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Reflections

Friday of the Fourteenth Week after Trinity

September 18, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 1:1-2:10; 1 Timothy 1:1-20 And they said to me, "The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire." (Nehemiah 1:3) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Nehemiah was a faithful follower of God who lived his life in exile. He was the cup-bearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia. Nehemiah knew his people were in captivity because they had turned away from the Lord. But even while they were in exile the Lord was gracious to them. The King permitted Nehemiah to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city, including the temple where God Himself dwelt. Jesus once told the Jews to tear down the temple and it would be rebuilt in three days. At that time, the temple was the one King Herod had built. But Jesus meant the Temple of His body, which would be killed and then rise again on the Third Day. From the days of Moses, the tabernacle (tent of meeting), followed by the temple in Jerusalem, was the place where you knew God was. When the Israelites went into exile, it was if God was saying, "I'm not hanging out with you anymore. You don't want me, so go live where I don't!" Ouch! But the coming of Jesus, the Son of God in the flesh, is the reminder that the Lord might appear to be gone for a time but is always among His people. If He wasn't there in the temple when they were in exile, He was still there among them in His Word. The Church is where God is today. The Church is where Jesus is. People seem to think of "God" as someone or something "out there" but Christians know better. God is a person. A human being. Jesus Christ. He is present among us by water, Word, Body and Blood. He is present in His Body, the holy Christian Church. The thing about the true God is that He's always been a "somewhere you can find Him" Lord. He doesn't hide in some other dimension. He's right here with us. As a man who can be crucified and died and rise again. As one who comes to us with real, physical gifts. There can be no doubt where Jesus is, and where He is, there we have all we need of God: the Savior who never abandons us but is here to forgive and give life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God Himself is present: Let us now adore Him And with awe appear before Him. God is in His temple; All within keep silence; Humbly kneel in deepest reverence. He alone On His throne Is Our God and Savior; Praise His Name forever. ("God Himself is Present" LSB 907, st. 1) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor René Castillero

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Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week after Trinity • October 21, 2020 • Pastor Gaven Mize

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Table of Duties, Civil Government Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 20:1-20; Matthew 15:21-39 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrong-doer. (Romans 13:1–4) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Christians are duty-bound to submit to the authorities placed over us. In the civil realm and the Church, our authorities are a protection and guide for us. Yes, we may look around today and wonder what in the world is going on with our political system and what is happening to our countries. "I mean, can't we all just get along?" This is where the Christian is to be wise and discerning. With our eyes we see a world that seems upside down, but that doesn't mean it has stopped being God's world. God still rules this fallen world, and we are to obey those placed over us. However, we also need to pay attention to our consciences and trust the Lord when the authorities ask us to do something contrary to God's Word. There are times we must let Scripture bind us regardless of the outcome to our bodies and freedoms. As Christ says, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:17). Still we are assured that regardless of what happens to us in this world, our Baptism has sealed us to God through Christ, and He will be with us. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down, Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown; O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine! Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine. ("O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" LSB 449, st. 1) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

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Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week after Trinity • October 20, 2020

Today's Reading: Ephesians 4:22-28 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 19:1-20; Matthew 15:1-20 ...that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Okay, the Old Man has got to go. Your Old man's conduct and behavior are terrible. Your ignoring God's Word, treating His Name like a cuss word, dishonoring your parents, killing others with your words and thoughts, your lust and desires for what isn't holy marriage, your taking what doesn't belong to you, your trash-talking others, your discontent with all that God has given you: It all. Must. Go. Then the New Man will get busy! The New Man lives in true righteousness and holiness. The New Man has not even a speck of sin in him and wants to do nothing but glorify God and serve others. The New Man wants to live joyfully as a member of the Body of Christ and happily carries out his vocations and callings, whatever they may be. So how do you get from one to the other? The truth is, as long as you're in this life, you are both. And so this work of putting off the Old Man and putting on the New Man is not for you to do in an epic display of self-discipline and willpower. It's the Spirit's work to do in you by delivering to you exactly what you need. To the Old Man, the Spirit delivers the death-dealing, crucifying, killing Law to crush the Old Adam, to drown and put him to death. And to the New Man He delivers the Good News of forgiveness for the sake of Jesus, who was crucified and risen for you. To the New Man is given the promises over and over of Baptism, Absolution, and Jesus' Body and Blood. It is by this daily putting down of the Old Man and the daily renewing of the promises to the New Man that the Holy Spirit is actually working in you to put off that old conduct and live in righteousness and holiness. In Jesus, you can't be anything other than a dead Old Man and an active and alive New Man. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Fruitful trees, the Spirit's sowing, May we ripen and increase, Fruit to life eternal growing, Rich in love and joy and peace. ("Fruitful Trees, the Spirit's Sowing" LSB 691, st. 1) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

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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