Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 – Peter who denies out of fear – Luke 22:54-62

Peter gave it scarce a thought
When he God rejected;
At Christ’s look, he fled, distraught,
Weeping and dejected…

When Peter would eventually deny the Savior he thought he was only finding a limb on which to climb. It was for him a way of “saving face.” “I wasn’t really denying my Lord,” he could argue, “It was merely a case of “mistaken identity.” Peter said to the crowd, “You’re talking to the wrong man!” What happens in our life? – Do we give a “false witness” when we, for example, compromise clear Biblical principles in order to fit in at work, or at school? What price will we pay to acquire acceptance, approval, acquiescence?

Have there been instances in our lives when we have not acted as becomes a child of God? Each of us can recall those moments in our lives in which we are not proud! Peter’s’ denial crushed him – but what he found was restoration by the Savior!

Peter’s freedom came at a price – the price of Jesus’ life. To be crushed by conscience and the Law is never a pleasant thing. But Christ’s redemption leads to recovery – to be reconciled to the Father and also to each other – all has been made possible by the Saviour’s amazing grace!

Jesus fix Thy gaze on me,
True repentance teach me,
When Thou evil there doth see,
Through my conscience reach me.
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Time in the Word - Palm Sunday

Almighty and everlasting God the Father, who sent Your Son to take our nature upon Him and to suffer death on the cross that all mankind should follow the example of His great humility, mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ in His patience and also have our portion in His resurrection; through Jesu Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
The theme for Palm Sunday reminds us that Lent is a time of opportunity. Our lessons ask us to come to a decision as we ponder who is this Jesus who comes riding on a donkey through the streets of Jerusalem. In the Old Testament lesson (Zechariah 9:9-10) - our king comes with a promise. In the Epistle lesson (Philippians 2:5-11) in humility Christ came to earth to die. In the Gospel lesson (John 20:20-43) Christ came to Jerusalem to be king. The Psalms and hymn for the day fill in to round out this basics theme. On Sunday Christ has hailed as King and Lord. By Friday He would be dead. Yet in His rejection do we find life eternal, peace and rest. We are preparing for the most important weeks of the Church Year. The cross is coming into clear focus. What do you think of Jesus? How you answer this question will determine you destiny.

Monday, 30 March 2009—Psalm 24:7-10; antiphon, Psalm 118:26— In the antiphon the Psalmist echoes the cries of the crowd on that first Palm Sunday, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” The long sought after King has finally arrived. Along with the children and crowd we hail Jesus as King and God forever.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009—Psalm 118:19-29 key verse v.26 — Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the housed of the Lord we bless you. The one who with God’s help has defeated the enemies is blessed. Yet as we look deeper at this passage we will see that it is written in the plural and of course, this makes it a reference to God and to Christ in particular. When the crowd would quote these verses upon Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday we see Divine prophecy being fulfilled.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009—Zechariah 9:9-12— Israel shall rejoice over the coming of a humble, victorious and peaceful king. God’s judgment is coming upon Israel’s wicked neighbors, but God as King will come to Israel. This is cause for loud rejoicing. He is coming as a humble king, symbolized by his riding on an ass. He is coming to conquer Israel’s enemies, and peace will result. In fulfillment of this, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on an ass and presents Himself to the nation as their king to the waving of palms and to the tune of hosannas.

Holy week with its horrors and tragedies begins with a shout of joy – “Rejoice”…”Shout aloud.” Even in the depth of pain and gore, there is a joy. Jesus endures the cross for the joy that was set before Him. The joy is that the Savior is coming to die for our sins and to assume kingship over our lives.

The Messiah comes on an ass, not on a mighty horse. An ass is a humble animal and symbolizes peace. The ass carried the Christ to the people. Today we can serve as asses to carry Christ to the world. To do so we must be humble.

Thursday, 1 April 2009—Philippians 2:5-11— Jesus’ humiliation and God’s exaltation of Him. Paul is pleading for unity in the Philippian congregation. He uses Jesus as an example of humility. In this passage Paul shows the dual reality of the humanity and divinity of Jesus. His deity is indicated in the words “in the form of God” and “equality with God.” His humanity is expressed in the phrases, “emptied himself,” “the likeness of men,” “in human form,” “obedient unto death.”

This humility, obedience, and self-renunciation led to Christ’s exaltation by God who gave him a name above all names – “Lord”. It is God’s will that every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

As a result of this horrible death, God honors Jesus with not a name but with “the name.” In Biblical thinking a name denotes the nature and character of the person. The name given to Jesus was “Lord” which every tongue is to confess and before which every knew is to bow.

Paul claims that Jesus before the Incarnation was on an equality with God – “very God of very God,” as the Creed says. If He were equal with God, there was no need for Jesus to grasp any honor, authority, or power. This is a confession of the deity of Jesus Christ.

Friday, 3 April 2009—John 12:12-19— This is the accounting of Christ’s entry into the city of Jerusalem. Prophecy is being fulfilled. The King is being hailed. The very stones cry out if the crowd is silenced. The religious authorities will have nothing of it. They will see to it that Jesus is destroyed and His praises silenced. Soon His sufferings will begin but for this day we shall worship Him along with the crowd as our Savior and Lord.

Saturday, 4 March 2009— Psalm 24:7-9 - The hymn of the Day, All Glory, Laud and Honor – {LSB 442} The Lord Almighty the Lord mighty in battle has triumphed over all his enemies and comes now in victory to his own city. This is what Jesus proclaimed on the day of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Tomorrow we worship our Savior as Lord, Christ and King. Worship at its best happens when Christ is the focal point of our praise.

Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing Lima, OH

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnorr 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).

Monday, March 30, 2009 –Judas one who betrayed Him for a Price – Luke 22:1-6

What are we to feel about Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus and handed him over to his enemies for 30 pieces of silver? Do we despise him for what he did, or do we pity him as a hapless player fulfilling the prophesy of King David in Ps. 41? Did he do this traitorous thing out of jealousy, or greed? Was he a disciple for the wrong reason, hoping for a powerful position in an earthly kingdom? Whatever his precise motivation, Judas—one of Christ’s chosen twelve—ended up going in a terribly wrong direction. In Luke 22 we learn that “…Satan entered into Judas…and he went away and discussed with the chief priests…how he might betray Him to them.” So Satan found in Judas a weakness, a character defect that allowed him the perfect opening to do his work.

And how does this make Judas different from any one of us? Are we not at times guilty of greed, of dishonesty, of jealousy, of seeking power even if that means hurting someone? Judas great sin may have handed Jesus over to His death, but our own sins, great and small, nailed him to the cross and pierced his side. What a wonder that each of us contributed to His death, yet we needed Him to die so that we might live!

So Judas was really one of us, just one more sinner contributing to the awful suffering and death of our Savior. The difference is that Judas faith was too weak to fight Satan’s assault. When he realized that Jesus really was going to be sentenced to death—that He would not use His almighty power to escape or destroy His captors—Judas was repentant and wanted to return the money. But he did not understand that Jesus was going to die even for him. So rather than throwing himself at the foot of the cross and asking for Christ’s forgiveness he took his own life in despair.

God grant us vigilance in our lives that we may not open our hearts to Satan’s power, and strength in our faith that we may never underestimate the bounds of His love and forgiveness.

-Jim Heckman

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Way to go Sparty

So my brackets didn't work out as planned. Actually had five of the elite eight then everything fell apart. Since MSU is now in the final four I have to go with "State" Ironic enough Michigan State won the NCAA tournament thirty years ago in 1979 when Magic went up against Bird from Indiana State. And to be playing in Detroit how sweet is that if you're an MSU alum or fan?
The official logo of the NCAA 2009 Division 1 national championship © NCAA

Lent 5 - John 12:20-33

The hour for Jesus has come. He recognized that fact. It was the hour of death but it was also an hour of glory. By His death, God would be glorified, for God’s plan of salvation would be fulfilled. When the Greeks came to see Jesus, He was the pan people wanted to see, hear, and know. As we approach Holy Week with the passion, trials, and death of Jesus, we focus on Jesus as the man of the hour.

Behold the man of the hour –

1. The wanted Jesus – Vv. 20-22 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

God’s glory was the dominating purpose of Christ’s life. the time for glory was there for Jesus. Before, the time had not been ripe. At Cana, when Jesus performed His first miracle He would tell His hearers “My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4) The life of Jesus was arranged so that He could reveal the glory of the Father by word and deed and then seal that glory by His sacrifice on the cross.

2. The troubled Jesus – Vs. 27 Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.

It was Christ’s cross that produces His glory. On the one hand Christ despised the cross. He was human. According to his human nature Christ did not look forward to the dreadful sacrifice.

Jesus knew that His death would not be peaceful. The Father would forsake Him because He would be suffering for the sins of all. His death was a frightfully depressing prospect.

But Jesus knew that this cross had to be experienced to bear the fruit of His glory. He likened Himself to a see that must be planted. He admits that this is why He came into this world. He let Himself be “lifted up” from the earth.

This sacrifice accomplished much for God’s glory. It brought salvation al all people. “I…will draw all men to Myself.” This sacrifice says the most about God’s righteousness and mercy, everything that needs to be said about God was sid when Christ died. This is His glory manifest.

3. The glorified Jesus – Vs. 28 Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." Jesus prayed for this and received an immediate answer. The glory that was to come to Christ and the Father is many sided.
God receives glory every time he reveals Himself to us. It started in the Old Testament through the promise of the Savior. The glory of God is evident from the good things said about God, especially that he is merciful.
When Christ was born, the heavens were filled with angelic voices praise God. (Luke 2)
In His ministry, Jesus directed the credit to His Father in heaven. What He said and did was always to give God glory.
The revelation of the glory of God was inclusive (cf. the Greeks vv. 20-22) When the Bible talks of the glory of God and of Christ it is talking of God’s righteousness, mercy, and love along with the total of all His attributes.

4. The magnetic Jesus – Vs. 32 But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."

What is the best way to bring to the world to faith in Christ? To do so is the central purpose of the church and of each individual Christian. Some try offering various church programs. Others promise good luck and success. Some may go the emotional route – with huge gatherings, meetings, manipulative revivals, etc. All of these methods are futile. Jesus gives us the secret: His death on the cross. Our responsibility is to proclaim Christ and Him crucified. When the cross is seen, it draws men to the Master.
By faith we share in Christ’s cross and His glory. We share the same attitude toward this life that Christ had. He who loves life will lose it. Yet, he who hates life will keep it to eternal life. This life is lost in Christ – lost as far as the world is concerned.

But in losing this life will we bring honor. The glory we hare as slaves and servants of the Master is a gift. The heaven prepared for us is the same one Jesus occupies. Says the Savior in John 14:1-3, Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

This glory God has and shares with his children could not have happened without the cross. The cross brings glory. Through the cross comes everlasting glory.
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Sunday, March 29, 2009 – 5th Sunday of Lent – John 12:20-33

When I first read this Bible passage, I didn’t understand it. I struggled, trying to write about something that I didn’t comprehend. Then, I asked my brother to read it aloud to me, and I got it. I had an epiphany, a revelation! I told him, “If sudden knowledge had an impending force, I would be a pancake right now.” This is my take on these verses…

When Jesus stats talking, he mentions a grain of wheat. I believe He is referring to Himself here, as the wheat. He says that until He dies, He is alone, meaning that Satan is winning, at the moment. But when He dies, He has beaten Satan. Next, He explains about following (serving) Him. This would be talking about heaven, being where Jesus is. I also think that the words, “My Father will honor him,” meaning the person who serves Jesus, is attributing to Revelation twenty-one, where the Bible talks about the Book of Life, and his name will be in that book. “My soul is troubled” could be a parallel to “My God, My God, who have You forsaken Me?” which Jesus said on the cross. The next verses support this, saying that Jesus has come for this hour and will not ask to be saved from it. “Father, glorify Your name” would mean that Jesus will rise again, like a stage of exaltation.

Some say the voice thundered while others who heard the same say that it was the voice of any angel. This means God is both terrible and beautiful, somehow at the same time. Jesus says that the Voice came to warn us, not Him, that Jesus is going to die. “The ruler of this world will be cast out” means that Jesus will overcome Satan. Jesus concludes, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to myself,” signifies that when he goes to heaven, He will bring all believers with Him. Through sacrifice comes glory.

Lord, I am so very sorry that You had to die for me, to be a grain of wheat, all alone until you died. Help me to understand what You went through to save me. Thank You for loving me so much.

-Alyssa Strickler

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009 – The Raising of Lazarus – John 11:43

The story of the raising of Lazarus is one of Scripture’s most interesting accounts, not only because a man is given a second chance at life, but we also see a very human side of Jesus. Lazarus was a friend of Jesus, a very close friend, and his death shakes Jesus. This is a side of Jesus that is generally hidden and the image of Jesus weeping for His friend is quite wrenching.

This story and Jesus’ great declaration “I am the Resurrection and the Life” are recalled in many great works of literature, including A Take of Two Cities and Crime and Punishment often at a point where a character is in search of redemption, Most of them find this redemption in one form or another.

But what does this say of our salvation? We, as well as those fictional characters see our own salvation in Lazarus. We, like Lazarus, are friends of Jesus in need of life, a life we can’t have without Jesus. And it is faith in the divinity of Jesus, as confessed by Martha that causes our resurrection.

O God for our redemption You have given Your only begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by His glorious resurrection You have delivered us from the power of our enemy. Grant that all our sin may be drowned through daily repentance and that day by day a new person many arise to live before You in righteousness and purity forever.

-Lydia Dahling

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009 – The Raising of the Widow’s Son – Luke 7:11

Picture this – A funeral procession being led by a grieving widow whose only son had died. She not only has said her earthly farewell to her beloved husband, but now was faced with loneliness and despair at her son’s death. The Bible says a large crowd was with her. No doubt, showing their love, support, and compassion.

Notice how Jesus was touched. His heart went out to her, and He miraculously brought him back to life. One can only imagine the mother’s amazement and joy. What about the witnesses who were in awe and possibly brought to faith following this miracle!

We too can take pointers from our daily lives. Think about the opportunities that come our way to share God’s love and mercy. It might be that simple funeral home visit, a donation of food, a caring card or phone call, and prayers on their behalf. Reach out to those around you and show your love and compassion.

Most importantly, as Christians we know that miracle of heavenly life will be ours and all believers because of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection for us. May we walk this Lenten journey knowing we are one step closer to our heavenly home.

Lord, Thank you for the gift of life each new day. Use us as you instruments to reach out to others in their time of need. May your compassion flow through us. Keep us in you tender care as we look forward to the miracle of heavenly life some day. In your precious name. Amen

-Cindy Wass

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009 – Raising a Ruler’s Daughter – Mark 5:22

Do you know what God looks like? In cartoons and paintings, He’s usually displayed as a wise-looking old man with white hair flowing past his shoulders. He tends to sport a painfully clean robe or toga of some sort and gives the appearance that He should be sitting on a throne somewhere, looking down His long nose at His cowering subjects. His expression evokes feelings of wisdom and power…but no love or grace. Is this the type of God that Christians believe in?

The Gospels paint a very different picture of God, one that I tend to appreciate much more. When God took on the form of man and called Himself “Jesus,” He set aside his pristine robes and scowling persona. In their place, He chose a shirt smudged with dirt and a pair of hands and feet that couldn’t stay away from the poor and desolate of this world…even people like me. The man Jesus fought against the law-declaring visage that had been pinned on His heavenly Father and instead offered the picture of someone who could be a friend.

Despite the warm smile and booming laugh that I believe Jesus shared with so many during his time on earth, a person still needed faith to believe that God walked among us. Mark 5:22 begins the story of one such moment of absolute reliance. A synagogue ruler by the name of Jairus, a respected and revered Jew who had been raised on the hope of a promised God-sent savior, fell to his knees before Jesus and laid his pain at the Savior’s feet.

Now let’s think for a moment how you’d feel if you were Jairus. Your beautiful child is on her deathbed. The doctors can only sigh and say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do.” Could you, as her parent, simply accept the diagnosis and let her die? Or would you turn to even the smallest hope that there might be someone who could cure her? Not much is known about Jairus’ feelings about Jesus. But we can figure out from just reading this passage that he was desperate. He’d probably heard rumours of Jesus’ miracles and growing fame. Would that be enough for you too to turn to him as the last possible cure for your daughter?

The best thing about Jesus in this story is that He doesn’t even question Jairus’ belief in Him. Instead, it says simply in verse 24, “So Jesus went with him…” But the story doesn’t end there. While Jairus and his family all lived happily ever after with a little help from the Judean carpenter, their adventure of faith proves that we can find a happy ending with God too. Rob Hensser, an Australian Christian author, puts it this way: “[God] is a relentless pursuer--a divine madman who hunts us down, throws himself prostrate before us and asks us to come home, to dare to believe in him even though we are full of doubt and overwhelmed by our own brokenness.” I don’t know about you, but THAT’S a God I want to believe in!

Heavenly Father, I thank you for being my God. No matter what you look like in my life, I can rest in the peaceful assurance that you’re always there for me. Help me remember to turn to you in all times, in both sorrow and joy. Thank you for offering me such an amazing promise of hope by living on this earth and dying for my daily mistakes. In Your Name, Amen.

-Alicia Drier

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 – Restoring a Servant’s Ear – Luke 22:51

God wants me to help other people whenever I can.

He does not want me to say or do anything that would hurt anyone.

Sometimes I might get very angry at other people.

I might not like the things they do.

I can think in my head and plan in my heart how I might hurt them.

God tells me that it is wrong to hurt others when I become angry.

God wants me to find ways to help other people.

There are many ways I can be kind to others.

When I see someone who cannot walk very well I can be kind by holding the door open for them.

This is the kind thing to do.

The Bible tells us, “Be kind to one another” – Ephesians 4:32

The Fifth Commandment
Do not hurt other people – ever!
a. Do not speak mean words
b. Do not kick people
c. Do not knock people down
d. Do not step on other people’s feet
e. Do not yell at others
f. Do not scream at others
g. Do not tell anyone to “shut-up” – this would hurt their feelings and hurt God’s ears.
h. Do not make monster noise at them - this would scare them.

Dear God,
I need to do my best every day even when it is hard

-Kolton Everett

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 – The Healing of the Ten Lepers – Luke 17:11

The story of the ten lepers reminds me of a class in one of my first years of teaching. It was the last day of school before Christmas and I had brought in pizza for my class. The excitement of the day carried the class off toward their Christmas vacation. As I was heading across the parking lot, one of my students came running up and thanked me for the pizza.

We are so blessed. Growing up, many of my elders were quick; it seems, to regularly point out to me how much better I had it than they did growing up in the Depression. While their attempts were to get me to appreciate my blessings and be thankful for them, I have to say I missed the point more often than not.

We’re quick to turn to the Lord seeking His intervention when we struggle, do we return to Him in thanks when those prayers are answered? Too often, it seems, we get so wrapped up in the “brighter day” we fail to return to the Lord in thanksgiving.

In counting our blessings, how often do we find ourselves with the nine who were cleansed and did nothing? I pray that we, as the Samaritan, return to the Lord thankful for all His bountiful care.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we, Your unworthy servants, give You most humble and hearty thanks for all Your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all mankind. We praise You for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life, but above all for Your inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. We implore You to give us that due sense of all Your mercies that our hearts may every be deeply thankful and that we may show forth Your praise with both our lips and lives. Let us walk before You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life and enjoy the testimony of a good conscience and the hope of Your favour, be sustained and comforted in every time of trouble, and finally be received into Your everlasting kingdom; through Your infinite mercy in Jesus Chris, our Lord.

-Marvin Drier

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Time in the Word - Lent 5

Collect for the Fifth Sunday in LentAlmighty and everlasting God, who hast willed that Thy Son should bear for us the pains of the cross that Thou mightest remove from us the power of the adversary, help us so to remember and give thanks for our Lord’s Passion that we may obtain remission of sins and redemption from everlasting death; through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The theme for the Fifth Sunday in Lent is the fruit of the cross. Formerly, the fifth Sunday in Lent was named, “Passion Sunday.” Though the name has changed, the theme of suffering and sacrifice of Christ is prevalent. The fruits or results of Christ’s passion are given. In the Gospel Jesus’ upcoming death is an hour of glory for both the Son and the Father. From this suffering Jesus learns obedience. (Epistle lesson) The new covenant, promised in the Old Testament lesson is fulfilled through the death of the Lamb. Christ’s cross enables God and man to enter a new ear of reconciliation. Because of the benefits of the cross, we can glory in it. With the end of Lent approaching, it is good to give consideration to the benefits of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Monday, 23 March 2009—Psalm 116:1-4, 8; antiphon, Psalm 43:1— In the antiphon, the psalmist cries out for deliverance from the wickedness that surrounds him. The rest of the Introit praises the Lord for His deliverance. When we are made to bear our crosses in our own lives, we, who are righteous by faith, also cry out for deliverance, and praise the Lord for the deliverance He has given us from our most fearsome enemies: the devil, the world, and our flesh.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009—Psalm 119:9-16 key verse v.10 — I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. As the cross and suffering of Christ loom near us we need the Lord’s presences in our life now more then at any other time. This Psalm speaks of this need.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009—Jeremiah 3:31-34— The cross establishes a new covenant. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God promises to establish a new covenant with His people – a covenant of grace. Through the atoning death of His Son, God has restored His relationship with rebellious mankind. All who trust in the sacrifice of Christ are incorporated into this new covenant (Romans 9:30). It is all God’s work; we can do nothing to earn our place in it.

Thursday, 26 March 2009—Hebrews 5:1-10— The cross teaches obedience and earns eternal salvation. Christ is the Mediator of the new covenant. It is by His perfect obedience, by His shedding of blood, by His death that we have received eternal life. He bore the cross, not for Himself, but solely for our benefit.

Here we see the human Jesus praying with tears and cries to avoid the cross. In an allusion to Gethsemane, Jesus’ appeal is denied. Through His suffering and death, Jesus learned obedience to God’s will. By His obedience He was made “perfect”; that is, He completed and fulfilled His God-given mission to die for the salvation of the world.

Friday, 27 March 2009—Matthew 10: (32-34) 35-45— The cross bears the fruit of eternal life. But at what price. Jesus clearly tells us, Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. There are many loves we have in this life; family, work, church, country. The list is endless yet, our first love, our first priority must be to the Savior. Anything less is a violation of the first commandment. The Father will honor the Son as He gave honor and obedience to the will of the Father. In following Christ we must acknowledge Him and follow in His ways. Christ is the one who willingly submitted to the will of His Father. It’s now all about you. Jesus proved this in His obedience and His trudge to the cross.

Saturday, 28 March 2009— The hymn of the Day, Jesus, I My Cross have Taken – Jesus willingly bore our sins in His body, and carried them to the cross. We, who have been incorporated into the body of Christ by our baptisms, must also bear crosses in this life. When our hour of trial comes, we beseech the Lord that He would give us the strength gladly to bear whatever cross He would. Luther writes concerning this, in the Large Catechism: So there is just as great a need, as in all the other petitions, that we pray without ceasing: “Dear Father, Your will be done, not the devil’s will or our enemies’ or anything that would persecute and suppress Your holy Word or hinder Your kingdom. Grant that we may bear with patience and overcome whatever is to be endured because of Your Word and kingdom, so that our poor flesh may not yield or fall away because of weakness or sluggishness.”

Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing Lima, OH

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).

Monday, March 23, 2009 Healing a Gentile Woman’s Daughter Mark 7:24

Each day I find myself saying many prayers. Some are simple “Get me through this minute” prayers. Some are more structured meditations, like saying the Lord’s Prayer or Luther’s Morning Prayer. Some are heartfelt pleas for help, for strength, for patience. I mean every word of what I say. But sometimes I do catch my mind wandering, even as I ask the Lord for help. I find myself distracted, not really sure that he is listening, much less that he will really answer. I find a kernel of doubt creeping in to weaken my faith.

God has given each of us the wonderful gift of being able, in faith, to ask him for anything we want. He has promised that we will receive anything we ask for: “Concerning the work of my hands, command me.” (Isaiah 45:11) and “I will do anything you ask in my name” (John 14:13).

What God asks of us is total focus and belief that He will listen to us, He will answer our prayers. Like the woman in the miracle, we must simply continue to let Him know our needs. Continue to ask for His help. Continue to have faith that He will answer. And He will.

Lord, thank you for giving me the privilege of coming to You in prayer. Help me, today, to have faith that you will answer me, that you will fill all my needs.

-Shirley Drier

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lent 4 John 3:14-16

God of all mercy, by Your prayer to heal and to forgive, graciously cleanse us from all sin and makes us strong.

As we look at the cross we find God’s love in what we see. In Moses’ day, healing resulted form just looking at the bronze serpent. In like manner, a look at the uplifted Christ brings peace with God through healing love. This point is sounded in so many hymns of the church. “O Sacred head, now wounded” “When I survey the wondrous cross” “Drawn to the cross which Thy hast blessed” It is said that when Thomas Aquinas returned from worshiping at the foot of the cross he said, “That which I have seen today makes all that I have written seem like trash. I shall not write another word!”

Look and know God loves you.

1. Look at the One on the cross – Vs. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, God our heavenly Father sent His Son to be lifted up.

A. We by nature are like the children of Israel in their danger.
1. We aren’t plagued by snakes, of course.
2. But we are plagued by sin, which causes death.

B. God sent Jesus.
1. He came into the middle of our world, the snake pit, if you would.
2. God lifted Him up on a cross, “With His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5)
3. John 3:16 captures God’s plan. He loved us so much that He sent His Son to be
lifted up for us.

2. Look at the cross – a sacrifice for you – Vs. 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. He gives everlasting life. He gives everlasting life to believers.

A. In the Old Testament wilderness, anyone who looked at the brass serpent was saved.
1. They were given the invitation to be saved. No one forced them to look.
2. Those who did look were saved from the fiery venom.

B. Likewise, Jesus promises that those who believe in Him have everlasting life.
1. This is a gracious invitation to know who Jesus is, give assent to His grace, and trust
Him to do what He promises. No strings attached.
2. Believers have life now. It was as close as Nicodemus as the information and
invitation Jesus gave to him. Believers have in their hearts right now the assurance
that they are saved. God loves us so much that He gives us eternal life.

3. Look beyond the cross…the source of God’s love. Vs. 16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. He draws people to believe in Jesus.

A. People are drawn to Jesus through Jesus.
1. He came as a light to people in darkness. People are by nature in the dark; there is no
self-created light. Jesus gives light to people who love the darkness because they
were doing wrong.
2. Believers are a lot life bugs who gather around the porch light at night during the
summer. We have seen the Light of Jesus Christ and have been drawn to it.
When we saw Jesus, He revealed our sins and forgave the, and now in His light God
sees us as righteous.
3. God did not send Jesus into the world so that people would be ashamed, scared, and
guilty. Rather, He came so that we might have life through Him.

B. You can tell if God’s love is drawing you.
1. How do you feel when you read: “Everyone who does evil hates the light and
does not come to the light” (v.20)? Do you feel a need to stop doing what is wrong, to
let God straighten it up for you? That’s God’s love drawing you.
2. When you read: “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (v.16), do you get a feeling of
relief down deep in your soul? That’s God’s great love drawing you.
3. Let it draw you. Don’t be like night crawlers or worms that come out at night after a
rain. When the light hits them, they zip back down into the darkness, or die on the

God does not want to harm you; He wants to save you. He has sent His Son so that by faith in Him we can now live.

God has moved to save us from the predicament of sin. We want to listen to Jesus today, and let His love draw us to salvation and a God-pleasing life. This happens by God’s amazing grace.

Lectionary Preaching Resources Series B © 1987 Concordia Publishing House
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Sunday, March 22, 2009 Eternal life comes by faith in Christ John 3:14-21

Every day we sin and every day God forgives our sin. We bully, curse the name of Christ and maybe hate authority. A man can go to church every day and pray after every sin praying for forgiveness.

God had the choice of sending His Son and thankfully He did. God knew we sin every day. Even though He knew that He sent His only Son Jesus Chirst. Jesus Christ died on the cross to save all sinners.

For if God did not send His Son we would perish. God sent His son so the believers would go to heaven. Will you not trust Him today?

Dear Lord we are all sinful and dreadful creatures and we pray that You can guide us to a life that keeps us away from danger and evil living.

-Kyle Freimuth

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009 - 100 Pounds of Herbs and Spices – John 19:38-42

When asked to write devotion for the Lenten booklet, I had a choice of passages. I chose this one thinking I would write about the spices used, and maybe relate it to cooking, or how we “spice” up our lives by having a variety of interests. Not so much. Once I read through the passage in a few different versions and “goggled” the verse, it became quite clear this passage is not about the actual spices. In this passage, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a secret disciple of Jesus, asks Pilate for permission to take Jesus body down from the cross. Nicodemus, who brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about 100 pounds, joined him. They wrapped Jesus body with the spices and strips of linen. He was placed in an unused tomb in a garden. This, the new tomb and the large amount of spices, was how royalty was treated at death and yet Jesus was not seen by most as royalty.

