Monday, September 24, 2018

Morning Prayer Reading 25 - Joseph Makes Himself Known

Joseph Makes Himself Known 
Genesis 44 & 45 
(Selective Verses)


44 Then he commanded the steward of his house, “Fill the men's sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man's money in the mouth of his sack, 2 and put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, with his money for the grain.” And he did as Joseph told him.

3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away with their donkeys. 4 They had gone only a short distance from the city. Now Joseph said to his steward, “Up, follow after the men, and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good?

6 When he overtook them, he spoke to them these words. 12 And he searched, beginning with the eldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city.

14 When Judah and his brothers came to Joseph's house, he was still there. They fell before him to the ground. 15 Joseph said to them, “What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that a man like me can indeed practice divination?

18 Then Judah went up to him and said, “Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself.   30 “Now therefore,  please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers."

 45 Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.

5 "And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9 Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; do not tarry." 14 Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a 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 used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Proper 21




Proper 21 B
Numbers 11:4–6, 10–16, 24–29 
James 5:(1–12) 13–20
Mark 9:38–50


Christ Jesus, the Son of God, Cares for Us and Serves Us with the Forgiveness of Sins

When the people of Israel wept, complaining that they had no meat to eat (Numbers 11:4), Moses cried out to the Lord that “the burden of all this people” was too heavy for him and that he was “not able to carry all this people alone” (Numbers 11:11–14). So the Lord had Moses gather “seventy men of the elders of Israel” (Numbers 11:16), and the Lord “took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders” (Numbers 11:25), so that Moses would not carry the burden alone.
All who thus labor are honored, and all the people are cared for, in the name of the Lord (Mark 9:39–41). Everything is done with reference to Christ Jesus. So we cling to Him, and we flee from all sins that would separate us from Him (Mark 9:42–48). The life of the Church is one of repentant faith in Christ. Christians confess their sins to one another, and they “pray for one another,” that each would be raised up and healed by the Lord Jesus, who covers “a multitude of sins” and saves our souls from death (James 5:15–20). 
The theme is Tolerance. In the Old Testament lesson Moses tolerates the giving of the Spirit. In the Epistle, James calls for intolerance of wickedness. In the Gospel, Jesus approves a non-follower's use of His name. Coupled with tolerance is an underlying theme of resistance. Jesus urges to get rid of anything that causes us to sin while in the Old Testament lesson the Israelites complain about the monotony of daily manna. James condemns the sin of arrogance and persecution of the poor.
Collect for Proper 21 - Everlasting Father, source of every blessing, mercifully direct and govern us by Your Holy Spirit that we may complete the works You have prepared for us to do; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Lord, thank You for Your work through the lives of others. Lead me to welcome those miracles and mercies that You show through every one of Your people. 
Lord, give us the lasting faith that can persevere through every trial. Empty our heads of anything that competes with You, and let us hold firmly to You eternally. 

Mark 9:38-50 – Jesus approves a non-follower’s use of His name to cast our demons. He urges the extermination of those sins that result in hell. The first part of the Gospel (Vv. 38-41) obviously parallels the Old Testament lesson. It deals with Jesus’ approval of a non-disciple casting out demons in Jesus’ name. The next section (Vv.42-48) deals with Jesus’ “little ones” – not children but his disciples or new converts. The point is that any sacrifice is worth eternal life rather than going to hell forever which is described as eternal torment.
A third section of the reading deals with salt.  It is a call to radical obedience rather than to accommodation to the world.
In Christ you are free. There is much Christian liberty and freedom the child of God can experience in this life. The Lord wants His followers to enjoy the fullness of life. All that God created is good. However, if any part of us or any habit causes us to sin, we are to get rid of it. It would be better to abstain and deny ourselves certain pleasures and privileges than to allow one pleasure to ruin the whole. When should we allow our Christian liberty to be exercised? When might you deny yourself certain “freedoms” for the sake of someone else? How might we better live balanced lives?
Vv. 38-41 Jesus opens the disciples' eyes to see those who do God's work in dramatic or simple ways. The work of God goes far beyond us. He show His power and kindness through great life changing miracles and simple cups of water. 
Anyone Not Against Us Is for Us

