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Tuesday, January 1, 2013, Devotion

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5

When so often we struggle with the same old, same old, it is challenging to trust the Lord that he is making all things new. Our experience sometimes leads us to suspect the contrary—wars, violence, disease always getting the better of us; politicians who promise us a better society but proving no different than the rest; clergy who betray their sacred trust. But Christ—the one who sits on the throne—promises that he is making something new–an eternal relationship with the God of creation in which sin, death and devil are no more, a reality of which we partake of now even as we await its fulfillment at the Last Day.

Lord Jesus, I thank you that you make all things new, even when it seems like things are just the same-old, same-old. Help my unbelief and give me the eyes of faith that I might see you at work in the midst of all the changes and chances of this life. 

Gracious Lord, as we stand at the threshold of this new year, open our eyes to see your hand at work in all we do and feel your presence with us even in the most difficult of times. Gives us hope for the future, for the future is Christ. Amen. 

Monday, December 31, 2012, Devotion

“Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. abide in my love.”  (John 15:9)

The real question is to move beyond the assumption we have and find out what is the love the Father has for the Son and what is His love for us?  What is this love that God wants us to abide in?  The answer is found in what He has done and in what He is doing. It is a love based upon action. It is a love that is unconditional. It is a love that see beyond the immediate into what is going to be. It is a perfect love, which is why we can only begin to comprehend it.

Lord, I often gloss over words in Your Word without comprehension. Help me to meditate on Your Word and understand more fully each day what You actually mean when You say things. Guide me to learn to live Your Word, understanding it by doing it, learning as I go. Help me to see that in the doing, I will see more of what Your love is. Take me away from this culture’s idea of feeling Your love, but instead comprehend as it envelopes me as I am faithful to You.

Lord Jesus, You have loved me even when I have no idea what that means. Your love is so great that I cannot comprehend it. All I know is that unworthy as I am, You have loved me and offered me eternal life through Your love. Help me to grow in that love and, as I am able, help me to share that love with others, following Your example. May I dwell in Your love this day, abiding in You as You are in the Father. Amen.

Sunday, December 30, 2012, Devotion

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.”  (John 15:8)

Walking and acting in the ways of the Lord is what the Father is after. Moving away from the arrogance and rebellion of this life into a life that submits to the perfect will of the Father is what salvation is all about. It is a different life. It is a perfect life. This is the true life that Jesus has come to bring to all who will follow Him. If you follow Jesus, you will bear much fruit.

Lord, help me to not be concerned with what fruit, or how much I produce, but instead to focus upon learning to be obedient in every circumstance. Grant that I would have a humble heart, submitting to what You are accomplishing in this world through Your Holy Spirit. Grant a contrite and willing heart that is submissive to Your will, growing and bearing much fruit for Your kingdom.

Lord Jesus, lead us away from the corruption of this world into the kingdom Your are preparing for those who love You. Guide my steps this day to be about growing in the ways of Your kingdom, knowing that You alone are able to lead me in all righteousness. In all things, may I be Your faithful servant this day, abiding deeply in Your ever present guidance and support. Amen.

 

PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, 1 Christmas (December 30, 2012)

  • December 29, 2012 - 6:06 pm
  • lutherancore
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PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH, 1 Christmas (December 30, 2012)

A ministry of the Lutheran Coalition for Renewal

Download Prayers of the Church for January through March, 2013. 

www.lutherancore.org

 A Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.

A brief silence

A As we prepare to turn the calendar to a new year, we thank you for all your mercy and goodness to us in the year of grace which is drawing to a close. Guide us into your future with hope, and let the coming new year be a time of peace and healing for our nation, for all families, and for our world. Lord, in your mercy,

C hear our prayer.

A Empower your Church with the Holy Spirit during this coming year, that your saving Gospel may go forth in power and call many to repentance and faith. Build up all Christian congregations, especially our Lutheran family in North America. Direct all bishops, presidents, pastors, and lay leaders of congregations, to be faithful and loving in everything they say and do. Lord, in your mercy,

C hear our prayer.

A Grant your guidance and wisdom to all working for the renewal of your Church. We pray for our sisters and brothers in Christ who suffer persecution in Muslim lands, in North Korea, in rural China, and wherever they are oppressed. Send your holy angels to protect all who live in situations of war, affliction, injustice, poverty, and natural disasters. Lord, in your mercy,

C hear our prayer.

A Guide those leaders in our nation who will be continuing in office and those who will begin new roles of service. May they govern with integrity, justice, and wisdom. Lord, in your mercy,

C hear our prayer.

A Remember all who are unemployed, underemployed, sick, discouraged, or afflicted in any way. Especially we pray for those whose needs are known to us: [pause for spoken or silent petitions]. Be with all who have nobody to pray for them, and embrace all people with your love. Lord, in your mercy,

C hear our prayer.

A Protect from the violence of winter weather all who work and serve to protect others. Guard all first responders, all who serve in the military, and all who care for others in hospitals and other places of healing. Lord, in your mercy,

C hear our prayer.

A We remember with thanksgiving those who are in your nearer presence as we enter this new year. Give us peace and hope in the Resurrection of Our Lord, and hasten the day when he returns in glory to fulfill all your promises.

C Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

 

P Into your hands, merciful Father, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy; for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayers composed by Pr. Steve Shipman.

These are not copyrighted, and we encourage you to adapt them to your situation and customs. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

If you want to help with this project, please contact Pr. Steve Shipman at prsteveshipman@gmail.com. There is no compensation except appreciation and a retirement plan that is out of this world.

Some suggestions: it may be helpful in certain congregations to give worshippers the opportunity to voice requests. It is also good to provide a time of silence for their specific concerns.

It is good to include in the remembrance of the faithful departed any memorialized by altar flowers, etc.

You may want to include a petition recognizing any milestones during the week (birth, baptismal, wedding anniversaries, etc.). This would include those honored by altar flowers or in a similar manner.

Saturday, December 29, 2012, Devotion

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  (John 15:7)

When you are fully in the Lord, connected at every level, you know you are a part of His purpose and plan. In that knowledge, the Lord enables you to do whatever is necessary to further the kingdom. What is impossible for the Lord?  Therefore, walk confidently, knowing that with the Lord, all things are possible and that if you ask for that which is right, it can and will be done.

Lord, grant wisdom that I would not try, or test You, but instead would ask for those things which are asked only in righteousness. In humility, grant that I would be bold in faith to ask for those things You are directing me to ask for and wise enough to let go of those things You tell me are not possible for Your reasons. In all things, help me step out of this thinking that depends upon what I know and understand to adopt the simple truth that with You, all things are possible.

 Thank You, Lord Jesus, for including me in Your kingdom. Help me walk today boldly and in Your power that I may ask for and do those things that are right as a citizen of Your eternal kingdom. Guide me in my thoughts and actions in order that I may accomplish for You today what is pleasing to the Father and fitting for a child of the Most High God. Amen.

Friday, December 28, 2012, Devotion

“If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up. and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”  (John 15:6)

Jesus came to rescue the lost, save the damned, lead out of captivity those in bondage. Abiding in Jesus is another way He tells us what must happened if we are to be with Hin in eternity. It is not a rite, or ritual, but a relationship that is the Christian life. If we will not submit to Jesus as Lord, then we remain as dead wood and worthless. In the dry wood is no water of life.

 

Lord, I do get caught up in the thinking that all I need to do is this or that, rather than to actually work on the relationship You have already established with me. Help me see more clearly that on the one hand I can relax much more than I do, knowing that You have already saved me and on the other, to work much hard, knowing that I have many obedience issues and faithfulness that needs to be worked on.

Lord Jesus, You are Master and King. Help me understand today that You have saved me for a purpose that I may live into that purpose for which You created me and redeemed me. In all that happens today, may I be faithful to You, my Lord and Master, abiding in You, taking eternal nourishment and growing in this gift of faith that You have given me. Amen.

Thursday, December 27, 2012, Devotion

“I am the vine, you are the branches. he who abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5)

The life flows through and from Jesus. If you are planted in any other place, you cannot receive the life that comes from and through Jesus. We are to be planted in Him, for He is the root, the One who draws up what we need and provides all that is needed for our continued growth and strengthening. When you abide in Jesus, you will bear fruit for the kingdom. If you do not, you cannot.

Lord Jesus, there are many times when I want to go off on my own. Help me see that I will die if I remain alone. Help me to understand that I need You in every part of my life, not just a part of it. Grant that this wicked heart of mine would be replaced with Your heart of righteousness in order that I may grow and blossom in this new life You have given me by grace.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for this day You have given me to live and grow. Help me today to see that You are guiding me in every aspect of it. Help me to abide in You every moment of this day, knowing that You will lead me through every situation. Grant that I would be faithful to take in all that You have given me, knowing that Your direction is perfect. Amen.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012, Devotion

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me.”  (John 15:4)

If you abide in Christ, you are right where you belong. If you are not abiding in Christ, then you are separated from Him. If you are separated from Him, His life is not in you and you remain in your sins. But, if you abide in Christ, then His life is in you, and you have been eternally set free. This is the stark contrast of what has been made possible by Christ. To be in Him is to have life. To be apart from Him is to remain in death.

Lord, it is so simple. We make it complex by our systems of religion, our doctrines and our expectations. Help me to shed all those things which get in the way, prioritize the helpful things that are not as important as you and live the life into which You have called me. Grant that I would learn to live on this side of that clear line that demarcates life from death and abide in You.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for spelling out the truth of where I need to be. Help me today to live in the freedom that You have purchased by grace, not to do as I please, but to do what pleases You. Guide my every action that I may be conformed to this new life that You have given me. Help me be a witness of Your never failing love that sets free the captives from the bondage to sin and death. Amen. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012, Devotion

“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”  (John 15:3)

Jesus has already paid the price for our sins. Our sins are forgiven. Being freed from sin, death and the devil, will you live as one freed from what sin has done to those who are damned, or as one who has a different purpose? Many spend their time on sin issues, trying to compensate for them, but in Christ, we are to work on obedience, an entirely different thing. The Word of the Lord is forever. Trust in the Word of the Lord.

Lord, help me understand in my heart, the heart You have given me through faith, to trust in Your leading, knowing that You will lead me in all righteousness. Grant that I would hold fast to Your Word and not go back to trusting in myself to work things out. Help me learn the better things, knowing that You are preparing me for a future hope in You.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for accomplishing our eternal freedom through grace. Help me today to live in that grace, sharing freely not because of who I am, or what I have done, but because of who You are and what You have done. Grant that I would share the freedom You have given me with others that they too would know the eternal freedom You have brought for all who believe. Amen.

 

“The Lord is With You,” A Word of Counsel to the Church, speaks on nascent life.

  • December 24, 2012 - 1:49 pm
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The Common Confession addresses the key issues in contention at the time of its writing, but there are more theological and ethical matters that need a faithful Christian witness. The sacrifice of the unborn to the Moloch of lust or convenience is surely one of the most glaring sins of our society, and it is not addressed directly in the Common Confession (although the references to the authority of Scripture and the Confessions are relevant).

The North American Lutheran Church was asked to address this issue, and wisely delegated the matter to the Joint Commission on Theology and Doctrine — joint because it is a shared responsibility of the NALC and Lutheran CORE. The Commission developed this excellent resource and commends it to all members of NALC and Lutheran CORE.

This Word of Counsel is not written from but to our constituency. It asks for prayerful consideration of its biblical and theological points. The NALC has no desire to issue multitudinous social statements, given how such documents have been abused in other groups, and has intentionally made the process of approving such statements long and careful. Apart from the Common Confession and Constitution to which all members of Lutheran CORE have consented, Lutheran CORE has no authority to speak for its membership (which is really quite diverse).

In no way does this diminish the power of this document. If anything, it enhances it, because it is not imposed on our membership but asks the membership to accept it voluntarily. Christian faith rests on the authority of the Word of God and not legal or political power, even if a majority of a group’s membership happens to vote for something. The Document on Nascent Life claims the authority of God’s Word and asks readers to evaluate it on that basis. The consensus of the leadership of Lutheran CORE and of the NALC is that it is powerfully and soundly faithful to Scripture and the Confessions.

So we urge you to read this with your Bible open, in a spirit of prayer and supplication.

May God bless our reflections on this document, and may His holy angels watch over the little ones, who our Lord assures us are the objects of His special care.

Read the document here.