Monday, September 30, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 29 - Moses Before Pharaoh



Moses Before Pharaoh
 Exodus 5-12 
(Selective Verses)



5 Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” 2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” 3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” 4 But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.” 5 And Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many,[a] and you make them rest from their burdens!6 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, 7You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves."

7 And the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. 2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt.4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” 6 Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the Lord commanded them. 

11 The Lord said to Moses, “Yet one plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely. 3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight."

7Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt."

14This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast."

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 29, 2019

Proper 22 C



Proper 22 Series C  
(October 2 - 8)

Habakkuk 1:1–4; 2:1–4
2 Timothy 1:1–14
Luke 17:1–10

O God, our refuge and strength, the author of all godliness, by Your grace hear the prayers of Your Church. Grant that those things that we ask in faith we may receive through Your bountiful mercy; through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord, who lives…

We Walk by Faith, and Not by Sight, in the Peace of Christ’s Forgiveness

We are surrounded by “destruction and violence” (Habakkuk 1:3) because the Law “is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth.” (Habakkuk 1:4). 

In fact, the Law cannot rescue us from our enemies; it is our fiercest enemy of all. Therefore, not by sight, experience or feeling, nor by works, but “the righteous shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4) 

Temptations to sin are sure to come” (Luke 17:1), but as often as we sin, the Lord rebukes us, turns us to repentance and forgives us. We pray that He would thus “increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). And indeed, He does! Though we are His “unworthy servants” (Luke 17:10), He prepares His Supper for us, dresses us properly, and gives us His body and blood to eat and drink. 

He appoints pastors for us, “by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:1). For the Gospel brings “life and immortality to light” (2 Timothy 1:10). 

This we believe. Therefore, “follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard,” by which He guards you “in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). 

The answer to all these questions simply stated, "just shut up and do it!"

Great Little Faith
Rev. Dr. Daniel J. Brege

The Apostles petitioned Jesus, “Increase our faith.”  At first glance this seems like an appropriate request, but Jesus does not give the answer we might expect.  He does not say, “Remain in my presence,” nor does He encourage them to “Keep hearing God’s Word,” as doing these would have apparently “increased” their faith.

In His answer to their request Jesus is making a couple of powerful and important points.  First He makes the important point that the size of the Apostles faith is not as important as they might think.  In another parable Jesus had used the tiny mustard seed as an illustration of how God’s kingdom “begins” very tiny—like a mustard seed—and then grows into a bird-nesting bundle of tree-like boughs.  So again now Jesus uses the tiny mustard seed to illustrate the Apostles’ faith, and in so doing He communicates that a “tiny” faith is sufficient to transplant a tree into the sea!  Clearly we should not be concerned about measuring our faith, for its supposed size is not what is important.  As soon as we begin to try to measure faith—either in ourselves or in others—we run the danger of making faith into some sort of personal quality or action.

A Christian’s faith only has importance and is only great because of its object.  This—that the object of our faith is what is important—is a second powerful point being made by Jesus’ answer, and it is magnified by the entire Bible.  Throughout Scripture, and perhaps especially in the Gospel of John, we observe an omnipresent discussion about believing in Jesus.  He is the object of the Christian’s faith, and He alone is what gives faith value.  It is interesting that the Gospel of Luke very infrequently speaks of faith in Jesus, for indeed preaching about “faith” is not the goal of the evangelist. The goal is proclaiming Jesus—His person and His work—and through this proclamation the Holy Spirit creates a trusting faith.  This truly is what St. Luke does—he “preaches” Jesus—and from this Gospel proclamation faith is generated.  The tiny “mustard seed” of faith is great only because it clings to Jesus Christ.  It boasts not in itself but in its object—The Son of God, crucified and risen for mankind.

Indubitably it is the object of the Apostles’ faith that will enable them to uproot the mulberry tree of the Kingdom and plant it in the sea of humanity.  It will be the object of the Apostles’ faith, not their faith itself, which will incessantly move them to plow and plant the Gospel in the hearts of people from all nations and to tend the sheep of Christ’s Church.  It will be the object of their faith—that object being the master who lovingly purchased them to be His servants—which will move them to serve  Him and to serve His holy meal to Him, and in so doing serve it to His bride who is one with Him.  It is the object of their faith—the One who made them worthy of heaven by His death and resurrection—that will enable them to confess, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.”

Ultimately the Apostles would learn to confess no faith in themselves, nor in their gifts, nor in their strengths—but only in Christ, crucified and risen.  Theirs—and ours—is a great little faith; great because it trusts the Greatest One, and little, because it knows it must not nor cannot cling to nor boast in itself.

