Monday, February 21, 2011

Time in the Word - Epiphany 8

God Reveals Himself by Providing for Our Bodily Needs
Whatever good things we have, we have received them from the Lord. He freely provides all that we need for this body and life, and especially for our body and soul to life everlasting. He sends His ministers of the Gospel “as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1) in order that we may be clothed with His righteousness and nourished with His feast. Therefore, Jesus says, “do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on” (Matt. 6:25). As our heavenly Father feeds the birds of the air and clothes the grass of the field, much more will He feed and clothe us. Though we may be faithless and forgetful, and even a mother may “forget her nursing child,” yet the Lord remains faithful, and He “will not forget you” (Is. 49:15). As He has comforted His people in the past, He also has compassion on us in all our afflictions. He favors us and helps us in the day of salvation, which has appeared in the flesh and blood of Christ.

Prayer against the love of money: Almighty God, heavenly Father, You have called us to be Your children and heirs of Your gracious promises in Christ Jesus. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may forsake all covetous desires and the inordinate love of riches. Deliver us from the pursuit of passing things that we may seek the kingdom of Your Son and trust in His righteousness and so find blessedness and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of pastors: Almighty and most merciful God and Father, through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, You have established Your Church to be a temple and dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. We give thanks that You continue to provide shepherds to feed and serve Your flock in which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers. We humbly implore You ever to strengthen the labors of Your ministers, that through their ministry of Word and Sacrament Your people may increase in Your knowledge and service and grow up into Him who is the head, even Jesus Christ, to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit, be all glory now and forever. Amen

Prayer for pastors and their people: O almighty God, by Your Son, our Savior, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful shepherds to guide and feed Your flock. Therefore we pray, make all pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and to administer Your means of grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Monday, 21 February 2011Psalm 62:1–2, 11–12; Antiphon, Psalm 62:8—the Introit shows a picture of calmness for the one who places his trust wholly in the Lord. The one who trusts in God cannot be moved or shaken for God is a Refuge and a Rock and a Fortress. Neither physical nor spiritual enemies can move the Almighty, nor the one who rests securely in Him.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011Psalm 115: 9–18—Looking at this portion of Psalm 115, the first thing that might catch your eye is how many times you see the word LORD in all capital letters. Your English Bibles do this to signify that the underlying Hebrew word is ‘Yahweh,’ the covenant name of God, by which he revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush and by which He led the Israelites through the wilderness into the Promised Land. The use of this name is a reminder to us of the LORD’s provision and care for us all the days of our lives, until He brings us out of this earthly vale of tears into the eternal Promised Land which is His kingdom, and the everlasting dwelling place of all who place their trust in Him.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011Isaiah 49:8–16a—Chapter 49 introduces the Great Servant of the Lord and His work on behalf of His people. In this section appointed for next Sunday’s Old Testament reading, the restoration of the Children of the LORD is in view. He shall take care of their physical needs: They shall feed along the ways; they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them. But His care extends further than just the physical: He says to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’ He sets us free from the darkness and captivity of sin. That is the great day of salvation which, for us in the New testament era, is already an accomplished fact of history, fulfilled by our great Servant of Salvation, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, 24 February 20111 Corinthians 4:1–13—More problems at the Corinthian congregation: problems between pastor and congregation. Is the pastor just a ‘hired hand’? By no means. Paul explains that they are servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. The pastor is called by God to serve the congregation, but not to be their slave. He is God’s representative to the congregation for their good: to deliver the forgiveness of sins in Word and Sacrament.

Friday, 25 February 2011Matthew 6:24–34—Jesus says, You cannot serve God and money, and then gives an practical example of what trusting in God looks like. We won’t worry about the things of this life, either the desires or even the necessities. To worry about such things is sinful, for it shows doubt that God will fulfill His promises to take care of us. Jesus tells us not to worry, and the reason not to: (1) God has given you life. Will he not also give you everything necessary to sustain that life? (2) If God takes care even of the birds of the air, will He not also take care of you? So what ought to be on our minds? Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Where? Where He has promised it to be found—in His holy Word.

Saturday, 26 February 2011—Sunday’s hymn of the day, Sing Praise to God, the Highest Good (LSB #819), praise the lord for all of His benefits to us of both body and soul. It reflects the themes of the Introit and the Psalm of the Day and also puts us in the proper frame of mind as related in the Gospel—seeking the kingdom of God, and then being thankful for all of the blessings of the Lord.

Lectionary summary on front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship.
Artwork by Ed Riojas, © Higher Things.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves Zion Lutheran Church, Dexter IA and St. John Lutheran Church, Casey, IA wrote this week's edition of Time in the Word

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