:38 [a]Ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰωάννης· Διδάσκαλε, εἴδομέν τινα [b]ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ἐκβάλλοντα δαιμόνια, [c]καὶ ἐκωλύομεν αὐτόν, ὅτι οὐκ ἠκολούθει ἡμῖν. John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name,[a] and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.”
-John the Baptist  beheaded in chapter 6 - he's not following us, not one of us...casting out demons correctly. Is this a part of the 70/72? 
-Consistent with John/James “shall we call down fire?” “Sit on Your right/left.”
:39  ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν· Μὴ κωλύετε αὐτόν, οὐδεὶς γάρ ἐστιν ὃς ποιήσει δύναμιν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματί μου καὶ δυνήσεται ταχὺ κακολογῆσαί με· But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 
- do not forbid him...do not stop them...for no one who does a powerful work (things) ...in My Name... and turn around and speak evil. 
-Powerful things = proclaiming the Word, baptizing…
:40 ὃς γὰρ οὐκ ἔστιν καθ’ [d]ἡμῶν, ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἐστιν For the one who is not against us is for us. 
-whoever is not against us is for us...
:41 Ὃς γὰρ ἂν ποτίσῃ ὑμᾶς ποτήριον ὕδατος ἐν [e]ὀνόματι ὅτι χριστοῦ ἐστε, ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν [f]ὅτι οὐ μὴ [g]ἀπολέσῃ τὸν μισθὸν αὐτοῦ. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.
- for whoever gives you to drink a cup of water in the Name because you are in Christ, he will certainly no loose his reward...Christian Vocation... 
-There must have been a conversion. By nature people start out against Christ, in the realm of darkness...
-Jesus also said, "He who is not with me is against me."
-Do not compare yourself to others but also do not compromise the truth.
There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.” – CS Lewis “Through the Wardrobe”
Vv. 42-50 Nothing is more important than retaining the faith unto eternal life. Let nothing come between you and the Savior.  Though He tests us with fire, He does not consume His own people.  Rejoice, for God graciously gives us the faith in which He preserves us to eternity. 
Temptations to Sin
:42  Καὶ ὃς [h]ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν [i]τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων [j]εἰς ἐμέ, καλόν ἐστιν αὐτῷ μᾶλλον εἰ περίκειται [k]μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ βέβληται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν.  Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,[b] it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 
"little ones" Gk. μικρῶν "smallest child" 
:43 Καὶ ἐὰν [l]σκανδαλίζῃ σε ἡ χείρ σου, ἀπόκοψον αὐτήν· καλόν [m]ἐστίν σε κυλλὸν [n]εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν ἢ τὰς δύο χεῖρας ἔχοντα ἀπελθεῖν εἰς τὴν γέενναν, εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ [o]ἄσβεστον. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell,[c] to the unquenchable fire.[d] 
-"hell: Gk. γέενναν from Hebrew name for the Hinnom Valley southwest of Jerusalem, where humans were sacrificed (2 Ch.28:3; 33:6) and garbage was dumped (2 Kings 23:10)  Fire was constantly present in the Hinnom Valley due to sacrifices and burning trash. This became a figure for the everlasting fire of hell. Used in Mark Vv. 43, 45, 47. 
-Hand, foot, eye = Works, your walk, what you take in goes to the heart...
:45  καὶ ἐὰν ὁ πούς σου σκανδαλίζῃ σε, ἀπόκοψον αὐτόν· καλόν ἐστίν [p]σε εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν χωλὸν ἢ τοὺς δύο πόδας ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς τὴν [q]γέενναν. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 
:47 καὶ ἐὰν ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου σκανδαλίζῃ σε, ἔκβαλε αὐτόν· καλόν [r]σέ ἐστιν μονόφθαλμον εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἢ δύο ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντα βληθῆναι εἰς [s]τὴν [t]γέενναν, And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
:48  ὅπου ὁ σκώληξ αὐτῶν οὐ τελευτᾷ καὶ τὸ πῦρ οὐ σβέννυται. where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.
:49 Πᾶς γὰρ πυρὶ [u]ἁλισθήσεται. For everyone will be salted with fire.
:50 καλὸν τὸ ἅλας· ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας ἄναλον γένηται, ἐν τίνι αὐτὸ ἀρτύσετε; ἔχετε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς [v]ἅλα, καὶ εἰρηνεύετε ἐν ἀλλήλοις. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
Sources

Scripture quotations marked SBLGNT are from the The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Luther’s Seal © Higher Things

Time in the Word - Pentecost 19 - Proper 21



Time in the Word
 September 24-29, 2018
Proper 21
Preparation for next week, Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday’s Theme is Tolerance. In the Old Testament lesson, Moses tolerates the giving of the Spirit. In the Epistle, James calls for intolerance of wickedness. In the Gospel, Jesus approves a non-follower’s use of His name. Coupled with tolerance is an underlying theme of resistance. Jesus urges to get rid of anything that causes us to sin while in the Old Testament lesson the Israelites complain about the monotony of daily manna. James condemns the sin of arrogance and persecution of the poor.

Collect for Pentecost 18Keep, we pray. O Lord, Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because without You we cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


A prayer for God to guide us—Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with Your most gracious favor, and further us with Your continual help, that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in You we may glorify Your holy name and finally, by Your mercy, obtain eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
  

Collect for Proper 21 –Everlasting Father, source of every blessing, mercifully direct and govern us by Your Holy Spirit that we may complete the works You have prepared for us to do; 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 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; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


For the Hope of Eternal life in Christ—Almighty, everlasting God, whose Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death, strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ increase daily and we hold fast to the hope that we shall not die but fall asleep and on the last day be raised to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For those in distressed—Almighty and everlasting God, the consolation of the sorrowful and the strength of the weak, may the prayers of those who in any tribulation or distress cry to You graciously come before You, so that in all their necessities they may mark and receive Your manifold help and comfort; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

This Week’s Morning Prayer Readings
Read and review the following Bible stories for each day… 
Mon., September 24 - Joseph reveals himself - Genesis 44-45 selective verses
Tues. September 25– Jacob in Egypt – Genesis 45-47 selective verses
Wed. September 26– Chapel Day
Thurs. September 27 - Birth of Moses –Exodus 1-2 selective verses
Fri. – September 28- Call of Moses – Exodus 2-3 selective verses

From the Small Catechism – 9th & 10th Commandments  
Monday, 24 September 2018Psalm 135:1-3, 13-14, Antiphon, Psalm 135:13—Your Name, O Lord, endures forever, Your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages. Psalm 135 is a call to praise the Lord – the one and only true God, the Lord of all creation, the Lord over all the nations, Israel’s redeemer. The Psalmist reminds us that the Lord and His redeeming work will be remembered throughout time. Thus we praise Him for His marvelous deeds.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018Psalm 104:27-35; key verse, verse 24How many are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. The psalmist recalls the fifth day of creation. (Genesis 1:20-23).  The realm of the sea is structurally balanced with the celestial realm, (see verses 2-4) as the other boundary to the realm of earth. And the Lord orders each day of your life as He has promised to guide and sustain you. 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018Numbers 11:4-6; 10-16, 24-29—Moses tolerates the giving of the Spirit. The Lord provides seventy elders to assist Moses in meeting the needs of the people and gives his spirit to others than the seventy. The Israelites are in the wilderness and complain to Moses that they have only manna and no meat. Moses takes the complaint to God who orders Moses to bring seventy elders to the meeting place outside the camp. Some of Moses’ spirit was given to the elders and they began to prophesy. Two men, Eldad and Medad, were not invited to the meeting of the seventy. While in the camp, they received the Spirit and prophesied. Joshua was jealous for Moses and asked him to stop the two. Moses refused and wished that all of the people had the spirit and were prophets.

