Saturday, August 31, 2013

Proper 17

Pentecost 15 – Proper 17
Luke 14:1, 7-14
September 1, 2013
A case in humility

The Savior in dealing with His hearers expresses Himself in simple words and concepts that we need to know and understand concerning our relationship with Him and with each other. Today He speaks concerning a humble person.  A humble person; we’re told by the Savior, will take the lowest place and will invite the needy.

1       This is a good insight into a rather boorish rich behavior found in this world today.

A.    There is a class of people who classify themselves as above all others. They can use their wealth as a means of looking down on others with contempt.

B.    There are three kinds of people in this world with respect to money.

1.    For some, money is meant to be spent.
2.       For some, money is men to be saved.
3.       For some, money is nothing at all.

Where you find yourself upon this continuum of regard for money will determine how you will react to others of less or little means.

C.    When you find someone of less means then you – how do you react to them? Do you invite them to your place, into your home – knowing that they can never repay you? Or do you invite only those who are able to comply or repay? Whom are you willing to associate with says much about your character. Again, will you associate only with those who can repay and return the favor? If you do – what good have you proved?

D.    Showing compassion, especially to those who are wanting,
helps us to be gracious and practice true hospitality. It is one thing to entertain someone who is able to repay in kind. It is yet another to demonstrate the compassion of Christ to those who are not able to return in kind.

Jesus is not simply giving good advice. Rather, He's turning convention on its head. He's challenging the status quo. He's inciting something of a social revolution. And for all these reasons he's inviting the death sentence He eventually gets.

Jesus dares not only to stand outside the social order of His day; He dares not only to call that social order -- and all social orders -- into question; but He also says these things are not of God. Jesus proclaims here and throughout the gospel that in the kingdom of God there are no pecking orders.

And while that sounds at first blush like it ought to be good news, it throws us into radical dependence on God's grace and God's grace alone. We can't stand, that is, on our accomplishments, or our wealth, or positive attributes, or good looks, or strengths, or IQ, or our movement up or down the reigning pecking order. There is, suddenly, nothing we can do to establish ourselves before God and the world except rely upon God's desire to be in relationship with us and with all people. Which means that we have no claim on God; rather, we have been claimed by God and invited to love others as we've been loved.  

Transition: Practicing hospitality is a good model for living. It gives us insight into the life of the Savior.

2. Still deeper consider how the Savior chooses to deal with you.

A.    He becomes human. He breaks into time and space to be our Savior. He gives up the glories of heaven and takes on human flesh. He takes on flesh to be a man to become Your substitute.

B.     He takes your sin. Jesus, the innocent victim, who had committed no treachery – He dies for the human race. He became your substitute. When Jesus died all sin was drowned and killed. When Jesus took your sins to Himself He took each and every sin to Himself.

He did not wait to be asked to save the human race. He decided before time dawned or before there was a time, or a sun moor or stars to mark time – Jesus cam to bear your sin in His own body that we may die to sin and live unto righteousness.

C.     He forgives your sins for His own name sake. Jesus obeys His Father’s will, willingly took your sin and proceeded to forgive the sins of men. By faith you and I look to Jesus for forgiveness and life. Faith clings to Jesus Christ alone who did for all the world atone – He is your own redeemer.

We are rich for He was poor; is not this a wonder? Therefore praise God evermore here on earth and yonder.”

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Augustine, pastor and theologian

A Prayer Adapted from a Benediction by which St. Augustine ended at least two of his sermons: We turn to You, the Lord our God and as best as we can give we give You thanks. We beseech You that in Your goodness You will hear our prayers and by Your power: drive evil from our thoughts and actions, increase our faith, guide our minds, grant us Your holy inspirations, and bring us to joy without end through Your Son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monica,Mother of Augustine

O Lord, You strengthened Your patient servant Monica through spiritual discipline to persevere in offering her love, her prayers, and her tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine, their son. Deepen our devotion to bring others, even our own family, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, who with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Time in the Word - Proper 17

 Time in the Word
Proper 17
We Are Humbled and Exalted by the Cross of Christ
August 26-31, 2013
“Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,” Jesus proclaims, but “he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11). Your hope is in the name of the Lord, who humbled Himself unto death on the cross and was exalted in His resurrection. So are you humbled by His cross, and “at the resurrection of the righteous,” He will say to you, “Friend, move up higher” (Luke 14:10; 13–14). By His grace, the King will honor you “in the place of great men,” where your eyes will gaze upon the Prince, His dearly-beloved Son (Prov. 25:7). As He has dealt so graciously with you, “Do not neglect doing good and sharing” (Heb. 13:16), and “do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (Heb. 13:2). Humble yourself and exalt your neighbor.

