Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Joseph of Arimathea


Merciful God, Your servant Joseph of Arimathea prepared the body of our Lord and Savior for burial with reverence and godly fear and laid Him in his own tomb. As we follow the example of Joseph, grant to us, Your faithful people, that same grace and courage to love and serve Jesus with sincere devotion all the days of our lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Robert Barnes, Confessor Martyr

Remembered as a devoted disciple of Martin Luther, Robert Barnes is considered to be among the first Lutheran martyrs. Born in 1495, Barnes became the prior of the Augustinian monastery at Cambridge, England. Converted to Lutheran teaching, he shared his insights with many English scholars through writings and personal contacts. During a time of exile to Germany he became a friend of Luther and later wrote a Latin summary of the main doctrines of the Augsburg Confession titled "Sententiae." Upon his return to England, Barnes shared his Lutheran doctrines and views in person with King Henry VIII and initially had a positive reception. In 1529 Barnes was named royal chaplain. The changing political and ecclesiastical climate in his native country, however, claimed him as a victim; he was burned at the stake in Smithfield in 1540. His final confession of faith was published by Luther, who called his friend Barnes "our good, pious table companion and guest of our home, this holy martyr, Saint Robertus." 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Time in the Word - Proper 12

Time in the Word
Pentecost 10 – Proper 12
Possessed By Possessions
July 29-August 3, 2013

The theme for this coming week is “possessed by possessions”. In the Gospel lesson Jesus refuses to champion the cause of one who wants his inheritance and goes on to teach by a parable that in the pursuit of wealth one can lose one’s soul. In the Old Testament lesson, the theme of vanity is shown when a man works hard to accumulate wealth only to leave it to one who did not work for it. In the Epistle lesson Paul gives us a contrast between heavenly virtues and earthly vices which are to be shunned.

Collect for Proper 13O Lord, grant us wisdom to recognize the treasures You have stored up for us in heaven that we may never despair but always rejoice and be thankful for the riches of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever.

For proper use of wealthAlmighty God, all that we possess is from Your loving hand. Give us grace that we may honor You with all we own, always remembering the account we must one day give to Jesus Christ our Lord.

For steadfast faithAlmighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in the faith to the end and finally come to love everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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

For faith, hope, and loveAlmighty God, grant us a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, a cheerful hop in Your mercy, and a sincere love for You and one another; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
O Lord, grant us wisdom to recognize the treasures You have stored up for us in heaven that we may never despair but always rejoice and be thankful for the riches of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever.

Monday, 29 July 2013 Psalm 49:7-8, 13-14a, 15; antiphon, Psalm 49:1-2 God is the owner of the earth and all that is therein. In giving to God we merely return that which is His own. The vanity of life is explained in this psalm. Also this psalm teaches that death comes to all. This psalm is similar to Psalm 39. Psalm 49 is a meditation on life and death. A typical piece of wisdom on life’s inequalities. At the end of the line death waits for the materialist not even he can buy himself off. The “moral” is similar to that of Jesus’ parable of the rich man found in Sunday’s gospel.

Generally speaking the psalmists have no clear concept of life after death and verse 15 is therefore often taken as a reference to premature death. But this undermines the reasoning, which requires ironing out of this life’s inequalities beyond the grave.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 Psalm 100— Praise God. His mercy endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations. “The Lord is God” and “The Lord is Good” Let the whole earth sing and be glad.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-26— The vanity of accumulating wealth and leaving it to one who did not work for it. To get property, financial security, and a sizable nest-egg, one usually must work hard and long for it, unless he inherited a fortune. To get ahead financially, a husband may work night and day, hold more than one job, and his wife may work, too. The question must often come to these people’s minds: Is it worth the work? Are our material desires and standards too high? Are we missing out on the better things of life by giving all our time and effort to making money? Our lesson speaks to these questions.

Thursday, 1 2013 Colossians 3:1-11— A Christian seeks to acquire heavenly virtues and shuns earthly vices. Many live according to earthly values. Usual folks walk with heads down, seeing worldly things, and thinking negative thoughts. A Christian lives with his feet planted in two worlds – in this world of materials and vices, and in a higher world of heavenly values where Christ is. Since Christ has ascended, we on earth look to Him for our values, goals, and ideals while on earth. Our lives are impoverished by preoccupation with worldly values leading us into negative thoughts and wicked actions. The wagon of life needs to be hitched to the star of Christ.

Friday, 2 August 2013 Luke 12:13-21— The parable of the rich fool. Jesus said, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” If it does not consist of material goods, of what does life consist? Most people feel that money is the key to real living. After winning the Irish Sweepstakes, a woman exclaimed, “Now I’m going to start living!” People need to know what makes life worthwhile.

Saturday, 3 August 2013 Psalm 143:8 – The hymn of the week is “All Depends on Our Possessing” (LSB 732). This much loved hymn is best summed up in stanza three. Contemplate its impact in light of the readings for the week, “Many spend their lives in fretting over trifles and in getting things that have no solid ground. I shall strive to win a treasure that will bring me lasting pleasure and that now is seldom found.”

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES C John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known

Mary, Martha, Lararus of Bethany


Teach us to be like Jesus' dear friends from Bethany, that we might serve Him faithfully like Martha, learn from Him earnestly like Mary, and ultimately be raised by Him like Lazarus. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Commemoration of JS Bach


Almighty God, beautiful in majesty and majestic in holiness, You have taught us in Holy Scripture to sing Your praises and have given to Your servant Johann Sebastian Bach grace to show forth Your glory in his music. Continue to grant this gift of inspiration to all Your servants who write and make music for Your people, that with joy we on earth may glimpse Your beauty and at length know the inexhaustible richness of Your  creation in Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives,and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Proper 12

Proper 12
7.28.2013
Luke 11:1-13




No one would ever do this! When Jesus tells a story, it’s always given for a purpose, a divine purpose. Jesus knows His hearers/ He knows how they will react. He knows how they will behave. He knows what they are thinking before a thought enters their head. He knows your mind because He knows your heart.



Jesus tells a story that is contrary to fact. No one would ever do that! Your elderly neighbor is stranded in her driveway with a flat tire. She sees you retrieving your evening paper. You do not go back into the comfort of your home! Instead, you change her tire or at the very least, you call AAA. Retreat? Never! No one would ever do that!

Your neighbor calls at midnight. Company is coming. He needs three loaves. A friend has come from a long journey. There is nothing to set before him. “I say to you, though he will not rise and give him because he is a friend, yet because of his importunity (persistence) he will rise and give him as much as he needs.” V.8

Trouble me not! The door is shut. My children are with me in bed. I cannot rise and give thee.” No one would ever do this!

With this story Jesus teaches His disciples He taught them to pray. Bette than John. In teaching, He showed them the face of the Father. “God would by these words tenderly invite us to believe that He is our Father and that we are His true children so that we may ask Him confidently with all assurance, as dear children ask their dear Father”.[1]

Fathers, mothers, grandparents only want what is best for their children. If they ask for a loaf, do you give them a stone? If he asks for a fish, do you give him a serpent? If she asks for an egg, do you give her a scorpion?

Why do we fret? Because you only have one shot of being a good parent. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? V.13

Fathers, mothers, grandparents – evil? Yes! Evil! As sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, we have inherited an evil spirit that has rendered us terminal. The soul that sins it will die. Ezekiel 18:20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins Ecclesiastes 7:20 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

As sinners, we each find ourselves in the same sinking ship. No one can help us. No one can save us, except for Jesus Christ. He entered time and space to be your redeemer. He took all of your sins, all of your imperfections, all of your evil and wicked habits and foibles and took them to Himself It was there at the cross he died for you.

His enemies made sure He was dead. They took deliberate steps to make sure He was made to be silenced.

As He slept in the tomb, a doubting and skeptical world cried out “He’s in bed with all of His children. The door is shut. It is night. He can’t rise.  The guard, the stone, the seal. They would hold Him, His critics thought. He can’t disturb us any more with His troubling words and His acts of mercy.

But on the third day, Christ victoriously rose from the dead. He now offers to you forgiveness of all of your sin, life and salvation.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9

Rejoice this day. Jesus provides for you. He gives you the opportunity to speak His peace of forgiveness to others and to each other. He provides eternal bread daily according to your need.

