kneeling fisherman

kneeling fisherman

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Single or married...

...your calling is to be lived out in your body.

Verse for the week: “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.”   Psalm 62.5

Prayer for this week: “Lord, open our ears and hearts, that we may heed your hidden wisdom and let your word be a light to our path.  Speak to us through your living word, that we may obey your call and follow him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (K.B. Ritter, Gebete für das jahr der Kirche, 2nd  ed. Kassel: Barenreiter Verlag, 1948, p.180 )

Bible reading for the day:  I Corinthians 7.25-35 (note: In first century A.D., Christ’s return is perceived to be imminent. As we wait, Paul gives not a command from the Lord but his own judgment on how we ought to wait whether we are married or single persons.  I encourage you to take a few minutes to read the whole 7th chapter…it will stay in your head & heart for life)
25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is.27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.
32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.

Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Lord, thank you for setting our hopes and confidence not on things of this world which will all pass away…but on Christ and his eternal promise for your people.  Thank you!  Now, as we wait for the new day that you alone will bring, grant me such devotion to you that my citizenship in your kingdom may be clearly evident in my relationship with my spouse and with the rest of my neighbors…so that even through us the world may receive a glimpse of your kingdom to come.  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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcNLvufzbz0

The Sixth Commandment: You shall not commit adultery.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.  (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.  

Monday, January 15, 2018

How God's kingdom comes

Verse for the week: “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.”           Psalm 62.5

Prayer for this week: “Lord, open our ears and hearts, that we may heed your hidden wisdom and let your word be a light to our path.  Speak to us through your living word, that we may obey your call and follow him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (K.B. Ritter, Gebete für das jahr der Kirche, 2nd  ed. Kassel: Barenreiter Verlag, 1948, p.180 )

Bible reading for the day:  Jonah 3.1-10 (note: This is the only the middle part of the story of the Lord’s work on and through Jonah. The FIRST time the Lord called Jonah, Jonah tried to flee.  This time, well…)
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days' journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.

The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Lord, thank you for Jonah and all the other preachers you ride to deliver your word; and thank you for giving me the faith to believe you.  Repent me and your whole church of putting ourselves above your word or fleeing from it.  Speak to us a second time, get us up, and use us to proclaim your judgment upon sin and your mercy for sinners.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

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: 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.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

What does God know about you?

Well...

Prayer for this week: “Almighty God, loving Father, you govern all things in heaven and earth and make all things new through your almighty word.  Transform our sinful nature and all our doings by the power of your Holy Spirit, that we may please you and attain perfect joy, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (Otto Schlisske, Christliche Unterweisung im Jahr der Kirche (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1949), p.99 )

Bible reading for the day:  Psalm 139.1-12 (note: this is only the first half of Psalm 139, the second half is waiting for you)
   O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

7Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Lord, thank you for knowing me: knowing my habits, my days & nights, my words, knowing even my thoughts better than I do myself…and for taking ALL of this upon yourself in Jesus Christ, thank you!  Deliver me from myself, change what needs to be changed… and overthrow me sweetly again today… that I may know the deep joy of your constant presence and may praise you.  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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcNLvufzbz0

“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: Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.  Amen.  II Thess 2.16-17

*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, January 10, 2018

Jesus loves to speak to a sinner like you

...here's what he says.

Verse for the week: “The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1.17

Prayer for this week: “Almighty God, loving Father, you govern all things in heaven and earth and make all things new through your almighty word.  Transform our sinful nature and all our doings by the power of your Holy Spirit, that we may please you and attain perfect joy, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (Otto Schlisske, Christliche Unterweisung im Jahr der Kirche (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1949), p.99 )

Bible reading for the day:  John 1.43-51
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Lord, thank you for calling me and your whole church to follow you.  Repent us of wanting to follow ourselves or to follow just a fantastic Jesus who impresses us.  Speak to us and give us faith that clings to the real Jesus, crucified and raised for sinners like us…give us such faith to follow where you have already led the way… right to our neighbor.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

What is the significance of baptizing with water?
It signifies that the old Adam in us, together with all sins and evil desires, should be drowned by daily sorrow for sin and repentance and be put to death, and that the new person should come forth every day and rise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
Where is this written?
Saint Paul says in Romans, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources Sola Publishing, 2011)


Benediction: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all.  Amen.  II Cor 13.14

*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, January 9, 2018

Can you hear me now?

Verse for the week: “The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1.17

Bible reading for the day:  I Samuel 3.1-20
1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD in the presence of Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision.
2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
4 Then the LORD called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” 5 and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down.
6 And the LORD called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 11 Then the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
15 Samuel lay until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16 But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” And he said, “Here I am.” 17 And Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” 18 So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the LORD. Let him do what seems good to him.”
19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD.

Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Lord, thank you for your persistent calling of each one of us.  Repent me and your church of being slow to listen to you and slow to speak your word.  Speak Lord, and use me and my congregation as your delivery boys and girls to speak the truth in love… precisely when it is most needed…that your will may be done among us.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

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

“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: The God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.  (Romans 15.13)

*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, January 8, 2018

Your soul and your sex organs, inextricably connected

...and guess who both belong to?

Prayer for the week: “Almighty God, loving Father, you govern all things in heaven and earth and make all things new through your almighty word.  Transform our sinful nature and all our doings by the power of your Holy Spirit, that we may please you and attain perfect joy, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (Otto Schlisske, Christliche Unterweisung im Jahr der Kirche (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1949), p.99 )

Bible reading for the day:  I Corinthians 6.12-20
12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Lord, thank you that our bodies are not our own… that we belong body & soul to you.  Repent me and my brothers and sisters of using our bodies in any way that is outside your will, whether it is over-indulgence or in the most costly way: sexual immorality. Send your word & Holy Spirit to our ears and hearts in such a way that we glorify you in our bodies.  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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcNLvufzbz0

The Sixth Commandment: You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20.14)
What does this mean for us?
We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other. (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)


Benediction: The God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.  (Romans 15.13)

*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, January 4, 2018

Skipping like a calf

...is how the Lord's voice renders you.

Prayer for the week: Lord God, mercifully hear our prayer. As this new year begins,grant that we may know the things we ought to do, and give us, we pray, your grace and power to do them; through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Bible reading for the day: Psalm 29
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the Lord, over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
    the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
    and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
    the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord makes the oaks whirl
    and strips the forests bare,
    and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
    the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
    May the Lord bless his people with peace!

prayer(based on the TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, your voice is the generator that needs no fuel: producing of itself life and power… thundering and yet tender… accomplishing what you speak. Thank you for using your voice to strip me of my self and give me new life and full confidence in Christ’s mercy… his forgiveness for me and for a whole race of sinners… that’s enough to make us skip like a calf in springtime to be sure. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Music: follow this link to a scene from Handel’s “Messiah” which gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rU6TzPvxrh8

What gifts or benefits does Baptism bring?
It brings about forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe, as the Word and promise of God declare.
What is this Word and promise of God?
It is the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the last chapter of Mark, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).  (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.  (Philippians 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.