Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pentecost 5 - mid-week

Luke 9:18-24
When it comes to the confession of Jesus Christ, two patterns of faith emerge from our text; one for the Savior the other for the believer. The Savior has provided for us a pattern of faith. It was and is a way of living, believing and acting out our faith. It is a pattern for the Savior and also for every single believer. These words of the Savior are very familiar to us. Lets see how the play out this morning.
I. For the Savior – Jesus reminds us that The Son of Man must-
A. Suffer many things. The sufferings Jesus were not limited to what He endured on the bloody and cruel cross. His entire life was that of enduring suffering. He endured suffering to identify with you. Sometimes it might feel as if you are suffering alone. Not so! Your Savior knows your plight. He knows your situation, and you are not alone by any stretch of the imagination.
B. Be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law. The pattern of faith for the Savior was to be rejected by the Elders, priests, and teachers of the Law. Why? Because they had developed a pattern of faith, in which, they were more interested in form rather then faith. They were more interested in ritual rather then in relationships. They were more interested in legislation rather then love.
C. He must be killed. The pattern of faith for the Savior was that He must be killed. The reason Jesus came into this world was that He would carry out the burden of redeeming us to Himself. It was the only way to win for us salvation. You can be assured of your salvation.
Illustration: You might remember the hit song It had as the refrain: I’m all yours- signed, sealed delivered. How do you know that your salvation is complete? How can you know that “it’s all yours?” We know it is ours for our salvation was signed, sealed, delivered. It was signed in Jesus’ blood. It was sealed in Jesus’ cross; it was delivered to you in God’s Holy Word.
D. On the 3rd day Jesus must be raised to life. The pattern of faith for the Savior was to rise from the dead on the 3rd day. This is at the core of everything Christianity stands for is in relation to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Remove from the equation the resurrection and you have nothing. The resurrection of Jesus Christ and His appearance to individuals for a 40 day period of time is on what the Christian faith will stand or fall.
Transition: There is a pattern of faith for the Savior. There is a pattern of faith for the believer. Jesus says if any would come after Me He first must:
II. For the Believer – If any man would come after me
A. He must deny himself. This runs contrary to the conventional thinking of this world today. In our world what is really important and what gains all of the focus are three little words, Me, Myself and I. In our world today it’s all about the self, it’s all about Me with each promoting their own agendas, their own plans, their own ideas. Yet, John the Baptist wound remind us, “I must decrease while He must increase.”
B. Take up His cross. The pattern of Faith calls for the believer to take up his cross daily. This calls for us to submit to the Father’s will. To identify with Jesus in our sufferings is to think more of Him and only of Him. Christ must be at the center of all that we do. Best summed up in the hymn; “Jesus I my cross have taken all to leave and follow thee; Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou from hence my All shalt be. Perish every found ambition, all I’ve sought or hoped or known; Yet how rich is my condition! God and heaven are still mine own.” [TLH #423]
C. Follow Me. The 3rd pattern of Faith is for the believer to follow Jesus. “Let us ever walk with Jesus, Follow His example pure, Flee the world, which would deceive us, And to sin our souls allure. Ever in His footsteps treading, Body here, yet soul above, Full of faith and hope and love, Let us do the Father’s bidding. Faithful Lord, abide with me; Savior, lead, I follow Thee.” [TLH #409]
There is a pattern of faith for the Savior and also for the believer perfectly outlined in these two powerful verses. May this be our pattern of living. In the Savior’s Name. Amen

Monday, June 28, 2010

Time in the Word - Pentecost 6 - Proper 9

The Lord Grants Peace and Life to His Church

The Lord restores Jerusalem, His Church, because she is the mother of His children, whom He comforts “as one whom his mother comforts” (Is. 66:13). We are “satisfied from her consoling breast” with the pure milk of the Word, and we “drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance” (Is. 66:11). The messengers of Christ bestow such gifts upon His Church. For He sends them out “as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3), bearing in their bodies the sacrifice of His cross, by which “the kingdom of God has come near” (Luke 10:9, 11). Wherever He enters in with this Gospel, Satan is cast out and falls “like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). Thus, we do not “boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:14). Rejoicing in this Gospel, we “bear one another’s burdens” in love, according to “the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).

Collect for the Sixth Sunday of Pentecost: Almighty God, You have built Your Church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. Continue to send Your messengers to preserve Your people in true peace that, by the preaching of Your Word, Your Church may be kept free from all harm and danger; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for pastors and their people: Almighty God, by Your Son, our Savior, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful shepherds to guide and feed Your flock. Therefore we pray, make all pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and to administer Your means of grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for increase of the holy ministry: Almighty and gracious God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, You have commanded us to pray that You would send forth laborers into Your harvest. Of Your infinite mercy give us true teachers and ministers of Your Word who truly fulfill Your command and preach nothing contrary to Your holy Word. Grant that we, being warned, instructed, nurtured, comforted, and strengthened by Your holy Word, may do those things which are well pleasing to You and profitable for our salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for the nation: Almighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember Your generosity and constantly do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Grant that we, who came from many nations with many different languages, may become a united people. Support us in defending our liberties, and give those to whom we have entrusted the authority of government the spirit of wisdom, that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, may our hearts be thankful, and in troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 28 June 2010Psalm 19:2, 4–6; antiphon, Psalm 19:1—Many of the psalms praise the Lord for His deliverance from enemies, both mortal and spiritual. Psalm 19 is a hymn of praise to God because of the majesty and glory that are His by His very nature. The glory of God is revealed by the entire creation. Those who attribute the earth and the cosmos to mere happenstance are only deceiving themselves.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010Psalm 66:1–7—Psalm 66 calls upon all peoples of the earth to join in with God’s chosen people, Israel, in praising Him. His deliverance of His people from bondage in Egypt and the threat of Pharaoh and his army at the Red Sea is specifically recounted, but all of God’s deliverances of all His people are to be included, especially the deliverance of mankind from the bondage of sin, and the threat of death.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010Isaiah 66:10–14—Those who remained faithful to the Lord during the days when Isaiah prophesied in Judah had reason to mourn over Jerusalem: hypocrisy, unbelief, and idolatry were common among the people. Likewise, through the ages, including our own, God’s faithful people have reason to mourn when they see the condition of the visible Church: rejection of the authority of the Word of God, acceptance of sins, rather than forgiveness of sins, being preached, and so on. Yet, we know that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Lord’s Church (Matthew 16:18), so we can rejoice. We can rejoice, for the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ provides nourishment, comfort, and abundance for our souls. As a mother nurses her child, so we are nursed by the Holy Word of God.

Thursday, 1 July 2010Galatians 6:1–10, 14–18—This Sunday, we shall celebrate our nation’s independence. Our political liberty and freedom is a gift from God. Yet, in the Church, we are not independent. We are member of one body, the mystical body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). As such, we are not to live our lives for ourselves independent of others, but are to bear one another’s burdens. The strong Christians are to help the weak. St Paul urges us, let us not grow weary of doing good, for we are a new creation in Christ, and, as such, our wills are conformed to God’s will, which desires what is best for all people.

Friday, 2 July 2010Luke 10:1–20—Our Lord desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). But how are people to believe in Jesus Christ, if they have not hear of Him, if they have not had the Gospel proclaimed to them? (Romans 10:14) In our Gospel reading for Sunday, we hear how Jesus sent out 72 men to proclaim the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus. Likewise, He still call pastors to labor in His harvest fields. As in the days of Christ, their labor is met by different responses: some people are eager to hear of the forgiveness of sins wrought by Christ’s death on the cross, whilst others reject it. The Day of Judgement will be a horrifying one for those who have refused the forgiveness Christ offers, but a glorious one for us who are in Christ, who gratefully receive His gift of salvation.

Saturday, 3 July 2010—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day, Jesus Has Come and Brings Pleasure Eternal (LSB #533), is a majestic hymn of praise to Jesus. It proclaims Jesus as God in the flesh, as our great Deliverer, Redeemer, and the King of all glory.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves St. John Dexter and Zion, Casey, IA

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pentecost 5 - Proper 8

The words of Christ in today’s Gospel are difficult and deliberate. He speaks of the demands of discipleship. Following Christ requires discipline. Many would not mind being a Christ follower if it did not cost anything in the way of personal hardship and sacrifice. The Savior confronts us with the truth of the high cost of being one of His followers. He turns away several who want the honor and the prestige of following Christ without fulfilling its demands. This morning we consider what Christ demands of His followers.

1. There is no money in it! As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. [Luke 9:57-58] You won’t get rich by becoming a follower of Christ. A Christian does not make money the goal of his life. If he has money, his love for Christ will cause him to share it. This raises a question. It’s easy to talk about modern sects who get amazing amounts of money to buy hotels, banks, and estates. It’s easy to single out radio and television evangelists living in luxury. But what about you? Look at the ledger of your check book. It shows the priorities in your life. It’s a window to your soul. It shows what drives you. Where is your first love?

2. There is urgency about it! He said to another man, "Follow me." [Luke 9:59] Being a Christ follower, being a disciple demands immediate response. Not even something as important as arranging and attending a family funeral should keep you from responding. Let someone else attend the funeral. The Kingdom cannot wait until you fulfill lesser responsibilities.

3. There is a singleness of purpose. Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." [Luke 9:61-62] No one who plays looks back. The eye is on the goal ahead. You cannot go back to say “goodbye” to your family. A disciple is likened to St. Paul who said “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind…” A follower of Christ has a one track mind, one purpose in life, one task, one devotion: Jesus Christ.

4. For what are you living? Some today lack a purpose in life. They are committed to no one, nor to anything. This results in double-mindedness, shiftlessness, drifting here and there, inconstancy. They have not made up their minds what they are to do with their lives. A genuine Christian is not one of these. He follows the example of Christ. He knows who he is for he knows whose he is. He knows where he is going, what he is to do, and why he is doing it. Here we see Jesus’ total commitment to the Father’s call to be the Messiah. This requires His total interest, effort, and sacrifice. What Jesus does in terms of commitment He expects of his own. There are many forces at work calling for our attention. Yet our chief focus needs to be totally committed to Christ.

In many respects this may be called commitment Sunday. As Elijah is committed to the tasks God gave him Elisha is committed to the call to serve as Elijah’s successor. Paul is committed to a life lived by the Spirit of God. The Savior is committed to go to Jerusalem to fulfill His destiny as the Messiah. Thus He calls you to total commitment of anyone who desires to follow Him. Remain committed to Christ as He is committed to you.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use

Friday, June 25, 2010

Children's talk - 1st Article

Long ago when Jesus lived on this earth, He taught His disciples many things.

The disciples listened as Jesus told them about God, our heavenly Father.

Jesus told His disciples that God made all things, the heaven and the earth.

The most important thing God has made is people.

God gave His people all that they need to live and protects them from all harm.

1st Article
God made me. He has given me my wonderful body.
1. God has given me eyes to see the world around me.
2. God has given me ears to hear people and other sounds.
A. humming birds
B. air planes flying
C. bumble bees
D. songs we sing in church
E. country music
3. God has given me a mouth to talk and to eat my food.
4. God has given me a nose to smell flowers and many others things.
A. turkey in the oven during Thanksgiving
B. burning leaves
C. grass that’s mowed
D. clean cloths from the dryer
E. all kinds of barn smells - but some are gross!
5. God has given me arms and hands to do things for myself and to help other people.
A. I can help my Dad pick up sticks in the yard
B. I can help my Mom fold cloths
C. I can help my Grandma and Grandpa rake leaves at their house
6. God has given me legs to walk and run.

The Bible tells me: “I will praise Thee, for I am wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14

The way I think and talk is not like anyone else. God understands what I am thinking. When I talk, God understands what I say…I am special to God my Father.

My heavenly Father has given me a heart. Sometimes I feel happy, but sometimes I feel sad. He knows how I feel in my heart…I am special to God my Father.

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

Read With Me Bible – An NIV Story Bible for Children © 1993 by The Zondervan Corporation Grand Rapids, MI

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pentecost 4 - mid-week

Luke 7:36-50
Jesus asks the question concerning to the two debtors. Now which of them, Simon, will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
1. The debt of sin is great – it is a debt no one can pay. That’s precisely the point Jesus makes in our text. The debt of sin we could never repay. The weight is too much for us to bear. The burden is too heavy. The guilt is overwhelming.
Do you agree with such sentiment? The response of many in our world today is that sinfulness guilt and remorse are way overblown. We are living in what many refer to a world where we are not actually lacking in morals, rather we living in a world where morals are simply ignored. Thus the guilt and burden of sin is never felt the voice of a trouble conscience is never heard, the feelings of regret and shame are never experienced. We are called to contemplate the enormity of our sin, the extent of our guilt, the vastness of our sin.
Transition: The burden and guilt of sin is great. In mercy our Father has forgiven our sins and He remembers them no more…
2. In mercy our heavenly Father canceled the debt. – We respond in faith – Jesus tells the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” What a relief, what a blessing to know that our sin, though they are many, have been redeemed. What a blessing to know that Christ Jesus has paid for every single sin. What a joy to know that we do not have to carry about the weight of our sin.
What a pleasure it is to carry our burdens and our cares to the throne room of grace and know that each and every stain of sin has been wiped clean. What we were unable to accomplish the Father has made possible by the death and resurrection of His own dear Son Jesus Christ. In Him all sin is purchased and forgiven.
Transition: Our sins, as great as they are, have been forgiven. How do we respond to all this?
3. What is your reaction to all this? It should not be like the other guests, who began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Those sitting at the house were insulted that Jesus would forgive sins. This should not surprise us. Just a few chapters before this incident Luke reminds us of the reaction of the Scribes and Pharisees when Jesus healed and forgave the paralyzed man. “At once the Scribes and Pharisees began to say to themselves ‘Who is this fellow who says things like this that are insulting to God? Is there anyone but God who can forgive sins?” [Luke 5:21] Do you see what they are drawing at? Only God can forgive sins. Yet, here is Jesus absolving and pardoning this woman. They will have none of it! They reject Jesus’ claim to pardon, cleans and release people from the guilt of their sin.
The same question these men wrestled with at the table now becomes yours. Who is this Jesus who even forgives sins? Do you believe that Jesus can forgive sin? Do you believe that Jesus can absolve you of your guilt? Will you exchange your unrighteousness for His pardon? Or will you deny His invitation? Read and react this is the challenge our text presents to you this week.
We pray: Just as I am Thou wilt receiveWilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;Because Thy promise I believe,O Lamb of God, I come, I come. -TLH 388 stanza 5

The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
NEW TESTAMENT in Everyday American English by Julian G. Anderson © 1984 Anderson Books Naples, FL

Monday, June 21, 2010

Time in the Word - Pentecost 5 - Proper 8

Christ’s Messengers Proclaim His Kingdom
When the prophet Elijah became discouraged and despaired of his life, “the Word of the Lord came to him” (1 Kings 19:9b) and stood him “on the mount before the Lord” (1 Kings 19:11). The Lord made Himself known to the prophet—not in the impressive power of gale force winds, nor in an earthquake, and nor in the fire, but in “the sound of a low whisper” (1 Kings 19:12). Today God reveals Himself among us through the frail preaching of the Gospel. The Son of Man sends “messengers ahead of Him…to make preparations for Him” (Luke 9:51–52). Putting their hand to that plow of preaching, they “go and proclaim the kingdom of God,” and they do not look back (Luke 9:60, 62). What they preach is not the power of the Law with its “yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1), but the power of God unto salvation through the Gospel of forgiveness, by which “Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1).

Collect for the Fifth Sunday of Pentecost: Lord of all power and might, Author and Giver of all good things, graft into our hearts the love of Your name and nourish us with all goodness that we may love and serve our neighbor; 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 Psalm 16: Lord God our Father, keep safe Your servant on the path of eternal life, for You alone are my refuge. When my last hour comes, may my body rest secure in the promise of the Lord's resurrection; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for likeness to Christ: O God, by the patient suffering of Your only-begotten Son You have beaten down the pride of the old enemy. Now help us, we humbly pray, rightly to treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has of His goodness borne for our sake that following His blessed example we may bear with all patience all that is adverse to us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for spiritual renewal: Almighty God, grant that we, who have been redeemed from the old life of sin by our Baptism into the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, may be renewed by Your Holy Spirit to live in righteousness and true holiness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for grace to love and serve God: O God, through the grace of Your Holy Spirit You pour the gifts of love into the hearts of Your faithful people. Grant Your servants health both of mind and body that they may love You with their whole heart and with their whole strength perform those things that are pleasing to You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for the reception of prayer: O God, merciful Father, You have promised to hear the prayers of all who in repentance call out to You. Graciously hear us so that all evils which beset us may be of no avail, that we, Your servants, may evermore give thanks to You in Your holy Church; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Preparation for next week, the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Monday, 21 June 2010Psalm 85:8–10, 13; antiphon, Psalm 85:7—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, Show us Your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation. God has shown His steadfast love and salvation to us by sending His Son into the world to save us. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people. God speaks His peace to us through His holy Word, especially in the Gospels, where we have a record of the words and the deeds of Jesus, who accomplished our salvation for us. Truly, His salvation is near to us who fear Him!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010Psalm 16—In the psalm for the day, David takes delight in an unwavering commitment to the Lord in both life and death. This ought also to be our attitude and joy, for He has made known to us the path of life. We have a beautiful inheritance: life with God forever in the kingdom of heaven.

Wednesday, 23 June 20101 Kings 19:9b–21—On the lam to escape wicked Queen Jezebel, Elijah fell into despair: few people in Israel wanted to have anything to do with the Lord or His prophets, and the queen had sworn to kill him (1 Kgs 19:2). In the midst of his despondency, the Lord strengthened Elijah both physical (1 Kgs 19:4–9) and, in the reading for Sunday, spiritual. The Lord instructed Elijah to step out of his cave while the He showed him three tremendous displays of natural forces—a great and strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire. Then He came in patience and love, with gentleness and mercy—in a low whisper. He told Elijah that he had not been a failure; there were still seven thousand faithful in Israel. To encourage Elijah, God also gave him a threefold assignment. He was to head north and anoint the next king of Aram, who would be God’s scourge on Israel. He was also to anoint a new king over Israel, who would wipe out the dynasty of Ahab and destroy Baal worship in Israel. Finally, Elijah was to anoint the man who would succeed him as prophet. The mission of Elijah was to be continued in Elisha.

Thursday, 24 June 2010Galatians 5:1, 13–25—We Americans are justly jealous of our freedoms; they were won and preserved at great cost. But, with freedom comes responsibility. As Christians, we have received an even greater freedom—freedom from the curse of the Law. With this freedom also comes great responsibility—the responsibility to use our freedom in service to God and neighbor. The only way we are able to do this is to be led by the Spirit, whose fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Friday, 25 June 2010Luke 9:51–62—In Luke 9:51, the whole tenor of the Gospel according to St Luke changes, when Jesus sets His face to go to Jerusalem. Now the focus is on the cross, where He will redeem mankind from the clutches of Satan, from bondage to the Law, and from everlasting death. Our eyes, too, must ever be focused on the cross of Christ. It is there alone that we are able to find true freedom, as proclaimed in the epistle from Galatians. Likewise, if pastors are going to faithful to the Lord, as was Elijah, they must always preach Christ crucified as a sacrifice on our behalf.

Saturday, 26 June 2010—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Come, Follow Me, the Savior Spake (LSB #688), is an exhortation to live our lives under the cross. We, who have been set free from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation, must now live our lives in service to Him by walking in His way. How can we ever hope to accomplish such a thing? By firmly clinging to His Word (stanza 5).
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves St. John, Dexter and Zion, Casey, IA of the Iowa West District of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Piobbico, Italy

Lydia is living in the town of Piobbico, Italy this summer in the Marche region.
A view from her apartment.

She will be studying there through the middle of July.

Pentecost 4 - Proper 7

Galatians 3:26-29
“Who Do You Think You Are?”

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ

When Alex Haley, the author of Roots, appeared on the “Tonight” show with Johnny Carson, he received 18,000 letters asking him for help in finding who they are. Self-identity is the big question and problem for many today. A Christian should not have this problem, for Paul in our text tells who a Christian is. You are sons and daughters of God because.

1. You have faith in Christ. V. 26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. You have been re-born as children of God.

A. People with a promise see their origin as children created by their heavenly Father.

1. We no not live for ourselves.

2. Rather, we live for Him who died for us making us the children of God.

B. People with a promise see their relationship to God enhancing life.

1. Your life in Christ ought to make us better people.

2. As He has impacted us we in turn influence others. This what it means to be salt and light in the world. Jesus said, You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. [Matthew 5:13-15]

Transition: You are people with a promise. You were reborn to be the children of God as you are clothed with Christ.

2. You have been baptized into Christ. V. 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. You are now clothed with Christ.

A. People with a promise find identity in their saving relationship with God through Christ.

1. Ours is not a religion but a living relationship with the person of Jesus Christ.

2. A relationship assumes there will be interaction, conversation, a bonding.

B. People with a promise find motivation and assurance through the role of Christ’s grace.

1. They know that by grace through faith they are properly clothed for the wedding banquet of God’s Son.

2. They are motivated to share their clothes with those who are needy, thus expressing their faith and love.

Transition: You are people with a promise. Reborn to be the children of God you are clothed with Christ as you were baptized in the Spirit of Christ.

3. You have put on Christ. V.27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. You have been baptized in the Spirit of Christ.

A. People with a promise are washed clean of unrighteousness.

1. The water of Baptism washes away sin and assures us of forgiveness.

2. The word of Baptism miraculously creates and sustains faith, whereby we trust in the saving promise of the Spirit.

B. People with a promise are born again into the kingdom of God.

Without the saving grace of Christ proclaimed to Abraham, we have no promise. The promised inheritance of salvation is not something we earn, nor is it something that can be taken away form us by a selfish generation of pleasure-seeking people who do not concern themselves with the future. The most precious inheritance that we can be communicated to us is that we are secure as divinely destined people with a promise of salvation.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pentecost 3 mid-week

Luke 7:11-17
Jesus raises a widow’s son - He comes at the most critical situation. Will people believe in Him? Will they attempt to make Him their king by force? Or, will they walk away, looking upon Him as a comedian, a magician, a man who works with smoke and mirrors – Will the people respond by saying, “He puts on a great act but it’s simply that – it’s only an act – there really isn’t anything there!”? We review the story as it unfolds.
1. A large crowd was coming out of town carrying a coffin - the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. Sometime this weekend take a look at your most recent pay stub. What do you see? You see an amount of cash you can stash away in your pocket. That pay stub records the money you earned that you use to pay your bills until the next paycheck comes your way. It’s the money you live on. It’s the money you use to meet your obligations. It’s the money you set aside for a rainy day. It’s called “budgeting”.
But look deeper at that pay stub. You also see how much has been taken out for taxes, you’ll see how much has been placed in your 401 K account. You’ll see how much vacation time you receive. You’ll see how much has been taken out for disability should you need it. That pay stub speaks not only of the spending power you have now- but it also shows you the equity you will have in the future.
Not so with this poor woman. She had been provided for by her husband. But then he died. We don’t know how long she had been a widow, but we do know that her security had been shaken.
At least she had a son, who could provide for her. But now we see her double grief. Her only hope for a future had been taken away. Her only son was being carried out of the city for burial. Not only was she burying her child, she was facing a future without hope. There was no one to provide for her. In her grief she was all alone!
Can you relate to this woman’s plight? I know some you have experienced her grief- the loss of a child brings so much unhappiness, so much anguish, and so much heartache. Some of you have walked in this woman’s shadow knowing that there will be no tomorrows- you have heard a physician say, “your condition is terminal - there is nothing else we can do.” Some of you have experienced broken relationships, broken marriages, and some have been broken; as this woman, knowing that you have nothing, and there is no longer any financial support.
Some might ask, these stories in the Bible, could they really have happened as they were written? This story shows us how real they truly are. This incident could have been featured in this morning’s newspaper. Jesus encountered this woman 2,000 years ago- it touches us today where we live.
2. When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” How do you react to the Savior’s response? Have there not been times when we have been met with empty words and shallow sympathy? Have there been times when we have waited for a listening ear only to receive silence? Have there been times when we have sought encouragement only to meet rejection? Have you ever received unwarranted disapproval? We’ve heard the proverb, “Those who can, do- those who can’t, criticize.”
The words of Jesus are filled with compassion, understanding, and kindness. He is able to sympathize with us. The writer to the Hebrews reminds us that Jesus is so much greater then all of the Head Priests when he writes, “And since our great High Priest is God’s Son Jesus, who is now in heaven, we must hold on firmly to the faith we are telling others about. You see, this Head 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.” [Hebrews 4:14-16]
Jesus meets this woman with compassion and consideration. His words to her, “Don’t cry” were filled with faith and feeling.
3. Then He went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” When Jesus broke into time and space death met its match. Death was finally defeated when Jesus burst from the grave on Easter morning. Yet, already, we see death’s grip weakened. He speaks to the corpse as if this young man were asleep!
Jesus has such authority for He is the author of life. He speaks to the young man individually, “young man, I say to you, get up!” In every resurrection which Jesus performs before His own resurrection, He speaks to the corpse individually. This young man, the little boy from Nain, Jairus’ daughter, Lazarus- He each calls to life individually. On the Last Great Day Jesus will not speak individually but collectively. In this instance Jesus says, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” On the Last Great Day He will simply say, “Get up!”
We can be assured of this final resurrection. Says St. Paul, “And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know the truth about those who are sleeping, so that you won’t be sad, like all the other people in the world who don’t have any hope. You see, since we believe that Jesus died and came back to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will have Him bring those who have fallen asleep back with Him.” [1 Thessalonians 4:13-14]
4. The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. As soon as the Savior speaks the young man begins to speak. What words were spoken we do not know. We could only imagine what he would have spoken. Could it have been concerning the glories of heaven? Yet could anyone adequately and sufficiently describe the glories of heaven effectively?
Possibly, it was one word, “Mother!” Yet, in an instant, mother and son are reunited. Sadness is turned into joy. Pain and suffering disappear. The family is restored. Where human efforts fail Jesus is able to restore and help us completely. What He was able to do for this woman He is able to accomplish in your life. The same concern Jesus had for this distraught woman, the same compassion, the same concern, He has for you.
5. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help His people.” At last the people come to the understanding of who this Jesus is. He is the true God. He is the One who came to save His people.
Jesus is the One who came on a divine mission to restore and reconcile people back to God and to each other. Is He a prophet? No, He is more then a mere prophet. He is the Lord God Almighty- who has come to help His people.
NEW TESTAMENT in Everyday American English by Julian G. Anderson © 1984 Anderson Books Naples, FL

Monday, June 14, 2010

Time in the Word - Pentecost 4 - Proper 7

Jesus Brings Release from the Bonds of Sin, Death, and the Devil
The Lord finds those who did not seek Him or ask for Him. He spreads out His hands “to a rebellious people” (Is. 65:2) and calls them to be His people and to dwell in peace upon His holy mountain (Is. 65:9). For wherever Jesus Christ enters in, Satan is cast out. Those who were enslaved and driven mad by the assaults and accusations of the devil, are set free by the Word of Christ. He drowns and destroys the old Adam in us with the waters of Holy Baptism and thereby brings us out of death into life. No longer naked in our shame, living “among the tombs” (Luke 8:27), we are brought into the Lord’s house, fully clothed by Christ. For He has come, in “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4) to fulfill the Law on our behalf and to redeem us from its every accusation. Therefore, having been justified by His grace through faith in His Gospel, “you are no longer a slave, but a son” (Gal. 4:7).

Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Pentecost: O God, You have prepared for those who love You such good things as surpass our understanding. Cast out all sins and evil desires from us, and pour into our hearts Your Holy Spirit to guide us into all blessedness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayers for deliverance from sin: We implore You, O Lord, in Your kindness to show us Your great mercy that we may be set free from our sins and rescued from the punishments that we rightfully deserve; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, You desire not the death of a sinner, but rather that we turn from our evil ways and live. Graciously spare us those punishments which we by our sins have deserved, and grant us always to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for grace and forgiveness:Spare us, O Lord, and mercifully forgive us our sins. Though by our continual transgressions we have merited Your chastisements, be gracious to us. Grant that all these punishments which we have deserved may not come upon us, but that all things may work to our everlasting good; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for those involved in occult practices or afflicted by demons: O God, almighty Father, You told us through Your Son, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever You ask of the Father in My name, He will give it to you." He has commanded and encouraged us to pray in His name, "Ask, and you will receive," and has also said, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver You, and you shall glorify Me." We unworthy sinners, relying on these Your words and command, pray for Your mercy with such faith as we can muster. Graciously free [name] from all evil, and undo the work that Satan has done in [him/her], to the honor of Your name and the strengthening of the faith of believers; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 14 June 2010Psalm 71:20–24; antiphon, Psalm 71:3—Psalm 71 was likely written by King David toward the end of his life. Looking back over the events of a long life, he could see that, though he had experienced many troubles and calamities, the Lord would always deliver him, would revive him again. David trusted in the Lord as a rock and a fortress, who cannot be moved or shaken, but provides refuge for His people. In response, the people of God shout for joy and sing praises to Him, and speak of His righteous help all the day long.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010Psalm 3—This psalm of David has as its background his flight from his rebellious son, Absalom, as recorded in 2 Samuel 15—18, but it is applicable in our day and age and situation, too. The psalm was written to sustain the faith of anyone who faces a hostile conspiracy of foes, whether those foes be physical or spiritual. David counsels us to cry to the Lord when we are beset by trouble (vv. 1–2), then be calm, knowing that the Lord will sustain us (vv. 3–6). We can boldly exhort God to intervene on our behalf (v. 7) and then be certain that His blessing is upon us, and He will bring salvation (v. 8).