Temptations to sin Vv.1-4

Luke 71:1 
Εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς [a]αὐτοῦ• Ἀνένδεκτόν ἐστιν τοῦ [b]τὰ σκάνδαλα μὴ ἐλθεῖν, [c]πλὴν οὐαὶ δι’ οὗ ἔρχεται
And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin[a] are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come!

~ Ἀνένδεκτόν Greek Stumbling blocks
~ It is impossible for scandals not to come. Woe to the one who brings such I scandals. What are scandals? Whatever causes one to waver. 
~ What is the connection between vs. 2 and Matthew 18:6-7?

Luke 71:2 
λυσιτελεῖ αὐτῷ εἰ [d]λίθος μυλικὸς περίκειται περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔρριπται εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν ἢ ἵνα σκανδαλίσῃ [e]τῶν μικρῶν τούτων ἕνα.
It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.[b] 

~ σκανδαλίσῃ to stumble become victim of scandal 
~ It would be better for him if a milestone were placed around his neck and be hurled into the sea then to scandalize one of these little ones. Strangled was an unholy evil death. 
~'The depths' is what the Jews feared. 

Luke 17:3 
προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς. ἐὰν [f]ἁμάρτῃ ὁ ἀδελφός σου ἐπιτίμησον αὐτῷ, καὶ ἐὰν μετανοήσῃ ἄφες αὐτῷ
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 

~Watch out for yourself. If your brother sins rebuke him. If he repents, forgive. 
~Christians are in danger of offending by treating others self righteously or judging them (see v. 3)  ~Christians are to rebuke an erring brother, speak directly concerning his sin, and forgive as often as he has indicated he has repented.  

Luke 17:4 
καὶ ἐὰν ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας [g]ἁμαρτήσῃ εἰς σὲ καὶ [h]ἑπτάκις ἐπιστρέψῃ [i]πρὸς σὲ λέγων• Μετανοῶ, ἀφήσεις αὐτῷ.
and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

~If he sins seven times in a day comes to you seven times and says, 'I repent'  you will forgive him.  
~What is repentance? It is 'a change in mind' shown with new actions. 
~What is forgiveness? It is 'no longer holding that sin against them' 

Increase our faith Vv.5-6
Turn to the right source for an increase of faith. The amount of faith is not the focus. Exercise the faith you already have. Works flow from faith. 

Luke 17:5 
Καὶ εἶπαν οἱ ἀπόστολοι τῷ κυρίῳ• Πρόσθες ἡμῖν πίστιν
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

~The apostles said to the Lord, 'give us more faith' 

Luke 17:6 
εἶπεν δὲ ὁ κύριος• Εἰ ἔχετε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως, ἐλέγετε ἂν τῇ συκαμίνῳ ταύτῃ• Ἐκριζώθητι καὶ φυτεύθητι ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ• καὶ ὑπήκουσεν ἂν ὑμῖν.
And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

~He replied, if you have faith as a mustard seed you say to this Mayberry tree, be brought up and thrown into the sea it will listen to you.
~An impossible task made only possible in Christ. 
~The Mulberry tree was deeply rooted, not to be planted w/in ten feet of a cistern.   



Faith is a gift.  Works spring from it. Yet God owes us nothing. Deserving has nothing to do with it! 

Luke17:7 
Τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν δοῦλον ἔχων ἀροτριῶντα ἢ ποιμαίνοντα, ὃς εἰσελθόντι ἐκ τοῦ ἀγροῦ ἐρεῖ [j]αὐτῷ• Εὐθέως παρελθὼν ἀνάπεσε,
Will any one of you who has a servant[c] plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 

~ δοῦλον or bond servant; also verse 9 

~But is someone among you has a servant as a shepherd will you ask him hurry, come to dinner? 

Luke 17:8
ἀλλ’ οὐχὶ ἐρεῖ αὐτῷ• Ἑτοίμασον τί δειπνήσω καὶ περιζωσάμενος διακόνει μοι ἕως φάγω καὶ πίω, καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα φάγεσαι καὶ πίεσαι σύ
Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly,[d] and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 

~ περιζωσάμενος, Greek "gird yourself"

~But will he not say to him, prepare something to eat and gird yourself to deacon me, until I have eaten and drunk. After these things you may eat and drink.

Luke 17:9 
 μὴ [k]ἔχει χάριν τῷ [l]δούλῳ ὅτι ἐποίησεν τὰ [m]διαταχθέντα;
Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 

~Would he thank that servant him for it? A question expecting a negative response. 

Luke17:10 
 οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς, ὅταν ποιήσητε πάντα τὰ διαταχθέντα ὑμῖν, λέγετε ὅτι Δοῦλοι ἀχρεῖοί ἐσμεν, [n]ὃ ὠφείλομεν ποιῆσαι πεποιήκαμεν.
So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;[e] we have only done what was our duty.’”

