Saturday of the 15th Week after Trinity

September 18, 2021 • Pastor James Leistico

Today's Reading: Introit for the 16th Sunday after Trinity (Psalm 86:1, 7, 12-13; antiphon: vs.3, 5) Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 1:1-2:10; 1 Timothy 1:1-20 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. (Psalm 86:12) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When you imagine that the words of the psalms come out of Christ's mouth, you might hear the words in a different way. For instance, Psalm 86:1 becomes a reminder that our God in the flesh identifies with all who are poor and needy in this world, even as in Luke 7 He will sympathize with the grieving widow at Nain and His compassion will restore her son to life. (But more about that tomorrow.) The King of the universe and Son of David could have chosen to be born in a palace. Instead He was born to a poor newlywed couple in a lowly manger. As an adult, He would say, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head," (Luke 9:58). Why did He suffer through being poor and needy? For you. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9). Yet He knew His suffering would be only temporary. Even though insolent men rose up against Jesus to end His life, as David wrote prophetically of Christ in Psalm 86:14, the Son was confident that He will glorify God the Father's name forever. And because the dead cannot praise the Lord (so it would be impossible for Him to do that forever if death ended Him), the Son of God went into Good Friday trusting that God would deliver His "soul from the depths of Sheol" (Psalm 86:13), raising Him from the dead on the Third Day. God has baptismally put you into Christ, and so He puts these same words into your mouth. He who gave David the confidence to know that he would glorify God forever in the resurrection even after David died now puts that confidence into you. On that great Day, you will no longer suffer the weakness of divided loyalties as you do now when your sin messes up your faith. The Lord will raise you, body and soul, to be perfect and whole. And then you shall mean it when you say, "I give thanks to you, O Lord, my God, with my whole heart." In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Thou hast died for my transgression, All my sins on Thee were laid; Thou hast won for me salvation, On the cross my debt was paid. From the grave I shall arise And shall meet Thee in the skies. Death itself is transitory; I shall lift my head in glory. ("Thanks to Thee, O Christ, Victorious" LSB 548, st.2) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

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Wednesday of the 21st Week after Trinity

October 27, 2021 • Pastor David Magruder

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar, part 5 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 29:1-29; Matthew 18:21-35 But that person is worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." (Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In his teaching on worthy reception of the Sacrament of the Altar in the Large Catechism, Luther writes: "Whoever now accepts these words and believes that what they declare is true has forgiveness. But whoever does not believe it has nothing, since he allows it to be offered to him in vain and refuses to enjoy such a saving good. The treasure, indeed, is opened and placed at everyone's door, yes, upon his table. But it is necessary that you also claim it and confidently view it as the words tell you. This is the entire Christian preparation for receiving this Sacrament worthily." Faith receives what Jesus gives. It is as simple as that. Unbelief blocks the path of those gifts. Who in the world would refuse such a gift as Jesus' Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins? Well, your old Adam would. He would rather nurse and nurture his sin. He would prefer to withhold forgiveness from all those losers who have sinned against him. Along with the Pharisee in Jesus' parable in Luke 18, the old Adam says, "God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector." Yet the "treasure indeed, is opened and placed at everyone's door." Jesus died for the Pharisee and the tax collector alike. His desire is for the life, not the death, of sinners. So, Jesus comes for the broken and repentant sinners to rescue them. He feeds you with His precious Body and Blood and fills you with faith to receive that gift as the words tell you. To receive the Sacrament worthily is to trust the words of Jesus. Mistrusting the words of our Lord or trusting in our own righteousness makes us truly unworthy. God be praised that He sends the Word of the Law to bring us to repentance and the Word of forgiveness that brings us life. And best of all, thanks be to God that such forgiveness is placed in our mouths in the Holy Supper of our Lord! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Lord Jesus Christ, life-giving bread, May I in grace possess You. Let me with holy food be fed, Your wounded hand now feed me. Though weary, sinful, sick, and weak, Refuge in You alone I seek, Give me Your grace and mercy. ("Lord Jesus Christ, Life-Giving Bread" LSB 625, st.1) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

Tuesday of the 21st Week after Trinity

October 26, 2021 • Pastor David Magruder

Today's Reading: Ephesians 6:10-17 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 28:1-22; Matthew 18:1-20 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-11) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. I spent eight months in the country of Afghanistan as a United States Navy chaplain. Nearly every day for those eight months I had to put on a 17-pound protective armored vest and a three-pound Kevlar helmet. Many times, I wondered if I could just dispense with wearing that cumbersome gear and lighten my load. But soon enough, the sound of enemy fire or the thought of my wife and three young children at home motivated me to hoist on that armor for another day. It would have been foolish to cast aside the protection that had been issued to me. I was given the armor to protect me from danger in a dangerous combat zone. So it is for you. Whether you recognize it or not, you are fighting on a great and terrible battlefield. The enemy is mostly unseen but nonetheless real. The spiritual forces of evil and Satan are constantly scheming to find a way to separate you from the Lord your God. You even must battle your old sinful self with its deadly desires. The great news is that you are not alone in this fight. Christ, the victor over death and the devil, fights for you. He lords His Cross, death, and empty grave over the evil one and He provides you with the armor to ensure your survival in body and soul. The armor comes from Him. You have the belt of truth, the Word of God. You wear the breastplate of righteousness: the righteousness of Christ that covers your sinful self. You have been given the Gospel of peace, that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).You have received the shield of faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), the helmet of salvation, and the Word of God which is the sword of the Spirit. All these gifts are from God and are bestowed on you by God's grace in Christ. You are united to Jesus. You are baptized! His strength and might are yours (Romans 6:3-4)! It is pure gift. You are safe and sound in Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. So wield well your blade, Rejoice in its pow'rs, Fight on undismayed For Jesus is ours! Then in Him victorious Your armor lay down, To praise, ever glorious, His cross and His crown. ("Be Strong in the Lord" LSB 665, st.5) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

Monday of the 21st Week after Trinity

October 25, 2021 • Pastor David Magruder

Today's Reading: Genesis 1:1-2:3 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 27:1-26; Matthew 17:14-27 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Everything that is, was created by God. You must take this personally. You are not an accidental being. The God who by His Word spoke creation itself into existence and marked times and seasons, created you. Every part of your being is the creative work of God. Your mind, your emotions, your physical self, are all a gracious gift from God the Father. He says of you as He did of the created order, "very good." However, our experience in this life is not always "very good." The rebellious sin brought into the world by the man and the woman has altered our reality. Our "very good" bodies betray us. We endure depression and anxiety. Cancers and viruses take away our loved ones in death. We sin daily in thought, word and deed, abusing others made in the image of God. Something must be done to reverse the downward slide into death that dogs all of humanity. The Son of God, through whom all things were made (John 1:3), the One who is God of God and Light of Light, came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man (Nicene Creed). The eternal Son of God suffered on the Cross and was buried in death. On the Third Day He rose again to bring resurrection life to all who believe in Him. You must take this personally, too. You have been joined to the death and life of Jesus in your Baptism. The God who created the heavens and the earth has given you a new creation in His Son, Jesus. Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again (re-created) he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). You have been re-created by the water and the Word. Your sins have been died for by Jesus and the way to a never-ending life has been opened for you. In Jesus, God the Father once again speaks over you these amazing words, "Very good." Yes, you are! In Jesus you are very good indeed. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We all believe in one true God, Who created earth and heaven, The Father who to us in love Has the right of children given. He in soul and body feeds us; All we need His hand provides us; Through all snares and perils leads us, Watching that no harm betide us. He cares for us by day and night; All things governed by His might. Amen. ("We All Believe in One True God" LSB 954, st.1) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch