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Saturday, September 30, 2017 Devotion

“But man in his pomp will not endure; he is like the beasts that perish.  This is the way of those who are foolish, and of those after them who approve their words.”  (Psalm 49:12-13)

Think of all the famous people you know about.  They too shall perish.  Apart from the gift of God’s grace and His invitation to come into His kingdom, there is nothing but a fleeting moment of fame in this world which shall amount to nothing.  Do not seek things that pass away, but the eternal truth that our Lord grants to those who love Him.  Walk in the ways of the Lord.

Lord, through my baptism, You have called me to walk with You always.  Guide me, O Lord, in the way I should go and then help me walk in this way.  Keep me from the temptation to walk according to my ways, but instead to always walk humbly in Your ways.  Help me now and always to hold fast to the truth that You have revealed through the One Savior who has come to lead the way home.

Lord Jesus, the One through whom all may hope and the One apart from whom there is no hope, guide me up and away from the futility of this world to walk in Your ways.  Help me now and always to look to You, the author and finisher of my faith to abide in You and You in me.  May I now and always walk according to Your way in the grace You give.  Amen.

Friday, September 29, 2017 Devotion

  • September 29, 2017 - 12:33 am
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“For he sees that even wise men die; the stupid and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others.  Their inner thought is that their houses are forever and their dwelling places to all generations; they have called their lands after their own names.”  (Psalm 49:10-11)

In death all are equal.  We try to be unique and different, yet all end up the same.  Do not seek after fame and fortune in this world, although if you are blessed to be so, do not think it makes you privileged.  Turn to the Lord and know that only in Him is immortality, life, true wealth and understanding.  Seek wisdom while it may be found and live in the truth of the Lord’s creation.

Lord, so many try to make a name for themselves in this world.  I too have harbored these thoughts.  Help me live in Your name which is eternal.  Guide me, O Lord, according to Your wisdom that I may walk in Your ways all the days of my life.  Lead me according to the wisdom You grant to those who follow You and then help me walk in Your ways all the days of my life.

Lord God, You who have granted that the Holy Spirit be there to guide and lead, take me away from the temptations of this fleeting world to walk according to Your ways.  Help me now and always to be guided by Your presence and purpose that I may be found in the eternal truth You have brought into our world.  May I now and always look to You, Lord Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  Amen.

Thursday, September 28, 2017 Devotion

“No man can by any means redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for him – for the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever – that he should live on eternally, that he should not undergo decay.”  (Psalm 49:7-9)

Who can save the soul of a man?  No one is able.  Do not try to give a ransom for your soul, it is too costly.  But at just the right time, God Himself showed up and paid the ransom with His own life.  He who knew no sin became sin that we who know sin might be forever freed from sin.  Receive the gift of grace and know the gift of forgiveness, mercy and life.  He has done what we cannot.

Lord, I do not understand.  Oh, there are parts I can grasp, but Your ways are not our ways and Your thoughts are not our thoughts.  Help me move beyond my need to know to come to the place where I trust.  Lead me into faith O Lord that I would live in You knowing that all things are in Your hands.  Guide me, O Lord, in all of Your ways that I would follow You now and forever.

Lord Jesus, God come down, You who took upon Yourself my sins and became the ransom I could never pay, how can I ever begin to think about repaying You?  But that is not what You ask.  You ask my to love You and love my neighbor.  You forgive and that without cost, at least not to me.  Lead me, Jesus, in Your ways that I should become like You, for You are the Savior.  Amen.

Gospel Captivity!

  • September 27, 2017 - 1:51 pm
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“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.” (St. Paul, writing in Philippians 1:12-13)

As you look over the past few days, have you spent more time thinking about President Trump and the NFL or our Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom?

The apostle Paul had more reason than most to focus on the politics of his day.  For preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ and teaching His followers to live obedient lives of faith marked by kindness, forgiveness, and self-control, Paul found himself arrested by the political authorities and placed in chains.  Yet look what he says of it: “What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”

The gospel had captivated Paul with stronger bonds than chains, and in that gospel captivity, Paul found himself to be free: free to be joyful and hopeful, humble yet bold, and resolute but forgiving.  He even viewed injustices against his own person in light of God’s decision to establish His Son’s kingdom.

Something immense has struck this world: God has raised a crucified and rejected man from the dead.  Is it enough to occupy our thoughts, and shine new light on our actions, every day?

LET US PRAY: Still my mind and heart, O Lord, that I may not miss You amid the currents of this life.  Help me to perceive, in every circumstance, Your gracious hand at work, for my good, and for Your glory; in Jesus’ name.  Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Zion, Wausau

(c) 2017

Prayers of the Church for Sundays in October

  • September 27, 2017 - 10:48 am
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Download Rich Text Format  (RTF) files for Prayers of the Church for Sundays in October. 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.

Pentecost 17, 10-01-17 

Pentecost 18, 10-08-17

Pentecost 19, 10-15-17

Pentecost 20, 10-22-17

Reformation

 All Saints

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 Devotion

“Why should I fear in days of adversity, when the iniquity of my foes surrounds me, even those who trust in their wealth and boast in the abundance of their riches?”  (Psalm 49:5-6)

All around me are the examples of those who are trusting in created things.  Lead me away from the foolishness of this age to trust in Your Word of truth which has been revealed for all ages.  Guide me in the way of wisdom that I may hold fast to You and the truth You have revealed.  In Your wisdom, let me praise You in all circumstances knowing that all things are in Your hands.

Lord, I am troubled by the whims and changes of this age.  I do see adversity and do not look to You, but treat You as Sovereign only when things are, in my mind, going well.  Move me beyond this shallow way of thinking to look to You at all times and know that You are the One who holds all things in Your hands.  In You alone do I want to trust.  Help me to do this.

Lord Jesus, You said that You do only what You see the Father doing.  Teach me to look to the Father that whatever You are doing I would do.  No matter the circumstance, help me look to You that I may go where You would have me go.  In all circumstances, grant that I would walk with love, peace and kindness knowing that You have all circumstances in Your hands.

Texas

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 Devotion

“My mouth will speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart will be understanding.  I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will express my riddle on the harp.”  (Psalm 49:3-4)

Upon what do you meditate?  Where are the thoughts of your mind throughout the day?  Do you meditate on the Word of God and His principles, or the cares of the world?  Not that these are mutually exclusive, but to the extent that the Lord is first and foremost in your mind, you will find His wisdom shaping the rest of your thoughts and actions.  Let your mouth speak the wisdom of the Lord.

Lord, I am so busy with the distractions of life that I often forget the simple reminder to think on the eternal truths You have already proclaimed.  Incline my ear to hear and my mouth to speak the truth of Your unchanging Word.  Guide me in the way of wisdom that I may grow in becoming like Christ.  Lead the thoughts of my mind to be on truth always and to grow in understanding.

Lord Jesus, You have come to lead the way of truth, for You are truth.  Lead me today to think upon all the things You have taught me that I may meditate upon You and what You are doing for all who love You.  Guide me in the way of wisdom to walk this world as You did knowing that all truth and life are in Your hands.  Lead me, O Lord, to play the truth with my life in the music I make in this world.  Amen.

IT’S HOW IT ENDS THAT COUNTS: Devotional for Oct 1 based upon Matthew 21: 23-32

  • September 26, 2017 - 6:57 am
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Image result for highway maps

IT’S HOW IT ENDS THAT COUNTS

Devotional for October 1, 2017 based upon Matthew 21: 23-32

For me it is very interesting to talk with people and hear about the spiritual journey that they have been traveling on to get to where they are today.  I can think of at least four different kinds of travelers – two of which are mentioned in our Gospel reading for October 1.  Which of the four sounds most like you?

The first kind says NO NOW as well as NO LATER.  These are the ones who set out on the highway of life with no intention of ever ending up at God’s destination.  Maybe they have never heard of His destination.  Or maybe they think another destination would be better, or that there is no destination, or that all destinations are equally good.  Maybe they have never seen the map, or maybe they do not even know that there is a map.  Maybe they have been given a map, but they themselves have never looked at it.  Maybe they have never had anyone tell them about the destination and how to get there.  Or maybe they have decided that the destination is not worth the effort of the journey.  For whatever reason, they say NO NOW as well as NO LATER.

And then there is a second group of people who say YES NOW but then they say NO LATER.  At the beginning their enthusiasm is strong.  But as the journey starts to get long, it begins to wear on them.  So they re-evaluate their plans.  They wonder why God didn’t make it easier along the way.  At first these people accept the invitation.  But then for one reason or another they stop and change their course.  In Matthew 21 Jesus tells of two sons.  One of them said to his father, who had asked him to go out and work in the vineyard, “Sure, I will do it.”  He started out by saying YES, but then he said NO LATER.  Which is just as disappointing as if he had never said Yes in the first place.  

And then there is a third kind of traveler.  They start out by saying No, but later they CHANGE THEIR NO TO YES.  At first they say No, but then they have a change of heart.  Jesus tells about a second son, who first said No, when his father asked him to go out and work in the vineyard.  But later he changed his mind.  He reviewed his situation, realized his foolishness, and then tried to make up for lost time.  His No became a Yes.  Often it is these FIRST NO THEN YES people who are among the most enthusiastic and the most enduring travelers along the way.  Because they know the stakes.  They know the other side.  They know what it is like to be lost.  Jesus uses the example of this second son – this third kind of traveler – to show how people can repent, change, change their minds, turn around, and end up at God’s destination.  Even Near-Misses can end up as Joy Stories.  So let’s be sure to welcome and encourage those who join in the journey after we did, rather than criticize them because at first they made the wrong choice.

And then there is a fourth kind of traveler – the ones who have NEVER SAID NO, but have ALWAYS SAID YES.  These are the followers of Jesus who have never seriously considered giving up on the journey.  They have always kept the road map right in front of them and have always – or almost always – moved along in the most direct route to the finish.  Maybe at some point they did take a short detour.  And maybe now and then they do stop and sit down for a moment to regroup emotionally and/or to count the cost before starting out once again.  But they have always gotten back up.  They have always gotten back on course.  They have always gotten back on their way once again.  If that is you, then thank God that you cannot remember a time in your life when you were lost.  Thank God that your journey has never included a significant detour in the wrong direction.  Thank God – while also making sure that you do not fall into the trap of thinking that somehow you are more acceptable to God just because you have made the whole journey without any major mishaps.  

Yes, there are all sorts of ways that people are traveling to get to God’s great destination.  Do not listen to those who would tell you that you might not make it, or that God does not want you there, just because you had a rocky start.  It’s how it ends that counts.  Do not listen to those who would try to convince you that your road must be wrong just because it is not the same as their road.  Beware of any thoughts that would lead you to believe that your road is better than someone else’s road.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is the One and Only Way.  But in that One and Only Way people are traveling on many different roads to God’s great destination.  Along with the angels in heaven, celebrate whenever anyone comes to Jesus.  

 

Dennis D. Nelson

President of the Board and Director of Lutheran CORE

Monday, September 25, 2017 Devotion

“Hear this, all peoples; give ear, all inhabitants of the world, both low and high, rich and poor together.”  (Psalm 49:1-2)

Throughout life, one of our problems is not paying attention, not listening.  The Lord tells us to listen.  He has spoken, is speaking and will speak, but often we do not want to hear what He has to say.  Listen, O people, that You may know the truth that will set you free.  We contend in our own minds, but the Lord has already provided the way of grace so that all who enter in would be freed.

Lord, through Your Spirit guide me away from the contention in my mind to know the overwhelming truth of life and the liberty You give to those who live life the way You have designed it to be lived.  Guide me, O Lord, in Your ways that I would forever hold fast to You and the way of grace You have provided.  Give me ears to hear whenever You speak and then the will to act upon Your Word of truth.

Lord Jesus, You who have come to speak clearly in a way we can understand, help me see more clearly each day the way You are going.  Remove from me the stubbornness of my heart that I may be willing to listen even when it is something I do not want to hear.  Guide me, O Lord, in Your way that I may go as You lead.  In all things, conform me to what has always been intended.  Amen.