Thursday, 27 September 2018James 5: (1-12) 13-20—James calls for intolerance of wickedness and a return to God for the avoidance of evil. This lesson continues where last Sunday’s Epistle has stopped. James urges his readers to turn to God and away from wickedness. Among the evils we are to avoid are judging others, boasting, and injustice to the poor.

Friday, 28 September 2018Mark 9:38-50—Jesus approves a non-follower’s use of His name to cast our demons. He urges the extermination of those sins that result in hell. The first part of the Gospel (verses 38-41) obviously parallels the Old Testament lesson. It deals with Jesus’ approval of a non-disciple casting out demons in Jesus’ name. The next section (verses 42-48) deals with Jesus’ “little ones” – not children but his disciples or new converts. The point is that any sacrifice is worth eternal life rather than going to hell forever which is described as eternal torment. A third section of the reading deals with salt.  It is a call to radical obedience rather than to accommodation to the world.

In Christ you are free. There is much Christian liberty and freedom the child of God can experience in this life. The Lord wants His followers to enjoy the fullness of life. All that God created is good. However, if any part of us or any habit causes us to sin, we are to get rid of it. It would be better to abstain and deny ourselves certain pleasures and privileges than to allow one pleasure to ruin the whole. When should we allow our Christian liberty to be exercised? When might you deny yourself certain “freedoms” for the sake of someone else? How might we better live balanced lives?

Saturday, 29 September 2015John 14:2; 1 John 4:19; John 8:12- The hymn, Thee Will I Love, My Strength, My Tower (LSB 694), is the Hymn of the Day. Having seen what the Lord has done, having experienced His goodness and mercy, having entered into His presence, we are now called to praise the Name of the Lord which is expressed in this wonderful hymn. 



Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House and from 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

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Reflections on Pentecost 18 - Proper 20




Pentecost 18 – Proper 20
September 23, 2018
Mark 9:30-37
Our Father cares for His children with the Gospel of His Son

Jesus’ definition of greatness




The Collect for Proper 20: “O God, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, grant us humility and childlike faith that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.”  Amen 



For your information: Capernaum was a fishing village located on the northwest tip of the Sea of Galilee. It is mentioned in all four gospels. It was reported to have been the hometown of the tax collector Matthew, and located not far from Bethsaida, the hometown of the apostles Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John. One Sabbath, Jesus taught in the synagogue in Capernaum and healed a man who was possessed by an unclean spirit (Luke 4:31–36 and Mark 1:21–28). This story is notable for being the only one common between the gospels of Mark and Luke, but not contained in the Gospel of Matthew. Afterwards, Jesus healed Simon Peter's mother-in-law of a fever (Luke 4:38–39).


According to Luke 7:1–10 and Matthew 8:5, Capernaum is also the place where Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion who had asked for His help. Capernaum is also the location of the healing of the paralytic lowered through the roof to reach Jesus reported in Mark 2:1–12 and Luke 5:17–26. In Matthew 9:1 the town is referred to only as "his own city" (Matthew 9:1-7).

Questions/Discussion

1.      According to vs. 30-32 Jesus again foretells His death, and resurrection. “They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.”


2.      By the time we get to verse 32, Jesus has just imparted a crucial teaching, telling them who he is, and not for the first time. The prospect of the Messiah being taken and killed just does not compute. When God comes in glory, it is surely to conquer his enemies, not to "be handed over into the hands of men, and they will kill him" (31). So, "they did not understand what he was saying and they were afraid to ask him" (verse 32).

3.       What is the focus of Jesus’ work with the disciples at this point? Why?

4.      To what degree do the disciples seem to understand Him? What is their chief concern? What is the point of His words about the child? How do they speak to what the disciples have been saying?

