Sunday, January 30, 2011

Time in the Word - Epiphany 5




The Righteousness of Christ

Jesus warns that “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20), but He also calls His imperfect people “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13, 14). That’s because the Lord Jesus came not to abolish the Law or the Prophets, “but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17) in perfect faith and love. Since He does and teaches all of God’s commandments, He is “called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19). God manifests His “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” in “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2–4) and through the preaching of the Gospel gives His “secret and hidden wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:7). Christ gives this perfect righteousness to His people and it leads them to true fasting, which is “to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free” (Is. 58:6) and “to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house” (Is. 58:7).

Collect for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany: Almighty God, You know we live in the midst of so many dangers that in our frailty we cannot stand upright. Grant strength and protection to support us in all dangers and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of our Lord (2 February—read Luke 2:22–38): Almighty and ever-living God, as Your only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in the substance of our flesh, grant that we may be presented to You with pure and clean hearts; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Prayer for the Church: Merciful God, we humbly implore You to cast the bright beams of Your light upon Your Church that we, being instructed by the doctrine of the blessed apostles, may walk in the light of Your truth and finally attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .


Prayer for the Holy Spirit: O Lord God, heavenly Father, by the blessed light of Your divine Word You have led us to the knowledge of Your Son. Grant us the grace of Your Holy Spirit that we may ever walk in the light of Your truth and, rejoicing with sure confidence in Christ, our Savior, be brought unto everlasting salvation; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Prayer before the study of God’s Word: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate our study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Monday, 31 January 2011—Psalm 119:9–16; Antiphon, Psalm 119:12—
Like last week, the readings for next Sunday contrast the righteous and the wicked, but with even more emphasis on the righteous. The Introit is a portion of Psalm 119, the longest Psalm and the longest chapter in the Bible. It is a meditation on the characteristics and blessings of God’s Word. Several terms are used throughout the psalm as synonyms for the Word of God: Law, testimonies, statutes, precepts, and more. The section here encourages us to read, study, meditate upon, and memorize the Word of God. The more we immerse ourselves in the reading and studying of God’s holy Word, the more it will become part of our being, constantly guiding our thoughts and actions.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011—Psalm 112:1–9—Psalm 112 lists some of the characteristics of the righteous person. He fears the LORD and greatly delights in His commandments. That is, that is, he believes, respects, and obeys God’s Word. He finds pleasure in obeying God’s Word. Since his righteousness is not of his own doing, but by the grace of God, through faith in Christ, He is described in the same sorts of terms as we would describe Christ: gracious, merciful, and righteous, looking in triumph on his adversaries, his horn is exalted in honor. All these describe us, too, who are children of God by faith, bestowed upon us in Holy Baptism.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011—Isaiah 58:3–9a—Many rituals and observances were prescribed by God for the children of Israel in the Old Testament, including fasting. But what was it about fasting that the LORD desired? The mere outward act, without the proper humble attitude? About such fasting, the LORD says: Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Rather, what God desires is that we shun evil and do those things that are pleasing in His sight: loose the bonds of wickedness, share your bread with the hungry, bring the homeless poor into your house. In other words, just as the LORD has had pity on us poor sinners, so we also ought to have compassion for others.

Thursday, 3 February 2011—1 Corinthians 2:1–12—We sinners have what St Paul calls itching ears (2 Timothy 4:3). That is, too often, we want to have God’s Word preached on our terms, in ways that we like. Many preachers capitulate, neglecting to preach about sin and grace, and instead telling people what they want to hear: that God exists to give them whatever their hearts desire or ten steps to greater success in the world. Such preachers are to be avoided, for the preaching content of a true servant of God is this: I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Friday, 4 February 2011—Matthew 5:13–20—Jesus teaches His disciples that they are to be the salt of the earth, that is, a preservative in this corrupt and sinful world. God preserves the world, so that we Christians may serve Him here. And our highest form of service is being the light of the world, bringing the light of the Gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus into a sin-darkened world. Christ is the true light, which enlightens everyone (John 1:9), and, just as the moon reflects the light of the sun, we Christians reflect the light of the Son of God into a world dark with sin, wickedness, ignorance, and unbelief.


Saturday, 5 February 2011Sunday’s hymn of the day is Thy Strong Word (LSB #578). Jesus told His disciples (and us) to be the light of the world. By what means do we bring light into this world? By Thy strong Word, which casts the bright beams of Christ’s salvation into the world. The hymn proclaims the light which Christ brought into the world at the Creation and at His crucifixion, and prays that we might proclaim the work that He accomplished, that is, to be light in the world. Finally, the last stanza is a rousing hymn of praise to the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Lectionary summary on front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship.
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.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning pastor of St. John and Zion Dexter, and Casey IA of the Iowas West District, LCMS

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Epiphany 4


O God, you know that we cannot withstand the dangers which surround us. Strengthen us in body and spirit so that with your help, we may be able to overcome the weakness that our sins has brought upon us.”

Who does not want or need God’s blessing? In the congregation, there are people with many problems, questions, and needs. Is it conceivable - that there is not one person who does not need God’ favor? Probably most are in church to receive the blessing of God. It is obvious that not all people are blessed though they may need God’s blessing. Why not? Is it God’s unwillingness or our lack of receptivity? The answer is in the Beatitudes —

Outline: God’s blessing comes to those —

1. Who have spiritual needs — Vv. 3-6. 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
A. Poor in spirit. Luke omits “in spirit.” Certainly, Matthew is not neglecting the physically poor. There is no blessing in poverty. Poor people are not necessarily blessed. The economically poor can be godly or godless. “Poor in spirit,” moreover, does not mean a lack of spirit. Rather, the phrase describes a state of being which we might call humility, unworthiness, a dependence on God for the fulfillment of needs. The New English Bible helpfully translates 5:3: “How blest are those who know their need of God. How blessed are those who know their need of God. We need a shepherd to guide us. Jesus is that good shepherd who tends to our need. The writer of the Hebrews reminds us, “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. - Hebrews 13:20-21

B. Those who hunger for righteousness. As a sheep of His fold as a lamb of his flock as a sinner of His own redeeming, we hunger and thirst for Him and for His righteousness. We hunger and thirst for Him desiring only to be fed by Him as we listen only to Him. I could talk to Mark Witte’s cows all day long and would get nothing from them. Yet all he has to do is speak one word and they know it’s time to be fed. Why? They know his voice.
Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— John 10:11-14

C. To be a blessed person is to be a happy person regardless of external circumstances. Circumstances can change God cannot. Like the weather, hard times come and god – the Father’s promises last forever. Trials last for a season, the Savior’s solution which is found at the cross and empty tomb is endless.

Transition: Your happiness does not depend on your surroundings. The Father’s blessings come to those who have spiritual needs. They also come to those who practice godly virtues.

2. Who practice virtues — Vv. 7-9. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

A. We do this by showing acts of mercy. Jesus said, You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? - Matthew 5:43-47

B. This blessed estate does not depend upon secular well-being for its fulfillment. It is conceivable a Christian can be perfectly miserable on earth and yet blessed. We are blessed because we are primarily forgiven. Forgiveness is what binds us to Christ and to each other. Saint Paul reminds us, As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. - Ephesians 4:1-3

3. Who suffer for a good cause — Vv. 10-12. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
A. By suffering for Jesus.

B. “For when I am weak then I am strong”

The Beatitudes describe the condition of a person in a right relationship with God through faith in Christ. “Blessed” is often translated as “happy.” It is more than what the world considers happiness— possessions, satisfaction, and peace. The blessed one is in favor with God and man.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Time in the Word - Epiphany 4


The Ministry Of Light

The Epiphany season continues its revelation of the glory of God in Jesus. We saw his glory at his baptism (Epiphany 1). John the Baptist witnessed to his glory as Messiah (Epiphany 2). Through his ministry, his glory was revealed as the light in a dark world. Now, we see the glory of God in Jesus by his attitude and grace toward the outcasts of society: the spiritually poor, the humble, and the despised. His glory is seen in his love and concern for sinners. Though he is the Son of God, he does not cater to the religious elite, the highly educated and the economically rich. What a glorious God we see in Christ who humbles himself to serve the unfortunate and the spiritually impoverished!




Collects for Epiphany: Lord God, on this day you revealed your Son to the nations by the leading of a star. Lead us now by faith to know your presence in our lives and bring us at last to the full vision of your glory.

Father, You revealed Your Son to the nations by the guidance of a star. Lead us to Your glory in heaven by the light of faith. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.

Father, You make known the salvation of humankind at the birth of Your Son. Make us strong in faith and bring us to the glory You promise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Collects for Epiphany 4: Almighty God, You know we live in the midst of so many dangers that in our frailty we cannot stand upright. Grant strength and protection to support us in all dangers and carry us through all temptations through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.

O God, you know that we cannot withstand the dangers, which surround us. Strengthen us in body and spirit so that with your help, we may be able to overcome the weakness that our sins has brought upon us.

Collect for Psalm 15: Lord Jesus, You first chose to live among us, and in returning to Your Father You made an eternal home for us. Help us walk blamelessly in You ways and bring us at last to Your holy mountain, where You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen



Monday, 24 January, 2011Psalm 1:1-5; antiphon, Psalm 1:6—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, For the Lord knows the way of the righteous but the way of the wicked will perish. This Psalm speaks of the blessedness of those who derive their ideas of life from God’s Word rather than form their worldly neighbors. Happiness and prosperity is theirs. Not so with the wicked. Repeatedly the godly and the wicked are contrasted. Thus the book of Psalms opens with an exaltation of God’s Word. If David so loved the brief writings that then constituted God’s Word, how much more should we love that same Word, which has not been brought to completion, headed up around the beautiful story of Christ. Other Psalms of the Word are Psalm 19 and Psalm 119. Note also the Psalm’s first word is “blessed”. Blessed is Beatitude: like the Sermon of the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel.

Tuesday, 25 January, 2011Psalm 15 — This psalm gives instruction to those who wish to have access to God at His temple. Thomas Jefferson called this psalm the picture of “a true gentleman.” This is a testimonial of the man of God. What does God require of the individual who seeks his company? He expects right conduct, right speaking (Vv. 2-3a), right relationships with others (Vv.3b-4), and a right use of wealth (Vs. 5) See also Psalm 24. Who swears… (Vs. 4) i.e. who keeps his word whatever the cost. Vs. 5: one of the Jewish laws, see Leviticus 25:36-37. It was not a total ban on lending at interest, but applied to fellow Israelites.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011Micah 6:1-8 - Blessed are they who walk with God. Micah pictures God as suing his people. He takes Israel to court. The people are the defendants. The prophet is God’s defense attorney. The cosmos consists of the witness. God has something against his people: they have been unfaithful to the covenant, played the harlot with pagan gods, and broke his commandments. They have been a disobedient, faithless, and rebellious people. God has a right to a controversy with his people.

Thursday, 27 January 20111 Corinthians 1:18-31- Blessed are the lowly and despised. Paul reminds the church at Corinth that God chose them when they were of no account in the sight of the world: slaves, women, and children. They had no education (wisdom), no political power, and no blue blood. This harmonizes with Jesus’ example as friend of publicans and sinners. He did not choose wealthy, high class or scholarly men for disciples, but peasants and publicans. Why is God interested only in “down-and-outers” and not in the “up-and-outers”? How can this truth be applied to today’s church members who are generally from the middle to top class, have comfortable incomes, are college graduates and among the socially elite? It may be because the educated are educated out of their need for God. The wealthy need nothing that money cannot buy. The powerful are too self-sufficient and sophisticated to humble themselves before God as suppliants and miserable sinners.

Friday, 28 January 2011Matthew 5:1-12- Blessed are those with spiritual qualities. The Beatitudes. They describe the condition of a person in a right relationship with God through faith in Christ. “Blessed” is often translated as “happy.” It is more than what the world considers happiness — possessions, satisfaction, and peace. The blessed one is in favor with God and man. However, the Beatitudes are applicable to the present, their promises look to the future for fulfillment. The Beatitudes are God-oriented: kingdom of heaven, see God, on my account. The blessed estate does not depend upon secular well-being for its fulfillment. It is conceivable a Christian can be perfectly miserable on earth and yet blessed. Poor in spirit. Luke omits “in spirit.” Certainly Matthew is not neglecting the physically poor. There is no blessing in poverty. Poor people are not necessarily blessed. The economically poor can be godly or godless. “Poor in spirit,” moreover, does not mean a lack of spirit. Rather, the phrase describes a state of being which we might call humility, unworthiness, a dependence on God for the fulfillment of needs. The New English Bible helpfully translates 5:3: “How blest are those who know their need of God.”

Saturday, 29 January 20111 John 3:16-19; Hebrews 13:16; Matthew 25:40- Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Lord of Glory, You Have Bought Us. (LSB #851). This wonderful hymn tells the story of salvation and places Christ at the center of everything the Christian does. We are still in a new year. In everything that is begun, continued and ended may Christ be the focus of all that we do.

Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
Luther’s Seal comes courtesy of the Higher Things organization

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Epiphany 3


Almighty God, you sent your Son to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with the power of Your Spirit that we, too, may bring good news to the afflicted, bind upon the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captives.

People need to see Jesus as the eternal light. To those in darkness, a light is a sign of life and hope. In our despair and doubt, we need to look at the light of Christ.

Outline: The Gospel tells us —
1. The light shines — through the preaching of the gospel.
A. It is a work of God. “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17 Jesus, began His ministry at the rust the right time. Matthew reminds us it happened after He had heard that John had been put in prison. (vs12) Jesus will do nothing without first being prompted by the command of God. The Spirit directed Him to enter His ministry when He was baptized. The Spirit led Him to the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil Now He is called to preach and the message is repent!

B. As He begins preaching this message it is a work promised by the prophets. The prophets of the Old Testament had predicted that Messiah would come. Now the prophecy is being fulfilled. He fulfills all righteousness. The time has come for Him to begin His work of redemption.

Transition: As the light of truth shines through the preaching of Christ it is not a weak message. To the contrary, it is a message of power.

2. The light of truth is accepted. We see this in the response of the disciples. “Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee say two brothers Simon and Andrew, casting s net into the sea for they were fishermen. He said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men’.” — Matthew 4:18-19.

A. They were confronted by Christ. He comes to them and tells them to follow Him. No hesitations, no reservations no excuses. Just follow! Likewise, He comes to you with the same message – follow Me! There are plenty of excuses people make today. I have no time! – You will have time to die. I can read my Bible at home privately. Burning coals set apart will soon go out. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.”

Going to church will not make me a Christian – But it might! Besides, Christians go to church. I can worship God in nature or on the butt end of a fishing pole – But you will not!
Besides, nature tells nothing of the grace of God found in Jesus Christ. I know everything preached – I doubt it! There are too many hypocrites in church – So what? If the church were for angels, what chance would you have to join?

B. As a follower of Jesus this now becomes your work. How will people know unless we, who have been placed into a relationship with Christ, draw them to the Savior? The old song sings, “Can we whose souls are lighted, with wisdom from on high, Can we to men benighted the lamp of life deny? Salvation, O salvation! The joyful sound proclaim. Till each remotest nation Has learned Messiah’s name.

This is how the church grows as people are drawn to Christ by the sharing of the gospel. It does not happen through programs but through relationships. As Christ has touched your life, reach out to others – family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers sharing with them the love of Jesus Christ.

Transition: The light shines, it is accepted by faith. It is then released.

3. The light is released — through the ministry. Jesus went about all of Galilee teaching in their synagogues preaching the Gospel of the kingdom healing all kinds of sicknesses and all kinds of disease among the people. — Matthew 4:23

A. The work of this ministry is confrontational. Christ preaches the message of repentance and Satan’s kingdom begins to fall. He challenges sin with repentance. He proclaims the kingdom and people are saved. He confronts sickness and disease and He heals people. Sickness, disease, are a part of living in a broken world. As He heals people, He is bringing people to restoration. The world is restored ultimately when Christ suffered on Calvary’s cross. There, in time, as Christ was suspended between earth and heaven He bore your sins and carried them.

B. Today we express the compassion of Christ as we reach out to people through acts of mercy and charity. It’s a ministry to the whole person:
1. Body (healing) – restoring people completing people making them whole.

2. Mind (teaching) – the whole and full council of God communicated. “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.’

3. Soul (preaching) – sharing Christ with others, connecting to others so we can impact the lives of others.

At the very beginning of his public ministry, Jesus realized he needed helpers to accomplish His work after He left the earth. Today Jesus still needs helpers to complete his mission: to seek and save the lost, to bring knowledge and healing to the world. Jesus’ calling of disciples proves His need of co-workers.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Time in the Word - Epiphany 3

The Ministry of Light

The Epiphany theme of light is evident in both Gospel and the Old Testament lesson — “have seen a great light.” Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise of that light. In Christ is the Epiphany (manifestation) of light. Epiphany deals with the revelation of the glory of God in Jesus. God’s glory is seen in the ministry of Jesus — he brings the kingdom to people through his threefold ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing, a ministry to the whole person: soul, mind, and body. Paul sees the glory of God revealed in the cross — the means of deliverance from the oppression of sin, Satan, and death.

Since the Epistle lesson is given in-course and deals with the problem of internal church division, it does not harmonize with the theme of the other Lessons. The Gospel fulfills the promise of a light coming to the people of Galilee. This fulfillment is in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. It is cause for celebration. By His ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing Jesus brings the light of truth and grace to the world. Psalm 27 harmonizes with the theme of light — “The Lord is my light....” The Prayer asks for us to have a similar ministry of light.


Collects for Epiphany: Lord God, on this day you revealed your Son to the nations by the leading of a star. Lead us now by faith to know your presence in our lives and bring us at last to the full vision of your glory.

Father, You revealed Your Son to the nations by the guidance of a star. Lead us to Your glory in heaven by the light of faith. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.

Father, You make known the salvation of humankind at the birth of Your Son. Make us strong in faith and bring us to the glory You promise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Collects for Epiphany 3: Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities and stretch forth the hand of Your majesty to heal and defend us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Almighty God, you sent your Son to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with the power of your Spirit, that we, too, may bring good news to the afflicted, bind upon the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captives.

Collect for Psalm 27: Gracious Father, protector of those who hope in You: You heard the cry of Your Son and kept Him safe in Your shelter in the day of evil. Grant that Your servants who seek Your face in times of trouble may see Your goodness in the land of the living, through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Monday, 17 January, 2011Psalm 22:27-31; antiphon, Psalm 22:22—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, I will tell of Your name to my brothers, in the midst of the congregation I will praise You. Psalm 22 stands alone by itself. No other psalm pointed beyond itself so fully to the circumstances of Jesus at his crucifixion. John and Matthew will quote from this psalm as the give their accounts of Christ’s passion see Matthew 27:46; 35, 39, 43 and John 19:23-24, 28. They proclaim the passion of Jesus as the fulfillment of this cry of the righteous sufferer. The author of the book of Hebrews placed the words of verse 22 on Jesus’ lips on Hebrews 2:12. No other psalm is quoted more frequently in the New Testament.

Tuesday, 18 January, 2011Psalm 27:1-9 — The words of these choice verses are David’s triumphant confidence of God to deliver him from all those who conspire to bring him down. His prayer presupposes the Lord’s covenant with David. David’s confidence in his Lord introduce the prayer David will pray in verses 7-12. The conclusion of the prayer (Vv. 13-14) echoes the confidence of verses 1-6 and asks the reader to wait patiently for that which is sure although not yet seen.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011Isaiah 9:1-4 - When Isaiah wrote these words, there was darkness in the land. Assyria conquered Zebulon and Naphtali and carried off the people to bondage. There was the darkness of oppression, homelessness, and forced labor. In today’s world there is also much darkness: loneliness, pain, bereavement, poverty, and addiction to drugs or alcohol. We rejoice that in Christ the light has begun to shine as Jesus begins His ministry. What is the joy of a Christian? It is basically the joy of having Christ. He is the Light of the world. To have Christ is to be free from the power and condemnation of sin and from the consequences of sin — death. Joy is a by-product of Jesus’ preaching the good news of salvation, His teaching the truth of God, and His ministry of healing to our bodies and minds.

Thursday, 20 January 20111 Corinthians 1:10-18- Fractions, dissensions, and cliques existed in the Corinthian church because there was a party spirit. A pastor (Apollos, Paul, Peter) was placed above Jesus. It was not Christ’s church but Dr. So-and-So’s church. Unity in a church is based upon the pre-eminence of Christ, not the personality of the pastor. Paul did not make a practice of baptizing people in order to avoid anyone’s claim he belonged to Paul rather than to Christ. Baptism tends to establish a loyalty between the pastor and the candidate. Often it is heard, “He baptized me,” in the sense of adulating the pastor. The closer people get to Christ, the closer they get to each other in harmony and peace.

Friday, 21 January 2011Matthew 4:12-25- Matthew sees Jesus beginning his ministry as a fulfillment of the Isaiah promise that deliverance would come to those taken captive by the Assyrians in Zebulon and Naphtali. Fulfillment implies that Jesus was more than a man, a prophet, or a teacher; he was the Son of God, the Messiah. Repentance (v. 17). For John the Baptist, repentance was a condition for entering the kingdom of God. For Jesus, repentance was accepting the salvation already offered and present. Repentance is not a condition of grace but a response to it. Repentance is acknowledging God’s forgiveness and acceptance; it is a turning to God to accept his grace by faith.

Saturday, 22 January 20111 Peter 1:20-23; Hebrews 7:25; John 13:34-35;- Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Son of God, Eternal Savior. (LSB #842). This hymn is a prayer asking the Savior to direct us. We pray that He in love and pity would heal our wrongs and help our need. Each of us have burdens cares and struggles. Take these needs to your Savior in prayer. He knows your situation. He is more than able to address your need.

Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
Luther’s Seal comes courtesy of the Higher Things organization

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Epiphany 2




Epiphany 2
January 16, 2011
All Three Lessons
Too Good To Tell!

Lord God, you showed your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son. As he brought gladness and healing to his people, grant us these same gifts and lead us also to perfect faith in Him.

The more you hear of the gospel, the better it sounds. The world calls it “communication”; the Bible calls it “witnessing.” What good is the very best news of the world if it is not shared? Witnessing is God’s method of letting the world know of His goodness and grace. Thus, He calls us to witness to who He is and what He is like. The need for witnessing is seen in the fact that in the average congregation 95 percent of the members make no attempt to tell others about Jesus. I pray we are above average.

In today’s Lessons we are called to witness —

1. What to witness: Jesus the Christ — Gospel Lesson. John 1:29-42 - The story of God is manifested in Jesus as the Messiah. John the Baptist refers to Jesus as the Lamb who is baptized by the Spirit and who baptizes with the Spirit.

A. He who knows it can’t keep it to himself, because —

1. A Christian knows who Jesus is —“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One. John 1:29, 34.


2. A Christian knows what Jesus does. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit — John 1:33.

B. What you can say about Jesus.

1. He is the Lamb of God. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! — John 1:29.

2. He baptizes with the Spirit And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ —John 1:33.

3. He is the Son of God — I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One. John 1:34.

2. To whom are we to witness: the whole world — Old Testament Lesson. Isaiah 49:1-7 - The Epiphany can be seen in God’s servant, Israel, who is to bring the light of salvation to the nations. Epiphany deals with the light and with the spreading of the light to the whole world. God is glorified in his servant (v.3) who witness.

A. There is a divine destiny for your life.

1. Divine plan for your life — Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born, the LORD called me; from my mother’s womb, he has spoken my name. And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am[a] honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength— Isaiah 49:1, 5.

2. Discouragement in fulfilling the plan — But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.” - Isaiah 49:4

3. Directive of global proportions — he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” - Isaiah49:6

B. What God asks of each person.

1. To fulfill your destiny — He said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.” - Isaiah 49:3

2. To bring the nation back to God — And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am[a] honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength— Isaiah 49:5

3. To be a light to the world, he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” — Isaiah 49:6

3. Why we witness: called by the will of God — Epistle Lesson. - 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 - The glory of Christ can be seen in the power of the gospel to make believers as in Corinth.

A. Consider your calling

1. Called to be an apostle (the one sent forth) with a united voice “we are witnesses of these things!” — Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. - 1 Corinthians 1:1

2. Called to be saints (believers) — To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours. - 1 Corinthians 1: 2

3. Called into the fellowship of Christ (church) — God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. - 1 Corinthians 1:9

B. What witnessing for Christ can produce.

1. A people enriched with the grace of God — I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus - 1 Corinthians 1:4

2. A people with every spiritual gift — Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed - 1 Corinthians 1:7

3. A people in union with Christ — God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord 1 Corinthians 1:9

Grow where you are planted – serve where He directs you, “gossip the Gospel” to all with whom you meet.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Time in the Word - Epiphany 2



Called to Witness

The Epiphany season has three festivals: The Festival of the Epiphany (January 6), The Baptism Of Our Lord (Epiphany 1), and The Transfiguration Of Our Lord (Last Sunday After The Epiphany). Unlike other seasons, it opens and closes with a festival. The Sundays in between (Epiphany 2-8) are called “Ordinary” Sundays.

The Old Testament lessons harmonize with the Gospel Lesson. Four of the seven Lessons are taken from Isaiah. The Epistle Lessons are given in semi “in-course” fashion from 1 Corinthians 1:1—4:5. Consequently, the Epistle is not intended to harmonize with the theme of the Gospel and the Old Testament lesson. The Epistle lends itself to a series of sermons on the church. The Gospel lesson lays the groundwork of Jesus’ public ministry, a transition from the ministry of John to the ministry of Jesus. Beginning with Epiphany 4, we will have an in-course (verse after verse) series on the fifth chapter of Matthew, the first of three chapters constituting the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-48). Because Easter falls in late April this year the season of Epiphany will last eight weeks in 2011.

In the Gospel the story of God is manifested in Jesus as the Messiah. John the Baptist refers to Jesus as the Lamb who is baptized by the Spirit and who baptizes with the Spirit. In the Old Testament Lesson the Epiphany can be seen in God’s servant, Israel, who is to bring the light of salvation to the nations. Epiphany deals with the light and with the spreading of the light to the whole world. God is glorified in His servant (v. 3) who witness. In the Epistle Lesson the glory of Christ can be seen in the power of the gospel to make believers as in Corinth.





Collects for Epiphany: Lord God, on this day you revealed your Son to the nations by the leading of a star. Lead us now by faith to know your presence in our lives and bring us at last to the full vision of your glory.”

Father, You revealed Your Son to the nations by the guidance of a star. Lead us to Your glory in heaven by the light of faith. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.

Father, You make known the salvation of humankind at the birth of Your Son. Make us strong in faith and bring us to the glory You promise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.


Collects for Epiphany 2: Lord God, you showed your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son. As he brought gladness and healing to his people, grant us these same gifts and lead us to perfect faith in Him.

Almighty and everlasting God, who governs all things in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the prayers of Your people and grant us Your peace through all our days; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Collect for Psalm 40: Lord Jesus Christ, You became obedient to death and Your name was exalted above all others. Teach us always to do the Father’s will, so that, made holy by Your obedience and united to Your sacrifice, we can know Your great love in time of sorrow and sing a new song to our God now and forever.


Time in the Word
10 -15, January, 2011
Preparation for next week, Epiphany 2 –



Monday, 10 January, 2011Psalm 19:1-4; antiphon, Psalm 19:4—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. These words are commonly prayed by the pastor before the sermon is delivered. The silent heavens speak, declaring the glory of their Maker to all who are on the earth. The heavenly lights are not divine nor do they control or disclose man’s destiny. Their glory testifies to the righteousness and faithfulness of the Lord who created them. For further reading and meditation see Romans 1:19-20, Psalm 89:4-8, and Psalm 97:6.

Tuesday, 11 January, 2011Psalm 40 — The psalm is a prayer for help when troubles abound. While the cause of David’s distress is not specified David acknowledges that they are occasioned by his sin. The prayer begins with praise of God for His past mercies (Vv.1-5) and as testimony to the king’s own faithfulness to the Lord (Vv.6-10). These form the ground for his present appeal for help (Vv.11-17)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011Isaiah 49:1-6 - Witnessing to all nations. The Lord calls His servant, Israel, to bring the light of salvation to the nations. Here we have the second of the servant songs in Isaiah. The servant tells how the Lord called and chose him before he was born. For the task of restoring Israel, he was equipped with a mouth “like a sharp sword” and was made like “a polished arrow.” Yet, he feels that his labor was in vain. Then the Lord speaks to him and becomes his strength. However, the Lord has broadened his task to bring light and salvation not only to Israel but also to the whole world.

Thursday, 13 January 20111 Corinthians 1:1-9 -Witnessing produces the church. Paul thanks God for the grace given to the Corinthian church. In these opening verses of Paul’s Corinthian correspondence, he identifies himself in terms of spiritual gifts. Paul reminds them of “the church of God.” Their church is a part of the ecumenical church “called to be saints together with all those who in every place....
Moreover, in these opening sentences, Paul puts his finger on the problem in the Corinthian church: spiritual gifts such as “all speech and knowledge” which most probably meant Gnosticism and Glossolalia (the speaking in other tongues). While they are waiting for the return of Christ on the last great day, Paul assures them of God’s faithfulness in sustaining and purifying them.

Friday, 14 January 2011John 1:29-41- Witnessing to Christ as the Messiah. John the Baptist witnesses to Jesus as the Son of God. This is the closest John comes to reporting the baptism of Jesus. As Jesus comes to him, John the Baptist hails Him as the Lamb of God. He reports seeing the dove of the Spirit coming upon Jesus at the baptism. John confesses that Jesus is greater than he is because Jesus baptizes with the Spirit while he baptizes only with water. Out of this personal experience John the Baptist declares that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.

The Epiphany theme comes to the forefront in today’s Gospel. John the Baptist witnesses to Jesus as the Messiah. Here is a revelation coming forth: this simple peasant from Nazareth is understood as Son of God, the promised Deliverer, Savior. When we deal with Jesus, we are dealing with God.

Saturday, 15 January 2011Galatians 4:4-5; 2 Timothy 1:10; 1 John 4:9; Luke 1:30-35- Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is The Only Son from Heaven. (LSB #402). Who is Jesus? This is the question the world must address. The answer to this question is addressed in the season of Epiphany. St. Paul reminds us that at just the right time, a time set by the Father, He sent His Son, to be born of a woman. Jesus was truly human; He was born under the law to be subject to the Jewish law. Now those who are called by the gospel are incorporated into the family of faith. Outside the weather might be cold and gloomy. The landscape appears to be lifeless. Yet new life is granted to us as we see Jesus who entered our world to be our Savior to win us back to full favor with the Father.

Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
Luther’s Seal comes courtesy of the Higher Things organization

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Baptism of our Lord



“Father in heaven, at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan you proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized into Christ faithful in their calling to be Your children and inheritors with him of everlasting life.”

We are inclined to think of baptism as a once-in-a-lifetime event. For some, it happened when they were only a few days old. And it is supposed to be good for life! Which of course, this is true. Baptism is not repeatable because of the nature of baptism. Baptism needs to be renewed by the repeated renewal of baptismal vows. We are baptized in to Christ but once but we remember our baptism on a daily basis. God is ever faithful and He needs not repeat His promises to us. If we forget or break our baptismal promises it’s not God who has gone back on His promise of grace.

A special service has been prepared for this purpose, for us to remember our baptism. Why we need to re-affirm our baptism, there are several reasons.

1. It is a renewed repentance for sins since baptism.

A. When Christ died on Calvary’s cross He died once for sin.

1. All sin has been paid for period! All sin, every single sin has been paid for. Each and every sin has been addressed. The receipt reads: “Paid in full!”

2. You now stand as a redeemed child of God.

B. When you need forgiveness you can rely on the Savior to act on your behalf.

1. He promised this to St. Paul. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

2. When you come to Him in prayer, seeking His grace come and speak boldly.

C. In Baptism your old sinful self, that is, your sinful nature, the Old Adam was defeated. What does such baptizing with water indicate? It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with hall sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

2. As we reaffirm baptism today it is a repeated confession of faith.

A. Baptism identifies us, it defines us as Christians.

1. It teaches us that we live by faith.

2. It teaches us that we are a people of grace.

3. It teaches us that our life is lived always under the shadow of the cross. St, Paul writes in Romans, chapter six: “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4

B. Your baptism is something you can never loose. Like a parent’s love it is always there. You can walk away from it, but it will never walk away from you

3. As we reaffirm baptism we re-established our relationship with God.

A. Your were named a child of God through your baptism.
1. God’s own child, I gladly say it:
I am baptized into Christ!
He because I could not pay it,
Gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth’s treasures many?
I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free
Lasting to eternity!

2. He that believes and is baptized
Shall see the Lord’s salvation;
Baptized into the death of Christ,
He is a new creation.
Thro’ Christ’s redemption he shall stand
Among the glorious heav’nly band
Of every tribe and nation.

B. Baptism is all an act of God.

1. In love He created faith in you.

2. In love He sustains that faith every day.

3. In love He keeps you as His own.

4. As we reaffirm Baptism there is an increased gift of the Spirit

A. He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5

B. He did this in great measure. Whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. Titus 3:6-8

Our school’s mission statement speaks specifically of our work together and the life we live as redeemed baptized Christians. We reach, teach and send in Christ. Through Jesus Christ, it is the mission of Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School to reach our children with the love of Christ, teach them of God’s Word and world, and send them out as faithful stewards in God’s kingdom. May this describe our life together – not only within our Wyneken Association but here at home in our Friedheim family! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Small Catechism, Baptism Part 4 Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It stanza 1 ibid He that Believes and is Baptized The Lutheran Hymnal © 1941 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Monday, January 3, 2011

Time in the Word - The Baptism of our Lord

God Accepts You

The theme of acceptance harmonizes with baptism. At this time God accepts the repentant sinner, washes away the dirt of sin in the waters of baptism, and adopts the believer as his child, making him his Servant and delights in him. God finds those who fear him to be acceptable to him (Epistle Lesson). At Jesus’ baptism, we hear God’s voice, “This is my beloved Son.” The Epistle Lesson closes by assuring those with faith that for Jesus’ sake their sins are forgiven. By faith we accept God’s acceptance of us.

The Spirit is prominent in the three lessons. Some erroneously refer to a water and a Spirit baptism as though there were two baptisms. Christian baptism is both at the same time and consequently there is, as Paul says, one baptism. The Prayer refers to Jesus’ being anointed with the Spirit. In Psalm 29 we hear God’s voice “upon the waters.” Luther’s Hymn of the Day tells the story of Jesus’ baptism.

Collects for Epiphany: Lord God, on this day you revealed your Son to the nations by the leading of a star. Lead us now by faith to know your presence in our lives and bring us at last to the full vision of your glory.

Father, You revealed Your Son to the nations by the guidance of a star. Lead us to Your glory in heaven by the light of faith. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever.

Father, You make known the salvation of mankind at the birth of Your Son. Make us strong in faith and bring us to the glory You promise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Collects for the Baptism of our Lord: Father in heaven, at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan you proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized into Christ faithful in their calling to be your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life.

Almighty, eternal God, when the Spirit descended upon Jesus at His baptism in the Jordan, You revealed Him as Your own beloved Son. Keep us, Your children born of water and the Spirit, faithful to our calling. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever.

Collect for Psalm 29: Lord our King, Your voice sounds over the waters as You reign above the flood. Help us, who are born again by water and the Holy Spirit, to praise Your wonderful deeds in Your holy temple; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Monday, 03 January, 2011Psalm 2:7-11, 12c; antiphon, Isaiah 42:1a —In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, Behold My servant, whom I uphold,, My chosen in whom My soul delights. The Father accepts the Son at His baptism and so the work of Jesus active public ministry has begun. From this Sunday through Easter we will witness those active acts the Savior did to win for you salvation. The psalmist and the prophet Isaiah rejoice for that day. We join them with our prayers and praises.

Tuesday, 04 January, 2011Psalm 29 — The voice of God is the theme for Psalm 29. Seen in the thunderstorm - sometimes frightening, suggestive of terrifying cataclysms at the end of the world. In the torrent of rain, the ear-splitting thunderclaps, the blaze of lightning the roaring wind that sets the great forests in motion, the psalmist hears God’s voice. For God made and orders them all (Vv. 1-10). Let the hosts of heaven sing His glory (Vv. 1-2) – and may He bless His people on earth. (Vs. 11) The style of this psalm is very similar to ancient Canaanite poetry. Sirion (Vs.6) 9,000 ft Mt. Hermon, on the Israel/Lebanon border. Kadesh (Vs. 8): a place in the desert south of Beersheba.

Wednesday, 05 January 2011Isaiah 42:1-91— God chooses and delights in His Servant. Epiphany deals with light. God chooses his servant to be the light of the nations. Epiphany is the season for world outreach with the gospel. The Lord describes the character and work of His Servant. This is the first of four servant songs in Isaiah. In verses 1-4 the Servant is described as chosen and well-pleasing to the Lord, Spirit-filled, patient, and faithful. In verses 5-9, the work of the Servant is to bring the light of salvation to the world, justice, and He shall be a covenant of the people. How does this passage relate to Jesus’ baptism? As the Servant was anointed with the Spirit, Jesus at His baptism received the Holy Spirit. As the Servant was “chosen, in whom my soul delights,” at His baptism God’s voice said, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” As the Servant was given a task (vv. 6-7), Jesus’ ministry began at His baptism.

Thursday, 06 January 2011Acts 10:34-43— God accepts us by forgiving us for Jesus’ sake. (v. 43) The glory of God is seen in the anointing of Jesus as Messiah by the gift of the Spirit and in His life of doing good, made possible by God’s being with Him. Peter, in a sermon to Cornelius, tells the story of the gospel. The passage is a part of Peter’s sermon to Cornelius and his family in Caesarea. It marks the giving of the gospel to the Gentiles. In this sermon Peter reminded his listeners how Jesus, after his baptism when he received the Spirit, went about preaching and healing. Peter says he was one of the witnesses to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Faith in Jesus brings forgiveness of sin. How does this lesson relate to Jesus’ baptism? Peter sees Jesus’ baptism as the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, testifies to the fact that at baptism Jesus received the Spirit and power to carry out His ministry, and tells Cornelius that forgiveness, which is endemic to baptism, comes from faith in Jesus.

Friday, 07 January 2011Matthew 3:13-17 — God accepts Jesus as His Son at His baptism. The Epiphany season deals with the manifestation of God’s glory in Jesus. At Jesus’ baptism, God is glorified in Jesus by the voice of God declaring Jesus as his Son, and by the appearance of the dove, indicating the gift of the Spirit. Jesus received the Spirit and was declared by God to be his Son. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ baptism differs in two ways from the other Synoptic accounts. Matthew tells of John’s reluctance to baptize Jesus who insists upon it in order that he might fulfill righteousness and identify with all who need repentance. The big question is, if Jesus were sinless why would he want John’s baptism of repentance? The other difference is that God’s voice of acceptance and approval of Jesus is addressed to the spectators: “This is my beloved Son.” Mark and Luke make it a personal experience: “Thou art my beloved Son.”

Saturday, 08 January 2011Isaiah 40:3; Mathew 3:1-6- Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is To Jordan Came The Christ The Lord. (LSB #406/407). As you read and study the words of this hymn you will find the story of Christ’s ministry and your salvation. As we begin a New Year may each day be dedicated to living our baptismal life in the Name of our Lord and Savior.

Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Prayer



Jesus, direct my beginning
Jesus, remain ever near me;
Jesus, Refuge in temptation,
Jesus, be my sole desire.
Jesus, be ever in my thoughts,
Jesus, let me never falter!



From Bach's Christmas OratorioNew Year's Day #7#42
Face of Christ
http://spiritlessons.com/Documnets/Jesus_Pictures/Jesus_Christ_Pictures.htm

Christmas 2

Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18
January 2, 2011
“The Eternal Christmas Plan
God our Father, when Your Son was born of the Virgin Mary He became like us in all things but sin. May we who have been reborn in Him be free from our sinful ways. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen

The celebration of Christmas has been going on for a long time. We usually think that the celebration started with the announcement of the angels to the shepherds, who then made haste with joy to see the great things that had happened. But the, we are reminded that people of the Old Testament looked forward with joy to the coming of the Messiah too. Christians too celebrate the of God’s Son. Even though the calendar has changed to a new year, Christmas is still on our mind. The text for today lends itself to a continuing celebration of Christmas and adds an eternal dimension to our celebration as it talks about “The Eternal Christmas Plan”

1. Christmas began before the world was made.
A. God loved us then already. (vs.4)
1. He did not fall in love with us. He loved us because He is love. In spite of our sin which separated us from Him.
2. His love has a purpose and design which set the pattern for all that would happen in the world. (vs.4)
B. He planned to make us His own. He chose us. (vs.5)
1. This happened in Christ who would effect the forgiveness of our sin by His sacrificial death on the cross.
2. In His grace God would also attach us to Christ by faith so that we would enjoy and have for our own the forgiveness of our sins. (vs.8)
3. This is how His plan would work out in time to make us holy and blameless before Him.

2. Christmas happened in Bethlehem.
A. We went in spirit to Bethlehem last week and there adored again the newborn Savior.
1. It was not a new celebration but a special celebration of God’s faithfulness to His plan and promise.
2. Our wisdom and understanding grew through the means of grace.
B. We can not limit the celebration of Christmas to one day or a week.
1. The celebration is a lifestyle.
2. We celebrate all year long.

3. Christmas is taking place today in the life of the New Testament Church.
A. The eternal plan is being worked out among us.
1. We have been brought to faith in the Lord Jesus. (vs.15)
2. We love each other.
3. We know and believe we have been chosen in Christ.
B. The eternal plan moves us to specific prayers for God’s people.
1. We thank God for believers in the church.
2. We pray that people might grow in their knowledge of faith.
3. We pray that the church might be filled with a glorious inheritance prepared for God’s own people. (vs.18)

Christmas involves an eternal plan. It started before the world was made. It was worked out in time when Christ was born. The plan continues to unfold in the life of the church today. God has you in mind from the beginning of the world and has worked out that plan so that you might have eternal life.


Prayers from For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and by the Church Vol. 1© 1994 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau Dehli NY
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use