Devotion and Readings for November 18 and 19

King_David_icon

An icon of King David.

Bible Readings and Devotion for November 18 and 19, 2020

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible.

November 18

Luke 20:20-26

Revelation 2:18-29

Psalms 47-49

Isaiah 23

November 19

Luke 20:27-40

Revelation 3:1-6

Psalms 50-51

Isaiah 24

Devotion for November 18 and 19, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

The world around us says all sorts of things.  Some are true and good.  Some are false and bad.  Some are half-truths which lead to mixed results, or worse.

One of these things which some in various cultures point to is, “victimless crimes.”  There are people who point to various acts which are listed as criminal which, supposedly, do not hurt anybody.  Some point to crimes which counter moral standards, such as crimes related to sex, drugs, and clothing restrictions.  These are often half-truth situations, even in civil cases alone. When we look closer to these we often see that there are victims, but it is not necessarily obvious at a first look.

As we look at things through the lens of our relationship with God, we see that anything we do which is counter to God’s commands and will does cause harm.  There may be a specific victim of our sin, such as someone we harm by violence, lies, adultery, etc.  Some of our sin is not overtly an action against a fellow human.  Some of our sin is self harm.

In our psalm today, Psalm 51, King David makes it very clear that he understands things differently than the world.  He notes in verse 4, “Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.”  Every sinful action is ultimately a harm to our relationship with the Lord.

The psalm invites us to confess our sin to God.  We do this in many and various ways.  Each time we confess to God it is a response to the grace of God.  Confession can happen because God seeks to have us reconciled to himself.  God wants us to be in fellowship with him.  God wants us to address the wrong we have done through confession, and to work out anything that needs to be reconciled or corrected with others.  God desires restoration and life for us, therefore we can confess our sin to God.

We confess through various means.

*Daily Prayers

*The Lord’s Prayer

*Confession and Forgiveness at the beginning of our communion services.

*Receiving Holy Communion

*Individual Confession with one’s pastor – see Luther’s Small Catechism for how to do this.  He notes it in the section about Holy Baptism.

*Confessional conversation with a caring, Christian friend.

Remember, God loves you and desires an eternal and uplifting relationship with you from this day and forever more.

Prayer

From the Confession and Forgiveness in Evangelical Lutheran Worship

Most merciful God, we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone.  We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.  For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.  Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name.  Amen

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Devotion and Readings for November 6 and 7

Christmas Boxes 2014 nativity

Bible Readings and Devotion for November 6 and 7, 2020

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible.

November 6

Luke 17:20-37

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

Psalm 18

Isaiah 11

November 7

Luke 18:1-8   

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Psalm 19-21

Isaiah 12

Devotion for November 6 and 7, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

In the church I served in Ohio, prior to coming to Carmine, they had two art pieces in the sanctuary during Advent which relate to our reading from Isaiah chapter 11 for today.  These two were:

  1. A Bible set up as a manger for the Jesus statue from their large nativity scene.
  2. A Jesse Tree.

jesse-tree

In Isaiah 11:1-3a, the prophet writes, “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.”

The shoot out of the stump of Jesse is a connection with the promise of a king in the family line of David for all time.  Jesse was the father of King David.  The use of the term, stump of Jesse, is poetic way to speak of King David.  As Jesus is a descendant of King David, he is also the fulfillment of this prophetic word of God.

  1. The use of the Bible as the manger for Jesus was for this purpose. It symbolized that the Bible is the manger which presents Jesus to the world.  The Old Testament presents the prophetic word which points to the eventual ministry of Jesus.  The New Testament tells us about what he has done.  At the church in Ohio they would have the Bible open to a different Old Testament prophecy each week.  One of these was our passage from Isaiah 11.
  2. The Jesse Tree was used to present various symbols which tell about the prophetic foundation of Jesus as well as about his life and ministry.  They brought a small tree, not a Christmas tree, into the sanctuary and decorated it with various symbolic ornaments depicting things about Jesus. See image above. Here is an extensive description of the symbols recommended for such a teaching decoration: Click This Link.

Prayer

Blessed are you, God of hope, for you promise to bring forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse who will bring justice to the poor, who will deliver the needy and crush the oppressor, who will stand as a signal of hope for all people. Turn our wills to bear the fruit of repentance, transform our hearts to live in justice and harmony with one another, and fix our eyes on the root of Jesse, Jesus Christ, the hope of all nations. Amen

Prayer adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Devotion and Readings for September 30

Coptic Church Bombing 2017

Bible Readings and Devotion for September 30, 2020

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

Luke 9:43-50

2 Corinthians 11:16-33

Psalm 78

Job 37

Devotion for September 30, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

On Palm Sunday 2017 there were two Christian churches attacked by terrorists.  The ISIS Islamic terrorists set off bombs inside the two churches during worship on the Holy Day.  44 Christians were killed and many more were injured in this coordinated attack.

The response of the congregations was inspiring.  Instead of giving up their faith due to the attacks, and instead of seeking violent revenge, they reaffirmed their faith in Jesus.  Back at the time I saw a video which showed the congregation gathered back at one of the church buildings.  In response to the persecution they chanted/sang the Nicene Creed in Arabic.  They joyfully and boldly announced the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ.  Bombs could not stop their faith.  The had been attacked before, and they will most likely be attacked again, but they will not stop following Jesus and affirming their faith in him.

In our reading from 2 Corinthians, St. Paul shares about his struggles under persecution.  In the end, he affirms his faith by stating his firm belief in Jesus.  This is even more strongly stated at the end of this longer section in 2 Corinthians 12:10, where Paul writes, “Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”

When go through tough times for our faith, the Lord is with us.  When others hate us and seek to harm us because we follow Jesus, the Lord carries us through.  When we are weak in faith, God is strong and God gives us what we need to follow him.

One of those things he does is helps us to reaffirm our faith in him.  The Creeds of the church are tools for such reaffirmation of our faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Prayer

As a closing prayer, I invite you to use the Nicene Creed.  This is the most universally accepted and used creed among Christians.

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate from the virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

He has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

The 14th Sunday after Pentecost

SEPTEMBER 6, 2020

FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

First Reading: Ezekiel 33:7-11

R:  A reading from Ezekiel, the 33rd chapter.

God appointed Ezekiel as a sentinel for the house of Israel. Ezekiel must faithfully convey God’s warnings to the people. Remarkably, God—who is about to attack Jerusalem—gives a warning with the hope that repentance will make the attack unnecessary.

7So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8If I say to the wicked, “O wicked ones, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand. 9But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life.
10Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: “Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?” 11Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Psalm: Psalm 119:33-40

R:  Psalm 119, read responsively by verse.

33Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes,
  and I shall keep it to the end.
34Give me understanding, and I shall keep your teaching;
  I shall keep it with all my heart.
35Lead me in the path of your commandments,
  for that is my desire.
36Incline my heart to your decrees
  and not to unjust gain. 
37Turn my eyes from beholding falsehood;
  give me life in your way.
38Fulfill your promise to your servant,
  which is for those who fear you.
39Turn away the reproach that I dread,
  because your judgments are good.
40Behold, I long for your commandments;
  by your righteousness enliven me. 

Second Reading: Romans 13:8-14

R:  A reading from Romans, the 13th chapter.

The obligation of Christians is to love one another and so fulfill the heart and goal of the law. Clothes make the person as we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” and live today in light of the future God has in store for us.

8Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
11Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

*Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 18th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus offers practical advice to his disciples on how individuals—and the church as a whole—should go about restoring relationships when one member has sinned against another.

[Jesus said to the disciples:] 15“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.

16But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.

Devotion

“Clothes Shopping”

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

         In the past month many families have gone clothes shopping.  It is an annual ritual of sorts for the time of back to school.  This is done for at least two reasons.

1 – to make sure the student has sufficient and proper fitting clothes.

2 – to help the student begin the year with a fresh attitude of self-respect and readiness for getting down to work.  The outer garb helps with the inner attitude.

         There is that old proverb:  The Clothes Make the Man.  This generally means that what a person wears helps to define who they are and what their attitude will be.  Sloppy or dirty clothes can affect the attitude of a person. Neat, clean and well-ordered clothes can be part of a generally together and positive attitude for a person.  Also, the way one dresses affects how the person is perceived or understood by others.

         Clothes used as a uniform help identify the role, actions, or associations of a person.  Police officers, fire fighters, restaurant workers, soldiers, pastors, medical staff, and many others wear uniforms for identification by others.

         In today’s reading from Romans we read about a new kind of clothing or uniform for God’s people.  This clothing can not be seen on the body, but it can be seen in how the believer lives.  Paul writes in verse 14 of our reading, “Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for he flesh, to gratify its desires.”  The Apostle Paul also refers to this as the “armor of light” in verse 12.  The basic message is that through the forgiveness of sin and the loving goodness of God, believers in Jesus have the opportunity to become someone different.  For us to have believed in Jesus and received him through baptism and faith, we are called to become the person God has made us to be.  Our lives are changed for the better by entering into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  When we put on or receive Jesus Christ in our lives we get to see how the Holy Spirit transforms our lives.  Our new set of clothes, our new uniform is Jesus.  We become what God has dressed us to be.  In a very real sense, by the grace of God, the Clothes make the Christian.

         With God’s abundant goodness and mercy we are invited to put on the new clothes of faith.  These new spiritual garments replace the old.  This replacement takes place first on the cross of Jesus.  Our old way of living, filled with broken lives, sin, death, self-deception, evil and destruction, has only brought us death.  Paul reminds us earlier in the book of Romans that, “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23).  Our rejection of God and his will had become our way of living.  Humanity had put on the dirty rags of sin, death and evil. 

         God, through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, has offered to us a new set of clothes.  He first takes upon himself our dirty rags of sin and death.  These he wore spiritually when he died on the cross for the forgiveness of all we had done to disregard his ways.  Just days after Jesus was lain in the tomb and left for dead he surprised the world by fulfilling his promise to rise from the dead.  In that he offers to humanity a new set of clothes.  As we are joined spiritually to his death and rising from the tomb we are granted the new garments of salvation from eternal death and the power of sin and evil.  Through baptism and the gift of faith we are clothed with Jesus’ perfection, love and goodness.  Paul reminds us of this truth in Galatians, chapter 3, verse 27, where he writes, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ”  We give thanks that God gives to us life and hope and the garments of salvation, and we are empower and gifted to live God’s most excellent way. 

         Along the way we discover and implement all that this “Putting on Christ” means for our lives.  One of the most powerful passages describing this is in Ephesians, chapter 6, verses eleven through seventeen.  Paul writes, “11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

         God’s blessing of being clothed with Christ changes who we are and what we do.  Through the mercy of our Lord we can put on the whole armor of God and we can be ready for all that God calls us to do.  I invite you to ponder the words of this passage about the Whole Armor of God.  Start with giving thanks to God for his mercy and grace.  Then prayerfully consider how you might utilized the gifts of God for the encouragement of your faith, for being a blessing to others, and to give praise and thanks to our loving God.  And remember, by the grace and goodness of God, the Clothes make the Christian.

Let us pray – Gracious Lord, your mercy is greater than we can ever imagine.  By your Holy Spirit help us to receive you in faith and to grow into the people you have redeemed us to be.  We pray this in Jesus’ holy name.  Amen

*Prayers of Intercession

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

A brief silence.

Loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are the one true God.  Turn our spiritual hearts toward you so that we may respond to you with joyful worship and abundant praise.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for the blessings of work in our daily lives.  Help us to use our gifts and resources in a manner which builds up life for the community.  Lord, in your mercy,  hear our prayer.

Enable each of us to show compassion and charity for our neighbors each day.  Guide us to love and care for one another in your Church, the Body of Christ.  Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

We lift in prayer those who have suffered in any way due to recent disasters. Help us work with others to bring relief and encouragement to these neighbors in need.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray that all who mourn will receive the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  Guide us to care for those who struggle following the loss of a loved one.  (We especially remember…)   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Good and Gracious Lord, bring healing, strength and hope to those who struggle in mind, body, or spirit, especially . . .  and also those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…  May your comforting Spirit strengthen all for whom we pray.   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We lift in prayer Texas Lutheran University and the Lutheran Seminary Program of the Southwest.  Guide the leaders, students, staff and faculty at these schools as they train leaders for the church and society.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

You grant us what we truly need in this life.  We pray that you would be powerfully present with each of us.  Stir your Holy Spirit in us to bring out the spiritual fruit of generosity and goodness in our lives.  Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

P:  Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

LORD’S PRAYER 

Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #27061.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Waldeck Lutheran Church BBQ Sunday, September 27. 10:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.  Drive thru only.  Whole Chicken $10/each; Sausage Links $7/each.  Homemade BBQ sauce also available.  Pre-order by calling 979-249-6551 or 979-966-8872.  Tell your friends.  This is their main, special fundraiser for 2020.  Thank you for your support.

Devotion and Readings for September 5 & 6

Bible Readings and Devotion for September 5 & 6, 2020

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

September 5

 

Luke 6:12-16 

Job 12:1-25

Psalm 12-14, 17

2 Kings 19

September 6

Luke 6:17-19

Job 13:1-28

Psalm 18

2 Kings 20

Devotion for September 6, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

When teaching about the various Books of the Bible I have sometimes tossed in an odd name.  It is Hezekiah.  I know that Hezekiah is not the name of any book of the Bible.  His name sounds like a prophet or something like that.  I throw this name out there to get people thinking.  I mention him because our reading from 2 Kings 20 shares part of his story.

My ultimate goal when teaching the names of the books is this: I hope that people will learn the names of the books of the Bible, in order, and as to whether it is Old Testament or New Testament.  The purpose of this is so that people will be able to use their Bible well.  When given a reference I want to help them to find the book quickly.  Then they can move along to find the specific chapter and verse.   When they know where a certain book it, then they can also gain understanding of what is around it and how it relates to the themes and broad story of God’s Holy Word to us.

One of the tools I use for teaching is what follows in this devotion.  It is a document I created more than a decade ago.  It presents the names of the books of the Bible in order and divided by Old and New Testaments.  I also read through the book and found a short theme of each book.  

Here is a link to a PDF of this document.  Feel free to use it.  It will print out better than printing this web page. 

Books of the Bible – Themes of Each Book               THE OLD TESTAMENT

1.         Genesis                       A Book of Beginnings

2.         Exodus                       Freedom for God’s people

3.         Leviticus                    A Holy People Worship a Holy God

4.         Numbers                    Preparing for the Promised Land

5.         Deuteronomy             The Second Giving of the Law

6.         Joshua                        Entering the Promised Land

7.         Judges                        Heroes for Israel

8.         Ruth                           Family is Important

9.         1 Samuel                    The people ask for Kings

10.       2 Samuel                    David’s Success and Sin

11.       1 Kings                       Divided Strength in Israel

12.       2 Kings                       Deeper Trouble for God’s People

13.       I Chronicles               Retelling of History

14.       2 Chronicles               Idol Worship brings them down

15.       Ezra                            Return to Jerusalem

16.       Nehemiah                   Rebuilding the Walls

17.       Esther                         A Queen Saves the Day

18.       Job                              Life is Tough, God is Faithful

19.       Psalms                        The People Sing

20.       Proverbs                    Wise Ideas for all time

21.       Ecclesiastes                Life is Meaningless without God

22.       Song of Solomon       God’s Love Song

23.       Isaiah                          Afflict the Comfortable, Comfort the Afflicted

24.       Jeremiah                    The Need to Return to God

25.       Lamentations             Hope in the midst of tears

26.       Ezekiel                        Doom leads to hope

27.       Daniel                         Standing Firm under Pressure

28.       Hosea                          God’s unfaithful people

29.       Joel                             The Promise of God’s Holy Spirit

30.       Amos                          Let Justice Roll Down like waters

31.       Obadiah                     Don’t Mess with God’s people

32.       Jonah                          God loves all people

33.       Micah                         Perverting Faith or Pleasing God

34.       Nahum                       God Judges, God Rules

35.       Habakkuk                  God is in Control

36.       Zephaniah                 Seek the Lord

37.       Haggai                        The Call to Rebuild the Temple

38.       Zechariah                  Visions of Hope

39.       Malachi                      The Faithful will remain

 

 

Books of the Bible – Themes of Each Book     THE NEW TESTAMENT

1.         Matthew                     Jesus Teaches Us

2.         Mark                          Prepare the Way of the Lord

3.         Luke                           The Babe who Loves us

4.         John                            God so loves the world

5.         Acts                            The growing church

6.         Romans                      Textbook of the Good News

7.         1 Corinthians             Love – the More Excellent Way

8.         2 Corinthians             We are a New Creation

9.         Galatians                    Freedom in Christ

10.       Ephesians                   One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism

11.       Philippians                 Joy in Following Jesus

12.       Colossians                  Jesus is Supreme

13.       1 Thessalonians         Be Faithful in the Long Term

14.       2 Thessalonians         Waiting for Jesus

15.       1 Timothy                  Encouragement for a young leader

16.       2 Timothy                  Strength in Service

17.       Titus                           Instructions for Leaders

18.       Philemon                    A plea for true brotherhood

19.       Hebrews                     Christ is the Greatest

20.       James                         Be a Doer of the Word

21.       1 Peter                        Strength in Suffering

22.       2 Peter                        Diligence in Growth

23.       1 John                         Let us love one another

24.       2 John                         Walking in the Truth

25.       3 John                         Imitating Good

26.       Jude                            Watch for False Teachers

27.       Revelation                  Hope for Heaven

My hope and prayer for each of you is that you will actively seek to read, study and understand God’s Word.  It is a message from our loving God of faith, hope, and love for the whole human race, including Hezekiah.

Prayer

Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, which you have given us in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Devotion and Readings April 2

jonah under plant

Bible Readings and Devotion for April 2, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Matthew 23:1-22

1 Corinthians 9:1-18

Psalm 78:1-40

Jonah 4

 

Devotion for April 2, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

The Book of Jonah is a very special book in my faith life and my study of God’s Holy Word.  See my notes on this in the devotion from March 31.  Jonah’s book gets us thinking about our own faith and our own sinful ways.  It even has a mildly humorous approach to these issues.

In Jonah chapter 4 we have the last section of the story of Jonah’s ministry.  It presents to us Jonah’s reaction to the repentance of the people of Nineveh as shown in chapter 3.  He is not happy about this situation.  We read, “1 But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. 3 And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.””

The Parable of the Fig Tree in Luke 13:6-9 can help us inform our understanding of this situation fig tree.  Here is how it reads:  “6 Then (Jesus) told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7 So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ 8 He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”

Often people have interpreted this parable as God being the one who tells the gardener to cut the tree down.  Could it be that God is the gardener who asks the landowner to have some patience?  Maybe this is really about human impatience with one another.  Maybe it is also about our impatience with God’s judgment.  Maybe God is the one who seeks to give us a second chance again and again.  We saw this in yesterday’s devotion.

The story of the prophet Jonah deals with this reality.  Jonah is sent to the Assyrian capital Nineveh.  God tells him to announce God’s impending judgment on the people of the city:  “40 days more and Nineveh will be overthrown.”  Jonah tells the people, and then goes outside the city to wait for the destruction.  Well, God’s Word did what it was supposed to do. The people turned from sin and toward faith in God.  They repented.  Jonah was furious.  He was so angry that he would die from that anger.  Jonah, like most of humanity, was angry that God was patient, and Jonah was impatient with God for not bringing judgment already.

Our human reality is that we are all too often cruel, impatient, hateful and quick to pass eternal judgment.  Sadly, there are three things wrong with our propensity to pass judgment.

1)  We don’t have the right to pass eternal judgment on others;

2) We pass judgment too quickly;

and 3) We deserve the same judgment we cast on others.

 

We are reminded in God’s Word that we are all sinners, and that the judgment on us is death and separation from God.  We have been impatient with God and with our neighbor.  We have wanted so much for ourselves that we ignore others in need around us.  We have chosen the supposedly easy way due to our impatience with God’s better way.  Ultimately, human sin and God’s holiness are naturally incompatible.  It is only through God’s patience with us and his great love for us that we can be drawn back to God.  In being with God, we are transformed into a people who live out God’s better form of patience.

All of this patience of God is to call us to live God’s most excellent way.  We are forgiven and then Jesus calls us to turn away from the wrong and to turn toward the right way.  Our “repentance” is the result of the love and patience of our God for us.  Remember what St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:4a, “Love is patient; love is kind…” Our amazing and wonderful God eagerly desires fellowship with us.  He is patient and he is kind.  Jesus is the personification of God’s love for humanity, and his entire work is for the purpose of bringing that love to us.  That love, patience and kindness lead us to repentance, to life with God.

Even though we are sometimes impatient with God at times, and we know that Jonah was impatient with God, it is very good that the Lord is immensely patient with us.  Today is the day to reconnect with God, for he is seeking connection with you each and every day.

Here is a link to a YouTube video of a song about God’s Kindness and Repentance.  It is one of my favorite songs.  “Your Kindness,” by Leslie Phillips.  Note that you may have to endure or skip past one or more ads in order to see the video and listen to the song.  It is worth your time.

Prayer

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:  thank you for your patience and kindness.  Help us by your Spirit to respond with repentance.  Grant us faith, hope and love for the sake of others in this world.  We pray this in Jesus’ Holy Name.  Amen.

Thanksgiving Eve Service 2018

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An Invitation to Thanksgiving Eve

You are invited to attend the annual Thanksgiving Eve service this Wednesday, November 21, 2018.  The service will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the building of our partner church, Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church.  That church is located at 6915 Waldeck Church Lane.  This is at the intersection of FM 2145 and FM 1291, just 6.5 miles south of Ledbetter.

A new thing this year is that we have invited the other two churches from the Crossroads Shared Lutheran Ministries to worship with us.  The people of St. Paul Lutheran in Shelby and Bethlehem Lutheran in Round Top will join with us for this special time of giving thanks.  Of course, all from the community are invited to participate, even if they are not members of any of these four churches.

 

 

Lent Wednesdays 2016

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You are invited to gather with God’s people for our Lenten Wednesday services.

Wednesdays in Lent

February 17, 24, March 2, 9 and 16
Fellowship Meal 6:00 p.m. each week
Evening Prayer 7:00 p.m. each week
Both the meal and worship will be in the Fellowship Hall.

Our Lenten Theme is “Reflections Around the Cross”. We are participating in a Pulpit Exchange with area Lutheran clergy. Each one will bring a message from a Biblical character who reflects on Jesus’ death on the cross. Each week we will also read a portion of Jesus’ Passion from the Gospel of Luke. We will use our usual service of Evening Prayer.

February 17 Pastor Candy O’Meara, portraying the Roman Centurion
February 24 Pastor Marcia Kifer, portraying Mary, the mother of our Lord
March 2 Pastor Willie Rotter, portraying Caiaphas, the High Priest
March 9 Pastor John David Nedbalek, portraying Satan
March 16 Pastor Glenn Hohlt, portraying Nicodemus

Later, on Good Friday, Pastor David Tinker will be portraying the Apostle John.

 

See this link for additional information:  https://mllccarmine.com/

 

Christmas Eve 2015

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Our Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) has been working hard preparing for Christmas Eve. As they have done for most of the past many years, they are leading the service and presenting their play. We look forward to seeing you at worship at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, December 24.  This will be a service of Word, Prayer and Song.

This will be our Candlelight Service as well. Come to hear the Good News. Come to support our youth.  Come to celebrate that Jesus Christ has been born for us.

Also note:  we will have our annual Festival Worship with Holy Communion on Christmas Day at 10 a.m.

Invite your friends and family.

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