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Showing posts from October, 2016

An Eternal Gospel to Proclaim

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“Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people” (Revelation 14:6). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Today we celebrate the Reformation of the Church, initiated when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. With its impact upon not just the Church, but on much of Western civilization, the Reformation has proved to be one of the most significant chapters in world history. But in what way? In his book, “Here We Stand,” Lutheran theologian Herman Sasse suggests that there are three inadequate interpretations of the Reformation. First, there is a “heroic interpretation,” where Luther is regarded as a larger than life hero in much the same way as a George Washington or an Abraham Lincoln might be viewed. Focus is placed on Luther’s character, traits, inn…

Thank God I'm Not Like That Pharisee!

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“[Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt” (Luke 18:9). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! “The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector” is one of the simplest of Jesus’ parables. Two men go to the temple to pray. One brings before the Lord his own good works. The other has nothing to bring but a cry for mercy. Only one goes home justified. But this parable is perhaps so familiar that its edge is dull and it has lost the shock of God’s grace and the surprise of the Gospel. Our minds think of the characters differently than those to whom Jesus first spoke it. So, I’d like to change it just a little to see if we can’t recover some of its original bite. Instead of having the two guys go to the temple, let’s have them come to your house to pick up your daughter for a date. Having three beautiful daughters, who were at one time teenager…

When God Gives You the Silent Treatment

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“And [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? I have absolutely no idea. My help supposedly comes from the Lord, but I haven’t seen it yet! It seems the one who made heaven and earth doesn’t have anything left to give me. Is He asleep or on vacation? Is He angry with me? Perhaps I’ve offended Him in some way. Or maybe He just doesn’t care. I know. That’s not the way that Psalm 121 goes, but sometimes it seems that way; doesn’t it? Sometimes it feels like God isn’t paying attention. You’ve had those days, haven’t you? When it looks like God doesn’t care. That He must be angry with you. That He is screening His calls. What do you do when God is slow to answer your prayers? What do you do when God gives you the silent treatment? Most of the popular books on the …

Faithfulness Is Proved in Hard Times

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“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you’” (Ruth 1:16-17). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! It seems fitting that on the day of the year our congregation celebrates the faithfulness of the women of the LWML that our text would highlight the faithfulness of a woman—Ruth, a young widow who refused to leave her widowed mother-in-law, or turn her back on the Lord, the covenant God of Israel, even though it meant an uncertain future, a life likely filled with hardship and loneliness. Imagine moving to a foreign country, a place where your people are considered the enemy. A place where you know only one other living person. Not only that, yo…