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The Evidence of Our Faith Is the Testimony of Those Who Have Seen God’s Word Fulfilled

  • May 31, 2017 - 12:53 pm
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“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)

People sometimes plunk faith into the Brainless Bucket.  Do you know this bucket?  The Brainless Bucket is where we put all the things that other people do but that make no sense to us, like your Uncle Larry eating watermelon rind.  People sometimes define religious faith in these “brainless” terms. “Faith is believing in the absence of proof,” they say.  “It is irrational.”

The Feast of the Visitation, celebrated every May 31, teaches us otherwise.  A few months after she conceived by the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary visited her relative, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth received Mary with joy and proclaimed, “Blessed is she who believed!”  Mary was blessed, Elizabeth perceived, because God had fulfilled the promise in which Mary believed.  That fulfillment of His Word justified Mary’s faith and enlivened Elizabeth’s soul.

So it goes in the Church: the evidence of our faith is the testimony of others who have seen God’s Word fulfilled in ages past, from His mighty deliverance of Israel to His resurrection of Jesus.  That testimony has proven compelling, reasonable, unsurpassable—whatever you may term it—and opened our minds to His outstanding promise of the world to come.  Even today, our fellow believers testify that God has intervened in their lives and delivered them from evil and condemnation.  Some may doubt this testimony or find it wanting, but it isn’t “brainless.”  Even Uncle Larry may have more reason for doing what he does than you and I know—it sure doesn’t hurt to listen and find out!

LET US PRAY:  Come, Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of life.  Call unbelievers to faith, gather Your Church, enlighten its mind, and sanctify it in truth.  Confirm the hope conceived by Your mighty promises, and bring us to the fulfillment of the salvation revealed in our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Father, one God forever.  Amen


Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Zion, Wausau

(c) 2017

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 Devotion

“For I have heard the slander of many, terror is on every side; while they took counsel together against me, they schemed to take away my life.  But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, “You are my God.”  (Psalm 31:13-14)

Words fly and things are said.  The wicked love to hear their voices and the Lord is slandered.  Turn to the Lord, do not slander what you do not know; and understand the comfort He gives in the midst of all the wicked in this world.  What harm can come to those who trust in the Lord.  Though they destroy the body, they cannot destroy the soul.  Trust in the Lord always.

Lord, wickedness brings confusion and I find it hard to see through the clouds of deception in this world.  Help me to not look at what terrifies me, but at You who leads all who turn to You through every age of wickedness.  Guide me to live in Your ways knowing You alone are God and that You will lead us through this age of rebellion, growing the image of Christ in the faithful.

Lord Jesus, You came to this world for the purpose of leading out those who will follow You.  You do not take us out, but lead us out by Your grace.  Help me to follow You and the ways You have taught me to go all the days of my life.  Lead me according to Your purposes that I may hold fast to the truth You have spoken.  In Your grace, calm my spirit and help me live each day in You.  Amen.


  • May 30, 2017 - 2:21 pm
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Devotional for the Day of Pentecost – June 4, 2017

“How is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? . . . In our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”  Acts 2: 8, 11

I grew up in a very Caucasian and English-speaking world.  It was not until I moved to California and enrolled in Fuller Seminary in Pasadena that I had friends who were non-Caucasian and whose native language was other than English.  In systematic theology class we would take turns opening in prayer.  One of my classmates was from Japan.  Though he spoke English, when he prayed, he prayed in Japanese.  I will always remember what the professor then said – that no matter how proficient people may be in another language, when they pray, they often pray in their native tongue.

I remember hearing of the joy that a person in a developing country felt and expressed when the Bible was finally translated into his native language.  He told the translator, “When I read the Bible in English, it speaks to my head.  When I read it in my mother tongue, it speaks to my heart.”

I remember how difficult it was for many in the congregation where I served as pastor before retirement to accept the idea of having ministry other than in English.  And this was in spite of the increasingly multi-ethnic make-up of the community.  “They need to learn English,” they insisted.  I agreed they need to learn English, but they also need to know that the Gospel is also for them.  They need to hear the Gospel in their native tongue.

It had a slow start, and it was slow going, but eventually we had ministry in three different languages every Sunday – English, Spanish, and Chinese.  And because we had a large Pakistani community in the congregation, we hosted a number of events for the southern California Indo-Pakistani Christian community, including their annual Christmas gathering.  Hearing someone sing the Magnificat in Urdu (the native language of Pakistan) – “My soul magnifies the Lord” – gave a whole new meaning to the message of the angels, “I bring you good news of great joy for all people.”

Luke records the amazement of the people on the Day of Pentecost.  Because of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the apostles were filled with Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages so that the crowd heard them speaking “in the native language of each.” (verse 6)  Hearing the apostles speak in their native language, they knew that the message of the Gospel was also for them.

Do you speak in such a way that people know that the Gospel is also for them?  May the Holy Spirit fill, empower, motivate, teach, and guide us so that each of us speaks in such a way that people hear the Gospel in their language – in words they know, in terms they can understand and relate to – so that they know that the Good News is also for them.


Dennis D. Nelson

President of the Board and Director of Lutheran CORE

Prayers of the Church Pentecost 2-Pentecost 8

  • May 30, 2017 - 11:00 am
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Download Rich Text Format  (RTF) files for Prayers of the Church for Sundays in the season of Pentecost. Each also begins with lessons and hymn choices for that Sunday. Thank you for your interest in these prayers. For more worship resources, please visit Sola Publishing’s SoWeR online worship resource at this link.

These prayers were written by Rev. Ammlung, one of our regular composers of Prayers of the Church, and they include her hymn suggestions for that Sunday.

Prayers, Pentecost 2, 06-18-17  Prayers, Pentecost 3, 06-25-17  Prayers, Pentecost 4, 07-02-17  Prayers, Pentecost 5, 07-09-17  Prayers, Pentecost 6, 07-16-17  Prayers, Pentecost 7, 07-23-17  Prayers, Pentecost 8, 07-30-17

Tuesday, May 30 , 2017 Devotion

“Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.  I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel.”  (Psalm 31:11-12)

When times are good and friends are around, we do not think about the truth that without the Lord, we are alone.  When adversity comes, when times are bad, those so called friends flee and we think we are truly alone.  Yes, we are broken, but the Lord has come to bring us to the place He has always intended that in Him we would find peace, hope, love and purpose.  Be in the Lord and be whole.

Lord, times do change and I am reminded of much of the futility within which I wrap myself.  Help me, I pray, to turn to You in all times that I would forever hold fast to the love you give to those whom You have created.  You have purpose and You have given promises that if we turn to You we need not be taken down by our adversaries, but lifted up in the truth of Your purpose.

Lord Jesus, apart from You there is no real, nor lasting hope.  Guide me now and always in the truth of what You have spoken from the beginning that I would not rely upon others to give me meaning, but upon You to see the way, truth and life that You have come to give to those who hear Your voice.  Lead me this day in the way You would have me go and that I would never veer from its path.  Amen.

Monday, May 29, 2017 Devotion

“Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.  For my life is spent with sorrow and my years with sighing; my strength has failed because of my iniquity, and my body has wasted away.”  (Psalm 31:9-10)

This life is hard.  It is more difficult for some rather than others, but it is difficult for all.  Sin has caused a bevy of problems that just keep mounting.  Tears and sorrow mount.  Some become bitter.  Some turn and are angry.  Some are lethargic and give in.  By God’s grace, the faithful see that the Lord has spoken about this; and our hope can be renewed by His grace and through His provision.

Yes, the path away from the Lord may be taken, but that will only increase the sorrow and hopelessness.  Lord, help me turn to You and hear clearly that all things are in Your hands and that only You can lead me through this age of good and evil.  Help me turn to You in every time, both of good and of evil, that I may know that in You alone do I find hope and promise.

Lord Jesus, You are acquainted with grief.  You know the difficulties of this world, for You walked as we walk in this world filled with conflicts.  Help me to keep my eyes upon You that through the grace You make possible I may go where You would have me go.  Let me see through all the sorrow and distress Your promises that I may do what You would have me do.  Amen.   

Sunday, May 28, 2017 Devotion

“I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness, because You have seen my affliction; you have known the troubles of my soul, and You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a large place.”  (Psalm 31:7-8)

You were created for a purpose.  The Lord who created you knows what is needed and knows every circumstance.  We each have troubles in our soul and ponder such things in the midst of adversity, yet the Lord reaches out His helping hand to all who turn to Him.  Do not give into the hand of the enemy, but take the hand of the Lord and know you are in His arms of mercy and forever safe.

Lord, help me see that in Your purpose for everything, there is no place to go where You are not there to meet the troubles at hand.  Guide me in the truth of Your Word that I would forever hold fast to the promises You have given me, knowing that in You alone is hope and a future.  Lead me through Your Word of hope, knowing that in what You have given I see a glimpse of the large place to which You have brought me.

Lord Jesus, You have come to set me free from captivity to sin and death.  Guide me, O Lord, in the way You have established that I may walk in Your way all the days of this life.  Lead me in the truth You have revealed for the ages and establish me despite the troubles that seek to overpower me.  You are my safety and my Savior and all things are in Your hands.  Lead me where I should go according to the Father’s will.  Amen.

Saturday, May 27, 2017 Devotion

“Into Your hand I commit my spirit; you have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth.  I hate those who regard vain idols, but I trust in the Lord.”  (Psalm 31:5-6)

Simply put, much of our struggle in life is simply committing our souls to the Lord.  Not something outward, proclaimed, but an actual reality of simply learning to commit our lives whole-heartedly to the Lord and His ways.  Too many, ourselves included, trust in the tinsel of this world rather than the reality of the Eternal God who simply asks us to commit ourselves to Him.

Lord, strip away the nonsense that wraps me up in the garbage of this world.  It is forever being replaced by more garbage.  You ask that I turn to You and give myself to you.  That’s it.  Help me, I pray to do just that – turn to You and submit.  You know the struggle better than I and You know what is needed.  Guide me along Your paths for Your sake that Your will would be done through me.

Lord Jesus, You lived a life of submission in humility.  By Your example, help me to be more interested in Your righteousness than in being right.  Help me to not be perturbed by those who have not submitted to You.  Let me see myself as I am, knowing that I am no better than anyone else.  Help me to hate the things that get in the way of loving You and loving the people You have put into my life.  Amen.

Friday, May 26, 2017 Devotion

“For You are my rock and my fortress; for Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.   You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, for You are my strength.”  (Psalm 31:3-4)

In this life, there are many ways each of us may choose to go.  The choices seem almost endless.  In the end, there are only two ways we can go, either follow the Lord, or else any other way.  The Lord alone, the Creator of all that is, is the foundation of all existence.  He is the source of all.  Turn to the Lord who is the rock of all and be saved from all the snares that entrap us.

Lord, it seems so complex with all of the choices around me and yet, You have declared the truth that You are the rock and fortress guarding against all the insanity of this age.  Pull me out of all the snares that are laid to entrap me and guide me in the way I should go.  Help me now and always to live into the life for which You have called me that I would do what is right and fitting as one who follows You.

Lord Jesus, You have the words of eternal life.  Help me, I pray, to listen to Your voice and go where You lead.  Bring me out of all of the snares that have been laid in this age that I may walk with You in the way of salvation.  Grant me strength today and every day to simply follow You in all the ways You have declared and thereby to be content with my life until I see You face to face.  Amen.


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