Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pentecost 8 - Proper 14 Time in the Word

Christ the Crucified Comes to Save Us by the Word of Faith

The Lord who “laid the foundation of the earth” (Job 38:4) is the Author and Giver of life who governs all things by His Word. His wisdom and power are beyond our understanding, except as He reveals Himself in the incarnate Word, Christ Jesus. He has “entered into the springs of the sea” and “walked in the recesses of the deep” (Job 38:16), and He draws near to us in mercy. We have been “a long way from the land, beaten by the waves,” and tossed about by hostile winds (Matt. 14:24). In our mortality and sinful unbelief, we do not always recognize the Lord Jesus. But as we cry out in fear, He speaks tenderly to us: “Do not be afraid,” and He reaches out His hand to save us (Matt. 14:27, 31). “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13), and now we call upon Him in faith, because we have heard “through the Word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (Rom. 10:8).

Collect for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost: Almighty and most merciful God, preserve us from all harm and danger that we, being ready in both body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish what You want done; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns...

Prayer in time of spiritual doubt and affliction: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, You have given to all who believe exceedingly great and precious promises. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may without all doubt trust in Your Son, Jesus Christ, so that our faith in Your sight may never be found wanting; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns...

Prayer in time of unseasonable weather: Lord God, gracious and merciful Father, because You have promised that You will hear us when we bring You our cares, we implore You not to deal with us according to our sins but according to Your mercy. Send seasonable weather so that in due time the earth may yield her increase. Remind us ever to receive with thanks our daily bread, trusting You as our gracious God; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns...

Prayer for agriculture: Almighty God, You bless the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper the work of farmers and all those who labor to bring food to our table. Grant them seasonable weather that they may gather in the fruits of the earth in abundance and proclaim Your goodness with thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns...

Monday, 1 August 2011—Psalm 34:4–8; Antiphon, Psalm 34:1—1 Samuel 21:10–15 provides the background story to this psalm. David, the one chosen by God to be king, lost his faith in a moment of weakness when pursued by King Saul and his armies, and sought refuge with the Philistines, the enemy of Israel. David realized his mistake and the truth of what he declares in verse 8: Blessed is the man who takes refuge in the LORD! When we are tempted to look elsewhere than to the LORD for rescue, let us also remember this psalm of David, and then bless the LORD at all times.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011—Psalm 18:1–6—It is likely that King David wrote this psalm near the end of his life, as it is very similar to the psalm recorded in 2 Samuel 22, just before his last words. Here he recounts many of the terrible situation in which he found himself over the course of his life, and tells how the LORD delivered him. He says, In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. When we find ourselves in bad situations, we ought to remember that the LORD has already delivered us from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation, and that He stands ready to defend us throughout our lives.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011—Job 38:4–18—Job had questioned God, as to why He would let such great calamities befall him. In response, the Lord answers Job by recounting His creation of all things, His ongoing involvement and dominion over that creation. God is not subject to nature; nature is subject to God. We weak humans, created beings that we are, have no right to question our benevolent Creator, but simply to trust that what He does, he does for our benefit.

Thursday, 4 August 2011—Romans 10:5–17—How are we saved? By grace alone (sola gratia) by faith alone (sola fide).in the merits of Christ alone (solus Christus). This salvation extends to Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) alike. But how are we to receive such saving faith? By Scripture alone (sola scriptura). Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. That is why Paul quotes Isaiah: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news! For the preaching of the Good News of the Gospel engenders saving faith.

Friday, 5 August 2011—Matthew 14:22–33—We can see ourselves in Peter. Jesus asks him to do the impossible, and Peter, full of bravado, believes he can. However, when he takes his eyes off of Jesus, he falters, and is at risk of perishing. Likewise, when we avert our eyes from Jesus, we lose faith and confidence, and put ourselves in spiritual jeopardy. When we cry out, Lord, save me, Jesus rescues us, lest we drown in our sin and unbelief and are lost forever.

Saturday, 6 August 2011—Sunday’s hymn of the day is Eternal Father, Strong to Save (LSB #717). The first stanza, from the original Navy Hymn, proclaims the supremacy of our heavenly Father over the sea. The next two stanzas declare the authority of the Son and the Holy Spirit over the land and the air, respectively. Finally, the fourth stanza affirms the sovereignty of the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, over all our foes. Let us put our trust in God alone for protection from all our enemies, whether physical or spiritual.

This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr.Jeffrey M. Keuning pastor of St John Casey and Zion, Dexter IA of the Iowa West District LCMS

Lectionary summary on front page from LCMS Commission on Worship
Artwork by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, © WELS
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House and Luther’s Small Catechism

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