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FROM LUTHER’S PRAYERS

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O dear God and Father, keep us wide awake and active, eager and diligent in your word and service. May we not be overconfident, idle, and indifferent, as though we owned all things. May the enraged devil not capture us by his treachery, nor rob us of your precious word, nor cause discord and factions among us, nor somehow lead us into spiritual and bodily sin and shame. Give us wisdom and power through your Spirit, that we may bravely withstand him and triumph over him. Amen.

SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

FROM LUTHER’S SMALL CATECHISM: The Sixth Petition of The Lord’s Prayer: Save us from the time of trial.
What is this? It is true that God tempts no one, but we ask in this prayer that God would preserve and keep us, so that the devil, the world, and flesh may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great and shameful sins, and that, although we may be attacked by them, we may finally prevail and gain the victory.

Lord God, use our lives to touch the world with love. Stir us, by your Spirit, to be a neighbor to those in need, serving them with willing hearts; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

GOSPEL: Mark 6:14-29
King Herod heard of (the disciple’s preaching) for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” 15 But other said: It is Elijah.” Others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 18 For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and leaders of Galilee. 22 When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests, and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” 23 And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the baptizer on a platter.” 26 The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When the disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN ?
For our gospel came not unto to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.
I Thessalonians i. 5.

We Christians must be sure of our gospel and must be able firmly without any wavering to say YES or NO and stand by it. How often the Apostle uses the Greek word ‘plerophoria’, which means such a certainty and fullness of faith that our hearts never waiver but are full of certainty at all times. As I have said before, Christians must know for certain what they believe, and must witness to their belief. Therefore, if you take away that certain affirmation so that Christians are no longer sure of what they believe, they have ceased to be Christians, and you have taken away their faith. For the Holy Spirit is given to them from heaven in order that He may sanctify the hearts of the faithful and make them firm and sure in their witness to Christ, so that they will live and die for it. And is not this the greatest certainty if I stand so firmly by my YES that I am ready to die for it? Yes, it is. The Holy Spirit is no skeptic. He has not written an uncertain delusion in our hearts, but a strong, great certainty, which does not let us waver, and (may it please God) will not let us waver; but (praise be to God) makes us as sure as we are that we are now alive, and that two and three make five.
On the enslaved will. 8 ff.

Taken from the book: Day by Day We Magnify Thee by Martin Luther
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