Sunday, October 31, 2021

November

 


Jesus comes in mercy and, by His Word, heals you in body and soul. “Go and show yourselves to the priests,” for you are cleansed (Luke 17:14), and you are granted access to the LORD’s Temple. It is “at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks” (Luke 17:16) that you worship God, for Christ Jesus is your great High Priest; His body is the true Temple. In Him, you “find rest, each of you in the house of her husband” (Ruth 1:9), for the Lord has “visited his people and given them food” (Ruth 1:6). The person of Jesus Christ lodges Himself in holy food — bread and wine for believers to eat and drink. You lodge where Jesus lodges; His Father is your God, His people are your people.

Death cannot part you from Him because His death and resurrection are eternally yours through Holy Baptism. “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead” (2 Timothy 2:8). As surely as death could not hold Him, so surely “the word of God is not bound” (2 Timothy 2:9). His Gospel is entrusted “to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2), so that you “may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:10). Such is the confession of faith for all the saints, who believe, teach and confess the one Lord and Savior — Jesus Christ.

There was no love lost between Jews and Samaritans. Had they been healthy, the nine Jewish lepers would have had had nothing to do with a person whom they considered a half-breed, little better than a heathen.  But leprosy had made them all outcasts from society, depending on the kindness of strangers for daily sustenance.

On the way to Jerusalem, on the road that would ultimately lead to His death, Jesus encountered these ten pitiable men. Jesus is going to Jerusalem. He will only stop for them.

Going into a village, ten men, lepers met Jesus standing afar off. Whole cities would come out to meet a conquering King. Jesus is going into the leper's village. This reminds us of what sort of Savior He intends to be.

He had mercy on them, and, foreshadowing the restoration of all creation at the Last Day, healed them of their dread disease. Only one returned to Jesus to give thanks—a foreigner, the Samaritan.

Christ came into the world to save all people, regardless of ethnicity, skin color, or other outward characteristics. We Gentiles, too, ought to fall at Jesus’ feet and give thanks for having rescued us from the far more dread disease of sin and its consequences of eternal, and not just temporal, death. This Descendant of a foreign, Moabite woman has made us clean. He Himself is the High Priest who declares us clean to His Father, and gives us a place in His kingdom.

For what are you thankful this Thanksgiving? A bountiful harvest, a new grandchild, a promotion at work, the freedoms our country guarantees us to worship our Lord in sincerity and truth? Luther sums it up well in his explanation to the first article of the Apostles’ Creed:  I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this, it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.

 

A blessed Thanksgiving.


Monday prior to Proper 27

 


Psalm 107:1-2, 41-42, Antiphon, Psalm 107:8 – Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of men!  The Antiphon along with the entire psalm is a call to praise the Lord for His unfailing love in that He hears the prayers of those in need and saves them. The Lord has heard the cries of His people in times of great need. Our God will act to help and save His people.

Today 01 November the church celebrates All Saints Day. John writes, “A great multitude … from all tribes and peoples and languages” cry out, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne” (Revelation 7:9–10). Faith-filled saints from every place and time with unified voices eternally magnify the Lamb of God. As His beloved children, we, too, “shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). Joined with the throng of angels and a myriad of saints, we shall “serve him day and night in his temple” (Revelation 7:15). In our earthly tension vacillating between saint and sinner, faith and doubt, sacred and profane, we earnestly seek Jesus to calm our fears, comfort our spirits and forgive our sins. The Holy Spirit, through faith in Christ propels us forward, fortifying us in Word and Sacrament, to our eternal home. In the midst of our constant struggle as believers, we need to be blessed. And so we are. The poor in spirit, the meek, the hungry, the thirsty, the merciful, the pure and the persecuted are all blessed, and we will most certainly inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:1–12).[2]

O Almighty God, by whom we are graciously knit together as one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Jesus Christ, our Lord, grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that we may come to those unspeakable joys which You had prepared for those who love You; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Gracious Savior, keep my eyes ever focused on You and Your blessings, which are mine by grace alone. Amen [3]-01 November, 2021



[1] All Saints, copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

[2] Lectionary summary LCMS commission on worship

[3] Collects for All Saints, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis


All Saints Observed



All Saints (Observed)
Revelation 7:(2–8) 9–17
1 John 3:1–3
Matthew 5:1–12

Saints Are Blessed in the Eternal Presence of Christ All Saints

A great multitude … from all tribes and peoples and languages” cry out, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne” (Revelation 7:9–10). Faith-filled saints from every place and time with unified voices eternally magnify the Lamb of God. As His beloved children, we, too, “shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). Joined with the throng of angels and a myriad of saints, we shall “serve him day and night in his temple” (Revelation 7:15). In our earthly tension vacillating between saint and sinner, faith and doubt, sacred and profane, we earnestly seek Jesus to calm our fears, comfort our spirits and forgive our sins. The Holy Spirit, through faith in Christ propels us forward, fortifying us in Word and Sacrament, to our eternal home. In the midst of our constant struggle as believers, we need to be blessed. And so we are. The poor in spirit, the meek, the hungry, the thirsty, the merciful, the pure and the persecuted are all blessed, and we will most certainly inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:1–12).


O Almighty God, by whom we are graciously knit together as one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Jesus Christ, our Lord, grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that we may come to those unspeakable joys which You had prepared for those who love You; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Gracious Savior, keep my eyes ever focused on You and Your blessings, which are mine by grace alone. Amen

Jesus introduces His Sermon on the Mount with nine beatitudes that detail the future blessedness of His disciples. These promised blessings are God's gracious gifts to those who repent of their sins and trust Christ for righteousness. Only after Jesus has assured His disciples of God's goodness to them does He call on them,, in the rest of His sermon, to be good and do good. When we recognize our own spiritual poverty when the Lord leads us to hunger and thirst for righteousness, when He makes us pure in heart so that we seek to worship only the true God, then we are blessed now and forever.

Observe both future and present tenses...

Life for the Christian is a life that is lived by faith - On this All Saints Day Jesus the greatest teacher who has ever lived gives a description of the child of God who has been incorporated into the family of faith. These Beatitudes are the gifts the Savior has given to you.

It is yours now and soon to come. Blessed now are present the rewards future…now and not yet.

Matthew 5:1

Ἰδὼν δὲ τοὺς ὄχλους ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος· καὶ καθίσαντος αὐτοῦ προσῆλθαν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ·
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

Matthew 5:2 
καὶ ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς λέγων·
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

Having sat down, the posture of prophet, posture of learning. Another Moses, Jesus is THE prophet. He came to preach and to die. Works of mercy are out of His compassion. He opens His mouth like that of creation.

Matthew 5:3
Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens. To be poor is to rely on the mercy of God. These are indicative and the rewards are all passive.

Not blessed are the growing churches. The only command is "rejoice and be glad"

Matthew 5:4
μακάριοι οἱ πενθοῦντες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are those who mourn, you are a Christian. You will mourn, but you will be comforted.  What do we mourn? As Jesus grieved over Lazarus.

Preach theology of grace as opposed to theology of glory.

Matthew 5:5
μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς, ὅτι αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσι τὴν γῆν.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

  Meek inherit the earth. Meek are powerless, a picture of the cross. Inherit for free from those who would try to take by force. This is anti world. This is completely out of the realm of measurement and feeling

Matthew 5:6
μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην, ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσονται. 
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

 They will be engorged/enlarged. Their cup will run over for those who hunger after righteousness.

Your blessedness comes from the blessed one who blesses.

Matthew 5:7
μακάριοι οἱ ἐλεήμονες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται 
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

The merciful receive mercy. Mercy to the deserving is justice. Mercy is only to the undeserving. Show mercy as you have been shown mercy.

The unmerciful serving misrepresented the king who had shown mercy. He acts as if the king still had the debt hanging over them.

Matthew 5:8
μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται.  
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

 Blessed are the clean in heart because they themselves will see God. The only way in which you see God.

Matthew 5:9
 μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί, ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ θεοῦ κληθήσονται.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

 Blessed are the ones making peace they will be called God's sons.

Matthew 5:10
μακάριοι οἱ δεδιωγμένοι ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.  
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 The ones who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heavens.

Matthew 5:11
μακάριοί ἐστε ὅταν ὀνειδίσωσιν ὑμᾶς καὶ διώξωσιν καὶ εἴπωσιν πᾶν [a]πονηρὸν καθ’ ὑμῶν ψευδόμενοι ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ.  
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

 Blessed whenever they reproach you and say all evil against you on account of me.

Matthew 5:12

χαίρετε καὶ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε, ὅτι ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολὺς ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς· οὕτως γὰρ ἐδίωξαν τοὺς προφήτας τοὺς πρὸ ὑμῶν.  
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Rejoice be glad, your reward is in heaven. In this sameness the prophets were persecuted.




ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.




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

Proper 27 Series B



Series B
Proper 27
Mark 12:38-44

O Lord, by Your bountiful goodness release us from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon ourselves, that we may stand firm until the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
Lord, grant us humble hearts and willing spirits to fulfill our callings faithfully.
“Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee; Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise." (LSB 783:1)l
The Lord Freely Feeds and Provides for Us with Everything He Has
Corban” [N] [S]
A Hebrew word adopted into the Greek of the New Testament and left untranslated. It occurs only once ( Mark 7:11 ). It means a gift or offering consecrated to God. Anything over which this word was once pronounced was irrevocably dedicated to the temple. Land, however, so dedicated might be redeemed before the year of jubilee (See Leviticus 27:16-24). Our Lord condemns the Pharisees for their false doctrine, inasmuch as by their traditions they had destroyed the commandment which requires children to honor their father and mother, teaching them to find excuse from helping their parents by the device of pronouncing "Corban" over their goods, thus reserving them to their own selfish use. Was this the issue with the rich young man in Proper 23?
Those who contribute “large sums” from “out of their abundance” have done very little. They cannot purchase God’s favor with their money. But “the poor widow” with her two small coins, who “out of her poverty has put in everything she had,” entrusts herself and her life to the mercy of God (Mark 12:41–44). Such faith is not disappointed, for the Lord is faithful, and He provides for His people by His grace. Thus was the poor widow of Zarephath able to feed the Prophet Elijah “for many days,” as well as herself and her household, “according to the word of the Lord that He spoke by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:15–16). He feeds us, too, by His Word, not only with daily bread for this body and life, but unto the life everlasting in Christ Jesus. “By the sacrifice of Himself,” by the giving of His body and life and all that He had, He has entered “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf” (Hebrews 9:24–26). He is our great High Priest and the Temple of God, as well as the priestly food with which He feeds us.
Jesus warns against using self-serving religion to elevate ourselves above others. Clergy especially need to listen to Jesus at this point. Jesus shows all religious leaders and scholars the model for their leadership; humility, service, and sacrifice. For His sacrifice has atoned for us all.
Jesus uses the sacrifice of a widow to illustrate for His disciples the character of absolute dependence on God. Wealth and possession can pose a spiritual threat - wealth has a way of owning its possessor. Jesus' love and sacrifice motivate us to offer our whole lives to Him as our daily offering of gratitude. He gave up everything, including His life, on the cross for us.
- The sacrifices of God - a sacrifice of faith. Jesus compliments a poor widow for her sacrificial gift to the temple.
Vv. 38-40 serves as an introduction. Jesus warns the disciples against the scribes, for in their greed they devour widows' houses. By contrast we see an impoverished widow who places two of the smallest coins, worth a penny, into the temple's treasury. Jesus is sitting across from the offering boxes and observes the gift being given. He calls attention to the widow's penny in contrast to the million-dollar gifts of the rich.  He claims that she gave more than any other, because she gave out of her poverty while others gave out of their abundance.
A widow was almost always poor because she had no husband to support her. There was no insurance policies, no death benefits plan, no Social Security. Because she was extremely poor, she could have been excused from giving to the Lord's treasury. Rather she should have been given something from the treasury. Her gift proved that she was not poor spiritually. She had the riches of faith in God to motivate her.
-----
Mark 12:38-44

Beware of the Scribes

Mark 12:38
Καὶ ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ ἔλεγεν• Βλέπετε ἀπὸ τῶν γραμματέων τῶν θελόντων ἐν στολαῖς περιπατεῖν καὶ ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς 
And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces

-Beware of false piety. Everything we do has meaning, makes a statement. 

Mark 12:39
καὶ πρωτοκαθεδρίας ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς καὶ πρωτοκλισίας ἐν τοῖς δείπνοις,
and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,

The teaching seat was well as the best seat in the house could have meaning here. The covetous desire of the heart.

Mark 12:40
οἱ κατεσθίοντες τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν καὶ προφάσει μακρὰ προσευχόμενοι• οὗτοι λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα.
who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

"For a pretense" they make a show yet, they devour widow's houses to receive both the house as well as the property. 

The Widow's Offering

Mark 12:41
Καὶ καθίσας κατέναντι τοῦ γαζοφυλακίου ἐθεώρει πῶς ὁ ὄχλος βάλλει χαλκὸν εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον• καὶ πολλοὶ πλούσιοι ἔβαλλον πολλά
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums.

See John 8:20 Jesus taught "in the treasury"  Money was earmarked for the support of the widows and the poor.

Mark 12:42
καὶ ἐλθοῦσα μία χήρα πτωχὴ ἔβαλεν λεπτὰ δύο, ὅ ἐστιν κοδράντης.
And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.[a] 

Mark 12:42 Greek two lepta, λεπτὰ, which make a kodrantes; a kodrantes (Latin quadrans) was a Roman copper coin worth about 1/64 of a denarius (which was a day's wage for a laborer) Example: $100/64=$1.56

See the widow who gave all for the oil and meal. 

Mark 12:43
καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς• Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν τῶν βαλλόντων εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον
And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.

The only works recognized are those given in faith. Pride and wealth are connected once again!

Mark 12:44
πάντες γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον, αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τῆς ὑστερήσεως αὐτῆς πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν ἔβαλεν, ὅλον τὸν βίον αὐτῆς.
For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Literally, "her whole life."

ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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

Hebrews 9:24-28
Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege

Our Epistle  (Hebrews 9:24-28) is of tremendous importance in that it demonstrates Christ’s work to be the fulfillment of what was done in Old Testament worship.  This worship, linked to the priestly work in the Tabernacle, pointed to Christ, His cross and His empty tomb.

A key statement is the second half of verse 26: He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  Christ is here clearly described as the fulfillment of the sacrificial actions performed on the Old Testament Day of Atonement.

On that most holy day of Old Testament worship the sins of the entire nation of Israel were being “atoned” for.  Several unique things happened on the yearly Day of Atonement:  The high priest was the only one to perform the sacrifices.  Unlike any other sacrifice, the sacrificial blood was sprinkled toward the Mercy Seat located in the Most Holy Place.  The high priest alone could enter this Most Holy Place uniquely on this one day out of the year, and then he quickly had to exit.  The Day of Atonement was also recognized as the conclusion and embodiment of all the sacrifices offered for sin during the previous year. The high priest was like a basket carrying the sins related to the various sin offerings from the previous year.  Then, needing atonement also for his own sins, he emptied the basket of the sins of the nation on the Day of Atonement sacrifices. (Note: There were other solemn and special activities on that day as well.)

So then why did Christ have to die if these sacrifices were “taking care of” sin?  These sacrifices were like credit cards paying a debt, and they only dealt with the sins of the people of Israel.  As with every credit card debt the day of reckoning must come.  In the fullness of time Christ comes, and by His once-for-all sacrifice He pays off the sin-debt incurred by the Old Testament people of Israel, the sin-debt that was forestalled by the “credit card” of the atonement sacrifices. But he doesn’t just pay off their sin-debt, He pays the sin-debt incurred by every human…past, present and future!  No more sacrificial “credit cards” are needed after Christ offered himself as the once-for-all sacrifice.

Christ is the ultimate and final high priest who carries not just the sins of Israel but the sins of the entire world.  He does not have to place any sins on an unwilling sacrificial beast, for he, unlike Aaron et al, is sinless and thus His body is a pure—yet empty—basket. And because He is God this empty basket is able to be filled with all the sins of mankind. He then “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”  After entering the Holy Place of heaven, pleading our case with His blood at the heavenly mercy seat, He does not need to exit—and indeed He will not exit until Judgment Day.  On that day He will exit and we will stand before Him justified by His sacrificial blood!



Time in the Word - Proper 27


Time in the Word
 November  1-6, 2021
Proper 27


Preparation for next week, Proper 27


Sunday’s Theme of sacrifice is evident in all three of our lessons for this coming week. In the Gospel a widow makes a sacrifice of money by giving her last penny. The widow of Zarephath gave her last portion of meal and oil to Elijah out of obedience to his command. Jesus made the once-for-all-time sacrifice for the sins of the world out of love for humankind. The Lessons call upon us to give our all as a sacrifice to God. As we are nearing the end of the church year, the sermon hymn reminds us to keep our heads up to be vigilant as the Son of Man will return at the right time to bring this earth to a close. 

Collect for Proper 27O Lord, by Your bountiful goodness release us from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon ourselves, that we may stand firm until the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever

For our Country: 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. Make us who came from many nations with many different languages a united people. Defend our liberties, and give those whom we have entrusted with the authority of government the spirit of wisdom that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, let our hearts be thankful; and in troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


For Responsible CitizenshipLord keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Help us provide trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and thus serve You faithfully in our generation to the honor of Your holy name

A prayer for home and family: Visit, we implore You, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep far from them all harm and danger. Grant us to dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels and may Your blessing be with us forever

Monday, 01 November 2021Psalm 107:1-2, 41-42, Antiphon, Psalm 107:8 – Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of men!  The Antiphon along with the entire psalm is a call to praise the Lord for His unfailing love in that He hears the prayers of those in need and saves them. The Lord has heard the cries of His people in times of great need. Our God will act to help and save His people.
  
Tuesday, 02 November 2021Psalm 146; key verse, verse 9a—The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow but He frustrates the ways of the wicked. In both the Old Testament lesson as well as the Gospel, a poor widow gives all that she has because of great obedience and a strong faith. The key verse reminds us that the Lord will vindicate His own especially the stranger, the widow, and the orphan. The Psalmist invites us to praise the name of the Lord especially for His tender mercies to His people. 

Wednesday, 03 November 20211 Kings 17:8-16The sacrifices of God – a sacrifice of obedience. A widow feeds Elijah out of her minimum supplies for many days because the supply of oil and meal was never exhausted. The setting is the northern kingdom of the 9th Century with Ahab as king and Elijah as prophet. Because of Israel’s faithfulness, Elijah calls down a drought which lasts three years. When the brook dries up, God sends Elijah to a widow in Zarephath for food and drink lest he starve. However, the widow and her son are also dying of starvation. They have a tiny amount for a last meal before dying. Elijah commands her to give food to him and promises that the meal and oil will not fail. True to his word, each day there was enough for one more meal. The Lord preserves His prophet and is faithful to His Word.   

Thursday, 04 November 2021Hebrews 9:24-28The sacrifices of God – a sacrifice of love. Christ offers Himself but once for the sins of the world and is coming again.  The author of Hebrews uses the cult to explain the atonement and return of Jesus. As the Jewish high priest annually entered the holy of holies in the temple, Jesus, the high priest, entered the heavens, the temple of God. 

The high priest offered a sacrifice annually, but Christ as high priest offers His sacrifice but once. 

The high priest offered not his own blood, but Jesus did. His one-time sacrifice took away sin. As judgment comes after a person’s death, so Christ will return for the judgment of the world and to receive those who are waiting for Him. 

Friday, 05 November 2021Mark 12:38-44The sacrifices of God – a sacrifice of faith. Jesus compliments a poor widow for her sacrificial gift to the temple. Verses 38-40 serve as an introduction to our Gospel lesson for Sunday. Jesus warns the disciples against the scribes, for in their greed they devour widows’ houses. By contrast we see an impoverished widow who places two of the smallest coins, worth a penny, into the temple’s treasury. Jesus is sitting across from the offering boxes and observes the gift being given. He calls attention to the widow’s penny in contrast to the million-dollar gifts of the rich.  He claims that she gave more than any other, because she gave out of her poverty while others gave out of their abundance.  

A widow was almost always poor because she had no husband to support her. There was no insurance policies, no death benefits plan, no Social Security. Because she was extremely poor, she could have been excused from giving to the Lord’s treasury. Rather she should have been given something from the treasury. Her gift proved that she was not poor spiritually. She had the riches of faith in God to motivate her. 

Saturday, 06 November 2021Luke 21:25-36; Matthew 25:31-46-Sunday’s hymn of the day is The Day Is Surely Drawing Near (LSB 508).  Just as the days are growing shorter so also time is counting down to the end of the church year and the end of the world as we know it. This calls for vigilance, patience, and faith. These themes and ideas are all communicated in this much treasured hymn. 

Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts "The Crucifixion" copyright © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Image of The United States Flag copyright © Google images
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Reforomation

 

Truth

Almighty God, gracious Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people. Keep them steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and comfort them in all temptations, defend them against all enemies of Your Word, and bestow on the Church Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.[1]

Truth for man is so elusive; that many, like Pilate the Governor wonder what truth really is. He asks sarcastically as Jesus stood before him at trial; “What is truth?” (John 18:38) There is still widespread skepticism concerning the understanding of “truth.”

There are various kinds of truth in our world, it seems. Identity is the truth of description. A circle is round because we define a circle as round. You might say, “A circle is rectangular in shape,” and all you’ve done is confused us. Words only work because we agree on what they mean.  

Then there’s Historic truth, which is an event that actually happened. We know it happened because it left behind evidence, witnesses and other proof.

Personal experience truth, which is a non-negotiable personal opinion, is the truth that only you and you alone can determine.

How you reacted to what happened can only be seen and reported by you. Hence, the phrase, “such this is my truth.” 

Finally, consider cultural truth. This truth can change. This is the truth of, “people like us do things like this.” Which is true, until it’s not. Then, people like us, do something else.

What is often proclaimed as truth today is not what it was yesterday…so some question, who knows what it will be tomorrow?

We have no idea what tomorrow will bring. Yet, no matter what lies ahead, the LORD is with you. He is faithful.

Today, you might have a broken heart, but not a broken life. You might be going through the aftermath of a broken dream, but not a broken future. The LORD is with you. He has promised to carry you through every circumstance in every season of life.  This is a promise; truth the LORD proclaims to you in the words of our Psalm for this day; “God is our refuge and strength…the LORD of hosts is with us, The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. (Psalm 46:1, 11)

In our Gospel Jesus is dealing with the most profound ground of truth concerning Himself and life.

Jesus tells us two realities...

1. What truth is - “If you continue in My Word you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth.” Vv.31-32

A. Truth is proclaimed by the word of Christ; He is the truth. Though it has only two letters, it is a big word. Jesus says we will know the truth and be free “if” we continue in His word.

B. The truth of Christ frees you from the Law. Christ frees you from the bondage of sin by His death on the cross.

C. The Lord’s promise, found in His Word, reminds you that salvation is a gift from God, and you receive the benefit of this gift through faith.  Remain and persist in the unwavering truth of the gospel of your Lord.

When earth gives way and your footing in this world becomes uncertain, the Lord is with you.

The answer to religious controversies that take place in this generation is the same answer that other generations have had to rely upon during their moments of struggle.

Based on God’s Word confess the truth.  Rely upon His grace to preserve you.

No, we cannot believe in our Lord Jesus Christ through our own reason and strength. The Holy Spirit calls, gathers, and enlightens us to the true saving faith through the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Trust in Jesus to be your redeemer from sin, death, and the devil.

Transition: Not only does Jesus tell us what the truth is – He tells us what the truth will do.

2. What this truth does – “the truth will make you free.”

When Pilate asked the Savior what truth was, Jesus gave no answer. Yet Jesus defines and specifies the truth. It is in His word, for He spoke God’s Word. As long as we hold to the word of Jesus, we will be His disciples and will know the truth.

This is not just any “truth.” Not a truth of science, politics, or economics. It is truth personified and spoken by Christ.

It is the truth of life; the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John14:6)

How does Jesus make you free? In the Old Testament, before Jesus came, the high priest performed an annual ceremony on what the people called the Day of Atonement that symbolized the LORD taking our rejection. (Leviticus 16:7-22)

More than any other feast, the Day of Atonement predicted and projected into the future Jesus' work on the cross.

For the ceremony, the priest took two goats. He sacrificed one and sprinkled its blood on and before the mercy seat as an atonement for sin.

He took the other, the scapegoat, and laid both his hands on its head. Then he confessed all the iniquities, transgressions and sins of the children of Israel, symbolically putting them on the goat's head, and sent it away into the wilderness.

Too often, when rejected, we try to make someone else our scapegoat. We blame our mother, father, a sibling, our boss or someone else.

But Jesus is your scapegoat. He took all the rejection you will ever experience on His own head, making you "accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:6)

When you experience loneliness and pain, you can look to Jesus because He experienced that kind of suffering. No one was there to help Him on the cross. He bore them all alone for you.

This inspired Isaiah to write; “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 53:4-5)

Every hardship that was once yours in now His. He knows your temptations. He withstood every one of them. And in His suffering and death, your sin became His own. Your troubles His. Your burdens His. Your weakness His. Your fears and troubles His. Your greatest misdeeds and embarrassments became His.

You need not to listen to foreign voices, which suggest you find peace within yourself. Less drama, fewer worries, less stress, and positive thoughts. Your peace comes not from within. Your peace comes from Jesus, the Christ, the prince of peace. It is a peace which the world about simply cannot give.

 You, too, can trust Christ during your hardest and most difficult times. Carrying rejection will only cause you depression and loss. Yet David teaches, "In Your presence is fullness of joy." (Psalm 16:11) And as Nehemiah wrote, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)  Give your burden to Jesus; He carried it for you!

And, in exchange for all that troubles you the LORD gives you Christ’s perfection, righteousness, holiness and purity. Redeemed, restored, forgiven. That is who you are in Christ. ”There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

Jesus is the Truth, as He clearly teaches, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Knowing the Truth will sets you at liberty—free from sin, free from condemnation, and free from death as St. Paul taught, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life…There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 6:22; 8:1–2).

 Jesus Christ, your truth and freedom, is also your continuing hope. “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My words, he will never see death.” (John 8:51)

Live in this hope. Reformation Day reminds us how we live in hope, namely, by daily contrition for the sins that cling to us in this world and in the firm faith that God continually forgives us our sins for Christ’s sake. Now you are free. Free to worship God and serve your neighbor in love.

 

Words-1,490
Passive Sentences –1 %
Readability –79.5 %
Reading Level – 5.0

 



Luther's Seal, copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

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


Friday, October 29, 2021

Saturday prior to reformation

 

Sunday’s hymn of the day, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (LSB656) is Luther’s great battle hymn of the Reformation. Based on the Psalm of the day, Psalm 46, it reflects complete confidence in God, even when faced by a host of devils and the earthly adversities they bring. They can harm us none, for they have been felled—defeated—by one little Word, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Savior.

Luther’s explanation of his seal (from a letter he wrote to Lazarus Spengler, city clerk of Nürnberg, in July 1530):

Honorable, kind, dear Sir and Friend! Since you ask whether my seal has come out correctly, I shall answer most amiably and tell you of those thoughts which now come to my mind about my seal as a symbol of my theology.

There is first to be a cross, black and placed in a heart, which should be of its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. For if one believes from the heart he will be justified. Even though it is a black cross, which mortifies and which also should hurt us, yet it leaves the heart in its natural color and does not ruin nature; that is, the cross does not kill but keeps man alive. For the just man lives by faith, but by faith in the Crucified One. Such a heart is to be in the midst of a white rose, to symbolize that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace; in a word it places the believer into a white joyful rose; for this faith does not give peace and joy as the world gives and, therefore, the rose is to be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and of all the angels. Such a rose is to be in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in the Spirit and in faith is a beginning of the future heavenly joy; it is already a part of faith, and is grasped through hope, even though not yet manifest. And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that in heaven such blessedness lasts forever and has no end, and in addition is precious beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.

May Christ, our dear Lord, be with your spirit until the life to come. Amen.[2]

 

Prayer for defending the Church from error: Almighty and everlasting God, You would have all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. By Your almighty power and unsearchable wisdom break and hinder all the counsels of those who hate Your Word and who, by corrupt teaching, would destroy it. Enlighten them with the knowledge of Your glory that they may know the riches of Your heavenly grace and, in peace and righteousness, serve You, the only true God; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.[3]-30 October 2021


[1] Luther’s Seal copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

[2] Explanation from Luther’s Works, American Edition, vol. 49, pp. 358-359.