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.

For purity: Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love You and worthily magnify Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

For faith, hope, and love: Almighty God, grant us a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, a cheerful hop in Your mercy, and a sincere love for You and one another; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Monday, 26 August 2013 Psalm 75:1–2, 6, 9; antiphon, Psalm 75:7—The readings for Sunday speak of being humble, and the Introit sets the tone by reminding us that we are not to judge people according to worldly standards; rather, It is God who executes judgement, putting down one and lifting up another.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 Psalm 131—This psalm of David is the psalm of a humble man, one whose heart is not lifted up by himself and one whose eyes are not raised too high. Instead of relying on himself, David has calmed and quieted his soul with the knowledge of the LORD and that all our hope is in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013 Proverbs 25:2–10—About 250 years after the death of Solomon, blessed by God as the wisest man ever to have lived, King Hezekiah’s men collected some of Solomon’s wise sayings from a larger collection. The first section used for Sunday’s Old Testament reading (vv. 2–7) relate to earthly kings. Whereas part of God’s glory is due to the fact that He is beyond our understanding, it is the glory of earthly kings to search out and discover. When he became king, Solomon humbly asked God for “an understanding mind to govern Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). To search out justice and enlightenment is to a ruler’s glory.

The second portion of the reading (vv. 8–10) teaches us humility in relations with our neighbor. We are not to be hasty in pursuing litigation to elevate ourselves over our neighbor; he may thereby put us to shame. Neither should we engage in gossip, warns v. 9. Similar warnings are also given in Proverbs 11:13, 20:19, and, of course, the Eighth Commandment.

Thursday, 29 August 2013 Hebrews 13:1–17—How does a person’s humility manifest itself with regard to those around us? The writer to the Hebrews exhorts us to care for the needy: Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers . . . remember those who are in prison . . . and those who are mistreated. We ought always to bring to mind Christ’s example, who suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Furthermore, we ought to recall those heroes of the faith whom we heard about in the epistle readings a few weeks ago and imitate their faith. In the Church, we are to humble ourselves and obey our leaders and submit to them, for God has appointed them to keep watch over your souls.

Friday, 30 August 2013 Luke 14:1–14—Sunday’s Gospel speaks of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath, but first challenging the puffed-up Pharisees to show Him why this would be wrong. They could give no answer. Jesus then tells a parable which exhorts those puffed-up Pharisees—and us!-–to humble ourselves. One who has the mind of Christ will not seek to exalt himself over others, but will put himself in their service, as Christ did for us when he bore our sins to Calvary. When we bow in humble submission to the Lord, He shall exalt us. Indeed, He has already, by making us His children through the washing of Holy Baptism and giving us a seat at His heavenly banquet.

Saturday, 31 August 2013—  The first stanza of the Sunday’s Hymn of the Day, Son of God, Eternal Savior (LSB #842), proclaims the salvation that Christ has won for us. It then beseeches the Lord to reign among us that here on earth, His will be done. Our example is Christ, who lived for others, our plea, then, is So may we for others live. The hymn beautifully proclaims in song the theme for the day: that we are humbled and exalted by the cross of Christ, and our lives reflect His humility.

The Verse for Proper 10: - Luke 10:27 – Alleluia. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. Alleluia.

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 B├╝cher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS.

Proper 16

Pentecost 14 – Proper 16
“The Door which leads to God” – Luke 13:22-30
25 August 2013

Those who would be saved must enter the kingdom through a narrow door. All people are prospects for the Kingdom, but only those who go through the narrow door of righteousness will be saved.

This message of Jesus may be found to be too restrictive to many of our time. For many in our world, “whatever differences religions might have are not as important as the fundamental similarities.” 1.

Well, what are the “fundamental similarities” among religions today? There are only two; first, all religions believe that man is sinful. And second, religions believe that God will somehow broker some sort of deal to make up for man’s sin.

But here is where the world’s religions differ among themselves. Some believe that God will somehow make up for man’s inability. Others say that God will somehow turn His back on man’s sin. But that sort of scrutiny will not measure up to the test of every man.

What separates Christianity from every world religion is the fact that Christianity is not a religion at all. Rather, Christianity is a relationship established with the person of Jesus Christ.

While most religions focus on man working his way up to God Christianity claims that God has come down to man through the person of Jesus Christ. John will tell us in his gospel, “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus’ desire is that man would find a relationship with Him so that He can dwell with him.  How is this relationship with Christ made possible? We enter through the narrow door of righteousness.

1.   We enter through the narrow door. “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Vs. 24. Though God wants all to be saved, not all qualify. It is the narrow door of obedience to Christ and Him alone that grants entry into the Kingdom. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.”

2.   It will be open- but only for a time.  “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.” V. 29 The door to the Kingdom is open to all regardless of nation or race. Christianity is a universal faith. God desires all people to be saved. If this is the case, why not evangelize?

3.   The closed Door. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers.’ Vv. 25-27

The door is closed to religious people who thought they could get in on their own terms – playing by their own rules – “We ate and drank in your presence” they will say.

The door is closed to the wicked, “workers of iniquity,” whether they are in or out of the church. Some will be shut out of heave by their own evil condition. Once the door is closed it will be too late.

4.   But those on the inside – there will be bliss and peace forever. There is the glass door. There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out.” V. 28

Through this door the lost will see who made it into the Kingdom.  Our Old Testament lesson shows us that people from every nation are represented and present. Our Epistle lesson enables us to see the angels and saints in heaven. This view will make the lost regret their wrong choice of godlessness, but it will be too late.

Conclusion: A door is a means of entrance and a way to exclude. It matters whether the door is open or closed, whether it is wide or narrow. The question asked of the Savior, “Will those who are saved be few?” is still being asked.  During this week ponder the Savior’s response.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

1. BOBO’s in Paradise by David Brooks    

Saturday, August 24, 2013

8/24 - St. Bartholomew, Apostle

Almighty God, Your Son Jesus Christ chose Bartholomew to be an apostle and to proclaim the blessed Gospel. Grant that Your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Almighty God, in Your mercy You gave Samuel courage to call Israel to repentance and to renew their dedication to the Lord. Call us to repentance as Nathan called David to repentance, so by the blood of Jesus, the Son of David, we may receive the forgiveness of all our sins; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bernard of Clairvaux, Hymnwriter, Theologian

Today we commemorate and thank God for His faithful servant, Bernard of Clairvaux [1090-1153]. He is perhaps most widely known as the writer of several famous hymns: O Jesus, King Most Wonderful and O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Time in the Word - Proper 16

The Cross of Christ is the Way into the Kingdom of God

With the cross of Christ, the time has come “to gather all nations and tongues” (Is. 66:18). The sign of the cross is set forth in the preaching of the Gospel, the declaration of the Lord’s glory “among the nations” (Is. 66:19). Many “will come from east and west, and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:29), but only by the narrow way of the cross. Those who refuse to follow Christ crucified will ultimately find only “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28), whereas Christ’s disciples, called from all the nations, will eat and drink with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God. They will come into “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22).

Collect for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: O Lord, You have called us to enter Your kingdom through the narrow door. Guide us by Your Word and Spirit, and lead us now and always into the feast of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for the Commemoration of St Bartholomew (24 August): Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, chose Bartholomew to be an apostle to preach the blessed Gospel.  Grant that Your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Prayer for faithfulness: Lord God, we thank You that You have taught us what You would have us believe and do. Help us by Your Holy Spirit, for the sake of Jesus Christ, to hold fast Your Word in hearts that You have cleansed that thereby we may be made strong in faith and perfect in holiness and be comforted in life and death; through Jesus Christ, our Lord

Prayer for the blessedness of heaven: Almighty, everlasting God, You gave Your only Son to be a High Priest of good things to come. Grant unto us, Your unworthy servants, to have our share in the company of the blessed for all eternity; through Jesus Christ, our Lord

Prayer for hope of eternal life in Christ: Almighty, everlasting God, Your Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ may increase daily and that we may hold fast to the hope that on the Last Day we shall be raised in glory to eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Monday, 19 August 2013Psalm 117; antiphon, Psalm 96:6a; 115:18Psalm 117, the shortest of the psalms, comprising only two verses, is paired with an antiphon that announces, Splendor and majesty are before him; we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord. The splendor and majesty of the Lord are shown chiefly in His steadfast love toward us and in His faithfulness, which endures forever.
Tuesday, 20 August 2013Psalm 50:1–15—This psalm of Asaph speaks of the Lord as a mighty Judge. The Lord will judge all men based on their faithfulness and trust in Him, not on the outward show of ritual and religion. We must ever be on our guard, that we do not just “go through the motions,” but that our hearts are right: that is, that we trust not in ourselves, nor in any earthly rulers or things, but solely in God the Lord for our salvation. He alone can accomplish it, and He delights in our trust in Him. Call upon me in the day of trouble, He exhorts us, and promises, I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.
Wednesday, 21 August 2013Isaiah 66:18–23—In this, the last chapter of the great Gospel-drenched Book of Isaiah, the Lord speaks to His faithful. They will rejoice at the revelation of His glory, especially at the Last Day, when this present age shall pass away and God will bring forth new heavens and a new earth. The adoration of the Lord by the faithful shall never cease. Tragically, however, the torment of those who have rebelled against the Lord shall also not cease. Let us, then, ever remain faithful to the Lord and to His Word, that we may be counted among those whom the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, brings in from all the nations.
Thursday, 22 August 2013Hebrews 12:4–24—We continue our reading through the latter chapters of Hebrews with an exhortation to remain faithful, even when suffering or persecution befalls us. We are not to regard such as punishment, but as discipline, as from a loving Father. the goal of such discipline is not the suffering, but the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Friday, 23 August 2013Luke 13:22–30—Christ Jesus was born for one purpose: to suffer and die for the sins of the world. In the Gospel reading for Sunday, we see Him journeying toward Jerusalem, where His mission will be accomplished. Along the way, He performed many miracles and also taught the people, as He does here. A common question, then as now, is, “Who will be saved?” Instead, Jesus answers the question, “How will they be saved?” The answer is: only through Christ. He is the narrow door through which the heavenly banquet is entered. He counsels us to strive and to struggle to enter. Our struggle is against our own flesh and blood, which wants eternal life on its own terms, and against the demonic forces of the devil, who wants all men to be damned. We are not to delay in entering the door, that is, trusting in Christ alone for our salvation, and turning our backs on the devil, the world, and our sinful desires. For those who reject Christ, there is only weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Saturday, 24 August 2013—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day A Multitude Comes from the East and the West (LSB #510) uses the imagery of the feast from the Gospel reading. Partaking of the unending feast in the kingdom of heaven will be the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, along with all the faithful from the East and the West, people from every nation under heaven. What they have in common is their trust in the goodness of the Lord.

Lectionary summary on front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Artwork by Ed Riojas, ©Higher Things.

The Pr. Jeffrey M. Keuning writes this week’s Time in the Word

Saturday, August 17, 2013

175th Anniversary

We honor those confirmed between 2000 - 2013 tomorrow 18, August 2013
Pr. Ralph Blomenberg will be our guest speaker
God bless our Friedheim family!

Johann Gerhard, Theologian

Almighty God, Your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, and to another the word of faith. We praise You for the gifts of grace imparted to Your servant Johann, and we pray that by his teaching we maybe led to a fuller knowledge of the truth which we have seen in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Isaac, the long promised and awaited son of Abraham and Sarah, was born when his father was 100 and his mother 91. The announcement of his birth brought both joy and laughter to his aged parents (so the name “Isaac,” which means “laughter”). As a young man, Isaac accompanied his father to Mount Moriah, where Abraham, in obedience to God’s command, prepared to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. But God intervened, sparing Isaac’s life and providing a ram as a substitute offering (Gen. 22:1–14), and thus pointing to the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world. Isaac was given in marriage to Rebekah (24:15), and they had twin sons, Esau and Jacob (25:19–26). In his old age Isaac, blind and feeble, wanted to give his blessing and chief inheritance to his favorite—and eldest—son, Esau. But through deception Rebekah had Jacob receive them instead, resulting in years of family enmity. Isaac died at the age of 180 and was buried by his sons, who by then had become reconciled.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

- St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord

Almighty God, You chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of Your only Son. Grant that we, who are redeemed by His blood, to share with her the glory of Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pentecost 12 -Proper 14

Hebrews 11:1-11
August 22, 2013
Now Faith is…

Faith is a word used on a daily basis by most people. What do they mean by the term “faith”? You can have faith in yourself, in others, in a machine.  Is this the same as religious faith?

Many people when they think of faith think of it in terms of blind faith – accepting something beyond reason.  To others, faith believes in something or in someone who exists. The author of the book to the Hebrews defines faith in our text. With the Spirit’s help may we have a fuller understanding of the meaning of this thing called “faith”.

Now faith is…

  1. Assurance – “faith is the assurance of what we hope for” (Vs. 1a)

A.      What do we hope for? Quite possibly the hymn writer put it best when he wrote: “My hope is built on nothing less then Jesus’ blood and righteousness...”[1]

What Jesus has promised through His work on the cross is the basis of our hope. The Christian hope is based on the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation through Jesus’ death and merit.

B.      This hope is given as an assurance. God in Christ has promised that He will deliver for us. Jesus has promised, “In My Father’s house are many mansions, if this were not so I would have told you.” His clear Word has given us this assurance in Christ because He has promised us.

Transition: Faith is assurance, Faith is also confidence and certainty. In a word; conviction.

  1. Conviction – “being certain of what we do not see” (Vs. 1b)

A.      There are some people convinced that they will believe only what they can experience with the five senses. If they can no see, touch, hear, or sense something it must not be real.

B.      Still others believe that truth and conviction must be reasoned by the rational mind. “Do the math!” they might say. “If it doesn’t add up it must not be true or real.”

C.      Yet faith is being certain of what we do not see. We cannot see heaven, forgiveness, or love. But should we deny these truths because we cannot see or experience them?  We hold on to truths, which we can experience in the natural realm. We also are convinced of truths even if we cannot see them.

Transition: Faith is assurance and conviction. Faith takes God at His Word.  

  1. Trust in God’s promises – “By faith Abraham, even though he was past age – and Sarah herself barren – was enabled to become a father because he considered Him faithful who had made the promise” (Vs. 11)

A.      God sometimes calls us to believe in the impossible. Consider Abraham and his wife Sara. Both were beyond the years of bearing a child. They had written off being natural parents. Yet God promised them a child. According to natural law and man’s perspective bearing children was impossible. Yet they trusted God and a child was born. A question: what is God asking you to believe that the world considers “impossible”? Can God do it? Can He accomplish it? With God nothing is impossible!

B.      Thus faith calls for us to consider God to be faithful to His promises. We might become quite cynical when it comes to promises made because we have seen so many of them broken. We may disappoint others and may become disappointed by others because of promises broken. God is different. He keeps each and every promise He has made. He cannot go back on His Word. He cannot deny Himself.  Faith is finding God who is faithful.

Transition: Faith is defined as assurance, as conviction, as trusting in God’s promises. Faith by definition is being obedient to God’s Word.

  1. Obedience – “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Vs.8)

A.      We take God at His word. “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name”. * Abraham and Sarah could have walked away from God.
B.      Instead they trusted in Him who was found faithful. We have the freedom to walk. We can turn our back on God at any moment. To be found faithful simply means that we remain totally committed to Him who is faithful.

C.      Life was not easy for Abraham and Sarah. They were called to leave the comforts of home and a life that they were familiar and to change coarse. They followed God’s direction “even though [they] did not know where [they] were going” Faith is a journey and each day is a part of that process. Thus we must learn to pray:

Savior I follow on, Guided by Thee,
Seeing not yet the hand that leadeth me.
Hushed be my heart and still, Fear I no further ill,
Only to meet Thy will My will shall be.

Savior, I long to walk Closer with Thee;
Led by Thy guiding hand, Ever to be
Constantly near Thy side, Quickened and purified,
Living for Him who died freely for me.[2]

Ultimately faith by definition is the acceptance of God’s promises found in Jesus Christ where we are brought into a right relationship with God and saved. We call this justification before God. Faith is expressed in assurance, in conviction, in obedience, in taking God at His Word, trusting in all of His promises. “On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand”.

[1] My Hope is Built on Nothing Less The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis
[2] Savior I Follow On The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis

Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

“Early in the third century AD, Lawrence, most likely from Spain, made his way to Rome. There he was appointed chief of the seven deacons and was given the responsibility to manage Church property and finances. The emperor at the time, who thought that the Church had valuable things worth confiscating, ordered Lawrence to produce the ‘treasures of the Church.’ Lawrence brought before the emperor the poor whose lives had been touched by Christian charity. He was then jailed and eventually executed in the year AD 258 by being roasted on a gridiron. His martyrdom left a deep impression on the young Church. Almost immediately, the date of this death, August 10, became a permanent fixture on the early commemorative calendar of the Church.” Source: Treasury of Daily Prayer

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Time in the Work Proper 14

The Lord Is Surely Coming to Give You His Kingdom
The Lord Himself was Abraham’s shield and great reward. For “the word of the Lord came to him” and sustained the patriarch’s faith in the face of death (Gen. 15:4). By divine grace, Abraham “believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6), on account of the holy Seed, Christ Jesus. To that one old man, the Lord granted “as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore” (Heb. 11:12). The Lord is likewise faithful to you. It is His glad desire “to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Therefore, “consider the ravens” and “do not be anxious for your life,” but instead “seek for His kingdom” (Luke 12:22, 31).

Collect for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost: Almighty and merciful God, it is by Your grace that we live as Your people who offer acceptable service. Grant that we may walk by faith, and not by sight, in the way that leads to eternal life; 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 the Commemoration of St Lawrence (10 August): Almighty God, You called Lawrence to be a deacon in Your Church to serve Your saints with deeds of live, and You gave him the crown of martyrdom. Give us the same charity of heart that we may fulfill Your love by defending and supporting the poor, that by loving them we may love You with all our hearts; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .
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, who lives and reigns . . .
Prayers in times of affliction and distress: Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .
Almighty and everlasting God, the consolation of the sorrowful and the strength of the weak, may the prayers of those who in any tribulation or distress cry to You graciously come before You, so that in every situation they may recognize and receive Your gracious help, comfort, and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .
Prayer for hope of eternal life in Christ: Almighty, everlasting God, Your Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ may increase daily and that we may hold fast to the hope that on the Last Day we shall be raised in glory to eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 5 August 2013Psalm 147:8–11; antiphon, Psalm 147:7Psalm 147 is a great hymn of praise to God for His abundant power and His understanding beyond measure (v. 5), and, especially for His steadfast love (v. 11). It is well for us who fear the Lord to sing to the Lord with thanksgiving, because He has saved us from the futility of trying to earn our way into His good graces. He gives us the good things we need for this life, and has done everything necessary for our salvation.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013Psalm 33:12–22What is it that gives the Lord pleasure, as He looks down from heaven upon His creation, and upon the children of men? It is not the might of man, his great armies, his war horses, or the strength of warriors. No, what pleases the Lord is those who fear him . . . those who hope in His steadfast love. He desires and takes delight in delivering their souls from death, of providing for the salvation of His people, and sparing them from famine and the wants of the body.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013Genesis 15:1–6—Abraham was an old man, and his wife both barren and well beyond child-bearing years. Yet the Lord promised to Abraham that he would be father to many descendants, too numerous to count. If this promise had been made by a mere man, it would be utter nonsense, foolish and unthinkable. But the promise of a great nation coming from Abraham was not made by any man, but by the Creator of the earth, the universe, and all things, the Almighty God. Abraham’s response was one of faith: he trusted the Word of the Lord, and the Lord counted him righteous because of it. Likewise, when we trust in the Word of the Lord—specifically, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, slain and risen again for our salvation—then we, too are counted righteous by the Lord. Trusting in His promises to bring us the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of our souls delivers that very salvation to us. We are saved by faith—faith which God Himself delivers to us by Word and Sacrament.

Thursday, 8 August 2013Hebrews 11:1–16—We are saved by faith, and the eleventh chapter of Hebrews is the great chapter of faith in the Bible. First, the author gives us a good succinct definition of faith: it is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Then, he proceeds to recount some of the great heroes of faith in the Bible: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham (who believed the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness, as we read in the Old Testament reading), and also Sarah, the wife of Abraham. Let us also add our own names to this list, for God has, by His Word and Sacrament given us saving faith and preserved us in it. We, too, who trust in God alone for our salvation, will spend eternity with those listed here and all who die in the faith, rejoicing in our Lord forevermore.

Friday, 9 August 2013Luke 12:22–34—In this sinful, troubled world in which we live, it is altogether too easy to succumb to the cares of the world and become anxious. But our heavenly Father, who desires only what is best for us, provides not only for our earthly needs, but, more importantly, has provided for our eternal salvation. We can rest secure in the fact that we have a loving and gracious God who knows our needs and provides for them.                                                                                                                

Saturday, 10 August 2013—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe (LSB #666). In the face of anxiety and especially, spiritual warfare, we can be confident and unfearing, not because we are strong in ourselves, but because the Lord is for us and fights for us; therefore, we can rest in the certainty that not earth nor hell’s satanic crew against us shall prevail.

Lectionary summary on front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Artwork by Ed Riojas, ©Higher Things.

This week’s Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeffrey M. Keuning, Pastor of St John's Evangelical Lutheran Church Casey, Iowa and Zion Lutheran Church
Dexter, Iowa