Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Thursday Prior to Easter 6

 


1 John 5:1-8—John begins by telling us, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” Faith in Jesus as the Christ is a sign of being born again just as love is. John wrote at a time when members of a family were closely associated as a unit under the headship of the father. He could, therefore, use the family as an illustration to show that anyone who loves God the Father will naturally love God’s children.

The validity of personal testimony in the Old Testament was linked to a specific number of credible witnesses, specifically “two or three witnesses” were necessary to establish guilt or innocence on criminal charges (Deuteronomy 19:15) and only on this basis could a person be sentenced to death (Deuteronomy 17:6). Jesus applied the principle of “two or three witnesses” to his instructions for resolving disputes in his church (Matthew 18:15-16).

Paul used the standard to determine whether an accusation could be sustained against an elder (1Timothy 5:19). In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul sees his thrice repeated testimony alone, whether in person or by letter, as satisfying the requirement of two or three witnesses" (2Corinthians 13:1-3). The writer of the book of Hebrews alludes to this pattern writing that "Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on [the testimony of] two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?" (Hebrews 10:28-29-note) In this passage the writer points out the "greater testimony" of two witnesses, the Son of God and the Spirit of grace.[1]

A Prayer for Agriculture: Almighty God, You blessed the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper, we implore You, the work of farmers, grant them seasonable weather that we may gather in the fruit of the earth and thus proclaim Your goodness with thanksgiving. May we see by this noble vocation that with Your help they feed the world. And cause all those who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with both honor and respect; through Jesus Christ, our Lord[2]. 05 May 2021



[2] Collect for Agriculture, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Wednesday prior to Easter 6

 


Acts 10:34-48—Peter’s Vision in which all kinds of food which would include both clean and unclean animals (according to Leviticus 11) is depicted in the woodcut above.

The Word of the Lord has now come to both Jewish and Gentile believers. Gentiles had received the same gift as the Jewish believers. This was unavoidable evidence that the invitation to the kingdom was open to Gentiles as well as to Jews.  The early Jewish Christians failed to understand that the Gospel was for Gentiles as well as for the Jews, and that they would share alike in the benefits of redemption.

The mention of Gentiles “speaking in tongues” is a fulfillment of Acts 1:8. The prophecy was given that the Holy Spirit would come and the disciples would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and into the Gentile world. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost, the disciples spoke in other languages (Acts 2:5-12).

Acts 8:14-18 reports of an incident occurring in Samaria. The Holy Spirit had come upon people in some noticeable way.  There is no mention of tongues but Peter and John are summoned. What had happened in Samaria was to be verified by those who had given testimony in Jerusalem. Christianity continued to expand to new geographic regions and include more people.

The third and final time tongues is mentioned in the book of Acts occurred in the city of Ephesus. Paul found some disciples who followed the teachings of John the Baptist. They didn't know about the Holy Spirit, so Paul informed them more fully, and taught them that John told people to believe in Jesus (Acts 19:1-4). "On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied" (verses 5-6).

Now that the Spirit was poured out in a remote place like Ephesus there is no further mention of believers who would speak in tongues in the book of Acts. The prophecy of Acts 1 has been fulfilled.

Collect for the Mission of the Church: Almighty God, You have called Your Church to witness that in Christ You have reconciled us to Yourself. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may proclaim the good news of Your salvation so that all who hear it may receive the gift of salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.[1] 05 May 2021

 



[1] Collect for the mission of the Church, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘Peter’s Vision’ copyright © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Monday, May 3, 2021

Tuesday prior to Easter 6

 

May 4, is the day the church remembers one of our pastors. Friedrich Wyneken is one of the founding fathers of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, along with C.F.W. Walther and Wilhelm Sihler. Born in 1810 in Germany, Wyneken came to Baltimore in 1838 and shortly thereafter accepted a call to be the pastor of congregations in Friedheim and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Supported by Wilhelm Loehe's mission society, Wyneken served as an itinerant missionary in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, particularly among Native Americans. Together with Loehe and Sihler, he founded Concordia Theological Seminary in 1846 in Fort Wayne, IN. He later served as the second president of the LCMS during a period of significant growth (1850-64). His leadership strongly influenced the confessional character of the LCMS and its commitment to an authentic Lutheran witness in the United States.

Psalm 98 key verse, verse 1—“Sing to the Lord a new song.” This psalm is a call to celebrate with joy the righteous reign of the Lord.

Bible scholars have referred to this particular psalm as one which sings the praises of the Savior.  There are striking parallels between the first part of Psalm 98 and Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), which may mean that the mother of Jesus had the psalm in mind as she composed her hymn and that she rightly saw that the promises of the psalm were to be fulfilled in the spiritual victories to be achieved by Jesus Christ.” [1]

All songs were at one time new. Many have stood the test of time. The idea of a new song is found in many places in Scripture (Psalms 33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 144:9 and 149:1; Isaiah 42:10; and Revelation 5:9 and 14:3). The concept of the new song means there should be something fresh and dynamic about worship and the songs we sing to the LORD.

The new song has a reason – to extol the great works of God, His marvelous things. It isn’t empty praise or singing for the sake of singing. The worship is connected to life experience of His marvelous things. “Marvelous things,” may be translated “miracles” the same word as in Psalm 96:3, where we translate it as “wonders.”

Collect for Psalm 98 Lord, we sing to you a new song, for your victory is ever new. In the empty tomb you have given us a glimpse of your future, and in your victory over death you have shown us how we shall overcome the last enemy. As the seas roar and the hills sing together, we too will praise you for your great triumph, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever.[2]  -04May 2021

Collect for the Mission of the Church: Almighty God, in Your kindness You cause the light of the Gospel to shine among us. By the working of Your Holy Spirit, help us to share the good news of Your salvation that all who hear it may rejoice in the gif tof Your unending love;[3]  

 

 



[2] Collect for Psalm 98, For All the Saints, A Prayer Book written for and by the Church, Vol.II © 1995 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY

[3] Collect for Missions, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis


Sunday, May 2, 2021

Monday prior to Easter 6

 

The theme for the Sixth Sunday of Easter is found in the Gospel (John 15:9-17). Jesus commands us to love one another. As usual the Gospel lesson gives the key to the theme of the week. Jesus commands us to love each other. Peter in the first lesson (Acts 10:34-48) thanks God for His love for all men, both Jews and Gentiles. John in the Epistle (1 John 5:1-8) reminds us that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. The Psalm of the Day (Psalm 98) calls for a new song to the Lord because of His steadfast love to His people. The Hymn of the Day (Alleluia! Let Praises Ring” LSB 822) asks that we might be filled with Jesus’ love and pity.

Psalm 66:1-,8-9, 20; antiphon, Psalm 66:16The antiphon calls for us to listen to the voice of Him who has saved us,  Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for my soul.”  Worship here defined is the proclamation of what God has done in praise of God within the context of the worshiping congregation. As we prepare for next Sunday, this is our central purpose in gathering together.

Collect for Psalm 66: Almighty Father, you brought us through the waters of baptism to the shores of new life. Accept the sacrifice o our lives and let us enter your house, there to praise your unfailing power and love; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. [1]-03 May 2021



[1] Collect for Psalm 66, For All the Saints, a Prayer book for and by the church, The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, © 1995 Delhi, NY


Confirmation 2021

 


02 May 2021
Galatians 6:10
This is Now Your Opportunity

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

So, what’s next? It’s a logical question for most to ask once confirmation has taken place. What’s next? How do you move forward from here? How do you continue to grow in those qualities St. Paul lists for us? How do you grow in faith, in hope, in love?

The answer to this pressing question is found in the words of the verse you have selected for today, namely, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

While you are in this world your marching orders are clear; “let us do good.  But Where?  And How? As a redeemed Child of God you have peace and mercy, “And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them.” Galatians 6:16

Of course, this is all gift through your Savior Jesus Christ. You can and will do good.  As God’s child you are now active in love at the place and in that opportunity that God give you in your daily calling. God gives you opportunities for His glory.

King Solomon teaches, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.”  Ecclesiastes 9:10

If you want your work to be blessed by God, the first thing you must do is start working enthusiastically.

Enthusiasm is not based on how fun your job is or how much it pays; it's based on why you do what you do. In fact, the word enthusiasm comes from the Greek words ‘en Theos’ which mean "in God." There you have it; in all that you do the LORD is at the core.  In all you do it’s centered in God.  

Your attitude determines your joy. Let’s face it; a lousy job is still a lousy job! But it's even worse when you complain about it. "The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work" Proverbs 12:24. It's all in your attitude.

You can't succeed in life until you change your attitude about the work you are doing right now. Romans 12:11 says, "Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically." (NLT). Why? Because the LORD is central to your work. He’s your silent partner; an ever present yet unseen guest in your work. So serve him enthusiastically.

Already, the LORD has bestowed to you talents, gifts and abilities, to be used in loving service to your neighbor. Already you have discovered some of the talents the LORD has given you. Continue to cultivate them. Explore those areas in your life where your talents flow from the Creator who sustains your life.

The life of a Christian is to love the LORD and serve your neighbor in love. “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

In all the service that you do — not just on this day but over the course of your life — remember that the key ingredients are both grace and love.

In love your Savior entered time and space to seek and to save. The coming of Jesus into our world changes everything. For we do not have a God who was too proud to know His people. Or, a God content to rule from a great distance. Or, a God whose majesty was too awesome for us to behold. We have just the opposite. Jesus, the son of Mary experienced the very same humanity, the very same problems, and the very same challenges that we do also the same joys and blessings.

No, you do not walk this road alone. Jesus is the God who came down from heaven. He was that man. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. –Isaiah 53:3-5

The challenges you face remind us that we are living in a broken world outside of Eden. We live in a world filled with disappointment, wounds and loss. But we do not despair; we do not lose hope. Rather we are encouraged by the Savior who has said; “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”- John 16:33 

Remember, God is completely responsible for your salvation from front to back! We don’t one-day simply wake up and decide to follow Jesus – Rather, He plants the seed of faith in our heart. He then nourishes that faith by giving us His eternal Word, which is able to make us wise unto salvation.

This is what St. Paul reminds us when he tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” 

Pay attention to the clear words, and the gentle voice of your Good Shepherd Jesus who says, “All that which the Father gives me shall come unto me; and he that comes to me I will in no wise cast out”. John 6:37

It all comes down to the Savior’s amazing grace. And Grace is karma's worst nightmare: we get the exact opposite of what we deserve. Grace is found in the God who loves us all; who loved us even unto death, even death on a cross.

Relying on Jesus to guide you through this life by the rod and staff of your Good Shepherd’s holy Word, you might begin to discover the impact, the influence; you do have, now once and for all joined to Him.  That, as part of His kingdom; as a lamb of His flock, a sheep of His fold, one of His own redeeming; each day you live in this vale of tears, He yet still lives, breaths, and cares for those in your life through everything you do: “Blessed are they…says the LORD…and their works do follow them.”

Your works do follow you?  Yes, your works though they may be forgotten, misunderstood, remembered no more by man, you never are by Him.  Never to fade away, never to die, your memory, and everything about you, is now as eternal as He is.

Your’ doing good does not have to be anything special or exceptionally; your faithfulness in your family, your work in your neighborhood in your school and country within this parish wherever and whenever the Lord gives you the opportunity is always good.  That’s what the Father declared each day of creation; “and it was good!” And by grace, through faith, He looks at you and determines that the work you do is good! 

To be sure, you start with those close to you; family, friends, your church. But you will want to share Christ’s love, your gifts with all people.

