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January 2018


TLH = The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941; WS = Worship Supplement 2000; LSB = Lutheran Service Book, 2008

Date Verse Reading Comments

Jan 1 TLH 347: Genesis 1:1-31At the start of the new year, we are reminded of God’s new creation, both the one at the beginning and the one yet to come.

Jan 2 TLH 54: Joshua 3:1-17 We do not know where the new year will take us, but we know that our God will go before us.

Jan 3 TLH 657: Psalm 2:1-12 Our Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of the nations, and we take refuge in Him.

Jan 4 TLH 118: Job 1:1-22 Our happiness is not in earthly things, but in knowing that whatever trials the Lord allows are for our good.

Jan 5 TLH 375: Isaiah 1:10-20How are our hearts made clean before the Lord so that we do not give Him “meaningless offerings”? He must make them clean (v. 18).Read More »“BREAD OF LIFE” READINGS January 2018

The Celebration of God’s One-Way Path


If we could travel back in time, one of the many things that would no doubt surprise us would be the changes that have occurred in ecclesiastical emphasis. Virtually all Christians today would, for example, list Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter as our greatest Christian celebrations. Yet church historians tell us that many Christians in prior centuries regarded Epiphany as the preeminent Christian event. The change is difficult for modern Christians to grasp, especially given the fact that Epiphany receives so little emphasis or notoriety today. What caused such a dramatic shift in emphasis? In two words, ignorance and entitlement.

Christians today have no trouble identifying the basis for our modern celebrations of Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter: Jesus was born, Jesus died, and Jesus rose from the dead. Not so with Epiphany. While many could explain that the word epiphany means “manifestation” or “appearance”—and might even be able to associate Epiphany with the arrival of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus, and Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana—few could articulate the importance of those events. In the minds of most Christians today, Epiphany is encapsulated in Christmas. Jesus manifested Himself on earth at His birth. It seems illogical to us that God would send His Son into our world, but then withhold the revelation of that Son. The three events that are routinely commemorated in connection with the Epiphany simply tell us how God revealed His Son also to the Gentiles (the star that drew the Magi), how the Father announced to the Jews that Jesus was His Son (His Baptism), and the revelation of the miraculous powers that verified Jesus’ deity (changing water to wine in Cana). Given all of that, Christians today still find it difficult to grasp the significance that prior generations recognized in Epiphany.Read More »The Celebration of God’s One-Way Path

The Lord’s Mysteries of Life


Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  (Psalm 139:6, 13-16 NIV)

Mankind is presumptuous. We are proud. We declare our wisdom as superior to all other wisdom, and if we cannot understand something, then we will do what we will do. And so it is with the issues of life. We behave as if we are the masters of our own fate and determine the outcome of all life, and as if there is no other authority or might or dominion over man in this world. Read More »The Lord’s Mysteries of Life

WS Hymn 717 “Bright and Glorious Is the Sky”


It was on the second day of creation that God made the expanse of the sky, and since then He has used it from time to time as something of a billboard for important announcements. Abraham, for example, was told to look up into the sky for confirmation of the promise God was giving him (Genesis 15:5). There were the Christmas angels who appeared in the sky, announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. Now we come to Epiphany, where the sky again plays a role, hosting the famous “star in the east” which started the wise men off on their journey to find the King of the Jews.

The opening verse of the Danish-Lutheran pastor Nicolai Grundtvig’s (1783-1872) hymn, “Bright and Glorious Is the Sky” turns our attention skyward as well, Where the golden stars are shining, / All their rays to earth inclining (v. 1). Our thoughts fly heavenward as they beckon us.Read More »WS Hymn 717 “Bright and Glorious Is the Sky”

Skirting the Issue


King Saul, along with three thousand men, was again on the hunt. Out of jealousy, the king was pursuing a most elusive prey: David, the king-elect. Time and time again the outlaw king had eluded Saul with superior tactics and speed. But now David and his men were cornered in a cave near the “Crag of the Wild Goats,” located on the mountainous slopes west of the Dead Sea (1 Samuel 24).

Into the very cave in which David was hiding, Saul entered to relieve himself. Consider David’s position and frame of mind. For months Saul had chased him like a dog, even though David had given Saul no cause for his jealous rage. David’s men were quick to encourage him to take advantage of this golden opportunity to strike a blow for freedom and justice.Read More »Skirting the Issue