Upon further study of this, we learn that the two men who bury Jesus had not publicly associated with him before. Joseph of Arimathea was indeed a disciple, but he was so secretly because he feared the Jews (v. 38). And Nicodemus, though not actually called a "disciple," nevertheless had visited Jesus at night (v. 39) and had affirmed at that time that Jesus was a teacher come from God. Thus, these are two of the people referred to earlier, who were secret believers, "for they loved praise from men more than praise from God" (12:42-43). Now, at Jesus' death, they are no longer under this condemnation; they have passed from hiding in the darkness to coming into the light.

It is ironic that these two men come out of hiding and clearly associate themselves with Jesus at his death, since they would have thought his movement had come to an end. In the worldly sense, they had nothing to gain and everything to lose.

So where are we in our faith? In the darkness of our selfishness and sin, or in the light ready to be the witnesses of Christ’s saving grace given to us by his death on the cross? Are we seeking praise from man more than praise from God? It’s easy to worship in the comfort and safety of our own church, but to publicly display our love for Jesus means truly “walking the walk.” Let us learn from Joseph and Nicodemus, who displayed their love for Jesus knowing that they had everything to lose and nothing to gain in this world, yet as followers of Christ, gained everything in eternal salvation.

-Denise Conrad

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009 - A borrowed Tomb – John 19:38-42

A man sleeps in death. So sad his passing. What crime had he committed? He stirred up the people. He questioned those in authority. He exposed their hypocrisy. His message could not be tolerated. What was so offensive the words he spoke?

A man sleeps in death. So sad his passing. Cut down in his prime. So prematurely. Was it necessary? Why all the fuss? Could there not have been a compromise?

A man sleeps in death. Itinerant. A loner. A poor man. His only possession was his garments – which were auctioned off; by the guard, to the winner, in a game of dice.

A man sleeps in death. In love a friend steps forward, but secretly, for fear of the authorities. What can he offer now? There is a tomb nearby in which no one had been laid. The final tribute of an acquaintance who wishes to remain anonymous.

A man sleeps in death. A holy day is coming. Time is passing. In haste he is buried. It will do for now. After the observance, we shall return. Then we can bring more spices to anoint his body and remember his life. And mourn our loss. So unfair. So Useless. So sad His passing. Was it all necessary? Why?

Lord Jesus You slept in death only to rise to new life. Without Your resurrection Your death has no purpose. Only in Your rising can we understand Your passion.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

A baby boom?

More babies were born in the United States in 2007 than in any other year in American history, according to preliminary data reported Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics. You can access this information at the on line edition of the New York Times.

Possibly our school numbers will be going up, or at least there is the potential. Bottom line - there are more souls who need to hear about Jesus! Births are up abortions are down...prayers continue.

Turkey buzzards returned to Decatur Tuesday, tomorrow is the first official day of spring, farmers are itching to get out in the fields, opening round of the NCAA basketball tournament starts today. I have Duke, Oklahoma, Kansas and U Conn. in the final 4. Kansas and Oklahoma in the championship game with Oklahoma winning it all. Opening day for baseball is in about three weeks, indoor football starts this weekend in Ft. Wayne...things are looking up!

Thursday, March 19, 2009 -A Spear – John 19:28-37

When the soldiers went to break the bones of those who were crucified they realized that Jesus had already died. One of soldiers, probably in anger took his spear and had it stabbed in Jesus’ side. Immediately blood and water came out of the wound. John tells us that he witnessed this with his own eyes. He tells us this story so that we can all believe.

Believing in Jesus’ suffering and death is very important. He died on the cross for all of us. He died on the cross so that we could be saved. He died on the cross so that our sins will not stand and we are at last forgiven.

If I sin I know Jesus will forgive me. He will help me so that I do not sin again. He will also help my whole family not to sin but to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savoir. These things were written by John in his gospel so that we might believe. John can be trusted because He was there. He saw it. His words can be trusted.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to not sin. Let me know that You are with me. Please help me when I am in trouble. Thank You for Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. Amen

-Kaitlyn Lorraine Jenkins

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009 – Three Nails – Mark 15:22-24

Jesus’ death and crucifixion are the most vivid of all of Scripture. Pilate wanting to satisfy the crowd released Barabas to them and he delivered Jesus after he had scourged Him to be crucified. Then they clothed him with purple, and they twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head also they saluted Him by saying, ‘hail, king of the Jews’ and the struck Him on the head with a reed. They took him to the place called the place of the skull and gave Him wine mingled with myrrh but He did not take it. So then they crucified Him and divided His garments. Because of His death and his nail scared hands and feet our sins which are many are gone.

Dear God, nobody should go through crucifixion like Jesus did. Because of His death grant us many and happy years.

- Alan Bergdal

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

They're baaaack!

Spring "officially" arrived to our area today although the first day of spring is this Friday March 20. They will be here until they fly south for the winter some time right before Thanksgiving. Saw my first two on Engle Rd. on my way back from Lutheran hospital. Glad the "turkey buzzards" are back. They roost in the woods off of Mill Rd. behind the 9 Mile restaurant between Ft. Wayne and Decatur, IN.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 – A Crown of Thorns – Matthew 27:27-31

You may have seen the crown of thorns used as a symbol of the Passion of Christ. It has been seen on t-shirts, or maybe even on various home decorations. Yet, what does the crown of thorns means to you and me as Christians? The crown of thorns represents the suffering Jesus went through on the cross in order to take our sins away. The crown of thorns reminds us of the ridicule Jesus endured at the hands of His captures. Jesus did not fight against the soldiers in an attempt to avoid the crown of thorns. Instead, He accepted it and He accepted the mockery from the soldiers, both as symbols of sin. He hung there on the cross for you and for me to give us His life, His love, and the hope of heaven.

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your one and only Son to die on the cross in order to save me from my sin. Lord, please help me to abide by Your commandments and live by Your Word of truth. In Jesus’ name we pray.

-Ben Miller

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009 – Thirty Pieces of Silver – Matthew 26:14-16

When Judas received the 30 pieces of silver that he would betray Jesus with, he thought he was doing the right thing. Then he realized he had made a grave mistake. What would you have done if you were in Judas’ shoes? Would you have betrayed Jesus just for money?

Like that very night, people today think about money all the time. They think they need money in their pocket everyday. They think they need more money than their friends and if they don’t have it they think it is the end of the world! When you think you need more money than your friends don’t go and do something stupid to try to get more. If you were in Judas’ position would you have betrayed Jesus’ life for money? The love of money is the root of all evil. The love of money is a horrible thing. The love of money can control your life. Don’t let it! Be thankful for what you have.

Lord, Thank You for watching over us daily. When we feel the urge to have money control our lives help us to remember Judas and his horrible lust for more. Help us also remember that You provide us with everything we need. In Your Name we pray, O Lord.

-Brett Hormann

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Time in the Word - Lent 4

Collect for the Fourth Sunday in LentAlmighty God, our heavenly Father, whose mercies are new unto us every morning, and who, though we have in no wise deserved Thy goodness, dost abundantly provide for all our wants of body and soul, give us, we pray Thee, Thy Holy Spirit that we may heartily acknowledge Thy merciful goodness toward us, give thanks for all Thy benefits, and serve Thee in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The theme for the Fourth Sunday in Lent is Salvation by Sight. On the fourth Sunday in Lent we begin to see the cross in the distance and learn of its healing power of salvation by grace. As Moses raised a brazen serpent, Jesus must be raised up on a cross. The upraised serpent in the Old Testament lesson brought healing through the forgiving love of God. This took place simply by looking to the upraised serpent. The cross brings eternal life to those who look to the cross with the eyes of faith in the Gospel lesson. With Christ we are raised to heavenly places where we see the riches of grace in the Epistle lesson. Salvation comes simply in a look – a look at the cross and a look in faith. Salvation is the theme of the Psalm of the Day. The Hymn of the Day is based on John 3:16 a verse from this week’s Gospel lesson. Next Sunday’s lessons present us with tremendous texts as Ephesians 2:8 and John 3:16 as well as basic themes; salvation by grace, the cross, the amazing love of God, and the healing power of forgiveness.

Monday, 16 March 2009Psalm 27:3-5; antiphon, Psalm 27:1— The antiphon for Sunday’s Introit, Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord, reflects David’s confidence and faith in the Lord, exhorting all people also to place their trust in the Lord. This psalm is the entire psalm from which the Introit was taken. This is a psalm of David, a plea for deliverance from his enemies – evil men who breathe out violence and advance against him to devour his flesh. David boldly asserts that he is not afraid, for the Lord is his light and salvation. What is the source of David’s confidence? Continual fellowship with God. Our best defense against the assault of our enemy, the devil, is to follow David’s example: worship in the house of the Lord. In the day of trouble, He will keep us safe in His dwelling.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009Psalm 107:1-9 key verse v.1 — Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures for ever. In all things we are encourage to praise and return thanks to the Lord, especially in light of Christ’s redeeming work He did for us on the cross.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009Numbers 21:4-9— Sight of the uplifted serpent brings healing. The complaining Israelites are healed of their serpent bites by looking at Moses’ upraised bronze serpent. Because of the Israelites’ rebelliousness – speaking evil of Moses and God – the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people. They were bitten and many died. When Moses interceded with the Lord on the peoples’ behalf, the Lord instructed Moses to make a bronze snake; when the people looked upon it in faith that the Lord would deliver them from the snakes, they were spared. There was nothing magical about the snake. The healing came from God alone, and depended on faith in His Word.

Thursday, 19 March 2009Ephesians 2:1-10— Sight of the exalted Christ reveals the riches of God’s grace. Our lesson teaches that salvation is a gift of God’s grace received by faith.

This passage is justly famous among Lutherans, for it clearly shows that our salvation is in no way dependent upon our works, but solely upon the incomparable riches of God’s grace. What a turnabout! We, who were dead in our transgressions, have been made alive in Christ! Even more, we have been seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.

Friday, 20 March 2009—John 3:14-21— Sight of Christ crucified results in eternal life. Eternal life comes to those who believe in the crucified Son of God. During Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, He explained how God had showed His love and mercy to a rebellious people by providing the remedy for the deadly snakes. Like the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness, Jesus, the Son of God, would be lifted up on a cross to provide the remedy for sin and death for all people. However, those who have no faith – those who reject the Word of God – condemn themselves.

Saturday, 21 March 2009John 3:16-18 - The hymn of the Day God Loved the World So that He Gave) – Here is a wonderful Gospel hymn. The first stanza restates the “Gospel in a nutshell,” John 3:16. The following four stanzas expand upon the first, proclaiming the love of God for sinners – a love so deep that He sacrifices His own Son in our stead, that we might have everlasting life. It clearly proclaims Holy Baptism as the means by which our Lord grants forgiveness to us unworthy sinners. Stanza 6 expresses our grateful response to God’s grace poured out upon us in a hymn of praise to the Holy Trinity.

Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing Lima, OH

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).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009 – Lent 3 – Jesus cleanses the Temple – John 2:13-22

Jesus cleanses the temple of those who traded in it. Although this event happened at the end of Jesus’ ministry John chooses to mention it at the beginning of his gospel. The cleansing of the temple becomes the immediate cause of Jesus’ arrest. John sees this event related to the official’s demand for a sign authorizing Him to take such dramatic action. Jesus’ sign was the destruction of the temple and rebuilding it in three days – a forecast of His death and resurrection.

The authorities ask for a sign. “Who are you to say or do these things?” The temple with all of its activities, services, and programs is in charge of the priests who were authorized to take care of the temple. Who is this itinerant peasant-preacher to say what is right to do in the temple? This question is certainly in order.

The only sign Jesus will give them is the sign of the cross. He is the one whose temple will be destroyed and rebuilt on the third day. This proves who He is. He is the Messiah, the Lord’s chosen one. He has the right and authority to cleanse the temple.

O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lent 3 - 1 Corinthians 1:23

Eternal Lord, Your kingdom has broken into our troubled world through the life, death, and resurrection of Your Son. Help us to hear Your word and obey it, so that we become instruments of Your redeeming love. So may the words that come from these lips and the meditation which take place in these hearts may they be acceptable to You our strength and our redeemer.

How is this text related to this morning’s theme of God’s law and its disobedience as found in the Gospel? The result of disobedience is judgment. Disobedience is sin, and sin means death and separation from God and from our neighbor. Sin means being found missing from the Father’s table. The good news of today’s Epistle lesson centers in the cross. God gave Christ as a sacrifice for sin that all who disobey His laws may find forgiveness and restoration. Thus, the main thing Christians do is to proclaim the good news of the cross. St. Paul would remind us, “We preach Christ and Him crucified.”

What Christians do.

1. What we do: we “preach” - for this reveals God’s wisdom.

A. To non-Christians the preaching of a crucified Christ is anything but wisdom. The Jews were offended because they expected a warrior Messiah, who would flash signs from the skies as proof of His conquering power. The Greeks thought it absurd to cal a man branded by His crucifixion as the lowest of criminals Savior and Lord. Many people today think it crude and barbarous that God would require the blood of His Son as atonement for human sin.

B. Yet, the preaching of a crucified Christ displays a wisdom far higher than human wisdom. At the cross God dealt with human sin in a way that did not abrogate the demands of His holiness. Jesus bore the punishment of sin in our place. He appeased the wrath of God, which our sin had aroused. At the cross God achieved salvation for the whole world. Says St. Paul, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

Human wisdom cannot conceive how thee world’s salvation could be accomplished through a cross, an instrument of death and degradation. That it was accomplished is contrary to all human logic. But “the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” The foolishness of preaching is not the preaching of foolishness.

2. What we preach: “we preach Christ and Him crucified” This reveals God’s power.

A. The preaching of Christ and Him crucified has power to work faith. (v. 24, “who are called.”)Faith is not produced by threats, arguments, or human striving. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the message of the Crucified One doe we now and believe that we are no longer under God’s condemnation. Again, says St. Paul, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

B. As our faith is nurtured by the preaching of Christ crucified, we are able to live as people who are no longer under sin’s control. Since we died and rose with Christ, we can crucify our sins each day and rise to a new life. Since Christ has reconciled us to God, we can be reconcilers in our relationship with others.
Christ’s crucifixion seemed to demonstrate utter weakness. But it was God’s weakness, and “the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (V.25) The message of the Crucified One has power to free us from son’s condemnation and control.

Paul’s preaching is a model for us. We don’t work miracles to satisfy sing-seekers, we don’t propound philosophy to entertain intellectuals, we don’t dispute, and we don’t argue. We preach Christ and Him crucified. Through such preaching God demonstrates His saving wisdom and works with His mighty power.
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).

Saturday, March 14, 2009 – All Glory Laud and Honour – John 12:12-13

This traditional Palm Sunday hymn was written in 820 AD by Bishop Theodolph of Orleans, France. He wrote it while in prison at the monastery of Angers. Born in Spain, Bishop Theodolph was a well-known poet and pastor. He had been a close friend of the well-known Emperor Charlemagne, the one who tried to revive the Roman Empire in the 8th century. When the Emperor died in 814, Charlemagne’s son and successor, Louis 1, had Bishop Theodolph imprisoned under suspicion of plotting against the new ruler.

Six years later, while still in prison, Theodolph penned the words to this hymn in Latin. Legend has it that Louis happened to pass beneath Theodolph’s cell while the bishop was worshiping alone. When Louis heard Theodolph sing this hymn, Louis was so moved by the words that he immediately ordered the bishop’s release. The bishop died shortly after leaving the prison, however, and some believed that he had been poisoned while still in prison.

The tune of the hymn was written in 1613 by Melchior Teschner, a Lutheran pastor in Germany. J. S. Bach used the tune in his St. John Passion.

This hymn is a great example of how he can use broken people to accomplish His purposes. Bishop Theodolph had fallen from great social and political heights and was near death when he wrote this hymn. In this low point in his life, the bishop wrote a hymn that has been used by the Church for nearly 1200 years!

Dear Lord, thank you for selecting broken people to accomplish Your work. Let my life be an offering of praise and thanksgiving to you for the redeeming work of your Son. Amen.

-Tim Blomenberg

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Congratulations Henry!

Henry has been accepted into the Masters' program at Indiana State University. He will be studying for a MA in Criminology. He'll go through commencement on May 9, and start his internship on May 11 at the Monroe County Probation Department. After the internship he will graduate in August with a double major in Psychology and Criminology and then he'll be "officially" accepted into the program.

The MA program at ISU is 36 hours. Thirty hours of class work plus a 6 hour internship. He can take 15 hours each semester and finish after a second summer internship. Hank just can't get enough of "the Haute!" He can get his degree in a year on campus or take classes on line and finish up in two years. So if a job offer were to come his way he would have a number of options with which to choose. Way to go Hank!
Hank with Sycamore Sam
Hank with Nancy Grace from Court TV

Sycamore Sam welcomes you to ISU

ISU...More from day one...Proud to be a Tree!

The fountain in the middle of campus...

Friday, March 13, 2009 – Alas! And did My Saviour Bleed – Matthew 27:45-50

Alas, And did My Savior Bleed is a beautiful hymn written was Isaac Watts in 1707. Verse 1 reads:

Alas and did my Savior bleedAnd did my Sovereign dieWould He devote that sacred headFor such a worm as IWas it for sins that I had doneHe groaned upon the treeAmazing pity, grace unknown And love beyond degree.

This verse so clearly states, Jesus chose to die “For such a worm as I.” We often like to think of ourselves as something pretty special, but when we consider our sinful behavior, we realize the description is pretty accurate.

As I consider the last two lines of this verse, I am struck by how hard it is to fathom Jesus’ love for us. The only thing I can remotely compare it to is our love for our children but I think that is the point—we are God’s children because of Christ’s sacrifice.

The second verse describes the fact God did not even allow the sun to shine during Christ’s suffering and death. We are certainly unworthy of the sacrifice made on our behalf, so our only response is to “Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt my eyes to tears.”

Well might the sun in darkness hideAnd shut His glories inWhen Christ the mighty Maker diedFor man the creature’s sinThus might I hide my blushing faceWhile His dear Cross appearsDissolve my heart in thankfulness And melt my eyes to tears.

The refrain is what really spoke to me.

My God why would You shed Your blood So pure and undefiled to make a sinful one like me Your chosen precious child. It asks the simple question of “Why”—why would God make such a huge sacrifice for a “sinful one like me?” The answer is love—unconditional, unchangeable love. How amazing that the holy, just, righteous God who spoke this universe into existence would choose to save a wretched sinner as I! To Him be the glory.

-Kris Blomenberg

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009 – Jesus Lover of My Soul – Isaiah 32:2

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.

Once there was a great Artist who poured all of His wonderful talent into a painting. Each stroke was one of love, and He even designed a magnificent gallery in which to hang His masterpiece. He came to look at the work every day, smiling fondly, loving it because it showed Him His own perfection.

Then one day, the Artist’s jealous neighbour and artistic rival stole the painting from its gallery. He took it back to his own home and began carefully and meticulously to destroy it. He splattered it with ugly colors and tore its fine canvas. The Artist watched from His own home with grief. He called His only Son and said, “Son, I want you to go and retrieve My precious painting. I know My neighbour will not rest until there is nothing left of it, and he will attack you when you step into his way. However, you will overcome him, and I cannot bear to be without My painting after all the work I put into it.”

The obedient Son loved his Father very much, and went to His neighbour’s house to rescue the painting. The one-time masterpiece was barely recognizable through all the grime and tears in its canvas. As the Artist had predicted, His neighbour did not take kindly to the Son’s intrusion. He assaulted the Son, who gritted His teeth, tucked what was left of the painting under His arm, and made His way toward the door. The neighbour beat Him again and again, and He could feel His strength ebbing. His blood ran over the painting. Finally, He crumpled to the floor, utterly spent.

The neighbour cackled with glee and tried to take the painting back. But what was this? The painting appeared to be healing before his very eyes! The slashes he had put there sealed up, with only the faintest traces of a seam still visible. The horrible colors he had splashed on the canvas melted away, leaving just a pale stain. In fact, wherever the Son’s blood touched it, the painting was restored. The neighbour discovered that he could not remove the painting from the Son’s fingers. He swore.

The Son’s eyes suddenly flickered open. The neighbour shrieked in terror and fled. The Son carried His trophy back to His Father’s house. The Artist flung the door open and embraced His Son and the painting. He carried the painting into a new, even grander gallery than the first and hung it proudly on the wall. “Father, are you going to remove My blood from it?” the Son asked.

The Artist smiled fondly at His Son and said, “I will not. Your blood reminds Me of the sacrifice You made to get this painting back. Every time I look at it now, I will see You. That makes it all the more precious to Me.”

Dearest Lord and Father, thank You for sending Your Son to redeem me from the devil’s power. Help me never to forget the sacrifice He made for me. Please keep me by Your side and bring me safely home to the gallery of heaven. I love You and praise You. In the name of Your Son Jesus, Amen.

-Becky Blomenberg

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 – May God Bestow on us His Grace – Psalm 67:1-2

May God bestow on us His grace,

With blessings rich provide us,

And may the brightness of His face

To life eternal guide us

That we His saving health may know,

His gracious will and pleasure,

And also to the heathen show

Christ’s riches without measure

And unto God convert them.

In the first verse of this hymn, it speaks about how we, as believers in Christ, will be blessed and how, in the end, he will take us with Him to heaven.

The first verse also tells us that we should proclaim the news of Christ’s resurrection to the world.

Thine over all shall be the praise

And thanks of every nation,

And all the world with joy shall raise

The voice of exultation;

For Thou shalt judge the earth, O Lord,

Nor suffer sin to flourish;

Thy people’s pasture is Thy Word

Their souls to feed and nourish,

In righteous paths to keep them.

In the second verse, our hymn tells us how we need to be ever thankful and full of joy. We are reminded that the Lord is judge over all. God’s people need to be constantly in The Word to be fed and nourished so that we stay on the right path. The Lord reigns supreme over all the earth and he guides us in all our ways.

Oh, let the people praise Thy worth,

In all good works increasing;

The land shall plenteous fruit bring forth,

Thy Word is rich in blessing.

May God the Father, God the Son,

And God the Spirit bless us!

Let all the world praise Him alone,

Let solemn awe possess us.

The third and final verse speaks of how our Lord blesses us with earthly gifts and also through His word. It reminds us of the amazing blessing of the Holy Trinity and that we, as His children, should “let solemn awe posses us.”
-Andy Blomenberg

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 – Great is Thy Faithfulness – Luke 3:22-24

The text of this hymn was written by Thomas Chisholm who lived a long life from 1866-1960 and was renewed in 1951 by Hope Publishing Co. Surprisingly, there were four Bible passages mentioned as sources.

The first, Lamentations 3:22-24, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning great is your faithfulness. I will say to myself. The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.” What a great promise! Even because of our sin, the Lord’s love will not change toward us. It is new every day. The last part of the verse “I will wait for Him” tests us at times.

From James 1:17 comes another great promise to uphold is in “the wait.” “Every good and perfect gift is from above” and “who does not change like the shifting shadows.” Lord, keep me patient and trusting in your faithfulness forever.

Psalm 89:1-2 encourages us to sing of the Lord’s love and to make His faithfulness known throughout the generations and that His love stands firm.

The Last Bible notation is Genesis 8:20-22. Noah and his family have just emerged from the ark and built an alter and sacrificed an offering to the Lord. It was a pleasing aroma to God. He promised never again to curse the ground because of man’s inclination to sin or destroy all creatures. Then in verse 22 God promises, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not; Thy compassion they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

-Marlene Conrad

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009 – A mighty Fortress is our God – Psalm 46

Based on the 46th Psalm, Martin Luther’s well known hymn has been called the battle hymn of the Reformation. Translated into nearly every language, it was sung at the funeral of Dwight Eisenhower at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. It was included in National Service of Prayer and Remembrance following 9/11. The powerful words of “A Mighty Fortress is our God” are found inscribed on the tomb of Martin Luther.

As in 1529, the battle remains the same. The evil foe is out to get us “the world’s prince may still scowl fierce as he will” Some times we get caught up in our own efforts to fight evil, only to get knocked down over and over. It seems as though people have tried to rely on their own strength for centuries, but there is nothing humanly possible we can do to defeat the evil one. The songwriter explains: “with might of ours can naught be done”.

“For us fights the Valliant One”, Jesus Christ who has and always will defeat the devil. There is comfort and hope knowing He is our Mighty Fortress. This is brought into focus in a hurry during times like 9/11. Just as importantly, in all our daily struggles we need to clearly identify Him as our “Shield and Weapon.” He will help us get through the evils and temptations. With him we will win the final victory. Thanks to our Lord and Savior, “The Kingdom ours Remaineth”

Lord Jesus,
Ever remind us you are “by our side”. Remind us of the “one little Word” who can defeat the evil around us

-Teri Conrad

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Time in the Word - Lent 3

The theme for the Third Sunday in Lent is Meeting the demands of the Law. Lent e points to the cross as the only means of fulfilling God’s demands. These demands are spelled out in the Old Testament lesson with the giving of the 10 Commandments and in the Gospel lesson which shows us that these demands are not being met so that Jesus, in righteous indignation, cleanses the temple of the commercial traffic conducted in the name of religion. The solution to the problem is in the cross where the price of disobedience was paid and where perfect obedience to God was demonstrated. Since Christ has fulfilled the demands of the Law, believers in Christ are free from the curse of the Law as a means of finding favor with God. The suggested Psalm emphasizes the excellence of God’s law the Lord requires.

Monday, 9 March 2009Psalm 69:14-16; antiphon, Psalm 69:9—The Introit sets the theme for the day: meeting the demands of the law. Without the Lord by our side there is nothing we can do but fall. Yet, with the Lord we are sustained, rescued, and we rise to new life rather then sink.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009Psalm 19 key verse v.8 and John 6:68 — You have the words of eternal life. In this psalm, David reminds us once again and emphasizes the excellence of God’s Law. The Theme of the Day reminds us that eternal life is in the words of Christ and not in the words of the Law.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009Exodus 20:1-17—The demands of God’s Law. God gives the Ten Commandments to Moses and his people. The Ten Commandments are unconditional demands of God. They are absolute laws that express the will of God for His people. Israel is His people for a covenant was established at Mt. Sinai. The commandments follow the covenant relationship as the people’s response to God’s grace in making the covenant. They are not conditions to be met before God is their God but rather because He is their God. They will live as His children according to these absolute laws. The laws were written on two tablets of stone by the finger of God indicating that the laws come from God and not from social development. The two tablets refer to the division of the laws as they relate to God and to people.

Thursday, 12 March 20091 Corinthians 1:22-25—The fulfillment of God’s law in the cross. The crucified Christ is preached as the power and wisdom of God. The message of Christ crucified has difficulty in gaining a sympathetic hearing in the world. Both Jews and Greeks were opposed to it. The Jews demanded a sign and found the cross to be a stumbling block. The Jews asked how God’s Son, the Messiah, could die on a cross, reserved for the worst criminals. Moreover, the Jews looked for signs in terms of their spectacular and startling. How could Jesus be the Messiah when He came as one meek and lowly and refusing to use violence? The Greeks, too, were hostile to the cross, for they wanted wisdom. But to them the message of the cross was foolishness. In spite of this hostile environment, Paul is determined to preach Christ crucified, the power and wisdom of God.

Friday, 13 March 2009John 2:13-22— Man’s failure to keep God’s law. Jesus cleanses the temple of those who traded in it. In the firs three Gospels Jesus begins His ministry in Galilee, but in John’s Gospel the focus is on Jerusalem. In the first three Gospels the cleansing of the temple comes at the end of Jesus’ ministry, but John’s Gospel puts it at the beginning. In the first three Gospels the cleansing of the temple becomes the immediate cause of Jesus’ arrest. In John the cleansing is related to the Jew’s demand for a sign authorizing Him to take such dramatic action. Jesus’ sign was the destruction of the temple and rebuilding it in three days – a forecast of His death and resurrection.

“Who are you to say or do what you said or did?” This question is the same as the Jews’ asking Jesus for a sign. The temple with its activities, services, and programs is the charge of the priests who were authorized to take care of the temple. Who is this itinerant peasant preacher to say what is right to do in the temple? This question is certainly in order. Jesus gives them the sign of the cross. He is the one whose temple will be destroyed and rebuilt on the third day. This proves who He is – the Messiah – and He has the right and the authority to cleanse the temple.

Saturday, 14 March 2009Psalm 67:1-2 - The hymn of the Day May God Bestow on Us His Grace {LSB 823}. The suggested reference reminds us. These verses introduce a prayer. The heart of the prayer is found in verse one echoing the priestly benediction that God’s people have received for thousands of years. The Lord blesses us as He comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ our Savior.

Collect for the Third Sunday in LentO 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, on Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing Lima, OH

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).