Peace Lutheran Church Sussex, Wisconsin

Congregation at Prayer

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism—Part I and II

January 13, 2019

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Praying the Psalms: Psalm 15—Prayer to Walk Uprightly in Faith—Throughout the Old Testament men like Enoch, Noah, and Abraham are said to “walk with God” and are, therefore, described as righteous and just.  This is a description of what it means to follow Christ by faith.  By faith we are justified, declared righteous; and by faith we live the Christian life.  We enter into God’s house by the merits of Christ alone.  The life of faith speaks the truth before God and the neighbor, confesses sin, lives in love for the neighbor, and seeks only the neighbor’s welfare.  This is what we pray for because we believe in Him whose righteousness and salvation enables us to abide in the tabernacle of the Lord forever.CP190113

The Lord’s Prayer—the 7th Petition and the conclusion

January 6, 2019

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — The Seventh Petition—“Rescue us from every evil of body and soul, possessions and reputation.” When we pray the Seventh Petition, “but deliver us from evil,” we might be tempted to conclude that we are asking that “evil” never rear its head in our lives. This misses the mark. Evil will come into our lives in the form of Satan’s attacks upon our “body and soul, possessions and reputation.” Holy Scripture makes this clear. We will not be spared from being attacked. God wills that the attacks of evil against us serve the cause of faith. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify Me.” Therefore, in the Seventh Petition we are asking that God would preserve our faith in Christ when we are assaulted by the Evil One, and teach us to commend ourselves—body, soul, and spirit, with all that we are and have—into His gracious keeping. The Word of our Lord teaches us that He will not forsake His own. If He allows evil to enter into our lives, then He does so for His good purposes and for the exercise of faith in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This petition promises the Christian: “God will not allow the Evil One or any adversity to overwhelm you.” By this petition He invites you to trust this promise and to call upon Him in your need. In this way faith in Christ is active.CP190106

The Creed— The 3rd Article

December 30, 2018

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Catechesis Notes for the Week —The Birth of Jesus Gives Us Joy! Our Lord’s birth in the flesh as our Redeemer gives us joy under the cross of affliction and enables us to face death without fear. The psalms appointed for Christmas tide echo themes of joy and victory.  Let us pray these psalms for our encouragement and strength in a sin darkened world.CP181230

The Creed— The 2nd Article

December 23, 2018

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord in Devotion and Prayer — This week’s Congregation at Prayer affords us the opportunity to read and mark in Holy Scripture the Church’s minor feasts that follow Christmas: St. Stephen, the First Martyr (December 26); St. John, Apostle and Evangelist (December 27); and the Holy Innocents (December 28). Stephen was one of the first seven ministers ordained in the Church after the Apostles. His ministry included giving Word and Sacrament to Greek-speaking Jewish Christian widows. The account of Stephen in the book of Acts shows him to be a faithful preacher of Christ from the Old Testament Scriptures. His use of the Old Testament is an important guide to us in understanding that the Old Testament Scriptures, like the New, point to Jesus Christ. He condemned the unbelief and impenitence of the religious establishment of his day by comparing it to the unbelief and impenitence of Old Testament Israel. Stephen reminds us that the message of Christmas must also be the call to repentance from dead works to living faith in God’s mercy in His Son. This feast also reminds us that the joy of Christmas exists in the context of persecution, suffering, and even death for being faithful to the Gospel. The feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, underscores the great truth that we can have no faith in Christ apart from the Scriptures that are written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ. Faith is created and rests upon the certainty of the Apostolic and prophetic witness to Jesus. The feast of the Holy Innocents depicts the depth of human sin in the evil of King Herod who will stop at nothing in his attempts to kill God. This appetite of the sinful flesh is the nature of all sinners and is the reason why “the Word became flesh” for our redemption. Baptism saves us from this horrible evil and makes us children of the Child born in Bethlehem. Remembering our baptism daily makes every day a celebration of our Lord’s birth and our rebirth in Christ: “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.” (Titus 3 from the Catechism)CP181223

The Lord’s Prayer—the 5th and 6th Petitions

December 16, 2018

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Catechesis Notes for the Week —Praying the Psalms: Psalm 14—Prayer against Those Who Do Not Believe in God—Psalm 14 declares that those who do not believe in God are fools.  Atheism is the fundamental nature of the sinful flesh, because of it, “there is none who does good” and all abominable works flow from the corruption of the sinful nature.  Against this malevolent unbelief and rejection of God, we cry out to the Lord for help and salvation because of His promise to abide with His Church forever and to deliver her from all who oppress her. The Lord is our refuge and in His deliverance we rejoice.CP181216

The Lord’s Prayer—4th Petition

December 9, 2018

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Catechesis Notes for the Week —Praying the Psalms: Psalm 13—A Prayer for Help When Satan and His Allies Attack Me—When the devil attacks us with evil and the troubles of life, we can become despondent and feel as if the Lord has abandoned us. There are many ways in which the devil assaults us. Every enemy of our faith is in league with the Evil One. Satan’s ultimate objective is to destroy our faith. David expresses what we all sometimes feel: that the Lord has forgotten us and abandoned us to the devil’s evil devices. The Lord never abandons the Baptized Christian. In the midst of his sense of helpless despair, David cries out to the Lord for help. He knows that the Lord will ultimately deliver him. If he must suffer the devil’s assaults, the God in whom he trusts will use these attacks to refine his faith and deepen his reliance upon the Lord’s mercy. “I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.”

The Lord’s Prayer—2nd & 3rd Petitions

December 2, 2018

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Catechesis Notes for the Week —Praying the Psalms: Psalm 12—Prayer for Faithfulness in the Midst of Apostasy—When we look at the world we seem to see fewer and fewer who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  Christians who once believed have apostatized and fallen away from Christ.  False doctrine—“lying words”—is on the increase.  Through false teaching many are led astray and the wickedness of a people who has turned away from the Lord increases.  Luther’s hymn paraphrase on this psalm captures the theme: “O Lord, look down from heav’n, behold / And let Thy pity waken; / How few are we within Thy fold, / Thy saints by men forsaken! / True faith seems quenched on ev’ry hand, / Men suffer not Thy Word to stand; / Dark times have us o’ertaken.” (TLH 260, st. 1) What shall we do?  Psalm 12 is a prayer in which the faithful call upon the Lord to help and save them from apostasy and false teaching.  In the face of such threats we commend ourselves to the Lord who promises to arise and do battle for us.  “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns” (vs. 5). The Word of the Lord is pure and preserves the faith of Christians through the fire of persecution and suffering for the name of Jesus.  The faith of every generation of Christians rests upon His promises for protection and preservation: “You shall keep them, O Lord, You shall preserve them from this generation forever” (vs. 7). Luther’s concluding stanza summarizes the central thrust of Psalm 12: “Defend Thy truth, O God, and stay / This evil generation; / And from the error of its way / Keep Thine own congregation. / The wicked everywhere abound / And would Thy little flock confound; / But Thou art our Salvation.” (TLH 260, st. 6) CP181202

The Lord’s Prayer—Introduction and First Petition

November 25, 2018

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Catechesis Notes for the Week —Praying the Psalms: Psalm 11—Prayer for Faith in the Lord’s Righteousness—David begins his prayer with that which is the foundation of our faith: trust in the Lord and not in ourselves.  To trust in the Lord is to believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins.  By faith we are “justified”—declared righteous for Jesus’ sake.  Christians are “justified sinners”! When David prays for the righteous, he is NOT referring to those who believe they are righteous by their own merits, but of those who believe in Christ and are righteous by faith.  Conversely, the wicked are those who do not believe in Christ and who reject His work and persecute the truth.  In the face of persecution, the righteous Christian relies upon the grace of God and commends himself to the Lord who will judge those who have rejected Jesus.  The Lord is in His holy temple where His Word and Sacraments will never fail to uphold and strengthen the righteous in the grace of Christ.      

 

The Lord’s Prayer—Introduction and First Petition

November 18, 2018

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Catechesis Notes for the Week —Praying the Psalms: Psalm 10—Prayer for God to Triumph Over Evil—“Psalm 10 is a psalm of prayer. It laments over the enemies of the kingdom of Christ who terrify Christendom with force and cunning.  These enemies direct the sword of worldly tyranny over the body and the net of false teaching over the soul.  However, as it says in verse 7 (“His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression”), the enemies of the kingdom of Christ can do no more than curse, that is, excommunicate and condemn; lie, that is, bring about false doctrine and false worship; and deceive, that is, delude and make a fool of the world concerning its good, honor, power, body, and soul.  But in the end, the psalm shows our comfort, that such abomination shall perish with the end of the world.” –from Reading the Psalms with Luther. CP181118a

The Lord’s Prayer—Introduction and First Petition

November 18, 2018

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