5.      Brainstorm. Make a list of questions you think the disciples might have wanted to ask Jesus at that point. What questions are people afraid to ask God?  What questions do you wish could be asked at church?

6.      What does this passage have to do with the other readings for today?  The Theme for today: “The Christian and his opposition” can be clearly seen in the three main readings. In the Old Testament lesson [Jeremiah 11:18—20], Jeremiah asks vengeance upon his enemies.  In the Epistle [James 3:13-4:10], opposition has its source in worldly wisdom. In the Gospel, [Mark 9:30-37], Jesus goes to Jerusalem to face His oppressors. Christians live in a world with a different mindset.  Friendship with the world places us at enmity to God. So, how do we strike a balance of living in the world and still being different?  

7.      What important points did you glean from the text, the sermon, and service? What was important to you?

            Grant us Thy peace throughout our earthly life,
            Our balm in sorrow and our stay in strife;
            Then, when Thy voice shall bid our conflict cease,
Call us, O Lord, to Thine eternal peace.

Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise st. four, Lutheran Service Book #917



Image © Higher Things



Pentecost 18 - Proper 20



Pentecost 18 – Proper 20
September 23, 2018
Mark 9:30-37

Our Father cares for His children with the Gospel of His Son

Jesus’ definition of greatness” 

What is Jesus’ definition of “greatness”? What is His standard? His measuring stick? Jesus answers that question in the Gospel of Matthew. With very clear and specific words. “At that time, the disciples came to Jesus asking ‘who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’  Calling unto Himself an infant παιδίον Jesus placed him in front of them and said ‘whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones; who believes in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea…see that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven always behold the face of My Father.” {Matthew 18:1; 4-6; 10}

Merciful God, Your Son Jesus Christ was lifted upon a cross that He might bear the sin of the world and draw all people to Himself. Grant that we who glory in His death for our redemption may faithfully heed His call to bear the cross and follow Him. Lord, thank You for Your work through the lives of others. Lead me to welcome those miracles and mercies that You show through every one of Your people…

These words. Should sound familiar to us. They have been read. Hundreds of times. Over the past thirty-one years. They are included. In the baptism order of service. Used at this parish. Are you surprised? At these words?  Are you offended? By these words of the Savior?

Jesus is quite specific. When it comes to defining greatness μείζων. Jesus gives further instruction of what it means to be great according to His definition. 

The disciples had been engaged in that very conversation.  Like any parent. Who can clearly overhear the bickering and arguing that goes on. Jesus asks them once they enter the house. “What were you arguing about on the road?” {v. 33} Jesus has them dead to rights.  Mark informs us they kept quiet. They were silent. Because they have been bickering. About who was the greatest among them. {v.34} 
Consider Jesus’ clear and definitive response.

I. To be great, according to Jesus, you first must be the very least. You must become the servant of all. Jesus said “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” {v. 35}
  
A.  Jesus’ definition of greatness differs from the ways of this world.  The world defines greatness in a number of smart yet catchy phrases. “The one with the most toys wins!”  “I’ll meet you at the top.” “Luck is when preparation and opportunity collide.” Power. Control. And a stockpile of cash. Are just some of the parts that make up the whole. That determines the world’s definition of greatness.  

Jesus’ understanding of greatness is summed up in one small yet powerful word. -–To be a servant. Jesus said, “For the Son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” {Matthew 20:28}

1. Jesus became the servant of all. In His cross and suffering. There. At the cross. He took the sins of the entire world. Which includes yours. He carried them. The hymn writer reminds us: “a lamb goes uncomplaining forth the guilt of all men bearing. And laden with the sins of earth, none else the burden sharing…” (TLH #142 stanza 1)

2. “Stricken, smitten and afflicted, see Him dying on the tree.” He hangs there. For you and for me. Taking the sins of the entire world unto Himself. He suffered. That you might receive the forgiveness of sins. Life. Salvation.  Because He suffered. There is now “peace on earth, good will toward men.” “God and man are now reconciled” - For in Jesus Christ all sin is forgiven – period!

