Saturday, October 31, 2015

Reformation


Almighty God, gracious Lord, pour Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people. Keep them steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and comfort them in all temptations, defend them against all enemies of your Word, and bestow on the church Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Friday, October 30, 2015

All Saints



All Saints
1 November 2015
Matthew 5:1-12

Gracious Savior, keep my eyes ever focused on You and Your blessings, which are mine by grace alone. Amen

To be blessed by God. It is yours now. And it is soon to come. You are blessed now. At this very moment. The rewards are in the future. You are blessed. Now. And not yet.

Life for the Christian is a life that is lived by faith - On this All Saints Day, Jesus; the greatest teacher who has ever lived gives a description of the child of God who has been incorporated into the family of faith. These Beatitudes are the gifts the Savior has given to you. Your citizenship is in heaven. But even now, you are a part of the kingdom.

1. You are blessed even now.
A.  Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens. (V3) To be poor in spirit is to rely on the mercy of God. We must recognize that man, by nature. Is completely destitute. Of all qualities that might merit God's mercy.  It is the kind or forgiving treatment of someone who should be treated harshly. It is the help. Given to people. Who are in a very bad or desperate situation.
B. Blessed are those who mourn. (V.4) You are a Christion. You will mourn. And you will be comforted.  What do we mourn? We mourn over the brokenness of this world. We mourn over death. As Jesus grieved over Lazarus. We are grief-stricken. Because of sickness. And the misery of the world. And the resultant alienation from God which can be found in every corner of this earth.
C. The meek are powerless. A picture of the cross. Yet you inherit for free from those who would try to take by force. This is anti-world. This is completely out of the realm of measurement and feeling. You turn the other cheek. To all who injure.  And you forgive them as Christ forgave those who crucified Him. The meek inherit the earth. (V.5)
D. For those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. (V.6) They will be engorged. Stuffed.  And Swollen. Their cup will run over. Ardently crave the righteousness of God. That righteousness imputed to us by faith.

2. Deserving has nothing to do with it.
A. The merciful receive mercy. (V7)  To the deserving. There is justice. Mercy is only to the undeserving. Show mercy as you have been shown mercy. The unmerciful servant. Misrepresented the king. Who had shown mercy. He acts as if the king still had the debt hanging over them. Reflect the mercy of God toward us.
B. Blessed are the clean in heart. (V.8) Because they themselves will see God. The only way in which you see God is to have a heart cleansed. Establish relationships with others that is characterized by honesty and integrity of both mind and heart.
C. Blessed are the ones making peace. (V 9) They will be called God's sons. Promote the peace that God wills. That it might prevail on this earth.

3.  Cherish the results and rewards.
A. The ones who are persecuted because of righteousness, theirs is the kingdom of heavens. (V.10) In all ages, Christians will experience the persecution of rejection and opposition from this world. So be it.  This world is not your home.  We are pilgrims and strangers. We’re just passing through.
B. Rejoice. Be glad.  Your reward is in heaven. In this sameness, the prophets were persecuted. (v.12). Ultimately, Christians, like the rejected prophets of old, will receive the prophet’s reward. The gift of God's grace. Through Jesus His Son. Is your highest reward.

Citizenship has always had its price. True citizenship. Whether in the Father's Kingdom. Or in this world. Is never easy. But without it. The rewards of life. And of society. Are short-lived.

God asks us to live according to His will. Always in the light of those rewards that He has always given to you in Jesus Christ. Which He is anxious even now to bestow. This Christian life is always a grateful response to what God has done for you in the redemptive work of Christ Jesus. Blessed be His saints on this All Saints Day.
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Words-722
Passive Sentences – 8%
Readability- 81.8

Reading Level- 3.4

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Simon and Jude

Almighty God, You chose Your servants Simon and Jude to be numbered among the glorious company of the apostles. As they were faithful  and zealous in their mission, so may we with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hymn writers

Almighty God, the apostle Paul taught us to praise You in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs... We thank You this day for those who have give to Your Church great hymns, especially Your servants Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann ans Paul Gerhard. May Your Church never lack hymn writers who through their words and music give Your praise. Fill us with the desire to praise and thank You for Your great goodness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Time in the Word - All Saints Day



The Feast of All Saints has been celebrated as such since the ninth century, but its roots are even earlier, in a festival in honor of All Martyrs celebrated in Syria in the mid-fourth century, and in the rededication of the Pantheon in Rome. The Pantheon was originally dedicated as a pagan temple in 27 b.c. to the gods of the seven known planets; it was re-dedicated by Boniface IV in a.d. 610 as a Christian basilica in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all martyrs.

The Feast of All Saints, therefore, recalls the memories of the faithful departed and the triumph of Christ over all false gods. Being thus a Christological feast, the color of the paraments is white.

After the Reformation, Lutherans continued to observe All Saints’ Day, while rejecting the additional Feast of All Souls the following day because of its unscriptural underpinnings in commemorating the souls in Purgatory who were not yet saints.

Collect for the Feast of All SaintAlmighty and everlasting God, You knit together Your faithful people of all times and places into one holy communion, the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that, together with them, we may come to the unspeakable joys You have prepared for those who love You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for a blessed death: Almighty God, grant Your unworthy servants Your grace, that in the hour of our death the adversary may not prevail against us but that we may be found worthy of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for blessedness of heaven: Almighty, everlasting God, You gave Your only Son to be a High Priest of good things to come. Grant unto us, Your unworthy servants, to have our share in the company of the blessed for all eternity; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for hope of eternal life in Christ: Almighty, everlasting God, Your Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ may increase daily and that we may hold fast to the hope that on the Last Day we shall be raised in glory to eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for joy in life and hope of the resurrection: O Lord, the refuge of every generation, we fade like withered grass as You sweep us away in the sleep of death. Make us glad for as many days as You have afflicted us, be gracious to us for Jesus' sake, and awaken us in the joy of the resurrection to eternal life with Him who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 26 October 2015Psalm 31:1, 3, 5; Antiphon, Rev 7:14b—The antiphon is the description of a portion of the vision which the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John received from our Lord Jesus. In it, he sees those saints who have received the beatific vision of God by virtue of their having been baptized, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, that is, Jesus Christ our Savior. This is the blessed existence that awaits all the elect, for which we yearn even while we groan in this vale of tears.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015Psalm 149—A psalm of high praise unto the Lord to be offered up in the assembly of the godly. He has taken pleasure in his people and adorned the humble with salvation. For this, we His saints do not cease to give Him the glory and praise due His name.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015Revelation 7:9–17—This is the vision whence the antiphon for the Introit is drawn. These are the saints who never cease praising God and the Lamb for the salvation which has been accomplished by the Lamb of God having shed His blood for the remission of all our sins and for our salvation. In the Lord’s Supper, we join with those saints who have gone before, with palm branches in their hands, in singing the Sanctus: ‘Holy Holy, Holy…Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord!’ With those saints, we also partake of the marriage feast of the Lamb which has no end.

Thursday, 29 October 20151 John 3:1–3—What an amazing thing it is to be able to pray the Lord’s Prayer, where we address the Holy and Almighty God as Our Father! This we can do because we are the children of God, as St John tells us in the Epistle reading for Sunday. We are His children because, being baptized into Christ, we are Christ’s, and heirs with Him. By the redemption we have by the blood of Jesus, God has made us His children.

Friday, 30 October 2015Matthew 5:1–12—The Beatitudes are not some new kind of Law given by a new Lawgiver, Jesus. Rather, they are a description of those who are in Christ. The Beatitudes describe both who Jesus is and what He gives to all who, by faith, have been incorporated into Him. You, dearly baptized, are blessed: the Kingdom of Heaven is yours, you shall see God, you are called sons of God, for you belong to Christ.

Saturday, 31 October 2015—Sunday’s hymn of the day, For All the Saints (LSB 677) is a song of high praise, not to the saints, but by us saints, for the grace of  God shown to the saints who have gone before. As they now enjoy eternity with their Lord and Redeemer, so we, too, look forward to that more glorious day, when saints triumphant rise in bright array, and sing Alleluias to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Prayer for joy in the promise of bodily resurrection: Merciful Father and Lord of life, with whom live the spirits of those who depart in the faith, we thank You for the blessings of body and soul that You granted this departed loved one, whose earthly remains we now lay to rest. Above all, we rejoice at Your gracious promise to all Your servants, both living and departed, that we shall be raised from death at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, 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.
Historical background adapted from The Lutheran Liturgy by Luther D. Reed, ©1947, Muhlenberg Press, p. 510.

Artwork by Ed Riojas, ©Higher Things.

Dorcas, Lydia and Phoebe


Almighty God, You stirred to compassion the hearts of Your dear servants Dorcas, Lydia and Phoebe to uphold and sustain Your Church by their devoted and charitable deeds. Give us the same will to love You, open our eyes to see you in the least ones, and strengthen our hands to serve You in others, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Reformation

Reformation
October 25, 2015
John 8:31-36
Made free 

 How do you perceive yourselves? Some believe we exist to be free. That seems to be the American mantra, “I was born free, I live free, and I will die, free!”  The truth is we are born slaves to sin. Every one of us has been born into sin. We are in bondage to the power of the Devil. 

Fortunately, this bondage was broken.  By a man who suffered on a cruel and bloody cross. Then He stood at the mouth of an open tomb. Christians are now declared free. In Christ, you are now slaves set free. The Emancipation proclamation.  Lincoln’s greatest acts as president.  Jesus’ death on the cruel, cruel, cross is what has guaranteed your freedom. The Reformation was the event.
That called for religious freedom – Freedom of a burdened conscience.  Freedom from false teachings. You are declared free in Christ. – Free to live, love, and serve.

As Christians we are
1.     Born, once destined to be slaves of sin – 
2.     Yet, we have been made free by Jesus Christ  the only-begotten Son of God –

Each is born a slave to sin. (V. 34) “Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”
Because of our first parents Adam and Eve. We have all been made slaves to sin. One of the hymns we teach our students in Morning Prayer at Wyneken expresses this truth so well.  “In Adam we have all been one, One huge rebellious man; We all have fled that evening voice That sought us as we ran.”[1]  

We remain in this state of slavery and bondage until the day we draw our last breath. Yet, you have been redeemed. By Christ the crucified. Yes, Christ has redeemed you from the curse of the Law.

But at the same time, there is the “Old Adam [lurking] within us, {who} should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil lust so that a new man can daily come forth and arise who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.” [2]   

St. Paul writes, in Romans, the sixth chapter, “We were buried with Christ by Baptism into death, that, like as He was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”[3]

Daily we fall short of the perfection the Father demands of us. We confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have not loved the Father with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors and ourselves. We justly deserve the Father’s present and eternal punishment.[4]
 We confess both sins of commission and sins of omission. This is what we mean when we say to God, “We have sinned by thought, word and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone.”[5]

Specifically, we plead guilty before God in everything. In Individual/Private Confession we pray, “I have lived as if God did not matter and as if I mattered most. My Lord’s name I have not honored, as I should; my worship and prayers have faltered. I have not let His love have its way with me, and so my live for others has failed. There are those whom I have hurt, and those whom I failed to help. My thoughts and desires have been soiled with sin.”[6]

Transition: By being human. We are born slaves to sin. Yet there is in us a “new man.” This has made us a new people. 

God’s Son makes us free. (V. 36) “So if the son has made you free you are free indeed.”

 You are made free because of the action of Jesus. He is the one who entered your reality. At the right time. Jesus entered time and space. He entered your world. John in his Gospel will tell us, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.[7]   But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.[8]

He is the one who bore your sin. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”[9]

He is the one who offers you a new life.  St. Paul would remind us, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  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.”[10]

This freedom cannot be taken from you. Satan may howl and shriek. This is what he enjoys. And he’s so good it! He’s so good at what he does that Paul would remind us, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 9 “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”[11]  He’s always accusing, always judging, always condemning. He’s so critical. He does not approve of Christ and what He is doing in you. So He will continue to bellow and shout his accusations at us.


 But in a clear small voice someone speaks even louder - it is Christ your Savior who speaks His word of peace, “I forgive you” “I love you” “I care for you.” This is what moved the Evangelist John to write, “This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”[12] 

How are we to perceive ourselves?  As humans we are born slaves of sin – Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. That’s the Law. Yet, by the grace of God, we have been made free by the Son – So if the Son has made you free you are free indeed. In Jesus Christ, you are free indeed. Believe and trust in this reality.

Words-1,195
Passive Sentences –7%
Readability-87%
Reading Level-4.1






[1] In Adam We Have All Been One” from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

[2] The Significance of Baptizing with Water” from Luther’s Small Catechism Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO pg. 303

[3] Romans 6:
[4] Confession of Sins from Divine Service II Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO p. 158
[5] Ibid
[6] Individual Confession and Absolution Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO p. 310
[7] John 1:14
[8] Galatians 4:4
[9] 1 Peter 2:24-25
[10] Romans 6:3-4
[11] 1 Peter 5:8-9
[12] 1 John 3:19-20

Friday, October 23, 2015

St. James of Jerusalem

Heavenly Father, shepherd of Your people, You raised up James the Just, brother of our Lord, to guide Your Church. Grant that we may follow his example of prayer and reconciliation and be strengthened by the witness of his death; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

James the Brother of our Lord

Heavenly Father, shepherd of Your people. You raised up James the Just, the brother of our Lord, to guide Your Church. Grant that we may follow his example of prayer and reconciliation and be strengthened by the witness of his death; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Time in the Word - Reformation (Observed)


The theme for the Reformation Sunday is Freedom in Christ. Over the course of centuries, the institutionalized church led by the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, had become extremely corrupt. The Gospel had been obscured, and, in its place, a system of works-righteousness, treasuries of merits of the saints, and the buying and selling of indulgence had arisen.

God used an Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, to reform His Church. Luther searched the Scriptures, and found in them liberty, rooted in the three-fold office of Christ (Prophet, Priest, and King.)

Christ is our Priest, our Mediator, who justifies us by His blood. He is our Prophet, who reveals to us the Gospel, which is the ‘power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes’ (Rom 1:16). Christ is our King, whom we follow by the clear and simple meaning of His Word.

By His death, Christ has set us free from the bondage of sin, death, and the devil. Through Luther and other Reformers, he has set us free from the tyranny of Popes and Councils. We have Freedom in Christ, indeed!

Luther’s explanation of his seal (from a letter he wrote to Lazarus Spengler, city clerk of N├╝rnberg, in July 1530):

Honorable, kind, dear Sir and Friend! Since you ask whether my seal has come out correctly, I shall answer most amiably and tell you of those thoughts which now come to my mind about my seal as a symbol of my theology.

There is first to be a cross, black and placed in a heart, which should be of its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. For if one believes from the heart he will be justified. Even though it is a black cross, which mortifies and which also should hurt us, yet it leaves the heart in its natural color and does not ruin nature; that is, the cross does not kill but keeps man alive. For the just man lives by faith, but by faith in the Crucified One. Such a heart is to be in the midst of a white rose, to symbolize that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace; in a word it places the believer into a white joyful rose; for this faith does not give peace and joy as the world gives and, therefore, the rose is to be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and of all the angels. Such a rose is to be in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in the Spirit and in faith is a beginning of the future heavenly joy; it is already a part of faith, and is grasped through hope, even though not yet manifest. And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that in heaven such blessedness lasts forever and has no end, and in addition is precious beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.

May Christ, our dear Lord, be with your spirit until the life to come. Amen.

Collect for Pentecost 21Almighty and gracious Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people. Keep us steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and deliver us in times of temptation, defend us against all enemies, and grant to Your Church Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for defending the Church from error: 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. Amen.

Monday, 19 October 2015Psalm 34:1–2, 11, 22; Antiphon, Psalm 119:46—The Antiphon for next Sunday’s Introit proclaims, I will speak of Your statutes before Kings O Lord, and shall not be put to shame. This verse also serves as the inscription for the Augsburg Confession, one of the documents in the Lutheran Book of Concord. We need fear no earthly kings or powers when we make confession of our faith, for we have been set free from fear by the Gospel. Let us make bold our proclamation of confidence in the Lord, who redeems the life of His servants. For this, we bless the Lord at all times.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015Psalm 46—This psalm of David expresses complete confidence in God, no matter the circumstance. It depicts scenes of turmoil: natural disasters (vv. 2, 3), political persecution (v. 6a), and even the end of days (v. 6b). The one who trusts in God can withstand such troubles, and be still and quiet, for God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015Revelation 14:6–7—This first angel of John’s vision has often been interpreted by Lutheran commentators as Martin Luther, because of his clear proclamation of the eternal gospel to…those who dwell on earth. Certainly God worked through this man, as He works through others, to bring His message of freedom in Christ to every nation and tribe and language and people.

Thursday, 22 October 2015Romans 3:19–28—Theologians use a Latin phrase that describes our relationship with God’s Holy Law: Lex semper accusat, that is, ‘the Law always accuses’. This is because none of us sinful humans can obey God’s Law perfectly. Both our original sin and our actual sin condemn us. But there is a righteousness before God apart from the Law and apart from ourselves and anything we do. This righteousness is the righteousness of Christ, which is imputed to us through faith in the propitiating death of Christ on our behalf. Because of Christ’s fulfillment of the Law, and His blood which He shed for us, God declares us ‘not guilty’

Friday, 23 October 2015John 8:31–36—Sunday’s Gospel speaks of the freedom we find in the Truth of Jesus Christ. All of us were born into slavery—the slavery of sin. But Christ has set us free from our bondage by His atoning sacrifice. The One who declares, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life tells us here that the Truth shall set us free. The Truth has set us free: the Truth which embodied in Christ Jesus and the Truth which He declares to us in His Word. We are free, indeed!

Saturday, 24 October 2015—Sunday’s hymn of the day, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (LSB 656) is Luther’s great battle hymn of the Reformation. Based on the Psalm of the day, Psalm 46, it reflects complete confidence in God, even when faced by a host of devils and the earthly adversities they bring. They can harm us none, for they have been felled—defeated—by one little Word, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Savior.


Explanation from Luther’s Works, American Edition, vol. 49, pp. 358-359.
Prayer from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Luke




Almighty God, our Father, Your blessed Son called Luke the physician to be an evangelist and physician of souls. Grant that the healing medicine of the Gospel and Sacraments may put to flight the diseases of the soul that with willing hearts we may ever love and serve You; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Time in the Word - Pentecost 21 - Proper 24


By the Voluntary Poverty of Christ,
We Enter the Kingdom of God

To love and trust in earthly wealth is vanity. For nothing of this earth will last forever, nor can any of it grant eternal life (Eccl. 5:10). But the one who trusts in God is “occupied with joy in his heart” and is able to sleep in peace, “whether he eats little or much,” because he knows that the “days of his life” are “the gift of God” (Eccl. 5:12, 18–20). The person who trusts in riches cannot sleep, because he “shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand” (Eccl. 5:15). Therefore, it is difficult “for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 20:23). Indeed, it is impossible for man, and yet, “All things are possible with God” (Mark 20:27). Thus, the Rich Man, Jesus Christ, has made Himself poor and has gone through “the eye of a needle,” through death and the grave, “to enter the kingdom of God” on our behalf (Mark 20:24–25). He is the “great High Priest who has passed through the heavens” (Heb 4:14), so that we may now enter His Sabbath rest by faith in His forgiveness (Heb. 4:3–9).