~Δοῦλο or bond servants

~ So you also, when you have done all (everything) you were commanded say, we are unworthy worthless slaves, we have only done out duty that which was our obligation.

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

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

The right perspective of “duty.”

1. We are unworthy servants.
   A.  Have we sometimes caused offense?
   B. Have we not sometimes refused to deal lovingly with an erring brother/sister?

2. Faith makes it possible for us to do our duty.
   A. We need only exercise the faith we have. 
   B. We should not expect praise for merely doing our duty.







Time in the Word - Proper 22



Preparation for Next Sunday
Pentecost 17 – Proper 22
30 September – 05 October 2019



The Faith of a Christian

Collect for the Seventeenth Sunday of Pentecost:  O God, without whose blessing we are not able to please You, mercifully grant that Your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and govern our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Father, Your love for us surpasses all our hopes and desires. Forgive our failings, keep us in Your peace and lead us in the way of salvation. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen

Collect for Proper Twenty-two: O God, our refuge and strength, the author of all godliness, by Your grace hear the prayers of Your Church. Grant that those things which we ask in faith we may receive through Your bountiful mercy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for Psalm 62: Lord God, in a constantly changing world we look to You as our rock of hope. Hear us as we pour out our hearts to You, and give us Your grace and secure protection; through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord.

Prayer for a 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

This coming week’s theme “The Faith of a Christian” can be found in all three lessons. In the Gospel lesson Minimal faith produces maximum results. In the Old Testament lesson faith waits for God to vindicate His own. In the Epistle lesson we find the sincere faith of the faithful. 

The famous phrase of the Reformation comes from the Old Testament lesson – ‘The just shall live by faith.” The Epistle deals with the “sincere faith” of Timothy, the faith of his mother and grandmother, and Paul’s faith. The heart of the Gospel lesson deals with faith: the disciples’ request for more faith and the faith the size of a mustard seed. The verses preceding and following the passage on faith (Vv. 5, 6) may give us difficulty in seeing faith in the entire gospel. These verses can be reconciled if we see them as the behavior of those with faith. Thus the hymn of the day will bear out this theme in the words, “I Know My founded on Jesus Christ my God and Lord.” The focus of faith is always directed at the Savior.


Morning Prayer Readings for this coming week:

September 30  Reading # 29 Moses before Pharaoh - Exodus 5-12
October 1        Reading #30 The Exodus- Exodus 12-14

October 2       Chapel

October 3       Reading #31 Manna in the Wilderness - Exodus 15-16
October 4       Reading #32 The Ten Commandments - Exodus 19-20

Catechism Review: Close of the Commandments and 1st Article of the Apostles’ Creed with the explanation  up to the phrase “…and still preserves them.”

Parents, review the Bible Story and Catechism portion with your student each day.

Monday, 30 September 2019Psalm 119:162, 164-165, 167 antiphon, Psalm 119:166—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, I hope for Your salvation, O lord, and I do your commandments. Faith is another word for trust. Trust is another word for taking God at His Word. The Psalmist has trust because He follows after the Lord and does His will. This is not something the natural man can do be himself. It is something we do as we walk by faith. Thus we are forced to look to Christ where the hope of our salvation finds its root. We trust in Him to bring all of this to pass. 

Tuesday, 01 October 2019Psalm 62 — Psalm 62 is a psalm of longing and trust. Humbly, trustingly, the psalmist commits his cause to God. Man is bent on destruction (vv.3-4) but what is he (vv.9-10)? Power belongs to God alone, who wields it with love and justice (vv.11-12). 

Wednesday, 02 October 2019Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4— In a world of adversity a righteous one lives by faith. Our Old Testament lessons brings up the perennial problem: Why? Why does God permit evil to thrive in the world? When a Christian cries for help in distress, why does he not get an immediate answer? Why doesn’t God do something about what Habakkuk experienced? – “violence,” “wrongs,” “trouble,” “destruction,” “strife and contention.” The answer received: Wait for the lord and He shall bring it to pass. The righteous waits for God to make things right, to come to the rescue because He has faith in God’s character. The world seems to be waiting for God who never comes. Christians by faith know God is coming eventually to save. We need faith to wait for God. 

Thursday, 03 October 20192 Timothy 1:1-14— Paul remembers the faith of Timothy and confesses his faith in Christ. We face challenging times. The loss of faith is seen in a decline in church membership, a fall-off of church attendance, in the popularity of radical sects, and the secularization of society. Some have a view of the church today with faith becoming traditional and zeal burning low. Hence the encouraging words of St. Paul to a young Christian pastor whose church was facing considerable challenges. As we go through life and as the years pass we need to be exhorted to keep the faith vibrant. We do this as we continue in the faith of the fathers – vs. 5 and as we hold fast to the faith even in times of suffering – vs. 8.

Friday, 04 October 2019Luke 17:1-10 —The apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. The Savior responds in reminding us that even a little faith is a lot. This might catch some off guard. Like the disciples, many of us are eager for a larger portion of faith – the faith to guide people aright, faith to forgive, faith to serve just for the privilege. As we face the tough issues of life, we cry out for more faith. No one can honestly say, ‘I have all the faith in the world.” If we really have faith do we need more? Jesus corrects the disciple’s desire for more faith. He says the quantity or degree of faith does not matter. It is sufficient just to have faith. The parable of the mustard seed emphasizes that the smallest amount of faith can do wonders.

Saturday, 05 October 20192 Timothy 1:12 - Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is I know My Faith is Founded,  (LSB #587). Faith finds its focus in Jesus Christ. This is the message of our hymn for the week. As we focus on Christ our faith will be sustained and grow as the Lord directs us. The next three months will be extremely busy for most. Some may feel overwhelmed. Can your faith take all that life has to offer? Our faith is sufficient when it finds its focus in Christ.

Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Pentecost 17 from Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, N 
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Proper 21 - Pentecost 16



Proper 21 – Pentecost 16
Luke 16:19-31 
29 September 2019



Grant O Lord, that as Your Son Jesus Christ prayed for His enemies on the cross, so we may have grace to forgive those who wrongfully or scornfully use us, that we ourselves may be able to receive Your forgiveness. To that end, Lord Jesus, bless Thy Word that we may trust in Thee. Amen. 1

Jesus continues to explain to us what it means to be merciful. He shows us the gracious, generous heart of the Father who is kindhearted. Full of compassion. 

As we hear the parable of the rich man and Lazarus the words of the Magnificat; the song of Mary, come to mind, “He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has sat down the mighty from their thrones and has exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away.” (Luke 1:46-55)   

Paul warns us concerning wealth. “Not to be haughty, nor to set our hopes on the uncertainty of riches,” but “to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.” (1 Timothy 6:17–18). Covetous desire for what God has not given is idolatry and “a root of all kinds of evils.” (1 Timothy 6:10). Contentment belongs to faith. By which the Christian has “great gain” in godliness. (1 Timothy 6:6). Neither poverty nor riches are virtues! Your best life now is an American religion.

A certain rich man dressed in purple, living splendidly in fine linen feasts lavishly every day. At his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus. A meager beggar. Covered with sores. Lazarus finds himself at the rich man's gate.   Lazarus only desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. 

The rich man's neglect of Lazarus signals his failure to "make friends for himself when the day of changed circumstances comes and worldly wealth shall fail.” That critical day. When circumstances change awaits us all. Lazarus is carried away to Abraham’s side. The rich man too is buried.

The Rich man now begs for what he did not give; mercy, care, relief from suffering.  He cried "Kyrie Eleison! Lord, have mercy!" but did NOT receive it. He still thinks Lazarus is there to serve him! 

Note the contrast. Lazarus is given a name. Which literally means, "He (whom) God helps."  The rich man is simply plopped into the ground. 

‘Our whole Christian life should be forgiving debts: money, sins, whatever.  Some debts are small. Others huge! Some debts we treat as only a trifle. Hardly a drop in the bucket. So insignificant we scarcely and barely take notice.   Others leave scares, which last a lifetime.

There is only one way forward. The debts of our enemies must be treated as the debts of the poor. Our enemies will not have enough to pay us. If these debts cannot be paid (and they can’t), then they can only be forgiven. And here we come to the verse from Proverbs: “He who gives to the poor makes a debtor of God.” The Scriptures add: “And He will pay him.”(Proverbs 19:17)’ 2 

Lazarus. Forsaken. Ignored. Forgotten. Reminds us of that One man, that certain One who, “was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; Surely he has borne our grief’s and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5

The point of the parable is to warn the self-centered. And point to the Scriptures as the only resource for planning ahead. Worldly wealth failed, showing the need for a better, more lasting basis of hope. Our only hope is in Christ. Who went to the cruel and bloody cross. And then rose again from the dead. 

The written word of God. The law and the prophets. Are all we have. God's Word is now available. It calls us to faith. It will not fail.  It is Christ's testimony to the judgment and salvation that He will work for you.  His Word abides when all fails. It is eternal. His promise of salvation creates saving faith. His Word reveals His plan for eternity.
_______________
Words – 775
Passive Sentences –8% 
Readability – 81.6%
Reading Level – 4.0 

llustration 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.
1 Collect for Friday of Lent 2,   http://www.liturgies.net/Lent/LentenCollects.htm
2 Pr. Ken Kelly, from a homily for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity - Johnstown PA


Friday, September 27, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 28 - The Call of Moses




The Call of Moses 
Exodus 2-3  
(Selective Verses)



11 One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. 12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.

16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. 22 She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.” 23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.


3 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.5 Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” 6 And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

7 Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, 8 and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?12 He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”


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 26, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 27- Birth of Moses




Birth of Moses  
Exodus 1-2  
(Selected Verses)



8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. 13 So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves 14 and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.

15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews[a] you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live.”


2 Now a man from the house of Levi went and took as his wife a Levite woman. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son, and when she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. 3 When she could hide him no longer, she took for him a basket made of bulrushes and daubed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and placed it among the reeds by the river bank. 4 And his sister stood at a distance to know what would be done to him. 5 Now the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her young women walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her servant woman, and she took it. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the baby was crying. She took pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews' children.7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl went and called the child's mother. 9 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”


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 24, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 26 - Jacob in Egypt




Jacob in Egypt  
Genesis 45-47  
(Selective Verses)



23 To his father he sent as follows: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and provision for his father on the journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, “Do not quarrel on the way.”

25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. 26 And they told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.

46 So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.


28 He had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to show the way before him in Goshen, and they came into the land of Goshen. 29 Then Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen. He presented himself to him and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. 30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive.” 

11 Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12 And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father's household with food, according to the number of their dependents.


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 23, 2019

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.   30Now 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 22, 2019

Proper 21 C


Proper 21 "C"

Amos 6:1-7
Psalm 146 (antiphon v.2)
1 Timothy 3:1-13
Luke 16:19-31

O God, You are the strength of all who trust in You, and without Your Aid we can do no good thing. Grant us the help of Your grace that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Our Help Is Not in Worldly Riches

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side,” and “the rich man also died and was buried” (Luke 16:22). The poor man, Lazarus, who knew many bad things on earth, began to be comforted forever, whereas the rich man, after a lifetime of good things, began to be “in anguish” (Luke 16:25). Therefore, “woe to those who are at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1), for “the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away” (Amos 6:7). 

The wealthy are urged “not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches,” but “to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share” (1 Timothy 6:17–18). Covetous desire for what God has not given is idolatry and “a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Timothy 6:10). Contentment belongs to faith, by which the Christian has “great gain” in godliness (1 Timothy 6:6).

There is only one way forward. The debts of our enemies must be treated as the debts of the poor. Our enemies will not have enough to pay us. If these debts cannot be paid (and they can’t), then they can only be forgiven. Or, perhaps, someone else can loan them what is needed. And here we come to the verse from Proverbs: “He who gives to the poor makes a debtor of God.” The Scriptures add: “And He will pay him.” Proverbs 19:17

The parable of Lazarus and the rich man presents to us a gulf born of greed; an attitude of callous indifference toward suffering.  The man would not change. Instead, he horded wealth. With no thought for others.

The Ultimate insult – a disregard for Moses and the Prophets or the One man who would rise from the dead. The moral of the story? Listen to the Law and the Prophets. They point to Christ. Look to Jesus. He suffered all to grant mercy and pity.  He offers clemency and pardon for your sin.



The Rich Man and Lazarus

:19 Ἄνθρωπος δέ τις ἦν πλούσιος, καὶ ἐνεδιδύσκετο πορφύραν καὶ βύσσον εὐφραινόμενος καθ’ ἡμέραν λαμπρῶς.
There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.

- should the variant readings which provide the rich man's name be considered? ~ The point, "Lazarus" is given a name. A certain rich man dressed in purple and looking good living splendidly in fine linen.  

> Scriptures only call rich negatively those who worship their goods regardless of the quantity of the goods. 

:20 πτωχὸς δέ [a]τις ὀνόματι [b]Λάζαρος ἐβέβλητο πρὸς τὸν πυλῶνα αὐτοῦ εἱλκωμένος 
And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,

:21 καὶ ἐπιθυμῶν χορτασθῆναι [c]ἀπὸ τῶν πιπτόντων ἀπὸ τῆς τραπέζης τοῦ πλουσίου• ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ κύνες ἐρχόμενοι [d]ἐπέλειχον τὰ ἕλκη αὐτοῦ.  
who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores

:22 ἐγένετο δὲ ἀποθανεῖν τὸν πτωχὸν καὶ ἀπενεχθῆναι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀγγέλων εἰς τὸν κόλπον Ἀβραάμ• ἀπέθανεν δὲ καὶ ὁ πλούσιος καὶ ἐτάφη.
The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side.[a] The rich man also died and was buried

-The account preserves into perpetuity the name of the "insignificant" beggar Lazarus. His poor estate is graphically portrayed. "full of sores" only appears here. Lazarus finds himself at the rich man's gate. 

-The rich man's neglect of Lazarus signals his failure to "make friends for himself when the day of changed circumstances comes" and worldly wealth shall fail.  See v. 9 from last week's text.

-Longing desiring to be fed from what was falling from the rich man's table. "Lick" only appears here. He was despised, rejected, acquainted with grief.  

-The critical day, when circumstances change. 
Note, the festive treatment of Lazarus contrasts with the stark description of the rich man's sad end.

-"ὁ πλούσιος καὶ ἐτάφη" - why Lazarus is carried to heaven is NOT  part of the concern of the narrative. 

-The point of the parable is to warn the self-centered and point to the Scriptures as their resource for planning ahead. It does not propose the equivalence of financial poverty and a state of grace. The name "Lazarus" literally means "He (whom) God helps." 

-Note the contrast Lazarus is given a name the rich man is simply plopped into the ground. 

:23  καὶ ἐν τῷ ᾅδῃ ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ, ὑπάρχων ἐν βασάνοις, [e]ὁρᾷ Ἀβραὰμ ἀπὸ μακρόθεν καὶ Λάζαρον ἐν τοῖς κόλποις αὐτοῦ. 
and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 

- The plight of the rich man is described. The point (directing people to heed the Scriptures) requires that the rich  man and Lazarus be portrayed as separated yet able to communicate.

:24 καὶ αὐτὸς φωνήσας εἶπεν• Πάτερ Ἀβραάμ, ἐλέησόν με καὶ πέμψον Λάζαρον ἵνα βάψῃ τὸ ἄκρον τοῦ δακτύλου αὐτοῦ ὕδατος καὶ καταψύξῃ τὴν γλῶσσάν μου, ὅτι ὀδυνῶμαι ἐν τῇ φλογὶ ταύτῃ. 
and he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.

- The Rich man now begs for what he did not give; mercy, care, relief from suffering.  He cried "Kyrie" but did NOT receive it. He still thinks Lazarus is there to serve him! 

:25 εἶπεν δὲ Ἀβραάμ• Τέκνον, μνήσθητι ὅτι [f]ἀπέλαβες τὰ ἀγαθά σου ἐν τῇ ζωῇ σου, καὶ Λάζαρος ὁμοίως τὰ κακά• νῦν δὲ ὧδε παρακαλεῖται σὺ δὲ ὀδυνᾶσαι. 
But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.

:26 καὶ [g]ἐν πᾶσι τούτοις μεταξὺ ἡμῶν καὶ ὑμῶν χάσμα μέγα ἐστήρικται, ὅπως οἱ θέλοντες διαβῆναι ἔνθεν πρὸς ὑμᾶς μὴ δύνωνται, [h]μηδὲ ἐκεῖθεν πρὸς ἡμᾶς διαπερῶσιν. 
And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.

-Note: The parable has not yet come to an end!

-This is more than karma. It is the great reversal. See the Magnificat.  

-Abraham remains kind but will not call him "son" but rather "child" or "boy!"  

-Neither poverty nor riches are virtues! Your best life now is the way of American Christianity but not Scriptural.  

-Speaks against both purgatory and universalism.  

:27 εἶπεν δέ• Ἐρωτῶ [i]σε οὖν, πάτερ, ἵνα πέμψῃς αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ πατρός μου,
and he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house

:28 ἔχω γὰρ πέντε ἀδελφούς, ὅπως διαμαρτύρηται αὐτοῖς, ἵνα μὴ καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔλθωσιν εἰς τὸν τόπον τοῦτον τῆς βασάνου. 
for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

- The rich man still wants Lazarus to do his bidding! "If only in my lifetime a voice had warned me and instructed me how to plan ahead!" 

:29 λέγει [j]δὲ Ἀβραάμ• Ἔχουσι Μωϋσέα καὶ τοὺς προφήτας• ἀκουσάτωσαν αὐτῶν.  
     But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’

-The written word of God, the law and the prophets are all we have. The Writings are not meant to be excluded.

See Acts 3:24; Luke 24:25-27; John 5; "Moses wrote of me," 

:30  ὁ δὲ εἶπεν• Οὐχί, πάτερ Ἀβραάμ, ἀλλ’ ἐάν τις ἀπὸ νεκρῶν πορευθῇ πρὸς αὐτοὺς μετανοήσουσιν. 
And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

:31 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτῷ• Εἰ Μωϋσέως καὶ τῶν προφητῶν οὐκ ἀκούουσιν, οὐδ’ ἐάν τις ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ πεισθήσονται.
He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” 

- Not a new idea! "Send someone back from the dead!" Yet God's Word is now available. It calls us to faith. It will not fail.  It is Christ's testimony to the judgment and salvation that He will work.

Footnotes:
Luke 16:22 Greek bosom; also verse 23
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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

Choose! But choose wisely
1. "If I had only known!" 
   A. The human dilemma - people are ignorant of the "big picture."
   B. The rich man experienced a terrible plight after the day of change.
   C. Worldly wealth failed, showing the need for a better, more lasting basis of hope.

2. "Someone's got to tell them!"
   A. The rich man sees people like him heading for the same fate.
   B. His suggestions are unoriginal and unacceptable.

3. "Now hear this!" - God's final word.
   A. God's Word is special revelation from Beyond.
   B. His Word abides when all fails. It is eternal.
   C. His Word reveals His plan for eternity.
      1. He warns of judgment to produce repentance.
      2. His promise of salvation creates saving faith. 



Time in the Word - Proper 21


Pentecost 16– Proper 21
23-28 September 2019

Concerned Christians


The lessons give us a picture of people in luxury, affluence, and leisure but without concern for the less fortunate. In the Gospel, the rich man (known to many as “Dives”) has no concern for the hungry man at his palace gates; the dogs have more compassion for Lazarus than he does. The Old Testament lesson shows us a people enjoying the height of prosperity but who have no concern for the future of the nation. In the Epistle lesson we are admonished not to be concerned about worldly possessions but about the attainment of spiritual values. This is driven home in the words of the hymn to the day “Lord, Thee I love with all my heart.” The theme of this day speaks to our American culture a people with more wealth comforts and leisure than any other nation in world history. Yet are many in our country still looking for contentment?

Collect for the Sixteenth Sunday of Pentecost: Grant, merciful Lord, to Your faithful people pardon and peace that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve You with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Father, You show Your almighty power in Your mercy and forgiveness. Continue to fill us with Your gifts of love. Help us to hurry toward the eternal life Your promise and come to share in the joy of Your kingdom. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen

Collect for Proper Twenty-one: O God, You are the strength of all who trust in You, and without Your aid we can do no good thing. Grant us the help of Your grace 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.

Collect for Psalm 146: God of glory and power, happy indeed are those who have put their trust in You. Shine the brightness of Your light upon us, that we may love You always with a pure heart and praise Your forever; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer against the love of money: Almighty God, heavenly Father, You have called us to be Your children and heirs of Your gracious promises in Christ Jesus. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may forsake all covetous desires and the inordinate love of riches. Deliver us from the pursuit of passing things that we may seek the kingdom of Your Son and trust in His righteousness and so find blessedness and peace; through Jesus Christ, or Lord.

Morning Prayer Readings for this coming week
September 23 Reading #25 Joseph reveals himself- Genesis 44-45
September 24 Reading #26 Jacob in Egypt- Genesis 45-47
September 25 Chapel Day
September 26 Reading #27 Birth of Moses- Exodus 1-2
September 27 Reading #28 Call of Moses- Exodus 2-3
Catechism Review: Commandments 9 & 10
Parents: review the Story and Commandment with your student each day

Monday, 23 September 2019Psalm 119: 73-75 antiphon, Psalm 119:76—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, Let Your steadfast love comfort me according to Your promises to Your servant. Christ will comfort us even in the midst of great testing and affliction. The Hebrew term for unfailing or steadfast love denotes befriending. It is an appeal to God’s unfailing love, His kindness and mercy which was demonstrated by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019Psalm 146 — The focus is on God, the hope and help of His people, utterly dependable, caring for all in need. God reigns. While I live I will praise God. I will sing praise to God while I have any being. The grand outburst of Hallelujahs, with which the book of Psalms comes to a climatic close, is carried over to the end of the Bible itself, and is echoed in the heavenly choirs of the redeemed (Revelation 19:1, 2, 4, 6).

Wednesday, 25 September 2019Amos 6:1-7— Woe to the affluent who have no concern for the nation. Our Old Testament speaks of the American condition today in many respects. Like Israel of the 8th Century BC, American is a people of ease, comfort, luxury and affluence. It is a law of life that like causes produce like effects. American is in danger of the same fate as Israel: judgment, decline, and destruction. Who will sound the alarm as a watchman in the night? Will America take heed?

Thursday, 26 September 20191 Timothy 6:6-19— Timothy is charged to seek spiritual values. There are countless people who have no aim in life, no purpose, no reason for living. Others have low aim, such as the massing of world possessions. Some aim only to make as much money as possible, own at least one home, get a higher education, or climb the ladder of success. 

What is the aim of a Christian? Paul would suggest the Christian’s aim in life is to seek the highest values – vs. 11 and to fight for the faith vs. 12 while we keep the Lord’s commandments –vs.14.

Friday, 27 September 2019Luke 16:9-31 — The parable of the rich man and Lazarus. It the parable we have a description of wealth and total depravity. This is a description of today’s world. On the one hand is America’s wealth giving us the highest standard of living in the history of the world. On the other hand, we have a third world of poverty and hunger. It could be that the so-called wealth, either nation or individual, is really the poor man as was the case in the parable. Americans may be the richest on earth, but they can be suffering from the poverty of abundance.