B.   St. Paul will echo the very same thing as he defines greatness. He says: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a -servant, {and} being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” {Philippians2: 5-8}

1. Jesus was rich toward God. In every respect. He was the perfect. Holy. Son of God.  But in that great exchange. He took your sin to Himself.

2. He became poor for you. That you might be rich toward God. He became a slave. That you might be called an heir. No one can be too low for Jesus. Because He sank to the lowest point possible. That you might be lifted up. He was the “true light” and yet He allowed Himself to experience the “outer darkness” of your sin. He was forsaken by God and by man. That you might never have to sink that low.

Transition: Jesus demonstrated what it meant to be a servant in His humiliation. Suffering. Passion. And death. Thus you are called to recognize Him and acknowledge those who He determines to be great among us.

II.   To be great in the Savior’s eyes means that we must acknowledge Him by recognizing those who He places before us as great in His kingdom.  Listen to the Savior’s words: “Whoever welcomes one of these little ones in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the One who sent Me.” (v. 37)

A. Jesus’ words are simple. “Whoever welcomes one of these babies in My name welcomes Me.” The old axiom says, “Children should be seen and not heard”. Jesus welcomes them. He embraces them.  

1. The true mark of faith is to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. As the Father draws you. You acknowledge Jesus as your true and One Redeemer. 

2. Baptism is your entry point. This is your new birth. Your second birth. Your welcome into the family of Christ. Should we deny a child entry into the kingdom? Certainly not! They are to be welcomed. They are to be recognized as great in the kingdom. Whenever you witness a baptism. Whenever you remember your own baptism. You are not only acknowledging God’s wonderful goodness. You are witnessing those that He considers great in the kingdom.

C. In Baptism we witness a great and mighty wonder. A mystery. And a miracle. All who are baptized are ushered into the kingdom. And placed front and center.  Acknowledged as great. In the Father’s kingdom. This is pure Grace. We have the privilege to welcome an heir into our midst.

When you witness a baptism. An heir to an eternal kingdom. Is born. And placed before us!  No wonder Jesus says they are the greatest in the kingdom! Remember your baptism! Remember you are a child of the King. An heir. To His eternal kingdom! 

1. Jesus is specific. When we welcome a child in baptism. We welcome Him. When we welcome Him. We welcome the Father.


2. We welcome the Father when Jesus and His activity are placed first and foremost in our lives.  When we witness a baptism and remember our own baptism; a crown of everlasting life is given to us. This will not tarnish. This cannot be snatched away by the enemy!

The old song sings: “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.  Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”  That’s not child’s play. That’s your reality.  That’s what it means to be great in the Kingdom of God. In baptism you are declared to be a child of the King. You are an heir. You. And all the baptized. Are great in the Kingdom!
_________________
Words-1,360
Passive Sentences-7%
Readability –83.2
Reading Level-3.5
Image © Higher Things

Friday, September 21, 2018

Morning Prayer Reading 24 - Joseph's brothers return to Egypt



Joseph’s brothers return to Egypt 
Genesis 43 
(Selected Verses)




43 Now the famine was severe in the land. 2 And when they had eaten the grain that they had brought from Egypt, their father said to them, “Go again, buy us a little food.” 3 But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us, saying, ‘You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you.’ 

11 Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the choice fruits of the land in your bags, and carry a present down to the man, a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. 12 Take double the money with you. Carry back with you the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. 13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again to the man. 14 May God Almighty[a] grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”

15 So the men took this present, and they took double the money with them, and Benjamin. They arose and went down to Egypt and stood before Joseph.16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” 

26 When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with them and bowed down to him to the ground. 27 And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?28 They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves. 29 And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!30 Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there.

Footnotes:
Genesis 43:14 Hebrew El Shaddai

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a 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 used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Morning Prayer Reading 23 - Joseph's brothers in Egypt



 Joseph’s brothers in Egypt 
Genesis 42 
(Selected Verses)

3 So ten of Joseph's brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might happen to him. 5 Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

6 Now Joseph was governor over the land. He was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. 7 Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” 8 And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9 And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them. And he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land.” 10 They said to him, “No, my lord, your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all sons of one man. We are honest men. Your servants have never been spies.”

14 But Joseph said to them, “It is as I said to you. You are spies."18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19 if you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined where you are in custody, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households, 20 and bring your youngest brother to me. So your words will be verified, and you shall not die.” And they did so.

21 Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.22 And Reuben answered them, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.” 23 They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them. 24 Then he turned away from them and wept. 


English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a 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 used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Morning Prayer Reading 22 - Joseph rises to power



Joseph rises to power 
Genesis 41 
(Selected Verses)

15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” 16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”[a] 17 Then Pharaoh [told Joseph his dream]


25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. 27 The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine. 30 but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, 32 And the doubling of Pharaoh's dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. 

33 Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt.36 That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”

37 This proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants. 39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command.[d] Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.”

Footnotes:
Genesis 41:16 Or (compare Samaritan, Septuagint) Without God it is not possible to give Pharaoh an answer about his welfare
Genesis 41:34 Or over the land and organize the land
Genesis 41:38 Or of the gods
Genesis 41:40 Hebrew and according to your command all my people shall kiss the ground

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a 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 used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

Morning Prayer Reading 21 - Joseph before Pharaoh



Joseph before Pharaoh 
Genesis 41 
(Selected Verses)


Joseph Interprets Pharaoh's Dreams

41 After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, 2 and behold, there came up out of the Nile seven cows, attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass. 3 And behold, seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. 4 And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke. 5 And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time. And behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk. 6 And behold, after them sprouted seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind. 7 And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. 8 So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh.

9 Then the chief cup-bearer said to Pharaoh, “I remember my offenses today. 10 When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, 11 we dreamed on the same night, he and I, each having a dream with its own interpretation. 12 A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream. 13 And as he interpreted to us, so it came about. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.

14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a 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 used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Proper 20



Proper 20 B
Jeremiah 11:18–20
James 3:13—4:10
Mark 9:30–37

Our Father Cares for His Children with the Gospel of His Son
The sinful heart is filled with “bitter jealousy and selfish ambition” (James 3:14), which causes hostility, quarrels and conflicts, even among those who are fellow members of the body of Christ. This should not be so! Rather, God “opposes the proud” with His Law, in order to humble them unto repentance; He “gives grace to the humble,” in order to exalt them by His Gospel of forgiveness (James 4:6–10). This true “wisdom from above” is found in the gentleness, mercy and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself and sacrificed Himself for the salvation of sinners (James 3:17). He was “like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter,” committing Himself to God, His Father, “who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind” (Jeremiah 11:19–20). Therefore, “after three days,” His Father exalted Him by raising Him from the dead (Mark 9:31). In Holy Baptism, He takes disciples of all ages into His arms like little children. In receiving Him through repentance and faith in His forgiveness of sins, they receive from His Father a share in the glory of His cross and resurrection (Mark 9:36–37).
Collect for Proper 20O God, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, grant us humility and childlike faith that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.
 Lord, break our fear of death by reminding us that You have died, never to die again. Today, open our frightened hearts with the resurrection's promise; one day, open our closed eyes with the resurrection's power.
Lord, forgive us for our battles over greatness. Remind us that You alone are great, for You lave served the least among us.
Lord, thank you for Your work through the lives of others. Lead me to welcome those miracles and mercies that You show through every one of Your people.
Jesus shatters our hopes and dreams...
Sunday’s Theme: The Christian and his opposition can be clearly seen in the three main readings for this coming week. In the Old Testament lesson, [Jeremiah 11:18—20] Jeremiah asks vengeance upon his enemies.  In the Epistle, [James 3:13-4:10] Opposition has its source in worldly wisdom. In the Gospel, [Mark 9:30-37] Jesus goes to Jerusalem to face his oppressors. Christians live in a hostile world, for friendship with the world is enmity to God.
Jesus goes to Jerusalem to face his oppressors. Jesus again announces His approaching passion and teaches the disciples the meaning of greatness. 
On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus announces a second time that He is going there to suffer, die, and rise on the third day. To avoid being detained, he travels incognito.
 Unlike the first announcement, the disciples do not understand it and are afraid to ask Him the meaning of it. When the group reaches Capernaum, Jesus asked them what they were discussing during the walk.
They were too embarrassed to answer, for they had discussed who would be Number One in the coming Kingdom.  Jesus taught that the one to be first must be last as a servant. To illustrate He takes a child in His arms, for in that day women and children were considered second-class citizens. Jesus makes the point that the greatest will minister to one like a child in His name, and when He does, He serves both Christ and God.
Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection Vv. 30-32 - Jesus repeats the prophecy of His Passion and resurrection while the disciples listen in frightened silence. Death is frightening and confusing when we cannot see the promised resurrection. Yet, Jesus bears our fears as well as our sins on the cross in order to deliver us.
9:30
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know,
 κακειθεν εξελθοντες επορευοντο δια της γαλιλαιας και ουκ ηθελεν ινα τις γνοι
 - He did not want will wish desire for any to know where they were - because He was teaching them...
9:31
for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”
εδιδασκεν γαρ τους μαθητας αυτου και ελεγεν [αυτοις] οτι ο υιος του ανθρωπου παραδιδοται εις χειρας ανθρωπων και αποκτενουσιν αυτον και αποκτανθεις μετα τρεις ημερας αναστησεται

- he was continually teaching His disciples, the whole Gospel/salvation story. He will be betrayed into the hands of men, and after three days He Shall Rise. 

9:32
But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
οι δε ηγνοουν το ρημα και εφοβουντο αυτον επερωτησαι

- They were ignorant of what He meant and afraid of the subject matter...afraid even to engages Jesus in the discussion. They shut up about it.
 Who Is the Greatest? VV.32-37 Confused by Jesus' prediction of His death, the disciples return to a subject they know well, their own greatness. Jesus shows them that true status is found in serving those whom God values.

When we are tempted to debate who is the greatest, we should instead look to where the Master hangs on the cross. He represents us before the Father in order to redeem us, and He lead us by the cross into a new life.

9:33
And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?”
και ηλθον εις καφαρναουμ και εν τη οικια γενομενος επηρωτα αυτους τι εν τη οδω διελογιζεσθε

-  He Asked them "what were you talking about on the road? He brings up the subject.

9:34
But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.
οι δε εσιωπων προς αλληλους γαρ διελεχθησαν εν τη οδω τις μειζων

- They were silent...they shut up...as they were debating, "whose the greatest?"  A comparative, "who is greater?"

9:35
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
 και καθισας εφωνησεν τους δωδεκα και λεγει αυτοις ει τις θελει πρωτος ειναι εσται παντων εσχατος και παντων διακονος

- sitting down, He called the twelve, if any would be first he must be deacon...sitting prophetic posture for teaching, He calls them to teach.  He became first by serving...he's not here to teach them how to be great...

9:36
And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them,
και λαβων παιδιον εστησεν αυτο εν μεσω αυτων και εναγκαλισαμενος αυτο ειπεν αυτοις

- taking a παιδιον "little one" He embraced Him and said,

9:37
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
ος αν [εν] των τοιουτων παιδιων δεξηται επι τω ονοματι μου εμε δεχεται και ος αν εμε δεχηται ουκ εμε δεχεται αλλα τον αποστειλαντα με

- whoever receives one of these little children in my name and receives them receives me and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.  Great baptism talk. Proof text!

Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

-The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
-1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament (WHNU) -by Public Domain