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St. Mark's and Immanuel Lutheran Church

St.Marks:N1210 Rich Rd.
Immanuel:W7082 Pearl St.

Watertown, WI  53098


Pastor's Update 

How precious is the Word of our God!  We at St. Mark's and Immanuel are working on a challenge to read through our Bibles.  The daily reading schedule is posted here each week.  Please join us.

Read Through Your Bible in Two Years Challenge

Reading Through The Bible — Week 26
5/20 Monday.  Read 1 Samuel 24:1-22
· If time is short focus on v.1-13
· David’s troubles could have ended with one thrust of his sword; but he refuses.  Note two important truths.  How do we determine God’s will?  Many would point to circumstances in life and say, “See God wills it, otherwise it would not be so.” David’s friends in the cave were of that mind.  But David determined God’s will not by circumstances but what God has revealed. 
· David had too much respect for the OFFICE Saul so miserably held and the authority God instituted (Romans 13) that he would not lift a finger against the LORD’s anointed.
· He does however respectfully confront Saul’s sinful failings.  Being respectful and gentle doesn’t make David a doormat for Saul to wipe his feet on.
5/21 Tuesday.  Read 1 Samuel 25:1-44
· If time is short focus on v.1-33
· Nabal, whose very name means “fool” lives up to his name and proudly acts like a fool.  Makes you think about what it means to be a fool.  Isn’t a fool finally one who is proudly arrogantly, self-sufficient and has no time for God and God’s ways? 
· Think about Nabal who wouldn’t listen to anyone… are we willing to listen?  … really listen?
· Think about David, he would have allowed thoughts of vengeance to lead him to do what he would have later regretted… “Vengeance is Mine, I will replay says the LORD.”
· Is there anything you have done today that is “foolish?”
5/22 Wednesday.  Read 1 Samuel 26:1-25
· If time is short focus on v.1-11
· The second time David has the opportunity to remove the thorn from his flesh (Saul).  What a temptation that was!  But David does not waver… Why?  1) Respect for the office of the king.  2)  Confidence in God to carry out His promises.  3)  His moral standards are clear in his heart and mind BEFORE the temptation comes. 
Consider the importance of setting boundaries ahead of time 
· ESPECIALLY in areas where you know temptations will surely come… 2 beers and that’s all… 1/2 hour on the computer and that’s enough… no seconds at dinner etc.
· Pray again for more respect in a world where little is considered sacred any more.
5/23 Thursday.  Read 1 Samuel 27:1—29:11
· If time is short focus on 28:1-25
· What to think of David’s deception… Was it a lack of faith in God’s protection?  a weak failing? Or do you see it as a clever charade?  a necessary white lie (all is fair in love and war) How do you decide and judge David’s actions?
· Saul’s actions are much easier to evaluate.  He knew very well (since he had banned spiritists from the land) that his action was a direct violation of God’s will.  But he does it any way… so far has he fallen. 
· Once he rejects God’s truth he will fall for any lie.  God’s Word for today asks if we have any deceptions we are hiding behind what fears have us running?  Are we tempted by occult arts ask yourself … why you would be attracted by what God hates?
5/24 Friday.   Read 1 Samuel 30:1-31
· If time is short focus on v.1-20
· Can you picture this tough and hardened warrior David crying his eyes out?
· But the key verse is v.6:  “David found strength”… Where?
· When your heart is broken into little pieces, may it also be said of you that “you found your strength in the Lord.”  And how will you do that?  By immersing yourself in God’s Word… His promises and His sacraments?
· Note: Although the Lord was silent to wicked Saul, He readily answered David.
· There were those who forgot that their strength was in the Lord… And that it was the LORD who won their victory.  The consequences was proud selfishness that would have caused division in David’s ranks.  Notice how David solves this…
· When you reach one end of your rope, remember that God holds the other end.” (Light for the Way)
5/25 Saturday.   Read 1 Samuel 31:1-13
· If time is short focus on v.1-6
· So concludes the tragic story of Israel’s 1st king.  The life of Saul held so much promise and potential but because, unlike David, Saul did not find his strength in the Lord, we have a sad ending.
· Suicide has been described as the devils last lie… at any rate men such as Saul will have an eternity to contemplate that thought.
· Saul’s first great victory (It all started so well?) had been to rescue Jabesh-Gilead.  Now the citizens of this city have an opportunity to say thank you.
· Pray today for those to whom the devil whispers “there is no hope.”
5/26 Sunday.   Our focus today is on the lessons to be heard in worship:
The Gospel Lesson, John 17:20-26Our High priest has ascended His throne to sit at the right hand of the Father and intercede for His Church. In His High Priestly Prayer Jesus prays for the future Church, for us. In everything, our High Priest prays that we might enjoy the same relationship that Father and Son have enjoyed from eternity. The redemptive work complete, the connection through water and the Word established, our High Priest seeks for us unity, knowledge and eternal glory.
The First Lesson, Acts 16:6-10How richly the Lord blessed the proclamation of His Gospel in the provinces of Asia Minor. Yet, in keeping with divine will, Paul is directed by the Spirit of Jesus to take the Word of Life to the continent of Europe. With Spirit-inspired zeal Paul and companions immediately prepare to depart, eager to take the Good News to Macedonia. This is the very advancement of the Gospel for which Jesus prays in His High Priestly prayer.
The Epistle Lesson,  Revelation 22:12-17,20.   A final revelation of encouragement promises that the High Priest who now prays for us will come again, and soon! He will come with reward in hand to invite the faithful into the eternal city. Beyond the treacherous reach of rampant evil, there is eternal safety and providence for the redeemed, for all those who thirst. Come to the eternal waters of life. Come, Lord Jesus.
Reading Through The Bible — Week 27
5/27 Monday.   Read 2 Samuel 1:1—2:23
· If time is short focus on 1:1-27
· Today we enter the book of 2nd Samuel which tells the story of David’s 40 year reign
· To the end, David protects the honor of Saul’s office (1:14).  Even if we dislike our leaders, we have a spiritual responsibility to honor and obey them and pray for them.  Have you done that yet today?
· That same respect is seen in David’s eulogy for Saul and his dear friend Jonathan and in that repeated refrain:  “How the mighty have fallen.”  (1:19, 25, 27)
· David even appears to keep a respectful distance from the civil war that occurs as those loyal to Saul wage war on those loyal to David.  (It would be seven and a half years before David actually becomes king of the whole land.)
5/28 Tuesday.  Read 2 Samuel 3:1—4:12
· If time is short focus on 4:1-12
· Chapter three begins with a list of David’s sons… each from a different wife.  As devoted and faithful as David is to his God, his family life is his Achilles heel… This brief introduction to his family foreshadows a coming storm.
· How do you see Abner?  A man of self-interest and a power-seeker and opportunist?  Did he sleep with Saul’s concubine?  (that would be considered the privilege of one taking over the power of a king.)  He switches loyalties to the stronger side…
· How about Ishbosheth?  Would he have dared to be king without Abner?  Do you see him as a weak man, used by Abner?  Pray today for those who are weak and used by others.
· And David remains true to his principles not to take vengeance on the house of Saul.
5/29 Wednesday.  Read 2 Samuel 5:1-25
· If time is short focus on v.1-16
· David’s long years of testing were finally over as all Israel now meets to make him king.
· Always look for Jesus as you read the Bible… He is always there somewhere.  (v.2-4,12)
David’s first official act was to take what was considered to · be an impregnable fortress, Jerusalem and it became his capital… the City of David.
· Do you see a connection between v.10 & 13?
· vss.20 & 24… Do not ever forget David, and you and I… who is really fighting our battles… where our real strength is.
5/30  Thursday.   Read 2 Samuel 6:1-23
· If time is short focus on v.12-23
· During the 40 years of Saul’s reign the Ark of the Covenant is not mentioned. That quite well symbolizes his reign (it was all about Saul, not God.)  David knew that if true worship was to return to Israel the Ark, the symbol of God’s presence, needed to have center stage.
· God had given specific instruction as to how the Ark was to be transported.  We don’t know why David ignored those instructions but it cost Uzzah his life.  Is there something you are doing YOUR own way rather than God’s?  The results will not be good.
· And then there is the embarrassment of David’s wife Michal (Did she learn a bit of the “appearance is everything” from her father?)  She is embarrassed that David shed his royal robes and wearing only the linen priest’s garment, danced before the Lord.  Are you and I more like David (pulling out all stops with unashamed exuberance) or more like Michal, (more concerned about what people might think than giving the Lord full attention?)
5/31 Friday.  Read 2 Samuel 7:1-29
· If time is short focus on v.1-17
· David’s heart was in the right place.  It didn’t seem right for him to live in a beautiful palace while the symbol of God’s presence dwelled in a tent. But God says, “Did I complain?” (Is God concerned with outward appearances?) Besides that, David, that is not My will for you.
· What will we accomplish if it is not God’s design for our life?
· God had a better plan. He would build a house for David.  (not of cedar, but a dynasty that would have no end.)
· This promise is fulfilled in David’s greater Son, Jesus.  It is this promise that folks in the New Testament were thinking of when they referred to Jesus as “Son of David.” They recognized Jesus as the King who would sit on the forever throne.
6/1 Saturday.   Read 2 Samuel 8:1—10:19
· If time is short focus on 9:1-13
· God continues to give David victory over the enemies of Israel (8:6) and David recognizes that these victories are God’s by dedicating the vast wealth from the plunder to the Lord.  How can you show in a very real way that the successes you have are the Lord’s?
· David’s tender side is seen when (faithful to the vow he made to Saul and Jonathan) he welcomes the sole remaining descendant of Saul, Jonathan’s lame son into his own household.
· Can you think of someone who totally wouldn’t expect it, that you can show a kindness to today?
· Meditate on 10:12 a bit.  Are there different challenges for you to face?  Why is giving it all you’ve got and leaving it all in the Lord’s hands good advice and a good philosophy to live by?
6/2 Sunday.   Our lessons for this week, the last Sunday of Easter are these:
Gospel Lesson,  John 14:23-29Jesus continues to prepare the disciples for His visible departure.  The new command to love one another also means loving Him and His Word.  Loving Jesus means obeying His teaching.  We do not fear at the thought of this impossible task.  The gift of the Spirit comes to bring knowledge and peace.  With untroubled hearts, we believe.
1st Lesson, Acts 14:8-18Their first missionary journey continues as Paul and Barnabas flee to Lystra.  Filled with the Spirit, Paul and Barnabas heal a man crippled from birth.  While the crowd recognizes divine power at work, their misguided notions of divinity lead them to the wrong conclusion.  Troubled by what was happening, Paul and Barnabas seize the opportunity to proclaim the true message of peace through the risen Christ.
Epistle Lesson, Revelation 21:10-14,22,23As the angel points out the bride of Christ to St. John, can we help but marvel: that’s us!  Here is how God sees His Church: as the very bride of Christ, holy and glorious. Like a brilliant jewel the Church built on the prophets and apostles is prepared for an eternity with her loving Lord in the temple of the Lamb and the radiance of His light.



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