kneeling fisherman

kneeling fisherman

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Getting you under the right Master


Verse for the week: Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever more!  Psalm 113.2

Prayer for the week:  “Lord God, grant unto us your Holy Spirit that we may hear and accept your word, in order that, being cleansed in mind and renewed in life, we may live to you, here and hereafter; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” (K.B. Ritter, Gebete fur das jahr der Kirched, 2nd  ed. Kassel: Barenreiter Verlag, 1948, p.207). 

Bible reading for the day:  Luke 16.1-15
1 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2 And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3 And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ 5 So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

Prayer (based on TRIP method**):  Gracious and almighty Father thank you for granting me not just a house temporarily, but for the eternal property, the real estate you grant me in Christ. Thank you!  Repent me and my brothers and sisters of putting our trust in unrighteous wealth, in the money we may have in this world… for it will one day fail.  You indeed know my heart Lord; so rescue me from myself each hour… that I may be faithful both with money and with the true riches of Christ’s forgiveness that you have entrusted to me. I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Hymn: follow this link to a fresh rendition of a beloved, classic hymn that gives further voice to today’s conversation with the Lord: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0Byp7aK2DA

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s 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. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

How does God's kingdom come

...and what difference does it make?


Verse for the week:  Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever more!  Psalm 113.2

Prayer for the week:  “Lord God, grant unto us your Holy Spirit that we may hear and accept your word, in  order that, being cleansed in mind and renewed in life, we may live to you, here and hereafter; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” (K.B. Ritter, Gebete fur das jahr der Kirched, 2nd  ed. Kassel: Barenreiter Verlag, 1948, p.207). 

Bible reading for the day:  I Timothy 2.1-7 (note: Paul writes to his beloved apprentice, Timothy, around the year 100 AD. He wants Timothy and the congregation to avoid making a shipwreck of their faith [see 1.19] so he instructs them to adhere to sound doctrine and to pray for all people.)
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Prayer (based on TRIP method**):  Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for the slices of our daily bread that are relatively good government and a stable community… a relatively peaceful and quiet life. Thank you even more for the salvation and truth that are ours in Jesus Christ. You desire all people to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth… so repent me and your whole church of straying from you, lagging in our prayers for those in authority and lagging in our witness to Jesus Christ. You appointed us as pray-ers and messengers of Jesus.  Guide us to carry these out…so that the neighborhood might be a better place and more people may be saved. 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://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZzIiaMDQxs

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

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


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

Monday, September 16, 2019

The worst famine of all

...and delivery from it.


Verse for the week:  Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever more!  Psalm 113.2

Prayer for the week: “Lord God, grant unto us your Holy Spirit that we may hear and accept your word, in order that, being cleansed in mind and renewed in life, we may live to you, here and hereafter; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” (K.B. Ritter, Gebete fur das jahr der Kirched, 2nd  ed. Kassel: Barenreiter Verlag, 1948, p.207). 

Bible reading for the day:  Amos 8.4-12 (note: Amos was a herdsman & nurseryman called by God to prophesy during the reign of Jeroboam, 786-746 BC.  During the long reign of Jeroboam, Israel enjoyed the height of its luxury, military security, and economic affluence.  Several hundred years earlier, God’s people had been slaves to Pharaoh…now they have become slaves to themselves. Dishonest business and taking advantage of your neighbor bring a heavy cost: a famine of hearing God’s word)
4 Hear this, you who trample on the needy
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
5 saying, “When will the new moon be over,
that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
6 that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals
and sell the chaff of the wheat?”

7 The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
“Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
8 Shall not the land tremble on this account,
and everyone mourn who dwells in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?”

9“And on that day,” declares the Lord God,
    “I will make the sun go down at noon
    and darken the earth in broad daylight.
10 I will turn your feasts into mourning
    and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on every waist
    and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son
    and the end of it like a bitter day.
11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,
    “when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
    but of hearing the words of the Lord.
12 They shall wander from sea to sea,
    and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord,
    but they shall not find it.

Prayer (based on T.R.I.P. method**): Gracious and almighty Father thank you for your generous mercy in Christ for a sinner like me… thank you! Repent me and my brothers and sisters of any and all cheating, dishonesty, and greed… for by these we only bring upon ourselves the worst famine of all: the famine of hearing your word.  Give us ears that hear you, O Lord; that while we await Jesus’ return, we may deal honestly and fairly with one another and be a good help to our neighbor. In Jesus’ 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=OAigUNye_jI

“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.

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, September 12, 2019

Getting you off the merry go round...


