Sunday, February 7, 2016

Time in the Word - Lent 1

The theme for the First Sunday in Lent is “A Good Confession.” In the Old Testament lesson, Moses shows that by our giving back to God, we confess all the good He has done for us. St Paul speaks of the confession which we make with our mouths, that Jesus is Lord. The Gospel has Jesus Himself rightly confessing the Word of God to overcome temptation and defeat the devil’s false confession of that Word.

Collect for the First Sunday in LentO Lord God, You led Your ancient people through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. Guide the people of Your Church that following our Savior we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 8 February 2016Psalm 91:9–13; Antiphon, Psalm 91:15–16—Both the Introit and the psalm of the day are drawn from the same psalm. The antiphon has the Lord speaking words of reassurance to us, that He shall be with us in trouble, and shall rescue us and show to us salvation. This is how the Lord treats those that love Him, those that make Him their Dwelling Place.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016Psalm 91:1–13—The key verse is v. 1: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Many dangers, both physical and spiritual, face us every day. Nevertheless, the composer of this psalm has no fear or anxiety, because he knows that the Lord is His Refuge and his Fortress.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016Deuteronomy 26:1–11—People give to the Lord for different reasons: some, grudgingly, out of a sense of obligation; some, only when there is a specific need which must be met; some, because they believe that giving to the Lord will bring some sort of earthly reward, monetary or otherwise. These directions to the Children of Israel from the Lord through His prophet Moses show that giving back to the Lord is a privilege, when we realize that all we have comes from Him. It should be a pleasure for us to give generously to the Lord; for doing so reminds us of all the blessings He continually showers upon us and gives us reason to rejoice.

Thursday, 11 February 2016Romans 10:8b–13—We confess in the meaning to the Third Article of the Creed, ‘I believe that I cannot, by my own reason or strength, believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him. But the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith…’ When we make confession of our faith, whether it be a simple Jesus is Lord or a fuller confession, such as one of the Creeds, or even one of our Lutheran Confessions, we are simply saying back to God what He has first said to us.

Friday, 12 February 2016Luke 4:1–13—What chutzpah! The devil tries to tempt the Son of God! As in the Garden of Eden, when he tempted the first humans into following him in sinning against God, he quotes the Word of God. But the One whom he tries to deceive this time is not just a man; He is also God Almighty Himself, the Word made flesh. Jesus knows how the devil likes to twist God’s Word for his own nefarious purposes, and overcomes all the devils schemes and cunning. Jesus does what we are unable to do, on our behalf. He defeats the devil in the test in the wilderness, and will later defeat him completely at the cross.

Saturday, 13 February 2016—Sunday’s hymn of the day is the ‘Battle Hymn of the Reformation,’ Luther’s great hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (LSB 656). Luther based the hymn on Psalm 46, but the Introit and Psalm of the Day, Psalm 91, also expresses the same idea, that the Lord is a great Fortress and Refuge. We can take rest in Him when we are assaulted by the slings and arrows of the Evil One, for Christ has defeated the devil. He still seems powerful to us, but he is merely in his death throes until the Last Day, when Christ will cast him into the abyss for all eternity.

Collect for Ash Wednesday: Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness; 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 aid against temptationO God, You justify the ungodly and desire not the death of the sinner. Graciously assist us by Your heavenly aid and evermore shield us with Your protection, that no temptation may separate us from Your love in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

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