Wednesday, 16 June 2010Isaiah 65:1–9—Chapters 63 and 64 record pleas from Isaiah on behalf of the faithful that God would be merciful to them. The last two chapters of Isaiah, 65 and 66, are the Lord’s reply. First, He repeats the treats of judgement on those who do not seek Him (vv. 1–7). But there are also those who have not forsaken Him. To these, He promises that He will not destroy them, but will give them the inheritance which He had promised to His people. They who are faithful are His chosen ones, and shall reap the benefits of His mercy.

Thursday, 17 June 2010Galatians 3:23—4:7—St Paul here contrasts the position of a slave and that of an heir. Because of our sin, the Law kept us as slaves. We are slaves to our sinful nature, and cannot share in the inheritance from God. But, God sent forth His Son to redeem us. He did what we are unable to do: He fulfilled the Law for us. Having been set free from bondage to sin and to the Law, we have been made sons of God, heirs of all His blessings. Eternal life with God is the inheritance in all who are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Friday, 18 June 2010Luke 8:26–39—Jesus travels across the sea of Galilee, to the east side, where a number of Gentiles lived. There he met a man who was tormented by demons, who did terrible things to him. The demons who possessed this man knew who Jesus is: the Son of the Most High God, and the one who would send them to eternal torture in the abyss of hell. Jesus casts them into a herd of pigs, and they destroy the pigs. We see in the demon-possessed man a picture of total helplessness in the face of an ungodly spiritual foe. He could only be rescued by Jesus, the Son of the Most High God. We, too, are helpless in the face of adversity from the devil and his demons, for our fallen nature is unwilling and unable to fight against him. Like the demoniac, we need recuing by Jesus. He has accomplished our rescue by His death on the cross, where He defeated Satan and the powers of darkness.

Saturday, 19 June 2010—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Rise, Shine, You People (LSB #825). It tells how the Son of the Most High God has entered into human history and defeated the powers of evil. He brings us freedom, light, and life and healing. In response, we are to tell how the Father sent His son to save us and tell of the Son, who life and freedom gave us.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS.
This week's Time in the word is written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves the congregations of Zion, Dexter, IA and St. John, Casey, IA

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pentecost 3 - Proper 6

Today’s lessons do not deal with the denial of sin, or even with the hiding of sin, but rather with the lack of awareness of sin. In the Old Testament lesson as well as the Gospel sin is easily seen in others but not in themselves. They teach us that we can be guilty of horrible things – even of murder – and not be conscious of it. Unless there is an awareness of sin, we will never confess it, become contrite, nor repent. Today, we face the situation of sin abounding while the consciousness of sin is minimal.

Though the world is saturated with sin, we seem to be unconcerned about it. A daily newspaper is a tabloid of sin – in every segment of modern life. There is no place where there is no sin: organized and unorganized crime, government, business, and even the church. Until David was confronted by Nathan he had no clue that he had sinned against God. Paul must confront Peter with his sin of backsliding. Simon – he could see the woman was sinful but not himself. All three lessons beg the question – Can we sin and not even know it?

1. We can sin and not even know it when we don’t consider it sin. David must be made away of his sin of murder. The Lord uses Nathan as His messenger. David must be made aware of his sin because he has become blind to its presence. Possibly David had convinced himself that he was above it all. This happens when sin is dismissed as a disease, a normal way of life, a social maladjustment, a mismatching of genes, a behavioral disorder. We need the Word which says, “You are that man.”

2. We can sin and not even know it when sin is covered by self-righteousness. We see this in the Savior’s conversation with Simon the Pharisee as a sinful woman anoints the Savior at supper in Simon’s house. Do you consider yourself better then most? Really? Are you without fault or blame?

We need to see that it is far better to give a true confession of sin than not to give one. He who claims he has no sin misses out on the greatest things of life. The poor, unfortunate character was not the sinful woman but the good, proud Pharisee. His life was empty. There are many good Christians who claim guiltlessness but are perfectly miserable.

Sinners outside the church belong inside. (Vv.36-39) Though they man not, like Simon, realize they are sinners, church members are sinners. Sin transcends sex, station, and status. Sinners like Simon in the church need to invite sinners to come to church to be with Jesus.

3. We can sin and not even know it when we sin without God. Paul must publicly oppose Peter at Antioch for compromising the gospel. There is only one correct response “I have sinned against the Lord.” Any harm or wrong done to man is at the same time done to God. All in is sin against God – a violation against the 1st Commandment. Though adultery and murder involve people they are sins against God who commands men not to treat each other harmfully.

In non-essentials Christians have freedom; in essentials, unity. Christians have and will continue to adapt to changing times – to new situations, new needs, new problems. We dare not compromise the essentials of the faith. Peter adapts to the Judaizers to avoid offense, but he compromises the essentials of the faith – justification by grace. Paul is quick to see the error and openly condemns Peter for his compromise.

Today we may be tempted to compromise with the secular world and to pagans for the sake of being accepted. We need to have people like Paul bringing us back to the essentials of the gospel; salvation by grace, grace coming through faith, faith is sufficient.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use

Friday, June 11, 2010

Children's talk - The 4th Commandment

The Fourth Commandment
Honor your father and mother.

God wants us to be happy to help our parents and obey them.

God also wants us to obey the people who help take care of us when we are at home or at other places.

This is right.

Luke 2:41-52 - Jesus listened to grown ups in charge

When Jesus was 12 years old Mary and Joseph took Him to the temple in Jerusalem. They went with friends and family. Jerusalem was crowed. There were many people there. When it was time to go home Jesus stayed in Jerusalem.

Mary and Joseph thought Jesus was walking with His friends. That night they could not find Him. They were worried. Jesus was lost. After three days they found Jesus at the Temple. Jesus was listening and asking questions about God. Mary said, “We have been worried about you!” Jesus said, “I had to come to my Father’s house.” Jesus went home with Mary and Joseph. Jesus obeyed them. God blessed Jesus and He grew wise and strong.

Children obey your parents in all things for this is well pleasing to the Lord” – Colossians 3:20

Dear God,
Thank You for giving me my parents. Help me to always love and obey them as Jesus did. Amen

And Jesus kept on growing in mind and body and God loved him more and more and so did the people who knew him. – Luke 2:52

A New Accurate Translation of the New Testament by Julian Anderson © 1984 Naples, FL Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pentecost 2 - mid-week

Four statements concerning a great faith
What does it take to have a great faith? Jesus, upon encountering a Roman Centurion remarks “I have not found such great faith even in Israel” (V. 9) How can this be. Let’s consider four statements pertaining to a great faith.
I. A statement or word of merit. The Centurion remarks, “I don’t deserve to have you come under my roof...
A. This man had a great faith for he had a realistic view of Himself. He knew that he was a sinner.
He knew that he deserved nothing from Jesus. Luther put it this way in his explanation of the 5th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer: “We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor on their account deny our prayer; for we are worthy of none of the things for which we pray, neither have we deserved them”. But then he concludes: “but that He would grant them all to us by grace; for we daily sin much and indeed deserve nothing but punishment. So will we also heartily forgive, and readily do good to, those who sin against us”. [1]
B. A great faith requires all to acknowledge our own unworthiness before God. “...for we daily sin much and indeed deserve nothing but punishment” No one can make excuses for their sin. We can’t blame it on our environment. We can’t claim duress, or temporary insanity. Of all the things that we own it is our sin, which is our own personal possession. A great faith acknowledges sin and confesses it before God. Denial is not an option. Confession is mandatory.
Transition: A great faith requires a statement of merit. Confession is an obligation. We also need a statement of worth.
II. A statement or word of worth. The Centurion continues “I do not consider myself worthy
A. The prodigal son prayed, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight and am no more worthy to be called thy son. (Luke 15:21) Jacob, as he prepared himself to meet Esau after a long separation filled with years of hostility and separation prayed to the Lord: “I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness You have shown Your servant...” (Genesis 32:10a)
B. How should you and I pray? We pray: “Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto Thee that we are by nature sinful and unclean and that we have sinned against Thee by thought, word and deed.
Wherefore we flee for refuge to Thine infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Thy grace for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ”[2]
Transition: A great faith requires a statement of merit, it requires a statement of worth, it requires a statement and a word of convenience
III. A statement or word of convenience. “Don’t trouble yourself
A. Acknowledging and confessing his own sin and unworthiness this Roman Centurion teaches us an important lesson. When we approach God we must pray “Thy will be done Lord, Thy will be done.”
B. Prayer cannot be used to manipulate God or to force our will upon Him. We are but mere beggars before God. The man knew that he stood guilt before the Lord of life. There was no merit within him. A great faith realizes that we are obligated to God – that He is not to be used merely to satisfy our latest whim or fancy.
C. The amazing thing about the grace of God found in Jesus Christ is that he grants us His perfect will in spit of our sin. Jesus reminds us: “Which of you father, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Sprit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:11-13)
Transition: A great faith requires a word or statement of merit, of worth, of convenience and also a word of trust.
IV. A statement or word of trust. “But just say the word and my servant will be healed
A. Faith is trusting. Luther commenting on the power of baptism in our lives remarks “it’s not the water indeed that does this, but the word of God, which is in and with the water and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water.
For without the word of God the water is simply water and there is no baptism. But with the word of God, it is a Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost as St. Paul says, Titus, chapter third: [According to His mercy He saved us] By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying! [3]
It is the word of God which places these great blessings into Baptism; and through faith, which trusts this word of promise, we accept the forgiveness, life and salvation offered in Baptism and make theses blessings our very own.
B. Faith is believing. Faith is taking Jesus at His Word. Faith is the assurance that the Holy Ghost is working faith in us and thus creating in us new spiritual life.
Precious Jesus, I beseech Thee, May thy words take root in me; May this gift from heaven enrich me. So that I bear fruit for Thee! Take them never from my heart. Till I see Thee as Thou art, When in heavenly bliss and glory I shall greet Thee and adore Thee.[4]

[1] The 5th Petition Luther’s Small Catechism © 1943 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO
[2] The Confession of Sins from The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO

[3] . The Power of Baptism Luther’s Small Catechism ©1943 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO

[4] . Speak, O Lord, Thy Servant Heareth from The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Time in the Word Pentecost 3 Proper 6

The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
It is not by works of the Law that we are justified, for “the righteous shall live by faith” in Christ (Gal. 3:11). He “redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13) through His death on the tree of the cross. Though we have “despised the Word of the Lord” (2 Sam 12:9), He has pity on us and calls us to repentance. He lays hold of us in mercy and grants us peace. He takes our sin upon Himself, so that we shall not die but live (2 Sam 12:13). And so we worship Him—like that woman who anointed His feet, washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair. We love Him much because our “sins, which are many, are forgiven” (Luke 7:47).

Collect for the Third Sunday after Pentecost: Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us Your gifts of faith, hope, and love that we may receive the forgiveness You have promised and love what You have commanded; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for deliverance from sin: We implore You, O Lord, in Your kindness to show us Your great mercy that we may be set free from our sins and rescued from the punishments that we rightfully deserve; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for pardon, growth in grace, and divine protection: O Lord, our God, we acknowledge Your great goodness toward us and praise You for the mercy and grace that our eyes have seen, our ears have heard, and our hearts have known. We sincerely repent of the sins of this day and those in the past. Pardon our offenses, correct and reform what is lacking in us, and help us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Inscribe Your law upon our hearts, and equip us to serve You with holy and blameless lives. May each day remind us of the coming of the night when no one can work. In the emptiness of this present age keep us united by a living faith through the power of Your Holy Spirit with Him who is the resurrection and the life, that we may escape the eternal bitter pains of condemnation.By Your Holy Spirit bless the preaching of Your Word and the administration of Your Sacraments. Preserve these gifts to us and to all Christians. Guard and protect us from all dangers to body and soul. Grant that we may with faithful perseverance receive from You our sorrows as well as our joys, knowing that health and sickness, riches and poverty, and all things come by permission of Your fatherly hand. Keep us this day under Your protective care and preserve us, securely trusting in Your everlasting goodness and love, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for steadfast faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and finally come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 7 June 2010Psalm 25:16–18, 20; antiphon, Psalm 25:1–2—In the antiphon, we, with author David, beseech the Lord to deliver and protect us, that our enemies not exult over us. In the body of the Introit, our chief enemy is named: sin. It is because of the fallen, sinful state of the world that there is loneliness, affliction, trouble, and distress. The only cure is the forgiveness of sins; we must take refuge in God alone, especially in the forgiveness offered through the sacrifice of Christ our Savior.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010Psalm 32:1–7—This psalm of David is one of the seven penitential psalms. David, St Paul says, “speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works.” (Romans 4:6) Neither David, nor we, nor any person merits absolution from God; it is solely by His grace that our transgression is forgiven. David exhorts us to offer a prayer—a prayer of contrition—to the Lord, and then to have confidence that He will surround us with shouts of deliverance, such as the one we hear from Jesus on the cross: ‘It is finished!’

Wednesday, 9 June 20102 Samuel 11:26—12:10, 13–14—You might remember that, in the old television program Leave It to Beaver, Ward Cleaver, Beaver’s father, would often tell Beaver a tale designed to reprimand and correct some misbehavior by his son. God’s prophet, Nathan, does the same thing to David, who had committed adultery with another man’s wife, and then had the man, Uriah, killed. When David says that the wicked man in the story ought to die, Nathan accuses him, ‘You are the man!’ David is brought to repentance. Though he will sufferer the consequences of his actions, the sin is forgiven by God: ‘The Lord also has put away your sin.’ Likewise, when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Thursday, 10 June 2010Galatians 2:15–21; 3:10–14—The key verse of this reading—indeed, of the entire book of Galatians—is chapter 3, verse 11: The righteous shall live by faith. Our condition from the very moment of our conception is that we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). It is only God who can make us righteous by the blood of Christ Jesus, our Savior. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us solely by grace, through faith which receives the benefits of Christ’s atoning death and resurrection. By faith, given to us by the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament, we are declared righteous for Christ’s sake

Friday, 11 June 2010Luke 7:36—8:3—In Luke 7:34, we are told that Jesus’ enemies accused Him of being a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Yes He was, and is! In the Gospel reading, we are told of a woman—a noted sinner—who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume, and wiped them with her hair. Simon the Pharisee was scandalized that Jesus would allow this, but Jesus teaches that forgiveness is for sinners, not for the self-righteous. The woman, sorry for her sins, has them forgiven by Jesus. When we repent of our sins—which are many—we, too, are forgiven. Thanks be to Jesus that He is a friend of sinners like us!

Saturday, 12 June 2010—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Today Your Mercy Calls Us to Wash Away Our Sin (LSB #915). No matter the depth of our sin, the blood of Christ has atoned for it. Through Baptism, our sins are washed away, and Christ exchanges His righteousness for our sins. By faith in Christ, our eternal destiny is life with God forever in heaven.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS.
This week's Time in the Word written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning service Zion and St. John Lutheran churches in Dexter and Casey, IA

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pentecost 2 - Proper 5

Our text for today presents for us a challenge we are faced with two miracles, almost duplicates. How do we address miracles today? Are we to expect the same miracle today as we find in our text? If so, why didn’t Christ raise from the dead your son or your daughter? How does our world understand miracles today? Some simply deny the reality of miracles seeing them as stories to the ancient past. They see them as allegories to spiritual truths. Miracles are simply offensive to the scientific mind.

How should we address the miracles of Christ? They are in fact signs – signs of the nature of God, of Jesus as the Son of God and of the power of God. We need not question the validity of the miracles of Jesus – we simply take them for granted.

Regardless of your opinion concerning the miraculous - of one thing we can be certain – death is the final declaration of defeat. We need to hear the story of Jesus’ raising the widow’s son at Nain to be reminded that life is stronger than death and that this life comes from Christ. In verse 13 Jesus is called “Lord”. He truly is the Lord of life.

In Jesus Christ we have the power of new life.

1. The power to comfort – v. 13 “Do not weep”

A. Jesus pours out His heart and He acts. While the two groups follow either Him or the corpse. He is the source of the solution to the tragedy of the widow. He alone as God’s Son has the power to heal the predicament of human beings.

B. Jesus’ action reverses things for all concerned in the sad procession. The widow is to stop weeping. Those carrying the corpse stop walking. The corpse sits up, speaks, and is restored to the mother.

2. The power to renew life – v. 14 “Arise”

A. Through the gift of faith given by the Holy Spirit, we acknowledge and confess Jesus as the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer from sin.

B. Still, we remain and live in an imperfect world, full of sickness, death, and other misfortunes. Jesus, our Savior for eternity, is also the healer of our mortal ills. We use human knowledge supplied through medicine for God works through human agents. He also performs miraculous healings today – both when He is approached in prayer and at times before He is asked.

C. Faith in Christ as our Redeemer and trust in Him as our healer of all types of ills will give us the peace that transcends human understanding and that we need in a world of outward and inward turmoil. Death, our final enemy, pertains to the realm of darkness. Jesus, who came to proclaim the kingdom of God, performed this miracle as an indication of the final destiny God intends for all Christians.

3. The power to restore relationships - v.15 “He gave him to his mother.”

A. Both crowds, experience awe, respect, reverence and (no doubt, in some cases) fear as a result of Jesus’ amazing conquest over death.

B. They give God credit for Jesus’ power over human ills and assume that he is equal to the prophets of old, through whom God frequently spoke and acted. The people consider themselves God’s chosen people as a result of their birth.

C. They spread the report of the day’s miraculous event throughout all Judea and the surrounding area. They report that God once more has sent a prophet to His chosen race.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use