Thursday, February 28, 2013

Miriam


Exodus 2:1-10, 15:19-21; Numbers 12, 20:1-2

Miriam protects Moses


Miriam who engineered Moses’ rescue would play a crucial role in Moses’ life. His mother’s name was JACHEBED (Ex.6:20) She so thoroughly instructed him that all the allurements of the palace never eradicated his faith. Moses would spend close to forty years in the palace but would never abandon his childhood faith.

Miriam was the sister of two powerful Old Testament men, Moses and Aaron. She served the Lord all of her life, remained steadfast in her determination to see the Hebrew people free from the pharaoh's oppression. Miriam was human, and not perfect. For her pride and insubordination to the power of God working through her brother Moses, she became afflicted with leprosy. (Numbers 12:10-13) It was of short duration, (only one week) but long enough for her to reflect on the error she made in criticizing her brother.

Jealousy caused Miriam to despise her brother. She blamed him for marrying a Cushite woman but that was not the real reason for her resentment. She hated the fact that the Lord spoke directly to her brother Moses. She hated the fact that Moses was more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. Bitterness, resentment, cynicism can creep into our lives. Mariam let it get the best of her. In Lent, we pray for a pure heart. 

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free spirit. –Psalm 51:10-12

Schnorr von Carolsfeld Woodcut used with permission © WELS 
Halley’s Bible Handbook An Abbreviated Bible Commentary Twenty-Third Edition, © 1962 Zondervan Grand Rapids, MI
The Offertory, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ishmael


Genesis 16, 17, 21, 25; 1 Chronicles 1; Romans 9:7-9; Galatians 4:21-31

 Abraham releases Ishmael
Abraham and Sarah had no children. Sarah fell back on the custom of giving her slave girl Hagar. The plan did not work. The child Ishmael would become the brunt of much resentment.

Abraham had good intentions when he fathered Ishmael. He needed an heir; none was forthcoming, since Sarah was barren. Hagar could be a segregate he reasoned. After all, the Lord had made a promise to Abraham, but He was being slow in fulfilling that promise.  Maybe God was not keeping His promise, so thought Sarah.  Sarah would solve the problem of her bareness by herself, “Go, sleep with my maidservant!”

Abraham wanted a quick solution to his problem. It didn't work.  We can come with our own agendas, plans and ideas. They may or they may not be in keeping with God’s perfect plans for our lives. Sadly, our best intentions and efforts aren't ever good enough to save us. Knowing we are helpless before God can be quite humiliating and humbling. We want to be in control. We will do just about anything to avoid having to depend on someone else. We would much prefer to have it our way. But this is the not the right way of coming before God.  Reconciliation will only happen when we trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Savior.

Lord Jesus Christ, before whom all in heaven and earth shall bow, grant courage that Your children may confess Your saving name in the face of any opposition from a world hostile to the Gospel.  Help them to remember Your faithful people who sacrificed much and even faced death rather than dishonor You when called upon to deny the faith. By Your Spirit, strengthen them to be faithful and to confess You boldly, knowing that You will confess Your own before the Father in heaven, with whom You and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, now and forever.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld Woodcut used with permission © WELS 
Collect for persecuted Christians, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Joseph tempted by Potiphar’s wife


Genesis 39

Joseph runs from Potiphar’s wife

Joseph, with an unblemished character, unusually handsome, with an exceptional gift for leadership and the ability to make the best of every unpleasant situation. Born in Haran, 75 years after the death of Abraham, 30 years before the death of Isaac. At the age of seventeen, he was sold into slavery in Egypt and spent thirteen years in Potiphar’s house.

The test Joseph received in Potiphar's house was a defining moment in his life when he faced life's ultimate test. What did he really believed in as absolute truth? When confronted by Potiphar’s wife he explained he could not commit a sin against God.  He took the moral high ground only to be falsely accused and imprisoned.

Jesus too was tested with temptation and false accusation.  Joseph did not defend himself when he was falsely accused, so Jesus "did not open His mouth" (Isaiah 53:7) when He was falsely charged and put on trial. As God vindicated Joseph and raised him to a place of leadership over all of Egypt, so "God raised Jesus from the dead" (Colossians 2:12) and "exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow....and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)  Joseph could have succumbed to temptation and gotten away with it. He resisted and it cost him. When we are faced with temptation, may we pray for the courage to resist.  

Almighty and everlasting God, You would have all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. By Your almighty power and unsearchable wisdom break and hinder all the counsels of those who hate Your Word and who, by corrupt teaching, would destroy it. Enlighten them with the knowledge of Your glory that they may know the riches of Your heavenly grace and in peace and righteousness, serve You, the only true God; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld Woodcut used with permission © WELS  
Halley’s Bible Handbook An Abbreviated Bible Commentary Twenty-Third Edition, © 1962 Zondervan Grand Rapids, MI
Collect for Defending the Church from error, Lutheran Service Book © Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mission-Philosophy-Vision Statement


Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Friedheim
10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733

Celebrating our 175th Year
Chartered February 25, 1838

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42
Mission-Philosophy-Vision Statement
For our Friedheim Family
Preamble: The birthday of Mission occurred on the day of Pentecost circa AD 30 in the city of Jerusalem. On February 25, 1838, Zion-Friedheim Lutheran Church was chartered to be a House of Peace, a Haven of Hope for those who suffer and a Harbor of Light in this sin-darkened world. As followers of Jesus, we are Christ’s ambassadors – commissioned by Him who has reconciled the world to Himself to be salt and light.

The Mission of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church - Friedheim is to be “A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith”

The Philosophy of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church - Friedheim is recorded in Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfast in the Apostles’ doctrine, and in fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayer

The Vision of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church - Friedheim is to be one with respect to four specific objectives of mission and ministry.

Ø  The Apostles Doctrine” Being one in unity and faith. Basing our lives on God’s Holy Word as He speaks clearly to us through that Word.

Ø  Fellowship” Being one in the Lord Jesus Christ. Experiencing true joy in Christ. Living at peace with each other and enjoying one another.

Ø  The Breaking of Bread” Sacramental living. Experiencing daily the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation as Christ comes to us in and through the Sacraments.

Ø  Prayer” Upholding one another. Taking our needs burdens joys and sorrows to the throne room of grace. Being thankful as the Savior answers each petition.
                                                               
Member of the Wyneken Memorial School Association
Reach Teach Send
IN CHRIST

Jesse Hoover



In June of 1837, Pr. Jesse Hoover, found out about a small settlement of German Lutherans in Adams County Indiana. Making the trip either on foot or on horseback, Pastor Hoover began paying regular visits to conduct services in the homes of the settlers.

On February 25, 1838, this small group met to organize a congregation, the first rural congregation in Adams County. At this meeting, six candidates were nominated and two weeks later, on March 11, the first election of officers was held. The first officers of the congregation were Friedrich Buuck, elder, and Christian Fuhrman and Heinrich Loeffler, deacons. The charter members of the congregation, 26 adults and 30 children.

Hoover, served both the congregation here at Zion and the one at St. Paul's, Fort Wayne, maintaining his residence in Fort Wayne. It was Pr. Hoover who had given the new location the name of Friedheim, which translates “House of Peace” or “Peaceful Home”.

Pr. Hoover would die of a heart ailment at the age of 28 a few months later. He is buried at the old Concordia Cemetery in downtown Ft. Wayne, IN 

Abraham



Genesis 11-25; Exodus 2:34; Acts 7:2-8; Romans 4; Galatians 3; Hebrews 2, 6, 7, 11

Abraham attempts to sacrifice Isaac

In Genesis 22 Abraham’s faith is tested. God had promised that Isaac would be the father of many nations yet here God commands that Isaac be sacrificed before he had any children. Abraham believed that God would somehow bring Isaac back to life.  The offering of Isaac as a prophecy of the death of Jesus. A father offering his own son, a substitute.  It was on Mt. Moriah, the very same place where, two thousand years later God’s own son was offered. 

Abraham had the faith that his son would return with him. He told his servants, "We" will worship and return. Abraham expected Isaac to be alive to worship. Abraham expected Isaac to be alive to return. How God would do all this he did not know, yet He trusted God to provide.

When we hear this account, we should be reminded of our Savior Jesus. —The Lord Will Provide—supplies a substitute for Isaac. The ram, is caught by its horns, and thus remains unblemished, the perfect sacrifice. Likewise, the Lord offered up His Son Jesus on the cross on Mt. Calvary to be our substitute. He was the perfect sacrifice, unblemished by the taint of sin.  Jesus is the sacrifice for sin. He passed the test of faith, as He was obedient unto death.

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

Schnorr von Carolsfeld Woodcut used with permission © WELS
Halley’s Bible Handbook An Abbreviated Bible Commentary Twenty-Third Edition, © 1962 Zondervan Grand Rapids 
Collect for the Mission of the Church, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Time in the Word - Lent 3


Time in the Word
 February 25 - March 2, 2013
Preparation for Lent 3 

 The Theme for Lent 3 “A Life of Repentance” In the Old Testament lesson (Ezekiel 33:7-20) the prophet is told that he has been called to be a watchman, to speak of warning. If he fails to call men to repentance, he is responsible for his brother’s fall. In the Epistle (1 Corinthians 10:1-13) Paul calls his hearers to repent to avoid destruction. In the Gospel (Luke 13:1-9) Jesus warns us to repent before it is too late or perish.

Collect for Lent 3 O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy, be gracious to all who have gone astray from Your ways and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for a Church Anniversary – Almighty God, You have promised to be with Your Church forever. We praise You for Your presence in this place of worship and ask Your ongoing blessing upon those who gather here. Dwell continually among us with Your holy Word and Sacraments, strengthen our fellowship in the bonds of love and peace, and increase our faithful witness to Your salvation.

A prayer for newness of life in Christ – Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of life, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility, that in the last day, when He shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal. .   

A prayer 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.

A morning prayer – Faithful God, whose mercies are new to us every morning, we humbly pray that You would look upon us in mercy and renew us by Your Holy Spirit. Keep safe our going out and our coming in, and let Your blessings remain with us throughout this day. Preserve us in Your righteousness and grant us a portion in that eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A prayer before worshipO Lord, our Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter, as we come to worship You in spirit and in truth, we humbly pray that You may open our hearts to the preaching of Your Word, so that we may repent of our sins, believe in Jesus Christ as our only Savior, and grow in grace and holiness. Hear us for His same.   

Monday, 25 February 2013Psalm 5:4-8, Antiphon, Psalm 1:6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. In keeping with our theme – a life of repentance the antiphon reminds us that the righteous will be saved but the wicked will perish. They will perish for they do not repent. Implicit in the destinies of the two lifestyles are the destinies of those who choose them. This will be further explained in the Old Testament lesson for the week.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013Psalm 85; key verse v8 I will listen to what God the Lord will say; He promises peace to His people His saints – but let them not return to folly. When we repent, we take responsibility, we show remorse, we repair what we can, and we repeat not! This is what the psalmist is driving at when he says “but let them not return to folly.” When we repeat, when we return to visit from whence we came we provoke God’s displeasure again. Thus, we need to ask the Lord to send us His Holy Spirit to lead us into right living. And when we fall or fail, we need to confess our sin, repent, and rely on His grace to save us. This is the pattern of a life of repentance.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013 Ezekiel 33:7-20– When confronted by the Lord Cain asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” [Genesis 4:9] Ezekiel is called to be a watchman. He is to warn his fellow citizens of the sure destruction, which is to come. If they repent, they are spared. If they refuse to repent, they will be punished, but Ezekiel will not be held liable. However, if he chooses not to warn his brothers, they will surely be punished yet he will be held responsible for his brother because he failed to warn them. We have a responsibility to preach both Law and Gospel. God will judge each individual whether righteous or wicked. God takes no pleasure in punishing. This is his alien work. (This will hurt me as much as it hurts you) But it is a part of God’s nature. We are our brother’s keeper. Each will be judged individually yet there is a moral obligation toward our neighbor to sound the alarm of the coming judgment. 

Thursday, 28 February 20131 Corinthians10:1-13 – St. Paul pleads with his hearers to turn from their sin (repent) to avoid destruction. He uses lessons to be learned from the Israelites’ experiences in the wilderness. The gist of Paul’s pleading: don’t think that just because you were baptized and receive Holy Communion, you are safe from sinning. Look at the Israelites who were baptized into Moses and ate supernatural food. They perished for their sins. Christians can sin, too. Pride goes before a fall. Do not be smug and think you have it made, that nothing can happen to you, and that you are safe from God’s judgment. Yet God will provide an escape from temptation to sin that you need not perish. As Christians, you need to live a life of daily repentance. 

Friday, 01 March 2013Luke 13:1-9– Repent before it is too late. Judgment is delayed to allow time for repentance.  The parable of the fig tree emphasizes God’s forbearance and patience in waiting for repentance. The emphasis is on the plea of the vinedresser to give the tree more time to produce before its destruction.

Suffering and tragedy do not necessarily follow sin. A natural catastrophe like the tower of Siloam and man’s violence like Pilate’s massacre of those in the acts of worship do not imply that the victims were special sinners deserving this fate. All need to repent. Whether or not they are victims of disaster, all are guilty of sin. Thus, unless all repent, they will perish like the victims of the tower and the massacre. 

Saturday, 02 March 2013-Mark 15:29-30; Isaiah 53:4-5:11- Sunday’s hymn is Jesus Refuge of the Weary (423 LSB).  This much-loved Lenten hymn is a meditative song drawing the listener to reflect not only on Christ and His cross but also upon its effect on the Christ’s life. Meditate upon what Christ has offered you – His life, His love in exchange for your sin.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C – John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH


St. Matthew



Collect for the Commemoration of St Matthias (24 February): Almighty God, You chose Your servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve.  Grant that Your Church, ever preserved from false teachers, may be taught and guided by faithful and true pastors and teachers; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns  with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

Hagar




Hagar

Hagar found herself in circumstances beyond her control. As the slave girl of Sarah, she bears a child for her only to find herself banished and exiled. Hagar found herself in a bad place. Her circumstances were beyond her control. She did not ask for her life to turn out as it did, nor did she go looking for trouble. Trouble found her.

How do you react to circumstances for which you cannot control? Will the Lord bring a blessing?  Have you ever experienced a time in your life when life suddenly changed for the worse? What emotions did you feel? Did you struggle and ask God, “Why me?”  Were you able to trust that He had an ultimate plan for all that was happening to you? When the conditions of your life are not favorable, when you find yourselves lost, abandoned, alone, afraid, to whom do we turn?   In every condition, in every situation, we cry out to the Lord. There are times when events are outside our control, and we do not have the power to alter the situation. When these things happen, our dependency must be upon God.  

When we are blinded by the obstacles that stand in our way, when we are tempted to lose sight of what God is doing in our lives we turn to His words and promises which speak to us. We rely not on our experiences but upon the clear words, the Lord has spoken. We place our lives into His hands trusting that He will work in our lives.

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy, be gracious to all who have gone astray from Your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Lent 2 Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Melchizedek



 Melchizedek – A Royal Priest

Melchizedek was a priest, the king of Salem. (Jerusalem) From the early writings of the Old Testament, we are told that the city of Jerusalem would be the scene of the redemption of the world. David, writing close to 1,000 years before Christ sees Jesus as the world’s redeemer.

Melchizedek was the king-priest of God in the Old Testament. He was greater than Abraham, Moses and David. Jesus finds Himself in line with this special priest. The priests of the Old Testaments came from the tribe of Levi. Jesus comes from the tribe Judah. And Moses never said anything about there being any priests in this tribe.  How is Jesus a better priest? 

In the past, men who became priests, each of them died, so none of them could keep on being the Head Priest forever. Jesus is different. He won’t give His position of Head Priest to someone else, because He lives forever. He is always able to save those who come to God through Him. He is always praying for them. Jesus is the perfect priest. He is the one we need. He is holy, without sin, spotless, far removed from sinful men, lifted up far above the heavens.  He didn't have to bring God sacrifices every day for His own sins first, and then for the sins of the people. He made just one sacrifice for all sin when He offered Himself. The Law appointed human beings who have faults and weaknesses to be priests. Jesus is different. God appointed Him as priest forever. And to this very hour, He intercedes for you!

Almighty God, grant to Your Church Your Holy Spirit and the wisdom that comes down from above, that Your Word may be bound but have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of Christ’s holy people, that in steadfast faith we may serve You and in the confession of Your name, abide unto the end; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Halley’s Bible Handbook An Abbreviated Bible Commentary Twenty-Third Edition, © 1962 Zondervan Grand Rapids, MI
Collect for the Church, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Friday, February 22, 2013

Jacob



Genesis 29-30; 35:16-30

Jacob and Rachel

Jacob, who had deceived his brother Esau of his birthright travels to the safety of his uncle Laban where he falls head over heel in love with Rachael, agreeing to work for Laban seven years for Rachael’s hand in marriage.  Jacob however is deceived on his wedding night as the bride was veiled - and Jacob did not notice that Leah - Rachel's older sister, had been substituted for Rachel. Whereas "Rachel was lovely in form and beautiful," Leah, on the other hand “had tender eyes." Jacob must now work an additional seven years for the hand of Rachael. Paybacks are sometimes painful. Jacob, who had made it a habit of practicing deceit, falls victim to dishonesty himself.

Lent is a time for us to take serious inventory not only or our words and actions but upon the motivations for our speech and acts. Have we been completely honest with our words? Have we acted dubiously, not always being forthcoming with our explanations? Have our actions been sometimes suspect? If we are honest with ourselves, we will have to confess that we have sinned against God and our neighbor in our thoughts, our words, and our deed. Jacob made it a habit of manipulating people, often the people from his own family. He often found himself on the receiving end of dishonest and distorted behaviors. Jacob serves as an example for us the hurt and mistrust, which many times can befall us when we are less than honest with ourselves and with those close to us. For our offences, the Son of God suffered and died, and for these transgressions of dishonesty and manipulation, He bore the burden of our sin on the cross. As we journey through Lent, ask the Lord for a pure heart and an honest spirit.  

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.


Schnorr von Carolsfeld Woodcut used with permission © WELS 
Collect for the Church, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Noah














Thanksgiving   after the flood





Noah  builds the ark                           



Genesis 5-10


The Ark was about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. It had three decks, contained stalls with which the animals could be kept, and had a window on the top. In this vessel Noah, his family and the entire created order would be spared from a worldwide flood. When the animals are freed from the ark, Noah offers a sacrifice to the Lord and the rainbow is set as a visible reminder that the Lord would never again destroy the entire world by a flood. 

It took time. It took time for Noah to build the ark. It took time for him to preach repentance. It took time to gather the animals into their stalls. It took time for the rains to come and for the flood waters to recede and regress, and for the world to be restored. After all that time the Lord sent His rainbow as a continued reminder that He would never again destroy the entire world by a flood. Not because He was so good.  But “because the inclination of man is evil from his youth.”  Left to his own devices, man would be right back to where he started - again. God starting over again when man had reached his limit could never restore perfect order to the earth and God grew impatient. A permanent and final solution was necessary. It came in the form of a cross. It is the symbol of the Father’s enduring love. It’s His final offer. Restoration comes in the sacrifice of God’s Son in exchange for the sin of the world. It’s the Father’s final offer. It is a good thing. It works. It brings eternal results.

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

Schnorr von Carolsfeld Woodcut used with permission © WELS 
Halley’s Bible Handbook An Abbreviated Bible Commentary Twenty-Third Edition, © 1962 Zondervan Grand Rapids
Collect for these outside the Church, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rebecca


Genesis 24-27


The story of Rebecca contains three different episodes.

1.         The betrothal and marriage of Rebecca. (Genesis 24) Rebecca is introduced as a brave and resourceful young woman; she impressed all the people who met her. She was a good match for Isaac.    

2.         The birth and youth of Esau and Jacob. (Genesis 25:19-34) Rebecca gave birth to two sons with very different temperaments. The conflict between them would be the basis for conflict between later generations and nations.

3.         Rebecca and the blessing of Isaac. (Genesis 27) Rebecca manipulated the situation so that the older would serve the younger. Rather than let the Lord direct the outcome, Rebecca becomes just as deceitful as Jacob. Parental favoritism will bear its poisonous fruit.

Rebecca will show remarkable initiative, which leads to her marriage to Isaac but would become her eventual downfall. She and her husband Isaac each favored one son over the other, which led to deceit between the two parents and the two brothers. She will go so far as to deceive both her husband and her son to claim the birthright for her younger son Jacob.

Instead of relying upon God and trusting in His promises Rebecca resorted to favoritism and deceit which tore the family apart. It is one thing to say “it’s God’s will” it is quite another to force our own itineraries, plans and agendas in God’s name. Lent calls for us to reflect on the will of God in our lives, for us to seek His path and plan for our lives and to rely upon Him and His ways rather than insist our own ways.

Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with Your most gracious favor, and further us with Your continual help, that in all our works begun, continued and ended in You we may glorify Your holy name and finally, by Your mercy, obtain eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld Woodcut used with permission © WELS
Collect for Divine Guidance Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Enoch



Scripture is quite clear, “Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

Each of us must, one day, face death. Enoch and Elijah were two exceptions. “then he was no more, because God took him away.” Enoch was taken away, to the presence of God without experiencing death. He was “commended as one who pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)

Enoch pleased God, which is proof of his faith. For without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith must always have an object, and the proper object of genuine faith is God. Enoch believed that God truly did exist for he walked with God.  How do we walk and communicate with God? We are connected to God through the person of Jesus Christ.

The writer to the Hebrews reminds us, “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” (Hebrews 9:28) Jesus died as the perfect sacrifice for sin, just as all men must die once. You do not need to fear the future for Christ has claimed you as His own. His death is your death and His life is yours. Like Enoch and Elijah you will be received for you walk with God by faith.

As we are strangers and pilgrims on earth, help us by true faith and a godly life to prepare for the world to come, doing the work You have given us to do while it is day, before the night comes when no one can work. And when our last hour comes, support us by Your power and receive us into Your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

General Pray of the Church, Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Monday, February 18, 2013

Time in the Word - Lent 2



Holding God to His Word

Jacob wrestled with God; he would not let Him go until he received a blessing from Him (Gen. 32:2232). So it was with the Canaanite woman. Though Jesus seemed to ignore and reject her, she continued to call upon His name and look to Him for help (Mt. 15:2128). Even when the Lord called her a little dog, she held on to Him in faith and would not let Him wriggle out of His words: “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” This Gentile woman shows herself to be a true Israelite, who struggles with God and man in Christ and prevails. “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire” (Mt. 15:27–28). This is the sanctifying will of God (1 Thess. 4:1–7)—to test your faith in order that it may be refined and strengthened. For tribulation produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope. And hope in Christ does not disappoint (Rom. 5:15).

Collect for Ash Wednesday (prayed after the Collect for the Day throughout Lent): Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness; 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 Commemoration of St Matthias (24 February): Almighty God, You chose Your servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve.  Grant that Your Church, ever preserved from false teachers, may be taught and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

Prayer for patience: O God, by the patient endurance of Your only-begotten Son You beat down the pride of the old enemy. Help us to treasure rightly in our hearts what our Lord has borne for our sakes that, after His example, we may bear with patience those things that are adverse to us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

Prayer for the aged: Almighty God and gracious Father, in Your mercy look on those whose increasing years bring them weakness, anxiety, distress, or loneliness. Grant that they may always know care and respect, concern and understanding. Grant them willing hearts to accept help and, as their strength wanes, increase their faith with the constant assurance of Your love through Jesus Christ, their Savior,

Monday, 18 February 2013Psalm 25:1–2a, 7–8, 11; Antiphon, Psalm 25:6, 2b, 22Reminiscere is the Latin word for ‘remember,’ the first word of the Introit. It sets the theme of the day, for both Jacob in the Old Testament reading and the Canaanite woman in the Gospel insist that God remember his promised mercies. We, too, pray that the Lord would remember His mercy, and pardon our guilt, for it is great.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013Genesis 32:22–32—At a place which he named Peniel (meaning ‘the face of God’), the patriarch Jacob wrestled with God in earnest prayer. His striving was spiritual and physical. Jacob strove with God because he trusted God to be true to His promises; he persisted until God granted him a blessing. Jacob could do this, not because he was stronger than God (for no one is), but because he held God to His promises (Gen 28:13–15). God cannot lie, and He delights to let us win victories over him on the basis of humble, believing prayer. Jacob clung in faith to God and to God’s promise, and he received the blessing he desired.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013Psalm 121—The psalm for the day is a joyful, exuberant proclamation by the faithful of their trust in the Lord. The one who trusts in the promises of God knows that he shall be preserved throughout all his days, for the Lord neither slumbers nor sleeps, but keeps us from all evil, until the glorious day of the Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thursday, 21 February 20131 Thessalonians 4:1–7—We have been redeemed from the consequence of sin by the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We have been given new life by the washing of water with the Word in Holy Baptism. How, then should we live as new creatures in Christ? St Paul gives us some guidelines in Sunday’s epistle reading, especially as regards our sexual impulses. We are to live lives of purity, reserving the good gift of sexual relations for the marriage bed, for God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.

Friday, 22 February 2013Matthew 15:21–28—In Sunday’s Gospel account, Jesus heals the daughter of one who was despised by the Jews of His day—a Canaanite woman. Jesus shows that His ministry is not limited to the Jews; it extends to all people. This foreign woman shows great faith, for she is dogged and determined to hold Jesus to His promises of grace and blessing. Like the woman, we are all poor beggars before the Lord, and are privileged to receive His crumbs of mercy, for even His crumbs are more than sufficient for us.

Saturday, 9 February 2013—Sunday’s hymn of the day is When in the Hour of Deepest Need (LSB #615). Because of sin, we find ourselves in a terrible predicament, facing all the consequences of our transgressions. The first stanza of the hymn establishes our hopeless condition—hopeless, that is, apart from the mercy of God. The remaining stanzas profess confidence that the Lord will deliver us from our afflictions. In stanza 3, we hold God to His promises, much as Jacob and the Canaanite woman did.

Collect for Reminiscere, the Second Sunday in Lent: O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Artwork by Ed Riojas © Higher Things
Lectionary summary on first page from LCMS Commission on Worship
This week’s Time in the Word written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning