Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Philippians 2:3-11: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
There is No Doubt:
If you had any doubts as to who Jesus is, consider those doubts done away with. This is clear. Jesus is not just a man. Jesus is not just a "miracle worker." Jesus is not a nice man trying to do the right thing and got caught up in the politics of the day.
Jesus is God, sent from heaven. Jesus is both God and man at the same time. Jesus obeyed God the Father right to the cross. Jesus bore the curse of dying on a cross so that we would not have to. Jesus died so that we would live.
Therefore God the Father exalted Jesus, Y'shua, Joshua, "the one who saves," because of the humility that is Jesus. The Son of God and Son of Man set aside the power, majesty, and glory that is being God, and became nothing for you and me. Because of Jesus, we have the glory of God.
What Do We Do?
What else? We see Jesus as He truly is. Jesus is God. Jesus is man. Jesus saved us from ourselves, our ego, our pride, our arrogance, our "manifest destiny" of greatness, and takes us down "a few notches." Jesus helps us see ourselves with humility. In that humility comes confession, repentance, and forgiveness.
And in that forgiveness we see God's grace flowing through us. No longer do we act solely to benefit ourselves. We see the needs of others more clearly. We grace and mercy that comes from God the Father through Jesus. We see that life of service that was given to us and, to use the phrase, we "pay it forward."
When we experience Christmas, let us experience it with love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
Monday, December 17, 2018
John 1:6-9: 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 he light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
We have exactly one week until Christmas Eve. We have one week for final preparations. Are ready? Are all the presents bought? Is the dinner ready to go? Are you ready to travel, if you're heading any where? These are just a few of the last minute details we all do just before Christmas.
Yet the most important one to be prepared for is, "Are you ready for the Light?"
That was John the Baptist's role and responsibility. John was to prepare the way for the Light of the World. John was the final prophet. John was the last one that God sent to prepare the people for the arrival of His Son. The Light was about to arrive. The long expected Messiah, the anointed one, was about to break into the world.
The Light of the World:
The Light of the World, the one that no darkness could, or would, overcome, was about to show the way. The darkness of night could not stop the arrival. The angels arrived in bright array and showed the shepherds the way to the Light of the World.
The bright and unusual star appear the night of the LIght's birth and caught the attention of Wise Men in the East. It took them about two years before they met the Light of the World.
Yet the most devastating darkness that permeates the human race is the darkness of sin. It is a darkness of the soul. It is a darkness that leads people blindly into the clutches of human self-worship and away from God. Yet even THAT darkness could not stop the arrival of the Light. The Light of the World is HERE. He is dispelling and displacing that darkness of sin and soul, penetrating to the very heart of the matter.
Jesus, the Light of the World, came to lift you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Come and Worship:
Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ the newborn King. We all struggle against the darkness or ourselves. The sad state of affairs is that we cannot break out of the darkness. The light must penetrate the darkness. And it DOES. So when you see the Light of the World coming into your life, do not resist. Allow Jesus to take you out of the darkness and bring you to Himself.
Then celebrate. Let's start now. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. And when Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday come, join us to worship. See our website, Facebook, and Twitter for times.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Philippians 4:4-7: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The Lord in at Hand:
Did you realize that God, our Lord and Savior, is here with us, right now? God the Father is always with us. The evidence of His creating work is around us. The birth of people and animals, the exquisite design of all created things tells us that we could not have "evolved." Things of the world are too simple and too complex to "just happen." God the Son, Jesus the Christ, is always around us. Jesus Himself tells us, "Where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there with them." Jesus and His saving grace, saving us from sin, death, and the influence of Satan, is here in our lives. And God the Holy Spirit is with us in all the words written down in the Holy Bible. He continues to talk to us through the Word, reminding us of the Word of God who was made flesh who dwelt among us. God the Holy Spirit continues to lead us in the direction that He wants us to go.
Why Don't We See Him?
It's because, for the most part, we are not looking for Him. For example, all the hub bub of the season, the meals, the presents, decorations, and the "programs" just to name a few, keep us from seeing Jesus and His salvation. Craziness and motion keep us from the realness of Jesus.
