Monday, November 30, 2015

St. Andrew

Almighty God, by Your grace the apostle Andrew obeyed the call of Your Son Jesus to be a disciple. Grant us  also to follow the same Lord Jesus Christ in heart and life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Time in the Word - Advent 2





Time in the Word
30 November—5 December 2015
Preparation for next week, the Second Sunday in Advent


Repentance Prepares Us
for the Coming of the Lord

The preaching and baptism “of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3) prepares us for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The historic work of John the Baptizer was completed with the first Advent of our Lord Jesus in the flesh, but the ministry of the Forerunner continues in the preaching of Law and Gospel and in Holy Baptism. Through His messengers, the Lord calls people of all nations to “see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). Our haughtiness is removed, and our mountains of pride are brought low, but the Lord humbles us in order to exalt us in His mercy; He fills up our valleys with His peace. As the Lord has begun this good work of repentance in us, so also does he perfect it by His Word and Holy Spirit, and He “will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). He purifies us to be His priestly people, precious in His sight, abounding in faith and love, so that our very lives are offered in righteousness to the Lord (Mal. 3:3–4).

Collect for the Second Sunday in AdventStir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for St. Andrew’s Day (November 30) –  Almighty God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay; Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfill thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A prayer before confession and absolution: Almighty, everlasting God, for our many sins we justly deserve eternal condemnation. In Your mercy You sent Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who won for us forgiveness of sins and everlasting salvation. Grant us a true confession that, dead to sin, we may be raised up by Your life-giving absolution. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may be ever watchful and live true and godly lives in Your service; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for a right knowledge 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. Amen.

A prayer for innocence of life: O God, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, put to death in us all vices and so strengthen us by Your grace that by the innocence of our lives and the constancy of our faith, we may glorify Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for responsible citizenship: Lord, keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Grant that we may choose trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and serve You faithfully in our generation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

A prayer for peace in the world: Heavenly Father, God of all concord, it is Your gracious will that Your children on earth live together in harmony and peace. Defeat the plans of all those who would stir up violence and strife, destroy the weapons of those who delight in war and bloodshed, and, according to Your will, end all conflicts in the world. Teach us to examine our hearts that we may recognize our own inclination toward envy, malice, hatred, and enmity. Help us, by Your Word and Spirit, to search our hearts and to root out the evil that would lead to strife and discord, so that in our lives we may be at peace with all people. Fill us with zeal for the work of Your Church and the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which alone can bring that peace which is beyond all understanding; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 30 November 2015Psalm 81:8, 10–11, 13; Antiphon, Luke 3:4b—The children of Israel had been delivered by the Lord out of their bondage in Egypt, and yet rejected Him. The antiphon for Sunday’s Introit exhorts us to heed John the Baptist, who came to prepare the way of the Lord by preaching repentance. During this pÅ“nitential season, let us examine ourselves, repent of our sins, and prepare to meet our Savior who comes to us.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015Psalm 66:1–12—A song of praise to the Lord for all of His benefits to His people. All the earth worships You and sings praises to You; they sing praises to Your Name. is echoed in a later Christian hymn which we sing in the Office at Mains, the Te Deum Laudamus.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015Malachi 3:1–7b—Four hundred years before the birth of Christ, Malachi prophesies about Him (the Lord whom you seek and the messenger of the covenant) and His fore-runner, John the Baptist (my messenger). Jesus will usher in the last judgment and will judge between the self-righteous who simply pay lip service to Him and those who worship Him in truth and purity, trusting not in their own efforts, but in the Savior who alone can gain our salvation.

Thursday, 3 December 2014Philippians 1:2–11—In Advent, we look forward to the coming of Christ, not only as the holy infant born in Bethlehem, but also His Second Coming. In the epistle for Sunday, St Paul speaks of the increasing sanctification of the Philippians as that day comes nearer. His prayer for their preparation is also his prayer for ours: that our love may abound more and more, that we have knowledge and discernment, and that we may be filled with the fruit of righteousness.

Friday, 4 December 2015Luke 3:1–14—The Gospel reading tells of the work of the fore-runner of Christ, John the Baptist, in preparing for the coming Savior. John’s message was simple: ‘Repent.’ That is his word to us, also, every day, but especially in this pÅ“nitential season. The life of the baptized is always one of repentance and the subsequent bringing forth of fruits in keeping with repentance, as we confess in our Small Catechism: the Old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die…and a new man daily come forth and arise, who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Saturday, 5 December 2015The hymn of the day, O Bride of Christ, Rejoice (LSB 335), expresses the joy that Christ’s Church has as she waits in expectation of His coming, not only into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, but especially at the day of glory foretold in ancient story, the Last Day, when He comes to judge the world and take all believers to eternity in heaven.
Source:

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Noah



Almighty and eternal God, according to Your strict judgment you condemned the unbelieving world through the flood, yet according to Your great mercy you preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all. 

You drowned hard-hearted Pharoah and all his host in the Red Sea, yet led Your people Israel through the water on dry ground, prefiguring this washing through Holy Baptism.  Through the Baptism in the Jordan of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood, and a lavish washing away of sin.


We pray that You would behold us according to Your boundless mercy and bless us with true faith by the Holy Spirit that through this saving flood all sin in Him which has been inherited from Adam and which he himself has committed since would be drowned and die.


Grant that we be kept safe and secure in the holy ark of the Christian Church, being separated form the multitude of unbelievers and serving Your name at all times with a fervent spirit and a joyful hope, so that, with all believers in Your promise, we would be declared worthy of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Advent 1


Advent 1
November 29, 2015
Luke 21:25-36
"Today's Terminal Generation"



What could be said concerning this generation? How will people remember us? Only the history books will tell the next generation how we lived and experienced life. And then come the words of our Savior for this morning. According to Jesus, there is a distinct possibility that this will be the last generation to inhabit planet earth. Could it be that the history books will not be written concerning this generation?  According to Jesus, there is a distinct possibility that we are looking at today's terminal generation. Let's examine Jesus' prediction of the end of this age.

An end is certain - This generation? V. 36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man."  There will come a time. When this world. As we know it. Will come to a close.  As the Father spoke this world into existence in the beginning. So the Son will return in glory. To judge both the living and the dead. Jesus is coming soon!  As we anticipate the celebration of His coming into this world as an infant. We anticipate Him return. As Judge and King. Will He come in this generation?  There is a distinct possibility. All we are called to do it to look for the signs of His coming.

Signs of the end - vv. 25, 26 "There shall be signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars and upon the earth distress of nations which perplexity the sea and the waves roaring. Man's hearts failing them for fear; and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."   What will be the signs of the end? 

Jesus tells us that there will be distinct and specific signs. May I suggest two. There will be signs that are visible in the physical world. And, there will be signs that are apparent in the spiritual world.
There will be signs in the physical world.  Jesus tells us that there will be anxious times in which man's hearts fail them for fear.   There appears to be that we are living in a time of high anxiety in our world.  There are general fears affecting people. People fear about their future. Will I have enough saved for the future? Will my children be prepared to survive and continue in this world? We sing these days that there is "peace on earth, good will toward man" and yet it appears that there is strife on this world that has not been experienced up unto this time.

Jesus further explains that there will be signs in the spiritual world. The heavenly bodies will literally be shaken.  We are living in a time in which many are calling it a time of low morals. Some experts have referred to this time as a “postmodern world” in which many are claiming that we no longer need the morals that has governed our society for so long.  Each seems to be living according to his own law. There are no longer any moral absolutes.

How often have heard the moral climate of our time expressed in the phrases similar to the following: "I'm OK and you're OK…you live according to your standard and I'll live according to mine. Don't judge me and I won't judge you. Live and let live…everything is relative!" Like the Roman culture, which was not over run by a foreign force but simply collapsed from within there are many so called experts who predict that our society cannot last unless there is a revival.

Notice how subtle the end comes. It comes like a thief in the night. It sneaks up on us as almost to catch people unawares.  So often people look for the times of the end to be when the threat of war and disaster are all around us. Jesus explains that the end will come in a time that most people are caught off guard. It comes when people are not looking for His immediate return.

Illustration:  Place a frog in a pot of boiling water and he will quickly jump out. But if you turn up the heat ever so slightly he will boil without ever knowing it! So it appears that slightly over time, the moral fabric of the world crumbles and few see it unless there is a keen eye, which can read the signs of the times. May the Savior give us eyes to see and ears to hear, and minds that set our sights upon Jesus.

Preparation for the end - vv. 34-36 "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with fighting and drunkenness and cares of this life and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man."   We prepare by being watchful.  Ask ourselves. What needs to happen before Christ would return physically to this earth?  The answer is nothing. Nothing needs to happen before we see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven.

The time of Christ's return could come at any time. Yes, it is true. This could be the last generation on planet earth.  Is this a terminal generation?  Only time will tell. As we prepare for the celebration of Jesus' first visit to this planet at Christmas, may we also prepare ourselves for His 2nd return. His 2nd Advent.  When we do that. We will be fully prepared and ready to receive Him when He comes in His glory.
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Words – 1,000
Passive sentences –9%
Readability –79.3%

Reading Level –5.3

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day
26 November 2015
Luke 17:11-19
Were Not Ten Cleansed?

Almighty God, Your mercies are new every morning and You graciously provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may acknowledge Your goodness, give thanks for Your benefits, and serve You with willing obedience all our days.

Have you ever helped someone who showed no appreciation? Needless to say you were – disappointed. Perhaps, frustrated. Possibly upset or saddened. Jesus had a similar experience. Ten were miraculously healed. Only one returned to give thanks. What happened to the nine?

1.       This question points to the common failure to give thanks.
A.      The nine who did not return thanks had faith enough to ask but not to thank.
1.       They looked to Jesus for help.  “They raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” (v.13)
2.       They obeyed Jesus’ word without question. When he saw them he said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went along, they were cleansed. (v.14)
3.       They were glad to be healed but felt little gratitude to the healer.
B.      Are we inclined to ask more often than to thank?
1.       When delivered from a calamity, we perhaps cried out, “Thank God!” But did we continue to live each day in conscious gratitude to God for fulfilling His gracious purpose in our lives?
2.       If things have gone well for us, have we remembered to thank God for those pleasant and successful days?
3.       If things have gone badly for us, have we been able to thank God for the good that can come to us eve through trials?

What happened to the nine? Where are they? Then and now this question points to the common failure to give thanks. We so easily begin to take God’s blessings for granted. In our lives, is there more petitioning than praising?

2.       This question reminds us there is a reason to give thanks.
A.      Jesus healed all ten from an incurable disease.
1.       The Samaritan understood better than the others did the meaning of this healing.
2.       He looked beyond the healing to the healer. Then one of them, when he saw he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He fell with his face to the ground at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. (Now he was a Samaritan.)  (vv.15-16)
3.       He grasped the greatness of Jesus.  Then he said to the man, “Get up and go your way. Your faith has made you well. (v.19)
B.      Jesus has not healed us from leprosy, but for all of us He has done something infinitely greater.
1.       As the Christ of God He died for us to deliver us from Satan, sin, and hell and then rose from the dead to prove His deliverance.
2.       He creates and sustains our faith in Him by means of the Word and sacraments.

C.      Jesus gives us many other things that we request, as well as things for which we may not be asking.
1.       He gives us health and strength to endure illness.
2.       He gives us worldly possessions. If we have little in the way of possessions, we must nevertheless acknowledge that He supplies our daily needs.
3.       He gives us a family in which we give and receive love, friends who support us, and work that fulfills us.
4.       He has given us a country in which we enjoy political freedom and the freedom to worship Him in the way our conscience directs.

What happened to the nine? The question remains. There is reason to give thanks. What we are and have as redeemed people we owe to God. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercies endure forever!

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Words –625
Passive Sentences –5%
Readability – 83%
Reading Level -4.4 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Eve



Thanksgiving Eve
25 November 2015
Psalm 117  
“Praise the Lord in every circumstance”

Lord God, You have revealed Your kindness to all people. Gather the nations into Your Church, that in all the various tongues of this world one hymn of praise may be offered to You; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 117 is the shortest psalm in the Psalter. It is also the Bible's central chapter. It is the very center of the 1,189 chapters. Found in Genesis 1 through Revelation 22. As Psalm 115 was national. And Psalm 116 personal. This Psalm is global.

Jesus’ disciples sang this psalm following the Last Supper. Prior to going out to the Garden of Gethsemane. God’s kindness and faithfulness has been shown in the past. And of this, we can be sure. It will continue forever. This Psalm is the inspiration for such great hymns as. “From all that dwell below the skies” and “Praise to the Lord the Almighty

1. The Call to PraisePraise the Lord, all you nations; laud Him, all you peoples. (vs.1) This word can be translated as “sing praise.”
A. The world in its totality is lovingly invited to praise Him. God has and will continue to show Israel His kindness and faithfulness. God commands praise from all peoples.
B. The world. By its tribes. Is loudly invited to adore Him. The Lord’s faithful love prevails over all.
C. Father, help me be a witness through my praise for You.
D. Lord, save Your people from all the nations.

2. The Cause for praiseFor His loving-kindness toward us is great, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. (Vs.2 a-b)
A. The loving triumph of the Lord. The salvation of God’s people. Is the reason for universal praise. The gospel of Christ is ordered to be preached to all nations. And by His work of redemption. Those that were afar off. Are made nigh. They are made to be a part of God’s family. We are among the persons to whom the Holy Spirit here speaks. Whom he calls upon to join his ancient people in praising the Lord.
B. The lasting truth of the Lord. His loving-kindness toward us is great. The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
C. Thank You Lord. For Your steadfast faithfulness toward Your people.
D. In God's kindness there is mercy, because…
1. Our sin deserves the reverse of kindness. We get more than we deserve. That’s grace!
2. Our weakness requires great tenderness. Jesus knows your fears. He knows your doubts. Yet, He bestows on you Hs mercy and peace.
3. Our fears can only be so removed. And He replaces that fear with faith, which trusts His promises for Jesus’ sake.

The Command to praise – Hallelujah! (vs.2c) Thus, we have thanksgiving! In His attribute—He is always faithful. In His revelation—He is always infallible. In His action – it is always according to His promise.
Praise the Name of the Lord. For His loving-kindness toward us is great, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever
Words –525
Passive Sentences –13%
Readability –81.2%

Reading Level -3.8

Monday, November 23, 2015

Clement of Rome, pastor

Almighty God, Your servant Clement of Rome called the Church in Corinth to repentance and faith to unite them in Christian love. Grant that Your Church may be anchored in Your truth by the presence of the Holy Spirit and kept blameless in Your service until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ...(Treasury, p. 944)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Time in the Word - Advent 1



While many may seem rushed during this particular time of the year, spend some time with your Lord in devotion and prayer. Consider the many blessings He has given you as we begin to prepare for His coming as the promised Savior and Redeemer of the world.

The theme for the first Sunday of the Church year, Advent 1, falls under the theme, “The return of Christ.”  In the Old Testament lesson we learn that God will send a Messiah to execute justice and righteousness on the earth. In the Epistle, St. Paul reminds us to prepare for Christ’s return by being blameless in holiness. In the Gospel lesson, we are told to watch and pray as preparation for the sudden return of Christ.

Collect for Advent 1 – Stir up Your power, O Lord and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued  from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, 22 November 2015Psalm 89:6, 14-16, 18, Antiphon, Zechariah 9:9b – Behold your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation.  These words were fulfilled by Jesus when He entered Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. They hailed Him then but later rejected Him. How would Jesus fare if He were to enter our city today?  Christ is always coming to us whether we recognize Him or not. In which ways does He come to us? Hint: It all starts with the word “W” – Word, Wafer, Wine, and Water. Prepare for Him now while there is still time. There will come a time when time shall be no more.  

Tuesday, 23 November 2015Psalm25:1-10; key verse, verse 6— Remember, O Lord, Your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.   The Advent season is a time spent in reflection. We remember the Savior’s prophecies and we see how He fulfilled them. We remember His promises to restore and forgive us and we see how He worked everything out according to the Father’s plan. As we prepare for the beginning of the Advent season, spend some time thinking of the many gifts and blessings the Savior has given you. How ought we respond with thankful and grateful hearts? How can thanksgiving be translated into thanks living?

Wednesday, 24 November 2015Jeremiah 33:14-16–God’s promise to send a Branch from David will be fulfilled. In verse 14, God promises to fulfill a promise. Was not the promise fulfilled in Christ? Is there still a promise to be fulfilled? Has the promise been fulfilled in you? Let’s look at the one who is coming. Who is He? He is the Son of David - royalty (verse 15).  He is work in justice and righteousness (verse 15b). The result of His coming is salvation (verse 16).

Thursday, 25 November 20151 Thessalonians 3:9-13—Be blameless in holiness at the return of Jesus Christ. When Christ comes, we are to be pleasing to Christ. Paul explains what these requirements are. Who can meet them? Is it possible to meet these demands? Love – not only Christians but all people (verse 12).  Be blameless in holiness – not only before men but before God (verse 13).  How is such perfection obtained? It is found in the holy one of God. 

Friday, 26 November 2015Luke 21:25-36 – Conditions of the world prior to Jesus’ return. Of this we can be certain, the end will come. Will it be this generation? Consider verse 36. The signs of the end are clearly given in verses 25-26. Know the signs!  Thus in this Advent season we prepare for the end and for the celebration of Christ’s return. How might we do this? Consider verses 34-36.

Saturday, 27 November 2015-Luke 19:28-40—These verses inspired the hymn, The Advent of Our King (LSB 331).  We come to the beginning of a new church year. The harvest is complete. Thanksgiving festivities have come to a close. We now prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. We anticipate Christ’s sure and certain return in glory. This year will it be a miserable or a merry Christmas? If you are prepared to meet Christ when He comes in the clouds of heaven you will be in the right frame of mind in celebration of His first Advent. Circumstances may change. Our perception to them is what is important.

Collect for the Glorious Reign of Christ Lord God, heavenly Father, send forth Your Son, we pray, that he may lead home His bride, the Church, that we will all the redeemed may enter into Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

A prayer for Christ’s return  – O Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon us, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

A prayer of supplication – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because You desire not the death of a sinner but rather that he should turn from his evil way and live, graciously turn away from us the punishments which we by our sins have deserved and which have been borne for us by our Lord Jesus Christ, and grant us ever to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.   

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


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Christ the King



Christ the King
22 November 2015
John 18:33-37


Lord Jesus Christ, so govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of Your glorious return, we may persevere in both faith and holiness of living; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

The signs of the end are all around us, constant reminders that “heaven and earth will pass away.” But all of these signs are centered in the Cross of Christ, whereby He has conquered sin and death, that we might be raised with Him in righteousness through His Word of the Gospel, which “will not pass away” (Mark 13:31). He is “the firstborn of the dead,” who in His great love “has freed us from our sins by His blood” (Revelation 1:5). His salvation is certain, because “His dominion is an everlasting dominion,” and His kingdom “shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).

For this purpose, He came into the world, to reign in love through His voice of the Gospel, which is the truth (John 18:37). So is the righteousness of Christ “a light to the peoples,” which “will never be dismayed,” because it is the justice of His Cross and Resurrection (Isaiah 51:4–6). As He “is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory,” so wait upon “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 20–24).

Christ's kingship is totally other than this world. Jesus explains to Pilate. Though He is a king. His kingship is not of this world.  Pilate has Jesus inside his court and the Jews are outside. Pilate is torn between the two. He is trying to make up his mind by asking Jesus questions. His first question is whether Jesus is a king. This is a political term and thus it is very dangerous. Jesus dodges the question by asking Pilate if this was his or others' opinion.

The other question concerns what Jesus has done. Jesus explains that His kingship is not of this world. This is proved by the fact that Jesus is not using force to defend Himself. Jesus explains that His mission in the world was to bear witness to the truth.

But, only those of the truth. And of God. Will accept His words as truth.  Therefore, with Pilate, we must ask, "What is truth?" Or, more telling, - from that epic move a few good men... "Can you handle the truth?"

Pilate asks, “Are you a king?” This peasant preacher. Jesus of Nazareth – Is He a king? This prophet. Who enters the capital city on a donkey – Could He be a king? Where are His palaces? His bodyguards? Is this a king, who stands here before Pilate with a crown of thorns on His head, a reed in His tied hands, and with rags for a regal robe? A King? – Are you kidding? Jesus is every inch a king because –
  1. He was born a king
  2. He lived as a king
  3. He died as a king
  4. He conquered as a king
I.        He was born a king – His is an eternal kingdom
Sages asked at His birth, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” –Matthew 2:2
A.     The wise men, who, “saw His star in the east,” came to worship Him.  [1]

B.     The response of these wise men to Jesus is entirely appropriate. And their actions serve as a model of all true discipleship. They seek Christ. (v. 2), And when they had found Him. They rejoice (v. 10), and worship Him (vv. 2, 11 a).  They offer Him gifts. Gifts that befit a king. (v. 11 b; cf. Psalm 45:7-9; 72:15)

II.     He lived as a king – A kingdom of power
A ruler is most powerful…when he tends to the needs of his subjects.” –Danker
A.     Speaking to Pilate as He stood trial Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”[2]

B.     It is the kingdom of heaven. And it belongs to another world. Christ is a king. And He has a kingdom. But it is not of this world. His kingdom is not by succession. Election. Or conquest. But by the immediate and special designation of the divine will and counsel.
Its nature is not worldly. It is a kingdom within men. (Luke 16:21), Set up in their hearts. And consciences (Romans 14:17). Its riches are spiritual. Its powers eternal. And all its glory within. The ministers of state in Christ’s kingdom have not the spirit of the world, (1 Corinthians 2:12.) 

In this kingdom. Its guards and supports are not worldly. Its weapons are spiritual. It neither needed nor used secular force to maintain and advance it. Nor was it carried on in a way hurtful to kings or provinces. It tended not to alter any national establishment in secular things. Nor opposed no other kingdom. But that of sin and Satan. 

Its tendency and design are not worldly. Christ neither aimed nor would allow His disciples to aim at the pomp and power of the great men of the earth.

Its subjects, however, they are in the world. Yet they are not of the world. They are called and chosen out of the world. Are born from. And bound for, another world. They are neither the world’s pupils. Nor its darlings. Neither governed by its wisdom. Nor enriched with its wealth. 

III.   He died as a king – A kingdom of His grace
Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” –INRI
A.     In His suffering, agony, crucifixion, and death He offers life and salvation to all who would believe in Him.  In His cruel death, the Father offers clemency to all who are convicted of sedition against Him.  C.S. Lewis in his book “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” describes it this way, “”When an innocent victim who had committed no treachery dies in a traitor’s stead the table would crack and death itself begins to work backward.”  

B.     Do you believe this?  The cruel cross of Calvary always looms ahead of us. Does the death of a condemned man seem compelling enough to offer atonement? Could His life and sacrifice really save you?  The surroundings and the circumstances of His death are the means by which we find peace with God and absolution for our sin.    

IV.  He conquered as a king – His kingdom of glory
And He shall reign forever and ever, King of Kings and Lord of Lords” –Handle 
A.    In the book of Revelation St John writes, “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne, the living creatures, and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”  Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:  “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,”      

B.    As a son and daughter of this king. You have been given the hope and promise that you too will live and reign with Him in glory. This is your destiny. This is your eternity. 

Is this Jesus a king? Most certainly, He is – He was born. He lived. He died. A king. When He appears in glory. We shall see Him, as He is – The Alpha and the Omega – King of Kings. And Lord of Lord. “Even so come quickly Lord, even now, Amen
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Words –1,325
Passive Sentences –5%
Readability –81.6%
Reading Level –4.5

[1] Matthew 2:2

[2] John 18:36

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gone!

Must the winter come so soon!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thanksgiving Eve


Thanksgiving Eve
25 November 2015
Psalm 117  
“Praise the Lord in every circumstance”

Lord God, You have revealed Your kindness to all people. Gather the nations into Your Church, that in all the various tongues of this world one hymn of praise may be offered to You; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 117 is the shortest psalm in the Psalter. It is also the Bible's central chapter. It is the very center of the 1,189 chapters. Found in Genesis 1 through Revelation 22. As Psalm 115 was national. And Psalm 116 personal. This Psalm is global.

Jesus’ disciples sang this psalm following the Last Supper. Prior to going out to the Garden of Gethsemane. God’s kindness and faithfulness has been shown in the past. And of this, we can be sure. It will continue forever. This Psalm is the inspiration for such great hymns as. “From all that dwell below the skies” and “Praise to the Lord the Almighty

1. The Call to PraisePraise the Lord, all you nations; laud Him, all you peoples. (vs.1) This word can be translated as “sing praise.”

A. The world in its totality is lovingly invited to praise Him. God has and will continue to show Israel His kindness and faithfulness. God commands praise from all peoples.
B. The world. By its tribes. Is loudly invited to adore Him. The Lord’s faithful love prevails over all.
C. Father, help me be a witness through my praise for You.
D. Lord, save Your people from all the nations.

2. The Cause for praiseFor His loving-kindness toward us is great, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. (Vs.2 a-b)

A. The loving triumph of the Lord. The salvation of God’s people. Is the reason for universal praise. The gospel of Christ is ordered to be preached to all nations. And by His work of redemption. Those that were afar off. Are made nigh. They are made to be a part of God’s family. We are among the persons to whom the Holy Spirit here speaks. Whom he calls upon to join his ancient people in praising the Lord.
B. The lasting truth of the Lord. His loving-kindness toward us is great. The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
C. Thank You Lord. For Your steadfast faithfulness toward Your people.
D. In God's kindness there is mercy, because…
1. Our sin deserves the reverse of kindness. We get more than we deserve. That’s grace!
2. Our weakness requires great tenderness. Jesus knows your fears. He knows your doubts. Yet, He bestows on you Hs mercy and peace.
3. Our fears can only be so removed. And He replaces that fear with faith, which trusts His promises for Jesus’ sake.

The Command to praise – Hallelujah! (vs.2c) Thus, we have thanksgiving! In His attribute—He is always faithful. In His revelation—He is always infallible. In His action – it is always according to His promise.

Praise the Name of the Lord. For His loving-kindness toward us is great, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever
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Words –525
Passive Sentences –13%
Readability –81.2%

Reading Level -3.8

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Time in the Word - Christ the King



The theme for the last Sunday of the church year is the King and His Kingdom.  Without any difficulty, the theme of kingship can be seen in the lessons. We now come to the end of the church year. Throughout the year, we have covered the life, work, and teachings of Jesus, and it comes to a glorious climax today with a “Hallelujah Chorus.” The Gospel reminds us that Jesus’ kingdom is not a worldly kingdom. The Old Testament lesson pictures the Son of Man upon His ascension receiving an eternal and universal kingdom. The King of kings will return to earth, according to the Epistle lesson. The refrain of the Psalm for the day could not be plainer: “The Lord is King.”

Collect for Christ the King – Lord Jesus Christ, so govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of Your glorious return, we may persevere in both faith and holiness of living; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, 16 November 2015Psalm 39:4-5, 7-8, 12a, Antiphon, 2 Peter 3:13b–We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.  The Antiphon expresses the desire of every believing child of God – to be home with the Lord. This is our destiny. We are not earthbound. We are only strangers here – heaven is our home.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015Psalm 93; key verse, verse 1 - “The Lord is King.”  This refrain is the theme of the entire day – The Lord is King. He is the king above all other kings, the one and true God. We offer Him our worship and praise for He is worthy of our worship, praise, glory and honor. He is truly the Christ, our King.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015Daniel 7:13-14 – God gives the Son of Man an eternal kingdom.  A vision of the Son of Man’s presentation to the Lord who gave Him an indestructible kingdom.  Here we get the picture of one like a son of man appearing before the Lord, not coming to earth as in Mark 13. By the time of the New Testament, the Son of Man was conceived as an individual, a heavenly figure. Jesus used the term to signify His Messiahship. This is the proclamation of the final establishment of Christ’s kingly rule. It says that at the end all things in the world will be subject to Christ and that all nations will serve Him. This is the basis for Christian hope. 

Thursday, 19 November 2015Revelation 1:4b-8 – The King of kings return will be seen by all. Christ the King of kings will return to the earth. This passage contains a greeting similar to Paul’s, a doxology, an announcement of Jesus’ return, and God’s declaration of His being alpha and omega. Grace and peace come from the Trinity: (God-father; Christ-son; Holy Spirit – “seven spirits,” the seven-fold gifts of the Spirit.)  The beginning and the end of the passage deal with God, but Christ is the subject of the central section. Jesus is a witness, the firstborn of the dead, the King of kings (death, resurrection and ascension.) Because of His love, Jesus redeemed us, made us a kingdom, and will come to judge the earth. 


Friday, 20 November 2015—John 18:33-37 – Christ’s kingship is totally other than this world. Jesus explains to Pilate that, though He is a king, His kingship is not of this world.  Pilate has Jesus inside his court and the Jews are outside. Pilate is torn between the two. He is trying to make up his mind by asking Jesus questions. His first question is whether Jesus is a king. This is a political term and thus it is very dangerous. Jesus dodges the question by asking Pilate if this was his or others’ opinion. The other question concerns what Jesus has done. Jesus explains that His kingship is not of this world. This is proved by the fact that Jesus is not using force to defend Himself. Jesus explains that His mission in the world was to bear witness to the truth. But, only those of the truth and of God will accept His words as truth.

Why was Jesus born? Here we have the answer in Jesus’ own words He was born to bear witness of the truth. He was sent by God. He was given a message. He had a destiny. Because of this, He had a reason to live and knew the meaning of life. In a world where many drift and are confused as to the way and wherefore of life, Christ has a message: Discover your divine destiny. As a follower of Christ, one’s mission is to bear witness to the truth – the truth of God’s love for a fallen humanity. 

Saturday, 21 November 2015Colossians 1:5, 20, 23, 27; Hebrews 1:2; 1 Peter 2:24 - The hymn is O Jesus King Most Wonderful (LSB 554).  As you come to worship tomorrow, come expecting to offer your Savior the worship with which He is worthy. Come to offer Him your gift of adoration and praise. But do more than simply come to a worship service – in service worship Him.

Collect for the Glorious Reign of Christ Lord God, heavenly Father, send forth Your Son, we pray, that he may lead home His bride, the Church, that we will all the redeemed may enter into Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

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.

A prayer for Christ’s return – O Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon us, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

For strong faith in Christ – Almighty and ever-living God, since You have given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who believe, grant us so perfectly and without all doubt to believe in Your Son Jesus Christ, that our faith in Your sight may never be reproved; through our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

A prayer of supplication – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because You desire not the death of a sinner but rather that he should turn from his evil way and live, graciously turn away from us the punishments which we by our sins have deserved and which have been borne for us by our Lord Jesus Christ, and grant us ever to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.   

Sources:
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 B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH