kneeling fisherman

kneeling fisherman

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Jesus exercises his authority


Verse for the week:  God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.  Acts 2.36

Prayer for the week: “Almighty, everlasting God, you have given us the promise of your divine life.  Bestow upon us your Holy Spirit, that, quickened by your word, we may lay hold on eternal life by strong faith in your Son, and in him be saved; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen. (K.B. Ritter, Gebete fur das Jahr der Kirche, 2nd ed. (Kassel: Johannes Stauda-Verllag, 1948), p.170)

Bible reading for the day: Luke 8.26-39
Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” 29 For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. 32 Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.
34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 36 And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. 37 Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Father, demons recognize Christ often before we do… and He knows exactly what to do with them. Thank you for your authority afoot in Christ. Repent me and my congregation of fearing Jesus rather than trusting him. Again today, have your say over me and instead of letting me get comfortable in the Physician’s office… send me back to my neighbors to declare all that you have done for me. In Jesus’ name I ask this, amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a beloved classic which gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3n8GAYg3Tg

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, June 17, 2019

The Seeker and the sought


Verse for the week:  God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.  Acts 2.36

Prayer for the week:  “Almighty, everlasting God, you have given us the promise of your divine life.  Bestow upon us your Holy Spirit, that, quickened by your word, we may lay hold on eternal life by strong faith in your Son, and in him be saved; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen. (K.B. Ritter, Gebete fur das Jahr der Kirche, 2nd ed. (Kassel: Johannes Stauda-Verllag, 1948), p.170)

Bible reading for the day: Isaiah 65.1-9
I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
    I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
    to a nation that was not called by my name.
I spread out my hands all the day
    to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
    following their own devices;
a people who provoke me
    to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens
    and making offerings on bricks;
who sit in tombs,
    and spend the night in secret places;
who eat pig's flesh,
    and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels;
who say, “Keep to yourself,
    do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
    a fire that burns all the day.
Behold, it is written before me:
    “I will not keep silent, but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their lap
    both your iniquities and your fathers' iniquities together,
says the Lord;
because they made offerings on the mountains
    and insulted me on the hills,
I will measure into their lap
    payment for their former deeds.”

Thus says the Lord:
“As the new wine is found in the cluster,
    and they say, ‘Do not destroy it,
    for there is a blessing in it,’
so I will do for my servants' sake,
    and not destroy them all.
I will bring forth offspring from Jacob,
    and from Judah possessors of my mountains;
my chosen shall possess it,
    and my servants shall dwell there.

Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for seeking me and my congregation with your mercy in Christ, even when we sought you not. Each hour, guard us yet from getting lost in the deadly trap of trusting ourselves and subliminally telling you to keep to yourself. Blessed Jesus, you have sought us, seek us still; in your name I ask it. Amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a beloved classic which gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrxxmObv2-s

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. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

What the Holy Spirit declares to you


Verse for the week: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.  Isaiah 6.3

Prayer for the week: “Lord God, almighty, immortal, invisible, the mysteries of your being are beyond us, yet you reveal yourself to us. Accept our praises for the revelation which you have made of yourself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons and one God; and mercifully grant that, ever holding fast this faith, we may magnify your glorious name; for you live and reign, one God, now and forever.  Amen. (John Dowden, Book of Common Prayer, Scotland; Suter, The Book of English Collects, p. 34. Revised by PJO)

Bible reading for the day:  John 16.12-15
“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 sending us the Spirit of truth, your Holy Spirit, to take Jesus’ righteousness and declare it to me and my fellow sinners. Thank you! There are plenty of lies surrounding us and within ourselves… all sourcing from the father of lies. Repent me and my brothers and sisters of giving any of them our ear.  By your Spirit, make our ears hungry for and attentive to all that you have to declare to us… that we may delight in the immeasurable heritage that is ours in your Son, Christ Jesus the Lord. Amen.

Hymn: follow this link a beloved classic which gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rc3kg7OIeQ

“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:    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, June 12, 2019

The Majestic One's favorite handiwork...


Verse for the week: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.  Is 6.3

Prayer for the week: “Lord God, almighty, immortal, invisible, the mysteries of your being are beyond us yet you reveal yourself to us. Accept our praises for the revelation which you have made of yourself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons and one God; and mercifully grant that, ever holding fast this faith, we may magnify your glorious name; for you live and reign, one God, now and forever.  Amen.” (John Dowden, Book of Common Prayer, Scotland; Suter, The Book of English Collects, p. 34.)

Bible reading for the day:  Psalm 8
O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

prayer(based on the TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you: you are the majestic one, high above all… and yet you are mindful of me and care for me perfectly. Thank you!  You have given my brothers & sisters and me dominion over plenty; repent us of wanting dominion over you. Today, give me ears to hear your strength made perfect in the infant Christ and in him crucified for sinners; humble us and encourage us by your majesty brought so near to us and sacrificed for us in Jesus… in his name I pray. 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=Cc0QVWzCv9k

“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:    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, June 11, 2019

God's generous pour


Verse for the week: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.  Is 6.3

Prayer for the week: “Lord God, almighty, immortal, invisible, the mysteries of your being are beyond us yet you reveal yourself to us. Accept our praises for the revelation which you have made of yourself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons and one God; and mercifully grant that, ever holding fast this faith, we may magnify your glorious name; for you live and reign, one God, now and forever.  Amen. (John Dowden, Book of Common Prayer, Scotland; Suter, The Book of English Collects, p. 34.)

Bible reading for the day:  Romans 5.1-5
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

prayer(based on the TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for moving us from wrong to right by grace through faith in Jesus Christ; thank you!  Repent me and your whole church of trying to justify ourselves, of putting our hope in any other, and of shunning the suffering that goes with following Christ. Our hearts are leaky vessels Lord, so please pour into them daily your love through the Holy Spirit. Through suffering produce in us endurance, the endurance that produces character… and that makes us honorable in your eyes, in your embrace,  not our own. I ask this in Jesus’ name, 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=l5LN1ZvwWfs

The Apostles’ Creed   
I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

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, June 10, 2019

What's better than silver and gold...


Verse for the week: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.  Is 6.3

Prayer for the week: “Lord God, almighty, immortal, invisible, the mysteries of your being are beyond yet you reveal yourself to us: Accept our praises for the revelation which you have made of yourself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons and one God; and mercifully grant that, ever holding fast this faith, we may magnify your glorious name; for you live and reign, one God, now and forever.  Amen. (John Dowden, Book of Common Prayer, Scotland; Suter, The Book of English Collects, p. 34. Revised by PJO)

Bible reading for the day:  Proverbs 8.1-11, 22-36
 1 Does not wisdom call?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
2 On the heights beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
3 beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
4 “To you, O men, I call,
and my cry is to the children of man.
5 O simple ones, learn prudence;
O fools, learn sense.
6 Hear, for I will speak noble things,
and from my lips will come what is right,
7 for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8 All the words of my mouth are righteous;
there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.
9 They are all straight to him who understands,
and right to those who find knowledge.
10 Take my instruction instead of silver,
and knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is better than jewels,
and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

22 “The Lord fathered me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of old.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth,
26 before he had made the earth with its fields,
or the first of the dust of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there;
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 then I was beside him, like a master workman,
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the children of man.

32 “And now, O sons, listen to me:
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
and do not neglect it.
34 Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life
and obtains favor from the Lord,
36 but he who fails to find me injures himself;
all who hate me love death.”

prayer(based on the TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for the incarnation of  wisdom: your Son, Jesus Christ. In him is righteousness and truth.  Repent me and my brothers and sisters of not listening to him… for to do so is death.  Each day, tune our ears and hearts to him whose word is more precious than silver or choice gold… for then we find what you have already given us in him: true life.  I ask this through the same 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=PCnRYj3lMlQ  (this rendition is not as I would like; but the best I could find😊)

The Apostles’ Creed   
I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

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, June 6, 2019

The Holy Spirit Storms the beach head


Verse for the week: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”  Zech 4.6

Prayer for the week: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the almighty God, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts through your blessed word, that he may rule and guide us according to your will; strengthen us in every trial and need; and lead us, past all error, into the truth; that we may stand fast in faith, increase in love and all good works, and by the sure hope of your grace, which you have obtained for us by your death, be saved eternally; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.  Amen.  (Viet Dietrich in Otto Dietz, Die Evangelien-Kooekten des Viet Dietrich, p. 57)

