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Showing posts from December, 2017

The Word of the Lord Came

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“But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan” (2 Samuel 7:4). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! It just wasn’t right, and David knew it (2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16). The enemies were conquered, the kingdom was secure, and he lived in a beautiful palace made of cedar in Jerusalem, but the Lord’s house was still the tabernacle. The house of worship for the one true God was still a tent, just as it had been for 400 years. It didn’t look right: it looked like David thought he was far more important than the one true God, and David wanted to fix it. He called Nathan and announced his plans. He was going to build a temple, a huge temple, the most glorious temple ever! One can imagine his excitement. Oh, to be there when the building was finished, when the Lord appeared in a glorious cloud, overshadowed the temple, and then entered it! It sounded perfect, and Nathan gave his blessing. What proclaimer of God’s Word doesn’t …

The Word among Us

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What Child Is This?

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“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! At first hearing, it seems as though Mary must have gotten it all wrong. I mean, isn’t Christmas a time for celebration? And here, Luke tells us that “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” The contrast is striking. While every year the Christmas retail season starts earlier and earlier and the hype gets more and more intense, the first Christmas was not an intense affair at all. If anything, it seems to be quite calm and quiet in comparison to today’s festivities. Now, of course, you can’t blame people for trying to make a dollar. And we have probably all fed the beast of the commercialization of Christmas to one extent or another. But we’ve not come here to fight the “war against Christmas” or the bogeyman of big business; we are here to get away from the busy-ness of our h…

A Good Life and a Blessed Death: Sermon for the Funeral of Dorothy Williamson

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“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” (Psalm 116:15). Dear family and friends of Dorothy. Sometimes people will say about someone who has died, “She had a good life.” There’s a problem with that. The world’s understanding of a good life is at best inadequate, compared to God’s understanding of what constitutes a good life. Now there could be several similarities. A person who has a good, God-pleasing life might be blessed with a loving and caring spouse, loving and respectful children, a job or vocation that brought meaning and fulfillment to her life, enjoyable hobbies and interests, and more than adequate material blessings. By those definitions, I think you could say that Dorothy had a good life. Married to Elmo on June 14, 1946, the couple enjoyed over 60 years together in a union which has been further blessed with four children, twelve grandchildren, and twenty great-grandchildren. A farmer’s wife, who took on all the a…

Pictures of the Lord and His People: The Bridegroom and His Bride

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Blameless at the Coming of the Lord

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Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Last week, we heard how John the Baptist told people to get ready for Christ’s coming—through repentance and Baptism. We are to live a life of daily repentance. In our Epistle for today, St. Paul gives us further instructions to be ready, that we may be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord: Rejoice always,pray without ceasing,give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies,but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it (1 Thessalonians 5:16-24). St. Paul tells us how to be found blameless at the coming of our Lord. In rapid fire, no less than eight im…

Pictures of the Lord and His People: The Shepherd and His Sheep

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The Mightier One Comes

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Click here to listen to this sermon. “Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes He who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:6-8). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Most of you here are old enough to remember Ed McMahon—the rest of you can Google it later. For thirty years, Ed was Johnny Carson’s sidekick on The Tonight Show. A very talented comedian, actor, singer, and announcer in his own right, Ed’s main job on The Tonight Show was to make Johnny Carson look good, to laugh at Johnny’s jokes, to play the straight man in their sketches, and to introduce the talk show host each night with his trademark “Heeeere’s Johnny!” Like Ed McMahon, everything John said and did was an effort to direct everyone to look to …

Pictures of the Lord and His People: The Potter and His Clay

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Properly Prepared for the Return of the Lord

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Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I’ve always enjoyed reading, but there is never enough time to read as much as I would like. Recently, I started to listen to digitally recorded books. While I still prefer to hold books in my hand (especially the more academic and theological works), I have found it to be an entertaining way to listen to well-written and well-performed works of fiction as I drive. I just finished listening to “World without End” by Ken Follett that is set in 14th century England, with its feudal system of dukes and earls, serfs and servants, monks and nuns. Believe it or not, it helped me better understand the context of Jesus’ parable in our text for today. Occasionally, the lord would have to leave his manor and estate for a while. Sometimes he would be off to war. Other times away on business. Occasionally, he would take a holiday. The lord would leave his steward in charge, giving him the autho…