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Showing posts from June, 2016

The Lord Crashes Elijah's Pity Party

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“And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19:9b). Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! Elijah is running for his life—trying to hide from God, like Adam in the garden and Jonah sailing from Joppa. Oh, that’s not what he says he’s doing; it’s probably not even what he thinks he’s doing. He thinks he’s running away from Jezebel, Ahab’s evil wife, who has vowed to have him killed. But, in reality, Elijah’s been running away from the Lord Himself. As our text begins, he’s now about 300 miles away from home, having traveled all the way on foot, most of it through inhospitable desert. The last food he’s eaten is the bread and water the Lord provided him forty days ago. He cowers in a cave at Mount Horeb. And the Word of the Lord comes to the prophet. If that were not enough to strike terror in the bravest heart, the question the Lord asks is, without a doub…

We Are Beggars; That Is True!

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“The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you’” (Luke 8:38-39). Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! On February 18, 1546, Martin Luther died in Eiselben, Germany. The accounts of his last few days are fascinating. Despite very poor health, Luther was at work to the very end, preaching, administering the Sacrament, ordaining two ministers, and settling a dispute between three feuding Lutheran princes. As he lay on his death bed, Luther’s friend, Jonas, asked, “Reverend Father, are you ready to die trusting in your Lord Jesus Christ and to confess the doctrine which you have taught in His name?” Luther responded with a clear “Yes” and fell asleep. Upon his death, a scrap of paper was found in Luther’s pocket, which turns out to be the last words that the reformer wrote: “Let nobody suppose that he h…

The Law Is a Mirror, Not a Magnifying Glass

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“Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, ‘As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.’ Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man!’” (2 Samuel 12:5-7). Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! Psychologists say you’re only as sick as your worst secret. No wonder King David isn’t feeling so hot. He has a doozy of a secret; but he’s managed somehow to keep it under wraps for about nine months. At least he thinks so. But it’s taking a toll on him spiritually, mentally, and physically. Later, he will describe the experience in one of his psalms: “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer” (Psalm 32:3–4). But for now he is in a state of denial—the mos…

The Miracle and Means of Life

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“Then [Jesus] came up and touched the bier and the bearers stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother” (Luke 7:14-15). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Our readings for today are full of miracles. We begin in the little town of Zarephath, where the prophet Elijah dwells with a widow and her son. This is Old Testament time, famine and all, where mortality rates are terribly high and death is all too common. In this case, the widow’s son becomes sick and dies. He was all that she had left—both for family and for her livelihood. Now, he’s gone. So the widow cries out to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” (1 Kings 17:18). The widow’s anger is understandable. She has just lost her only son! She instinctively lashes out at someone just to seek …