Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Hebrews 13:5-6: Keep you life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
"I've Got Your Back:"
How many times have we heard this statement? How many friends, family, and others said this to us? And when it came down to having your back, how many of those who claimed to support you, failed?
Where were they when you needed them?
Many times, people who say they are supporting you, don't. I'm sure, as you are reading this, you are thinking of times when this happened. For me, when the support I thought I had didn't happen, I felt sadness, grief, and a little abandonment.
And what is worse, I think we transfer those feelings to God. "God, why have you forgotten about me? Why weren't you there when I needed you?"
God Will Be There:
God is not like people. People are not like God. People will fail. God will not. People are fallible. God is not. God will ALWAYS have your back. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is with you while you are in the deepest depths of despair. He is with you in your highest of highs. God IS RIGHT HERE NEXT TO YOU.
When You Rely on God...
You can face the seemingly impossible trials of daily life. God is with you.
You can share and celebrate the joys of life. God is with you.
You can stop living your life in fear and hurt. God is with you.
God is with you in all aspects of life. God has promised to you. God has taken on your sorrows, griefs, and sadnesses and nailed them to the cross of forgiveness and grace. Jesus replaced your sins, hurts, and troubles with His love and mercy, and grace.
So go forth with Him. God's got your back.
Thursday, August 22, 2109
Hebrews 12:4-7: In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives."
Sin and God:
It is difficult, to put it mildly, to resist sin. Allow me to rephrase. It is impossible to resist sin. Jesus said, "If you eye causes you to sin, pluck it out..." Well...
And all of us have heard this in one form or another, "Wait 'til your father gets home." Not to say my mother was not a disciplinarian. She was. But those words put shivers up and down my spine.
Yet discipline from a dad is nothing compared to discipline from God. Can a parent tell you that you are guilt of sin, totally unrighteous, and destined for hell? Only God can, and does, that. God does that to everybody because everybody sins. And God loves everybody.
He will let us know that we "messed up."
God Loves All:
God disciplines all people. Not just the people who don't believe in Him. Not just the people who say they believe in Him and don't. God loves all. God disciplines all. Even those who are believers. For everyone is loved by God. Everyone is disciplined by God. NOT EVERYONE believes that God forgave their sin.
So God's discipline is Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Jesus was, and is, the perfect obedience to the will of God the Father. He is the fulfillment of the law because we will not or cannot. Jesus is the forgiveness of sins by means of His gruesome death on the cross. Jesus was despised, beaten, insulted, and hung as a curse on a tree. Jesus took our discipline so that we would be a disciple, a follower of Jesus, who is completely forgiven of all our sins. Jesus is the giver of life, a brand new life both now and forever through His resurrection. Jesus then returned to heaven in order to make sure our houses are ready for our arrival to live in forever with Him.
This is God's Discipline:
So we were disciplined in order to be made disciples. God the Father through God the Son, who is Jesus, gave us the calling to make disciples through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism and by following and doing His Word that we were taught. We were disciplined, and continue to be so, to remind us of what Jesus did for us; to remind us of His great love for us. Whenever we receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion we are not only reminded of God's discipline, we receive the forgiveness in Jesus' body and blood.
So God's discipline frees us to live as His disciples. Believe that and have life with God now and forever.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Jeremiah 23:16-22: Thus says the Lord of Hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophecy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the Word of the Lord, 'It shall be well with you.' and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, 'No disaster shall come upon you.'" For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord to see and to hear His Word, or who has paid attention to His Word and listened? Behold, the storm of the Lord! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord will not turn back until He has executed and accomplished the intents of His heart. I the latter days you will understand it clearly. [The Lord now speaks,] "I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds."
The Story's Beginning:
Jeremiah, the voice for God to the nation of Judah before the exile to Babylon, had some stiff competition from "prophets" telling the people, "God will not allow Babylon to take us away from the home HE promised us. Don't listen to Jeremiah and his 'gloom and doom' of exile. There is no sin of which you have to repent. You will be fine."
The nation of Judah wasn't fine. They continued to go their own way. They continued to follow their own path the destruction. Jeremiah, God's voice to the people, tried to convince the people and leaders to repent and turn back to God. When they do, God will protect them.
They didn't listen. They didn't repent. God then executed His justice. They were exiled.
Listened to the Wrong Voices:
The people ignored the Word of the Lord spoken to them by Jeremiah. They didn't want to hear that they had to repent. They didn't want to hear that they were sinning and their sin was leading them on a path to destruction. Then look what happened.
Don't You Listen to the Wrong Voice:
By listening to the wrong voice, you run the risk of "exile." When you listen to the wrong voice, you are still in your sins and sinfulness.
So to whose voice do you listen? You listen to the voice that is saying, "Repent and turn away from yourself, your sins, and the influence of Satan through others. Repent and turn toward God who forgave you of all your sins and created a new and right spirit in you. Turn to Jesus, who by means of His death on the cross, you were forgiven and a new start and a new life was given. Turn to Jesus who rose from the grave to give you a new life to live now as well as forever."
That is the voice to whom you listen. For that is the voice that leads you to God and His life for you. That is the voice that speaks HIS WORD.
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
John 12:3-8: Mary [sister to Martha, brother to Lazarus], therefore to a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance fo the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, one of His disciples, who would betray Him, said, "Why wasn't this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and given to the poor?" Now he said this, not because he card for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the money box, used to steal what was put into it. But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She has kept this for the day of my burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you don't always have me."
Preparation for Burial:
Here is Jesus just before the Passover and His ultimate sacrifice for us. Jesus and His disciples are at the house of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. Once again, Martha is preparing the meal. Jesus, Lazarus, and Jesus' disciples were sitting at the table.
And then there is Mary. If you recall from a previous visit, Martha is getting the meal ready and Mary is with Jesus. Martha was offended that her sister was not helping to get the meal set up. Martha wants Jesus to back her up and to send Mary to help. Jesus told both ladies that Mary was in the spot that was most important.
So Mary takes this very expensive perfume, normally used in a small amount in water for the washing of the feet of guests who came to your house for dinner, and pours it over Jesus' feet. Then Mary dries Jesus' feet with her hair.
Nobody but Jesus knows what this means. What does it mean? Jesus says, "She has kept this for the day of my burial."
The Aroma of Life:
The aroma of the nard filled this house with a fragrance that is pleasant. That is much different than the fragrance of death.
And we all stink of death because of our sins and sinfulness. We need the "bathing" of the aroma of life from and through Jesus. Jesus took on our death and stink of sin. Jesus shed His blood that washes us clean from so that our lives are a sweet aroma to God.
How Did He Do That?
Jesus experienced the stink of death in order to remove it from us. Even though we will die, we will live with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit forever. Death no longer has any hold on us. We are clean. We are alive. We have the aroma of life in us.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.