Sunday, January 17, 2016

Time in the Word - Epiphany 3

Time in the Word
 January 18-23, 2016
Preparation for Epiphany 3

A prayer for steadfast faith – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, of Your tender love towards us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and come to life everlasting. .

A prayer for newness of life in Christ – Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of life, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility, that in the last day, when He shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal. .  

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; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A morning prayer – Faithful God, whose mercies are new to us every morning, we humbly pray that You would look upon us in mercy and renew us by Your Holy Spirit. Keep safe our going out and our coming in, and let Your blessings remain with us throughout this day. Preserve us in Your righteousness and grant us a portion in that eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Theme for Epiphany 3 is “The Purpose of Your Life.” In the Old Testament lesson Ezra the scribe reads the Book of the Law in the presence of the people. Reading from the Book of the Law brought tears to the people. Their purpose was to be directed by the Word of the Lord. In the Epistle lesson Paul reminds us that by the Spirit Christians are members of one body. In the Gospel lesson Jesus finds His purpose in Isaiah’s words. The Hymn of the Day is a prayer asking the Christian to ever walk near to the Lord.

Collect for Epiphany 3 – Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities and stretch forth the hand of Your majesty to heal and defend us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with  You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday,18 January 2016—Psalm 102:18-22, Antiphon, Psalm 102:13 – You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come. The antiphon is the centerpiece of the entire psalm. The psalmist’s distress was occasioned by the Babylonian exile. Yet, he sees an appointed time – a time set by God for judgment and deliverance to come. As we pray this prayer, we too look for a time of deliverance to come. We pray that deliverance might come to us now and ultimately on the last great day, that day when we shall live beyond time and space. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016—Psalm 19: (1-6) 7-14; key verse, verse 14—May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. These words are quite familiar – they are often uttered by the pastor before the sermon. By these words the preacher is asking that he only proclaim God’s Words and not his own. By these words the hearer asks that these words of the Lord penetrate the heart and mind so that faith may be strengthened and nourished. May the Word of the Lord give us both direction and encouragement not only this coming Sunday but throughout this New Year.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016—Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10–Notice how the worship practices of Ezra and Nehemiah are quite similar to ours today. Ezra the scribe reads the Book of the Law in the presence of the people. After they heard the word, they responded in two ways. First they feasted. Delicious festive food prepared with much fat. The fat of sacrificial animals was offered to God as the tastiest element of the burnt offering, the fellowship offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering. The fat was not to be eaten in these cases. They also remembered the poor and those less fortunate on these joyous occasions. Likewise, we today respond in two ways. We come to a worship service to hear the Word. We eat the sacrifice of Christ in the Sacrament and then we respond in sacramental living. In service, we worship God. We respond by reaching out to our neighbors and especially to those whose need is great. We respond as the Word of the Lord has taken root in our lives.  

Thursday, 21 January 2016—1 Corinthians12:12-31a—The Christian finds his purpose in the body of Christ. By the Spirit Christians are members of one body. The unity of the church is the unity of Christ. We are one in Christ, as members of the body of Christ. Regardless of our differences, Jews, Greeks, bond, or free, we are all one. Last names cease when we enter the church door. We are one in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul will remind us in verse 13, “For by one Spirit we were baptized into one body – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” The church is not a human institution held together by its leaders and members’ contributions. If that were the case, the church would have died long ago. The Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and preserves the church from age to age. 

Friday, 22 January 2016—Luke 4:16-30—Many today are seeking self-identity. They are seeking to understand who they are and what their purpose in life is. Many do not have a reason for living. They are confused because they are aimless. They have no goals for life. As Christians who follow Christ in all things, our purpose in life should be the same as Jesus’ purpose. Luke tells us where Jesus came from – He came from God to fulfill God’s promises. He tells us who Jesus is – He is the Messiah, God’s servant – commissioned and called. He tells us what Jesus was to do – preach the Good News.  

Saturday, 23 January 2016—-Matthew 16:24; 1 Peter 4:12-13; Matthew 10:38-39; Romans 6:2-5, 8.  Sunday’s hymn of the day is Let us Ever Walk with Jesus (685 LSB).  The purpose of Jesus’ life was fulfilled by the words of the prophet. The purpose of your life is that the will of God might be fulfilled in us. Thus this wonderful hymn encourages the believer to daily walk with the Lord, to follow Christ’s example and Word that daily we might be conformed to His will and way.
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

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