[3] Collect for Defending the Church from error, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Morning Prayer #39

 


Sampson Part 2

Judges 15-16 

(Selective Verses)



Then the Philistines came up and encamped in Judah and made a raid on Lehi. 10 And the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” They said, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he did to us.”14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines came shouting to meet him. Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that has caught fire, and his bonds melted off his hands. 15 And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. 

 

4 After this he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.”


17 And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If my head is shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up again, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands.20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him. 22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.



23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, and they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” 25 And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. They made him stand between the pillars. 26 And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.

 

28 Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30 And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. 

 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

Illustration from a 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 used by permission for personal and congregational use. 


Friday prior to Reformation

 

John 8:31–36Sunday’s Gospel speaks of the freedom we find in the Truth of Jesus Christ. All of us were born into slavery—the slavery of sin. But Christ has set us free from our bondage by His atoning sacrifice. The One who declares, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life tells us here that the Truth shall set us free. The Truth has set us free: the Truth which embodied in Christ Jesus and the Truth which He declares to us in His Word. We are free, indeed!

When Pilate asked Jesus what truth was, he gave no answer. In this passage Jesus defines the truth. It is in his word, for he spoke God’s Word. As long as we hold to the word of Jesus, we will be his disciples and will know the truth. It is not a truth of science, politics, or economics. It is religious truth personified and spoken by Christ. It is the truth of God and life.

Though it has only two letters, it is a big word. Jesus says we will know the truth and be free “if” we continue in his word. It is possible to lose the word of Jesus through negligence or unconcern. We can fall from the truth and lose our religious freedom if we ever sever ourselves from the Word.

The truth of Christ frees. It does not mean necessarily political or social independence. These may follow. It is freedom in and of religion. Truth frees us from false religious beliefs, superstitions, and practices. Christ’s truth frees us from the Law. Christ frees us from the bondage of sin by his death on the cross. Out of this spiritual freedom come other freedoms. [2]

Collect for Grace: O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, You have safely brought us to the beginning of this day. Defend us in the same with Your mighty power and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doings, being ordered by Your governance, may be righteous in Your sight; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever .[3] -29 October 2021

 



[1] Luther’s Seal copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

[2] Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B, John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

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


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Morning Prayer

 

Sampson Part 1 
Judges 13-14 
(Selective Verses)

And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.3 And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, 5 for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.”24 And the woman bore a son and called his name Samson. And the young man grew, and the Lord blessed him. 

 

14 Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.” 3 But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”

 

4 His father and mother did not know that it was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.

 

5 Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And behold, a young lion came toward him roaring. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7 Then he went down and talked with the woman, and she was right in Samson's eyes.

 

8 After some days he returned to take her. And he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. 9 He scraped it out into his hands and went on, eating as he went. And he came to his father and mother and gave some to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey from the carcass of the lion.

 

10 His father went down to the woman, and Samson prepared a feast there, for so the young men used to do. 11 As soon as the people saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12 And Samson said to them, “Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes, 

 

14 And he said to them,

 

Out of the eater came something to eat.

Out of the strong came something sweet.”

 

And in three days they could not solve the riddle.

 

15 On the fourth day they said to Samson's wife, “Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father's house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?” 16 And Samson's wife wept over him and said, “You only hate me; you do not love me. You have put a riddle to my people, and you have not told me what it is.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told my father nor my mother, and shall I tell you?” 17 She wept before him the seven days that their feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her, because she pressed him hard. Then she told the riddle to her people. 18 And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,

 

What is sweeter than honey?

What is stronger than a lion?

 

And he said to them,

 

If you had not plowed with my heifer,

you would not have found out my riddle.”

 

19 And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck down thirty men of the town and took their spoil and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. In hot anger he went back to his father's house. 20 And Samson's wife was given to his companion, who had been his best man.

 

Footnotes:

Judges 14:15 Septuagint, Syriac; Hebrew seventh

 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

 

Illustration from a 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 used by permission for personal and congregational use.