kneeling fisherman

kneeling fisherman

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The ultimate live stream...


Verse for the week: “I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”  Zechariah 12.10

Prayer for the week:  God, our heavenly Father, through your Son you have promised us the Holy Spirit.  Send down upon us that Spirit, that he may teach us to show forth your praise, not only here on earth in weakness, since we know your power and glory only from afar, but also in power and glory on that day when, united with the choir of angels, we shall see you face to face; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.  Amen. (K.B. Ritter, Gebete fur das jahr der Kirche,2nd ed. Kassel: Johannes Stauda-Verlag, 1948, p.150)

Bible reading for the day: Revelation 21.9-14, 22-27 (note: At the end of the first century AD, Christians in Asia Minor were being commanded to curse Christ and pledge allegiance to Caesar Domitian as their lord and god. Instead of bearing false witness to Jesus, an exiled Christian named John confesses the hope that is ours in Christ, the reality that will finally break for us one day.)
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
22And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for choosing me and your whole church to be the bride of Christ. When we are finally reunited with our Bridegroom our joy will be almost indescribable. You and your Son will be our sanctuary, our temple, our joy… and we and the whole host will stream in through the pearly gates finally bringing you glory and honor all the time. Until then Lord, the present reality can crush us and attack our faith so sustain us with courage for today and hope in your promised tomorrow; through Jesus Christ, the Lamb, our Bridegroom. Amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a beloved classic hymn that gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGBrq-C5VYE

“Thy kingdom come…”
What does this mean?
The kingdom of God comes indeed by itself, without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may also come to us.
How is this done?
God's kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us his Holy Spirit, so that by his grace we believe his holy Word and live a godly life now and in eternity.  (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther, ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

Benediction:  The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen.  Phil 4.7

*There are many patterns for devotions.  This pattern has been followed by God’s people for centuries.
**The T.R.I.P. approach to prayer is based on the way Martin Luther prayed and taught others to pray.  It was later developed by Walter and Ingrid Trobisch and then adapted by Mount Carmel Ministries (Alexandria, MN www.dailytext.com).  The method is founded on scripture and easy to remember:                                                                                        T: thanksgiving
                                                          R: regret (repentance)
                                                          I: intercession (asking God to take a specific action)
                                                          P: plan or purpose
Reading a biblical text and then applying this method gives one a sound, simple way to form one’s prayers...not to mention that it helps one learn how to faithfully reflect on God’s Word and talk to God. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Until the day when you have nothing left to ask of Jesus...


Verse for the week: “I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”  Zechariah 12.10

Prayer for the week:  God, our heavenly Father, through your Son you have promised us the Holy Spirit.  Send down upon us that Spirit, that he may teach us to show forth your praise, not only here on earth in weakness, since we know your power and glory only from afar, but also in power and glory on that day when, united with the choir of angels, we shall see you face to face; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.  Amen. (K.B. Ritter, Gebete fur das jahr der Kirche,2nd ed. Kassel: Johannes Stauda-Verlag, 1948, p.150)

Bible reading for the day: John 16.22-33 (note: it is the night of Jesus’ arrest. He knows that all his disciples will flee him. He has told them that they cannot bear what he has to say to them, that his Holy Spirit will take what is his and declare it to them.)
So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 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.”

Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for Jesus’ promise that one day we will have nothing left to ask of him, we long for that day. In the meantime, forgive us for being so easily scattered away from you and one another. In the thick of our tribulation, move us to call on you, Father, in your Son’s name… that we may trust in his victory over our sin, death and the Devil. In Jesus’ name I ask this, amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a hymn that gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvLxZEU02uI

“I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord…”
What does this mean?
I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!  (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther, ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

Benediction:  The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen.  Phil 4.7

*There are many patterns for devotions.  This pattern has been followed by God’s people for centuries.
**The T.R.I.P. approach to prayer is based on the way Martin Luther prayed and taught others to pray.  It was later developed by Walter and Ingrid Trobisch and then adapted by Mount Carmel Ministries (Alexandria, MN www.dailytext.com).  The method is founded on scripture and easy to remember:                                                                                        T: thanksgiving
                                                          R: regret (repentance)
                                                          I: intercession (asking God to take a specific action)
                                                          P: plan or purpose
Reading a biblical text and then applying this method gives one a sound, simple way to form one’s prayers...not to mention that it helps one learn how to faithfully reflect on God’s Word and talk to God. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Gospel plays offense

...through your mouth.