God gives daily bread, even without our prayer even to all the wicked but we pray is this petition that He would lead us to know and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving. And what is meant by Daily Bread? Daily Bread includes everything that belongs to the support and wants of the body comes from your heavenly Father. This includes meat drink clothing, shoes, house, homestead, field, cattle, Money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious and faithful magistrates, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors and the like.[2]

In this life and in the world to come the Lord provides. In this life, not only does he forgive sins but He also encourages us to forgive and strengthen our neighbor.
When we pray, “forgive is our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” we pray that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sin, nor deny our prayers on account of them. For we are worthy of none of the things for which we pray neither have we deserved them. But that He would grant them all to us by grace. For we daily sin much and indeed deserve nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.[3]

All that is needed is the word “Amen”. What is meant by the word “Amen”? That I should be certain that these petitions are acceptable to our Father in heaven and heard by Him; for He Himself has commanded us so to pray, and has promises that He will hear us. Amen, Amen, that is yes, yes, yea, yea, yo, yo, it shall be so! [4]



[1] Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer Small Catechism of Martin Luther LSB pg. 323
[2] Explanation to the 4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer Small Catechism of Martin Luther  LSB pg. 324
[3] Explanation to the 5th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer Small Catechism of Martin Luther LSB pg. 324
[4] Explanation to Conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer Small Catechism of Martin Luther LSB pg. 324

Thursday, July 25, 2013

St. James the Elder




O gracious God, Your servant and apostle James was the first among the twelve to suffer martyrdom for the name of Jesus. Pour out upon the leaders of Your church that the spirit of self-denying service that they may forsake all false and passing allure nets and follow Christ alone, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mary Magdalene

Almighty God, Your son Jesus Christ restored Mary Magdalene to health and called her to be the first witness of His resurrection. Heal us from all our infirmities, and call us to know You in the power of Your Son's unending life; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Time in the Word - Proper 12


Time in the Word

Pentecost 9 – Proper 11
Persistent Prayer

July 22-27, 2013

 

Prayer is the obvious them for next Sunday. The Gospel deals with several aspects of prayer: 1 how to pray; 2 persistence in prayer; 3 God is willing to give good gifts to His children. The Old Testament lesson deals with Abraham’s reasoning with God: getting God not to destroy Sodom because of only 10 righteous souls. Having been reduced from 50 the Lord stops Abraham at his request of ten. Not even ten were found and thus the city was destroyed as is depicted in the woodcut on our cover. Prayer is often a wrestling with God, a spiritual struggle. The Lord encourages us to watch and pray to remain vigilant and on our guard.

Collect for Proper 12: O Lord, let Your merciful ears be attentive to the prayers of Your servants, and by Your Word and Spirit teach us how to pray that our petitions may be pleasing before You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever.

For an answer to prayer; Almighty God, You have promised to hear the petitions of those who ask in Your Son’s name. Mercifully incline Your ears to us who have now made our prayers and supplications to You, and grant that those things that we have faithfully asked according to Your will we may receive to meet our need and bring glory to Your; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

For steadfast faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in the faith to the end and finally come to love everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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

Grant us Lord, the Spirit to think and do always such things as are pleasing in Your sight that we, who without You cannot do anything that is good, may by You be enabled to live according to Your will; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
For faith, hope, and love: Almighty God, grant us a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, a cheerful hop in Your mercy, and a sincere love for You and one another; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Monday, 22 July 2013— Psalm 119:145-149; antiphon, Psalm 50:15 This psalm is based on The Hebrew Letter “Qoph” It’s theme- “Crying With The Whole Heart” David cries “Save me O lord and I will keep Your law.” As the psalm draws to a close, prayer for deliverance becomes more dominant.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013— Psalm 138— This is a royal son of praise for God’s saving help against threatening foes. In many respects it is like Psalm 18 though it is more concise and direct. Two Hebrew four-line stanzas (Vv. 1-3, 6-8) develop the main theme; at the center a two line stanza (Vv. 4-5) expands the praise of the Lord to a universal company of earth’s royalty.
Wednesday, 24 July 2013— Genesis 18:20-33— Abraham bargains with God not to destroy Sodom for the sake of 10 righteous people. In addition to the idea of persistence in prayer, our Old Testament lesson teaches us a number of timeless truths. God is concerned about conditions on earth. Vv. 20-21. We do not have a God high in the heavens who could not care less what happens on earth. In the case of Sodom, God Himself comes down to the city for a first-hand investigation. God knows and cares about the human condition. The wrath of God is real. In verse 22 God intends to destroy the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Sin is punished. The wrath of God is visited upon the wicked. This applies to any city or nation at any period of history. A corrupt society will experience its consequences. In verse 25 Abraham tests God’s justice. Would God destroy the righteous along with the wicked? God would not do that; He is a just God. Vv. 27 and 30 speak concerning the attitude of one in prayer. Abraham realizes he has no right he had no right to speak to God, to approach God, to make any requests. This is the attitude of one who knows his finiteness and unworthiness to speak to God in prayer. Prayer is no friendly chat between equals. It is an audience with the Holy One, full of majesty and glory. Sodom was destroyed because 10 righteous people were not found in the city.

Diogenes could not find one honest man in his land. Are there as many as 10 really righteous people in your city?

Thursday, 25 July 20138— Colossians 2:6-15— Paul exhorts his people to live in Christ in whom dwells the fullness of God. We live on earth only once and almost everyone wants to get as much out of life as possible. But how do you achieve a happy and fulfilling life? Go to any bookstore and you will find scores of books promising a life that can be good, rich, happy and free of fear, worry, and guilt. That is life as it ought to be, the kind of life God means for us to enjoy. But how many readers of these books will then have that new life? When will the real life begin? There is no easy way to get real life. Christians get this life by living in Christ. Life is a by-product of a one-to-one relationship with Christ. Paul gives us the procedure for living in Christ as a way to real life. The key is in verses six and seven. Contemplate these words.

Friday, 26 J1uly 2013— Luke 11:1-13— Jesus gives the Lord’s Prayer and teaches persistence in prayer. It is common practice for many to ask once and forget it. How long should we pray for something? Is unanswered prayer a “no” answer? In the Gospel for Sunday Jesus teaches that there is no limit to the number of times we pray. The friend wanting bread comes at midnight when his friend is in bed. The man wanting to borrow bread kept asking and pounding until in desperation he got out of bed and gave the food. It wasn’t because of friendship but because his friend would not quit bothering him. He would not take “No” for an answer. Jesus teaches that se should ask, see, and finally knock to get what we want. Persistence in prayer is necessary.
Saturday, 27 July 2013— Matthew 6:5-13; 7:7-11 – The hymn of the week is “Come, My Soul, with Every Care” (LSB 779). In every need in every circumstance take it to the Lord in prayer.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES C John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
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.

Commemoration of Ezekiel

 Lord God, heavenly Father, through the prophet Ezekiel, You continued the prophetic pattern of teaching Your people the true faith and demonstrating through miracles Your presence in creation to heal it of its brokenness. Grant that Your Church may see in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the final end-times prophet whose teaching and miracles continue in Your Church through the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Commemoration of Elijah

Lord God, heavenly Father, through the prophet Elijah, You continued the prophetic pattern of teaching Your people the true faith and demonstrating through miracles your presence in creation to heal it is its brokenness. Grant that Your Church may see in Your Son, our Lord Christ, the final end-times prophet whose teaching and miracles continue in Your Church, through the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Proper 11

Proper 11
7.21.2013
Luke 10:38-42

O Lord, grant us the Spirit to hear Your Word and know the one thing needful that by Your Word and Spirit we may live according to Your will through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Mary & Martha have Jesus over for dinner. He is invited for a meal in their home. Martha was concerned that everything, the furnishings, the guests seated at the table, the meal, – everything - had to be perfect. 

Mary is content to sit at the feet of the Savior.  Martha is distracted with much serving. What can be gleaned from this conversation the Savior had with the members of this family?

I.        Only one thing is needed. The one thing needed is for you to sit at the feet of the Savior; to listen to His Word, to abide in Him, and to know of His direction and care in your life.

A.     To sit at the feet of the Savior.

1.      You are doing this, this very moment. You are sitting at the feet of the Savior listening to His Word. Drinking deep from His instruction.

2.      This has been the routine of so many. In a word it’s called “faithfulness”. You have been found faithful. Faithful in coming to service. Faithful in your hearing of God’s Word. Faithful in receiving His gifts with thanksgiving.

B.     To listen to His Word.

1.      As Christ comes to you in His Word which is preached, taught, shared, read.  You respond with a faithful heart.  

2.      Make it a daily habit; make it a part of your everyday ritual. There are countless resources which are readily available; our daily devotionals, “Time in the Word”  Portals of Prayer, and for our children, My Devotions.  Use them!

