Friday of the 15th Week after Trinity

September 17, 2021 • Pastor James Leistico

Daily Lectionary: 2 Chronicles 36:1-23; Colossians 4:1-18 That the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia. (2 Chronicles 36:22) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jerusalem is no more. God had tried to get through to His people. "But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising His words and scoffing at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD rose against His people" (verse 16). God knew that the only thing that would work was to bring the Chaldean King and his army to Jerusalem for war and destroy it in 586 BC. When other kingdoms suffered a defeat like this, they were gone. Game over. However, God still had plans for His people. He promised that the Savior of all nations would be born from this nation. And so, by grace, He raised this nation from death back to life again after their Babylonian captivity, just as He promised in Jeremiah 29:10: "I will fulfill to you My promise and bring you back to this place." The prophecy from Isaiah 45:1-7 about this time is very amazing. Not only does the Lord name Cyrus specifically as the restorer of His people over a century before the Persian King was born, He also refers to Cyrus as being God's anointed, despite the fact that the man was a foreign pagan. Remember, God commanded His priests to anoint prophets, priests, and kings. And there are also the prophesies of the Anointed One, which in Greek is Christos, or Christ. Just as 2 Chronicles 36:22 reports to us, God fulfilled His promises in Isaiah 45 to give military success and political power to King Cyrus for the sake of God's chosen people Israel--and for your sake! As God says prophetically to Cyrus in Isaiah 45:5-6, "I equip you, though you do not know Me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides Me; I am the LORD, and there is no other." For among those who returned to the Promised Land with the help of Cyrus were ancestors of Jesus, to whom all authority in heaven and on earth has been given. While guiding world history, Christ directed the servants of His Church to go out into all the world and find you, teaching you to know Him as the only God, so that by the forgiveness of your sins, you could live in His kingdom in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O God, the protector of all who trust in You, have mercy on us that with You as our ruler and guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ. Amen. 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