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ASL Reflection

Tuesday of the Third Week after Trinity

June 30, 2020 • Pastor Alexander Lange

Today's Reading: Micah 7:18-20 Daily Lectionary: Joshua 5:1-6:5; Acts 10:1-17 You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:19) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When things get lost at sea, they tend to stay lost. The sea is big and it is deep. The water is full of currents, moving things around. There are great chasms and canyons in the ocean that are pitch black – so dark, in fact, that God gave some fish their own little lights to navigate in the dark! Sometimes the Bible pictures God's keeping a record in a book – a record of every person and every deed committed by each person. The Bible describes God's opening the books on the Day of Judgment. This is some heavy Law. God noticed your sins. He will remember them. He recorded them, after all. What would happen if God took that book and tossed it into the sea? What would happen if your sins were not recorded forever, but were thrown into the deepest, darkest part of the ocean? There can be no condemnation if there are no sins. There can be no punishment without a record of wrongdoing. You were born into sin. You inherited the sin of Adam. You were guilty the moment you took your first breath. So God provided an ocean. He plunged you and your sins into water – the same kind of water found in the sea. He plunged you into the baptismal font and when you emerged you were sinless. Your sins were left behind in the water sanctified by the blood of Jesus. This Baptism wasn't a one-time event covering the sins you had previously committed. You live in your Baptism. Whenever you add to your record of sins, you return to that font. You drown your sins through contrition and emerge cleansed by the blood of Christ, believing that Jesus died for you. Whenever the Law is preached and causes you to repent, and whenever the Gospel is pronounced and you believe, you are being dipped into the water again. Any sin plunged into these waters can never be found again. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus, once with sinners numbered, Full obedience was Your path; You, by death, have consecrated Water in this saving bath: Dying to the sin of Adam, Rising to a life of grace; We are counted with the righteous, Over us the cross You trace. ("Jesus, Once with Sinners Numbered" LSB 404, st. 4)

ASL Reflections

Wednesday of the Ninth Week after Trinity • August 12, 2020 • Pastor David Magruder

Today's Reading: The Small Catechism: Baptism Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 28:3-25; 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 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 6:11) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What a gift! A gift that keeps on giving! Holy Baptism. I have always been struck by the profound simplicity of Luther's words in the Small Catechism and their faithfulness to the witness of the Bible. From beginning to end, the catechism reminds us that our relationship to God comes about by His grace. My favorite part of the catechism is our reading for this day: Holy Baptism, part 4. It distills into one beautiful (and long) sentence numerous biblical truths about salvation and then it perfectly connects them to Holy Baptism. What does Baptism mean for you? It means the daily death of your Old Adam and the emergence of the new man made righteous and pure by water and Word. And what is that Word? "We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). Daily death and life in Jesus. Yes, the event of water and Word being applied to you happened once, in time. But the remembrance of your Baptism is a daily reality. You've heard it before: we don't say, "I was baptized." we say "I am baptized." It is an ongoing reality worked by Jesus. You are joined to Jesus' death and raised with Him. You now walk in a new life created and sustained by the Father, in the Son and by the power of the Holy Spirit. To see what that beautiful and wholesome life looks like, read the entire text for today from 1 Corinthians 6! It is a beautiful description of what it means to be washed and made holy (sanctified) in Jesus. And so you are! Baptized! Justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. So use it well! You are made new—in Christ a new creation! As faithful Christians, live and do within your own vocation, until that day when you possess His glorious robe of righteousness bestowed on you forever! ("All Christians Who Have Been Baptized" LSB 596, st.6)

ASL Reflection

Tuesday of the Ninth Week after Trinity • August 11, 2020 • Pastor David Magruder

Today's Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:6-13 Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 26:1-25; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1Corinthians 10:12) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The apostle Paul was a super-religious guy in his previous life. We also know him as Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee of Pharisees. He had his religious life all neatly packaged up, ready to give to God with the expectation that God would reward him for his good efforts and works. Paul would learn, in baptismal wonder, that such ideas were foolish (Acts 9). Salvation does not rest in any human. It is a gift granted for the sake of the death and life of Jesus alone. It seems like Paul is quoting a Proverb he surely had memorized in his Pharisee days: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18). Some in the church at Corinth prided themselves on their own super religiosity and spiritual strength. They should be careful, Paul warns, not to fall from grace. That is a good warning for us as well. It keeps us from centering our life of faith on us instead of the One who really makes it all possible. It works repentance in us and moves us back to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Along with Paul's warning, he adds a beautiful word of promise: We will not be tested beyond our God-given capacity. When faced with trials, we can count on God's faithfulness. "God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). God remains faithful to the promise He made to you in Baptism. He will be with you always (Matthew 28). He has joined you to Jesus, the One who overcame every temptation and trial by His perfect obedience and death. The resurrected Jesus is there with forgiveness and mercy when you do fall. With every trial He will give you strength to endure and will, in His own time, create the "way out"! In Christ, there is no need to stand on anything but His promise! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why should cross and trial grieve me? Christ is near with His cheer; never will He leave me. Who can rob me of this heaven that God's Son for me won when His life was given? ("Why should Cross and Trial Grieve Me" LSB 756, st.1)

ASL Reflections

Monday of the Ninth Week after Trinity • August 10, 2020 • Pastor David Magruder

Today's Reading: 2 Samuel 22:26-34 Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 25:23-44; 1 Corinthians 4:1-21 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. (2 Samuel 22:34) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Really, David? Your elderly feet like the feet of a deer? You couldn't even protect your old self from the Philistines and had to be told by your solders to just stay home and not get yourself killed (2 Samuel 21:17). David believed something that his soldiers would not: God the LORD was at work for the sake of His people. Whether David lived or died, it was the mercy of the LORD that would endure. The perfect Word of the LORD always proves true; He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him, old and young alike. David believed the promise that God had made to Adam and Eve, confirmed to Abraham, and restated to him: God would send One who would redeem the world from sin and the death that comes through sin. He would send One who would be King over all the world and live forever. The LORD kept His promise and sent the world David's greater son, Jesus. Jesus brings the light of forgiveness and life into the darkness of the world. Jesus is the mercy of God in the flesh. Jesus is blameless yet bears our blame and guilt on the Cross. Jesus rose from the grave and will give our dead bodies their resurrection, too. Jesus sets us secure on the heights, washed and fed at His font and table. Old David wasn't delusional, he was filled with faith by the mercy of God. He lived by faith in God's promise that even his tired old bones would be renewed in resurrection life. His sin would be answered for by another, Jesus, and his way made pure and blameless for all eternity. Such is your life. The merciful LORD has redeemed you in His Son. Your sin is answered for and your death overcome by the Christ. "This God – His way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him" (2 Samuel 22:31). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. This is a sight that gladdens – What peace it doth impart! Now nothing ever saddens the joy within my heart. No gloom shall ever shake, no foe shall overtake the hope with God's own Son in love for me has won. ("Awake My Heart, with Gladness" LSB 467, st.3)