Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 2017

January 2017

January 1             Christmas 1        Divine Service Setting 3 Pg. 184
                                Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23 - “God’s Promises fulfilled
O God, our Maker and Redeemer, You wonderfully created us and in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously restored our human nature. Grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us;

January 8             The Baptism of our Lord - Matins Pg. 219
                                Matthew 3:13–17 – So who and what is this Christ?
Father in heaven, at the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River You pro claimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized in His name faithful in their calling as Your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life;

January 15           Epiphany 2          Divine Service Setting 4 Pg. 203
                                John 1:29–42a - God Reveals His Glory in Christ and His Cross
Almighty and everlasting God, who governs all things in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the prayers of Your people and grant us Your peace through all our days;

January 22           Epiphany 3 - Prayer and Preaching Page 260
                                Matthew 4:12–25 – God’s Kingdom Comes
Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities and stretch forth the hand of Your majesty to heal and defend us;

January 29           Epiphany 4 -       Divine Service Setting 1 Page 151
                                Matthew 5:1–12 – The Demands and Rewards of the Kingdom
Almighty God, You know we live in the midst of so many dangers that in our frailty we cannot stand upright. Grant strength and protection to support us in all dangers and carry us through all temptations;

We enter a new year. 2017. It will be a year of adjustment. On 20 January, we will witness the inauguration of a new president. After a contentious election year, he will be summoned to lead our nation. Will he be able to lead us effectively? Can he bring this country together or will America be further divided?  What challenges will come our way?

 The following prayer, from Billy Graham, written for The Saturday Evening Post nine years ago in 2008, is just as relevant this year.

Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.

We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year.

In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love.

In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need.

In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost.

And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end” (Psalm 119:33).

We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives. Be with their families also, and assure them of Your love and concern for them.

Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your Word reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us—far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year.

And so, our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come.

The new year stands before us. A blank page. What will be written upon it concerning your life? The following hymn I find appropriate.

Son of God, eternal Savior,
Source of life and truth and grace,
Word made flesh, whose birth among us
Hallow all our human race,
You our Head, who, throned in glory,
For Your own will ever plead:
Fill us with Your love and pity,
Heal our wrongs, and help our need.
© Lutheran Service Book #842

Together we face the future. May the Savior direct our path and carry us as we enter this new year. 

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