Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Peter & Paul, Apostles

Merciful and eternal God, Your holy apostles Peter and Paul received grace and strength to lay down their lives for the sake of Your Son. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that we may confess Your truth and at all times be ready to lay down our lives for Him who laid down His life for us, even Jesus Christ, our lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Irenaeus



Almighty God You upheld Your servant Irenaeus, giving him strength to confess the truth against every blast of vain doctrine. By Your mercy, keep us steadfast in the true faith, that in constancy we may walk in peace on the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Commemoration of Cyril of Alexandria,

Heavenly Father, You used Your servant Cyril to confess the mysteries of the Holy Trinity and of Your Son being one person with fully divine and human natures. Grant that we, also, might be constant in Your Word, bold in Your confession, and steadfast in Your worship, to the glory of Your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. -- Collect for Cyril of Alexandria.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Time in the Word - Pentecost 7 - Proper 9

Pentecost 7 – Proper 9
The Lord Grants Peace and Life to His Church
June 27 –July 2, 2016


The Lord restores Jerusalem, His Church, because she is the mother of His children, whom He comforts “as one whom his mother comforts” (Is. 66:13). We are “satisfied from her consoling breast” with the pure milk of the Word, and we “drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance” (Is. 66:11). The messengers of Christ bestow such gifts upon His Church. For He sends them out “as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3), bearing in their bodies the sacrifice of His cross, by which “the kingdom of God has come near” (Luke 10:9, 11). Wherever He enters in with this Gospel, Satan is cast out and falls “like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). Thus, we do not “boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14). Rejoicing in this Gospel, we “bear one another’s burdens” in love, according to “the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).

 Collect for the Sixth Sunday of PentecostAlmighty God, You have built Your Church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. Continue to send Your messengers to preserve Your people in true peace that, by the preaching of Your Word, Your Church may be kept free from all harm and danger; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for Psalm 16Lord God our Father, keep safe Your servant on the path of eternal life, for You alone are my refuge. When my last hour comes, may my body rest secure in the promise of the Lord's resurrection; 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 pastors and their peopleAlmighty God, by Your Son, our Savior, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful shepherds to guide and feed Your flock. Therefore we pray, make all pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and to administer Your means of grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; 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 increase of the holy ministryAlmighty and gracious God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, You have commanded us to pray that You would send forth laborers into Your harvest. Of Your infinite mercy give us true teachers and ministers of Your Word who truly fulfill Your command and preach nothing contrary to Your holy Word. Grant that we, being warned, instructed, nurtured, comforted, and strengthened by Your holy Word, may do those things which are well pleasing to You and profitable for our salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 27 June 2016 Psalm 19:2, 4–6; antiphon, Psalm 19:1—Many of the psalms praise the Lord for His deliverance from enemies, both mortal and spiritual. Psalm 19 is a hymn of praise to God because of the majesty and glory that are His by His very nature. The glory of God is revealed by the entire creation. Those who attribute the earth and the cosmos to mere happenstance are only deceiving themselves.


Tuesday, 28 June 2016 Psalm 66:1–7—Psalm 66 calls upon all peoples of the earth to join in with God’s chosen people, Israel, in praising Him. His deliverance of His people from bondage in Egypt and the threat of Pharaoh and his army at the Red Sea is specifically recounted, but all of God’s deliverances of all His people are to be included, especially the deliverance of mankind from the bondage of sin, and the threat of death.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016 Isaiah 66:10–14—Those who remained faithful to the Lord during the days when Isaiah prophesied in Judah had reason to mourn over Jerusalem: hypocrisy, unbelief, and idolatry were common among the people. Likewise, through the ages, including our own, God’s faithful people have reason to mourn when they see the condition of the visible Church: rejection of the authority of the Word of God, acceptance of sins, rather than forgiveness of sins, being preached, and so on. Yet, we know that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Lord’s Church (Matthew 16:18), so we can rejoice. We can rejoice, for the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ provides nourishment, comfort, and abundance for our souls. As a mother nurses her child, so we are nursed by the Holy Word of God.

Thursday, 30 June 2016 Galatians 6:1–10, 14–18—This Sunday, we shall celebrate our nation’s independence. Our political liberty and freedom is a gift from God. Yet, in the Church, we are not independent. We are member of one body, the mystical body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). As such, we are not to live our lives for ourselves independent of others, but are to bear one another’s burdens. The strong Christians are to help the weak.
St Paul urges us, let us not grow weary of doing good, for we are a new creation in Christ, and, as such, our wills are conformed to God’s will, which desires what is best for all people.

Friday, 1 July 2016 Luke 10:1–20—Our Lord desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). But how are people to believe in Jesus Christ, if they have not hear of Him, if they have not had the Gospel proclaimed to them? (Romans 10:14) In our Gospel reading for Sunday, we hear how Jesus sent out 72 men to proclaim the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus. Likewise, He still call pastors to labor in His harvest fields. As in the days of Christ, their labor is met by different responses: some people are eager to hear of the forgiveness of sins wrought by Christ’s death on the cross, whilst others reject it. The Day of Judgement will be a horrifying one for those who have refused the forgiveness Christ offers, but a glorious one for us who are in Christ, who gratefully receive His gift of salvation.

Saturday, 2 July 2016— Sunday’s Hymn of the Day, Jesus Has Come and Brings Pleasure Eternal(LSB #533), is a majestic hymn of praise to Jesus. It proclaims Jesus as God in the flesh, as our great Deliverer, Redeemer, and the King of all glory.

Prayer for the nationAlmighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember Your generosity and constantly do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Grant that we, who came from many nations with many different languages, may become a united people. Support us in defending our liberties, and give those to whom we have entrusted the authority of government the spirit of wisdom, that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, may our hearts be thankful, and in troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.



Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Luther’s Seals © Higher Things

Commemoration of Jeremiah


Lord it is not for them to direct their steps. Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure—not in your anger, or you will reduce me to nothing. Jeremiah 10 23-24

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Pentecost 6 - Proper 8

Proper 8
26 June 2016
Luke 9:51–62
Christ’s Messengers Proclaim His Kingdom

Lord of all power and might, Author and Giver of all good things, graft into our hearts the love of Your name and nourish us with all goodness that we may love and serve our neighbor; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

In Luke 9:51, the whole tenor and tone of Luke’s gospel changes. Jesus sets His face. To go to Jerusalem. Meaning unwavering determination. Now the focus is on the cross. Where He will redeem humankind. From the clutches of Satan. From bondage to the Law. From everlasting death. 

Our eyes, too, must ever be focused on the cross of Christ.  It is there alone that we are able to find true freedom. If we are going to faithful to the Lord, as was Elijah, they must always proclaim Christ - Crucified as a sacrifice on your behalf.  He has “set his face” toward THE CROSS.

The words of Christ in today’s Gospel are difficult. And deliberate. These words of Jesus are not rainbows and butterflies.  He speaks of the demands of discipleship. Following Christ requires discipline. Many would not mind being a Christ follower if it did not cost anything in the way of personal hardship and sacrifice. The Savior confronts us. With the truth of the high cost of being one of His followers. He turns away several who want the honor and the prestige of following Christ without fulfilling its demands. This morning we consider what Christ requires of His followers.

1. There is no money in it! As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. [Luke 9:57-58] You won’t get rich by becoming a follower of Christ. A Christian does not make money the goal of his life. If he has money, his love for Christ will cause him to share it.
This raises a question. It’s easy to talk about modern sects who get amazing amounts of money to buy hotels, banks, and estates. It’s easy to single out radio and television evangelists living in luxury. But what about you? Look at the ledger of your checkbook. It shows the priorities in your life.

It’s a window to your soul. It shows what drives you. Where is your first love?

2. There is urgency about it! He said to another man, "Follow me." [Luke 9:59] Being a Christ follower. Being a disciple. Demands an immediate response. διάγγελλε, Keep proclaiming. On every side. The Kingdom of God. That. Is your only business. Everything else. Must be sacrificed. Seek first the kingdom.

Not even something as important as arranging and attending a family funeral should keep you from responding. Let someone else attend the funeral. The Kingdom cannot wait until you fulfill lesser responsibilities. And that is Jesus’ point. Were it up to us to achieve our place in the Kingdom we would never make it. Thankfully, Jesus invites us by grace. He makes it possible for us to become members of His eternal communion.

3. There is a singleness of purpose. Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." [Luke 9:61-62] No one who plays looks back. The eye is on the goal ahead. You cannot go back to say “goodbye” to your family.

A disciple is likened to St. Paul who said “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind…” A follower of Christ has a one- track mind. One purpose in life. One task. One devotion: Jesus Christ.

4. For what are you living? Some today lack a purpose in life. They are committed to no one, nor to anything. This results in double-mindedness, shiftlessness, drifting here and there, inconstancy. They have not made up their minds what they are to do with their lives. A genuine Christian is not one of these. He follows the example of Christ. He knows who he is for he knows whose he is. He knows where he is going, what he is to do, and why he is doing it. Here we see Jesus’ total commitment to the Father’s call to be the Messiah. This requires His total interest, effort, and sacrifice. What Jesus does in terms of commitment He expects of his own. There are many forces at work calling for our attention. Yet our chief focus needs to be totally committed to Christ.
In many respects, this may be called commitment Sunday. As Elijah is committed to the tasks God gave him.

Elisha is committed to the call to serve as Elijah’s successor. Paul is committed to a life lived by the Spirit of God. The Savior is committed to go to Jerusalem to fulfill His destiny as the Messiah.

Thus, He calls you to total commitment of anyone who desires to follow Him. Remain committed to Christ as He is committed to you.

