In the lessons for this coming Sunday, God’s promises are given and the Lord remembers those promises while man might not. The Lord promises Noah and his family that He will never again destroy the earth by a flood. In the Epistle lesson, Paul thanks the Lord for the richness of grace which the Lord has established in Christ. In the Gospel, Christ comes walking to His frightened disciples on the sea. They do not recognize Him because of fear and hardness of heart. The sermon hymn reminds us that it is the Lord Himself that orders our days. Faith calls for us to recognize the Lord working in our life especially when we cannot see His hand at work. God will not abandon us to the world we create for ourselves. God does not withdraw to a contamination-free zone and leave us to get on with it, but enters into the darkness, seriousness and consequences of human wrong-doing in order to save us.
Monday, 20 July 2015—Psalm 145:1-3, 6-7, Antiphon, Psalm 145:5—On the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. This is a hymn summarizing the characteristics of God. It is in acrostic form, making it easy to memorize: each verse in Hebrew begins with a successive letter of the alphabet. Verses 1-3 are the psalmist’s personal expression of praise. In verse 4, he expands to speaking of descendants, of passing on knowledge and experience of God. God is known for his “wondrous works” (verse 5). In verses 8-20, he expands still further, to “all people” (verse 12). Verses 8-9 mention his love, verses 10-13a his kingship over all, verses 14-20 of his care of all in need.
Responsiveness to his call brings protection (verse 20a) but those who oppose his ways will be destroyed. Finally, verse 21 combines the personal commitment to God with that of “all flesh.”
Tuesday, 21 July 2015—Psalm136:1-9; key verse, verse 26— The phrase “the God of heaven” (verse 26) is a Persian title for God found frequently in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel. The Psalm is a liturgy of praise to the Lord as Creator and as Israel’s Redeemer. Its theme and many of its verses parallel much of Psalm 135. Most likely a Levitical song leader led the recital while the choir or worshipers responded with the refrain. The Psalm recounts God’s mighty acts as the psalmist devotes three verses as a call to praise (verses 1 -3), six verses to God’s creation acts (verses 4-9), six to His deliverance of Israel out of Egypt (verses 10-15), one to the desert journey (verse 16), and six to the conquest (verses 17-22). The four concluding verses return to the same basic themes in reverse order; God’s action in history on behalf of His people (verses 23-24), God’s action in the creation order (verse 25), and a closing call to praise (verse 26).
Wednesday, 22 July 2015— Genesis 9:8-17—We need to recognize the reality and depth of human resistance to God that is seen in killing Jesus. What we call “sin” is not just the naughty things we do that make the tabloid headlines. Sin can be deadly and destructive. It has consequences. And it offends. There is a deep seriousness to human wrong-doing – sin – that means that consequences cannot simply be bypassed.
We can either turn away from them, or we can wrestle with them. Here we see God’s refusal to be marginalized. The next time instead of destroying the world through a flood, He will turn His wrath on His own Son.
Thursday, 23 July 2015—Ephesians 3:14-21—This section of the letter offers a bit of relief from the heavy theological portions that have been read up to this point. It presents a moment of tenderness, in which the author speaks directly to his readers about his care for them. He speaks of his prayer for his readers, which he does on bended knee.
Paul, like other apostles, had been entrusted with revelations by the Spirit. Specifically, it had been revealed to him that Gentiles, who receive the gospel in faith, are fellow heirs of the promises of God. They too are members of the body of Christ, and, therefore, they have access to God. "For this reason," the author prays that his readers may be strengthened in spiritual power, love, and knowledge.
Friday, 24 July 2015—Mark 6:45-56—In Mark 1:16-20 when Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James, and John without any apparent previous knowledge of Jesus, they left everything immediately and followed him. What had they recognized in Jesus? It is remarkable that none of the gospels provide a physical description of Jesus. We will never be able to pin him down by virtue of his appearance. Rather, we will always have to recognize Jesus for who He is and what He does. It is more than the miracles and healings Jesus performed or the things He taught. It may actually take the gift of faith to recognize the One who died on the cross as the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
Saturday, 25 July 2015—Psalm 37:5—Sunday’s hymn of the day is Entrust Your Days and Burdens, (LSB 754). In the midst of our busy and hurried lives, it is easy to lose sight that it is the Lord who orders our days and directs our path. Thus, the hymn writer will remind us, “For He who guides the tempests along their thunderous ways will find for you a pathway and guide you all your days.” Place you confidence in Him. He can be trusted at His word. We can rely on Him as we recall what He has done.
Prayer in time of affliction and distress: Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
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. Amen.
Prayer the Unemployed: Heavenly Father, we remember before You, those who suffer want and anxiety from lack of work. Lead us so to use the wealth and resources of this rich land that all persons may find suitable and fulfilling employment and receive just payment for their labor; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for Peace: O God, whom come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works, give to us, Your servants, that peace which the world simply cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey Your commandments and also that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
Collect for this Sunday Proper 12: Almighty and most merciful God, the protector of all who trust in You, strengthen our faith and give us courage to believe that in Your love You will rescue us from all adversities; 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 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House and from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House.