Thanksgiving Grace

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“We live not, Lord, by bread alone;

Without Thy blessing bread were stone.

For bread and for Thy kindly Word

We thank and bless thee, God, our Lord.”

Amen

Prayer by Martin H. Franzmann

 

 

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March 28 Careful Hearing

Photo by Laura Jostes

Photo by Laura Jostes

Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22;  Luke 8:4-21;  Psalm 69:19-36;  Proverbs 12:2-3

“This is the meaning of the parable:  The seed is the word of God.  Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.  Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root.   They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.  The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.  But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

* * * * *

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed.  Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.  For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.  Therefore consider carefully how you listen.  Whoever has will be given more;  whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

Luke8:11-18

* * * * *

I am not a very good listener.  When someone gives me directions verbally my mind goes blank and the disconnect continues as I turn down the wrong streets and become even more lost.  I do much better when I can read directions for myself and refer to them as needed.

What is Luke trying to tell us about listening to God’s word?  What kind of Word listener are you?  I need all the help I can get from the Holy Spirit to hear God’s word and put it into action on a daily basis.  I pray that I may have a noble and good heart into which the Word of God grows and bears fruit.

Lord God, bless the hearing of your Word during times of worship this weekend.  May we hear, learn and inwardly digest your Truth as we are fed with the Bread of Life.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

April 24 Service With A Smile

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Photo by Travis Silva

Judges 2:10-3:31;  Luke 22:14-34;  Psalm 92:1-93:5;  Proverbs 14:1-2

“But I am among you as

one who serves.”

Luke 2:27

The disciples were a bit power hungry.  They had just eaten the richest of fare–the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ–given by His own hand in the Bread and Wine.  And they started discussing who among them was the greatest.

Our sinful nature is like that–even though we possess the richest of heavenly fare–the very Salvation of our souls–we wouldn’t mind the spotlight to shine on us or our achievements.

Even though we are filled with the most powerful Spirit in the Universe who can do all things through us, we still want to claim a “higher” place in the world and puff out our chests in pride.

If anyone deserved the Royal treatment it was Jesus.  Yet he was the foot washer, healer, forgiver, listener, server–He was the ultimate sacrifice.  He did not seek the limelight, but found himself in it.  So he served–he gave, he did not demand.  No one could accuse Jesus of being power hungry.

After the Cross–and the Resurrection–the disciples finally understood Christ’s words, “I am among you as one who serves.”

Then they went and did likewise.

God grant that we do the same!

Lord God, please forgive us for our power hungry attitudes–as subtle as they may be .  We know what’s in our hearts.  Thank you that the power of the Cross–the forgiveness of sins–cleanses us from worldly leanings.  Grant that we serve you and our neighbor with a smile–in Jesus’ name!  Amen.

February 13 Taste and See

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Photo by Kelsey Johnson

Exodus 35:10-36:38;  Matthew 27:32-66;  Psalm 34:1-10;  Proverbs 9:7-8

“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Oh fear the Lord, you his saints,

for those who fear him have no lack.”

Psalm 34:8-9

 

Taste and See

Salvation came as manna in

the desert

sustaining a nation for forty years.

Taste and See

The Bread of Heaven,

our daily bread,

Jesus,

whose Body and Blood

are given through

Bread and Wine,

sustains us

in our wilderness.

Taste and See

Salvation satisfies the hungry soul.

The Bread of Life,

the Word of Life

fills us, sustains us

even when pantries are low,

when illness steals our appetite,

and rice is our daily fare.

“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!”

O Lord, thank you for filling us with Heavenly food–with faith that sustains us–with salvation that fuels us–with the Body and Blood of Christ that works forgiveness of our sins.  May we be strengthened through your Word this day and lead a life pleasing in your sight.  For Jesus’ sake we pray, Amen.

January 24 Thunk

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Photo by Danny J

Genesis  48:1-49:33; Matthew 15:29-16:12;  Psalm 20:1-9;  Proverbs 4:20-27

“When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread.  Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Saducees.”  And they began discussing among themselves, saying “We have brought no bread.”  But Jesus aware of this said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact you have no bread?  Do you not  remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?  Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?  How is it you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread?  Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Saducees.”  Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but the teaching of the Pharisees and Saducees.'”  Matthew 16:5-12

The V-8 commercial illustrates missing the obvious–“missed your 5 servings of fruits and vegetables today?”  THUNK  “You could have had a V-8!”

The disciples witnessed two major miracles–Jesus feeding multitudes with just a few morsels of bread and fish.  Then they found themselves without any bread.

THUNK!

They were worried about their physical welfare.  Jesus was more concerned about their spiritual welfare–concerned that the skepticism of the religious leaders would rise in their hearts to create doubt, weaken their faith.

THUNK!

What are you most concerned about today?  Getting food for the stomach or food for the soul?  The world’s skeptics would have you believe that there is nothing beyond this world anyway so “eat, drink and be merry.”

THUNK!

Remember ‘whose’ you are through faith.

Remember that you’ve received the Bread of Heaven and will never hunger or thirst again!

Lord God, thank you for filling us with the Bread of Heaven–with the life-giving, life-sustaining Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Help us be on guard–to be aware of the yeast or leaven of those who would have us believe that faith in you is “not enough”, or a waste or pure foolishness.  Keep us firm in our faith, never doubting that your provision for our body and our soul is complete.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

August 28 Heaven Scent

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Job 28:1-30:31;  2 Corinthians 2:12-17;  Psalm 42:1-11;  Proverbs 22:7

“But, thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.  For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”  2 Corinthians 2:14-16

What smell do you identify as being delightful–even heavenly?

Chanel No. 5?  A freshly mown hayfield?  A loaf of bread still warm from the oven?  A newborn’s fuzzy head?  Saddle leather and horse hide?

 My favorite is the latter.  The smell of horses evokes strong memories of many pleasurable hours of riding in the Texas and Kansas countrysides.

The Apostle Paul reminds the Corinthians that as believers we all cast a fragrance lovely to God.  As we live out our Christian faith day by day we spread the fragrance of hope, love and redemption through Christ our Lord.  His sacrifice of his body and blood on the Cross was the sweet smelling sacrifice that appeased our Holy God.

Jesus was Heaven’s Scent.

Lord God Heavenly Father, thank you for sending the perfect, once- for- all sacrifice, your dear Son, whose death broke open the bottle of the best perfume ever–Salvation No. 1.  May we never take His sacrifice for granted–a sacrifice that covered the stench of all our sins and now perfumes us with His righteousness.  Grant that we always be ready to give account for Heaven’s scent–the Gospel of our Lord and Savior.  In His name we pray, Amen.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1