Verse for the week: “I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication.”  Zechariah 12.10

Prayer of the week:  God, our heavenly Father, through your Son you have promised us the Holy Spirit.  Send down upon us that Spirit, that he may teach us to show forth your praise, not only here on earth in weakness, since we know your power and glory only from afar, but also in power and glory on that day when, united with the choir of angels, we shall see you face to face; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.  Amen. (K.B. Ritter, Gebete fur das jahr der Kirche,2nd ed. Kassel: Johannes Stauda-Verlag, 1948, p.150)

Bible reading for the day:  Acts 16.9-15
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for choosing sinners like Paul and me as your missionaries. We likely don’t have to go hundreds of miles away… people like Lydia are all around us; repent us of not listening to your directions, not preaching the good news of the forgiveness of their sins in Jesus. Lord, you will take care of opening people’s hearts to your Word… send us and open our mouths and our lives to deliver it; I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Hymn: follow either of these links to beloved classics that give further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZzIiaMDQxs or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64oo7z7tjsw

I believe in the Holy Spirit…
What does this mean?
I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers. At the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!  (from the Small Catechism, by Martin Luther, ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

Benediction:  The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen.  Phil 4.7

*There are many patterns for devotions.  This pattern has been followed by God’s people for centuries.
**The T.R.I.P. approach to prayer is based on the way Martin Luther prayed and taught others to pray.  It was later developed by Walter and Ingrid Trobisch and then adapted by Mount Carmel Ministries (Alexandria, MN www.dailytext.com).  The method is founded on scripture and easy to remember:                                                                                        T: thanksgiving
                                                          R: regret (repentance)
                                                          I: intercession (asking God to take a specific action)
                                                          P: plan or purpose
Reading a biblical text and then applying this method gives one a sound, simple way to form one’s prayers...not to mention that it helps one learn how to faithfully reflect on God’s Word and talk to God. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

All things... including you


Verse for the week: If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1.7) 

Prayer for the week: Almighty and everlasting God, in the wonder of Christ’s death and resurrection, you reconciled the world to yourself and entrusted your message to us.  Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s body may be ambassadors for him, showing forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.  (adapted from The Book of Common Prayer, based on II Corinthians 5)

Bible reading for the day:  Revelation 21.1-8
 1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

prayer(based on the TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, even as we live now among the former things you are making all things – including us – new in Christ; thank you! Repent us of all cowardliness, faithlessness, immorality and the like… by these we only bring the second death upon ourselves. Until that day when you finally wipe away every tear and completely do away with the former things, sustain us in the only one who is trustworthy and true: Christ our conqueror, that we may delight in the heritage you have already given us.  I ask this through the same, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a contemporary hymn that gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqfQjxSWjWs

Thy will be done…
What does this mean?
The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.
How is this done?
God's will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.
 (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

benediction:  May the God of peace himself grow you in his will entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.  Amen.  I Thess 5.23

*There are many patterns for devotions.  This pattern has been followed by God’s people for centuries.
**The T.R.I.P. approach to prayer is based on the way Martin Luther prayed and taught others to pray.  It was later developed by Walter and Ingrid Trobisch and then adapted by Mount Carmel Ministries (Alexandria, MN www.dailytext.com).  The method is founded on scripture and easy to remember:                                                                                        T: thanksgiving
                                                          R: regret (repentance)
                                                          I: intercession (asking God to take a specific action)
                                                          P: plan or purpose
Reading a biblical text and then applying this method gives one a sound, simple way to form one’s prayers...not to mention that it helps one learn how to faithfully reflect on God’s Word and talk to God. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Gift of the Unbearable Truth


Verse for the week: If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1.7) 

Prayer for the week: Almighty and everlasting God, in the wonder of Christ’s death and resurrection, you reconciled the world to yourself and entrusted your message to us.  Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s body may be ambassadors for him, showing forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.  (adapted from The Book of Common Prayer, based on II Corinthians 5)

Bible reading for the day: John 16.12-15 (note: The setting is the night of Jesus’ arrest. He knows what’s coming, and that his beloved disciples will all flee)
 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

prayer(based on the TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for your Holy Spirit who takes Christ’s righteousness and declares it to me, for me right now. Kill off my pride and that of my congregation which constantly wills to earn, decide, or deserve what you insist on giving as gift. Deliver us from our own authority and lead us under yours… that we may be guided into the blessed truth that you alone declare sinners like us to be righteous; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a beloved classic that gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWdNgXSd46Y

“I believe in Holy Spirit…
What does this mean?
I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers. At the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true! (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

benediction:   The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
                        The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in
                        From this time on and forevermore.  Ps 121.7-8

*There are many patterns for devotions.  This pattern has been followed by God’s people for centuries.
**The T.R.I.P. approach to prayer is based on the way Martin Luther prayed and taught others to pray.  It was later developed by Walter and Ingrid Trobisch and then adapted by Mount Carmel Ministries (Alexandria, MN www.dailytext.com).  The method is founded on scripture and easy to remember:                                                                                        T: thanksgiving
                                                          R: regret (repentance)
                                                          I: intercession (asking God to take a specific action)
                                                          P: plan or purpose
Reading a biblical text and then applying this method gives one a sound, simple way to form one’s prayers...not to mention that it helps one learn how to faithfully reflect on God’s Word and talk to God. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

You've got a place in the choir

...and the best song to sing.


Verse for the week: If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1.7) 

Prayer for the week: Almighty and everlasting God, in the wonder of Christ’s death and resurrection, you reconciled the world to yourself and entrusted your message to us.  Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s body may be ambassadors for him, showing forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.  (adapted from The Book of Common Prayer, based on II Corinthians 5)

Bible reading for the day:  Psalm 148  
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon,
    praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
    and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord!
    For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
    he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
    stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Beasts and all livestock,
    creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
    princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and maidens together,
    old men and children!

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
    praise for all his saints,
    for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!

prayer(based on the TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, such is your work in Christ that all creation – from the distant stars at night to small birds close by in the morning, from the great fish of the deep to the cattle of the field – all creation and your people young and old cannot help but praise you. Thank you! Repent me and my congregation of muting this song rather than joining it. Every hour give us ears to hear the horn you have sounded for us in Christ: the horn that announces victory over sin, death and the devil and calls us into the good fight of faith until Christ’s return. In Jesus’ name I ask this, amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a beloved classic that gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhycL4h64_s

“I believe in God the Father almighty…
What does this mean?
I believe that God has created me and all that exists, that he has given me and still preserves my body and soul, my eyes and ears, my reason and all my senses, together with food and clothing, home and family, and all my property. Every day he provides abundantly for all the needs of my life. He protects me from all danger and guards and keeps me from every evil. He does this purely out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it. Therefore I ought to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true! (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

benediction:   The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
                        The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in
                        From this time on and forevermore.  Ps 121.7-8


*There are many patterns for devotions.  This pattern has been followed by God’s people for centuries.
**The T.R.I.P. approach to prayer is based on the way Martin Luther prayed and taught others to pray.  It was later developed by Walter and Ingrid Trobisch and then adapted by Mount Carmel Ministries (Alexandria, MN www.dailytext.com).  The method is founded on scripture and easy to remember:                                                                                        T: thanksgiving
                                                          R: regret (repentance)
                                                          I: intercession (asking God to take a specific action)
                                                          P: plan or purpose
Reading a biblical text and then applying this method gives one a sound, simple way to form one’s prayers...not to mention that it helps one learn how to faithfully reflect on God’s Word and talk to God. 


Monday, May 13, 2019

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision

...but a new creation.


Verse for the week: If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1.7) 

Prayer for the week: Almighty and everlasting God, in the wonder of Christ’s death and resurrection, you reconciled the world to yourself, erased your own score against us, and entrusted your message to us. Thank you. Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s body may be ambassadors for him, showing forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.  (adapted from The Book of Common Prayer, based on II Corinthians 5)

Bible reading for the day:  Acts 11.1-18  Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, 3 “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began and explained it to them in order: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. 6 Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 10 This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. 11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. 12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man's house. 13 And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14 he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

prayer(based on the TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, your favorite activity is to make dirty sinners from every tribe clean and grant them the repentance that leads to life; thank you for doing so even for me. Thank you!  Repent me and your church of our myopia and of doubting the clean-up power of Jesus’ blood. Send us out with the saving news of Christ into a world that desperately needs repentance.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a beloved, classic hymn which gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://vimeo.com/46203440

“I believe in the Holy Spirit…
What does this mean?
I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers. At the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true.  (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

benediction: Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:20-21) 

*There are many patterns for devotions.  This pattern has been followed by God’s people for centuries.
**The T.R.I.P. approach to prayer is based on the way Martin Luther prayed and taught others to pray.  It was later developed by Walter and Ingrid Trobisch and then adapted by Mount Carmel Ministries (Alexandria, MN www.dailytext.com).  The method is founded on scripture and easy to remember:                                                                                        T: thanksgiving
                                                          R: regret (repentance)
                                                          I: intercession (asking God to take a specific action)
                                                          P: plan or purpose
Reading a biblical text and then applying this method gives one a sound, simple way to form one’s prayers...not to mention that it helps one learn how to faithfully reflect on God’s Word and talk to God.