In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today are verses from Psalm 135 which reads:
Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord, give praise, O servants of the Lord, 2 who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God! 3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant! 4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession.5 For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. 6 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. 7 He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.
13 Your name, O Lord, endures forever, your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages. 14 For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.
January is a hard month, isn’t it? It is a long 31 days. The days have started to get longer, but it still is dark for more of the day than we’d like. It is usually pretty cold and it comes right after the festive time of Christmas. We get tired of the darkness, we get tired of the cold, and we get tired of the snow.
With all of these things that we consider to be wrong with January (and the other winter months too) it can be difficult to think about being joyful and praising God. It is far easier to ask him why he keeps giving us snow and cold weather or to beg and plead for warmer weather, right?
This is why it is great that our text is the one that is appointed for today, the last day of January. The Psalmist is writing all about praising the Lord. This is a good reminder that need to hear regularly and especially in a month like January.
Why do we praise him? Is it because things always are going wonderfully in our lives? No, rather it is because God is good. It is because he is in control of the whole world. He makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, he makes the rain and the lightning and the snow and the wind. They’re all his creation.
As remarkable as that is though, it isn’t the end of the story. The last verses that are selected for today come from later in the Psalm, verse 13-14 to be exact. They tell us that God’s name endures forever and that he’s known throughout all time. Our God isn’t one that is just a flash in the night. He isn’t something that was just made up by a few random people who got together. No, he has been around forever and will be around for all of eternity. While he is ruling over all of creation he remains close with his creation, with you and with me and has compassion on his servants. This is great news. News that we can be thankful for and praise God for whether it is a dark, cold, snowy day in January or a bright sunny day in May. We can praise God everyday because he is faithful and loves us and cares for us. Praise be to God
Let us pray:
Dear father in Heaven, we praise you for your great faithfulness throughout all generations. Thank you for caring for us and for always providing for our needs in the cold of winter and the warmth of summer. Help us to always recognize your goodness and praise you for your great gifts that you give to us. We ask this all in Jesus’ name, Amen
In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today is Psalm 33:20-22 which reads:
20 Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
There was a time in history, a time before airplanes and bombs, before computer guided missiles, and chemical warfare, when the shield was a crucial part of a military member’s equipment. Shields could come in different sizes and protected the holder from incoming spears and arrows that came from a distance and from swords and other close range attacks.
The shield was so important because it protected the solider from all of the attacks around him. Without the shield he was vulnerable and easily attacked and could even be killed if he wasn’t careful. These days you will still see soldiers using body armor and other ways to protect him/herself, but the shield is no longer the common way.
In our text today we hear the Psalm writer call God our shield. He says, “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our shield. We know that God has promised to be with his people – that is you and me – always to the end of time. We know that we have nothing to fear with this kind of protection.
But why? Why would the supreme God, the creator of the universe care about you and protecting you? Well the psalmist answers that too when he says, “Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” God’s created all things out of his love and he loved all that he created. This love is what caused him to stay with his people, to be their shield and to promise to send a savior. It is this love that caused Jesus to be born, to suffer, to die, and to rise all for you.
So know, because you have been loved and protected, that you can trust in this promise without fail. Go, and share this hope and love with those around you.
Let us pray:
Dear gracious heavenly Father, thank you for loving us enough to be our shield. Help us to trust your promise to love us and protect us. We ask this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.
In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today is Psalm 1:1-3 which reads:
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.”
Today our text is the first Psalm in a book of 150 Psalms. It is a short Psalm; only 6 verses. And yet there is so much written there about the life of the righteous person. It can make us stop and think about how we live our lives.
Where do you get your best advice? Do you have a parent or spouse that you speak to when you’re trying to make a decision? Maybe it is a friend or a co-worker. Whoever you choose to talk to, it is usually because they have demonstrated some wisdom and knowledge and they’re able to give good advice.
However, sometimes we find ourselves getting bad advice. This may be because we ask the wrong people or because or because the right people are giving the wrong advice. If we were to live all of our lives getting bad advice then we could find ourselves down the wrong path, experiencing all sorts of problems.
The Psalmist talks about getting bad advice, but for him it is much worse than just bad advice about a haircut or an outfit. He speaks about actually living in the bad advice of the wicked or living proudly as a sinner.
Instead, he instructs his hearers to delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night. He says that those who do that will be blessed. The English word law here is a little deceiving because the Hebrew is probably more accurately translated as teachings. We are to meditate on the teachings of the Lord day and night. Doing this is like being a tree near running water. We are the tree and the teachings of the Lord are the running water.
Just as the running water nourishes the tree and allows it to bear fruit, so also do the teachings of the Lord nourish and preserve us and cause us to bear fruit. This fruit takes the form of our love and honor for God and our love and service for each other.
So let us strive to remain firmly rooted in the flowing waters of God’s teachings so that we can bear much fruit that shows the great love that we have received from God to our neighbors near and far.
Let us pray:
Dear Father, thank you for planting us near your flowing waters. Help us to meditate on your teachings day and night so that we may bear much fruit for our neighbors. Allow them to see your love through us and give us the strength to resist walking in the way of the wicked. We ask this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.
My name is Tom. I'm fascinated by the ways that people, ideas, current events and theology interact with each other.