40 Episodes

By: Higher Things

Higher Things podcasts summary

The Second Sunday after the Epiphany
Yesterday at 10:00 AM

Today's Reading: John 2:1-11

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 38:1-23; Romans 7:1-20

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. (John 2:1)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus could have chosen anywhere for His first miracle. The Jordan River or the Red Sea. A cemetery or hospital. The temple in Jerusalem. The wilderness or some mountain top. But Jesus chooses a wedding where a man and a woman are brought together and declared one.

You say you and God are like Mars and Venus...

Saturday of the First Week after the Epiphany
Last Saturday at 10:00 AM

Today's Reading: Introit for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany (Psalm 66:1-5, 20; antiphon: Psalm 66:4; 92:1)

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 37:15-28; Romans 6:1-23

All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name. (From the Introit for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Tomorrow's Introit calls out at four times the promise of the Gospel, that "all the earth" is included at the Cross, that "all the earth" has been scooped up by God and reconciled to Him...

Friday of the First Week after the Epiphany
Last Friday at 10:00 AM

Today's Reading: Luke 2:41-52

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 36:33-37:14; Romans 5:1-21

And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. (Luke 2:51) 


In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Stunning. The One who gave the Law places Himself under the Law, even under the Fourth Commandment. Why? For you, "to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive the adoption as sons" (Galatians 4:5). That's the promise you received in your Baptism (Galatians 3:27).

Stunning. Jesus places Himself under the Law to...

Thursday of the First Week after the Epiphany
Last Thursday at 10:00 AM

Today's Reading: Joshua 3:1-3, 7-8, 13-17

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 36:13-28; Romans 4:1-25

Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan. (Joshua 3:17)  


In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever asked yourself, "Why is my Bible so heavy?" Jesus. That's why. The Holy Spirit just can't contain Himself. He keeps putting Jesus here and there. Ou...

Wednesday of the First Week after the Epiphany
Last Wednesday at 10:00 AM

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Table of Duties, To Youth

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 34:1-24; Romans 3:19-31

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:5-6)


In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Under the discipline of "those who are older," God's hand can seem quite mighty at ti...

Tuesday of the First Week after the Epiphany
Last Tuesday at 10:00 AM

Today's Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 33:1-20; Romans 3:1-18

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. (1 Corinthians 1:26)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. How insulting. Imagine your pastor walking out on Sunday morning and addressing your congregation like Paul addresses the Corinthians here, going so far as to call the majority "foolish," "weak," "low and despised," and even "not noble" (1 Corinthians 1:27-28). How rude. Right?

The s...

Monday of the First Week after the Epiphany

Today's Reading: Isaiah 42:1-7

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 19-32; Romans 2:17-29

"I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness." (Isaiah 42:6-7)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What if I told you that God has a picture...

The Baptism of Our Lord

Today's Reading: Matthew 3:13-17

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 19-32; Romans 2:17-29

John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" (Matthew 3:14)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. John thinks man should be the confidence of his own life before God. Jesus thinks He should be. John thinks if there is to be forgiveness, it must be because of our own works. Thinking from above, Jesus knows that if there is to be forgiveness, it must be up...

Saturday of Epiphany Week

Today's Reading: Introit for the Baptism of Our Lord (Psalm 89:1, 26-28; antiphon: Liturgical Text; Psalm 89:20)

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 3:12-27; Romans 2:1-16

I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. (From the Introit for the Baptism of Our Lord)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Yesterday came the happy cry, "Arise, shine, for. . . the glory of the LORD has risen upon you" (Isaiah 60:1). That's because for God's children there is always much to...

Friday of Epiphany Week

Today's Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 1:1-14, 22-28; Romans 1:1-17

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. "Up and at 'em!" my father would call out from the doorway as I tried desperately to catch a few more Zs. But Dad wasn't having it. It was Saturday. There were chores to do. Things that needed to be done. "Up and at 'em!" came the cry, at the crack of...

The Epiphany of Our Lord

Today's Reading: Matthew 2:1-12

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 66:1-20; Luke 3:21-38

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. (Matthew 2:10)


In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why not rejoice with "exceedingly great joy"? Though they came from so far away, the wise men were certainly included in the angelic announcement made at Jesus' birth: "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 S...

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Table of Duties, to Employers and Supervisors

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 65:8-25; Luke 3:1-20

Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. (Ephesians 6:9)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. "Absolute power corrupts absolutely," wrote Lord Acton at the end of the 19th century. Lords know about power. In fact, the definition of lord is "one who wields power, authority, or influence." I...

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

Today's Reading: 1 Peter 4:12-19

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 64:15-65:2; Luke 2:41-52

If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:14)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It's not always fun being a Christian. Sometimes it's embarrassing. Sometimes people make fun of you. Sometimes they insult you. They may even raise their hands in violence against you. 

In the first centuries of the Church, Christians were routinely punished with d...

The Tenth Day of Christmas

Today's Reading: Genesis 46:1-7

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 63:1-14; Luke 2:21-40

I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again. (Genesis 46:4)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God is everywhere. "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" declares the Lord (Jeremiah 23:24). He was in Canaan. He was in Beersheeba. He was already in Egypt. Yet He says to Jacob, "I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again." 

The Second Sunday after Christmas

Today's Reading: Matthew 2:13-23

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 62:1-12; Luke 2:1-20

And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene. (Matthew 2:23)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Nathanael asked Philip (John 1:46). Philip had just told him that he had found the fulfillment of Moses and all the prophets in Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. Nazareth was quite a surprise. It...

Circumcision and Name of Jesus

Today's Reading: Luke 2:21

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 61:1-11; Luke 1:57-80

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why do we begin each of these Reflections in the Name of Jesus? In one of the first sermons in the New Testament Church, Peter declares, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given...

Eve of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus

Today's Reading: Luke 12:35-40

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 60:1-22; Luke 1:39-56

Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. (Luke 12:37)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Happy New Year! The 365th day of 2021 will soon be ending. 2022 is just around the corner. While 2021 had its joys, many people will be glad to put it in the history books. Here's to...

The Sixth Day of Christmas

Today's Reading: Luke 2:33-40

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 58:1-59:3, 14-21; Luke 1:26-38

And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. (Luke 2:40)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Can God make a rock so heavy that He can't lift it? If God can do anything, He can certainly make a rock that is exceedingly heavy. But if God can do anything He could lift it. We're stuck. Either God can't make the rock or He can't lift it--and then...

The Fifth Day of Christmas

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Table of Duties, To Workers

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 55:1-13; Luke 1:1-25

Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. (Ephesians 6:5‚Äď8)


The Holy Innocents, Martyrs

Today's Reading: Matthew 2:13-18

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 52:13-54:10; Matthew 2:13-23

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken...

St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

Today's Reading: John 21:19-24

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 51:17-52:12; Matthew 2:1-12

This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. (John 21:24)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. John wrote many things, including several letters and the book of Revelation. But many scholars of the Bible place John's Gospel at the very end of the apostolic era, and consider it perhaps the last book of the New Testament to be written. In the...

St. Stephen, Martyr

Today's Reading: Acts 6:8-7:2, 51-60

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 49:22-26; 50:4-51:8, 12-16; Matthew 1:18-25

But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. (Acts 7:55)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. You can't get one day into the season of Christmas without rocks flying. Yesterday was a day of joy, of glory for God, peace on earth, goodwill toward men. Today men grind their teeth in a rage at the message of Jesus...

The Nativity of Our Lord

Today's Reading: Luke 2:1-20

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 49:1-18; Matthew 1:1-17

"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:14 NKJV)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. A peculiar choir gathers in the field outside Bethlehem. Angels gather before an audience of shepherds and sing a new song, for the Lord has done a marvelous thing. Their hymn of three parts praises the birth of Jesus and what it means for God and for us.

"Glory to God...

Christmas Eve

Today's Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 44:21-45:13, 20-25; Revelation 12:1-17 

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In his book on Christian doctrine, St. Augustine writes that there are two kinds of signs: natural and conventional. Natural signs are those that have a relation of cause and effect, such as smoke signifying fire or a paw print in the mud pointing to a...

Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Today's Reading: Philippians 4:4-7

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 43:25-44:20; Revelation 11:1-19

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5b-7)

 In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. You may have already realized that I did not start where you thought I might. I skipped vs. 4, and I suggest you read it after we a...

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Table of Duties, To Children

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 43:1-24; Revelation 9:13-10:11

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise),"that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land." (Ephesians 6:1-3)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever thought about why your parents want you to obey them?  Yes, on a very small level it's because they are tired of hounding you and re...

St. Thomas, Apostle

Today's Reading: John 20:24-29

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 42:1-25; Revelation 9:1-12

Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:27-28)

 In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It is a week after Jesus has risen from the dead and beaten our old evil foe of sin, death, and the devil. The disciples have locked themselves in again for fear of the Jews. T...

Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-19

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 40:18-41:10; Revelation 8:1-13

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. (Deuteronomy 18:18)


In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If there was anyone who spoke the Law of God to His people, it was Moses. At God's command, Moses was the Lawgiver. God wrote it with His fiery finger on Mt. Sinai and Moses carried it down t...

The Fourth Sunday in Advent

Today's Reading: John 1:19-28

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 40:1-17; Revelation 7:1-17

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"  He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ." (John 1: 19-20)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. I love Advent. I love preaching about John the Baptizer preparing the way of the Lord and preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 

John knew who he was. He knew his purpose was to...

Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

Today's Reading: Introit for the Fourth Sunday in Advent (Psalm 19:1, 4-6; antiphon: Isaiah 45:8a)

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 34:1-2, 8-35:10; Revelation 6:1-17

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (From the Introit for the Fourth Sunday in Advent)


In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. I live in an area that is not affected by light pollution. One of the great joys I have is looking up at the night sky. On a cold January evening, when the days are short, it is easy t...

Daniel the Prophet and the Three Young Men

Daily Lectionary:Isaiah 33:1-24; Revelation 5:1-14

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." (Daniel 3:16-18)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen...

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

Daily Lectionary:Isaiah 32:1-20; Revelation 4:1-11

At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. (Revelation 4:2)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Can you imagine seeing what John saw?  In a divine vision John is brought into the holy throne room of God. The throne in the center is where Jesus sits. He has ascended from His work on earth. He is exalted. His humiliating work of the Cross, His death and the grave are done. He has honored His Father's promise to s...

Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Table of Duties, To Parents
Daily Lectionary:Isaiah 30:27-31:9; Revelation 3:1-22

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

 In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. I remember the look well. I had said something to one of our kids that was insensitive and rooted in anger. I knew better, but the argument had exhausted my patience and I answered with a statement I would never have let our kids say. My very next w...

Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

Today's Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 30:15-26; Revelation 2:1-29

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever read your school's student handbook, or an employee handbook from work? They are not page turners, that's for sure! They are dry, dull, and lead to despair. The handbook has one purpose. It clearly shows the rules. It shows t...

Monday of the Third Week of Advent

Today's Reading: Isaiah 40:1-11

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 29:15-30:14; Revelation 1:1-20

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her
that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand
double for all her sins. . .   (Isaiah 40:1-3)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It was the first week of school at Concordia Nebraska. I was in the commons visiting with the food service manager and I asked, "What's on the menu?" He said, "Mac and...

The Third Sunday in Advent

Today's Reading: Matthew 11:2-11

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 29:1-14; Jude 1-25

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?" And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see:  the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them."  (Matthew 11:2-6)


Saturday of the Second Week of Advent

Today's Reading: Introit for the Third Sunday in Advent (Psalm 80:1, 3, 14, 17; antiphon: Isaiah 62:11b; 30:30, 29)

Daily Lectionary:  Isaiah 28:14-29; 1 John 5:1-21

Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! (From the Introit for the Third Sunday In Advent)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever restored anything, maybe an old car or a house or even a piece of furniture that has seen better days? If so, you know the hours that it can take. Restoring old furniture can be a lot o...

Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 26:20-27:13; 1 John 4:1-21

In this the love of God has made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the World, so that we might live through him. (1 John 4:9)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The love of God is made known to us by the coming of Jesus. During the season of Advent, we prepare for the coming of the Messiah. In John's first epistle, we read about true love, the love that your Father in heaven has for you. God loved you...

Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

Today's Reading: Romans 15:4-13

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 26:1-19; 1 John 3:1-24 

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4) 

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever wondered why the Old Testament was written? All those pages of names and actions of people who rebelled against God? Now once in a while, we read about a fairly good guy--maybe an Abraham, Moses, or David--but more often we read abo...

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Table of Duties, to Wives

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 24:14-25:12; 1 John 2:15-29 

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In the Small Catechism, Martin Luther continues to list out the duties that those who are in Christ are called by God to do. Under the category of wives, Luther simply points to Paul's letter to the Ephesians where Paul writes that wives are to submit to their husbands.

When many people hear t...