Archive for the ‘December 11’ Category

Devotion for December 11 (LCMS Daily Lectionary)   6 comments

Above:  Cross and Crown

Victorious Faith

 DECEMBER 11, 2019


Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 236


The Assigned Readings:

Isaiah 28:14-29

Psalm 33 (Morning)

Psalms 85 and 91 (Evening)

1 John 5:1-21


The Johannine tradition, in opposition to Gnosticism, emphasizes the centrality of the Incarnation; Jesus is essential.  He was far more than a wise teacher; he was, in time and space, the incarnation of God.  The author of 1 John has spent preceding chapters writing of the centrality of detachment from the world in opposed to God, of sound Christology, and of active love.  The author is not content with theological abstractions.

Whenever I read the word “faith” in the Bible, I want to know what it means in that particular context.  Authors used that term to in at least three different ways.  So, if I am going to grasp a particular text accurately, I must know what it says in all germane contexts.  The commentaries I have consulted agree that faith, as in 1 John 5:4, is intellectual.  This understanding of faith seems closely related to that one finds in James; faith must be joined with actions.  Therein lies salvation.  That, by the way, is Roman Catholic theology.

I must also write about verse 18, which says that no child of God sins.  A child of God, as established in verse 1, is anyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ.  The translations on verse 18 vary, of course, but the passage, read in contexts of 1 John 5 and the rest of the Bible, means that no child of God is a slave to sin.  We might be children of God, but we are still prone to sin.

Isaiah 24:14-29 condemns treaties the leaders of Judah made with their Assyrian and Egyptian counterparts, hardly trustworthy partners.  Such treaties are in vain, the prophet, quoting God, said.  And Isaiah was correct.  Then, at the end of the passage, we read metaphors for the fate of the northern kingdom (Israel) and the preservation of a remnant of the southern kingdom (Judah).  These are the words of Yahweh, of whom the text says:

His counsel is unfathomable,

His wisdom marvelous.

–Isaiah 28:29, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures

Why should one kingdom end for all time and its neighbor survive as a remnant?  And why did God come among us as one of us, beginning as a helpless child?  These are questions one can answer only in God, who has unfathomable counsel and marvelous wisdom.  There is one in whom we can and should believe both intellectually and actively, in whom we can and should have faith, both active and intellectual.  Despite the different uses of “faith” in the Bible, a consensus emerges from the texts:  Faith, essential in the context of a lack of evidence for against a proposition, such as that Jesus in the Christ of God, begins intellectually yet must find expression in works.  There is, in other words, a difference between having faith and agreeing that a proposition is true but not acting on it.  The former makes us victorious.







Before a Bible Study   Leave a comment

Above:  An Old Family Bible

Image Source = David Ball


God of glory,

as we prepare to study the Bible,

may we approach the texts with our minds open,

our intellects engaged,

and our spirits receptive to your leading,

so that we will understand them correctly

and derive from them the appropriate lessons.

Then may we act on those lessons.

For the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ,








Posted October 7, 2011 by neatnik2009 in 2019-2020, December 1, December 10, December 11, December 12, December 13, December 14, December 15, December 16, December 17, December 18, December 19, December 2, December 20, December 21, December 22, December 23, December 24: Christmas Eve, December 25: First Day of Christmas, December 26: Second Day of Christmas/St. Stephen, December 27: Third Day of Christmas/St. John the Evangelist, December 28: Fourth Day of Christmas/Holy Innocents, December 29: Fifth Day of Christmas, December 3, December 30: Sixth Day of Christmas, December 31: Seventh Day of Christmas/New Year's Eve, December 4, December 5, December 6, December 7, December 8, December 9, February 1, February 10, February 11, February 12, February 13, February 14, February 15, February 16, February 17, February 18, February 19, February 2, February 20, February 21, February 22, February 23, February 24, February 25, February 26, February 27, February 28, February 29, February 3, February 4, February 5, February 6, February 7, February 8, February 9, January 10, January 11, January 12, January 13, January 14, January 15, January 16, January 17, January 18, January 19, January 1: Eighth Day of Christmas/Holy Name of Jesus/New Year's Day, January 20, January 21, January 22, January 23, January 24, January 25, January 26, January 27, January 28, January 29, January 2: Ninth Day of Christmas, January 30, January 31, January 3: Tenth Day of Christmas, January 4: Eleventh Day of Christmas, January 5: Twelfth Day of Christmas, January 6: Epiphany, January 7, January 8, January 9, March 1, March 2, March 3, March 4, March 5, March 6, March 7, March 8, March 9, November 27, November 28, November 29, November 30

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A Prayer of Thanksgiving for Christmas   Leave a comment

Adoration of the Shepherds (1609), by Caravaggio

Active God of grace, we laud and magnify your wondrous Name.

Christmas Day is nearly upon us again.

This annual reminder of your gracious love

fills us with awe and wonder

as we consider the ultimate purpose of the Messiah.

May we therefore thank you with our



and deeds,

for your glory and the benefit of others.

In your Name we pray.






A Prayer for Those Suffering from Holiday Grief   Leave a comment

Christmas Tree

Image Source = DRO4


Loving God,

the annual celebration of your incarnation in the form of Jesus approaches.

This should be a happy and blessed occasion.

Yet many people grieve the absence of one or more friends or family members

whom distance,



or death separate from them.

Bestow upon those who grieve

the consolation of your Holy Spirit,

that they may rejoice in your love and mercy.

We pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

fully human and fully divine.  Amen.

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

December 7, 2009

O Blessed Mother   4 comments

Madonna and Child, St. John’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New Wouth Wales, Australia

O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

You learned you were pregnant

Outside of wedlock?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

The anonymous, thronging crowds

Ignored you in your hour of need in Bethlehem?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

You experienced birth pangs,

As well as the stresses of parenthood?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

Your eldest son confused you,

Then seemed to reject you?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

You watched your eldest son die?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

You buried your eldest son?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

You discovered your resurrected son?


O Blessed Mother,

How did you feel when

You ascended and became

Queen of Heaven?


O Blessed Mother,

Strong and humble,

Faithful and human,

Intercede for us.


Kenneth Randolph Taylor

May 30, 1997

Eleventh Day of Advent   15 comments

Above:  Yoked Oxen

The Yoke of Faith



Isaiah 40:25-31 (Revised English Bible):

To whom, then, will you liken me,

whom set up as my equal?

asks the Holy One.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens;

consider the one who created these,

led out their host one by one,

and summoned each by name.

Through his great might, his strength and power,

not one is missing.

Jacob, why do you complain,

and you, Israel, why do you say,

My lot is hidden from the LORD,

my cause goes unheeded by my God?

Do you not know, have you not heard?

The LORD, the eternal God,

creator of earth’s farthest bounds,

does not weary or grow faint;

his understanding cannot be fathomed.

He gives vigour to the weary,

new strength to the exhausted.

Young men may grow weary and faint,

even the fittest may stumble and fall;

but those who look to the LORD will win new strength,

they will soar as on eagles’ wings;

they will run and not feel faint,

march on and not grow weary.

Psalm 103:1-10 (Revised English Bible):

Bless the LORD, my soul;

with all my being I bless his holy name.

Bless the LORD, my soul,

and forget none of his benefits.

He pardons all my wrongdoing

and heals all my ills.

He rescues me from death’s pit

and crowns me with love and compassion.

He satisfies me with all good in the prime of life,

and my youth is renewed like an eagle’s.

The LORD is righteous in all he does;

he brings justice to all who have been wronged.

He revealed his ways to Moses,

his mighty deeds to the Israelites.

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,

long-suffering and ever faithful;

he will not always accuse

or nurse his anger for ever.

He has not treated as our sins deserve

or repaid us according to our misdeeds.

Matthew 11:28-30 (Revised English Bible):

[Jesus said,]

Come to me, all who are weary and whose load is heavy; I will give you rest.  Take my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble-hearted; and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to wear, my load is light.

The Collect:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Freedom can exist only within the context of rules; to deny this reality is to commit the error which resides at the heart of anarchism.  Yet one must be careful about the rules to which one submits, for there are just laws and unjust laws.  I know this as a student of history.  So I consider the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which made aiding and abetting the escape of slaves a federal crime within the United States while I praise those moral giants who violated it, thereby making themselves criminals.   They obeyed the law of God.

The yoke of Jesus is the yoke of faith.  It is a yoke one assumes voluntarily, not a yoke anybody imposes on another.  Obedience to God can lead to suffering and/or death, but even then it guides one to life eternal in this life and the next.  God, who gives us true life and helps us to live into our potential, directs us into paths of righteousness.  And, if we are wise, we obey.  When we do this we start on the path which leads to soaring like eagles.

Yet first we must recognize and admit the fact that God knows better than we do.  Yes, we must be humble and surrender our illusions of control.  It can be difficult, but is wise.

The law of God is love-sometimes tough love.  Divine law demands that we love ourselves and each other as bearers of the image of God.  This ethic rules out exploitation of our fellow human beings.  Grace is free, yet not cheap, for it accompanies the law of God, which requires that we surrender all our idols, all that distracts us from God.  Such is the way of life.

Thanks be to God!


Written on May 31, 2010