Saturday, 28 September 20191 John 4:19 - Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart, (LSB #708). The Christian’s only focus is upon Christ. When we fear, love and trust in Him above all things then we are content. Read the words of stanza three. This is a powerful evening prayer one which has been prayed with many a Christian on their death bed. When we pray these words confidently we truly are at peace with God and with ourselves. 

Lord, Let at last Thine angels come, To Abr’han’s bosom bear me home, That I may die un-fearing; And in its narrow chamber keep My body safe in peaceful sleep Until Thy reappearing. And then from death awaken me, That these mine eyes with joy may see, O Son of God, Thy glorious face, My Savior and my fount of grace. Lord Jesus Christ, my prayer attend, my prayer attend, And I will praise thee without end."
___________________
Sources:
-Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
-Collect for Pentecost 17 from Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House
-Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing Lima OH 
Collect for Psalm 146 For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
-Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Pentecost 15 - Proper 20


Pentecost 15 – Proper 20
22 September 2019
Luke 16:1-15
Too weak to dig, and too proud to beg? - Trust in the Merciful Master!


Keep, we pray You, 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 thing profitable to our salvation;


It’s been eight years. Since my children left the house. It’s been fifteen years. Since they were both in high school.  I completely understand those of you who find yourself in that stage of life. It seems as though your mini-van has become your primary residence! 


It is a busy and hectic time in your life. And to be quite honest with you, there’s one thing I’ve learned to treasure on that short season of life now looking back. 



Whether it’s driving your student to practice or a rehearsal, whether it’s taking them to and from school or some particular outing; that is the exact time you are together. And it was those conversations we had together that were important.

An interesting dynamic about Mom or Dad’s taxi service is how invisible you become when you’re driving a vehicle full of teenagers. You’re simply driving.  And they are talking incisively. And you get to listen in on their discussions and exchanges as they banter about! And oh the conversations!  You become privy to information you never new! Or, in some instances, ever cared to know. 

Our Gospel reading for this morning is a continuation of Jesus’ teaching of the Father's mercy.  Jesus is teaching the disciples. But the Pharisees are listening. And so are you.  

The Pharisees who were lovers of money also ridiculed Him.” Jesus responds, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men but God knows your heart. What is highest among men is detestable, an abomination in the sight of God.”(vs.15)

What was it that drew the ire of the Pharisees? The fact that Jesus is showing how the Lord is rich in grace and mercy. The parables of Jesus always tell us something about Himself. And about the Kingdom. When you hear one of Jesus’ parables, He is always telling you something you should know about His love. His grace. His mercy. His kindness. His character. And, when Jesus teaches a parable there is always a surprise. Something you did not expect!

A manager is brought up on charges that he has wasted his Master’s possessions.  He’s forced to turn over the books and face an audit. He’s told, “You can no longer be my manger.” Did you notice the surprise?  The manager is accused. Not good. He’s told, “You can no longer be my manager.” Even worse! However he isn’t fired. He keeps his job!

Here is the first surprise! Mercy is unjust. The manager is busted for his wastefulness. He is told, “You can no longer be my manager.”  The Master expects obedience. He is just. 

But he does not throw his manager into prison. This does not make sense in man’s economy. It makes perfect sense in God’s.   

What wealth can you use to bribe God? –Stolen wealth.  That which belongs to another. That is not yours. That which you cannot buy or earn. That is all a part of God’s economy.

The innocent dies for guilty – that injustice is the foundation of the Kingdom. It is the shocking character of grace. – The Master gives the Kingdom away. The Father forsakes the Son. To have you. He accepts payment from the Son. As compensation for your sin.  More than you stole. He adds to your account. He adds a credit. And you end up with more than you attempted to steal. 

Jesus shows us the character of the Master. – Who does not fire the steward. And the steward banks on the character and the generosity of the Master. There are no Masters in this world like that. He goes too far. A Master we can never imagine. He is pleased with the steward. Because what the steward has done is give the Master’s things away. For free. This is the parable of the Merciful Master who gives away the Kingdom. For free –         

Who can receive you into eternal dwellings? Only God. Thus, Jesus concludes with this thought. - You cannot serve God and money. The steward teaches us a valuable lesson.  Money must never to be seen an end in itself. It is only a means to an end.

Employment does not last forever. Retirement does not last forever.  No matter the level of security anyone has amassed; all of us, sooner, or later, will end up in a plot of earth. Given eternity. How can any thing of a material nature have any lasting consequence?

So where do you place your trust? Trust not in princes they are but mortal. Trust not in yourself. You will fail. Trust not in anything except the mercy of God. Who loves you more than you could ever imagine. Who is content to give you His Kingdom. At the price of His own Son. Deserving has nothing to do with it. It all depends on the Father’s character. His good will. His clemency. His mercy. His grace.

Words – 880
Passive Sentences –4%
Readability – 79%
Reading Level – 4.0


Friday, September 20, 2019

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.