The Transfiguration of Our Lord (February 11, 2018)

The Transfiguration of Our Lord, Cycle B (February 11, 2018)


Let us lift our hearts, hands, and voices to the Father of light, beseeching him through his Son Jesus to have mercy upon his Church, his world, and his people.

A brief silence

Most holy Father, let your Son rule gloriously in the Church throughout the world, so that the light of his forgiveness and mercy shines in all its words and deeds. Make the Church truly into your new Zion, so that many people may be drawn to the perfection of Christ’s beauty, and be saved.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Shed the light of Jesus’ love on Christians who suffer at the hands of others for his sake; and let that holy love touch, purify and transform them and even those who hate them. We also ask your blessing upon our sister congregations and companion synods, and upon all missionaries of your Gospel.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Give such grace to this congregation that all who gather here in Jesus’ name should day by day see him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We ask a special blessing on little children – not only those dear to us, but each of them throughout the world.  Shelter them from every evil; shine the light of your love upon them; and give them the grace to hear Jesus’ voice in our words, and to see his dear face in our deeds.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Moses the Lawgiver and Elijah the Prophet bore witness to your Son, the King of the nations. Grant, we pray, such wisdom and righteousness to the leaders of the world, that through their decisions and actions, they too should bear witness to their coming King; should use their authority with wisdom and integrity; and should lead the people entrusted to their care into paths of justice, righteousness, and peace.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Clothe in the armor of light all who risk their lives to protect the innocent and to defend liberty and justice. Grant that all they do may serve your purpose. Help us to honor their service; care for their wounds; support their families; and rejoice in their homecoming when their work is done.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We beseech you to shed the light of your strong saving love upon all who sit in the darkness and shadows of pain, fear, loneliness, despair or sorrow. Especially we name before you: {List}. Let them see the light of your countenance, and grant them your saving help.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Most holy and gracious Father, through the suffering, death and resurrection of your dear Son, you promised the imperishable light of your glory to all who die trusting in you. We commend into your keeping our departed loved ones. Let Christ be the lamp to our feet and the Light to our pilgrim path. Give us ears eager to listen to him and eyes willing to see him, alone, in every circumstance of life. And bring us to that day when, with all the redeemed, we gaze upon his face and worship him in the splendor of light and life which he shares eternally with you and the Holy Spirit, God forever.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Graciously hear, and generously answer our prayers and petitions, dear Father, as may be best for us and to your greater glory, thorough your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epiphany 5 (February 4, 2018)

5th Sunday after Epiphany, Proper 4, Cycle B (February 4, 2018)


Let us lift our hearts, hands, and voices to the Father of light, beseeching him through his Son Jesus to have mercy upon his Church, his world, and his people.

A brief silence

Holy God, renew and strengthen your Church. Grant wings to its words of faithful proclamation, so that many hearts may be reached with the Gospel of salvation. Make it swift to accomplish deeds of forgiveness and mercy in your name. Make it tireless in bearing witness to you. Conform it to your will; and use it to draw all people to yourself.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Renew and strengthen all who suffer for the sake of Jesus. Help them to constantly trust in your strong saving love.  Help us, who do not experience such suffering, to pray for them; defend them; provide for them as we are able; and to live in a way that glorifies you and honors their witness. We also ask your blessing upon our sister congregations and companion synods, and upon all missionaries of your Gospel.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Renew and strengthen this congregation. Grant us such confidence in you that we willingly wait upon you for guidance; and gladly obey what you command. Use us to encourage and help our families, friends and neighbors, especially those who most need to know your love.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Renew and strengthen your servants who are nearing or in retirement. Fill them with your Spirit, so that they may continue to walk tirelessly in the way of faithfulness and service which you set before them.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Renew and strengthen the leaders of the nations. Grant them wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and fear of the Lord, so that they might rightly care for their people, especially the poor and all who suffer from natural disaster or manmade calamities. Give all of us a teachable heart, eager to learn what makes for righteousness and peace in our communities and world.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Renew and strengthen all whose work is difficult and dangerous, including those in our military. Grant them courage and honor; use their labors to accomplish your will; shield them and their loved ones when they are overtaken by adversity; and grant them a swift and joyous homecoming when their task is done.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Renew and strengthen all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit—especially {List}. Give them hope: to wait upon your gifts of health and wholeness. Give them faith: to rise above doubt, despair and sorrow. And give them your love, shared through each of us: to strengthen, shield, and surround them always.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Most blessed and glorious Lord, we thank you for the great and final healing you bestow upon all who have died clinging to your promises. Grant us joy in the midst of sorrow; patience in suffering; courage in the face of danger; wisdom when we face hard choices; compassion and mercy as we minister to each other. And, at the last, vouchsafe to us the joy of being welcomed, with all whom you have healed from sin and death, into your eternal kingdom.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayerGraciously hear, and generously answer our prayers and petitions, dear Father, as may be best for us and to your greater glory, thorough your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Devotion for Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sunday, December 31, 2017 Devotion

There will be silence before You, and praise in Zion, O God, And to You the vow will be performed.  O You who hear prayer, To You all men come. Iniquities prevail against me; as for our transgressions, You forgive them.”  (Psalm 65:1-2)

The Lord knows everything you think.  The Lord knows everything you pray.  Why then do you and I turn to things that do not hear and do not know?  Turn to the One who knows all the days of your life and the plans He has for you.  Be guided by the will of the One who desires that you be with Him now and forever.  Be led by the Spirit of the One who loves you more than you can imagine.

Lord you forgive, and we all need forgiveness.  Lead me past my iniquities that I would see them as You do and flee from them.  Help my heart and mind to be guided by the goodness of Your presence and purpose that I would forever hold fast to the truth You have revealed once for all through Your Word.  Help me through the obstacles that get in the way that I would serve You with a clean and pure heart now and always.  Lead me in Your ways, O Lord.

Lord Jesus, Word of God, speak to me that I may hear the truth of Your Word in my heart and live according to Your never-changing principles.  Let not my iniquities prevail, but live into the righteousness You give through faith.  Guide my heart to be honest before You and others that I may praise You at all times, in all places and through all things that come upon me.  Amen.

Devotion for Saturday, December 30, 2017

Saturday, December 30, 2017 Devotion

“The righteous man will be glad in the Lord and will take refuge in Him; and all the upright in heart will glory.” (Psalm 64:10)

Do you look to the Lord for all things?  Do you praise and thank  the Lord in all circumstances?  Do you see that the Lord is always good and His ways righteous?  These things are true, but often the attitude of our heart gets in the way and we do not praise the Lord at all times and in all circumstances.  Take refuge in the Lord and let Him lead your heart always and you will be blessed as one of the righteous.

Lord, I do have attitude problems and often get carried away by my own thoughts.  Help me shift my thinking to You, that You, who IS the center of all things may be the center of my life.  Guide me in Your eternal way that I would walk humbly with You, my God, now and always.  Keep my heart upright in Your sight that I may live according to Your precepts which You have spoken from the beginning.

Lord Jesus You alone are able to lead the way for this heart of mine which often seeks after its own thoughts.  Lead me to live in such a way that I seek to do what I do to please the Father.  Yes, the flesh is weak and I need grace, but teach me to live through the need for grace to the place where I willingly and with praise obey all that is commanded.  Help me Jesus to become like You.  Amen.

Devotion for Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday, December 29, 2017 Devotion

“So they will make him stumble; their own tongue is against them; all who see them will shake the head.  Then all men will fear, and they will declare the work of God, and will consider what He has done.” (Psalm 64:8-9)

Lord Your power is almighty and all the attempts to thwart You throughout the ages come to nothing.  Guide my eyes to see and my mind to understand this simple but profound truth.  Lead me in the way You have established and let my deeds be openly known and not hidden.  Guide me, O Lord, according to Your Word and let me be among those who praise You all the day long in every circumstance.

Lord, You know what is needed and You know those who devise their plots and schemes.  Help me to always look to You that I may know that Your hand is upon all that I do.  Lead me, O Lord, that I may be led by You alone.   Guide me to consider all that You have made, Your handiwork, and ponder anew each day on the marvels You have created.

Lord Jesus, King of kings, lead me in the mighty way of Your grace this day to see all the wonders created and praise You.  Help me look through immediate circumstances to see Your hand upon all things and know that in You alone is hope and glory.  May my life be one that praises You at all times knowing that You alone are the hope of this age and the one who has already conquered sin.  Amen.

Devotion for Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thursday, December 28, 2017 Devotion

“They hold fast to themselves an evil purpose; they talk of laying snares secretly; they say, “Who can see them?”  They devise injustices, saying, “We are ready with a well-conceived plot”; for the inward thought and the heart of a man are deep.  But God will shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly they will be wounded.” (Psalm 64:5-7)

The plans of the wicked are all the same.  They think what they do is secret, but the Lord who sees all things knows what the wicked do in secret.  It comes to naught.  Look to the Lord and know that He who sees all things knows what is needed and provides before you make the request.  Yes, it seems for a time the wicked prosper, but what they do amounts to nothing.

Lord, help me to have a larger view of things that I may see through time how the plots of those who devise things in secret are thwarted.  Guide me to know truly that You who sees all things cannot be shaken.  Help me trust in Your provision at all time knowing that You are working all things together for good for those who love You.  Lead me, O Lord, that I may be led by You alone.

Lord Jesus, You went to the cross through the efforts of  those who plotted in secret places, yet it fit perfectly the Father’s will.  From this simple place, let me see that no matter what happens, Your hand of grace is upon me and all who turn to You.  Guide me according to Your perfect will to see in You the hope of glory that You have won at the cross through those who desired otherwise.  Amen.

Just One Bridge (Weekly Devotional for 27 December 2017)

“For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’?” (Hebrews 1:5)

The author of Hebrews wants his listeners to know that Jesus is higher than the angels.  Back then, as now, the glory of the angelic choirs could morph into a colorful mythology as people experimented with spirituality and sought “new ways” to be with the Divine.  The message of Hebrews is clear: no other bridge between God and creation but Jesus, His Son!

That message gives Christmas its edge.  Christmas does not only proclaim that God became flesh, but it also promises that this Baby is the One and Only.   Whatever ways we have chosen to get the Good Life, they are nothing if they have nothing to do with to the little Lord Jesus.

He is the Good Life, He is the Divine, He is the bridge.  In Him, the One who bears our flesh and bore our sin, even difficult jobs are worth doing, and difficult people are worth loving—we even find ourselves worth more than gold, oil, or water, loved enough that God would suffer pain to be with us.  Merry Christmas, friends—which is just another way of saying, He’s the One, and He’s yours.

LET US PRAY: All praise and honor to You, dear Father, for the gift of Your Son!  Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Zion, Wausau   

Devotion for Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 Devotion

“Who have sharpened their tongue like a sword.  They aimed bitter speech as their arrow, to shoot from concealment at the blameless; suddenly they shoot at him, and do not fear.” (Psalm 64:3-4)

The wicked of this world shoot arrows of contempt and lies at those who seek the Lord.  Calling others what is in their heart, they prey on the guilt of sin that is there, while they themselves could care less about truth or what is right.  It has always been this way.  The insensitive prey on the sensitive and blame them to shame them.  Be not one who blames, but one who turns to the Lord in every season.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Lord, I have been affected by the wickedness of this world.  I have desired what is right, but listen to the voice of the wickedGuide me according to Your purposes that I may forever hold fast to the truth You have revealed.  Let me not be distracted by those who would seek to destroy me, but to be led by Your Spirit all the days of my life.

Lord Jesus, You are the hope of every person.  You have come to save us from ourselves and the world.  Guide me in the salvation You have given that I may forever hold fast to the truth of Your presence and purpose through grace.  May I now and always look to You first for all things, knowing that You alone are the author and finisher of my faith.  Lead me this day, my Savior.  Amen.

Weekly Devotional for December 31, 2017


Devotional for December 31, 2017 based upon Luke 2: 22-40


Something I really enjoy watching or listening to is someone totally using their best gifts in the prime of their life.  Whether it is in music or sports, or the chance to hear really great preaching, or whatever, I enjoy seeing, hearing, or watching someone function when they are at their absolute best.

But then there are others who will say, “I am past my prime.  My best days are over.  The best days have all come and gone.”  I wonder if Simeon and Anna ever felt like that.

By the time we meet them, Simeon is an old man.  When he was younger, Luke tells us, “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.”  Can you imagine what that would be like?  To be told that you would not die until something really great had happened.   

And there must have been a time when Anna dreamed of a glorious life.  But Luke tells us that her husband died just “seven years after her marriage.”  Things had not turned out like she had planned.  Anna was now eighty-four years old.  You get the picture of an older widow and an older single man now spending most of their time hanging around church.  Luke tells us, Anna “never left the temple,” but worshipped there day and night.  Most people would say that their best days were over.  The best had come and gone.  They were long past their prime.

But the world defines “the prime of life” in a way that is very different from the way in which God defines it.  The world sees the prime of life as that season when we are most physically strong and mentally alert.  God sees the prime of life as the season when we are the most spiritually strong and spiritually alert.  Exactly what Simeon and Anna’s first prime of life looked like – to what extent it corresponded to the worldly version of youth, health, wealth, and influence – that we really do not know.  But we do know that these two people had clearly come into the second prime of life.

For one thing, they were truly FAITHFUL PEOPLE.  The Bible says that Simeon was “righteous and devout.”  Which does not mean that he was perfect.  But it does mean that he stayed close to God.  Luke tells us how Anna maintained her intimacy with God.  She was in the temple day and night.  She had established a daily rhythm of worship, prayer, and fasting that built up her spirit even when her body was breaking down.

Second, they were PERSEVERING PEOPLE.  For eighty years Simeon and Anna had kept trusting God.  Through tragedies like the early death of Anna’s husband, and through the long wait between God’s original promise to Simeon and its fulfillment on that first Christmas, these two people persevered in trusting God.

And third, Simeon and Anna were SPIRIT-LED PEOPLE.  Anna was a prophetess.  Which means that she was someone who expected to hear from God, and she was someone who dared to speak for God.  And the Gospel writer Luke tells us that the Holy Spirit rested on Simeon.

Which means that Simeon went places and did things as he sensed the Spirit was directing him.

It is hard to overstate just how much faithfulness, perseverance, and being responsive to the Spirit count with God.  But in this story we see that at a time when the world probably would have regarded them primarily as candidates for senior housing, God chose Simeon and Anna to do one of the most important tasks ever performed in all of human history.  They declared the true identity of Jesus.  They helped Jesus’ parents prepare for what lay ahead.  Simeon said to Mary, “A sword will pierce your soul also.”  And they passed on a blessing, which eventually was passed on to us.

So what about you?  No matter how young or how old you are today, you might be like Simeon and Anna were earlier that day – about to do the greatest and most important thing that you do in life.  Are you in your prime – your first prime?  Are you just coming into your first prime?  Are you in your second prime?  Or do you feel that you are past your prime?

Are you FAITHFUL like Simeon and Anna?  Are you practicing the spiritual disciplines of worship, prayer, and fasting?  Are you nurturing what Luke said Simeon had – a “righteous and devout” spirit?

Are you PERSEVERING like Simeon and Anna?  In spite of all your setbacks, doubts, and questions, are you still waiting for the one who is the hope of us all?  Are you helping others trust in the promises and the good plans of God?

Are you SPIRIT-LED like Simeon and Anna?  Do you have a good word from God that others need to hear?  Are you willing to go where God tells you to go?  Is God calling you, like He called Simeon and Anna, to declare the true identity of Jesus, to help others prepare for what lies ahead, and/or to pass on a word of blessing?

Whether you are just coming into your prime, in your prime, or in your second prime, never see yourself as past your prime.  Rather be like Simeon and Anna.  Faithful, persevering and following the lead of the Spirit wherever you may be in life.  

Dennis D. Nelson

President of the Board and Director of Lutheran CORE

Devotion for Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 Devotion

“Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint; preserve my life from dread of the enemy.  Hide me from the secret counsel of evildoers, from the tumult of those who do iniquity,” (Psalm 64:1-2)

In our hearts, even if on the outside others call us peaceful, we lament and complain to the Lord about how things are.  Our hearts are troubled.  But the Lord who hears all these things knows what is needed and has provided salvation to all those who believe in Him.  Come to the Lord and know the peace He gives.  He will shield you under His wings and guide you through the tumult of this world.

Lord, I do need what You offer, yet while saying this, I often avoid the very thing I need.  Guide me by Your Spirit to learn to listen as You guide me through the tumult of this world.  Help me in every time of need to turn to You knowing that You alone, who knows all things, knows what is needed.  Guide me into and through humility to stay away from the counsel of evil doers.

Lord Jesus, You know what it is to walk in this troubled world.  Help me now and always to look to You, the author and finisher of my faith, to see the way I should go.  Help me live according to Your purposes that I may forever hold fast to the salvation You have prepared for me through grace.  Lead me, O Lord, that I may follow and teach me humility that I may walk humbly with You.  Amen.