Collect for Pentecost 21O God, Your divine wisdom sets in order all things in heaven and on earth. Put away from us all things hurtful and give us those things that are beneficial 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.

Prayer for deliverance from the love of money: Almighty 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, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Prayer for the proper use of wealth: Almighty 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, who lives and reigns . . .

Prayer for responsible leaders: O merciful Father in heaven, from You comes all rule and authority over the nations of the world for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do well. Graciously regard Your servants, those who make, administer, and judge the laws of this nation, and look in mercy upon all the rulers of the earth. Grant that all who receive the sword as Your servants may bear it according to Your command. Enlighten and defend them, and grant them wisdom and understanding that under their peaceable governance Your people may be guarded and directed in righteousness, quietness, and unity. Protect and prolong their lives that we with them may show forth the praise of Your name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Time in the Word
12–17 October 2015

Monday, 12 October 2015Psalm 34:1–4; Antiphon, Psalm 34:18—The strange circumstances of this psalm are found in 1 Sam 21:10–15. David, in a moment of weakness of faith, had sought protection from Saul in a foreign king, rather than trusting in the Lord. When he realized his sin, he faked insanity and then wrote this psalm which proclaims the truth that true deliverance is to be found only in the Lord. Neither riches nor earthly power can deliver us from our circumstances, only the Lord.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015Psalm 119:9–16Psalm 119, the longest of the psalms, is a hymn of praise to the Word of God. This portion sings of the blessings of storing up God’s Word in our hearts. Oftentimes our children think it drudgery to memorize scripture passages; it is not until many years later that they recognize the blessing of knowing these nuggets of truth. We should all treasure the Word of God and delight in it as much as all riches.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015Ecclesiastes 5:10–20—Many years ago, a reporter asked billionaire John D. Rockefeller, “How much is enough?” His famous reply: “Just a little bit more.” This passage from King Solomon, who possessed wealth of wisdom that surpassed his great wealth of riches, shows the futility of such thinking. Riches can be a blessing, but if they are allowed to control a person, they become a curse. Trusting in money more than in the One who provides the material blessings is idolatry.

Thursday, 15 October 2015Hebrews 4:1–13—This portion of our reading through the book of Hebrews contains an exhortation and a warning.
We are exhorted to seek the true rest of the Lord, while warned not to make the mistake of the rebellious people of Israel, who hardened their hearts against the Lord, and did not enter into His rest.

Friday, 16 October 2015Mark 10:23–31—Sunday’s Gospel is a continuation of last week’s. After the rich young man went away sorrowful, Jesus takes the opportunity to educate His disciples in the barrier that great wealth poses to one’s salvation. The temptation is to trust in the riches, rather than the Bestower of them. In fact, it is impossible, not only for the wealthy, but for anyone to earn His salvation by any means, even good works. Who can be saved? they ask. Who, indeed? No can, if he relies on himself. It is only by God’s grace that anyone can be saved, for all things are possible with God.
Jesus predicts His trial, execution, and resurrection for the third time, while walking boldly to His death. Jesus goes to die the sinners' death, accepting the Law's penalty in our place. Faith looks to Christ crucified and risen and says, "for me!" Luther - "Who is this "me?" It is I, an accursed and damned sinner, who was so beloved by the Son of God that He gave Himself for me." (AE 26:176)

Saturday, 17 October 2015—Sunday’s hymn of the day is Jesus, Priceless Treasure (LSB #743). It is a great hymn of faith, trusting in Jesus in spite of all trials and tribulations, sadness and trouble. Written in 1641, it soon made its way into most hymnals, being paired with a strong melody, one of the finest German Lutheran chorales.
  
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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pentecost 21 - Proper 23



Proper 23
11 October 2015
Mark 10:17-22

Enlighten our minds, we pray, O God, by the Spirit who proceeds from You that , as Your Son has promised, we may be led into all truth; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One god, now and forever.

Many people identify with this man. He could not wait. To taste real life. He ran to Jesus. Kneeling.  He begged Jesus to give him life. He wanted “eternal life”. He had life. In the sense of its existence. But he wanted something more.  He wanted a life of quality.

Today, people are more interested in life lived today. Rather than life lived in eternity. The tragedy? The man turned down the opportunity to get real life. The price was simply too high.

How do you then get real life?

By earning it? This life is not a reward. Compensation given for obeying the commands. This man sensed. That keeping the commandments wasn’t enough. For a spiritually satisfying life. Something was missing. He was right. Jesus told him. “One thing is lacking. Go. Sell everything. (Literally! Not figuratively!)  And follow Me.”

That made the man sad. He walked away sullen. Just as our losses during this recession might saddened and anger us. When we experience painful loss. We look for deliverance. For something, more than a spiritualized religious lesson plan. We need a flesh and blood deliverer. Who is the one who can satisfy? It is Christ.  

You know how the game is played. You simply follow the rules. This man was an expert at following the rules…Children were entering the kingdom. Certainly, there was something he could do to prove his worthiness. He felt justified. By his life and conduct. But he was only fooling himself. For there is only one person who has lived a perfect life. This man was speaking to that man. That man is Jesus Christ.

So, you can’t earn it. In that case, then do the next best thing. By buying it? This man had the wealth to buy it. – If it could be bought. He was rich. A man of many resources. If he had wanted it. He got it. And In this world. Those who “have it” have it good!

Or, so they think. For some. The mark of success is never having to ask how much does it cost. But that life which Jesus was speaking is beyond price. 

This man called Jesus a “good teacher.” Hoping Jesus would teach him how to obtain life. Jesus refused to be his guru. He was more than a life coach.  Why do you call me good?” “No one is good but God alone.” (v.19)  This man calls Jesus “good.” Only God is good. Do you accept the idea, the image, the impression, the intention…that Jesus is God?

Only God is good. The way to God. Is not to discover His secret for a good life, in order to earn God’s favor. Rather it is to come in faith to Christ, who alone can bestow eternal life.

Eternal life is “inherited” as a gift. From the One to whom we are fully committed. Jesus did not want anything standing in the way of Him.

Instead of following Jesus. This man chooses to stay with his money and his wealth. He walked away sad and bitter for he was a wealthy man. It was his money. Which he had given first priority in his life.

So what about you? What is your destiny? What is God’s desire of you? His desire is to give your life, liberty and peace. Freedom, security, happiness and joy. Regardless of cost or price.

He gives you all these things freely – without any cost without any price. It was all bought and paid for by His on Son’s blood.

Sadly, by the world’s standards, you are valued by the bottom line. By your salary, position, your home, your education, your status in the community, your appreciation for culture. Jesus looked at him and loved him. One thing you lack, he said. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. We have nothing without Jesus Christ. To know Him is to know all. To have Him is to have all.

All Jesus asks of you is your life. He asks that you simply follow Him and no one else. By following Jesus, you gain everything. It’s as simple as that.

With this one thing, a life with Christ you have everything. Having everything but that one thing, Jesus makes all the difference in the world. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but to lose his own soul? Today trust Jesus. Follow Him! Obey Him! He is the one thing, which makes everything else secondary. 
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Words –828
Passive Sentences –2%
Readability –85.8

Reading Level -3.0