Bible reading for the day:  Acts 2.14-24, 36-41 (note: you can read Peter’s entire Pentecost sermon and the results of it in Acts 2.  Today’s reading picks up where yesterday’s ended)
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it…

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for pouring out for us not just any old drink, but the best wine of all: the blood of Jesus brimming over with the forgiveness of our sins and his Holy Spirit. Repent me and your whole church of being quiet when you compel us to speak of your mighty works.  So that we know what to say, speak your burning word to us and give us an appetite to listen to you and to read your word… speak it in through my ears and all the way to my heart that I may be sweetly cut by Jesus.  And then grant that I may speak Jesus to others in the vernacular… that they may understand and may know as their own His sweet cut.  I ask this through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.”
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 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, June 5, 2019

In the vernacular...


Verse for the week: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”  Zech 4.6

Prayer for the week: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the almighty God, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts through your blessed word, that he may rule and guide us according to your will; strengthen us in every trial and need; and lead us, past all error, into the truth; that we may stand fast in faith, increase in love and all good works, and by the sure hope of your grace, which you have obtained for us by your death, be saved eternally; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.  Amen.  (Viet Dietrich in Otto Dietz, Die Evangelien-Kooekten des Viet Dietrich, p. 57)

Bible reading for the day:  Acts 2.1-13 (note: you can read Peter’s entire Pentecost sermon and the results of it in Acts 2.  This reading is just the beginning.)
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for pouring out for us the best wine of all: the blood of Jesus filled with his Holy Spirit.  Repent me and your church of being drunk with ourselves, of our churchy words, and of being theologically tongue tied.  With your word, blow out our corroded pipes, deliver us from our ecclesiastical state rooms and daily teach us to speak Jesus in the vernacular…so that our neighbors may hear forgiveness, life and salvation for themselves.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a beloved hymn that 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 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. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Heart trouble?

...here comes the Help you need.


Verse of the week: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”  Zech 4.6

Prayer of the week: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the almighty God, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts through your blessed word, that he may rule and guide us according to your will; strengthen us in every trial and need; and lead us, past all error, into your truth; that we may stand fast in faith, increase in love and all good works, and by the sure hope of your grace, which you have obtained for us by your death, be saved eternally; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.  Amen.  (Viet Dietrich in Otto Dietz, Die Evangelien-Kooekten des Viet Dietrich, p. 57)

Bible reading for the day: John 14.22-31 (note: the scene is just an hour or so before Jesus’ is arrested. One of his disciples asks him a question and Jesus responds straightforwardly: he is going away and the Holy Spirit, the Helper, will be coming to us.)
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.

Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for sending Jesus to reveal your love for sinners and for sending us his Holy Spirit to make us right at home in your Word while we wait for his return. In this meantime, defend me and my congregation against the ruler of this world; give us the untroubled heart that fears, loves, and trusts you above all else… for then we have the peace that this world cannot give. 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=PFRCDp-hN28

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, © Sola Publishing, Reclaim Resources, 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, June 3, 2019

Never mind making a name for yourself


Verse of the week: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”  Zech 4.6

Prayer of the week: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the almighty God, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts through your blessed word, that he may rule and guide us according to your will; strengthen us in every trial and need; and lead us, past all error, into your truth; that we may stand fast in faith, increase in love and all good works, and by the sure hope of your grace, which you have obtained for us by your death, be saved eternally; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.  Amen.  (Viet Dietrich in Otto Dietz, Die Evangelien-Kooekten des Viet Dietrich, p. 57)

Bible reading for the day:  Genesis 11.1-9
1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.” 8 So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

Prayer (based on TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you, you have already given us the best name by which we could be called: Christian… follower of Christ.  Thank you. Confuse all our attempts to make a different name for ourselves; repent us of all our “immortality tower” projects.  In the midst of a church and a world that babel… put the clear name of Jesus on our lives and on our lips… so that the world may know you.  In Jesus’ name I ask this, 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=MimsQtU-ccQ

“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 ESV).

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.