C.     To abide in Christ.

1.      He initiated this relationship with you when you were baptized. St. Paul would remind us in his letter to the Romans, “When we were baptized into Christ Jesus, we were baptized into His death. We were buried with Him by our Baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.” - Romans 6

2.      He will keep this promise. The writer to the Hebrews speaks of this wonderful promise.  “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 13:21

D.     To know of His direction and care.

1.      He has been doing this all your life. His word and promise to you on the day of His Ascension is an enduring promise. He said, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” – Matthew 28 - Every moment of your life, in every circumstance, He is shaping and using these events of your life to draw you closer to Himself.

2.      But, will He change? Will He change His mind concerning your situation? He can never change. You and I are so fickle changing our minds constantly. Not so with your Lord. He has bound Himself to His Word.  He has clearly spoken this truth through His prophet Malachi when He said, “I am the Lord, I do not change!” (3:6)


Transition:  Only one thing is needed. To sit at the Savior’s feet is a wise choice.

II.     Mary chose what is better. She chose to trust and believe in Christ first. Serving has its place – yet, serving comes from believing.

A.     To trust and believe in Christ is of first import.

1.      It must be top priority. When Christ is not the center of everything we do we are violating the 1st Commandment. We must fear love and trust in God above all things

2.      It must be chief among all of us. St. Paul would remind us, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  – 1 Corinthians 2:2

B.     Serving does have its place.

1.      Without serving nothing would get done. There are so many needs. We need faithful people to be the hands and feet of Christ.   

2.      There is much to do.  What then should be out motivation?  Consider the instruction of St. Paul recorded for us in Colossians 3:17- And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Then Paul gets specific, Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.  Slaves, {employees} obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. -  (Colossians 3:18-22)

C.     Yet serving comes from believing.

1.      We serve only after we have sat and listened. We receive instruction first. Then, we go out into the world as ambassadors for Jesus Christ. We serve, with all our strength. But first we’re fed.

2.      Serving is our response to sitting and listening. We worship on Sunday. Service is performed Monday through Saturday as you live your lives in your given vocations as husbands, wives, children, employees and masters - praising God while you are serving your neighbor.

Transition: Because we choose to sit and the feet of the Savior and listen our reward can not be taken from us.

III.   It will not be taken away from her. A faith which trusts is an enduring faith. It is the blessed assurance we have in Christ, it is a faith that endures throughout time.

A.     A faith which trusts is an enduring faith. Trust is nothing more then another word for faith. Trust is nothing more then taking God at His Word.               

1.      He gives you faith - it will get you through times of testing - in which we are tempted to believe whether God your Father will act for you.

2.      He gives you faith - it will get you through times of doubt -  in which we are called to question whether God your Father is concerned for you.

B.     This is the “blessed assurance” we have in Christ. For He relieves all fear and removes all doubt and sets us apart to be His people for time and eternity.

C.     It is a faith that will endure.

1.      The devil, world and flesh can not defeat faith. They are already crushed as Jesus went to the blood and cruel cross of Calvary and suffered - for you - and then victoriously rose from the grave to defeat our last enemy - death.  Every time you commune this promise of the cross and tomb is given for you. Christ’s body is given - for you - and His blood was shed - for you.  

2.      We are secure in Christ Jesus.  That’s why you are encouraged to pray in the morning and in the evening, “…into Thy hand I commend myself;(placing) my body and soul and all things (into your care). Let Your Holy Spirit be with me that - the devil, world, and the flesh - may have no power over me,”

 Only one thing is needful. What was evident in the life of Mary – sitting at the feet of the Savior may it be found in you today, tomorrow and throughout your days. In Jesus’ Name. Amen


Image: Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Commemoration of Ruth


O God, whose never-failing providence orders all things both in heaven and earth, we humbly implore You to put away from us all hurtful things and to give us those things that are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen. 


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Proper 10

Proper 10
7.14.2013
Luke 10:25-37
Lord Jesus Christ, in Your deep compassion You rescue us from whatever may hurt us. Teach us to love You above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

An expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” he asks. The answer the Savior gives him puts this “young buck” in a rather awkward spot. “Wanting to justify himself” Luke tells us that he asks yet another question, “And who is my neighbor?”  Upon hearing the parable of the Good Samaritan this expert answers his own question, Who is your neighbor – well, it’s, “The one who had mercy.” Mercy. We’re good at talking about it but here standing before us is mercy, with clothes on!  The one who has mercy is like…




1.      Not like the robbers who beat the man leaving him half dead.

A.     To beat a man obviously does not show compassion. It demonstrates brutality, the same brutality that’s been known to man from the dawn of time. It was Kane who killed his brother Able. David had Uriah executed in battle to cover up an extramarital affair. The officials and nobles of the people stoned Stephen to death because they could not bear and could not handle hearing the truth. Do such things happen in our sophisticated world today? 

B.     Yet, how do we reach and react with words?  We can kill a person’s reputation with our speech!  All you would need to do is start a half-truth. If told enough times - within a week - it would be spread all over town - and in many sections of town - it would be believed!. And no matter what the innocent tries to do to regain his good name he cannot. People will believe what they want to hear.  Sometimes being the victim of a soiled reputation due to rumor or innuendo or suspicion is worse then death!

Transition: The one who shows mercy is not the one who kills. Nor is the one who refuses to get involved.

2.      Not like the Priest or Levite - who consider him DOA.

A.     To come in contact with a dead body would cause one to be ceremonially “unclean.” The Priest and Levite had their own religious path set out before them. To stop and help this helpless soul would take time out of his already busy day. He had his course already set out. To stop and help would be an inconvenience. He had a schedule to be kept. After all, he was on his way to the service.

B.     Can we become like this Levite or Priest, avoiding opportunities for service all the while making every effort to appear pious and sincere?  Are we content to live in our own “comfort zone”?  To show mercy often means we have to extend time and energy when we don’t want to.  Often it means we will have to take time our of our busy schedules and our hurried live. Sometimes it means we will have to involve ourselves in the lives of others.  In an episode of the sitcom M*A*S*H Frank Bernes refused to get involved in the life of another. He explained, “If I did that it would get messy. And I don’t like messy!” At times, our involvement means we will be taking the time to help when we know we are walking down a one-way street. 

There will not be an opportunity for that other person to repay – they can’t, or they won’t be able to. Some only help if they know the other will some day repay the favor.  These two refused to show mercy because the timing wasn’t right. We show mercy because the Savior bids us to show mercy – period!

Transition: The Priest and Levite refused to offer mercy because it didn’t fit into their narrow definition of what mercy involves. The Savior doesn’t define mercy He offers it!

3.      Like the Samaritan who bound his wounds and carried for him.

A.     He bound up the man’s wounds. The Savior continues to bind up the wounds of many. He began His ministry showing mercy. Recall His first sermon – The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing!” (Luke 4:16-22)

B.     He demonstrated compassion.  He has shown compassion by bearing your sins in His own body on the tree of the cross. All of your sins, all of your imperfections, all of your troubles, scandals, and abominations He took to Himself. He has shown compassion by suffering dying and rising again for your sin. He drops them into the sea of forgetfulness and He remembers your sins no more!

C.     He went beyond the call of duty. He didn’t have to do any of this. Yet His love for His Father and His love for you compelled Him to go to the cross. He goes beyond the call of duty by sustaining and directing your life every single moment of your life. He is not obligated to help you as we see sometimes define it.

His assistance in your life is not some sort of duty in which we are obliged  to do something. It’s not as if it’s a favor we’re asking Him to perform for us. He acts for you - Purely out of Fatherly love goodness mercy without any worthiness in me. Thus it is my duty to thanks and praise to serve and obey Him. This is His attitude toward you.

D.     He put faith into action. Quite frankly, the work of the Good Samaritan is a deeper story of Jesus and His great love for us. He is the one who has had mercy on you. He is the one who sought you out when all others left you for dead. He won’t desert you. He’ll never abandon you. He can never leave you or forsake you. He’ll never, ever, give up on His own!  He is the one who has paid your debt and has promised to repay even more. Oh, how great is His compassion.

And who is my neighbor?”  It is the one the Savior places in your life to show mercy, empathy, compassion. As the Savior so has shown His great love for you – show forth in your own lives His love, care and consideration. 


Image The Good Samaritan by Aime Morot Le Bon