Words- 911
Passive Sentences –4
Readability –78%
Reading Level –4.7

 Image by Ed Riojas © Higher Things for personal and congregational 

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Nativity of John the Baptist

Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation. Now grant that we may know this salvation and serve you in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, now and forever. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Time in the Word - Pentecost 6 - Proper 8

Time in the Word 
Pentecost 6 - Proper 8

When the prophet Elijah became discouraged and despaired of his life, “the Word of the Lord came to him” (1 Kings 19:9b) and stood him “on the mount before the Lord” (1 Kings 19:11). The Lord made Himself known to the prophet—not in the impressive power of gale force winds, nor in an earthquake, and nor in the fire, but in “the sound of a low whisper” (1 Kings 19:12). Today God reveals Himself among us through the frail preaching of the Gospel. The Son of Man sends “messengers ahead of Him…to make preparations for Him” (Luke 9:51–52). Putting their hand to that plow of preaching, they “go and proclaim the kingdom of God,” and they do not look back (Luke 9:60, 62). 
What they preach is not the power of the Law with its “yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1), but the power of God unto salvation through the Gospel of forgiveness, by which “Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1).


Monday, 20 June 2016 Psalm 85:8–10, 13; antiphon, Psalm 85:7—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, Show us Your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation. God has shown His steadfast love and salvation to us by sending His Son into the world to save us. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people. God speaks His peace to us through His holy Word, especially in the Gospels, where we have a record of the words and the deeds of Jesus, who accomplished our salvation for us. Truly, His salvation is near to us who fear Him!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 Psalm 16 - In the psalm for the day, David takes delight in an unwavering commitment to the Lord in both life and death. This ought also to be our attitude and joy, for He has made known to us the path of life. We have a beautiful inheritance: life with God forever in the kingdom of heaven.

Wednesday, 22 June 20161 Kings 19:9b–21—On the lam to escape wicked Queen Jezebel, Elijah fell into despair: few people in Israel wanted to have anything to do with the Lord or His prophets, and the queen had sworn to kill him (1 Kgs 19:2). In the midst of his despondency, the Lord strengthened Elijah both physical (1 Kgs 19:4–9) and, in the reading for Sunday, spiritual. The Lord instructed Elijah to step out of his cave while the He showed him three tremendous displays of natural forces—a great and strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire. Then He came in patience and love, with gentleness and mercy—in a low whisper. He told Elijah that he had not been a failure; there were still seven thousand faithful in Israel. To encourage Elijah, God also gave him a threefold assignment. He was to head north and anoint the next king of Aram, who would be God’s scourge on Israel. He was also to anoint a new king over Israel, who would wipe out the dynasty of Ahab and destroy Baal worship in Israel. Finally, Elijah was to anoint the man who would succeed him as prophet. The mission of Elijah was to be continued in Elisha.

Thursday, 23 June 2016 Galatians 5:1, 13–25—We Americans are justly jealous of our freedoms; they were won and preserved at great cost. But, with freedom comes responsibility. As Christians, we have received an even greater freedom—freedom from the curse of the Law. With this freedom also comes great responsibility—the responsibility to use our freedom in service to God and neighbor. The only way we are able to do this is to be led by the Spirit, whose fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Friday, 24 June 2016 Luke 9:51–62—In Luke 9:51, the whole tenor of the Gospel according to St Luke changes, when Jesus sets His face to go to Jerusalem. Now the focus is on the cross, where He will redeem mankind from the clutches of Satan, from bondage to the Law, and from everlasting death. Our eyes, too, must ever be focused on the cross of Christ. It is there alone that we are able to find true freedom, as proclaimed in the epistle from Galatians. Likewise, if pastors are going to faithful to the Lord, as was Elijah, they must always preach Christ crucified as a sacrifice on our behalf.

Saturday, 25 June 2016— Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Come, Follow Me, the Savior Spake (LSB #688), is an exhortation to live our lives under the cross. We, who have been set free from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation, must now live our lives in service to Him by walking in His way. How can we ever hope to accomplish such a thing? By firmly clinging to His Word (stanza 5).

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Luther’s Seals © Higher Things


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Opening remarks for Sunday, 19 June, 2016


Opening remarks for Sunday, 19 June, 2016
Pentecost 5 - Proper 7


As Americans were waking up last Sunday, (6.12.2016) we were greeted with the sobering news of yet another lone gunman, wielding a weapon, killing 49 innocent souls, wounding an additional fifty.  How do we make sense of all this?

And, what might be our response? Anger. Exasperation. Frustration. Rage. We do not know what condition our nation will be today, tomorrow, or in the future. But we do know where Christ will be from now unto eternity.


Stat Crux Dum Volvitur Orbis” –“ The cross stands while the world spins.” While the world appears to be breaking apart all around us, the cross of Christ stands strong.  We are not given to panic but to pray. So continue in the vocation, which God has placed you. Bloom where you are planted. Gossip the gospel. Stay focused. Be a blessing

Pentecost 6 - Proper 8 Time in the Word



When the prophet Elijah became discouraged and despaired of his life, “the Word of the Lord came to him” (1 Kings 19:9b) and stood him “on the mount before the Lord” (1 Kings 19:11). The Lord made Himself known to the prophet—not in the impressive power of gale force winds, nor in an earthquake, and nor in the fire, but in “the sound of a low whisper” (1 Kings 19:12). Today God reveals Himself among us through the frail preaching of the Gospel. The Son of Man sends “messengers ahead of Him…to make preparations for Him” (Luke 9:51–52). Putting their hand to that plow of preaching, they “go and proclaim the kingdom of God,” and they do not look back (Luke 9:60, 62). What they preach is not the power of the Law with its “yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1), but the power of God unto salvation through the Gospel of forgiveness, by which “Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1).

 Collect for the Fifth Sunday of PentecostLord of all power and might, Author and Giver of all good things, graft into our hearts the love of Your name and nourish us with all goodness that we may love and serve our neighbor; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for Psalm 16Lord God our Father, keep safe Your servant on the path of eternal life, for You alone are my refuge. When my last hour comes, may my body rest secure in the promise of the Lord's resurrection; 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 likeness to ChristO God, by the patient suffering of Your only-begotten Son You have beaten down the pride of the old enemy. Now help us, we humbly pray, rightly to treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has of His goodness borne for our sake that following His blessed example we may bear with all patience all that is adverse to us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for spiritual renewalAlmighty God, grant that we, who have been redeemed from the old life of sin by our Baptism into the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, may be renewed by Your Holy Spirit to live in righteousness and true holiness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for grace to love and serve GodO God, through the grace of Your Holy Spirit You pour the gifts of love into the hearts of Your faithful people. Grant Your servants health both of mind and body that they may love You with their whole heart and with their whole strength perform those things that are pleasing to You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 20 June 2016 Psalm 85:8–10, 13; antiphon, Psalm 85:7—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, Show us Your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation. God has shown His steadfast love and salvation to us by sending His Son into the world to save us. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people. God speaks His peace to us through His holy Word, especially in the Gospels, where we have a record of the words and the deeds of Jesus, who accomplished our salvation for us. Truly, His salvation is near to us who fear Him!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 Psalm 16 - In the psalm for the day, David takes delight in an unwavering commitment to the Lord in both life and death. This ought also to be our attitude and joy, for He has made known to us the path of life. We have a beautiful inheritance: life with God forever in the kingdom of heaven.

Wednesday, 22 June 20161 Kings 19:9b–21—On the lam to escape wicked Queen Jezebel, Elijah fell into despair: few people in Israel wanted to have anything to do with the Lord or His prophets, and the queen had sworn to kill him (1 Kgs 19:2). In the midst of his despondency, the Lord strengthened Elijah both physical (1 Kgs 19:4–9) and, in the reading for Sunday, spiritual. The Lord instructed Elijah to step out of his cave while the He showed him three tremendous displays of natural forces—a great and strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire. Then He came in patience and love, with gentleness and mercy—in a low whisper. He told Elijah that he had not been a failure; there were still seven thousand faithful in Israel. To encourage Elijah, God also gave him a threefold assignment. He was to head north and anoint the next king of Aram, who would be God’s scourge on Israel. He was also to anoint a new king over Israel, who would wipe out the dynasty of Ahab and destroy Baal worship in Israel. Finally, Elijah was to anoint the man who would succeed him as prophet. The mission of Elijah was to be continued in Elisha.

Thursday, 23 June 2016 Galatians 5:1, 13–25—We Americans are justly jealous of our freedoms; they were won and preserved at great cost. But, with freedom comes responsibility. As Christians, we have received an even greater freedom—freedom from the curse of the Law. With this freedom also comes great responsibility—the responsibility to use our freedom in service to God and neighbor. The only way we are able to do this is to be led by the Spirit, whose fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Friday, 24 June 2016 Luke 9:51–62—In Luke 9:51, the whole tenor of the Gospel according to St Luke changes, when Jesus sets His face to go to Jerusalem. Now the focus is on the cross, where He will redeem mankind from the clutches of Satan, from bondage to the Law, and from everlasting death. Our eyes, too, must ever be focused on the cross of Christ. It is there alone that we are able to find true freedom, as proclaimed in the epistle from Galatians. Likewise, if pastors are going to faithful to the Lord, as was Elijah, they must always preach Christ crucified as a sacrifice on our behalf.

Saturday, 25 June 2016— Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Come, Follow Me, the Savior Spake (LSB #688), is an exhortation to live our lives under the cross. We, who have been set free from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation, must now live our lives in service to Him by walking in His way. How can we ever hope to accomplish such a thing? By firmly clinging to His Word (stanza 5).

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

Luther’s Seals © Higher Things

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Proper 7


Proper 7
19 June 2016
Luke 8:26-39
Miracle by the Tombs

A Defeated man
A sick and suffering slave. Next, a dead man. Followed by a prostitute.  Now, today, a lunatic. Controlled by demon possession. Luke piles one story on top of another showing how Jesus is willing to include those who are seen as contaminated and corrupted. They are the unclean.

A nameless man has been exiled to the margins of human existence. He's filthy. Naked in public. He can't control his speech. He's so violent that people can't come near him. All attempts to restrain him have failed. He exhibits the most common form of self-harm even today — self-mutilation. He suffers from demon possession.

This mad young man, in an unclean town, a town on the far side of the Sea of Galilee, in which Jewish people made their living by herding pigs.   Jewish law tells us the pig is an unclean animal.  But the town has found it profitable. To raise them and sell them to their pagan neighbors who were pork eaters. 

The maniac is untouchable.  The people of the town had decided that he was good for nothing.  His uncontrollable rages have brought them to drastic measures.  They have put him in chains and chained him among the dead. In the town cemetery. Where his roaring would bother the living less.  Even so, he manages to escape now and then and takes off into the woods.  Why does he return? Because they go after him.  Because there is nowhere else to go.  Because hunger brings him back to the food, they will supply him. 

"My name is Legion!" this homeless man screamed. "For we are many." Tortured in body, mind, and spirit, he embodied the scope of human suffering. For a Roman "legion" consisted of 5,000 soldiers.

 And so, his community did what we still do today. They banished the man. To the safe and solitary margins of society.


A delivered man
When Jesus arrives by boat from across the Sea, there is no crowd waiting to greet Him.   But Jesus and the disciples can hear the fellow in the cemetery.  They go to him.  By the end of Jesus’ time with him, the young man has been restored to sanity. He is calm. And he rejoices in his acceptance by them all.
But something else has happened.  The demons and the madness have gone out of the young man. And, at Jesus’ direction, they enter into a large herd of swine.  The swine, in horror at their own corruption by unclean spirits, run to the edge of the cliff.


They jump into the Sea and are drowned.  Now the people come running. They crowd around. Horrified at the loss of their valuable swine.  And they are terrified of Jesus – so terrified they ask Him to leave.

A directed man
They ask Jesus to leave. He abides by their request. But the man who was freed from his long and lonely days of isolation and terror went about telling anyone who would listen how much God had done for him. And we need to be clear on this. It is, “How much God has done…” not how much you have done. We bear the message of freedom from evil dark powers. But it is Christ who secures this freedom.

Jesus seeks not only to cure the "disease" -- the demon-possession; but also to heal the illness -- to restore this man to the community from which he has been estranged. He is to go home.

The man who sat at Jesus' feet and who learned from Him wants to go with them. And what are his options? He is standing on the beach with Jesus. The disciples in the boat are in front of him. The townsfolk who banished him to the graveyard are at his back.

He wants to go with the One who healed him. He wants to be with Jesus.  The One who wasn't afraid to come near him. The One who didn't walk on the other side of the street. He wants to go with his new teacher and Lord. He wants to learn more about the kingdom of God. He's ready to follow Jesus. There's room in the boat.  And he'll leave without looking back!  There's really no one to say good-bye to. But Jesus says no.

To others along the way, Jesus had issued the invitation, "Come, and follow Me." But to this one He says, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you."

This isn't simply a story of one man's healing.  It’s a story of one man's calling. Jesus does bid the man to follow; but in this case, the following involves staying rather than leaving. Jesus does not reject the man's application to be a disciple. He accepts it fully. “I even have a first appointment all lined up for you,” Jesus says from the boat. “Your congregation…is standing right behind you. Now, go and tell....”

Words – 845
Passive Sentences –6%
Readability –83.2

Reading Level – 3.9

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Elisha



Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Time in the Word - Pentecost 5 - Proper 7

Time in the Word
Pentecost 5 – Proper 7
Jesus Brings Release from the Bonds of Sin, Death, and the Devil
June 13-18, 2016




The Lord finds those who did not seek Him or ask for Him. He spreads out His hands “to a rebellious people” (Is. 65:2) and calls them to be His people and to dwell in peace upon His holy mountain (Is. 65:9). For wherever Jesus Christ enters in, Satan is cast out. Those who were enslaved and driven mad by the assaults and accusations of the devil, are set free by the Word of Christ. He drowns and destroys the old Adam in us with the waters of Holy Baptism and thereby brings us out of death into life. No longer naked in our shame, living “among the tombs” (Luke 8:27), we are brought into the Lord’s house, fully clothed by Christ. For He has come, in “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4) to fulfill the Law on our behalf and to redeem us from its every accusation. Therefore, having been justified by His grace through faith in His Gospel, “you are no longer a slave, but a son” (Gal. 4:7).

Prayers for deliverance from sin: We implore You, O Lord, in Your kindness to show us Your great mercy that we may be set free from our sins and rescued from the punishments that we rightfully deserve; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, You desire not the death of a sinner, but rather that we turn from our evil ways and live. Graciously spare us those punishments which we by our sins have deserved, and grant us always to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; 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 grace and forgiveness: Spare us, O Lord, and mercifully forgive us our sins. Though by our continual transgressions we have merited Your chastisements, be gracious to us. Grant that all these punishments which we have deserved may not come upon us, but that all things may work to our everlasting good; 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 steadfast faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward 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 finally come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for those involved in occult practices or afflicted by demons: O God, almighty Father, You told us through Your Son, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever You ask of the Father in My name, He will give it to you." He has commanded and encouraged us to pray in His name, "Ask, and you will receive," and has also said, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver You, and you shall glorify Me." We unworthy sinners, relying on these Your words and command, pray for Your mercy with such faith as we can muster. Graciously free [name] from all evil, and undo the work that Satan has done in [him/her], to the honor of Your name and the strengthening of the faith of believers; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 13 June 2016 Psalm 71:20–24; antiphon, Psalm 71:3—Psalm 71 was likely written by King David toward the end of his life. Looking back over the events of a long life, he could see that, though he had experienced many troubles and calamities, the Lord would always deliver him, would revive him again.

 David trusted in the Lord as a rock and a fortress, who cannot be moved or shaken, but provides refuge for His people. In response, the people of God shout for joy and sing praises to Him, and speak of His righteous help all the daylong.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 Psalm 3—This psalm of David has as its background his flight from his rebellious son, Absalom, as recorded in 2 Samuel 15—18, but it is applicable in our day and age and situation, too. The psalm was written to sustain the faith of anyone who faces a hostile conspiracy of foes, whether those foes be physical or spiritual. David counsels us to cry to the Lord when we are beset by trouble (vv. 1–2), then be calm, knowing that the Lord will sustain us (vv. 3–6). We can boldly exhort God to intervene on our behalf (v. 7) and then be certain that His blessing is upon us, and He will bring salvation (v. 8).

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 Isaiah 65:1–9—Chapters 63 and 64 record pleas from Isaiah on behalf of the faithful that God would be merciful to them. The last two chapters of Isaiah, 65 and 66, are the Lord’s reply. First, He repeats the treats of judgment on those who do not seek Him (vv. 1–7). However, there are also those who have not forsaken Him. To these, He promises that He will not destroy them, but will give them the inheritance, which He had promised to His people. They who are faithful are His chosen ones, and shall reap the benefits of His mercy.

Thursday, 16 June 2016 Galatians 3:23—4:7—St Paul here contrasts the position of a slave and that of an heir. Because of our sin, the Law kept us as slaves.

We are slaves to our sinful nature, and cannot share in the inheritance from God. Nevertheless, God sent forth His Son to redeem us. He did what we are unable to do: He fulfilled the Law for us. Having been set free from bondage to sin and to the Law, we have been made sons of God, heirs of all His blessings. Eternal life with God is the inheritance in all who are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Friday, 17 June 2016 Luke 8:26–39—Jesus travels across the Sea of Galilee, to the east side, where a number of Gentiles lived. There he met a man who was tormented by demons, who did terrible things to him. The demons who possessed this man knew who Jesus is: the Son of the Most High God, and the one who would send them to eternal torture in the abyss of hell. Jesus casts them into a herd of pigs, and they destroy the pigs. We see in the demon-possessed man a picture of total helplessness in the face of an ungodly spiritual foe. Jesus, the Son of the Most High God, could only rescue him. We, too, are helpless in the face of adversity from the devil and his demons, for our fallen nature is unwilling and unable to fight against him. Like the demoniac, we need rescuing by Jesus. He has accomplished our rescue by His death on the cross, where He defeated Satan and the powers of darkness.


Saturday, 18 June 2016— Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Rise, Shine, You People (LSB #825). It tells how the Son of the Most High God has entered into human history and defeated the powers of evil. He brings us freedom, light, and life and healing. In response, we are to tell how the Father sent His son to save us and tell of the Son, who life and freedom gave us.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Luther’s Seals © Higher Things
Images of swine Google Images Web 




The Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, AD 325


Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Pentecost 4 - Proper 6



Proper 6
12 June 2016
Luke 7:36—8:3
Jesus, the Friend of Sinners

A prayer for deliverance from sin: We implore You, O Lord, in Your kindness to show us Your great mercy that we may be set free from our sins and rescued from the punishments that we rightfully deserve; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Jesus’ enemies accused Him of being a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Yes, He was. And Yes! He is! – “Simon! Look at this woman…” says Jesus. “I came into your house water upon my feet you did not give. By her tears, she washed my feet. With her hair, she wiped them. A kiss you did not give. Upon my entry, she did not stop kissing them.” 

Jesus is the honored guest and Simon didn't have the common decency to treat him as such. Why? Simon cannot even give insincere hospitality. He did not recognize Jesus as the Christ. Simon was scandalized! That Jesus would allow this. But Jesus teaches that forgiveness is for sinners. Not for the self-righteous. This woman. Sorry for her sin. Was forgiven by Jesus. When we repent of our sins—which are many—we, too, are forgiven.  Glory be to Jesus. He is a friend of sinners. Like you!

1. The debt is great – These two debtors. Both had the obligation to pay. The liability what huge. One owed 500 denarii - a price of a house.  The other owed 50 –The price of a car. But not having it to pay the
The sinner must constantly confess, “I am a sinner.” The alcoholic, must constantly confess his condition daily until Jesus returns. And declares it no more.  That’s precisely the point Jesus makes. The debt of sin we could never repay. The weight is too much for us to bear. The burden is too heavy. The guilt is overwhelming. So He cancels the debt. He stops it. He revokes. Rescinds. And repeals the debt. And declares it to be no more.  

Transition:  The burden and guilt of sin is great. In mercy, your Father has forgiven your sin and He remembers them no more…

2.  In mercy, your heavenly Father canceled the debt. – Jesus doesn't talk about faith He delivers faith. Jesus tells the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” We can literally say, “Your Jesus has saved you. Go in peace.”  Faith always looks to its object.

NOTE: When using the word "faith" follow up with, "what God in Christ has given you."   We do not place faith in our faith. We trust in Christ and Him alone.  Jesus’ words always do what they say. When He says, “your sins are forgiven,” they are!  What a relief. What a blessing. To know that your sin, though they are many, have been removed. As far as the east is from the west. And He remembers your sin no more! What a blessing. To know that Christ Jesus has paid for every single transgression. What a joy to know that we do not have to carry about the weight of sin.
  
What a pleasure it is to carry our burdens and our cares to the throne room of grace and know that every stain of sin has been wiped clean.  What we were unable to accomplish the Father has made possible by the death and resurrection of His own dear Son Jesus Christ. In Him, all sin is purchased and forgiven period!

Transition:  Our sin, as great as they are, have been forgiven. How do you respond to all this?

3. What is your reaction to all this? Not like the other guests. Who began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Those sitting at the house were insulted. That Jesus would forgive sins.  This should not surprise us. When Jesus healed and forgave the paralyzed man. “At once the Scribes and Pharisees began to say to themselves ‘Who is this fellow who says things like this that are insulting to God? Is there anyone but God who can forgive sins?” [Luke 5:21]

Do you see what they infer?  Only God can forgive sins. Here is Jesus. Absolving and pardoning this woman. They will have none of it! They reject Jesus’ claim to pardon, cleans and release people from the guilt of their sin.

The same question these guests wrestled with at the table now becomes yours. Who is this Jesus? Who even forgives sins?  Do you believe that Jesus can forgive sin? Do you believe that Jesus can absolve you? Of your guilt?  Will you exchange your fault for His pardon?  Or, will you deny His invitation?  Read and react. Reflect and respond. This is the challenge presented to you this week.

We pray:        
Just as I am Thou wilt receive
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come.

Sources:
NEW TESTAMENT in Everyday American English by Julian G. Anderson © 1984 Anderson Books Naples, FL
Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS.



Words -875
Passive Sentences – 8%
Reading ease – 85.2
Reading level – 3.2 

Barnabas




Almighty God, Your faithful servant Barnabas sought not his own renown but gave generously of his life and substance for the encouragement of the apostles and their ministry. Grant that we may follow his example in lives given to charity and the proclamation of the Gospel through Your son Jesus Christ,coho lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit. one God, now and forever.  

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Time in the Word - Pentecost 4 - Proper 6

Time in the Word
The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
A Study for Pentecost 4 – Proper 6
June 6-11 2016

It is not by works of the Law that we are justified, for “the righteous shall live by faith” in Christ (Gal. 3:11). He “redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13) through His death on the tree of the cross. Though we have “despised the Word of the Lord” (2 Sam 12:9), He has pity on us and calls us to repentance. He lays hold of us in mercy and grants us peace. He takes our sin upon Himself, so that we shall not die but live (2 Sam 12:13). And so we worship Him—like that woman who anointed His feet, washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair. We love Him much because our “sins, which are many, are forgiven” (Luke 7:47).

Prayer for deliverance from sin: We implore You, O Lord, in Your kindness to show us Your great mercy that we may be set free from our sins and rescued from the punishments that we rightfully deserve; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for pardon, growth in grace, and divine protection: 
O Lord, our God, we acknowledge Your great goodness toward us and praise You for the mercy and grace that our eyes have seen, our ears have heard, and our hearts have known. We sincerely repent of the sins of this day and those in the past. Pardon our offenses, correct and reform what is lacking in us, and help us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Inscribe Your law upon our hearts, and equip us to serve You with holy and blameless lives. May each day remind us of the coming of the night when no one can work. In the emptiness of this present age, keep us united by a living faith through the power of Your Holy Spirit with Him who is the resurrection and the life, that we may escape the eternal bitter pains of condemnation. By Your Holy Spirit, bless the preaching of Your Word and the administration of Your Sacraments. Preserve these gifts to us and to all Christians. Guard and protect us from all dangers to body and soul. Grant that we may with faithful perseverance receive from You our sorrows as well as our joys, knowing that health and sickness, riches and poverty, and all things come by permission of Your fatherly hand. Keep us this day under Your protective care and preserve us, securely trusting in Your everlasting goodness and love, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for steadfast faith:
 Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward 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 finally come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 6 June 2016Psalm 25:16–18, 20; antiphon, Psalm 25:1–2—In the antiphon, we, with author David, beseech the Lord to deliver and protect us, that our enemies not exult over us. In the body of the Introit, our chief enemy is named: sin. It is because of the fallen, sinful state of the world that there is loneliness, affliction, trouble, and distress. The only cure is the forgiveness of sins; we must take refuge in God alone, especially in the forgiveness offered through the sacrifice of Christ our Savior.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016Psalm 32:1–7—This psalm of David is one of the seven penitential psalms. David, St Paul says, “speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works.” (Romans 4:6) Neither David, nor we, nor any person merits absolution from God; it is solely by His grace that our transgression is forgiven. David exhorts us to offer a prayer—a prayer of contrition—to the Lord, and then to have confidence that He will surround us with shouts of deliverance, such as the one we hear from Jesus on the cross: ‘It is finished!’

Wednesday, 8 June 20162 Samuel 11:26—12:10, 13–14—You might remember that, in the old television program Leave It to Beaver, Ward Cleaver, Beaver’s father, would often tell Beaver a tale designed to reprimand and correct some misbehavior by his son. God’s prophet, Nathan, does the same thing to David, who had committed adultery with another man’s wife, and then had the man, Uriah, killed. When David says that the wicked man in the story ought to die, Nathan accuses him, ‘You are the man!’ David is brought to repentance. Though he will sufferer the consequences of his actions, God forgives the sin: ‘The Lord also has put away your sin.’ Likewise, when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Thursday, 9 June 2016Galatians 2:15–21; 3:10–14—The key verse of this reading—indeed, of the entire book of Galatians—is chapter 3, verse 11: The righteous shall live by faith. Our condition from the very moment of our conception is that we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). It is only God who can make us righteous by the blood of Christ Jesus, our Savior. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us solely by grace, through faith, which receives the benefits of Christ’s atoning death and resurrection. By faith, given to us by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament, we are declared righteous for Christ’s sake.

Friday, 10 June 2016Luke 7:36—8:3—In Luke 7:34, we are told that Jesus’ enemies accused Him of being a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Yes, He was, and is! In the Gospel reading, we are told of a woman—a noted sinner—who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume, and wiped them with her hair. Simon the Pharisee was scandalized that Jesus would allow this, but Jesus teaches that forgiveness is for sinners, not for the self-righteous. The woman, sorry for her sins, has them forgiven by Jesus. When we repent of our sins—which are many—we, too, are forgiven. Thanks be to Jesus that He is a friend of sinners like us!

Saturday, 11 June 2016—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Today Your Mercy Calls Us to Wash Away Our Sin (LSB #915). No matter the depth of our sin, the blood of Christ has atoned for it. Through Baptism, our sins are washed away, and Christ exchanges His righteousness for our sins. By faith in Christ, our eternal destiny is life with God forever in heaven.

A prayer for St. Barnabas Day (11 June) - Almighty God, Your faithful servant Barnabas sought not his own renown but gave generously of his life and substance for the encouragement of the apostles and their ministry. Grant that we may follow his example in lives given to charity and the proclamation of the Gospel through Your son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House


Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Proper 5 Introit & Introit


Proper 5 Series C

Introit
Turn to me and be gra- | cious to me;*
give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maid- | servant.
On the day I called, you | answered me;*
my strength of soul | you increased.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you pre- | serve my life;*
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand de- | livers me.
The LORD will fulfill his pur- | pose for me;*
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work | of your hands.
Glory be to the Father and | to the Son*
and to the Holy | Spirit;
as it was in the be- | ginning,*
is now, and will be forever. | Amen.
Turn to me and be gra- | cious to me;*
give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maid- | servant.

Collect
O Lord, Father of all mercy and God of all comfort, You always go before and follow after us.  Grant that we may rejoice in Your gracious presence and continually be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Proper Preface
It is truly good, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who on this day overcame death and the grave and by His glorious resurrection opened to us the way of everlasting life.  Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying:


Image- Raise of the widow's son by Shnorr von Carolsfeld woodcut - © WELS for personal and congregational use