Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Monday, January 25, 2021
Psalm 111 along with Psalm 112 is an ‘acrostic’ poem, that is, each line of the psalm starts with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. After the initial “Praise the LORD” (Hallelujah!), there are twenty-two lines following the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This stylistic device is somewhat limiting to the author (after all, only so many words begin with the letter ‘Q’), but tends to aid the memorization of the psalm.
Other acrostic psalms are 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145. Not all of them are ‘perfect’—some of them skip or transpose the order of letters. Psalms 111 and 112, however, are ‘perfect’ in sequence.
The psalm stresses the works of the LORD, using words that mean ‘work’ or ‘works’ five times in the ten verses of the psalm.
One of the greatest responsibilities of the Church that is you and me, the people of God is to proclaim, praise and acknowledge the works of the LORD.
The Church needs to proclaim with heavy doses of humility, compassion and love how the LORD has worked in the past, how it sees Him working now and prophetically speak of His work in the future.
The psalmist writes, “Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.” These works are his righteous acts or providential works by which he maintains his creation with justice.
The LORD performs his ‘works’ on behalf of his people—by providing a place for us in his creation, by sustaining the creation, by making us his people through the work of redemption, and by giving us his word to guide us and sustain our lives.
As you pray this psalm, are ask the LORD to make us the people who fear him to experience his wisdom to guide us in life in his world.
Collect for Psalm 111: Merciful and gentle Lord, the crowning glory of all the saints, give us, your children, the gift of obedience, which is the beginning of wisdom, so that we may be filled with your mercy and that what you command we may do by the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Sunday, January 24, 2021
January 26 84 Wedding at Cana
January 27 85 Peter’s Catch of fish
January 28 Chapel Day
January 29 86 Jesus calms a storm
January 20 87 Jesus heals a paralytic
Catechism Review: What is confession & What sins should we confess?
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES B © 1981 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH
Luther’s Works: American Edit Edition.55 volumes. (Volumes 1-30, Concordia Publishing House; volumes 31 31-55, Fortress Press)
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts "Jesus drives out demons" copyright © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.
Saturday, January 23, 2021
Because of sin, we need another chance to obey God. Jonah was given this second opportunity. Who has not failed God like Jonah? In this second chance given to Jonah to proclaim the word of the Lord to a lost people we see we have a gracious God. As God gives us another chance to do better, it is incumbent upon us to give others who sin against us another chance to make good and to do better. A 2nd chance
I. Reveals a God of mercy – Vs. 1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time
A. Jonah didn’t necessarily have to be given a second chance.
1. In most cases, the prophets were given only one chance and if they did not fulfill their duty there were harsh penalties. Abraham pleaded with God to save the city of Sodom. If the Lord could find just ten righteous persons the city would be spared.
Lot, Abraham’s nephew and his family were led out of danger and spared yet Lot’s wife turned back and in so doing was turned into a pillar of salt.
2. The Lord wasn’t simply taking it out on His people the prophets – He wanted to drive home a specific point – namely that His Word meant something – that He was serious about dealing with His people – for this was the very reason why He sent the prophets to them in the first place.
B. The fact that God dealt patiently with Jonah shows His mercy and compassion.
1. It was His desire that these people would be saved. It was His desire that they would turn in repentance and live. It was His desire that they would turn from their wicked ways and acknowledge Him.
2. To this day this is the desire of God. He desires that all men be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth – yet they must come under His terms and conditions.
The LORD will have mercy but there is one stipulation – men must acknowledge Him as Lord – at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.
C. When the Lord deals with us – it may seem at the time to be punishment – but it is never to punish – His desire is that we turn to Him and live. His desire is to draw us to Himself –to have a deeper walk with us – to comfort us in our weaknesses.
The writer to the Hebrews put it this way - You see, this High Priest of ours isn’t a person who can’t feel any sympathy for us in our weakness because He has been tried and tested in every way, just as we are. But He never sinned!
Therefore we can come joyfully to the throne of our God whose heart is filled with love for those who don’t deserve it and there we will be given the mercy and love we don’t deserve to help us when we really need it.” –Julian Anderson translation Hebrews 4:15-18
Transition: The LORD desires to reveal His mercy. He also desires to restore people back into God’s favor.
II. He restores a person in God’s favor – Vs. 2 Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
A. In the case of the inhabitants of Nineveh it was to bring them to faith.
1. The Lord did not destroy them but rather restored them.
2. He sent His message to repent and in contrition and faith then turned from their evil ways and acknowledged Him alone.
B. His mercies are new to us each day – “Today Thy mercy calls us to wash away our sin. However great our trespass whatever we have been. However long from mercy our hearts have turned away. Thy precious blood can cleans us and make us white today.”
Transition: God desires to reveal His mercy. He desires to restore people back to Himself. This desire is for all people.
III. Results in salvation for all – Vs. 5 The Ninevties believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
A. Notice what God’s Word did – It worked a miracle. Unbelievers were turned into faithful followers. A city set on destruction was spared. A people bent on total annihilation were given life – new life.
B. This is your story for God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself not counting our sins against us and He has given us this ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19
Our sins stand up to accuse us. Our deeds are deserving of punishment but God in Christ has taken our sins to the blood cross and absorbed them into His own body.
No wonder Isaiah looking into the future could only predict, "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5
The story of Jonah is a story of the LORD’s mercy and grace. It’s a story of God desires to revel His mercy, His desires to restore people back to Himself. This desire is for all people.
Passive Sentences – 20%
Readability – 74.5%
Reading Level – 7.1
Luther’s Seal copyright © Ed Riojas Higher Things
Friday, January 22, 2021
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy, be gracious to all who have gone astray from Your ways and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
This prayer echoes a line from a famous hymn that is found in our hymnal. You may well know it: “O Christ, Our True and Only Light” (LSB #314). The hymn was written by Johann Heermann, a prolific German Lutheran hymn writer of the century following Martin Luther. The hymn calls upon that true Light to shine on those estranged from God, who are lost in error’s maze and who sit in darkness. What is not so well known is that Heermann did not come up with the central idea of the hymn. He read it in a poem written by someone else. He did not know the author of the poem. It was an Austrian Jesuit named Peter Brillmacher who had lived decades before Heermann and had been on the front line of the Roman Catholic response to the Lutheran movement in southern Germany.
When Brillmacher wrote those words, he thought the Lutherans were the folks who had been estranged from God and were lost in error’s maze! Heerman heard these words and thought of other people. We find this hymn in the “Missions” section of our hymnals. But this prayer, if it is to be prayed needs to start with us. We all have been enlightened by that true Light because we needed it. We have done our fair share of wandering in error’s maze and have sat destitute and helpless in utter darkness. This is a prayer about us before it can ever be a prayer about someone else. Pray this prayer for yourself and then pray it for someone else too. 
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Mark 1:14-20—Jesus begins His ministry and calls four disciples. Jesus has been ordained in His ministry at His baptism. He struggles with Satan in deciding upon the method of His ministry. With John the Baptist arrested, He feels the urge to begin His public ministry. He begins to preach in Galilee.
The content of His preaching is the gospel of God, the good news that the King is here. In the light of this, people are believing and repenting. Faith and repentance are not necessarily conditions of bringing or entering the Kingdom, but the response to the fact that the Kingdom is here in Jesus. Then, Jesus begins to choose His leaders by calling four men whose future will be catching men.
Jesus immediately called certain ones to be disciples. He knew whom he wanted and needed. He did not have to weigh the matter. There was no problem of making up His mind. In like manner, the Disciples accepted the call. To be a Christian one does not need neither to weight doctrinal matters nor to consider theological alternatives. There is the certainty of responding to the challenge of the call to follow the Master. There is no hesitation, no need to think it over. In an instant one knows it is the right thing to do.
The Gospel is a good report, discourse and proclamation of Christ, announcing that He is nothing else but pure goodness, love and grace. Such a report could not possibly be made concerning any other human being, or any of the saints. For, although the other saints were men of quite good repute, a report on them does not constitute the Gospel as such. It is Gospel only when the goodness and grace of Christ are proclaimed. Even though mention is made of famous saints and their doings, this does not make the report the Gospel. The Gospel bases Christian faith and confidence solely on the rock, Jesus Christ. (Martin Luther) 
Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities and stretch forth the hand of Your majesty to heal and defend us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
 Collect for Epiphany 3, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
When this is done, the present issues of earthly life become insignificant. Paul is not teaching withdrawal from the world [such as the Amish community] but to tolerating and persevering in what we are now doing.
In verses 29-31 Paul uses “as though” five times. He urges us to live as though conditions did not exist. It is a kind of “make believe” style of life. Since the end of the world is at hand, we are to live as though the world no longer existed. It is a manner of living that does not take seriously the things of this passing world. Our interests and values are set upon Christ’s values.
Paul is literally saying, "Let your every contact with the world be as light as possible." Keep a light touch on worldly things. Don't let them get a grip on your life. Don't let them begin to rule and control you.
Paul gives the reason for such living, "For the fashion of this world is passing away." We place our values on eternal things. David in the psalms wrote, "If riches increase, set not your heart on them." – Psalm 62:10
Note how quickly the fashions of the world change, this is designed by the men of the world to keep your Visa Card at it's limits. Paul declared that his purpose was to free them from the cares of this world. The more you have of the world, the more you are burdened with the cares of the world.
Jesus said that the cares of this life were one of the things that would cause you to be unprepared for His return. Luke 21:34. He also said that the cares and pleasures of this life would choke out your fruitfulness for Him. A wise man will have a greater care and concern for the thing that are eternal, than for the things that are of this world.
 A Collect in anxious times, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
In confession and absolution, Jesus Christ, who poured out his life-blood as the perfect and complete sacrifice for all sin, pours into our ears the life-giving promise of absolution, “My son, my daughter, go in peace, your sins are forgiven.” Trusting that promise, we say, “Amen. Yes, Lord, it is true.” Thanks be to God!
It is hard to say, “I was wrong. I am sorry. Forgive me.” God’s Word makes it clear that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). In confession and absolution, God’s Word is having its way with us, moving us to confess the truth about ourselves and our need for His forgiveness.
Because of Jesus Christ, confession and absolution is a blessed, joyful, happy exchange! “For our sake He made Him to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). When Jesus hung on the cross, He became sin—for us. He was the ransom for sin. God poured out His just wrath on Christ. Christ won peace between God and man. In confession, Christ takes the burden of our sin and gives us in exchange His complete forgiveness and love.
Rejoicing in the forgiveness of sins, we pray that God gives us the strength to resist temptation, and to live lives that glorify Him, seeking to please Him by what we do, in accordance with His holy and perfect will. And as we do, we always are aware of our sin and so we flee for refuge to His boundless mercy, seeking and imploring His forgiveness for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank God for the gift of confession and absolution!
The absolution at the beginning of the Divine Service is a public declaration of God’s forgiveness, a precious announcement of the good news of reconciliation with God in Christ.
Today is Inauguration Day. The 59th Presidential Inauguration will be held on January 20th, 2021 in Washington, D.C. The Presidential Swearing-In ceremony will take place on the west front of the United States Capitol and will be followed by the Inaugural Address. Today we pray for our country, those who have sworn to defend our liberties and for responsible citizenship.
Almighty God, you sent your Son to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with the power of your Spirit, that we, too, may bring good news to the afflicted, bind upon the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captives.
Lord keep this nation under Your care. Bless our nation with faithful leaders that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Grant that he may make wise decisions for the general welfare and serve You faithfully in this generation; through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen. 
 Prayers for the Epiphany Season, and Prayer for Responsible Citizenshi, Lutheran Service Book
© 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Image of Psalm 32:5 copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things
Monday, January 18, 2021
Psalm 62—The key verse of this psalm is verse 8, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”
The Psalmist commits himself to God when threatened by the assaults of conspirators who wish to dethrone him. Verse three suggests a time of weakness and may indicate advanced age. Implicitly the psalm is an appeal to God to uphold him. No psalm surpasses it in its expression of simple trust in God. The little Hebrew word אַךְ (’ak) begins six of the twelve verses; it is short, but significant, having the meaning “only.” “My soul finds rest only in God.” “He only is my rock and my salvation.” “Find rest, O my soul, only in God.”
The hymn writer expressed these thoughts in the following verse
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee.
Leave, ah, leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me!
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
Collect for Psalm 62: Lord God, in a constantly changing world we look to you as our rock and hope. Hear us as we pour out our hearts to you and give us your grace and secure protection; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sunday, January 17, 2021
The theme for the third Sunday after the Epiphany is the concept of time. The word time is mentioned in each of the lessons. It was time for Jesus to begin His ministry and to call disciples, time for Jonah to preach to the people, and time for them to repent. It was time for Christians to live in the light of the end of time. As we seize the time to serve God in this generation, we have security in the knowledge of God’s nature. The Hymn for the Day has its focus on Christ our true and only light.
Psalm 113:1-2, 4, 7-8—The Antiphon, is taken from Psalm 113:3, “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised! These words are taken from a hymn to the Lord celebrating His high majesty and his mercies to the lowly. It was probably composed originally for the temple liturgy. As the Lord is enthroned on high, He is exalted over all creation.
Often it may appear that the negativity of this world overwhelms and crowds out the positive; that evil trumps virtue. After all, we’re living in a fallen world, outside of Eden. Troubling news makes its way to the front page of the newspaper. Often times television news rooms add one happy feature at the end of their broadcast just to keep you watching and to close out the day on a positive note. The Psalmist reminds us that the Lord of heaven orders all things. He is exalted on high. He reaches down to care for us offering us His salvation. In this Epiphany season, we see that this infant born to us at Christmas is none other than Jesus; the Savior of our world.
Collect for Psalm 113: Lord Jesus, surrendering the brightness of your glory, you became mortal so that we might be raised from the dust to share your very being. May the children of God always bless your name from the rising of the sun to its going down, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
We praise You, O Lord because You came down to save us in Christ. Hallelujah! Amen