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Blessed and Possessed

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The LWML 2018 Prayer Service is a chance for us to gather around the Word and prayer together as the LWML family. It is an easy service to invite friends or neighbors not familiar with church to attend with us. It is an opportunity for us to “be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” as Paul asserts to the Roman Christians in Romans 1:12. 

The Prayer Service is designed to be used at any time, by large or small groups. It is an abbreviated worship service. This year’s service, “Living as God’s People,” is written by long-time missionary and church planter, Rev. Dr. Robert Roegner, a previous LWML Pastoral Counselor from 2013–2017. I urge you to use this in your congregations, zone LWML’s or at an LWML event.

The service is based on 1 Peter 2:9–12. Many factors come to mind when we think of who we are — our identity. In his first letter, Peter continually reminds his readers of their identity. Rather than focus on inane worldly details, he zeroes in on what’s most important: our standing in the eyes of God or our place in His kingdom.

Peter reminds his readers of who they were prior to being made part of God’s family, contrasting that non-status with the present reality of what God had made them. This was especially important for Peter’s readers as they compared themselves to the unbelievers around them, and as they fought to retain hope in what may have seemed like hopeless times.

This prayer service speaks to all of us. Make plans now to use it. Remember the United States’ National Day of Prayer is May 3, 2018 if you’d like to use this on that day.

Let’s bow our heads and pray!

Patti

The 2018 Prayer Service is now available as free downloads on www.lwml.org/prayer-service.

Patti Ross

Epiphany Enlightens and Enlivens

star decorationThis little Gospel light of mine, I’m going to let it shine;
All around the neighborhood, I’m going to let it shine;
Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine;
Let it shine, all the time, let it shine!

During Epiphany, we celebrate the glorious manifestation of baby Jesus, born in Bethlehem. As the wise men were led by the star’s light to Jesus; we too are guided by the Bible to follow and radiate the brilliant Gospel message. As Simeon spoke at the presentation of Jesus in the temple in Luke 2:32, “…a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel,” we too are blessed to see Christ’s saving grace. Jesus tells us in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Christmas coloring notecardsMay our “little Gospel light” so shine that others are enlightened by the joy of the Gospel. Let us share the splendor of Epiphany light by fellowshipping and studying the Word together to enliven other women of our congregations to join the LWML excitement. Invite a woman who attended the LWML Christmas party to an LWML Bible study or ask someone who was unable to attend the Christmas party to another LWML sponsored event such as a card coloring servant event using these notecards found at www.lwml.org/coloring-resources.

nullFor the woman who hasn’t yet accepted an invitation to an event, share a copy of the Lutheran Woman’s Quarterly with a highlighted article of interest to her, or shine the Epiphany light with a copy of Radiant Reflections.

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My True Love

A Merry and Blessed Christmastide to you.

I often refer to my husband as the love of my life. While I love him dearly and he does bring joy to my life, he is not my true love.  The song the 12 Days of Christmas reminds me of who my true love really is, Jesus Christ. The Son of God, born to die so that we may have eternal life. Now that is true love, freely given.

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  • The Partridge in a Pear Tree is Jesus Christ, my true love whose birthday we celebrate on the first day of Christmas, December 25.
  • The two turtle doves represent the Old and New Testament.
  • The Three French Horns stand for Faith, Hope, and Love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
  • The Four Calling Birds are the four Gospels, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.
  • The 5 Golden Rings recall the first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch.
  • The six Geese A-laying stand for the 6 days of creation (Genesis 1).
  • The Seven Swans A-Swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11).
  • The Eight Maids A-Milking are the eight Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10).
  • The Nine Ladies Dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
  • The Ten Lords A-Leaping are the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17).
  • The Eleven Pipers Piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles (Luke 6:14-16).
    This does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.
  • The Twelve Drummers Drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed.

Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, Merry Christmas and Happy Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for. For these twelve days and every day that the Lord has given us through His word.

Happy New Year. 

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Joy to the World!

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."  Luke 2

In the Christmas Hymn: Joy to the world I find great encouragement for our faith. Those words of that hymn ring out in my mind as with joy I celebrate His birth.  The Lord is come — the Savior reigns — No more let sins and sorrows grow — He comes to make His blessings flow — He rules the world with truth and grace. It closes with a reflection for this season as it speaks of the wonders of His love

His love! That He would take on our flesh and be born of Mary to live for a while among us. That He would be obedient to the Father's will and be that perfect Lamb of God. That He would suffer and die for my sins and the sins of the whole world. That He would overcome death and the grave by His rising on the third day. That His love would impact me eternally, as by faith through the Holy Spirit, I believe and have forgiveness, life, and salvation. The wonders of His love brings great joy to the world. Rejoice and be glad, the Savior, Jesus Christ, was born for you!

Dear heavenly Father, at the birth of Your Son Jesus Christ You brought joy to the world. Guide us in our gatherings with family and friends, brothers and sisters in the faith, so that Your name would be praised and Your love fill our hearts. Let us be joyful today and always in this Savior born for us.  Amen.

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Christmas Eve 2017

“… and the glory of the Lord shown around them.”  Luke 2:9b

Christmas Eve is such a beautiful time. One of my favorite Christmas Eve memories is of December 25, 1985. I was a vicar at St. John’s, Osage, IA. It was an extremely cold (-20) clear night in the north-central Iowa country. Snow all around. No wind. The stars shining brightly in the night sky. 

We came out of Christmas Eve worship, looked up at the stars and knew, this was the night that the glory of the Lord shown around us. In silence my wife Penny and I gazed up at the night sky.

“The glory of the Lord” shown all around us that night. Perhaps you have that special Christmas Eve memory. We rejoiced that night at the good news of the birth of our Savior. Each year as we celebrate Christmas Eve, we continue in those songs of praise that the Son of God came to this sinful world to save us.

Ever since the shepherds first saw the angels, the children of God have praised His name for His radiant reflections of love shown to us in the birth of His Son. The LWML continues to lift up the name of God not only on Christmas Eve but every day of the year.

As 2017 comes to a close, the radiant reflections of the 75th anniversary shine just as brightly. I would encourage you to pick up a copy of Radiant Reflections for use in your devotional life.

On this Christmas Eve, I once again lift my eyes to the skies and say, “Thank You Lord Jesus for coming for me and all people.” Merry Christmas.

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God is the Gift-Giver

The greatest Gift-Giver: Our Father in Heaven, who sent His Son to die on the cross for our transgressions.

The greatest Gift: Jesus, who willingly suffered and died for our sins, and with His resurrection we have hope.

As we celebrate Christmas and look to Baby Jesus in the manger, let us remember the reason He was born. Jesus came to suffer and die for you and me. He rose triumphantly and we know Jesus lives! With His resurrection, we have the hope of eternal life with God. Alleluia!

Are you focusing on the Gift-Giver this Christmas season? You can find many devotions to keep you focused here and click here for a special devotion that will help you find that moment of peace in the midst of the season’s busyness.

In His service, filled with His joy,

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The Least of These

"'... whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me'" (Matthew 25:40b).

Who did Jesus mean by the least of these? When you give your mite offerings to fund Grant # 10 which needs funds to provide for the continued operation of the Christian Eldercare Home for the elderly in Haiti, you are serving the least of these.

When you give your mite offerings to support Grant # 17 to assist nursing students who are serving with the Mercy Medical Team, you are serving the least of these.

When you give of your mite offerings to Grant # 8, the NOLA 4H program who feed the hungry, homeless and hurting hearts with the gospel, you are serving the least of these.

Serving the least of these may be no more than lending a hand, giving a smile, sharing a burden or the giving of mite offerings. The service is a heartfelt response to the love Jesus has poured on us.

Lord, help us to look for opportunities to serve others. Help us to remember that our service is a response to the love You have given to us on the cross. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Check out more mission grant details here.

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