kneeling fisherman

kneeling fisherman

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Your REAL estate...


Verse for the week: May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. Colossians 1.11-12

Prayer for the week: “Almighty God, draw our hearts to you, guide our minds, fill our imaginations, control our wills, so that we may be wholly yours.  Use us as you will, always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.” (Prayer for Self-Dedication, Lutheran Book of Worship #203, Minister’s Edition, p. 111). 

Bible reading for the day: Psalm 16
1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
prayer (based on TRIP** method):  Gracious and almighty Father, you are my refuge, my cup, my real estate… thank you!  It is so true Lord: the sorrows of those who run after another god just multiply.  Deliver me always from that trap. Each day, make me to know your path and hold me in your right hand… that in all distress I may know your grasp and in your presence know the fullness of joy.  I ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a new hymn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3gLeCiMJqI   …or this link to a beloved classic, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNq0WtMSmIY  both give further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord.

“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. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

No longer any offering


Verse for the week: May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. Colossians 1.11-12

Prayer for the week: “Almighty God, draw our hearts to you, guide our minds, fill our imaginations, control our wills, so that we may be wholly yours.  Use us as you will, always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.” (Prayer for Self-Dedication, Lutheran Book of Worship #203, Minister’s Edition, p. 111). 

Bible reading for the day: Hebrews 10.11-25
11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
17 then he adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

prayer (based on TRIP** method):  Gracious and almighty Father, forgiving sinners like us is a BIG job. Thank you for getting it done in once and for all through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for us.  Repent us of wanting to go back to a defunct religious system.  As the Day draws nearer, guide us instead to hold fast in our confession of you, to stir one another to love and good works, and to continue to come together to worship you.  I ask this in the name of the one who is faithful: Jesus Christ, our Lord. 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=ENtL_li4GbE

“I believe in Jesus Christ…”
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 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. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Your birth is painful


Verse for the week: May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. Colossians 1.11-12

Prayer for the week: “Almighty God, draw our hearts to you, guide our minds, fill our imaginations, control our wills, so that we may be wholly yours.  Use us as you will, always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.” (Prayer for Self-Dedication, Lutheran Book of Worship #203, Minister’s Edition, p. 111). 

Bible reading for the day: Mark 13.1-8
And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5 And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
9 “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

prayer (based on TRIP** method):  Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for the new birth that always comes for us when you bring your kingdom. Repent us of wanting to stay in our wonderful religious kingdoms and avoid the pains.  Throw down what needs to be thrown down and build up your kingdom, right among us. Especially when the coming of your kingdom hurts, grant us not to be alarmed but to expect it... and grant that we may endure to the end.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a classic hymn that gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CF9cTcOm5o (to sing all four verses, you will have to restart the track, since the pianist only plays for two verses.)

“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.  

Monday, November 12, 2018

On Veterans' Day


I Peter 2.13-17 Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Excerpts from “Whether Soldiers, Too, Can Be Saved”
“Do not be tempted to think of yourself as though you were the Turkish Sultan (overly eager for blood & power).  Wait until the situation compels you to fight when you have no desire to do so…you will be able to say with heartfelt sincerity, ‘How I would like to have peace.  If only my neighbors wanted it too!’ Then you can defend yourself with a good conscience, for God’s word says, ‘He scatters the peoples who delight in war.’  Look at the real soldiers, those who have played the game of war. They are not quick to draw their sword, they are not contentious; they have no desire to fight.  But when someone forces them to fight, watch out!  They are not playing games.  Their sword is tight in the sheath, but if they have to draw, it does not return bloodless to the scabbard. …For it is God who does the deeds; he desires peace and is the enemy of those who start wars and break the peace.
…Even though you are absolutely certain that you are not starting a war but are being forced into one, you should still fear God and remember him.  You should not march out to war saying, ‘Ah, now I have been forced to fight and have good cause for going to war.’ You ought not to think that that justifies anything you do and plunge headlong into battle.  It is indeed true that you have a really good reason to go to war and to defend yourself, but that does not give you God’s guarantee that you will win. …for God cannot endure such pride and confidence except in a man who humbles himself before him and fears him.
…God wants to be feared and he wants to hear us sing from our hearts a song like this, ‘Dear Lord, you see that I have to go to war, though I would rather not.  I do not trust, however, in the justice of my cause, but in your grace and mercy, for I know that if I were to rely on the justness of my cause and were confident because of it, you would rightly let me fall as one whose fall was just, because I relied upon my being right and not upon your sheer grace and kindness.’” (Luther’s Works, American Edition, volume 46, p.119-123, Fortress Press/Philadelphia, 1967)

Prayer: Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for your mercy in Christ, for your will to protect good and punish evil, and for those who have given military service to our nation. For those who serve now, grant them confidence and humility for their calling that they may perform their duties well.  Keep their minds and bodies pure.  Protect them, continually teach them honor, and make them effective witnesses to you. For those who have retired from military service, grant them the reward of a race well run, a fight well fought.  Relieve them any guilt; guard them from arrogance or bitterness, and draw them always to you. I ask this in the name of the one who has won ultimate victory over our sin, death and the devil; your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

“Give us this day our daily bread…”
What does this mean?
God indeed gives daily bread to all sinners, even without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that he would help us to recognize this so that we would receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.
What is meant by daily bread?
Daily bread includes everything required to meet our earthly needs, such as food, drink, clothing, home, property, employment, necessities, devout parents, children, and communities, honest and faithful authorities, good government, seasonable weather, peace, health, an orderly society, a good reputation, true friends and neighbors, and the like. (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther, ©Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you his peace. Amen.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

True God, not a copy

For sinners like you and me, only the real one can get the job done.


Verse for the week: “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.”  Psalm 146.5

Bible reading for the day:  Hebrews. 9.24-28 (written in 95AD, the letter to the Hebrews declares that by the superior sacrifice of himself, Christ has fulfilled the Old Testament and has dealt with sin, once for all. He will return to save those who are waiting for him.)
24For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

 Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Father, you know that real sinners like us need the real savior, not a copy made by our hands or ideas. Thank you for sending Jesus to get the job done once and for all!  With his own blood, he has put away my sin; keep me from taking it out again. While I wait for his return, so convict me and so assure me with the merciful judgment he has rendered on my behalf that I may wait eagerly for him and be of true help to my neighbor. 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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU23M_vSdkU

“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 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.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What will you learn from this widow?


Verse for the week: “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.”  Psalm 146.5

Bible reading for the day: Mark 12.38-44
 38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40 who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 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. 44 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.”

Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for respecting neither our religious pedigrees and projects, nor our pretentious prayers. Thank you for the witness of this widow who is all-in with you. Holding on to the wrong thing or person, to anything or anyone other than you only leads to our condemnation, Lord… so free us so that we cling to you alone the way she does. 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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5DXzz-eECI

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 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, November 6, 2018

On election day...


Verse for the week:“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.”  Psalm 146.5

Bible reading for the day:  Psalm 146
 1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;

8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!

Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for your Son Jesus, he is our hope and our healer… our savior and Lord. Thank you. Repent us of the trap of putting our trust in princes, presidents, human governments: republican, democrat, independent… they all return to the dust and their plans perish.  Until our breath departs from me and my congregation, humble us and open our eyes that we may daily sing your praises and be of help to our neighbor. I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a classic hymn that connects with today’s conversation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-3d2QZ2rPE   Go ahead…belt it outJ.

“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 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.