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Reflections

Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week after Trinity

September 22, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 17:8-16 Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 7:1-4; 8:1-18; 1 Timothy 5:1-16 And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son." (1 Kings 17:13) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. How rude! Elijah the prophet met a widow and asked for a little something to eat. She had very little left and it was just enough for a last meal with her son. But Elijah insists she make him food first! How rude! Surprisingly, he is not being selfish. He's teaching her that God promises to take care of her. She prepared food for him and her little jars of oil and flour never ran out until the famine was over! Do you give an offering at your church? An offering is a sacrifice on our part so that the pastor who takes care of us can be paid and the needs of the church be met: heat, air, electric, and so on. Our offerings make sure our pastor can take care of his family and the church can take care of those in need. So do you give something for an offering? We don't give offerings because the Lord needs the money! We give offerings because others do: our pastor, the secretary, people in need, and so on. Giving an offering confesses what we believe about the Lord taking care of us. It says, "If I give up this bit of money, I am trusting the Lord will still take care of me and provide for me." After all, He gave you His Son. Sent Him to die for you. Sent Jesus to strip away all those idols we have and think we have to pay for. By rescuing us from the idolatry of worshiping ourselves, Jesus is freeing us up to be good stewards of the gifts He gives us so we can take care of others. Never give money at church because you think God needs it! Give because your neighbor needs it. The widow in this story first sought the kingdom of God: She wanted to make sure the prophet was taken care of so he could preach. In doing so, she trusted that the Lord would take care of her. And He did! He always will take care of you, too, because you are His baptized, Body- and Blood-fed people. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Hence, all earthly treasure! Jesus is my pleasure; Jesus is my choice. Hence, all empty glory! Naught to me thy story Told with tempting voice. Pain or loss, Or shame or cross, Shall not from my Savior move me Since He deigns to love me. ("Jesus, Priceless Treasure" LSB 743, st. 4) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor René Castillero

More from Reflections

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

The 21st Sunday after Trinity

October 24, 2021 • Pastor David

Jesus said to him, "Go; your son will live." The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. (John 4:50) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Two miracles occur in the reading for today. The first is obvious: The son of an official is brought from the point of death by the Word of Jesus. The second miracle is seen by faith: A fearful father is rescued from his faithlessness. I'm sure the father of the dying boy didn't think much about his wobbly faith as he approached Jesus that day in Capernaum. He had faith enough to come to Jesus, yet he believed that Jesus could not heal his son without being physically present for him. Jesus sets him straight with a promise that only He can make: "Go; your son will live." With that promise echoing in his ears, the anxious and faithful father heads for home. On the journey home he hears the great news that his son is recovering. His trust in Jesus was confirmed and he and his whole household believed. The connection for us is clear. Jesus receives us gladly, even with our wobbly faith. We come to Him asking for humanly impossible things with the confidence that the One who can change water into wine and bring a young man back from the brink of death can rescue us. We have God's promise. Jesus said, "I am the living bread that comes down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh" (John 6:51). We feast on Jesus by faith. We trust His Word when He says, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die" (John 11:25-26). We feast on the Bread of Life each time we come to the altar and receive the very Body and Blood of Jesus in the Holy Supper. In the Supper Jesus grants us the forgiveness that delivers us from death. With His Body and Blood He says to you, "Go: You, son or daughter, will live." In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O Lord, keep your household, the Church, in continual godliness that through your protection she may be free from all adversities and devoutly given to serve You in good works; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the 21st Sunday after Trinity) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

St. James of Jerusalem, Brother of Jesus and Martyr

October 23, 2021 • Pastor Eli Lietzau

Today's Reading: Acts 15:12-22 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 24:10-25:10; Matthew 16:13-28 After they finished speaking, James replied, "Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name." (Acts: 15:13-14) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. James of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord: What a turn around this guy did! If you read the Gospels you will come upon the occasional instances when Jesus is milling around His home country and His brothers try to stop by for a chat. Now this is not in order to catch up on times gone past, but it is because they think their older brother, Jesus, has gone crazy. And who can blame them? They grew up with this man who is now claiming to be the Messiah. I wouldn't believe my weirdo brother either. But at some point after the resurrection, James comes to faith. Paul mentions that Jesus appeared to James just like He did to Paul. And miraculously, James, just like Paul, was converted. Then God used James, this old doubter of His Son, to testify to the truth of His Son in the city of Jerusalem. James is given to be the head of the church in Jerusalem: We might call him a bishop. His most important point of business is to distinguish between the Gospel unto salvation and those pushing the works of the Law unto salvation. The Circumcision Party had been going around Judea and Galilee and all the known world pushing the works of the Law instead of proclaiming Christ. Their gospel was a gospel of "Make yourself worthy through the works of your hands and then you might be deserving of the things of Jesus." But James knew this to be rubbish, for how had he ever made himself worthy of Jesus? James had rejected Jesus throughout his whole earthly life and needed a special post-resurrection appearance in order to believe. There was no way that he was going to ever allow those pushing works-righteousness to obscure the Holy Gospel of Christ crucified. And so James hears Paul's testimony and the whole council agrees with him and Barnabas: Salvation is open, free and clear to the Gentiles, just as much as it is to the Jews. It is for James' stand for the Gospel that we give thanks this day. Christ Jesus is for all and there is no work of the Law needed to make oneself worthy. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. May God bestow on us His grace, With blessings rich provide us; And may the brightness of His face To life eternal guide us. That we His saving health may know, His gracious will and pleasure, And also to the nations show Christ's riches without measure And unto God convert them. ("May God Bestow on Us His Grace" LSB 823, st.1) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch