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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) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor René Castillero

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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

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St. Luke, Evangelist • October 18, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Luke 10:1-9 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 17:1-20; Matthew 14:1-21 After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. (Luke 10:1) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What's in the Gospels? We call Luke an "evangelist" because he wrote one of the four Gospels. In that Gospel, he gives a careful account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and tells of many things Jesus said and did. When the apostles went to the ends of the earth preaching Christ, they were preaching what Luke would later put in his Gospel. The pastoral Office and the Scriptures go hand in hand. Preachers preach what is in the Bible. The Bible is what the preachers preach. And that's repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus' Name, the Jesus who suffered and rose again for sinners (Luke 24:46-47). Jesus sent preachers to all the places He was about to go. So your preacher also goes where Jesus is about to go. You hear the sermon and then Jesus arrives, there on the altar in His Body and Blood. Your pastor absolves and preaches Christ to you, and that same Christ will arrive on the Last Day to raise you from the dead. Your pastor, like the apostles and the seventy sent by Jesus, is a herald, proclaiming the arrival of the King of Kings to bestow forgiveness and mercy upon His people. Luke's Gospel (written to a man named Theophilus) was written, as Luke himself explains, in order that there would be a record of the things that were being preached in the Church. One of the great themes that runs throughout Luke's Gospel is that of the Savior of sinners. Luke records the parable of the lost sheep and coin and the prodigal son. He tells of the Pharisee and the tax collector and the unjust steward. Luke's Gospel is full of stories in which Jesus demonstrates that He came, not for the righteous people, but for sinners. We give thanks to God for Luke, who checked the facts and wrote them down in his Gospel so that we could hear it preached and read it and know the sort of God we have: One who saves sinners. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. For that belov'd physician All praise, whose Gospel shows The Healer of the nations, The one who shares our woes. Your wine and oil, O Savior, Upon our spirits pour, And with true balm of Gilead Anoint us evermore. ("By All Your Saints in Warfare" LSB 518, st. 26) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

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Saturday of the Eighteenth Week after Trinity • October 17, 2020 • Pastor George Borghardt

Today's Reading: Introit for St. Luke, Evangelist (Psalm 92:1-5; antiphon: Luke 24:46-47) Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 15:19-16:22; Matthew 13:44-58 "..and repentance toward (εἰς) the forgiveness of sins would be preached in His Name to all nations." (Luke 24.46-47) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It was necessary for the Christ to suffer, die, and rise again on the Third Day. Jesus did Good Friday and Easter for you and me! That's the good news that saves! But that Gospelly good work of Jesus does no good unless it is put into your ears. What was achieved on the Cross needs to be delivered to you and me! For the delivery of His saving work, Jesus sends His men like your pastor to preach in His Name. He doesn't just preach that you need to change and leave your sins through repentance. Nor does Jesus send His men to preach only the Gospel of forgiveness. No, Jesus sends His men to preach specifically "repentance towards the forgiveness of sins." Jesus died. You need to die, too. That's repentance! Leave your old way of living, all the itches that you scratch, all the times you live for yourself over and against others, all the doubts. If you would be saved, that filth has to be buried in the tomb where Jesus was buried for you. Thus, your pastor is sent to repent you and to call you out of your sins. Jesus rose again on the Third Day. You rose with Him in the water and the Word. Your sins can't chain you down to the prison of sin and death anymore! You've skipped out of the tomb alive with the risen Lord Jesus! You are right now as free from your sins as Jesus is free. He's not in that tomb of death and so you aren't either! That's the Gospel that your pastor has been called to preach into your ears. God doesn't just want you to change for change's sake or to be a better person. Please change and be better for others! Jesus knows that those changes won't save you. He preaches the Law to you to kill you so that He can then preach the Good News to you. He puts into your ears repentance toward the forgiveness of sins in His Name. You need both repentance and faith! It was necessary for Christ to suffer, to die, and to rise again on the Third Day, but your Lord didn't just stop in Jerusalem after winning your salvation! He makes sure that your pastor is sent to where you are to deliver that repentance and forgiveness to you in the Word. Be repented! Be forgiven! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch