Announcements for the week of September 1, 2013

 

13-09-01, Pentecost 15, BA-2013C

 

Apology, IV. Justification

 We wonder what our opponents do when they pray, if indeed these profane men ever ask God for anything! If they declare that they are worthy because they have love and good works, and ask for grace as though they had earned it, then they pray like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11 who says, “I am not like other men.” Such prayer, which relies on its own righteousness and not on the mercy of God, insults Christ, who intercedes for us as our high priest.

Therefore prayer relies upon the mercy of God when we believe that we are heard because of Christ the high priest, as he himself says (John 16:23), “If you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name.” “In my name,” he says, because without the high priest we high priest. cannot draw near to the Father. (Tappert, ¶332-333)

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I Believe; Help My Unbelief

Mark 9:14-29

14When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to [Jesus] and greeted him. 16And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.

Luther’s Small Catechism

The Third Article: Of Sanctification.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean?–Answer.

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

Readings for Easter Wednesday

Acts 3:13–15, 17–19

13The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. . . .

      17“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out. . . .”

Colossians 3:1–7

1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

      5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.

John 21:1–14

1After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

      4Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

      9When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Collect of the Day

Almighty God, by the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, You destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light. Grant that we who have been raised with Him may abide in His presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Reason to give thanks

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Psalm 30:11-12, NKJ

In the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

The writer of Ecclesiastes, in the third chapter, begins by writing, “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  In the same chapter, speaking of the times, he says that there is, “A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

The Psalmist spoke of such a time.  He had mourned.  He had grieved in sackcloth.  Yet his grief was turned to gladness.  His mourning was turned into dancing.

These things did not become so because of or on account of the Psalmist.  He doesn’t say, “I have turned” or “I have put off.”  No!  He says, “You,” meaning the Lord his God.   The Lord his God had turned for him his mourning into dancing.  The Lord his God had put off his sackcloth and had clothed him with gladness.

This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes (Psalm 118:23).

The Lord had heard the prayers and petitions of His servant for mercy and help (Psalm 30:10).  And the Lord answered him.

The Psalmist David implored of the Lord with confidence, not doubting (see James 1:5-8).  He didn’t pray by saying, “Lord, if you’re there, hear.”  He didn’t say, “Lord, if you can help, please do.”  Rather, David prayed with a confidence that trusted in the God who is faithful to His promises and steadfast to His Word.

God had given David such confidence.  And God gives such confidence to you, for in Jesus, you have nothing but the certainty of God’s mercy towards you.  Now you have peace with God (Romans 5:1).  And having this peace with God through Jesus Christ means that you also have reason for continually Him giving thanks and praise and for singing in your heart to the Lord.

Though your circumstances remain the same or not, the Lord is ever faithful to His Word.  The change from having bitterness in the heart to giving endless thanks to the Lord is not dependent on circumstances, but a changed heart, a heart changed by God, by means of His Holy Word.  And by means of God’s Word, even the Word made flesh (John 1:14), you always have reason to rejoice and give thanks, even through times of grieving and mourning.  Times of joy and dancing will come, but not at your time—in the Lord’s.  Amen.

Prayer: Lord God, keep me confident of your promises and nothing but sure of Your faithfulness to Your Holy Word.  Help me to bear my crosses while waiting only on you and trusting solely in Your Word, praying, “Thy will be done.”  Amen.

Rejoice in the Lord Always!

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

The very first verb here, “Rejoice,” amazingly is not in the indicative.  It is not merely a statement.  It is not an interrogative.  It is not a question.  St. Paul speaks here using the imperative form.  That word, “Rejoice,” is a command.  Yet it is a command that does not speak the impossible or the improbable.  By ourselves, if we were to “Rejoice always,” we would certainly fail.

“Rejoice always” even in the midst of extreme sorrow, grief, trouble, and trial?  “Rejoice always” even in the midst of persecution, struggle, sickness, and death?

What Paul demands seems to be impossible!  Such rejoicing we cannot do.  In fact, of ourselves, what Paul demands is impossible, for of ourselves and in ourselves, any kind of rejoicing is only of short duration.  It cannot and will not last.

But Paul does not merely say “Rejoice always.”  He says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice (in the Lord)!”

In other words, Paul is not saying that we ought to be always happy and always proud of our own abilities and strengths.  Nor is he saying that we ought to rejoice only when things are going well.

Rejoicing in the Lord has to do with looking to the Lord for our everything.  Indeed, trusting in Him for our everything.  Only in this way can one truly rejoice, even in the midst of suffering or even death.

Because God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, through whom alone we have peace with God (Romans 5:1ff), we truly do rejoice as God’s people.  Not even death itself, let alone any and every trouble in this life, both inside and outside the church, can separate us from His Love for us sinners (Romans 8).

Because of Christ, we have no reason to fear the threats of man, the lesser threat.  Nor do we have reason to fear the threats of the devil, the greater threat, or even of God Himself, the greatest threat.  Because of Christ’s death, there remains no reason to fear the works of sin, the world, our flesh, or the devil.  This also means that we have no reason to fear even our own insecurities, shortcomings, and yes, even transgressions and sins against the Holy God.

Jesus’ blood covers all of our sins.  You have peace with God.  God promises everything that you need in this body and life, even before you even ask (see 4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer and meaning—Give us this day our daily bread).

Since such is the case, then rejoice!  Your confidence is not in circumstance, what befalls you, or what others think or feel about you. Your confidence is God and His Son, Jesus Christ!  Therefore, “Rejoice always, in the Lord.”  Amen.

Prayer:  Gracious Father, you promise to hear the prayers and petitions of your people, those who call on you through faith in Your blessed Son.  Forgive us for doubting Your kindnesses and gracious Word.  Give us hearts that rejoice in You, lips that confess Your great name, faith that remains firm, and constant love for You, and for others—always.  Amen.

“I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill” (Psalm 3:4).

Thursday, May 5, is/was the National Day of Prayer.

Truly does our Lord hear the prayers of His people. So does He command us to pray, and He promises to hear our prayer, answering them according to His good and gracious will (Matthew 7:7-8). And there is much to pray for!

Therefore, into His blessed hands we commend ourselves, our bodies and souls and all things, entrusting ourselves into His keeping and His help, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

WhatAboutTheLord’sPrayer

NatlDayPrayer2011 2

Prayer

I’ve been praying for something for quite some time now, but it doesn’t seem that God hears me. How do I know when to stop praying?

2004 ATP.Prayer.pdf

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