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Reflections

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week after Trinity

October 1, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 2:16-37; Matthew 6:16-34 Who receives this sacrament worthily? . . . But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words "for you" require all hearts to believe. (Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar, pt. 5) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If someone sketchy were to give you a sandwich, you might not want to eat it. "It's fine," they say, "I didn't spit on it or anything." If you don't believe them, you won't eat the sandwich. If Jesus says that the bread and wine are His Body and Blood, "given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins," then faith's reply is to eat that bread and drink from that cup. In other words, to believe Jesus' words means we would obviously eat and drink His Gift. If we didn't believe, why would we bother? If we don't believe that Jesus died for our sins and rose again, why would we pretend we want a gift we don't believe in? We often hear Jesus' Supper described in a way that makes it sound like His Body and Blood are not really there. It's just a "representation" some might say, "a symbol." While that is incorrect, there's more to unbelief than simply misunderstanding Jesus' words. Unbelief means to deny who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Worthiness for the Supper does not rely on our understanding of "how" it can be His Body and Blood." If it did, no one would receive it! Rather, to deny Jesus' forgiveness is what makes us unworthy to receive His Supper. You see, Jesus doesn't want us to worry about it, be confused, or question it. The bread and wine are not His Body and Blood because we believe it. They are the Body and Blood of the crucified and risen Lord and He gives them to you so that you can be sure beyond a shadow of a doubt, that His Gift is for you. The purpose of His Gift is to make sure you know and believe and never doubt that your sins are forgiven. Once again, we see that our "worthiness" isn't in what we do, but in what Jesus has already done for us. He died and rose and He gives His Supper for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Is this for me? I am forgiven and set free! I do believe That I receive His very body and His blood. O taste and see—the Lord is good. ("What Is This Bread" LSB 629, st. 5) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

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Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week after Trinity • October 21, 2020 • Pastor Gaven Mize

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Table of Duties, Civil Government Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 20:1-20; Matthew 15:21-39 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrong-doer. (Romans 13:1–4) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Christians are duty-bound to submit to the authorities placed over us. In the civil realm and the Church, our authorities are a protection and guide for us. Yes, we may look around today and wonder what in the world is going on with our political system and what is happening to our countries. "I mean, can't we all just get along?" This is where the Christian is to be wise and discerning. With our eyes we see a world that seems upside down, but that doesn't mean it has stopped being God's world. God still rules this fallen world, and we are to obey those placed over us. However, we also need to pay attention to our consciences and trust the Lord when the authorities ask us to do something contrary to God's Word. There are times we must let Scripture bind us regardless of the outcome to our bodies and freedoms. As Christ says, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:17). Still we are assured that regardless of what happens to us in this world, our Baptism has sealed us to God through Christ, and He will be with us. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down, Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown; O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine! Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine. ("O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" LSB 449, st. 1) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

Reflections

Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week after Trinity • October 20, 2020

Today's Reading: Ephesians 4:22-28 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 19:1-20; Matthew 15:1-20 ...that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Okay, the Old Man has got to go. Your Old man's conduct and behavior are terrible. Your ignoring God's Word, treating His Name like a cuss word, dishonoring your parents, killing others with your words and thoughts, your lust and desires for what isn't holy marriage, your taking what doesn't belong to you, your trash-talking others, your discontent with all that God has given you: It all. Must. Go. Then the New Man will get busy! The New Man lives in true righteousness and holiness. The New Man has not even a speck of sin in him and wants to do nothing but glorify God and serve others. The New Man wants to live joyfully as a member of the Body of Christ and happily carries out his vocations and callings, whatever they may be. So how do you get from one to the other? The truth is, as long as you're in this life, you are both. And so this work of putting off the Old Man and putting on the New Man is not for you to do in an epic display of self-discipline and willpower. It's the Spirit's work to do in you by delivering to you exactly what you need. To the Old Man, the Spirit delivers the death-dealing, crucifying, killing Law to crush the Old Adam, to drown and put him to death. And to the New Man He delivers the Good News of forgiveness for the sake of Jesus, who was crucified and risen for you. To the New Man is given the promises over and over of Baptism, Absolution, and Jesus' Body and Blood. It is by this daily putting down of the Old Man and the daily renewing of the promises to the New Man that the Holy Spirit is actually working in you to put off that old conduct and live in righteousness and holiness. In Jesus, you can't be anything other than a dead Old Man and an active and alive New Man. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Fruitful trees, the Spirit's sowing, May we ripen and increase, Fruit to life eternal growing, Rich in love and joy and peace. ("Fruitful Trees, the Spirit's Sowing" LSB 691, st. 1) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

Reflections

Monday of the Nineteenth Week after Trinity • October 19, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Genesis 28:10-17 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 18:1-22; Matthew 14:22-36 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you." (Genesis 28:15) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Most people operate with the idea that God is full of demands. Do this. Don't do that. Rules. Regulations. Watch your behavior. But if you read the Bible, you'll see that God is all about making promises to people who haven't really earned or deserved what He has to give them. Jacob was a liar and deceiver. He stole his brother's birthright and blessing. But Yahweh came to him, showed him Jesus (the ladder between heaven and earth) and promised to bless him with land and descendants and the future Savior from his family line. Jesus does the same thing. He makes promises, one after the other. "Come to me, you who are weary." "My Father will give you whatever you ask in my Name." "I will give my life for many." "I am with you always." Promises. Jesus gives us His Word, and His Word is full of forgiveness, life and salvation. His death on the Cross is a promise. It's a promise that thieves and sinners will be with Him in paradise. His resurrection is a promise that He has overcome sin and death. Baptism is a promise that your sins are forgiven and you are a child of God. Absolution is a promise that your sins are forgiven and there is a "not guilty" judgment entered for you. The preaching of Jesus is a promise that all that He has done is done for you. The Lord's Supper is a promise that Jesus will live in you and you in Him and He will raise you on the Last Day. We make and break promises, and experience promises made and broken by others. But God is all about making promises and keeping them, and not horrible, deadly, bad promises, but good, loving, merciful, and forgiving promises of putting away your sins and giving you life beyond this life—an everlasting life with Him. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Who trusts in God A strong abode In heav'n and earth possesses; Who looks in love To Christ above, No fear that heart oppresses. In You alone, Dear Lord, we own Sweet hope and consolation, Our shield from foes, Our balm for woes, Our great and sure salvation. ("Who Trusts in God a Strong Abode" LSB 714, st. 1) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch