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Reflections

St. Michael and All Angels

September 29, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Luke 10:17-20 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 1:19-36; Matthew 5:21-48 And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." (Luke 10:18) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When did Satan fall like lightning from heaven? Was it early on when he first rebelled against God and was cast down? Was it when Jesus died and cried out, "It is finished!"? Was Jesus talking about all the preaching done by the seventy men He sent out? The answer is "yes!" "Satan" means "accuser." He's the guy who tells God you don't belong with God because you're a sinner. But Jesus' death takes away our sins, so now the devil has nothing on you. No accusations. No evidence. But he still tries to slither up to heaven and tell God you can't be there. So whenever the preaching of the Gospel happens, boom! Satan is cast down like lightning. When someone is baptized, Satan gets the boot. When a Christian is absolved of her sins, the devil is sent packing. When a pastor proclaims the death and resurrection of Jesus, the evil one runs away with his tail between his legs. There are angels and then there are angels. We usually think of angels as just heavenly beings we can't see who do battle with the forces of evil and protect us without our thinking about it. But the word "angel" means "messenger," so in a very real sense, your pastor is an angel. He's a messenger. And when your pastor proclaims the goodness of Jesus to you or anyone else, it's like flipping on the light in a room full of cockroaches: They scatter! So does Satan, running back to the cracks and darkness. The devil can't accuse you. Your sins and their guilt have been laid upon Jesus and paid for by Him. When Satan stands before God to tattle on you, the Lord just says, "Get out of here, liar!" And out he goes. He'll keep trying until the Last Day, but he'll never succeed, because Jesus ended those accusation with His great "It is finished!" from Calvary. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Satan, hear this proclamation: I am baptized into Christ! Drop your ugly accusation, I am not so soon enticed. Now that to the font I've traveled, All your might has come unraveled, And, against your tyranny, God, my Lord, unites with me. ("God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It" LSB 594, st. 3) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor René Castillero

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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

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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

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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