Devotion for Friday, March 23, 2018

“Until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.” (Psalm 17-18)

The Sanctuary of God is Christ, built not with Human hands, but begotten. In Christ, judgement is already announced and the wicked are already condemned. Those who plot their own destruction reject the only hope of the ages. Come unto the Lord and know the salvation He gives to those who leave behind the wickedness of this age to follow righteousness.

Lord, it is a slippery slope that leads to destruction. How easy it is to slip and fall down on the paths the wicked of this world set up. Lead me along the right path for Your name’s sake that I would walk in Your ways humbly and look to You as my hope and provision. Lead me, O Lord, to the place I belong. Guide me according to Your goodness to walk away from destruction.

Lord Jesus, You have come to lead me in the way of life. Help me now and always to see in You the way of life that I may follow Your lead. Keep me from those places where I would slip and hold me up in times of trouble. The wicked have chosen their doom. You have rescued those who hear Your voice and answer the calls of those who cry out to You. Lead me, Savior, and I will follow. Amen.

Devotion for Thursday, March 22, 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018 Devotion

“If I had said, “I will speak thus,” behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children. When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight”(Psalm 73:15-16)

Left to myself in my times of trouble, I would have betrayed You Lord. In my heart, I already have. Lift me up to understand what troubles me and then come to You in whom all things rest. Help me see once again that You are working all things together for good for those who love You. Raise my spirit to rejoice in God my Savior and lean not on my own understanding.

In times of trouble I want to preserve my skin. Yet, my skin will thus be destroyed. Lift up my spirit to see that like Job in times of adversity, I simply need to keep on the path You have laid before me and live according to Your purposes. I need Your strength and Your guidance to accomplish what You lay before me. Lead me, O Lord, and give me strength to follow You.

Lord Jesus, You know what it is to be weary. You know the fickleness of the days upon this earth. You have come to rescue the lost, lonely, weary, and downtrodden. Lift me up to wage the daily battle in this age against the forces of darkness that rail against me. Help me to follow You always Lord Jesus. Amen.

Devotional for Palm Sunday 2018

Devotional for Palm Sunday 2018 based upon Mark 11: 1-11

Several years ago a book was written by a well-known American historian entitled, When the Cheering Stopped. It told the story of President Woodrow Wilson and the events leading up to and following World War I. When the war was over, Wilson was an international hero. There was a spirit of great optimism both at home and abroad. And people actually believed that “the war to end all wars” had been fought and that the world had been made safe for democracy.

The cheering lasted for about a year. But then it gradually began to stop. The political leaders in Europe were more concerned about their own agendas than about a lasting peace. At home Woodrow Wilson ran into opposition in the U. S. Senate. His League of Nations was never ratified. Under the strain of it all, his health began to break. He suffered a stroke. And in the next election his party was defeated. The cheering had stopped.

The same thing happened to Jesus. When He first came upon the scene, He was an overnight sensation. When He tried to get off to be alone, the people would follow Him. The masses lined the streets whenever He would come into town. Great crowds came to hear Him preach. On Palm Sunday they waved palm branches, spread their coats on the road, and shouted, “Hosanna!” “Jesus, save us now!” But the cheering soon stopped, as the tide turned against Him.

Why did the cheering stop? Why did the crowds turn against Him? How could the shouts of “Hosanna!” on Sunday become cries of “Crucify him!” on Friday. In five days it all fell apart. Why? Why did the cheering stop?

I believe that one reason why the cheering stopped is because JESUS BEGAN TO TALK MORE AND MORE ABOUT COMMITMENT. Prior to this time, His message had been mainly about grace. When the five thousand were hungry, He fed them. When they brought their sick, He healed them. When a woman was caught in adultery and was about to be stoned, He came to her rescue.

But now He seems to be saying, “The time for miracles is over. The time for commitment has come.” In all four Gospels – after Jesus enters into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday – there is not another miracle recorded as being done for the people. And this is especially significant because near half of the Gospels are devoted to the seven last days of Jesus’ life. But you will find no miracles recorded in those chapters, but there is a persistent call for commitment.

Jesus was no longer talking about grace. He was now talking about commitment. The commitment that should result from accepting God’s grace. So the cheering began to stop.

And then, second, I believe that the cheering began to stop because JESUS DARED TO SUGGEST THAT ALL PEOPLE ARE WORTHY OF LOVE. After Palm Sunday Jesus went into the Temple and drove the money changers out. The Gospel writer Matthew tells us that after the Temple had been cleansed, the blind and the lame came to Him in the Temple, and He cured them. He brought into the place of worship those whom we would refer to today as “those people.” And then the chief priests and scribes not only saw the amazing things He was doing, they also heard children crying out in the Temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” The children’s shouting bugged the Pharisees, so they told Jesus to make those children stop. Time and again it was the powerless in society who recognized Jesus as Messiah, while those in power resisted Him.

Why did the cheering stop? Second, because JESUS OPENED THE DOORS OF THE CHURCH TO EVERYONE. It angered people then, and it will anger people today.

And then, third, I believe the cheering stopped because JESUS BEGAN TO TALK MORE AND MORE ABOUT A CROSS. In the early part of His ministry, He talked about the Kingdom of God. People really liked it when He talked about the Kingdom of God. Especially because they were expecting to have prominent positions in that Kingdom. But increasingly Jesus began to talk about sacrifice – about giving and giving up your life.

A young boy, in a Little League baseball game, got up to the plate. He looked over to the coach, who gave him the signal to hit a sacrifice bunt. The young boy then proceeded to take three big swings and strike out. After he got back to the bench, the coach asked him, “Didn’t you see me give you a signal to sacrifice?” “Yes,” the boy replied, “but I did not think that you really meant it.”

And isn’t that so often what we say to God? “I have heard all Your talk about sacrifice. But I thought You were just kidding. I did not think You really meant it.”

The cross says emphatically, He means it. On this Palm Sunday, when Jesus talks about sacrifice, may we know that He means it. And may our cheering never stop.

Dennis D. Nelson
President of the Board and Director of Lutheran CORE

Devotion for Wednesday, March 21, 2018

“Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence; for I have been stricken all day long and chastened every morning.”  (Psalm 73:13-14)

We often tire of the struggle to do good, fighting against the stream of the culture.  It hammers at us and weakens our resolve.  We need to be saved.  Salvation is not just some cosmic event that catapults us from here to there, but the daily struggle to keep from being pulled back down into the pit.  The Lord is our help and an ever-present support in time of need.  Turn to the Lord and live.

Lord, I need Your grace and I need the help of the Holy Spirit to guide me through the pitfalls of this world.  Every day I am tempted to give it up and give in to the world’s chastening.  Keep me in Your arms, for I am weak and cannot fight against the wicked.  Lead me to praise You in season and out of season knowing that in You alone is the hope of life and life eternal.

Lord Jesus, You have come to rescue the downtrodden and weary.  You have called for me to place the load on You.  I struggle and want to carry the load myself.  Help me place the load upon You and then look to You for guidance every step of the way.  You are the One who must lead, for I cannot overcome this world and do not need to, for You already have.  Help me, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Devotion for Tuesday, March 20, 2018

“They have set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue parades through the earth. Therefore his people return to this place, and waters of abundance are drunk by them.  They say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High?”  Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth.”  (Psalm 73:9-12) 

People of violence speak against the Lord.  Look for the inconsistencies.  They say love while speaking  Their tongues are wagging and they constantly harass others for their own benefit. Look to the Lord and do not be swayed by the wicked of this world.  God knows all things. He is not bound by time, but created it.  He knows that which He has created. Be guided by the truth that God knows all things and not by those who hate Him.

Lord, I am too often swayed by the lofty words of those who are constantly speaking and leading me away from You. You alone have the words of eternal life and there is no other place to go.  You alone know all things.  All things have their being through You.  Guide me, O Lord, to look to You alone that I would forever hold fast to the truth You have revealed once for all. Guide me in Your goodness that I might shut my ears to the cacophony of this world.

Lord Jesus, You walked humbly and boldly through this world of wickedness for our sake. You know all the things people say.  Grant Holy Spirit that I would not listen to all the noise, but learn to listen to You.  Open my ears to the sweet music of Your Word and drown out all the noise that would lead me away from You. Keep me close to You that I may abide only in You and be led only by You. Amen.

Devotion for Monday, March 19, 2018

Their eye bulges from fatness; the imaginations of their heart run riot. They mock and wickedly speak of oppression; they speak from on high.” (Psalm 73:7-8)

Riots and mayhem are in the streets as the wicked stir up the crowds by their proud and boastful imaginary thinking. They mock the will of the Lord and persecute those who are faithful to Him and this leads to oppression. Do not listen to the wicked who yell, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind in the Word which abides in you from on high.

Lord, there is a war of words that goes on in the world. I see in your word that it has always been this way. Lead me in the way of righteousness that I would walk in Your ways and learn from You so as not to be carried away by the wicked imaginations of those who seek wicked ways. Lead me, O Lord, according to Your Word that I may live in righteousness before You now and always.

Lord Jesus, You have come to lead the way for as many as would follow You in the way of truth. Guide me, O Lord, this day and open my ears to hear the contrast between Your Word and the words of the wicked that scream in the streets. Grant a discerning mind that I would now and always hold fast to the truth You have revealed for the ages and walk in the grace You grant me. Amen.

Devotion for Sunday, March 18, 2018

They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like mankind. Therefore pride is their necklace; the garment of violence covers them.” (Psalm 73:5-6)

Pride goes before the fall. One can see the pride worn by others as if it were an outer adornment around their neck. Sometimes it is we who wear it. There is a warning here to avoid thinking of oneself first, for it brings violence to others. Sometimes it is just violence of thought, but sometimes it is violence against another person. The Lord has come to remove the haughtiness we have and replace it with His goodness and kindness.

Lord, there are many haughty and prideful people around me. Sometimes I am one of these people. Guide my heart in the way of truth to see in myself those things which must be given to Christ to be slain that I may be freed from violence of the heart. Lead me by grace to live according to Your will and, by seeing the truth of the ages, be conformed to the image of Your Son.

Lord Jesus, You know well the issues of sin that reign in this age. You encountered all manner of people as You walked the earth. Guide me in Your goodness to have hope in You and what You have accomplished from the cross. Guide me to not fear others, but to fear being separated from You. Lead me to choose the better portion and follow You all the days of my life. Amen.

Devotion for Saturday, March 17, 2018

For I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pains in their death, and their body is fat.” (Psalm 73:3-4)

The wicked sometimes seem to prosper, but those are mere appearances. What is prosperity? Is it wealth gained with wrong motive and selling of the soul? Seek the way of the Lord. He will take you and make in you the image of Christ; for this is true prosperity. Do not envy the proud or the ones who seem to prosper. Look to the Lord and be content in what He provides, knowing that in Him is goodness.

Lord, you command me not to covet, but I do. I look around and see those who have what I do not. Guide my heart to be content with what You have given me, knowing that only in You is there joy and contentment. Lead me, O Lord, in the way You would have me go and guide me according to Your perfect goodness to be thankful for all that You have given me.

Lord Jesus, You showed indifference to the things of this world and instead took in the joy of each day. Guide me by Your example to walk as You walk and not to be excited about what tomorrow will bring. Lead me in the way of righteousness that I may walk humbly in the Father’s sight and do what You give me to do each and every day for the Father’s glory. Amen.

Prayers of the Church for Holy Trinity, Cycle B (May 27, 2018)


Holy Trinity, Cycle B (May 27, 2018)

In the power of the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the Church, the world, and all people according to their need.

A brief silence

Gracious Father, bless and preserve your holy Church, purchased with the blood of your dear Son and sanctified with the fire of your Spirit. Keep it steadfast in faith; sound in doctrine; loving in service; generous in giving; ardent in worship; and holy in living. In all things, make it a lamp filled with the light of your presence, welcoming and guiding many to salvation in your holy Name.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Be the shelter, strength, and inheritance of all who are hated because of your holy Name. Give them courage, graciousness, and hope; and soften the hearts of their enemies. Visit with your light and salvation our sister synods and companion congregations; and prosper the work of your missionaries throughout the world.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Kindle the hearts and minds of the people of this congregation with your Spirit. Unite us to your Son, and use us to proclaim the gospel in words and deeds to all those we meet.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

This weekend in particular, we remember our beloved dead, especially those who have given their lives for their country. Keep them ever in your care; and hasten the day when sin, warfare, and death shall be no more, and your eternal peace reigns undisturbed in every heart.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

There is no other God beside you, who are Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Give your incomparable gifts of faith, wisdom, and righteousness to all people, especially to those who take counsel for the nations. Conform the hearts of all people to your will, and grant us grace to participate in your loving communion.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

With your mighty hand and outstretched arm, protect, guide and defend all those who stand in harm’s way on behalf of others. Use them to establish safety and order in places of danger and chaos; and bring them home safely and soon.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Dearest Father, gather in your Son’s embrace all who suffer in body, mind or spirit, especially: {List}. Visit them with your salvation; and support them, and all who love, care, and pray for them, with your healing and holy Spirit.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Most Holy and Blessed Trinity, we praise and adore you for welcoming into your eternal communion of life and love all who died trusting in you. Keep our hearts firmly fixed on you, the Lord and Giver of life, the Alpha and the Omega, the Creator, Savior, and Renewer of the world. Bring us, with the whole company of the redeemed of every time and place, every nation, tribe and tongue, into the joy of your presence, where we shall behold you face to face and adore you as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our Lord and our God.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Gracious Father, through the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, we are bold to ask these things in Jesus’ name. Whatever is in accordance with your will, grant us for your dear Son’s sake. Amen.

Prayers of the Church for Day of Pentecost, Cycle B (May 20, 2018)


Day of Pentecost, Cycle B (May 20, 2018) 

In the power of the Holy Spirit, let us pray for the Church, the world, and all people according to their need.

A brief silence

Come, Holy Spirit, and renew the Church. Fill it with boldness in witnessing to Jesus’ strong saving love. Fill it with faithfulness in proclaiming his Word and celebrating his Sacraments. Fill it with zeal for ministering to all people in his name – especially to the least of those whom he calls sisters and brothers.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Come, Holy Spirit, and renew the faith of your persecuted Church. Give it grace to endure suffering for Jesus’ sake; and grant that its faithful witness may cause many to turn to Christ and live. Kindle the faith and inspire the proclamation of all missionaries of the Gospel, and of our sister congregations and synods.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Come, Holy Spirit, and renew the people and the ministry of this congregation. Fill us with joyfulness in worship; eagerness in service; gentleness in fellowship; generosity in giving; and persistence in faithful witness in Jesus’ name.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Come, Holy Spirit, and stir up the faith in all who are confirmed today. Be for them the true Spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, knowledge and fear of the Lord, and joy in his presence.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Come, Holy Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. Fill the minds of worldly leaders with wisdom in guiding the nations towards peace and justice. Fill their hearts with humility as they wield power and authority. Fill the spirits of the world’s citizens with love for God, neighbor, and the world around them.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Come, Holy Spirit, and bring peace in all places of danger, violence and strife. Fill the minds and direct the actions of all who take up arms in defense of life and liberty. Strengthen and protect them; bless all they do that works for peace and justice; and bring them safely home when their task is done.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Come, Holy Spirit, and bring joy, peace, and healing to all whose need is great, especially: {List}. Fill them with the comfort of your presence and lead them into the joy of your salvation.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Come, Holy Spirit, and cheer the hearts of all who grieve the loss of loved ones. Fill them, and all of us, all with steadfast faith in you, the Lord and Giver of life; in the communion of saints in heaven and on earth; in the forgiveness of sins, in the resurrection of the body; and in the life everlasting.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Grant us, dear Lord, all that is in accordance with your will, to your glory, and for the building up of your people. Amen.