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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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Reflections

Thursday of the Twentieth Week after Trinity • October 29, 2020 • Pastor Gaven Mize

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 31:1-29; Matthew 19:16-30 "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?" And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." He said to him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 19:16-19) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The beginning of our text in Matthew has always boggled my mind. I've never been sure why the rich young man would say that he had kept all of the commandments since his youth. On top of that, when Christ answers his question, "What good deed must I do to have eternal life?" Christ points His finger to the pulse of the most important thing to the rich young man: his riches. As the rich young man walks away, he doesn't realize that he has broken each of the commandments, including loving his neighbor as himself. Christ's death and resurrection definitively answer the question of "doing" good deeds to enter heaven" once and for all. We cannot "do" enough "good deeds" in order to receive salvation. Salvation is through Christ alone. Of course the commandments from God are good and wise and we are to keep them. But we don't. The treasures we hold in our hearts are more valuable to us on earth than the treasure awaiting us in Jesus. So, what shall we do? Trust Jesus. He kept the commandments for you, living a perfect life in your place. Be subject to Him in all things. Love one another, and when you sin, repent, for in the Absolution is the kingdom of God. Rejoice in your Baptism, for through it you belong to God forever. 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) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

Reflections

St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles • October 28, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: John 15:12-21 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 30:1-20; Matthew 19:1-15 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also." (John 15:20) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why do we have a special day to remember St. Simon and St. Jude? Why do we set aside days to remember any of the apostles? Weren't they just men? Are they any better than any other Christian? The apostles do hold a special place in the Church. They are the men who were eyewitnesses of Jesus' words and deeds and saw Him alive again after His resurrection. He called and ordained them to preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins to the ends of the earth. And that's what they did, not even shrinking in the face of persecution and death. They gladly gave up their lives because they knew that if Jesus rose, they would rise, too. We don't commemorate apostles for their own sake but to be reminded that Jesus called real men into the holy ministry to carry out the task of being His voice on the earth. Jesus is one man, but the apostles were twelve. After His Ascension there were twelve mouths to preach Jesus. And the apostles ordained pastors wherever they went, so the number of mouths grew. Because of those preachers, the Good News that the sins of the world and death have been overcome by Jesus' death and resurrection is carried everywhere. The washing of regeneration takes place in Baptism; sinners are absolved; the Lord's Supper is given out. The apostolic ministry (the apostles and those after them who preach what they preached) ensures that Jesus will always be giving His Good News to the world and saving sinners just like you—even two thousand years later! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Praise, Lord, for Your apostles, Saint Simon and Saint Jude. One love, one hope impelled them To tread the way, renewed. May we with zeal as earnest The faith of Christ maintain, Be bound in love together, And life eternal gain. ("By All Your Saints in Warfare" LSB 518, st. 28) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

Reflections

Tuesday of the Twentieth Week after Trinity • October 27, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Ephesians 5:15-21 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 29:1-29; Matthew 18:21-35 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever heard someone say, "Do you know what the Lord's will is for your life?" Maybe that comes up in discussions about what job to get or what classes to take or what college to attend. Should I date this person? What career do I want to shoot for? Well, what is the Lord's will in all of those things? The Lord's will is this: that you be saved from your sins through faith in Christ Jesus, be raised from the dead and have eternal life. That's the Lord's will. He's accomplished that will for you in Jesus, who died for you and rose for you. He's brought that will to bear in your life by baptizing you and making you a part of His Church, feeding you with the Lord's Supper and putting His Word into your ears. His will is done when you hear and believe His Word. The "unwise" part that Paul warns us about is living as if that will of God is something other than what it is. Maybe it's living as if God's will is that you "be happy" and therefore you should just do whatever you want, whatever makes you feel good. Maybe it's that God's will is to micromanage your every single decision, making you wonder and worry about whether or not you are doing the "right" thing by picking one choice of college or classes over another. Watch out! That sort of talk about God's will isn't really about Him. It's about you! Christ has set you free! His will is that you live freely in Him. You might choose one college or another, drive a new or a used car, have an iPhone or an Android phone. But either way, you're a forgiven sinner in Christ. He didn't save you so that you are burdened by the guilt of trying to "discern God's will for your life." He is loud and clear about what His will is: that you be saved. And more than that, He is dedicated to making that will happen for you, so that you are indeed saved, forgiven, and have everlasting life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The will of God is always best And shall be done forever; And they who trust in Him are blest; He will forsake them never. He helps indeed In time of need; He chastens with forbearing. They who depend On God, their friend, Shall not be left despairing. ("The Will of God is Always Best" LSB 758, st. 1) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch