Treasury of Daily Prayer–Wednesday after Pentecost


Meditation on Old Testament Reading

Numbers 23:4-28

What If God Was One of Us?

God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?  (Numbers 23:19)

Joan Osborn wrote a rather well-known song that was entitled, “What If God Was One Of Us.” This song was not a grammatical treasure nor can its lyrics be considered anything close to theological insight. But when I contemplated today’s reading from Numbers 23, verse 19 brought to mind the idea of Osborn’s song.

Here’s Osborn’s chorus to the song :

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us?
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make His way home

Listen again to verse 19:

God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?  (Numbers 23:19)

What if God was one us? Just on the two comparisons made in Osborn’s chorus, to think of God in terms of being just one of the guys, to be just another stranger on the bus with us, is disturbing. That He might lie, or maybe even worse, change His mind, that thought is  frightening.

My meditation meandered around and I began to really think about how much different we are from God. Although created in the image of God, we are so far from God’s image that it sometimes seems impossible that we could  ever be spiritually connected to Him.

From the inception of sin into the world through Adam and Eve, man has continually expanded the great spiritual divide by choosing worldliness over and holiness. Yet God—despite all of our faults, —God still loved us—loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, so that whoever believes in Him, would not perish on account of their sin, but have everlasting life. Despite all of our mistakes, God still cares about us. Despite all of our poor choices, God still would not condemn us to eternal death. And yet even after two thousand years since Christ laid down His life for us, mankind  still makes choices, time and time again, that are directly opposite the will of God, to the direction that God has for our lives. Continue reading

101 Biblical Names and Titles for Jesus


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This list presents 101 biblical names and titles of Jesus and where they are located in Scripture.

Besides being merely interesting, such a list could be used, in conjunction with good a Bible with study notes and great references (I recommend The Lutheran Study Bible from Concordia Publishing House), as a way of studying  about Jesus–His character, His nature, and how completely He cares for you. With 101 names of Jesus represented, the list, though not exhaustive, is quite extensive. It is keyed to the ESV text.

  1. Advocate (1 John 2:1)
  2. Almighty (Mt. 28:18; Rev. 1:8)
  3. Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13)
  4. Amen (Rev. 3:14)
  5. Apostle and High Priest of our Confession (Heb. 3:1)
  6. Author of Life (Acts 3:15)
  7. Author of Salvation (Heb. 2:10)
  8. Beginning and End (Rev. 22:13)
  9. Beginning of God’s Creation (Rev. 3:14)
  10. Blessed and only Sovereign (1 Tim. 6:15)
  11. Bread of God (John 6:33)
  12. Bread of Life (John 6:35; 6:48)
  13. Bridegroom (Mt. 25:1)
  14. Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)
  15. Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4)
  16. Christ (1 John 2:22)
  17. Cornerstone (Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:7)
  18. Creator (John 1:3)
  19. Deliverer (Rom. 11:26)
  20. Descendant of David (Rev. 22:16)
  21. Door (John 10:9)
  22. Eternal Life (1 John 1:2; 5:20)
  23. Faithful and True (Rev. 19:11)
  24. Faithful and True Witness (Rev. 3:14)
  25. First and Last (Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13)
  26. Firstborn of the Dead (Rev. 1:5)
  27. Firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15)
  28. Founder and Perfecter of our Faith (Heb. 12:2)trinity
  29. God (John 1:1; Rom. 9:5; 2 Pet. 1:1; 1 John 5:20; etc.)
  30. Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14)
  31. Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20)
  32. Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14)
  33. Head of the Church (Eph. 5:23)
  34. Heir of all things (Heb. 1:2)
  35. High Priest (Heb. 2:17)
  36. Holy and True (Rev. 3:7)
  37. Holy and Righteous (Acts 3:14)
  38. Hope (1 Tim. 1:1)
  39. Hope of Glory (Col. 1:27)
  40. Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
  41. I Am (John 8:58)
  42. Image of God (2 Cor. 4:4)
  43. Immanuel (Mt. 1:23)
  44. Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42)
  45. King of ages (1 Tim. 1:17)
  46. King of Israel (John 1:49)
  47. King of the Jews (Mt. 27:11)
  48. King of Kings (1 Tim 6:15; Rev. 19:16)
  49. King of the Nations (Rev. 15:3)
  50. Lamb (Rev. 13:8)
  51. Lamb of God (John 1:29)
  52. Lamb Without Blemish (1 Pet. 1:19)
  53. Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45)
  54. Life (John 14:6; Col. 3:4)
  55. Light of the World (John 8:12)
  56. Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5)
  57. Living One (Rev. 1:18)
  58. Living Stone (1 Pet. 2:4)
  59. Lord (2 Pet. 2:20)
  60. Lord of All (Acts 10:36)
  61. Lord of Glory (1 Cor. 2:8)
  62. Lord of lords (1 Tim 6:15; Rev. 19:16)
  63. Man of Dust (1 Cor. 15:48)
  64. Man of Heaven (1 Cor. 15:48)
  65. Master (Lk. 5:5; 8:24)
  66. Mediator of a New Covenant (Heb. 9:15)
  67. Mighty God (Isa. 9:6)
  68. Morning Star (Rev. 22:16)
  69. Only Son of God (1 John 4:9)
  70. Our Great God and Savior (Titus 2:13)
  71. Our Husband (2 Cor. 11:2)
  72. Our Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7)
  73. Our Protection (2 Thess. 3:3)
  74. Our Redemption (1 Cor. 1:30)
  75. Our Righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30)
  76. Power of God (1 Cor. 1:24)
  77. Precious Cornerstone (1 Pet. 2:6)
  78. Prophet (Acts 3:22)
  79. Propitiation for our Sins (1 John 2:2)
  80. Rabbi (Mt. 26:25)ichthus
  81. Resurrection and Life (John 11:25)
  82. Righteous Branch (Jer. 23:5)
  83. Righteous One (Acts 7:52; 1 John 2:1)
  84. Rock (1 Cor. 10:4)
  85. Root of David (Rev. 5:5; 22:16)
  86. Savior (Eph. 5:23; Titus 1:4; 3:6; 2 Pet. 2:20)
  87. Son of David (Lk. 18:39)
  88. Son of God (John 1:49; Heb. 4:14)
  89. Son of Man (Mt. 8:20)
  90. Son of the Most High (Lk. 1:32)
  91. Source of Eternal Salvation for all who obey him (Heb. 5:9)
  92. The One Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5)
  93. The Stone the builders rejected (Acts 4:11)
  94. True Bread from Heaven (John 6:32)
  95. True Light (John 1:9)
  96. True Vine (John 15:1)
  97. Truth (John 1:14; 14:6)
  98. Way (John 14:6)
  99. Wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24)
  100. Word (John 1:1)
  101. Word of God (Rev. 19:13)

Treasury of Daily Prayer User’s Guide: Pr. Esget’s Introduction


small_tdp1Last December, I led an introductory class/workshop on prayer and using the then-new Treasury of Daily Prayer. I was asked to publish my notes from the workshop, which I never did; the current sale on the Treasury reminded me of that. (Did I mention it is 50% off? Go buy it!) Here are some of my notes, which are very rough; I have eliminated/modified/summarized a lot of what we did, which was more hands-on, walking through the book:

After some Introduction and Preliminaries discussing the Layout of the Treasury of Daily Prayer (TDP), we walked through placing the ribbons:

Blue: Flexible placement.
TDP recommends using it for “Prayers for the Baptized Life” (page 1312)
However, that comes shortly after the purple ribbon, and is easily remembered because of its placement.
I have my blue ribbon on the Schedule for Reading the Psalms over Thirty Days (page 1436)
Other places you might want to put it:
Small Catechism, page 1446
Preparation for Confession and Absolution, p1458
Preparation for the Sacrament of the Altar, p1465
Brief Instruction for Those Preparing for Holy Communion

After discussing the Lectionary, I talked about the importance of prayer in daily life (a lesson which, alas, I continually need to re-learn myself):

Setting the Stage:

  • Make a commitment to daily prayer
  • Schedule a time or times, either by the clock or by daily landmarks (e.g., after you get up, after breakfast, before lunch, 10pm, before bed)
  • Communicate with others in your family what time you want to pray as a group
  • There will be days when you miss it because life intruded, you were lazy, sinful, sick, etc. Don’t worry or let that cause total failure. Simply start again at the right place.
  • Don’t try to do too much – better to do something, however small, than to set yourself up for failure and guilt.

Additionally:

  • Find a quiet place
  • Turn off TV, radio
  • Close doors if noise might distract you
  • Turn off cell phone, email notifications
  • Agree that you will not answer the phone. Let it go to voicemail. It can wait. Continue reading

You Are Dying


Note: That which follows is a presentation made by me to a teacher’s symposium, held June 19, 2002 at Peterschule (the St. Peter School), St. Petersburg, Russia. The purpose of the presentation was to introduce to the group the book by Rev. Dr. Harold Senkbeil, Dying to Live, a volume that had just been translated into Russian by Lutheran Heritage Foundation.]

… In Adam all Sin: An Introduction to
Dying to Live: The Power of Forgiveness

by The Rev. Dr. Harold L. Senkbeil

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

“For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (Romans 5:10-15) –From the book

I. YOU ARE DYING.

One day you will be dead. Hopefully not today, hopefully not even tomorrow, but with certainty I can say “you are dying and one day you will be dead.”

“The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23

“Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12

From the account of Adam’s sin in Genesis, to the teachings and writings of the Apostle Saint Paul years after the death of Jesus, all of salvation, surely all of history, is predicated on the fact that because of sin you and I will die. From the moment of our conception in our mother’s womb, you and I are walking the road to our grave.

Dying to Live, Russian Edition

Dying to Live, Russian edition

Yet we were not created to die. Man was created by God to live with him forever. This knowledge, this shadow of what was to be, causes us to revolt against the idea of our death. We make laws to, ultimately, protect and safeguard life and a way to live. We send our men and women to war, to die, that a country may continue to protect the lives of many more of its citizens. We go to doctors when we are sick, we pay for research to find wonderful new cures for illness; we transplant hearts and livers and we employ amazing drugs to lengthen the number of our days as long as possible

The fact of our death scares us, and we will do nearly anything to prevent it or put it off as long as humanly possible. We can create life in a test tube, we can recombine DNA to make a better human, we can make five sheep out of one through cloning, but we have not found a way to stop death. For all have sinned (Romans 3:22), and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

In the United States we have an idiom “I would die for…” Since we fear death and would rather do just about anything but die, to say “I would die for” shows the terrific need or desire that one has for something. An alcoholic might say, “I would die for a shot of vodka.” “A smoker might be “dying for” his next cigarette. A young woman in love would just die, if only her true love would ask her to marry. Our desire is expressed as we offer to give up that which is most dear to us—our life. Continue reading

Brief Devotion on St. John’s Passion


John 18:1-11
The devil had come to Adam in the garden full of deceit to bring upon him the curse of death. Now Judas, into whom the devil had entered, comes full of deceit to Jesus in the garden, betraying Him to death. But Jesus is not like the old Adam, who hid among the trees in fear. He is the new Adam who has come to undo the curse by His cross. Jesus goes forth boldly to meet His captors, fully prepared to drink the cup of judgment given Him by His Father.

Jesus is the great I AM, the eternal God revealed in the burning bush to Moses. His name causes His enemies to draw back and fall to the ground. For all who do not call on His name in faith will fall to their own destruction. Yet He who took up our humanity submits to their capture, saying “Let these go their way,” so that none of the disciples given Him would be lost. For Jesus came that they and all of us who bear His saving name might be released from the powers of darkness. This victory is won not by the sword but by sacrifice.

John 18:12-27
Jesus is led away in chains as if He were a dangerous criminal. For His teaching threatens those who are self-righteous. He is questioned by the religious leaders and then slapped in the face for the answers He gives. They are not really looking for answers but excuses to execute Him and to justify their deeds. We also slap Jesus in the face whenever we try to justify ourselves and don’t humbly pay attention to preaching and His Word.

Peter has three chances to confess that he knows Christ. Three times Peter fails. He would have to live for a while with the awful emptiness of his disloyalty and failure. We know that weakness of the flesh, too, when we deny Jesus with our words or behavior, seeking to avoid negative consequences to our reputation or our income or our life. Apart from Christ, Peter can do nothing, in spite of his good intentions. Continue reading