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Thursday of the 19th Week after Trinity

October 14, 2021 • Pastor Eli Lietzau

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 12:13-32; Matthew 12:38-50 But [Jesus] answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:39-40) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What is the will of the Father? That He would break and hinder every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh that does not want His Word to be taught in truth and purity and does not want that Word to be believed in faith. The sinner wants to see signs and wonders. The sinner tells God that he will believe in Him as long as God shows him a sign. But the signs that we want are always the wrong type of sign. We want to dictate to God the ways in which He should do things, the ways in which He should work and save and forgive. In telling God how He should be God, we are really just making ourselves god. It is the fruit in the Garden all over again. Sinners never come up with anything new; we always revert back to the original sin of wanting to be like God. But God has already done it all for us in Christ Jesus, through a bloody Cross and an empty tomb. Believe in that, believe in Him, believe that God has already done the work of salvation and He gives that salvation to you in His Word and through His Sacraments. A Jesus risen from the dead is all that you need. The problem is that the sinner who is confident in his own ways won't even believe in the words of a once-dead Jesus, come back from the grave. And so the sinner needs Jesus. He needs Jesus for it all: for life, for forgiveness, even for faith. For the sinner on his own can't believe in the things of an empty tomb and all that that means. So we pray that His Word is taught among us in truth and purity: free Gospel given to us without any merit or worthiness on our part. And we pray that His Spirit would bring us to, and keep us in, the faith as we hear this Word taught among us, so that we might hear Christ say to us, "You are My brother and sister." In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Christ Jesus, God's own Son, came down, His people to deliver; Destroying sin, He took the crown From death's pale brow forever: Stripped of pow'r, no more it reigns; An empty form alone remains; Its sting is lost forever. Alleluia! ("Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands" LSB 458, st.3) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

More from Reflections

St. Andrew, Apostle

November 30, 2021 • Pastor William K. Stottlemyer

Today's Reading: John 1:35-42a Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 6:1-7:9; 1 Peter 2:13-25 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" (John 1:35-36) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. John the Baptist's job was to point the way to Jesus, and he was good at his job. In John's Gospel we read about the calling of a disciple of John, Andrew, who heard the Word and followed it. The name Andrew means "manly" or "valor," and throughout his life, he accomplished many physical things. A fisherman by trade, he worked with his whole body, and this training helped him when he was called to be an apostle. Andrew's job was to proclaim the message of the Gospel and to bring people to Christ. Right from the beginning, he did just that. The Gospel of John tells us, "He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah'" (John 1:41). This drive to bring people to Jesus filled the life of Andrew, and he continued to go forth into all the world to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the sins of the world. Eusebius, a church historian, writes that Andrew went as far as Kiev, which is now in the Ukraine, in order that people might come to a knowledge of the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done. According to tradition, Andrew died after being tied to an X-shaped cross in Greece. We remember Andrew this day because the Body of Christ should always remember and give thanks to God for the people He has called to share the Gospel of Christ. The apostle Andrew was a blessing to the Church and to the people of God, for the Lord used this simple fisherman to proclaim His message into the ears of people who were lost in sin and needed a Savior. The Holy Spirit used Andrew, and He uses us today. As believers in Christ, we go to church and receive the Gifts God gives to us through preaching, teaching, and the Sacraments. These things fill us up and lead us to share the message of Christ. In so doing, the Holy Spirit works through us to proclaim the Good News to those still in darkness. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. All praise, O Lord, for Andrew, The first to welcome You, Whose witness to his brother Named You Messiah true. May we, with hearts kept open To You throughout the year, Confess to friend and neighbor Your advent ever near. ("By All Your Saints in Warfare" LSB 517, st.5) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

Noah

November 29, 2021 • Pastor William K. Stottlemyer

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 5:1-25; 1 Peter 2:1-12 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11:7) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever thought about how long it took Noah to build the ark? While we don't know for sure, many people guess that Noah was working on the ark for about 100 years. Day after day, this righteous man of God worked to build a huge boat without a storm cloud in sight. Hours upon countless hours of sawing, sanding, nailing, and covering with pitch. Years of ridicule and taunting by people who could not understand why he would waste his time or energy building a boat for a God whom they did not listen to and whom they could not care less about. Years passed, and Noah continued to build. What kept him going? Why did he go out every day to that boat and continue to build? The author of the book of Hebrews gives us the answer: It was all because of faith. Martin Luther writes, "Faith is a living bold trust in God's grace, so certain of God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it." This was the faith Noah had; he trusted in the word of God and did what God commanded. Now we know that Noah was a sinner just like all people born on earth. His calling by God was based not on who Noah was but solely upon grace and divine mercy. The Holy Spirit filled Noah with an active and living faith. It was a faith that trusted in the promises of God, including the coming of Jesus the Messiah, the One who died on the Cross to save us from all our sins. God used the ark to save Noah and his family from the flood that destroyed the earth. Today God uses the Church to protect you from this world and to keep you afloat in the floods of life. The Church is the Holy Ark that helps the people of God receive the Gifts God has given to us. Through preaching, teaching, and the right administration of the Sacraments, the Lord God strengthens our faith and protects us in this world of sin. So it is good that we remember Noah, a man of God and an heir of righteousness. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Almighty and eternal God, continue to help us live by faith, trusting in your righteousness for the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen. Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

The First Sunday in Advent

November 28, 2021 • Pastor William K. Stottlemyer

Today's Reading: Matthew 21:1-9 Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 2:1-22; 1 Peter 1:13-25 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet. . . (Matthew 21:4) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Today we begin the season of Advent. The word "advent" comes from the Latin word "advenire," which means "to come," and for the next 25 days, the Church will be preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ. Preparing takes time and lots of hard work. Just like cleaning the house must be done before the arrival of a special guest, things need to be done over the next few weeks as the Church prepares for the coming of Christmas. Advent hymns are sung, a wreath is put up, and candles are lit. In our lives we should also set aside time to prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of Jesus' birth. A good way to do this is to spend more time in the study of Holy Scripture and in prayer. On this, the first Sunday in Advent, the Gospel lesson relates the triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Jesus the King rides on a donkey, and, with great celebration, enters the Holy City so that He might die on the Cross for us and for all our sin. We must never forget that this was the purpose for which He came to earth. In the Gospel of Matthew you will often read, "This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet." In fact, Matthew points it out to us 16 times, and he quotes the Old Testament 68 times in order to drive home the point that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. The promise made long ago in the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve that a Messiah would come has now been fulfilled. Matthew, moved by the working of the Holy Spirit, wrote down these things so that we might prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of the Christ. All has been fulfilled in Christ. As we begin our Advent journey, we look forward to the celebration of Christ's coming because this Child comes to fulfill prophecy. He comes to fulfill the Law perfectly. He comes to suffer and to die in our place. He comes to bring peace between God and man. What a great gift given freely for us! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Stir up, we beseech Thee, Thy Power, O Lord, and Come, that by Thy protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Thy mighty deliverance; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God world without end. Amen. (Collect for the First Sunday in Advent) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch