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Showing posts from September, 2011

Producing Fruits of the Kingdom of God

The text for today is Matthew 21:42-43:

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?’Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.”Here ends the text.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
He plants a vineyard.Sets a fence around it.Digs a winepress.And builds a tower to watch for thieves and robbers.So far so good.Sounds like the song of the vineyard from Isaiah.Then the owner makes his first mistake.He leases it to tenants.He’s asking for big trouble.He should keep the vineyard for himself.
Then the owner compounds his error.He decides to go off to another country.He takes a trip, an extended holiday.Idiot.Everyone knows that if you want things done right you’ve got to do them yourself.You’d better watch over the tenants’ work othe…

He Makes the Deaf Hear and the Mute Speak

The text for this morning is our Gospel, Mark 7:31-37, which has already been read.

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

Jesus is in the Decapolis, the Ten Cities.He’s just come from the region of Tyre and Sidon, where He healed the daughter of a faithful, Canaanite woman.These locations are part of what make these miracle accounts important.Jesus is healing and preaching to the Gentiles.He’s not just the Savior of the Jews, but of all people.

Believing the Word they’ve heard about Jesus some people bring a man who is deaf and mute to Jesus that He would heal him.The loss of any sense is terrible, but this is a dreadful combination.The man is isolated, unable to hear the sounds of the environment around him, much less those who try to talk to him.He can’t speak intelligibly, even if he is in dire need of assistance.Jesus takes the man aside privately.He puts His fingers in the man’s ears.He spits, and He touches the man’s tongue.Then, looking up to…

Antidote for Self-centered Prayer

I enjoy all of the daily prayers in CPH's "Treasury of Daily Prayer," but perhaps my favorite is the Prayer on Friday. It begins by thanking Lord Jesus Christ for redeeming us poor and condemned creatures not by any of our works, merit, or worthiness, but by His holy suffering, death, and shedding of blood. It goes on to detail the depth of His passion and death so He could pay our debt and we could be healed by His wounds.

It concludes: "O Lord Jesus Christ, for this and all Your other suffering and pain, we give You thanks and praise. We pray You, let Your holy bitter suffering and death not be lost on us, but grant that all times this may be our comfort, and that we may boast in it; and that as we ponder it, all evil desires in us may be snuffed out and subdued, and all virtue may be implanted and increased, so that we, having died to sin, may live in righteousness, following the example You have left us, walking in Your footsteps, enduring evil with patience,…

The Kingdom of Power and the Kingdom of Grace

The text for today is Matthew 18:15-20, which has already been read.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“Ours is a world that is governed by the aggressive use of force.”That’s Rush Limbaugh’s Undeniable Truth of Life #6.In Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky says power is derived from two sources—money and people. “Have-Nots” build power from masses of people, corporations and governments use cash.
Limbaugh and Alinsky, opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they agree on one thing: Kingdoms of this world are built and kept and defended by power. It’s true. Kingdoms are built by coercion, force, and leverage; by strength, battle, and bloodshed. You have to have an awful lot of muscle if you’re going to make a kingdom.
Furthermore, if you want to build a kingdom you can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.You must be willing to exploit your enemy’s weaknesses. If your opponent stumbles in any way, use it against him. Shame him into…