Monday, March 19, 2018
Mark 13:8-10: [Jesus is saying,] "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations."
Why does bad stuff happen? Why do Christians have to endure hardships? Why can't we all just get along? What will save us?
Bad stuff happens, like storms, gas leaks, tree and hail damage. It happens because we live in a broken sin filled world. It's been broken since they day Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There has been, is now, and will always be wars, rebellions, bombings, terrorism, and the like because man can't get along with man. There is anger, rage, fear, jealousy, and the like. And, as Jesus says, "This is just the beginning."
Christians endure hardships because the world doesn't know Jesus. People react to what they don't know with fear and distrust. People also don't like to be told, "NO." People don't like to be told, "You're a sinner and you deserve punishment. REPENT." People don't hear, "And when you repent, you put your trust in God to forgive your sins and give you a new life by the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus." Does that inhibit us from speaking the truth in love? Sometimes. We get scared to say it. However, you and I have a power to speak the truth in love. God give us the power to boldly confess the saving grace of Jesus in our own ways and gifts.
We can't get along until we get along with Jesus. Human beings will struggle with individualism and individuality. We will always react first in fear and anger. So by the power of God, let go of your fear and distrust and grab hold of God and His grace by means of Jesus and His sacrifice that forgave our sins. As we proclaim the message of salvation and grace, fears subside, anger is reduced, and grace and love rise.
The mercy of God will save us. The grace and love of God our Savior and Redeemer will give to us the strength to endure and even thrive. What we go through, sometimes on a daily basis, pales in comparison to what Jesus went through. And Jesus did it all for us. By His stripes we are healed. By giving His body to be broken and shedding His blood, we are forgiven and renewed. Through Jesus' resurrection we have the strength and power to live a new life now and a new life forever. Dear God, lead us to be the light of life in this dark world, amen.
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.