Sunday Matthew 28:16-20

Prayer: Merciful God, your Word is truth. Teach me more today, in Christ. Amen.

The Holy Trinity

20 and [Jesus says] “teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Today is Holy Trinity Sunday.  Let us remember today that God is present with us in three persons. All of which are one, and all have different functions. We pray and we can pray to each as they are all with us.  God the Creator, Jesus, who became human and lived among us and who intercedes for us, and the Holy Spirit that comes to guide and comfort us.

Prayer: “Thank you, triune God, for being with us and loving us, no matter what our day brings. Amen.”

Matthew 28:16-20

The Commissioning of the Disciples

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

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Saturday Job 38:12-21

Prayer: Teach me, O God, through your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

What do we know?

21 Surely you know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!

God is speaking to Job and continues to ask questions so fast that Job cannot answer, or so it seems.  God asks where Job was at the creation of the world? Did Job have the power to control daylight and cause the sun to rise?  Has he walk on the floor of the ocean? Has he seen the gates of Hell?  Then He asks facetiously, “21 Surely you know, for you were born then…”

Our DW writes; “I think God is pointing out to Job, and to us, that we human beings don’t know nearly as much as we think we do, and we never will.”  The only thing we can do is learn and know God’s love.  The book of Job doesn’t show a warm and fuzzy picture of God and leaves us not knowing or understanding another facet of God.

So what do we know about God? We know that “He gave His only Son…” so we would live without the penalties of sin and live with God in eternity with peace and love.

Prayer: “Thank you, God, that we know your love through your Son Jesus, our Lord. Amen.”

Job 38:12-21

12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
    and caused the dawn to know its place,
13 so that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
    and the wicked be shaken out of it?
14 It is changed like clay under the seal,
    and it is dyed like a garment.
15 Light is withheld from the wicked,
    and their uplifted arm is broken.

16 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
    or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
    Declare, if you know all this.

19 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
    and where is the place of darkness,
20 that you may take it to its territory
    and that you may discern the paths to its home?
21 Surely you know, for you were born then,
    and the number of your days is great!

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Friday Psalm 8

Prayer: Thank you, O God, for your creations and the revelations in your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Majestic connection

the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

Our DW tells about a male and female cardinal that lived in a tree outside his kitchen window. It reminded him about an old wives tale that a cardinal visiting meant that one of your ancestors spirits was paying you a visit.  He also reports that some Native Americans believe the cardinal living near you represents good luck.

In the words of Psalm 8 we read that there is a majestic connection with God in all of the living things that He created, including birds of the air and the fish of the sea.  And all of these things of God’s creation, God has put humans in charge of caring for them.

Our DW declares; “May we always be ready to see God’s beauty and to hear God’s word.”

Prayer: “Thank you, God, for the beauty and majesty of your creation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Psalm 8

Divine Majesty and Human Dignity

To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

O Lord, our Sovereign,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
    to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
    mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Sovereign,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

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Thursday Job 38:1-11

Prayer: Almighty God, teach me through your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Measuring up

Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?

Our DW’s father was a woodworker. He was very talented and our DW also enjoyed woodworking, but just never had the talent that his father did and didn’t measure up, so he gave it up.  I know how he felt.  My dad was really good with his hands and a shovel and a gardener. I was not.

Are we, in our society, obsessed with measuring up? Are we too concerned with statistics and records and how we compare with each other?  Some say we are. I know we keep score in almost everything comparing our selves to others.

Job was feeling sorry for himself at God’s expense.  So God answers out of a whirlwind and puts Job in his place. God reminds Job that he wasn’t around for the creation and didn’t help even with the measurements and the scope of the earth and the heavens. That Job and we, did not have any ability to be God and that God is God and we are not.

What is important to us is not of value to God for all God’s creations are good and important. Also, God does not care what a persons is good at.  All are created in His image and that image is perfect and we are all precious. He loves us even though we sometimes fail to love as God does and accepts and forgives us for Jesus’ sake and calls us to try again.

Prayer: “Creator God, thank you for your unconditional love. Amen.”

Job 38:1-11

The Lord Answers Job

38 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man,
    I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone
when the morning stars sang together
    and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?

“Or who shut in the sea with doors
    when it burst out from the womb?—
when I made the clouds its garment,
    and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10 and prescribed bounds for it,
    and set bars and doors,
11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
    and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?

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Wednesday Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Prayer: Let us sing to you, O God, with your Holy Spirit in our mind and your Love in our hearts. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Making a joyful noise through life

33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

We all sing.  Some of us have excelled in music either with singing or an instrument, or both.  Some have excelled with other gifts, but all of us enjoy making a joyful noise to the Lord. Our DW sought inclusion in the all-state choir while in school, but never made it.  He did keep up with music and did participate in choir festivals. I have said before, but will say again…there is nothing like singing with over 100 men’s voices at the World’s Fair in 1962 in Seattle.  It was an amazing experience making a joyful noise with other Norwegian Sons of Norway from all over the US and the world.

Our DW also was asked to direct the church choir and was glad his parents always encouraged him to be involved in music.  It paid off and has had a wonderful time making joyful noises with the church choir.  How many of us can say the same.

Regardless of our level of skills and gifts for singing, we can all praise God for the gifts we have and how we can use them to serve God.

Prayer: “Dear God, thank you for all your gifts and for opportunities to share them with others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Psalm 104:24-35

24 O Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom you have made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
    creeping things innumerable are there,
    living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
    and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

27 These all look to you
    to give them their food in due season;
28 when you give to them, they gather it up;
    when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
    when you take away their breath, they die
    and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
    and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!

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Tuesday Romans 8:26-37

Prayer: Teach me, O Lord, through your Word, in Christ. Amen.

Spiritual strength

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 

Our DW tells us that he always looked up to his younger brother. His brother seemed to have it all together and excelled in most everything he attempted, even as a father.  Yet even with all he had, he one day suffered from a disease (Meniere’s disease), which is thought to be caused by stress.  I am reminded by this story that some people who appear to live near perfect lives, may suffer from stress trying to keep up the façade of perfection.

Do we not try to cover up our weaknesses? How much more might those who are “perfect” suffer from sometimes overwhelming pressures which can lead to crisis.  It is in those times when we cannot even know how to pray, that the Holy Spirit will even intercede for us with prayers of “sighs too deep for words.”  God knows the cries of our hearts even when we don’t choose to reveal it to others.  Or perhaps even when we don’t realize it ourselves, God knows what we need even before we ask.

Prayer: “Holy Spirit, when I feel weak, afraid, or alone, please assure me of your presence. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Romans 8:26-37

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

God’s Love in Christ Jesus

31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
    we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

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Monday Luke 1:39-45

Prayer: Holy Spirit, come through your Word and show me the way to go, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Visit of Mary to Elizabeth

41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 

The Holy Spirit often nudges us to go in certain directions.  We have our own will, yet we also know God has an interest in using us for His purposes.  Our DW felt the hand of the Holy Spirit on a trip in Germany where she met a new friend and learned about German churches and how they differ from what we practice in the U.S.

Our DW teaches us; “The Holy Spirit works in many ways, big and small.  Long before Pentecost was revealed to Zechariah, Mary, and, here, Elizabeth…Sometimes the Spirit nudges us toward a calling in life, or to help someone in need, or to rest and pray.  What is the Holy Spirit prompting you to do?”

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, fill us with your Holy Spirit, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

Luke 1:39-45

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

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