Posted by: Ed Blonski | August 27, 2016

What We Do When We Do Church – Keep Us From Evil

Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,     but deliver us from evil.

Luke 11:2-4

“Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

What we call today “The Lord’s Prayer” is found in these two places in the Scriptures. The next couple of devotions are based on a section of the book Listening to the Language of the Bible: Hearing it Through Jesus’ Ears, by Lois Tverberg with Bruce Okkema.

The previous devotions in this series are:

Part 1 – Hymnody
Part 2 – Invocation
Part 3 – Baptism
Part 4 – Confession of Sins
Part 5 – Absolution
Part 6 – Introit / Psalmody
Part 7 – Kyrie
Part 8 – Hymn of Praise
Part 9 – Scripture Readings
Part 10 – Sermon
Part 11 – Confession of Faith
Part 12 – Offering
Part 13 – Offertory
Part 14 – Prayer
Part 15 – “Our Father”
Part 16 – “Hallowed Be Thy Name”
Part 17 – “Thy Kingdom Come”
Part 18 – “Daily Bread”

“Keep Us From Evil”

Image result for Ephesians 6“Lead us not into temptation” and “deliver us from evil” are actually saying the same thing. Jesus uses a Hebrew poetic literary device to emphasize His thought here.

It may be helpful to look at how this thought made its way down to the first century and then out of Jesus’ day into the 5th Century.

Psalm 121:5-7 says, The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.

About 500 years later Jesus says, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” (some of the manuscripts say “evil one”).

And about 500 years after Jesus, there is a prayer in the Jewish Talmud that says, in part, “Deliver me … from a bad person, a bad companion, a bad injury, an evil inclination, and from Satan, the destroyer.” The word “bad” and “evil” here are the same Hebrew word “ra” – the same word that Jesus used in the Lord’s Prayer.

Jesus is teaching us to pray for God’s protection from evil – evil from without and evil from within.

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Source: True Man Podcast – Leadership From the Biggest Brother – Episode 6

Posted by: Ed Blonski | August 26, 2016

What We Do When We Do Church – Daily Bread

Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,     but deliver us from evil.

Luke 11:2-4

“Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

What we call today “The Lord’s Prayer” is found in these two places in the Scriptures. The next couple of devotions are based on a section of the book Listening to the Language of the Bible: Hearing it Through Jesus’ Ears, by Lois Tverberg with Bruce Okkema.

The previous devotions in this series are:

Part 1 – Hymnody
Part 2 – Invocation
Part 3 – Baptism
Part 4 – Confession of Sins
Part 5 – Absolution
Part 6 – Introit / Psalmody
Part 7 – Kyrie
Part 8 – Hymn of Praise
Part 9 – Scripture Readings
Part 10 – Sermon
Part 11 – Confession of Faith
Part 12 – Offering
Part 13 – Offertory
Part 14 – Prayer
Part 15 – “Our Father”
Part 16 – “Hallowed Be Thy Name”
Part 17 – “Thy Kingdom Come”

“Daily Bread”

The Hebrews/Aramaic phrase lechem hukenu is not only used in Matthew and Luke but also in Proverbs 30:8-9 and it is that instance that Jesus perhaps has in mind when teaching us to pray in this way.

Image result for daily breadThe prayer in Proverbs 30 is for God to provide not too much and not too little.

It is understood that too much may tempt us to forget God and our reliance on Him. Too little may do the same by making us try to fend for ourselves and thus get us into trouble because we are tempted to steal what we need.

“Enough bread for today” is the at the heart of Jesus’ words lechem hukenu. You may be reminded of the provision of manna in the wilderness. If the people gathered more than they needed, the manna spoiled.

However, we may indeed be blessed with an abundance of daily bread so that we may serve others and thus fulfill the Law “love your neighbor as yourself.” We will have to be careful to overcome the temptation to forget God, as the passage from Proverbs warns. So think about the previous petition about God’s Kingdom.

We can see the abundance that God gives us as His answer to someone else’s prayer for daily bread. As we share it with them, we can tell them about Jesus and thus extend God’s Kingdom!

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Contribute to True Men Ministries to help keep this devotional going here.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

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Posted by: Ed Blonski | August 25, 2016

What We Do When We Do Church – Thy Kingdom Come

Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,     but deliver us from evil.

Luke 11:2-4

“Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

What we call today “The Lord’s Prayer” is found in these two places in the Scriptures. The next couple of devotions are based on a section of the book Listening to the Language of the Bible: Hearing it Through Jesus’ Ears, by Lois Tverberg with Bruce Okkema.

The previous devotions in this series are:

Part 1 – Hymnody
Part 2 – Invocation
Part 3 – Baptism
Part 4 – Confession of Sins
Part 5 – Absolution
Part 6 – Introit / Psalmody
Part 7 – Kyrie
Part 8 – Hymn of Praise
Part 9 – Scripture Readings
Part 10 – Sermon
Part 11 – Confession of Faith
Part 12 – Offering
Part 13 – Offertory
Part 14 – Prayer
Part 15 – “Our Father”
Part 16 – “Hallowed Be Thy Name”

“Thy Kingdom Come”

The Gospels use two different “kingdom” phrases – the kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God. They actually mean the same thing.

Matthew uses “kingdom of heaven” in order to avoid misusing God’s name – which is an established Jewish custom by the first century.

Image result for thy kingdom comeMark and Luke help their Greek readers understand what Jesus meant by “kingdom” by using “kingdom of God.”

Jesus was once asked when the kingdom of God would come. This question comes from the idea that the Messiah would come “all at once” as a political, earthly King. But Jesus dispels this idea by saying that the kingdom of God is within each believer.

Martin Luther picked up on this. After all, Luther was first and foremost a Hebrew professor! When we pray for God’s kingdom to come – and the next phrase of the Lord’s prayer goes along with it, “Thy will be done” – we are praying that God would use us to spread the Gospel. Where the Gospel is proclaimed, God’s reign on earth is extended one heart at a time!

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Contribute to True Men Ministries to help keep this devotional going here.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

Posted by: Ed Blonski | August 24, 2016

What We Do When We Do Church – “Hallowed Be Thy Name”

Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,     but deliver us from evil.

Luke 11:2-4

“Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

What we call today “The Lord’s Prayer” is found in these two places in the Scriptures. The next couple of devotions are based on a section of the book Listening to the Language of the Bible: Hearing it Through Jesus’ Ears, by Lois Tverberg with Bruce Okkema.

The previous devotions in this series are:

Part 1 – Hymnody
Part 2 – Invocation
Part 3 – Baptism
Part 4 – Confession of Sins
Part 5 – Absolution
Part 6 – Introit / Psalmody
Part 7 – Kyrie
Part 8 – Hymn of Praise
Part 9 – Scripture Readings
Part 10 – Sermon
Part 11 – Confession of Faith
Part 12 – Offering
Part 13 – Offertory
Part 14 – Prayer
Part 15 – “Our Father”

 

“Hallowed Be Thy Name”

We say it every week, “Hallowed be Thy name.” But do we really know what this means?

In Hebrew/Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke) Kiddush Ha Shem – “to hallow the name” – means to live our lives so as to bring honor to God’s name.

What’s the big deal about God’s name?

God’s name is actually who He is. And what we do as Christians represents God to all the people around us.

Kiddush Ha Shem is very important. We want to live our lives in such a way as to show other people just how holy God is. He loves us so much that He sacrificed all to save us from sin, death, and the power of the devil.

We cannot make God’s name holy – it is holy in and of itself. What we are praying when we say Kiddush Ha Shem is that we live as God’s Holy people so that others may know the love God has for them.
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Contribute to True Men Ministries to help keep this devotional going here.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

Posted by: Ed Blonski | August 23, 2016

What We Do When We Do Church – Our Father

Matthew 6:9-13

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,     but deliver us from evil.

Luke 11:2-4

“Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

What we call today “The Lord’s Prayer” is found in these two places in the Scriptures. The next couple of devotions are based on a section of the book Listening to the Language of the Bible: Hearing it Through Jesus’ Ears, by Lois Tverberg with Bruce Okkema.

The previous devotions in this series are:

Part 1 – Hymnody
Part 2 – Invocation
Part 3 – Baptism
Part 4 – Confession of Sins
Part 5 – Absolution
Part 6 – Introit / Psalmody
Part 7 – Kyrie
Part 8 – Hymn of Praise
Part 9 – Scripture Readings
Part 10 – Sermon
Part 11 – Confession of Faith
Part 12 – Offering
Part 13 – Offertory
Part 14 – Prayer

“Our Father”

Jesus teaches His disciples how to pray, which was typical of Jewish rabbis. It is even noted by Jesus’ disciples that John the Baptist taught his own disciples how to pray, and that is the context in which Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer.

Some have thought that Jesus was unique in referencing God as “Father” in this prayer. But that really isn’t the case. The Old Testament tells us that God looked at Israel as His “first born” (Exodus 4:22) and the Scriptures call God the “Father of Israel” (Jeremiah 31:9).

What made Jesus’ prayer unique was the personal pronoun.

No one before Jesus is recorded in the Scriptures as calling God “my Father.”

Only the Messiah would have called God “My Father” and Jesus does it for the first time at age 12 – showing us that He knew He was the Messiah all along.

Jesus also identifies with us with the word “our.” This makes us the brothers and sisters of Jesus!

One of the features of the Lord’s Prayer that may be overlooked is that we do pray it together – even when we are alone. We say “Our Father, who art in heaven” – even if we’re the only ones praying. This is a concept that Jesus and His disciples were familiar with.

For Jews would gather in “minyan” groups – that is, groups of about 10 people. They would do this to remind themselves to pray for others. Jesus points us to this concept of prayer with the word “our” to remind us to not only pray for our own needs but for the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ

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Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

Posted by: Ed Blonski | August 22, 2016

What We Do When We Do Church – Prayer

Psalm 141:2

Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

Prayer is speaking to God in words and thoughts, according to the Explanation to Luther’s Small Catechism.

After the offerings are received, Lutheran worship continues the act of sacrifice with the offering up of the Prayers of the Church.

The previous devotions in this series are:

Part 1 – Hymnody
Part 2 – Invocation
Part 3 – Baptism
Part 4 – Confession of Sins
Part 5 – Absolution
Part 6 – Introit / Psalmody
Part 7 – Kyrie
Part 8 – Hymn of Praise
Part 9 – Scripture Readings
Part 10 – Sermon
Part 11 – Confession of Faith
Part 12 – Offering
Part 13 – Offertory

I once heard it said that as long as they give tests in school there will be prayer in school.

The night before a big final, I used to pray that Jesus would come back that very evening and eliminate the need to further study (or begin studying) for that test.

Admittedly, it is not a very wise plan for taking finals.

But the act of prayer is very much a part of the Christian life.

Martin Luther is believed to have said (and it apparently was quoted by Martin Luther King, Jr.):

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

Prayer is something that all Christians do. We have “set” prayers like the Lord’s Prayer (covered in the next set of devotions) and we have spontaneous prayers (like in school or driving on the tollway).

In worship, we have the Prayers of the Church.

These are specific prayers for the sick, the injured, the hospitalized, the dying, the families of those who have suffered a death, those celebrating special days (like anniversaries and birthdays), those who are to be baptized, those who will partake of the Sacrament of the Altar, and for our national, local, and church leaders.

These are called “corporate prayers” because we all are praying – even though most of the time it is the pastor who is saying the actual prayer.

In many churches, the conclusion of each petition is either “hear our prayer” or “Lord, have mercy.”

When we pray in Jesus’ name and with faith in Christ, we rightly expect our prayers to be heard and answered.

Again, the Explanation of Luther’s Small Catechism says:

“Only those who believe in Jesus Christ may pray to God and expect to be heard.”

And it uses these two Bible passages as “proof texts”:

John 14:13-14
I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.

John 15:7
If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

Prayer – whether the corporate prayer in church or the individual prayer of each Christian – is a privilege granted by God.

Jesus tells us, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

And that is exactly what we are doing when we pray.

Next time, we’ll explore in depth the prayer Jesus taught us.

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Contribute to True Men Ministries to help keep this devotional going here.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

Posted by: Ed Blonski | August 21, 2016

What We Do When We Do Church – Offer

Psalm 51: 10-12

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 116:12-14, 19

What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people … in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem.

After the offering is collected, it is present to the Lord at the altar and, in a communion service, the altar is prepared for the Sacrament.

This is the time that we sing the Offertory.

Because our mouths cannot remain separated from the rest of our bodies, when the thanksgiving is flowing from our lips, as in singing the offertory, then it will also flow in the giving of our very selves for the sake of Christ and our neighbor.

The previous devotions in this series are:

Part 1 – Hymnody
Part 2 – Invocation
Part 3 – Baptism
Part 4 – Confession of Sins
Part 5 – Absolution
Part 6 – Introit / Psalmody
Part 7 – Kyrie
Part 8 – Hymn of Praise
Part 9 – Scripture Readings
Part 10 – Sermon
Part 11 – Confession of Faith
Part 12 – Offering

When I was growing up, going to church at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lake Villa, Illinois, it was our tradition to stand at the end of the sermon.

Being a typical American boy, I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to most things – and the pastor’s sermon was, unfortunately, one of those things. But when we stood up, I knew the sermon was over and we were over half-way done with the worship service.

I thought of it as the church’s “seventh inning stretch.”

But as we have been exploring in this series of devotions, all the parts of the liturgy, the parts of the worship service, happen for a reason.

After the sermon, the Creed is confessed (and we stand up for what we believe – literally) and then the offering is taken.

When the offering is brought to the altar, we usually sing one of two songs.

Both are taken from the Psalms and are the parts of Scripture at the beginning of this devotion.

With our offerings, we make a “sacrifice of thanksgiving” giving to God’s Church a portion of what He first has given to us. This is in cheerful response to what God has done for us.

And the Offertory prepares us for what God has done for us.

As we sing it, the altar is prepared for the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

The veils are removed from the communion vessels, and the covers are taken off the unleavened bread (host) and the chalice & flagon (which hold the wine).

Both offertories emphasize different aspects of presenting the offerings and preparing for the sacrament.

But they also focus on the same thing – that God has provided all that is needed for our salvation in the body and blood of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

Which is what the next few devotions will also focus on.

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Contribute to True Men Ministries to help keep this devotional going here.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

Posted by: Ed Blonski | August 20, 2016

What We Do When We Do Church – Offering

2 Corinthians 9:7

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

The first mention of an offering being brought in the history of the world is the one brought by Cain – first son of Adam and Eve.

St. Paul would later admonish us to give cheerfully.

That’s what this devotion is all about – cheerfully giving!

The previous devotions in this series are:

Part 1 – Hymnody
Part 2 – Invocation
Part 3 – Baptism
Part 4 – Confession of Sins
Part 5 – Absolution
Part 6 – Introit / Psalmody
Part 7 – Kyrie
Part 8 – Hymn of Praise
Part 9 – Scripture Readings
Part 10 – Sermon
Part 11 – Confession of Faith

After confessing sins, singing hymns, hearing God’s Word and the sermon and confessing the Christian faith, it comes time in the worship service to “take the offering.”

This can be one of the most misunderstood parts of the worship service.

“There they go again, asking for money!”

I’ve heard that mumbled and grumbled many times in the last twenty-plus years.

Yes, the offering is a time for the participants in worship to give money to the church. But what is that money for?

Well, I believe that it is supposed to be for the mission and ministry of the congregation and the Church at large. Operating costs, staff’s salary, mission projects – both local, national and international.

It boils down to this: the offering is a time when a member of a congregation or other participants in worship can be actively involved in missions and ministries.

How much should you give? The Bible uses the word “tithe” a couple of times – 35 times in the English Standard Version, actually.

“Tithe” means “ten percent” of what you have.

But more important than a set number is the state of your heart when you give.

Are you giving under compulsion? This Jesus warns against, just as He does against giving in order to get some investment on your return.

Like everything else in our lives, the state of our heart can help us determine whether we are giving as God intends for us to give.

The Bible uses the word “cheerful” – which could more accurately be translated as “hilarious.”

Have you felt like that when you last gave to the church?

And it doesn’t just have to be money you give, by the way.

You have been given other things by God. You have been given time. You have been given talent. Some have been given more treasure than others, more time than others, different talents than others.

I have two friends who have been given numerous talents, but they share one: taking pictures.

Richard and Craig both are talented in different ways – one makes music, the other climbs and teaches others how to climb. And they both give to God in these areas.

souther1

copyright Richard Souther

tmm1

copyright True Men Ministries

But they also share a talent of taking pictures – and they give to God in this area, too. These pictures are ones they have taken that I believe give great glory to God.

In a way, these are also their offering to God.

What can you give?

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Contribute to True Men Ministries to help keep this devotional going here.

Listen to the True Man Podcast here.

Subscribe to In My Father’s Footsteps here.

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