God the Father Almighty, maker of all things. You looked on the affliction of Your barren servant Hannah and did not forget her but answered her prayers with the gift of a son. So hear our supplications and petitions and fill our emptiness, granting us trust in Your provision, so that we, like Hannah, might render unto You all thankfulness and praise, and delight in the miraculous birth of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Monday, September 1, 2014
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Christian Obligation to Sinners
In the Lessons for this week we encounter sinners. What shall we do with our fellow sinners and how shall we deal with them? In the Gospel lesson Jesus teaches what we should do to be reconciled to those who sin against us. Ezekiel in the Old Testament lesson reports that God expects us to warn the sinner, who, if he repents, will live. Paul in the Epistle lesson urges obedience to the officials and law of government and teaches that love is the way to obey the law. The Hymn of the Day speaks of the power we as Christians possess to carry out this task. It is found in the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who has called and saved us according to His grace and favor. We place our confidence in God and enjoy His blessings, even in times of trouble.
Grant, merciful Lord, to Your people pardon and peace that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve You with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
A prayer before we study the Word—Almighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate the study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith.
For Schools—Almighty God, our heavenly Father, since 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 the truth and trust in You all the days of their lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
For Home and Family—Visit, we implore You, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep far from them all harm and danger. Grant us to dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels, and may Your blessing be with us forever, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Monday, September 1, 2014—Psalm 37:3-5,39; Antiphon, Psalm 92:1—The theme of next week’s propers is the description and obligation of the Christian living in the world. The Introit tells us that trusting in the Lord enables us to serve Him, and to have courage in the face of a world that is hostile to the Lord and His people.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014—Psalm 119:113-120 - The first letter in each verse of this portion of Psalm 119 is the Hebrew letter samekh (2). As in the other sections, the psalmist here extols the goodness of God in giving us His holy Word. His devotion to the Word of God moves him to reject the counsel of evildoers. Take note that when the psalmist write, “I love Your law,” this is not the opposite of the Gospel, but a term which encompasses the whole of God’s communication to man.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014—Ezekiel 33:7-9—The Lord told Ezekiel that He would restore Jerusalem, yet this did not remove Ezekiel’s obligation to warn sinners to turn from their wicked ways and repent. Likewise, we who live in the post-resurrection time, when Christ has restored mankind by His death and resurrection, have an obligation to warn sinners to turn from their wicked ways and repent, that they may partake of fellowship with God.
Thursday, September 4, 2014—Romans 13:1-10—Civil governments have been given their authority by God. Thus, the Christian submits himself to that rule which God has established, and exhorts others to do the same. St. Paul also tells us how we are to live with our fellow man: letting love for the neighbor guide all our actions and dealings. This love is not of ourselves, but flows from Christ, who first loved us.
Friday, September 5, 2014—Matthew 18:15-20— Since we have been reconciled to God through Christ Jesus, the Christian life is one that strives for reconciliation with our fellow man. If our brother sins against us, we will try to restore him privately.
Only if that fails will we bring it before others, and before the Church as a last result. Throughout, the goal is the restoration of the erring brother, and his reconciliation with us.
Saturday, September 6, 2014—Hymn 373, By Grace I’m Saved, Grace Free and Boundless—How is it that we have been set free from the bondage of sin, to live a life pleasing to God, with love toward our neighbor? Only by the grace of God. Our salvation is a free gift; our works could never begin to secure our salvation. But, through the love of God poured out upon us in the person of His Son, Jesus, He has made us His own. Tomorrow’s chief hymn is a jubilant recounting of the goodness of God in graciously providing for our salvation.
Sources:Artwork © by Ed Rojas © Higher Things© Higher Things
Lutheran Worship, © 1982, Concordia Publishing House
Friday, August 29, 2014
31 August 2014
The ultimate sacrifice, which Christ demands
“Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the glory of the world to come.”
Jesus begins to show His disciples what He must endure to win salvation. For you. For the entire world. “From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things.” (v.21) This is not a theology of glory. It is a theology of the cross. According to Jesus, suffering is a part of the Christian life. He is willing to be cut off from the Father. From the cross Jesus will cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” – Matthew 27:46
Last week. Peter made a good confession. Now we hear his great rebuttal. Today Jesus says, “You are a scandal. You are not focused on the things of God.” Before, his confession came from God. Today, it comes from Satan. Then, he was a rock. Today, a stumbling block, Then, he made a good confession. Today, a denial of the Father’s purpose. Then, he was following the will of God. Now it was man’s will and human desires. Then, he spoke from the vantage point of faith. Now, a lack of faith. Then, it was Jesus on the Father’s terms. Now, it was Jesus on man’s terms. Then, Jesus said, “Follow Me!” Now, He says, “Get behind Me!”
The ultimate sacrifice, which Christ demands.
1. Consider Christ’s demands.
A. Denial of self. “And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” Likewise the chief priests, also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” Mark 15:29-31
B. Take up the cross. A cross? Peter knew what that meant. Roman execution. The most horrific kind of death imagined. Carrying a Roman cross did not sound like the Messianic kingdom. It sounded like death. The picture of a man, already condemned, required carrying the beam of his own cross to the place of execution. The disciples knew what this meant, for hundreds of men had been executed by this means in their region.
C. Follow the will of the Father. When He was twelve He explained, “I must be about My Father’s business.”-Luke 2:48 By embracing the Father’s love for men, Jesus “loved them to the end,” –John 13:1 for “greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13 In Jesus’ suffering and death, there is salvation and life. Out of love for His Father and for men, Jesus freely accepted His passion and death. “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I lay it down and I take it up.” –John 10:18 He became the suffering servant. Silently He allowed Himself to be led to the slaughter. He bears the sin of men. He becomes, “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”-John 1:29
2. Consider the Christian. A “little Christ.”
A. Deny yourself. It’s a hard life. Any death is hard. Especially the death of self. “ 1 Peter 4:12 Forget, ignore, disown, and lose sight of yourself and your own interests.
B. Take upon yourself your own suffering – the cross. The cross is more than a thankless job, a nosy neighbor a nasty mother-in-law. Even a physical illness is not necessarily a cross. Taking up your cross and following Jesus means literally dying to self. It’s a call to total surrender. It’s a call to following Jesus. Even it means losing some of your closest friends. Even it if means alienation from your family. Even if it means the loss of your reputation. Even if it means losing your job. Even if it means losing your life. In some places of the world, these consequences are reality. The issue is, “are you willing?” Following Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean all these things will happen to you. But are you willing to take up your cross? If there comes a point in your life, where you are faced with a choice – Jesus or the comforts of this life –which will you choose?
C. Follow Christ. Join Jesus as a disciple. Siding with Him. Follow Him. Continually, cleaving steadfastly to Jesus. The road that Jesus pointed is a narrow road. Someone walks a road not by keeping his life but by losing it. It is the road of the resurrection.
3. Consider the stakes. There are high stakes in life in terms of winners and losers.
A. Saves his life – gains the whole world. Loses his life – loses his own soul. Can’t buy it back – what can you give as an exchange for your soul?
B. Loses his life for Christ’s sake. It may be that the crucifixion of the old man, the self, brings pain, but crucifixion is always followed by resurrection. Finds his life. We do not want to avoid the pain of the crucifixion, for without crucifixion there is no resurrection. What more can you win? We do not want to have the old man living in our hearts, but the new one, the resurrected Christ. Daily through contrition and faith, the old man is drowned and dies. The new man. He is our alive example and the one to whom we look. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. “ Hebrews 12:1-2
The hymn for this day, “Hail, Thou Once Despised Jesus” (LSB #531), connects the suffering of Jesus with your salvation. It shows that the glory of God is revealed in the suffering and death of His Son. ‘Worship, honor, power, and blessing…Thou art worthy to receive’ because Jesus suffered to release us…Jesus bears our sin and shame.
Passive Sentences -5%
Reading level –4.5
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.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
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
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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.