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Join HT for a reading of the days Higher Things Reflection. A short devotion directed toward the youth of our church, written by the Pastors and Deaconesses of our church, clearly proclaiming the true Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Find out more about HT at our website, www.higherthings.org

Reflections Higher Things

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.5 • 8 Ratings

Join HT for a reading of the days Higher Things Reflection. A short devotion directed toward the youth of our church, written by the Pastors and Deaconesses of our church, clearly proclaiming the true Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Find out more about HT at our website, www.higherthings.org

    Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

    Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter

    May 17, 2024 

    Today's Reading: Luke 20:19-44
    Daily Lectionary: Numbers 20:1-21; Luke 20:19-44

    Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. (Luke 20:25)

    In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. A good chess player will see his opponent’s opening move, a queen’s gambit perhaps; but a great chess player will counter the opponent with a challenge or trap of his own. 

    In today’s Gospel reading, there’s a chess game going on, and the pharisees’ disciples think they have Jesus in check. But Jesus turns the tables on His opponents; He issues a challenge of His own…not for trophies or titles, but to bring His hearers to repentance and forgiveness.

    They ask Jesus, Tell us, then, what you think. "Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” In politics, this would be called a gotcha question. If Jesus answers, “No, it isn’t lawful,” the political Herodians might have reason to go after Jesus for being a traitor or a religious nutcase. And if Jesus answers, “Yes, it is lawful,” then the Pharisees can peg Jesus as a traitor and blasphemer for supporting the Romans. But here’s the thing: Jesus’ opponents don’t really care about the answer. They only want to trap, discredit, and destroy Jesus. 

    When Jesus replies, He makes His checkmate move. “Render, or pay to God the things that are God’s.” The issue is whether or not the Pharisees – and all who hear Jesus words – believe that He is and bears the authority of God, as the Son of God, as the one the Father sent with all authority to teach, preach, heal, forgive, live, die, and rise from the dead. 

    And what did Jesus do when he came with the authority of the Father? Jesus came into our flesh to render to God what was God’s, namely our humanity, and to restore the image of God to our flesh. He rendered to God the things that are God’s. He did it “not with gold or silver,” not with the coin of Caesar, but with His holy and precious blood, and with His innocent suffering and death at the hands of the Pharisees and the Herodians and the Roman government, all of whom served as God’s instrument that you would belong to Him, be holy in Him, be saved and declared righteous in him.  In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

    O God, the protector of all who trust in You, have mercy on us that with You as our ruler and guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lost not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
    - Pastor Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.

    Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

    A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. This collection of over 600 hand-drawn Christian symbols by artist and author Edward Riojas will teach you the extensive history of the imagery of the Church. Each symbol is a beautiful and historical connection to generations of Christians that have worshiped before you. A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. Now available from Concordia Publishing House. 

    • 4 min
    Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

    Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

    May 16, 2024

    Today's Reading: The Lord’s Prayer - Fifth Petition 
    Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:41-17:13; Numbers 18:1-19:22; Luke 20:1-18

    We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, or deny our prayer because of them. We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by His grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us. (Explanation to the 5th Petition)

    In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If you run the 100-yard dash and win, you expect to get a medal or ribbon. If you go to work, you expect a paycheck. If you play Super Mario Brothers and defeat Bowser, you expect to rescue Princess Peach. This is the way the world works; you get what you deserve. You earn what you have worked for, and so on. When it comes to the Gifts of God, we expect God to play by our rules. But guess what? God doesn’t do what we expect. God doesn’t give us what we deserve, and that’s a good thing.

    If God gave us what we deserved or rewarded us with what we had earned, what would that mean? Quite simply, death. The wages of sin is death, St. Paul writes in Romans 6:23. This is why Jesus gave us the Fifth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In the Fifth Petition, we pray for forgiveness. We pray for a gift from God that we do not deserve. 

    And the good news is that God gives us both mercy and grace. In His mercy, He doesn’t punish us as we deserve. Instead, Jesus takes all of the punishment for our sin and God’s wrath of judgment upon Himself on the cross. In His grace, He also gives us what we don’t deserve: His forgiveness, life, and salvation. This is what we pray for in this Petition, and by God’s grace and love, this is what He gives us. By God’s grace, we also are called to give this undeserved forgiveness to others as well. And we pray in this Petition that we would love and forgive others as God in Christ has forgiven us. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

    Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
    - Pastor Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.

    Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

    A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. This collection of over 600 hand-drawn Christian symbols by artist and author Edward Riojas will teach you the extensive history of the imagery of the Church. Each symbol is a beautiful and historical connection to generations of Christians that have worshiped before you. A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. Now available from Concordia Publishing House. 

    • 4 min
    Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

    Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

    May 15, 2024

    Today's Reading: Luke 19:29-48
    Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:23-40; Luke 19:29-48

    Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! (Luke 19:38)

    In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Even though the church calendar says we are in the seventh week of Easter, think back for a moment to Palm Sunday and then further back to Christmas. What do Christmas and Palm Sunday have in common with one another? 

    The more you think about it, the more similarities you find. Both Jesus’ birth and entry into Jerusalem were foretold by the prophets in the Old Testament. Both Christmas and Palm Sunday point to Jesus’ humility; He was born in humility, wrapped in swaddling cloths, and laid in a manger. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday in humility. And yet He is also a king, both in His birth and on Palm Sunday as He makes His way to the throne of the cross.

    Jesus did all of this to bring peace between God and sinners. And that word peace is another thing that connects Christmas and Palm Sunday. At Jesus' birth, the angels announced to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men.” As Jesus entered Jerusalem, the crowds shouted out the same joyful words. “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.” 
    Turns out that Christmas and Palm Sunday have a lot in common. Christ Jesus, who was born in our human flesh, entered Jerusalem to go to the cross and die in our place as God and man. The angels announced that the Savior from sin and death had arrived in Bethlehem and the Palm Sunday crowds announced that the Savior had arrived in Jerusalem to go to the cross to make peace by His death on the cross. God reveals his glory in Jesus’ incarnation for us and His glory in his crucifixion for us.

    But these words are not only a past event. We continue to join the angels and crowds every time we prepare to receive the Lord’s Supper, singing the same words. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!” Jesus, who was born for us and entered Jerusalem to go to the cross for us, now is present with us and for us in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. The same body and blood of Jesus, who was born for us and died on the cross for us, is given for our forgiveness, life, and salvation. And blessed are you in Jesus' gifts. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

    Almighty and everlasting God, You sent Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross. Mercifully grant that we may follow the example of His great humility and patience and be made partakers of His resurrection; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
    - Pastor Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.

    Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

    A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. This collection of over 600 hand-drawn Christian symbols by artist and author Edward Riojas will teach you the extensive history of the imagery of the Church. Each symbol is a beautiful and historical connection to generations of Christians that have worshiped before you. A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. Now available from Concordia Publishing House. 

    • 4 min
    Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

    Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

    May 14, 2024 

    Today's Reading: 1 John 5:9-15
    Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:1-22; Luke 19:11-28

    These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (1 John 5:13-14)

    In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In the Small Catechism, Martin Luther explains the opening of the Lord’s Prayer, the words “Our Father,” by saying that with these words, God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father. Whenever I hear these words, I think of my own children who, with boldness and confidence, ask for a treat after dinner. Why? Because they know their father loves and cares for them, so they ask with boldness and confidence!

    Boldness. Confidence. You might not think about those words when it comes to prayer, but that is how we are instructed to pray as Christians. Why? Where is our confidence? Not in ourselves and not in anything we think, say, or do. No. There’s no confidence in our sinful flesh. Our confidence is in Christ crucified for us. The catechism teaches us to pray this way because Jesus lived, died, and rose again for you. We have boldness and confidence before God the Father through Jesus, who continues to be our intercessor and mediator before God. We pray in boldness and confidence, knowing that our confidence rests on Jesus and in the Father’s love for us in Jesus.

    This is what St. John is teaching us in 1 John 5, that our confidence in prayer rests not upon our shoulders, but on the shoulders of Jesus who bore the sins of the world on the cross. Because Jesus saves and gives eternal life, you can be confident that He hears your prayer. Our Lord commands us to pray but also promises to hear us. St. John also teaches trust along with confidence in Christ. Whenever we pray, we pray, “Thy will be done.” And even though we don’t always know how God will answer our prayer, we can pray in confidence knowing that God’s will towards us is good and gracious in Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

    O God, You make the minds of your faithful to be of one will. Grant that we may love what You have commanded and desire what You promise, that among the many changes and chances of this world our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Fifth Sunday of Easter)
    - Pastor Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.

    Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

    A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. This collection of over 600 hand-drawn Christian symbols by artist and author Edward Riojas will teach you the extensive history of the imagery of the Church. Each symbol is a beautiful and historical connection to generations of Christians that have worshiped before you. A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. Now available from Concordia Publishing House. 

    • 4 min
    Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

    Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

    May 13, 2024 

    Today's Reading: Acts 1:12-26
    Daily Lectionary: Numbers 14:26-45; Numbers 15:1-41; Luke 18:35-19:10

    So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us - one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection. (Acts 1:21-22)

    In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Some skeptics like to throw shade at the Christian faith by comparing the life and work of the disciples to a game of telephone. The original message has been changed, corrupted, or misheard over time, so they say, or something like those lines. Readings like Acts 1 are a great reminder that this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Christian Gospel, your faith, and the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection weren’t passed down willy-nilly but with great care, attention to detail, and historical evidence. 

    One of the important pieces of evidence in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is the fact that there were eyewitnesses. And not just one, not even just the Twelve. Acts 1 reminds us that there were many other disciples who were present with Jesus for those three years. From the time of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River to His ascension forty days after His resurrection. Not only that, Paul says, there were over five hundred more eyewitnesses after Jesus rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15). These disciples weren’t playing a game; this was deadly serious. They saw Jesus dead on a Friday afternoon outside of Jerusalem, and they saw him again numerous times alive again before His ascension. 

    The disciples, like Matthias, are reminders that the Christian faith is founded on fact, not fantasy. Jesus’ death and resurrection are historical events, not hearsay. What Jesus did to save you was witnessed by men like Matthias and the women at the empty tomb. His promises are trustworthy and true. Jesus promised He would die and rise, and He did, just as He said. Jesus gave us disciples to faithfully, and at times under great peril to themselves, deliver accurately and reliably the Good News they witnessed. Thanks be to God that we have so many eyewitnesses who testified to His resurrection and still are witnesses to us today. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

    Almighty God, grant that we who have celebrated the Lord’s resurrection may by Your grace confess in our life and conversation that Jesus is Lord and God; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Second Sunday of Easter)
    - Pastor Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.

    Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

    A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. This collection of over 600 hand-drawn Christian symbols by artist and author Edward Riojas will teach you the extensive history of the imagery of the Church. Each symbol is a beautiful and historical connection to generations of Christians that have worshiped before you. A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. Now available from Concordia Publishing House. 

    • 4 min
    Sunday of the Seventh Week of Easter

    Sunday of the Seventh Week of Easter

    May 12, 2024 

    Today's Reading: John 17:11b-19
    Daily Lectionary: Numbers 14:1-25; Luke 18:18-34

    Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)

    In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When Moses came near the burning bush in Exodus 3, the Lord said to him, “Do not come near, take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”  When the prophet Isaiah saw the Lord enthroned in glory in Isaiah 6, the angels sang out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” 

    Wherever the Lord is, there is holiness. Whatever He declares holy is holy. The problem for us is that whenever we see God’s holiness in the Bible, we are reminded that apart from Him, we are unholy. We have no holiness of our own. Moses was afraid. Isaiah confessed his sin. So do we, whenever we gather in Divine Service. We confess that we are poor, miserable sinners and that we have sinned, that we are unholy in thought, word, and deed. 

    But then something miraculous happens. God speaks His holy Word in holy Absolution to forgive all our sin. God called and ordained your pastor into the office of the holy ministry to be a servant of the Word. God who is holy gives holy Gifts to declare unholy sinners holy in His name. In Holy Baptism, you are washed and baptized into the name of the holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In holy Absolution, you stand forgiven before God who is holy. In the Holy Supper, you receive Jesus’ Body and Blood for forgiveness, life, and salvation.

    How does our holy Lord do all of this? By his holy Word, just as Jesus prays in John 17. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. To sanctify is to make and declare holy. That’s exactly what our Lord Jesus prays for and what God does. Through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, God gives us a holiness that is not our own. God’s holiness is always received from God, not achieved by us. So the next time you read or hear God’s Word, remember that God is sanctifying you. When you go into His house, God is there to give you holy Gifts in water, word, bread and wine. When you fear your sin and death, do not be afraid. You are holy in Jesus. You have His Word on it. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

    O King of glory, Lord of hosts, uplifted in triumph far above all heavens, leave us not without consolation but send us the Spirit of truth whom You have promised from the Father; for You live and reign with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Seventh Sunday of Easter)

    - Pastor Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.

    Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

    A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. This collection of over 600 hand-drawn Christian symbols by artist and author Edward Riojas will teach you the extensive history of the imagery of the Church. Each symbol is a beautiful and historical connection to generations of Christians that have worshiped before you. A Complete Guide to Christian Symbols. Now available from Concordia Publishing House. 

    • 4 min

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Great start to my day

Wonderful program. Great start to my day. Reminds me of what we we have in Christ. The transcripts are much appreciated. Thank you..

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