kneeling fisherman

kneeling fisherman

Thursday, March 31, 2016

You are hereby authorized...

Verse for the week: I am the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Revelation 1.18

Prayer for the Week: “Almighty God, by the death of your Son you have destroyed sin and death, and by his resurrection you have restored innocence and everlasting life, in order that, delivered from the power of the devil, we may live in your kingdom.  Grant that we may believe this with our whole heart, and, steadfast in this faith, may praise and thank you evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.” (Martin Luther, Klugsches Gesangbuch, 1553; text in Allgemeines Evangelisches Gebetbuch, 1955, p.430)

Bible reading for the day:  John 20.19-23              
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

prayer(based on the TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for not letting the tomb keep you in nor any of our fears and doubts keep you out.  Thank you for coming to my congregation and me and giving us your peace. Now you’ve given us a mission to fulfill; repent us of letting our fears keep our mouths locked shut when they should be fulfilling this mission by forgiving and retaining sin. You have given us your Holy Spirit, now lead me and my congregation right into our families and the neighborhood to announce what you have to say to sinners. I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

What is the Office of the Keys?
It is the unique power which Christ has given to his church on earth to forgive the sins of penitent sinners, and to retain the sins of the impenitent so long as they do not repent.
As Christ himself declares:
“If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld” (John 20:23 ESV).
 “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18 ESV).  (from The Small Catechism, by Martin Luther, © Reclaim Resources, Sola Publishing, 2011)

Hymn: follow this link to a beloved, classic hymn that gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord:

benediction:    And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you this day.  To him be the power forever and ever.  Amen.    (1 Pet 5:10) 

*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  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.  

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