Why don't we slow down a little bit? Let's take some time to reflect and renew. Let's take a moment to look at all that God has made. Let's take a moment to breathe and look at Jesus and all that He did. Let us look at Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Let us look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Let us take a step back and be reminded by the Holy Spirit through His Word about the shepherds who left the defenseless flocks and went to go see Jesus. Let us ponder the Wise Men, who left their work and take at least two years to follow the Christ Star to Bethlehem and Jesus.
As the reality of the life of God, the grace and mercy that He continues to pour out upon you and your family. Be filled with the joy that only God gives to you. Allow God to calm your minds and relieve your stress, anxiety, and challenges. Rejoice and be at peace.
THE LORD IS AT HAND!
Monday, December 10, 2018
Luke 7:20, 22-23: And when the men had come to Him [Jesus], they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, 'Are you the who is to come or shall we look for another?'" And He [Jesus] answered them, "God and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to the. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me."
Who's Coming to Dinner?
Would you have a dinner party for someone who you do not know? Would you set up the table, cook the roast, the potatoes, the carrots, and the dessert for an unknown guest? You don't know what he wants to eat. Would you do that
Would you ask about the guest? Would you ask, "Who is the dinner guest? What does he like? What's he like?"
That is why John sent some of his disciples to Jesus. John wanted to know if Jesus was the anticipated one. John had baptized Jesus. John heard the voice of the Father God. Yet for those around Him, John wanted to hear from the voice of Jesus Himself for the sake of his followers.
Show and Tell:
Jesus answers John's disciples by saying, "You will know by what I am doing. People are being saved from all the different types of illnesses. People are being healed. AND people are being brought back to life. Watch what I am doing and compare that to what is written in Scriptures about the one whom you expect. Let the evidence speak for itself."
And Jesus' answer is the same for us. Jesus, because of what He did. Jesus showed us Himself in what He did that will fill the sin sized hole in your life and make you whole. Jesus is showing you, "I have cured your spiritual blindness and gave you faith that allows you to see. I have healed your legs so that you will walk with me and walk for me. I have cleansed your soul from the stain of sin and washed you from all the decay of "yuch." I have open your ears to hear the Gospel of salvation and grace so that you will hear me more clearly. I even raised you up so that you have a new life to live for me and with me. How did I do this? I was born and laid in a manger. I experienced your life and walked with you and lived the life that God our Father wanted for you. I walked to the cross to forgive you of the sins that separated you from our Father. I was raised to life so that you will have a new life to walk with me right into heaven through faith. And one day, you will be with me and our Father forever."
This is what Jesus did. Know and believe in what you see and hear from me.
Monday, December 3, 2018
Luke 2:11-12: [The Angel to the shepherds is saying, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sing for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."
"From Heaven Above to Earth Below:" Stanzas 2 and 3
"To you this night is born a child
Of Mary, chosen virgin mild.
This little child of lowly birth
Shall be ti joy of all the earth.
This is the Christ, our God Most High
Who hears your sad and bitter cry;
He will Himself your Savior be
From all your sins to set you free."
Martin Luther, the one who got the Reformation started, quoted the above Bible passage in the hymn he wrote. In the hymn, Martin Luther not only recounted the story of Jesus' birth. He commented on the meaning of Jesus' incarnation. He share with you and me also the importance and necessity of Jesus coming to earth from heaven.
The above stanzas are a retelling of the words of the angel who spoke them to the shepherds.
Simply put, the world needs to hear these words of announcement. People have to hear these words because they are the foundational announcement of this time of year. The world needs to hear that its' Savior, Lord, and King is born and is here!
Now's the Time:
So now is the time to let the world know about who they are missing. It is time, Church, to act like angels and tell the message of Jesus. Jesus was conceived of the Virgin Mary. He was born in Bethlehem. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the "Anointed One." Jesus lived the perfect life because He is the Son of God. Jesus lived to die on a cross and to give up His body and shed His blood. Jesus rose to life to give to us the promise of a new life now as well as forever.
This is the message. It is our time to tell it, Church.
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.