Verse for the week: “You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.”
Isaiah 26.3

Prayer for the week: “Almighty and everlasting God, comfort of the sad and strength to those who suffer: Let the prayers of your children who are in any trouble rise to you.  To everyone in distress grant mercy, grant relief, grant refreshment; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (Prayer for Those in Affliction, LBW # 223, Minister’s Ed., p.114; Gelasian Sacramentary in Frederick B. Macnutt, The Prayer Manual, p.221). 

Bible reading for the day: Psalm 119.169-176
 Let my cry come before you, O Lord;
    give me understanding according to your word!
170 Let my plea come before you;
    deliver me according to your word.
171 My lips will pour forth praise,
    for you teach me your statutes.
172 My tongue will sing of your word,
    for all your commandments are right.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me,
    for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, O Lord,
    and your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live and praise you,
    and let your rules help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
    for I do not forget your commandments.

Prayer (based on the TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you that I may bring my cry before you; for I am at the same time sinner and saint and only you get me off that merry go round. Your commandments are of course right and true; they are also the death of me… that is their job. So, despairing of my own righteousness, my cry comes before you and your ready right hand reaches out to save me. Just as you plucked sinking Peter out of the waves, just as you leave the 99 to retrieve the one lost, rescue me daily with your salvation… deliver me according to your word… that my lips will pour forth your praise, today and for eternity; through Jesus Christ, your son, our Lord. 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=0cHWMltF9_8

“I am the Lord your God.”
The First Commandment
“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20.3
What does this mean?
We should fear, love, and trust God above all things. (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, September 11, 2019

Rich pasture for you


Verse for the week: “You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.”
Isaiah 26.3

Prayer for the week: “Almighty and everlasting God, comfort of the sad and strength to those who suffer: Let the prayers of your children who are in any trouble rise to you.  To everyone in distress grant mercy, grant relief, grant refreshment; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (Prayer for Those in Affliction, LBW # 223, Minister’s Ed., p.114; Gelasian Sacramentary in Frederick B. Macnutt, The Prayer Manual, p.221). 

Bible reading for the day: Ezekiel 34.11-19 (note: By the early sixth century BC, Israel’s bad kings and priests had led the people astray from the true pasture of the Lord’s word.)
 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.
17 “As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? 19 And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

Prayer (based on the TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for taking over and sending exactly what fickle, lost sheep like us need: our true Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Repent me and your whole church of blindly following any other shepherd – whether it be our candidate of choice or ourselves – for such departure from you only leaves us scattered and lost. Find us and bring us out again today Lord; feed us on the good pasture, the rich pasture of your Word… that instead of fat on and full of ourselves we may be nourished by the bread of life, Jesus Christ, our Lord, and given to our neighbor in his 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=0cHWMltF9_8

“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 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, September 10, 2019

The law without diminishment and the Gospel without limit*

...that is what you and I are to teach.


Verse for the week: “You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.”
Isaiah 26.3

Prayer for the week: “Almighty and everlasting God, comfort of the sad and strength to those who suffer: Let the prayers of your children who are in any trouble rise to you.  To everyone in distress grant mercy, grant relief, grant refreshment; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (Prayer for Those in Affliction, LBW # 223, Minister’s Ed., p.114; Gelasian Sacramentary in Frederick B. Macnutt, The Prayer Manual, p.221). 

Bible reading for the day: I Timothy 1.1-17
 1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer (based on the TRIP** method): Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for Paul and Timothy and for the truth about sin and about Christ’s mercy for sinners. Guard me and your whole church from vain discussions and from improperly teaching the law and the gospel… because such only results in speculation. Preserve for us sound doctrine and clear confession of the faith… that big, juicy sinners like Paul and us may be saved by Christ’s forgiving love and that his perfect patience may be displayed, and that all honor and glory be yours forever and ever. 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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uP0tEceh8Bg

“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 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) 

*The title for today's devotion comes from Steven D. Paulson's essay, A Royal Ass, found in "The Necessary Distinction" Concordia, St. Louis. 2017. 
  
*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, September 9, 2019

This man receives sinners

...not only receives us, he's out looking for us😊.


Verse for the week: “You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you.”
Isaiah 26.3

Bible reading for the day:  Luke 15.1-10
 1Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

8 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

prayer(based on the TRIP** method):  Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for being a magnet for sinners like me.  Repent me and my brothers and sisters of any self-righteous grumbling and grumpiness; and of staying put rather than seeking the lost. Pour out your Holy Spirit now upon us and give us the same kind of love for the lost that you have for the them… that there may be more joy in heaven.  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 (the tempo is a bit slow for my taste, but it gets the job done😊): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cHWMltF9_8

“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 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.