worldly possessions. If we have little in the way of possessions, we must nevertheless acknowledge that He supplies our daily needs.
3.       He gives us a family in which we give and receive love, friends who support us, and work that fulfills us.
4.       He has given us a country in which we enjoy political freedom and the freedom to worship Him in the way our conscience directs.

What happened to the nine? The question remains. There is reason to give thanks. What we are and have as redeemed people we owe to God. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercies endure forever!

Words –625
Passive Sentences –5%
Readability – 83%
Reading Level -4.4 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving Eve
25 November 2015
Psalm 117  
“Praise the Lord in every circumstance”

Lord God, You have revealed Your kindness to all people. Gather the nations into Your Church, that in all the various tongues of this world one hymn of praise may be offered to You; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 117 is the shortest psalm in the Psalter. It is also the Bible's central chapter. It is the very center of the 1,189 chapters. Found in Genesis 1 through Revelation 22. As Psalm 115 was national. And Psalm 116 personal. This Psalm is global.

Jesus’ disciples sang this psalm following the Last Supper. Prior to going out to the Garden of Gethsemane. God’s kindness and faithfulness has been shown in the past. And of this, we can be sure. It will continue forever. This Psalm is the inspiration for such great hymns as. “From all that dwell below the skies” and “Praise to the Lord the Almighty

1. The Call to PraisePraise the Lord, all you nations; laud Him, all you peoples. (vs.1) This word can be translated as “sing praise.”
A. The world in its totality is lovingly invited to praise Him. God has and will continue to show Israel His kindness and faithfulness. God commands praise from all peoples.
B. The world. By its tribes. Is loudly invited to adore Him. The Lord’s faithful love prevails over all.
C. Father, help me be a witness through my praise for You.
D. Lord, save Your people from all the nations.

2. The Cause for praiseFor His loving-kindness toward us is great, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. (Vs.2 a-b)
A. The loving triumph of the Lord. The salvation of God’s people. Is the reason for universal praise. The gospel of Christ is ordered to be preached to all nations. And by His work of redemption. Those that were afar off. Are made nigh. They are made to be a part of God’s family. We are among the persons to whom the Holy Spirit here speaks. Whom he calls upon to join his ancient people in praising the Lord.
B. The lasting truth of the Lord. His loving-kindness toward us is great. The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
C. Thank You Lord. For Your steadfast faithfulness toward Your people.
D. In God's kindness there is mercy, because…
1. Our sin deserves the reverse of kindness. We get more than we deserve. That’s grace!
2. Our weakness requires great tenderness. Jesus knows your fears. He knows your doubts. Yet, He bestows on you Hs mercy and peace.
3. Our fears can only be so removed. And He replaces that fear with faith, which trusts His promises for Jesus’ sake.

The Command to praise – Hallelujah! (vs.2c) Thus, we have thanksgiving! In His attribute—He is always faithful. In His revelation—He is always infallible. In His action – it is always according to His promise.
Praise the Name of the Lord. For His loving-kindness toward us is great, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever
Words –525
Passive Sentences –13%
Readability –81.2%

Reading Level -3.8

Monday, November 23, 2015

Clement of Rome, pastor

Almighty God, Your servant Clement of Rome called the Church in Corinth to repentance and faith to unite them in Christian love. Grant that Your Church may be anchored in Your truth by the presence of the Holy Spirit and kept blameless in Your service until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ...(Treasury, p. 944)