Luke 18:9-14 (Genesis 4:1-15): Coming to God on Whose Terms?

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Why do people brag? It’s because they want recognition; they want others to notice them. After all, doesn’t it feel good when others sing your praises? Of course it does! But what if they won’t do that? What if the moment passes and no one notices how hard you’ve worked or how clever you are? […]

Luke 19:41-48: Jesus, the Incarnate Temple, Brings True Peace

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Jeri was breathtakingly beautiful. All the men wanted to be with her, and all the women wanted to be her. But more than that, she was intelligent and industrious. She also had the best husband in the world, someone who was faithful, loyal, and caring, someone who sacrificed for her. Jeri’s husband made sure that […]

1 Corinthians 10:6-13: Take Heed, Lest You Fall

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In our culture today, many may take offense at the confession of sins in a Lutheran service. But, that confession of sin, as distasteful as it may be, does teach us a valuable truth. It tells us that “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.” And it even teaches us to confess […]

Matthew 7:15-23: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

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“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” That’s what one of my seminary professors taught me. But there is a problem with that statement. It can be misleading. Oh, it is true in this way: In our fallen natures, we may not care how much someone knows until we […]

Mark 8:1-9: In Compassion, Jesus Feeds Us

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“In the beginning, God” (Genesis 1:1). “The Lord God formed the man from the soil of the ground.” The Lord God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” “The Lord God planted a garden in Eden.” There, the Lord God “put the man he had formed.” “The Lord God caused to grow out of […]

Exodus 20:1-11, 1 Corinthians 10:1-4: Jesus is Our Sabbath Rest

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Over the centuries, people have numbered God’s Ten Commandments several different ways. Why the difference? First, God does say that He gave “ten,” not nine or 11 (Deuteronomy 10:4). And when you look at the Ten Commandments, you find that they contain more than ten subject areas. But today, we’re going back to beginning, to […]

1 Kings 19:11-21: God humbles Himself, bringing life, not death

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Who here has never been burnt out? Who has never felt emptied of strength, energy, and motivation? It could be overwork and “underplay.” It could be one stress after another, draining your reserves past empty, leaving you gasping on fumes. That was Elijah in our Old Testament reading. He had just faced down the prophets […]

Luke 6:36-42: What goes around comes around?

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“Stop judging, and you’ll not be judged.” But, of course, you and I have judged. We’ve judged the motives of those who have offended us. We’ve have acted rashly and assumed the worst of others. We’ve spoken harsh words of judgment about them to others within earshot. “Stop condemning, and you’ll not be condemned.” But, […]

Luke 15:1-2, 11-32: The Prodigal Son

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The Pharisees were grousing against the outrageousness of God’s grace. “This man [Jesus] receives sinners and eats with them.” Now, that’s wonderful news for you and me—if we see ourselves as sinners. It also would’ve been splendid news for the Pharisees—if they would’ve be honest enough to admit that they were sinners, too. So, Jesus […]

Luke 14:15-24: Come, for the Feast is Prepared!

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It’s a sight to behold! The table is creaking, laden with a load of food, all ready to be eaten. You can see baked fowl, roasted beef, a rack of lamb, fruits, bread, fresh vegetables, sauces for dipping, and wine for pouring. And more than that, the host of that banquet has lovingly prepared that […]