Bloom where you’re planted. Share Christ in all you do. Gossip the Gospel and let your light shine. By this you will give glory to God as you serve Him faithfully and willingly. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.”

Your verse shall be your marching orders; today and each day of your life, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”Fare Thee well child of God.  Godspeed and God Bless!

Words –1,360
Passive Sentences –8%
Readability – 83.8%
Reading Level – 4.5


Easter 6 Series B


Easter 6 Series B



9 May 2021
Series B 

Acts 10:34–48
1 John 5:1–8
John 15:9–17

The Lord Jesus Is with His Church in the Apostolic Ministry of the Gospel

The crucified and risen Lord Jesus is with His Church through the word of His apostles, who “are witnesses of all that he did.” He was anointed by God “with the Holy Spirit and with power,” and “he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil,” and so He was with those whom He sent “to preach to the people” (Acts 10:38–42). The Holy Spirit is bestowed on those who hear that apostolic preaching, who are “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ,” so that “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43–44, 48). For as He came by the water of His Baptism, even to the blood of His Passion, so the Spirit testifies to the truth with “the water and the blood” in the apostolic ministry of the Gospel (1 John 5:6–7). By these means, Christ Jesus speaks to us, that His joy may be in us and that our “joy may be full.” For this purpose, He appointed the apostles to “go and bear fruit” in order to make known His divine friendship to us (John 15:11, 15–16). 

Easter 6 - John 15:9-17

O God, the giver of all that is good, by Your holy inspiration grant that we may think those things that are right and by Your merciful guiding accomplish them.

:9 καθὼς ἠγάπησέν με ὁ πατήρ, κἀγὼ ὑμᾶς ἠγάπησα, μείνατε ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ τῇ ἐμῇ.
  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Abide - 

Love - agape - how the Father loves is how Christ loves, by laying down his life. 

:10  ἐὰν τὰς ἐντολάς μου τηρήσητε, μενεῖτε ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ μου, καθὼς ἐγὼ τὰς ἐντολὰς τοῦ πατρός μου τετήρηκα καὶ μένω αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ.
 If you keep my commandments, you will remain / abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain / abide in his love.

"Keep the commandment" is keeping the Supper...this was spoken on the night he was betrayed. Now we see the love of the Father. See Matthew 28, "I am with you..." He IS with us in the Supper. This is where we are equipped. 

See confessional address for M Thursday. 

See Psalm 80:8-17 

:11  ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν ἵνα ἡ χαρὰ ἡ ἐμὴ ἐν ὑμῖν ᾖ καὶ ἡ χαρὰ ὑμῶν πληρωθῇ.
     These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (filled).

The things he had just spoken we're keep the commandment, the mandate, love.

12 Αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ ἐντολὴ ἡ ἐμὴ ἵνα ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους καθὼς ἠγάπησα ὑμᾶς
  "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

My commandment - love - Ephesians 5, 

13  μείζονα ταύτης ἀγάπην οὐδεὶς ἔχει, ἵνα τις τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ θῇ ὑπὲρ τῶν φίλων αὐτοῦ.
   Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay / place down his life for his friends.

Jesus' obedience to His Father, a central theme of John. Friend lover. Jesus lays down his love for enemies. Romans 5 

:13 "lay down his life" highest expression of love, "for his friends"  Gk Hyper, "on behalf of"; giving one's life as a sacrifice for a friend.


14 ὑμεῖς φίλοι μού ἐστε ἐὰν ποιῆτε ἃ ἐγὼ ἐντέλλομαι ὑμῖν.
    You are my friends if you do what I command you.

