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God's Word Shall Not Return Empty

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Click here to listen to this sermon. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near;let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:6-11). “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He …

Will This Be the Day?

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“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:25-26). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Will this be the day? Will this be the day that my dream comes true? Will this be the day that the doctor tells us we will soon be hearing the pitter patter of tiny feet? Will this be the day I make the starting team? Will this be the day that I get that promotion I’ve been working so hard for? Will this be the day that he finally pops the question? Will this be the day that my ship comes in? Will this be the day? Will this be the day that my luck runs out? Will this be the day that he walks out the door and never comes back? Will this be the day that I get that telephone call that ever…

The Lord Is with You!

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“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! She’s a little girl—perhaps fourteen, maybe fifteen, years old. Still young by our standards, though old enough to get married in her time. She’s betrothed to Joseph. The vows are made, and soon they will be fully man and wife. Mary is wise and devout, a maiden who’s kept herself pure in her wait for marriage. But other than that, she has very few qualification for her upcoming assignment. Well, that and her family connections: She’s a descendant of King David, although many generations have passed since one of her ancestors actually sat on the throne. Now, she and her family live in a little hick town, far from where anything ever happens. Nazareth isn’t exactly Jerusalem, you know. In Jerusalem, you have the king’s palace and frequent visits from Roman commanders. You have the temple—the House of God—where God …

A Witness to the Light

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“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light” (John 1:6-8). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! This Sunday could easily have been called “John the Baptist Sunday.” But I’m quite certain that John would have objected. John was the forerunner of Christ, not the Christ. He was a witness to the light, not the Light. He was a voice, preaching Christ, the light of the world. He was a finger, pointing people to Jesus, and saying, “There He is, the One you’ve been waiting for—the Lamb of God.” Ancient Christian art depicts John with an overly large mouth and a hyper-extended index finger pointing to Jesus. A big mouth and a pointing finger—that was John. Now, in our culture, such an image doesn’t seem very flattering, does it? As children, most of us were taught th…

The Gospel of Jesus Christ for You

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“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).   Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! When Martin Luther spoke about the forgiveness that Christ won for you, he spoke about it in a way that too few people speak today. Luther spoke about the message of forgiveness as though it was his own possession. Luther repeatedly spoke about “my gospel” and “my theology,” a habit he probably learned from the apostle Paul (Romans 2:16; 16:25; 2 Timothy 2:8). For example, when he described his now famous “Luther seal,” the reformer stated that this seal is “a symbol of my theology.” When speaking about the way he had come to believe, Luther said, “I didn’t learn my theology all at once. I had to ponder over it.” Luther also believed that you and every Christian—not just pastors and theologians—should speak in these same terms: “A Christian often says: ‘This is my message, my Baptism, my Christ, my God, my go…

A Different Kind of King[dom]

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“And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!’” (Mark 11:9-11). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! In October of 331 B.C., Alexander the Great entered the ancient city of Babylon. The city manager came out to meet him with troops and horses to surrender. The high priest had the road carpeted with flowers. Silver altars were set up alongside of the road. And they brought gifts of herds of cattle and horses and lions and leopards. Alexander rode into the city on a chariot followed by a procession of priests chanting his greatness and musicians playing instruments. Like any great king, Alexander understood that pomp and circumstance is important. Image is everything. No wonder he was called “the Great.” The Jewish historian, Josephus, tells us of Alexander’s arr…