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The Ninth Sunday after Trinity
Today
The Ninth Sunday after Trinity
Today's Reading: Luke 16:1-13Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 25:1-22; 1 Corinthians 3:1-23"You cannot serve God and money." (Luke 1:13)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Yes, Jesus, we get it. We cannot serve God and money. If only it were that simple. The new you in Christ says a loud, "Amen," to the word of Jesus that concludes the parable of the rich man and the shrewd manager. However, the old sinful you cannot say, "Amen," to Jesus' conclusion. We are faithless in the management of much and very little. We love money and the security it brings. If only we had more. We serve money with our time and talent as if it were a god and not a gift from the One whose hand supplies all our needs of body and soul. We get it all backward: We live in service to money instead of recognizing that money serves us. So this parable becomes a call to repentance. Put to death the dishonesty and idolatry that dogs you day by day. We pray with saint/sinner David, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin" (Psalm 51:1-2).The key to wrapping your heart and mind around the meaning of this parable is to focus on the mercy of the rich man, not the dishonesty of the manager. Mercy.The dishonest manager was commended because he chose to serve his lord, whom he trusted would be merciful. He used unrighteous wealth to achieve his goal, though he trusted not in the wealth but in his merciful master. In Luke 12:34 Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there also your heart will be." Faithful disciples will be commended for seeing that the crucified and risen Jesus is their treasure, and for trusting in His mercy. And that mercy is delivered to and for you this day in Jesus' Body and Blood which keeps you, body and soul, now and forever. That's mercy! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Let your merciful ears. O Lord, be open to the prayers of Your humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity)-Rev. David Magruder is pastor of Peace With Christ Lutheran Church, Fort Collins, CO.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschStudy Christ's words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.
The Ninth Sunday after Trinity
Today
The Ninth Sunday after Trinity
Today's Reading: Luke 16:1-13Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 25:1-22; 1 Corinthians 3:1-23"You cannot serve God and money." (Luke 1:13)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Yes, Jesus, we get it. We cannot serve God and money. If only it were that simple. The new you in Christ says a loud, "Amen," to the word of Jesus that concludes the parable of the rich man and the shrewd manager. However, the old sinful you cannot say, "Amen," to Jesus' conclusion. We are faithless in the management of much and very little. We love money and the security it brings. If only we had more. We serve money with our time and talent as if it were a god and not a gift from the One whose hand supplies all our needs of body and soul. We get it all backward: We live in service to money instead of recognizing that money serves us. So this parable becomes a call to repentance. Put to death the dishonesty and idolatry that dogs you day by day. We pray with saint/sinner David, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin" (Psalm 51:1-2).The key to wrapping your heart and mind around the meaning of this parable is to focus on the mercy of the rich man, not the dishonesty of the manager. Mercy.The dishonest manager was commended because he chose to serve his lord, whom he trusted would be merciful. He used unrighteous wealth to achieve his goal, though he trusted not in the wealth but in his merciful master. In Luke 12:34 Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there also your heart will be." Faithful disciples will be commended for seeing that the crucified and risen Jesus is their treasure, and for trusting in His mercy. And that mercy is delivered to and for you this day in Jesus' Body and Blood which keeps you, body and soul, now and forever. That's mercy! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Let your merciful ears. O Lord, be open to the prayers of Your humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity)-Rev. David Magruder is pastor of Peace With Christ Lutheran Church, Fort Collins, CO.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschStudy Christ's words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.
Saturday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
Yesterday
Saturday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
Today's Reading: Introit for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity (Psalm 54;1-3, 7; antiphon: v.4-5)Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 31:1-13; 1 Corinthians 7:1-24To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David, when the Ziphites went and told Saul, " Is not David hiding among us?"(Introduction to Psalm 54)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We're already familiar with the jealousy and murderous actions of King Saul's attempts to take the life of David. Psalm 54, the Introit for tomorrow, was written by King David during this same period, when he was in hiding from the murderous rage of Saul, and was betrayed by Ziphites who told the King his whereabouts.   Like David, you may have experienced betrayal. It's a terrible, hurtful experience. All kinds of emotions arise; from confusion and sadness, to hurt and anger, to fear and doubt. Psalm 54 gives voice to these emotions and helps us to commend our circumstances to God. David prays, telling God of his situation: "Strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life" (Psalm 54:3). He prays for God's help: "O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might" (Psalm 54:1). He expresses his trust that God will make things right: "Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. He will return the evil to my enemies; in your faithfulness put an end to them" (Psalm 54:4-5). And finally, he remembers how God has delivered and helped him in the past: "For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies" (Psalm 54:7).  David couldn't have known how his prayer would perfectly parallel the experience of his descendant Jesus. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, with a kiss. He was abandoned by the rest of His disciples in His time of need. He was betrayed by His own people who shouted, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" But His trust in the Father never wavered. Perhaps He even prayed this psalm that day. God vindicated Him by raising Him from the dead, and now He stands in triumph over all His enemies. If you have been betrayed, look to Christ who was betrayed for you. See in His Cross and resurrection the embodiment of God's faithfulness to you. Take upon your lips the words of Psalm 54, commending yourself to God. And know that your faith in Christ will be vindicated on the Last Day.  In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Almighty God, graciously behold this Your family from whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and delivered into the hands of sinful men to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Good Friday)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Friday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
2d ago
Friday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 28:3-25; 1 Corinthians 6:1-20Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)In the Name + of Jesus.  Amen. The above list is not exhaustive. You could add "murderers" and "persecutors" to the list, and Paul himself would be included. Paul, like the Christians whom he served, had a past. He was part of the mob that stoned Stephen, the first New Testament martyr (Acts 7:58; 8:1), and he was a persecutor and violent opponent of the first Christians (1 Timothy 1:13). But Jesus had lovingly and firmly called him to repentance on the Damascus road (Acts 9), sent him to a preacher where he heard the Gospel and was washed in Baptism, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and justified in the Name of Jesus Christ. Paul was a changed man. So were the Christians in Corinth, whom Paul had evangelized. Some of them had similarly dark pasts. But they, too, had been brought to repentance and faith through Paul's preaching of Law and Gospel. They were changed men and women, but that didn't mean that their struggles with sin were over. They were constantly tempted to slip back into the sins which once held such sway over their lives and sometimes, in weakness, they gave in to those temptations. Their lives would be those of daily repentance and faith, living in the forgiveness of sins. As Christians, their sins no longer defined them. No longer were they sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, etc. They had a new identity in Christ. Paul was warning them not to abandon their new identity and return to a life defined by unrepentant sins, but instead to embrace their true identity in Christ and live as those redeemed by Christ.       The same is true for you. Like Paul and the Corinthians, you may have a past, too, one that still tempts and troubles you. But that past doesn't define you. Christ does. You have been watermarked in your Baptism, sanctified by the Holy Spirit and justified in Jesus' Name. And that life, the life of the redeemed is far better. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Now my conscience is at peace; From the Law I stand acquitted. Christ hath purchased my release And my ev' ry sin remitted. Naught remains my soul to grieve: Jesus sinners doth receive. ("Jesus Sinners Doth Receive" LSB 609, st.6)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Thursday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
3d ago
Thursday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 26:1-25; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you. . .  a man has his father's wife. . .  deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Paul had some difficult things to say to the church in Corinth. They were tolerating sexual immorality in their midst. A man had even taken his father's wife to be his own. Apparently, none of their pastors or leaders were willing to exercise church discipline and in failing to do so, they had failed to truly love this man.  Now, that might sound strange to you. Most people think of love as a feeling. We feel loved when those around us do and say things that make us feel good, and we often conclude that it would be unloving to ever say anything that might make a loved one feel bad. Even though the Bible speaks of reproof, rebuke, and correction, according to God's Word, as loving acts (2 Timothy 3:16; 4:2), we find ourselves hesitant to do such truly loving works, for fear of being "unloving."    "My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves as a father the son in whom he delights" (Proverbs 3:11-12). Just as a father disciplines his children out of love, Paul was loving this man and the Corinthian congregation when he boldly rebuked them. And even though he instructs them to take the extreme measure of delivering the man to Satan (excommunication), his ultimate desire is that this act of church discipline would finally bring him to repentance "so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord."Being called to repentance is not a pleasant experience, but it is necessary. Holding on to our sins in unrepentance is to despise Christ and His sacrifice for sinners. Those who gently, or when necessary, firmly, call us to repentance, are people who truly love us. They care more about our salvation than they do about our approval. Let us thank God for them, heed their loving rebuke, repent, and return to Christ our Savior who has delivered us from our sins and freed us to walk in newness of life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Breathe, O Breathe Thy loving Spirit Into every troubled breast; Let us all in Thee inherit; Let us find Thy promised rest. Take away the love of sinning; Alpha and Omega be; End of faith, as its beginning, Set our hearts at liberty. (Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" LSB 700, st.2)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Wednesday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
4d ago
Wednesday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Fourth Petition of the Lord' s PrayerDaily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 25:23-44; 1 Corinthians 4:1-21Give us this day our daily bread. (Small Catechism: Fourth Petition of the Lord' s Prayer)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Luther's explanation says, "God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people." If that's true, then why do we need to pray for it? If our praying doesn't earn our daily bread, then why pray at all?Luther's list of the things included in "daily bread" are the very things we spend our lives trying to get. Our lives are filled with anxious work and worry because we think our daily bread depends on our own efforts. Look at Luther's list and consider how much of your life is filled with the pursuit of these things: "Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like."We need to pray for daily bread so that we might be set free from our worry and anxious labor. We need to "realize this," that God is the source of our daily bread, and to confess this with our mouth by asking Him for what He has promised to give. In so doing, we will receive our daily bread—not as something we have earned, but as a gift from God—"with thanksgiving."For we do have such a gracious God who can be trusted to provide. After all, has He not already given us the far greater gift of salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ? "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. (Psalm 147:7–11)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Tuesday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
5d ago
Tuesday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
Today's Reading: Acts 20:27-38Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 25:1-22; 1 Corinthians 3:1-23And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him. (Acts 20:37)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why was there so much weeping from the Ephesian elders? Why did they hug and kiss Paul, sad to see him go? They were emotional because of their great love for Paul. And they loved Paul, most of all, because he had proclaimed the truth to them.The last couple of Reflections have warned us against false teachers and their wicked fruit of false doctrine. We are to "watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that [we] have been taught" and "avoid them" (Romans 16:17). But how should we respond to those who proclaim God's truth to us?The Ephesian elders provide us with a good example. Among them were Jews who had spent their whole lives desperately trying to earn God's favor by keeping the letter of the Law. Also among them were Greeks, raised in idolatry and wickedness. All had been lost in sin, futilely trying to save themselves. But now they knew the true God of love who sent His Son to rescue them from their sin. And who was it that brought them this good news? Paul! They loved him so, because he had delivered to them the greatest gift of all—God' s true words of freedom and life.Paul didn't tell them what they wanted to hear. Paul says, "I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:20–21). The Holy Spirit accompanied his preaching, bringing each of these men to repentance and faith. In many ways, then, they owed their eternal lives to the man who had proclaimed this saving Gospel to them.So have you been blessed with people who have proclaimed and taught you God's true Word. Whoever they are, be they parents or grandparents, other relatives or friends, and especially your pastors, God has worked through them to give you the greatest gift of all—repentance and faith in Jesus Christ leading to eternal life. Recognizing the great gifts that they have brought to you, how can you not treasure them, love them, and thank God for them? In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.O Christ, our true and only light, Enlighten those who sit in night; Let those afar now hear Your voice And in your fold with us rejoice. ("O Christ, Our True and Only Light" LSB 839, st.1)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Monday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
6d ago
Monday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
Today's Reading: Jeremiah 23:16-29Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 24:1-22; 1 Corinthians 1:26-2:16"Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. . . they say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you' ; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.' " (Jeremiah 23:16–17)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Again, we see how seriously God warns us about the dangers of false prophets. Jesus said, "You will recognize them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16). One fruit of false teachers is that they are quick to tell you what you want to hear. The hard thing about speaking the truth is that sometimes folks don't want to hear it. Paul warned young Timothy, "The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from the truth. . . " (2 Timothy 4:3–4). Any pastor who tries to preach and teach God' s truth as revealed in Holy Scripture quickly encounters those with itching ears who will reject him for his message. And immediately following that, he is faced with the intense temptation of the flesh to tell people what they want to hear in order to avoid suffering and be liked by all.That is why Paul exhorted Timothy to "be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:2). God's truth demanded that Timothy do unpleasant things like reproving, rebuking, and exhorting. Our challenge is that God's Word says things we don't want to hear. No one enjoys being reproved or rebuked. But as unpleasant as it is, you need your sins exposed, or else you will go on in your sins, despising God's Word, and stubbornly following your own heart, all the while thinking "all is well with me" and "no disaster shall befall me."What you need is a faithful preacher, willing to speak the truth, not false teachers telling you what you want to hear. Salvation is not a vain hope in yourself; it is sure hope in Christ crucified and risen for you. Faithful preachers are willing to say the hard words to you, so that you will be ready to receive the good words in faith. And the good Gospel words are these: "It shall be well with you IN CHRIST," and, "No disaster shall befall you IN CHRIST." In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.Preach you the Word and plant it home To men who like or like it not, The Word that shall endure and stand When flow' rs and men shall be forgot. ("Preach You the Word" LSB 586, st.1)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
The Eighth Sunday after Trinity
1w ago
The Eighth Sunday after Trinity
Today's Reading: Matthew 7:15-23Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 20:24-42; 1 Corinthians 1:1-25"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:15–16a)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why can't we all just get along? Why is the Church so fractured, divided, and engaged in endless doctrinal arguments? Wouldn't it be better to set aside our differences and try to work together for the sake of the Church? You know, people who believe the Bible is God's Word and those who don't; those who celebrate homosexuality and those who call it sin; those who teach that Baptism saves and those who say it's only a symbol. Are these issues (and so many others) really worth dividing the Church? Can't we all just get along? It certainly would make for more peaceful lives and a more peaceful church. But there's just one little problem: Jesus won't have it!He's dead serious about the dangers of false teaching. He calls the false prophets "wolves"—a demonic name. They are rotten trees with bad fruit which shall be cut down and thrown into the "fire"—a designation for hell. It sounds harsh, but Jesus is trying to impress upon us the seriousness of false doctrine. Our God is a God of truth. The truth He reveals in His Word is for our good and for our salvation. Any teaching that contradicts the truth is an attack on our salvation."Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). All the false religions of men teach that the will of the Father is salvation by works. But in truth, this is the will of the Father: that the Son drink the cup of His wrath, and spill His blood on the Cross. The will of the Father is that you take and drink the lifeblood of His Son in Holy Communion, for the remission of your sins. The saving truth is that Christ has paid your debt. Your sins are forgiven. You are blessed and loved by Him. And if Jesus needs to get a little harsh with the false teachers to protect that truth, so be it. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.Grant to us, Lord, the Spirit to think and do always such things as are right, that we, who cannot do anything that is good without You, may be enabled by You to live according to Your will; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Saturday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
06-08-2022
Saturday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
Today's Reading: Introit for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity (Psalm 48:1, 3, 11, 14; antiphon: v.9-10)Daily Lectionary:1 Samuel 20:1-23; Acts 28:16-31We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple. (From the Introit for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Tomorrow is the Lord's Day. Once again, we will go to the house of the Lord for worship. And it's good for us to occasionally ask ourselves: Why do we do this? Why do we go to church? Do we go to stroke God' s ego and tell Him how great He is? Do we go to church because God said we have to, and will be mad at us if we don' t?"We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple." That's what the Old Testament saints thought about church. To be sure, God commanded them to go, and the psalms they sang were full of praise for God. But God is not insecure. Nor does He issue commands simply to burden His children with yet one more thing to do to appease Him. Instead, God's faithful people knew that He only commanded that which was good for them. And when it came to praising God, well, they just couldn't help it. Why? Because there, in the temple, they received the greatest gifts of all. There they meditated upon God's steadfast love, remembered His mercies, and received that love again in the forgiveness of their sins. There in the temple they met with God and received His gift of forgiveness through the Old Testament sacrificial (sacramental) system.When their weak flesh tried to convince them that they had better things to do, God's command rebuked their flesh, and God's promises motivated them to come in faith. And as they received the Gifts, they could not help but praise His holy Name.Tomorrow is the Lord's Day. Your flesh may offer up reasons not to go to church, but God's command is there to curb the flesh, and His promises of forgiveness, life, and salvation remind you of the great blessings you will receive there. It's really quite amazing and wonderful! God Himself shows up in every congregation where the Word of God is preached purely and His Sacraments are administered according to Christ's institution. There, love and forgiveness are poured out upon God's faithful people as they gather in His presence. And in receiving these Gifts, God's people cannot help but thank and praise their gracious God. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.Open now thy gates of beauty; Zion let me enter there, Where my soul in joyful duty Waits for Him who answers prayer. Oh, how blessed is this place, Filled with solace, light, and grace! ("Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty" LSB 901, st.1)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Friday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
05-08-2022
Friday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 19:1-24; Acts 28:1-15And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father. (1 Samuel 19:4)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. David's troubles with Saul continue in today's reading. Saul is still plotting and scheming to take David's life. But here we learn that David had an intercessor and friend in Saul's son Jonathan, who spoke on behalf of his friend David. How bold Jonathan was in his dealings with his father for the sake of his friend. In faith and love he obeyed the Eighth Commandment, defending David and speaking well of him, all at great risk to himself.In this, Jonathan is a picture of Christ, our truest friend and intercessor. The circumstances are not exactly the same. After all, we are guilty, whereas David, as Jonathan said, "has not sinned against you (Saul), and his deeds have brought good to you" (1 Samuel 19:4). Furthermore, Saul was a wicked man, motivated by sinful jealousy, but God is righteous, holy, and pure.This means Jesus, as our friend and intercessor, has a much harder job defending us than Jonathan did defending David. We are not innocent. We have earned God's righteous wrath. We have sinned against our king and deserve to die. How will our intercessor and friend, Jesus, appease God our king?In a far greater way than Jonathan, Jesus took all the risk upon Himself. To save us from God' s righteous wrath, He took our place, bearing the punishment that was meant for us. Risen from the grave, and seated at God' s right hand in glory, Jesus is our advocate before the Father. He says to His Father, "Behold My friends. See how I have paid for their sins, forgiven them Myself, washed them clean in Baptism, and filled them with My own life. Not a spot, not a blemish, not a stain of sin remains in them."Jesus welcomes us into His kingdom and presents us before His Father cleansed and redeemed, righteous, holy, and pure. And the Father cannot but agree with His Son. He relents from His righteous wrath and welcomes you into His presence with open arms.What a wonderful friend and intercessor you have in Jesus! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus, hail! Enthroned in glory, There forever to abide; All the heavenly hosts adore Thee, Seated at Thy Father's side. There for sinners Thou art pleading; There Thou dost our place prepare, Ever for us interceding Till in glory we appear. ("Hail, Thou Once Despised Jesus" LSB 531, st.3)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Thursday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
04-08-2022
Thursday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 18:10-30; Acts 27:27-44 Saul was afraid of David because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul. (1 Samuel 18:12)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Speaking of tyrannical kings (recall the Reflection from the Seventh Sunday after Trinity) and evil plans and purposes of the devil (yesterday's Reflection), we have in 1 Samuel 18:10–30 the incarnation of both. Saul had become a wicked king, and God had withdrawn His blessing from him. David, however, had already been chosen by God as Saul's successor, and it was clear that God's blessing rested upon him. Not only did God give David success in battle, He also led David to love and be respectful of his enemy. This seemed to enrage Saul even more. By trickery, deceit, and outright violence, Saul tried time and again to end David's life. But God hindered the evil plans and purposes of Saul (which were of the devil) and protected and defended His chosen servant, David.David foreshadows another chosen servant of the Lord: Jesus the Christ. He, too, was hated by jealous foes who tried and even succeeded in killing Him, "although he had done no violence and there was no deceit in his mouth" (Isaiah 53:9b). As was the case with Saul, so it was with Jesus' enemies. The devil and his evil plans and purposes lay behind their jealous rage. But even though they succeeded in putting Him to death, God did not abandon His soul nor let His body see corruption (Psalm 16:10). Even death could not defeat Him.And death cannot defeat you, either. The devil and all this world's tyrants rage against Christ, against the Church, and against you. Even though, in Christ, you love your enemies and seek their good, so often your faithfulness and love enrage them even more. Their evil plan and purpose is for your destruction. But you are God's chosen in Holy Baptism. You are His own beloved people. They can rage, plot, and try their best to bring about your destruction. But all their plans shall fail. For you are the ones redeemed by the blood of your Savior, Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.Though devils all the world should fill, All eager to devour us, We tremble not, we fear no ill; They shall not overpow'r us. This world's prince may still Scowl fierce as he will, He can harm us none. He's judged; the deed is done; One little word can fell him. ("A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" LSB 656, st.3)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Wednesday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
03-08-2022
Wednesday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Third Petition of the Lord' s PrayerDaily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 17:48-18:9; Acts 27:9-26Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Small Catechism: Third Petition of the Lord' s Prayer)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God's will is done when He breaks and hinders every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh. God gave His Word to Adam and Eve—His good command not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The devil hated God and enacted his evil purpose and plan for the downfall of the man and woman whom God had created in love. He tempted them to disobey God's Word of life, bringing sin and death into the world. Since then, Satan's evil purpose and plan have continued to be the downfall of man. And ever since the Fall, the sin-corrupted world and our sin-corrupted flesh have been his allies. Luther called the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh the "unholy trinity," a united terrible force bent on our eternal destruction. Only one man stood in their way—the God-man, Jesus Christ. Here the Creator of the world, who had taken on uncorrupted human flesh, stood stronger than the devil. Only He could oppose the "unholy trinity" and have a prayer of winning. Imagine the devil's sinister glee when his greatest enemy was crucified, dead, and buried. Little did he know that the Cross was his undoing. For there at the Cross, God offered Himself in the place of sinners. Jesus "overcame the assaults of the devil and gave His life as a ransom for many." He "was sacrificed for us and bore the sins of the world. By His dying He has destroyed death, and by His rising again He has restored to us everlasting life."This is God' s will—to save you, to defeat the "unholy trinity" in His Cross and resurrection, to baptismally unite you to Jesus in His dying and rising, to give you faith so that you hallow God' s holy Name, live as a citizen of His kingdom, and be strengthened and kept firm in His Word and faith until you die and are raised to live with Him forever. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.Christ the Lord of hosts, unshaken By the devil's seething rage, Thwarts the plan of Satan' s minions; Wins the strife from age to age; Conquers sin and death forever; Slams them in their steely cage. Jesus came, this word fulfilling, Trampled Satan, death defied; Bore the brunt of our temptation, On the wretched tree He died. Yet to life was raised victorious; By His life our life supplied. ("Christ, the Lord of Hosts, Unshaken" LSB 521, st.1, 4)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Tuesday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
02-08-2022
Tuesday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
Today's Reading: Romans 6:19-23Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 17:20-47; Acts 26:24-27:8The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:22–23)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Adam earned his wages when he ate the forbidden fruit, and death has reigned ever since. Adam was the first, but you have earned your wages, too. Death is coming for you. Death is what you have earned for your sins.How foolish, then, is the idea that anyone could earn salvation. And yet, that is the one thing  religions apart from Christianity have in common. All non-Christian religions, and sadly, even some who claim to be Christian, teach ways you can save yourself, whether by obedience, sacrifices, right worship, or going after a kind of intellectual or spiritual enlightenment. Even those who claim no religion at all seek to make themselves righteous by strongly (and sometimes obnoxiously) supporting the latest social causes of the day. They may not even believe in God or in heaven or hell, but with religious enthusiasm they try to make themselves righteous through activism.The Holy Spirit, speaking through the writings of Paul, demolishes all such schemes. "The wages of sin is death." If you have sinned, even once, then you have already earned your wages, and they will be paid. "The soul who sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20). If you wish to escape this fate, it will not be the result of anything you do, because everything you do is done by a sinner. Salvation, then, cannot be achieved, won, or earned by you. Instead, it is achieved, won, and earned by Jesus and then given to you. And it's given freely, because there is nothing in you worthy of the gift. To be sure, it's good, even demanded, that we "learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, and plead the widow' s cause" (Isaiah 1:17). These things are good, but they are not Jesus. Only Jesus can save.Receive salvation from Jesus. Rejoice in it. Thank the Lord and praise His holy Name. Study the Bible and grow in wisdom, understanding, and good works. Serve your neighbors and bless them. But never forget that "the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.Thy love and grace alone avail To blot out my transgression; The best and holiest deeds must fail To break sin' s dread oppression. Before Thee none can boasting stand, But all must fear Thy strict demand And live alone by mercy. ("From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee" LSB 607, st.2)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Monday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
01-08-2022
Monday of the Seventh Week after Trinity
Today's Reading: Genesis 2:7-17Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 17:1-19; Acts 26:1-23The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Artwork often portrays the Tree of Life as bright and beautiful, green and full of delectable fruit, while the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is dark and ugly, scraggly, with a single poison apple attached. This is inaccurate. God called all that He made very good. Both trees were beautiful, reflecting the beauty of their Creator. Both trees were good.If anything, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the most beautiful and most precious of all the trees, since this tree had God's Word attached to it. Before the Fall, God's Word of command was received by Adam as a gift from God. "For man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). Luther, in his great Genesis commentary, pictures this tree as the place of worship. Adam and his wife would have gathered at the tree. Adam would preach God's Word about the tree, and they would worship their good God by keeping His Word—admiring the tree but leaving the fruit alone.God's words are good. His commands are good and beautiful and precious. Only sin makes disobedience attractive. Because of sin, the minute God tells us, "No," we want to do it more than ever. How sad it is that the serpent tempted them, and that they were deceived and transgressed the command, plunging the world into sin and death. Now God's commands seem burdensome rather than good. Now every forbidden fruit seems irresistible."To Jesus we for refuge flee, Who from the curse has set us free, And humbly worship at His throne, Saved by His grace through faith alone" ("The Law of God Is Good and Wise" LSB 579, st.6).We flee to Jesus, the new and greater Adam, whose obedience is credited to us, and whose payment for guilt has set us free. And basking in His forgiveness and life, we learn, more and more, to love God's Word, and even His good commands. And soon, in the resurrection of all flesh, our lives will wholly conform to God's good and beautiful Word. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.Our works cannot salvation gain; They merit only endless pain. Forgive us Lord! To Christ we flee, Who pleads for us endlessly. Have mercy, Lord! ("These Are the Holy Ten Commands" LSB 581, st.12)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
The Seventh Sunday after Trinity
31-07-2022
The Seventh Sunday after Trinity
Today's Reading: Mark 8:1-9Daily Lectionary:1 Samuel 16:1-23; Acts 25:13-27"I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat." (Mark 8:2)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Speaking of kings (see yesterday' s Reflection), here we see Jesus, doing what good kings do: providing for His people in their time of need. Jesus has gone into the wilderness and crowds have followed Him, eager to hear His words of eternal life. In their eagerness, they took no thought for their own provision, and now they are in danger of fainting from hunger on the way home.Jesus has compassion on them. But it's also a test for His disciples. He wants them to learn to imitate His compassionate ways. There are a few factors that might get in the way of their compassion. First, the crowd is made up of mostly Gentiles, people traditionally looked down upon and despised by the Jews. Second, one could argue that the people are in this situation due to their own negligence. What were they thinking, wandering off into the wilderness without bringing provisions? How irresponsible of them! Third, the disciples themselves have only seven loaves of bread and a few small fish. If they share what they have, they may find themselves fainting on the way home.With these three strikes against compassion, the disciples fail the test. "How can we feed THESE people in this desolate place? They're Gentile sinners. They should have been more responsible. They have only themselves to blame. We came prepared. Why should we share with them and go hungry ourselves?"Jesus is undeterred. He has compassion on the people. And, as God in the flesh, He provides for their needs. His compassion also extends to His disciples. He doesn't condemn them for their failure. He has them distribute the food so that they will learn to love sinners as He loves sinners. He feeds them, too, with more to spare. Thus, they learned to trust Jesus, and to be generous, even in times of scarcity. And by this example, so do we."Praise Him for His grace and favor To His people in distress; Praise Him still the same as ever, Slow to chide and swift to bless: Alleluia, Alleluia! Glorious in His faithfulness" (LSB 793, st.2). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O God, whose never-failing providence orders all things both in heaven and earth, we humbly implore You to put away from us all hurtful things and to give us those things that are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Saturday of the Sixth Week after Trinity