:14 We do not become Christ's friends through our obedience, but we obey Him because we cherish Him. See vs 16

15 οὐκέτι λέγω ὑμᾶς δούλους, ὅτι ὁ δοῦλος οὐκ οἶδεν τί ποιεῖ αὐτοῦ ὁ κύριος• ὑμᾶς δὲ εἴρηκα φίλους, ὅτι πάντα ἃ ἤκουσα παρὰ τοῦ πατρός μου ἐγνώρισα ὑμῖν.
 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Friend = beloved, 

16  οὐχ ὑμεῖς με ἐξελέξασθε, ἀλλ’ ἐγὼ ἐξελεξάμην ὑμᾶς, καὶ ἔθηκα ὑμᾶς ἵνα ὑμεῖς ὑπάγητε καὶ καρπὸν φέρητε καὶ ὁ καρπὸς ὑμῶν μένῃ, ἵνα ὅ τι ἂν αἰτήσητε τὸν πατέρα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί μου δῷ ὑμῖν
 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 

You did not select me I have chosen you that your fruit might remain...see post communion prayer..."in fervent love toward one another."  His love shapes our prayers. He hears us according to his name/will. 

17 ταῦτα ἐντέλλομαι ὑμῖν ἵνα ἀγαπᾶτε ἀλλήλους.
   These things I command you, so that you will love one another.  - 


-The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

-ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
-Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘The Resurrection of our Lord’© WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
-LCMS Lectionary notes © 2018 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
-Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Time in the Word - Easter 6

Time in the Word
 May 3-8, 2021
Preparation for next week, 6th Sunday of Easter



The theme for the Sixth Sunday of Easter is found in the Gospel. Jesus commands us to love one another. As usual the Gospel lesson gives the key to the theme of the week. Jesus commands us to love each other. Peter in the first lesson thanks God for His love for all men, both Jews and Gentiles. John in the Epistle reminds us that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. The Psalm of the Day calls for a new song to the Lord because of His steadfast love to His people. The Hymn of the Day asks that we might be filled with Jesus’ love and pity. 

Collect for the Sixth Sunday in EasterO God, the giver of all that is good, by Your holy inspiration grant that we may think those things that are right and by Your merciful guiding accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

A Prayer for Agriculture: Almighty God, You blessed the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper, we implore You, the work of farmers, grant them seasonable weather that we may gather in the fruit of the earth and thus proclaim Your goodness with thanksgiving. May we see by this noble vocation that with Your help they feed the world. And cause all those who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with both honor and respect; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  

A Prayer for humility: O God, You resist the proud and give grace to the humble. Grant us true humility after the likeness of Your only Son that we may never be arrogant and prideful and thus provoke Your wrath but in all lowliness be made partakers of the gifts of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord

Monday, 03 May 2021Psalm 66:1-,8-9, 20; antiphon, Psalm 66:16—The antiphon calls for us to listen to the voice of Him who has saved us,  “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for my soul.”  Worship here defined is the proclamation of what God has done in praise of God within the context of the worshiping congregation. As we prepare for next Sunday, this is our central purpose in gathering together. 


May 4, is the day the church remembers one of our pastors. Friedrich Wyneken is one of the founding fathers of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, along with C.F.W. Walther and Wilhelm Sihler. Born in 1810 in Germany, Wyneken came to Baltimore in 1838 and shortly thereafter accepted a call to be the pastor of congregations in Friedheim and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Supported by Wilhelm Loehe's mission society, Wyneken served as an itinerant missionary in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, particularly among Native Americans. Together with Loehe and Sihler, he founded Concordia Theological Seminary in 1846 in Fort Wayne, IN. He later served as the second president of the LCMS during a period of significant growth (1850-64). His leadership strongly influenced the confessional character of the LCMS and its commitment to an authentic Lutheran witness in the United States.


Tuesday, 04 May 2021Psalm 98 key verse, verse 1—“Sing to the Lord a new song.” This psalm is a call to celebrate with joy the righteous reign of the Lord.

Wednesday, 05 May 2021Acts 10:34-48—Peter’s Vision in which all kinds of food which would include both clean and unclean animals (according to Leviticus 11) is depicted in the woodcut on this week’s cover. 

The Word of the Lord has now come to both Jewish and Gentile believers. Gentiles had received the same gift as the Jewish believers. This was unavoidable evidence that the invitation to the kingdom was open to Gentiles as well as to Jews.  The early Jewish Christians failed to understand that the Gospel was for Gentiles as well as for the Jews, and that they would share alike in the benefits of redemption. 

The mention of Gentiles “speaking in tongues” is a fulfillment of Acts 1:8. The prophecy was given that the Holy Spirit would come and the disciples would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and into the Gentile world. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost, the disciples spoke in other languages (Acts 2:5-12). Acts 8:14-18 reports of an incident occurring in Samaria. The Holy Spirit had come upon people in some noticeable way.  There is no mention of tongues but Peter and John are summoned. What had happened in Samaria was to be verified by those who had given testimony in Jerusalem. Christianity continued to expand to new geographic regions and include more people. 

The third and final time tongues is mentioned in the book of Acts occurred in the city of Ephesus. Paul found some disciples who followed the teachings of John the Baptist. They didn't know about the Holy Spirit, so Paul informed them more fully, and taught them that John told people to believe in Jesus (Acts 19:1-4). "On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied" (verses 5-6). Now that the Spirit was poured out in a remote place like Ephesus there is no further mention of believers who would speak in tongues in the book of Acts. The prophecy of Acts 1 has been fulfilled.

Thursday, 05 May 20211 John 5:1-8—John begins by telling us, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” Faith in Jesus as the Christ is a sign of being born again just as love is. John wrote at a time when members of a family were closely associated as a unit under the headship of the father. He could, therefore, use the family as an illustration to show that anyone who loves God the Father will naturally love God’s children.

Friday, 06 May 2021John 15:9-17—This is a continuation of Jesus’ last discourse with His disciples. It is appropriate that one of His last messages was one of love. His disciples are to love as the Father loved Jesus and as He loved His disciples. This love is expressed in keeping the commandments and in the sacrifice of self for a friend. Because we are His friends, Jesus shares all. By His choice, we are His friends. One privilege of this friendship is having prayers answered. If we are disciples and true friends of Jesus, we will love as He loved us. 

Saturday, 08 May 2021Psalm 145:15-16; Revelation 19:1; Titus 3:4-7—The hymn of the Day is “Alleluia! Let Praises Ring”{LSB 822}.The kindness of God, His undeserved mercy, and His grace is the reason why God did not simply banish fallen man but acted to save Him. When using the word love, Titus will use the Greek word philanthrapia, the love for mankind. God so loved the world that He sent His Son Jesus. Thus this hymn will fit in nicely with the theme for the Day.    

Morning Prayer Scheduled Readings for this coming week:

May  03 Monday 131 Romans 3:21-26
May  04 Tuesday 132 Romans 5:1-11
May  05 Wednesday
May  06 Thursday 133 Romans 6:1-11
May  07 Friday 134 Romans 8:31-39

Catechism Review: 7th Commandment - First Article of the Apostles' Creed

Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House 
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981
CSS Publishing Lima, OH
"Lift High the Cross," copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things 
Portrait of FCD Wyneken from Friedheim archives 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Easter 5

John 15:1-8
Abide in Me
Seven times (in the original Greek), Jesus uses a form of the word to “remain” or “abide.” μείνατεἐν You remain in Christ. And He abides in you.

It’s not like we were loose branches out searching for a vine to connect to. No, Christ did that for you. He did that. You abide. We were dead branches destined for fire, but in loved He saved you. He grafted you into Himself when He brought you to faith. He tells us, “You are already clean through the Word I have spoken to you.” Through the Word that brought you to faith, He has already cleansed you. He has washed you clean of all sin. He has won for you a place in His family. A place at His wedding feast in heaven.  You are already clean. Because you are cleansed through pruning.

Branches don’t really have any choice. Of either remaining or departing from the vine. If a branch departs, it would be because of its own decay, a pest, or because the gardener has pruned it off.

Jesus reminds us. “I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener.” Your heavenly Father - the Master Gardner - grafted You into the Vine. And gives You all the blessings that come with it. Even though it hurts.

Your Father - the Master-gardener - Tends the vine. Directs the vine. Prunes the vine. So that it may grow in ways which produce fruit. It should be no surprise that God’s way is the way of His creation. It is a way that sees through death and decay to new life. It should also be no surprise, that we who are connected to Christ, the true Vine, through the method of pruning to promote growth.

What actually happens when you are not connected to the source of life? You end up cut off, withered, useless, like the branches and scraps we clean up from our yard and haul away and burn.

If you've ever seen pruned bushes, you know it's not a pretty picture. Sometimes, in fact, a pruned bush looks so ravaged that it's hard to believe it will ever bear fruit or flower again. But cutting away the dead growth - is the only way for new life to take place. 

Being a branch doesn't spare you that. The question isn't whether you'll experience some difficulty, some cutting, the question is whether that will be toward new growth or will be just the beginning of more withering.

Martin Luther tells a delightful dialogue about what a vine might say to the gardener if it could speak:

The vine sees the vinedresser, or gardener, coming with his pruning shears and other tools to work around it and says: "What are you doing? That hurts, don't you know that? Now I must wither and decay, for you are removing the soil from around my roots and are tearing away at my branches with those iron teeth. You are tearing and pinching me everywhere, and I will have to stand in the ground bare and seared. You are treating me worse than any tree or plant."

And the gardener would then reply: "You are a fool and do not understand. For even if I do cut a branch from you, it is a totally useless branch; it takes away your strength and your sap. Then the other branches, which should bear fruit, must suffer. Away with it! This is for your own good."

Then the vine would say: "But you do not understand! I have a different feeling about it!"

 The gardener declares: "But I understand it well. I am doing this for your welfare, to keep the foreign and wild branches from sucking out the strength and the sap of the others. Now you will be able to yield more and better fruit and produce good wine."

The same thing is true when the gardener applies the cow manure to the root of the vine; this, too he does for the benefit of the vine even though the vine might complain and say: "What in the world are you doing? Isn't it bad enough for you to hack and cut at me all day long, trimming this and cutting off that branch? Why, now are you putting that foul smelling stuff at my roots?! I am a vine, to yield delicious grapes to make wonderful wine, and you are putting that terrible smelling stuff near me, it will destroy me!"[1]

 Of course, we know well that the badly smelling manure does well to put fertilizer and nutrients into the soil so that the vine might grow and prosper and produce an even better crop.

What Luther is saying here, indeed, what Christ is saying, is that sometimes life hurts. Sometimes life stinks. But God the gardener knows better than we the branches. And He has our best interests in mind, though it may not always seem so to us.

Apart from Jesus, we die. That’s the reality. Sin is a withering disease that would destroy us. But with Jesus. And in Jesus. There is life. His death on the cross. And His rising from the dead. Bring new and true and eternal life to all His people. In this Easter season we are continually reminded that Christ is the source for our life – life with God, and life even from the dead.

 Faith prays for God’s will to be done. Not our will. And with such a prayer you can never go wrong. Sometimes behind God’s apparent, “no”, there is an even bigger yes. As Paul says,   For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ.” -2 Corinthians 1:20

Faith prays that we will remain in Christ. That our sins are forgiven. That our eternity with God is secure. And faith is never disappointed.

Faith prays that we stay connected to the True Vine. That we receive our sustenance from Him. That we bear much fruit, in him. Faith prays that we find our life, always, only, in Him. And faith is never disappointed.

I am the Vine,” Jesus says, “You are the branches.” “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.

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Words-1,090
Passive Sentences-5%
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[1] Luther, Martin: Pelikan, Jaroslav Jan (Hrsg.); Oswald, Hilton C. (Hrsg.); Lehmann, Helmut T.

(Hrsg.): Luther's Works, Vol. 22: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 1-4. Saint Louis:

Concordia Publishing House, 1999, c1957 (Luther's Works 22), S. 22