This coming Sunday’s theme, “The Faith of a Christian,” is seen in all three of our readings. In the Old Testament lesson: [Isaiah 50:4-10] The Christian faith endures suffering. In the Epistle lesson: [James 3:1-2] The Christian faith is expressed in impartial service. In the Gospel lesson: [Mark 9:14-29] Christian faith is needed when confronting demon possession. As we begin our program year, starting our adult Bible classes and continuing with our Sunday School classes, the Hymn for the Day expresses the hope and desire that all of God’s children, but especially our youth would remain faithful to Christ. The extent to which faithfulness is expressed can be seen in how well the Christian faith is fed and nourished. Thus, a hunger and thirst for the Means of Grace is paramount.
Collect for Proper 19 – Lord Jesus Christ, our support and defense in every need, continue to preserve Your Church in safety, govern her by Your goodness, and bless her with Your peace.
Collect for Pentecost 16 – Grant, merciful Lord, to Your faithful people pardon and peace that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve You with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Monday, 7 September 2015—Psalm 31:14-16, Antiphon, Psalm 31:24 – Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord! The Psalmist’ faith and trust in the Lord is unwavering; His defense against his powerful enemies is his reliance on God’s faithfulness and discerning judgment. Praise advances to the encouragement of the saints.
Tuesday, 8 September 2015—Psalm 116:1-9; key verse, verse 9—that I might walk before the Lord in the land of the living. Psalms 116 is a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to God for deliverance from death – hence the emphasis on verse 9 as the key verse. It may have been written by a king. Verse 16 is very similar to the writing style of King David; however, they are very close to the events of King Hezekiah who thanked the Lord for sparing his life in Isaiah 38:10-20. As a whole, psalm 116 is song of seven stanzas falling into three main divisions: verses 1-6, verses 7-14, and verses 15-19.
Wednesday, 9 September 2015—Isaiah 50:4-10—The Christian faith endures suffering. Isaiah the prophet endured harsh treatment at the hands of his enemies for speaking the truth and being faithful. For this he had to suffer. Yet, as you read these words think of the One whose entire life was that of suffering. Centuries before Christ was even born, Isaiah, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was able to predict with great accuracy the events of Christ’s life as they are outlined in the Gospels. Pay particular attention to verses 5-8 and then see their fulfillment in Christ in such places as Luke 9:51; 1 Timothy 3:16, Matthew 27:30 and Romans 8:31-34.
Thursday, 10 September 2015—James 3:1-12—The Christian faith is expressed in a tamed tongue. Because a teacher has great influence, he will be held more accountable. See Matthew 23:1-33. Since the tongue is so difficult to control, anyone who controls it perfectly gains control of himself in all other areas of life as well. This is a lesson each must bear in mind. Gossip, slander, and malice are all deadly.
Friday, 11 September 2015—Mark 9:14-29—Christian faith is needed when confronted by demon possession.
The devil can make life a living hell on earth. With this boy it had been a long painful struggle “from childhood.” How often had his family heard the indictments? “He’s a challenge. There’s something about him. You know, that boy’s not right!” Each of us has struggles and crosses – those areas of our lives where the devil will strike us hard. Even in “secular” language we are comfortable saying, “…these are demons we must battle.” There are those places in our lives where the devil knows we are weak. Places, where if we would visit will not be a safe place but a dangerous place for we can sense his attempt to destroy us. Out of a sense of survival we might say, “I won’t go there,” and, if we do, a friend might say, ‘She’s in a bad place.”
With this young man, the devil tried to burn him in the fire and yet another time he almost drowned. These were not merely “battle scares” this young man had accrued. This was an onslaught the devil had leashed upon him. These were not isolated incidents but continued blows this poor man had received.
Do you know your weaknesses? The devil knows them – better than we know them ourselves. Our struggle, says St. Paul, “is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:16) Know your enemy! “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) Know your enemy well. Better yet, run to the safe arms of the Savior for salvation and life.
Saturday, 12 September 2015—Isaiah 40:11; John 10:11— Sunday’s hymn of the day is Shepherd of Tender Youth (LSB 864). The only offensive weapon the Christian has is the Word of God. Each generation runs the risk of becoming apostate. How is the faith handed down from generation to generation? It is taught and it is caught.
A Prayer for obedience to God’s Word—O holy and most merciful God, You have taught us the way of Your commandments. We implore You to pour out Your grace into our hearts. Cause it to bear fruit in us that being ever mindful of Your mercies and Your laws, we may always be directed to Your will and daily increase in love toward You and one another. Enable us to resist all evil and to live a godly life. Help us to follow the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to walk in His steps until we shall possess the kingdom that has been prepared for us in heaven; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
A prayer for God to guide us—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.
A prayer for education—Almighty God, our heavenly Father, since You have committed the care and nurture of children to Your people, gracious enlighten those who teach and those who are committed to their instruction that they may know the truth and trust in You all the days of their lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House and from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House.
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
Image © Ed Rioja Higher Things