30-07-2022
Saturday of the Sixth Week after Trinity
Today's Reading: Introit for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity      (Psalm 47:3, 6-8; antiphon: v.1-2)Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 15:10-35; Acts 24:24-25:12Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. (Psalm 47:1–2)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Americans have a hard time with the idea of God as our king. We threw off the rule of King George III in the American Revolution and haven't had a king since. We red-blooded, freedom-loving Americans wouldn't want a king, either.And there are some good reasons for that. Samuel warned the people of Israel about the negative consequences of having a king over them (2 Samuel 8:10–18). Jesus acknowledges that earthly kings often abuse their authority: "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you" (Matthew 20:25). When sinful men are given that much power, there is always a temptation toward corruption and tyranny. The annals of history are filled with stories of wicked kings.Is that the kind of king God is? Certainly not! Our God and king does not rule over us for His own gain or benefit. He does not abuse or take advantage of His subjects. He has no sinful nature to tempt Him to corruption or tyranny. Our God who is love (1 John 4:8) has committed Himself to us, and uses His almighty power for our benefit and for our good. To have such a king is a blessing, not a curse. So when you think of God as king, remember that He is king in the very best sense of the word, a king who provides for His people, who defends them from their enemies, and who fights for them, giving them victory over their foes.In fact, the most helpful way to think of God as king is to look to Jesus Christ. Learn from Him what a good king is. See how Jesus, the compassionate king, provides for His people as you read tomorrow' s account of the feeding of the 4,000. That was but a preview of the ultimate provision of salvation and eternal life that His reign will bestow on His people. For Jesus will come into His kingdom on the Cross, and there win the victory for us over sin, death, and the devil, providing for us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Here is truly a king worth praising! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen..Praise, my soul, the King of heaven; To His feet your tribute bring; Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, Evermore His praises sing: Alleluia, Alleluia! Praise the everlasting King. ("Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven" LSB 793, st.1)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany
29-07-2022
Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany
Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 14:47-15:9; Acts 24:1-23"Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him." (John 11:10)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Today the Church commemorates three siblings and friends of our Lord: Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany. Jesus had friends! Sometimes we forget that. But Jesus calls His disciples "friends" (John 15:15). And Jesus had other friends as well, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus included.In the two famous accounts of Jesus' interaction with these friends, we see Jesus doing the kinds of things friends do. He visits Mary and Martha for a dinner party (Luke 10:38–42) and teaches them an important lesson about the priority of hearing His Word. Later, Jesus grieves over the death of their brother Lazarus (John 11). We can relate. We've probably all been over to a friend's house for dinner, and many of us have grieved the death of a friend.Can you imagine what it would be like to have Jesus as your friend? He who fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes might be a pretty awesome dinner guest. And look at what Jesus did for Lazarus, raising him from the dead! (Read John 11 for the whole story.) Being friends with Jesus is a wonderful thing!You might think, "I could never be Jesus' friend. He's so powerful and holy, and I'm a dirty, rotten sinner. Even if He were my friend, I would just let Him down." And there's a lot of truth in that, for in your sin, you made yourself His enemy. You broke the relationship and betrayed your friend. There's nothing you can do to ever make that right. Only Jesus can.You have failed, but Jesus was faithful. "Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6–8). You have no truer friend than Jesus, who loved you while you were His enemy and gave His life for you. And He has made you His friend by the gift of faith.One day soon, you will sleep as Lazarus slept. But fear not! Jesus, your true and faithful friend, who is the "resurrection and the life" (John 11:25), will come to awaken you to eternal life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.Thee will I love, my life, my Savior, Who art my best and truest friend. Thee will I love and praise forever, For never shall thy kindness end. Thee will I love with all my heart—Thou my redeemer art. ("Thee Will I Love, My Strength, My Tower" LSB 694, st.2)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Thursday of the Sixth Week after Trinity
28-07-2022
Thursday of the Sixth Week after Trinity
Today's Reading: Romans 6:3-11Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 13:1-18; Acts 23:12-35So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Through Baptism you are united with Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection. His death counts as your death, and His resurrection is the certainty of your own resurrection.There' s no doubt that you deserve to die. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Just one sin, one little white lie, one selfish thought, one slip of the tongue. . . just one of these deserves death, eternal death. If you think this is unjust, it simply proves again the depth of your rebellion against your creator. You're so sinful you think it's no big deal! So yes, you deserve to die.One way or another, you will die. If you die going your own way, you die forever. But there's another way to die, without dying forever. Paul speaks of it in Romans 6. "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" (Romans 6:3). This means that God' s gift of Baptism has bridged the gap between you and Calvary. Jesus' death is now your death. It's as if you were there with Him as He hung on that Cross, as He gave His last breath. It's as if you were the one there dying for your sin. On the Cross Jesus was carrying the sins of the whole world. All God's wrath, all His anger over your sin, was taken out on Jesus, and He died. Your death is no longer required as payment for your sin, all because you are joined to Jesus in Baptism.But wait, there' s more. Jesus died, but He didn't stay dead. Paul goes on to say, "If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." If His death is your death, certainly His resurrection is your resurrection. "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55). Your death will be "but a slumber" (LSB 938, st.1). No need to fear death. Your death will be like His. Your death will end in resurrection and eternal life. And all because you are baptized! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.In baptism we now put on Christ—Our shame is fully covered With all that He once sacrificed And freely for us suffered. For here the flood of His own blood Now makes us holy, right and good Before our heavenly Father. ("All Christians Who Have Been Baptized" LSB 596, st.4)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Wednesday of the Sixth Week after Trinity
27-07-2022
Wednesday of the Sixth Week after Trinity
Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Second Petition of the Lord' s PrayerDaily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 12:1-25; Acts 22:30-23:11Thy kingdom come. (Small Catechism: Second Petition of the Lord's Prayer)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God's kingdom does not consist of a land with borders, a castle or palace, or an earthly ruler enthroned with a scepter in his hand, wearing a golden crown and royal robes. God's kingdom is Jesus. Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!' or ‘There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst" (Luke 17:20). As He said these words, Jesus was literally standing "in the midst" of a group of Pharisees, so when He said, "The kingdom of God is in your midst," He was referring to Himself!The Pharisees weren't praying for God's kingdom to come—at least, not in the Person of Jesus Christ. The kingdom came to them without their prayers. They would reject and crucify their king, but He would still be their king. His royal scepter would be a reed, His crown a crown of thorns, and His royal robes a blood-soaked purple robe of mockery and shame. The Cross would be His royal throne, and from there the riches of His kingdom would be bestowed upon all mankind.You do not make Jesus your king by your prayer or decision. Some Christians imagine that Jesus can't be your king until YOU "make Him the Lord of your life," as if Jesus were incapable of being your king until you "let" Him be. Jesus is already the King of kings and Lord of lords. He rules over all creation by His divine power, and He will rule in glory for all eternity. You don't make Him your king; He makes Himself your king. That's what happened when you were baptized. Jesus, your king, chose you to be His own, to live under Him in His kingdom, the Church, which is His own Body, in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.That's what we're praying for in this petition. We're thanking King Jesus for making Himself our king and we are asking our king to defend us from the evil one, provide for us the gifts of salvation, give us the Holy Spirit and the gift of faith, and rule in our hearts and in our lives until He comes again in glory. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.Your kingdom come. Guard Your domain And your eternal righteous reign. The Holy Ghost enrich our day With gifts attendant on our way. Break Satan's power, defeat his rage; Preserve your Church from age to age. ("Our Father, Who from Heaven Above" LSB 766, st.3)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.
Tuesday of the Sixth Week after Trinity
26-07-2022
Tuesday of the Sixth Week after Trinity
Today's Reading: Exodus 20:1-17Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 10:1-27; Acts 22:17-29"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." (Exodus 20:2)In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Before the Law is given, the Gospel rings forth. God reminds His people that He is their God and they are His people. He chose them to be His own. He delivered them from their slavery in the land of Egypt—a testimony of His love for them.The Ten Commandments, then, are not a list of arbitrary rules handed down from some distant, uncaring, "cosmic kill-joy god." They are the rules and statutes laid down by a loving Father for His own children. These commandments are good, each reflecting God's own goodness. They outline the good life according to God's design, protecting and upholding God's good gifts to us. Our creator God knows what is good for us, and when we keep these commandments, we are truly blessed, and also are a blessing to others.As our loving Father, God is also very serious about these commandments. They reflect God's holiness. They are not a collection of "divine suggestions." Your Father really wants you to lead a holy life, for your own sake and for the sake of others. When you fail to do so, God's good commandments condemn and convict you, showing how you have fallen short in your love for God and for your neighbor. By this word of Law, your loving Father disciplines and chastises you. "For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives" (Hebrews 12:6).Do not despise the discipline of the Lord, but confess: "I, a poor, miserable sinner. . . " You can speak this truth, because your Father is "merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities" (Psalm 103:8–10). Instead, He deals with you according to His Son, Jesus, who alone obeyed every commandment, and paid the ultimate price for sinners. On Thursday we will see how Baptism unites you to the perfect obedience and atoning sacrifice of Jesus, setting you free—free to be all that Christ has declared you to be. Now, in that freedom, you love the Law and strive to obey your loving Father who has given these commandments to you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.To Jesus we for refuge flee, Who from the curse has set us free, And humbly worship at His throne, Saved by His grace through faith alone. ("The Law of God Is Good and Wise" LSB 579, st.6)-Rev. Jeffrey Ware is pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church in Charlotte, NC.Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane BamschChristians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.