Monday, May 31, 2010

faith works

I'll get back to insights about TDP Scriptures one of these days. But I just read this article and thought my readers might be interested in loving through prayer a man who has loved many by faith - even to the point of suffering for not renouncing Christianity:
Manute Bol deserves more recognition for his work in Sudan -

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday after Pentecost - from the archive

One of the nice things about this blog is having a place to store the treasures I found previously in a text.  The comments I made last year about Moses not being able to deliver us to the Promised Land bears repeating.

Curses and Blessings

I mentioned a few days ago that I had a few things to say about cursing blessings.  In TDP, we've been reading of
  • Balak hiring Balaam to curse the Lord's blessed people - the very people He would use (as Balaam preaches) to bring the Messiah to bless the world, the star from Jacob, the scepter holder from Israel (Numbers 24:17), and
  • the Passion of the Lord, especially as the Jewish crowd demands the greatest curse for Jesus of hanging to death on the tree.
It's also been in the Sunday readings, as sinners try to dismiss the Apostles' message at Pentecost by accusing them of drunkeness (funny, the drunks I know become less understandable).  This Sunday many will be hearing in John 8:49-58 that Jesus was labeled as a Samaritan having a demon.  What God calls good, sin labels as evil - because it knows God's goodness means the death of sin.

But, in a way, it also works in reverse as pointed out by the Hymn for Thursday and a note in The Lutheran Study Bible on Numbers 24.  I don't have it handy to quote, but the note makes the point that despite all their complaining and sin, God still made sure that His sinful Israel on the Exodus were blessed.  He declared through Balaam His love for them - even as He does in our day for us!  And so the stanza from "My Song is Love Unknown" (one of my all time favorite hymns, though I know it by this tune) is absolutely appropriate both for the New Testament reading AND the Old!  Jesus goes to suffering that He might free His foes (even OT Israel as they grumble against Him, even us).  Thus, those who are in truth evil - us, God has called good in, with, and under His Son.

Cursing what God calls blessed usually does not go well.  Just ask Balak.  My sister told this story from her classroom this year:
Johnny was reading aloud from Acts 4:26. "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed." As soon as he finished reading that verse (he had four more the read), he paused and then said quietly under his breath, "That was dumb." I asked him if I had heard him correctly, he said yes, and then continued, "What did they think they could do to God?"  I laughed when he said it!
Funny thing - God basically said the same thing as Johnny.  Acts 4 quotes Psalm 2, which then goes on to say in verse 4, "He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision."

On The Radio 2

I just listened to a chilling interview on Issues, Etc with Brigitte Gabriel about a plan to build a mosque at Ground Zero.
Here's a soundbite
Here's the whole interview
The New York Post Article about the 4 hour community board meeting, which voted 29-1 to recommend approval of the project
A petition opposing the building of the mosque at this site

Thursday, May 27, 2010

On the Radio

in case you wonder what I sound like, I've recently done two interviews in connection with my article in Higher Things.
Issues, etc - right click here
Higher Things Radio - right click for lowfi or hifi, save, then listen around the 30:30 mark

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

not TDP, just to be aware of - wireless microphones

The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod - Advisory concerns wireless microphones
thankfully my churches' mics' frequency will still be legal - but after June 11, if you use around 700 MHz band, you'll be breaking the law.

Tuesday - Balaam's Donkey and Two Swords

I can only echo what Sober Peasant says today, "Had a donkey spoken to me, I don't think I would have been so calm..."
lots more I want to say about cursing blessings - but maybe another day.
I had in mind some things to say about the two swords, but then I saw that I said everything I was thinking last year.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Today's Commemoration - Esther and the threads of Scripture

 Myrtle commented on seeing the threads of Scripture in regard to my previous post.  Today's Commemoration points to one I so often miss.  The book of Esther (ironic that her Hebrew name, Hadassah, means "myrtle"!) is a fine example of God working behind the scenes (no mention of His name in the whole book, if I remember correctly) - and behind the scenes is how He often works in our lives, guiding the course of history, even using the hot-and-cold emotions of a pagan king to save His people. 
But there is more saving going on here than just the Jews of Esther's generation.  Because if Haman had been successful, and all Jews had been exterminated, then God's promise that the Savior would be the Son of David could NEVER come true - which TDP points out "through Esther He preserved the Old Testament people through whom the Messiah would come" (pg 1299, and 373 - which has a writing on Esther from Luther, and an excellent prayer.)
Out of curiousity, anyone see how the Psalmody for the Monday after Pentecost is connected to the other two Readings?  Ironically, Psalm 128 will be studied tomorrow in Bible Class as we continue through Rev. Matt Harrison's Book of Joy (we're on the BB gun chapter.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Easter 7, Thursday - Connections

The authority of Aaron is challenged (Numbers 16) as he is treated shamefully (Luke 20:11).  The Son is killed by being nailed to wood that is as dead as Aaron's staff.  But when what is dead comes to life, budding and bearing fruit, it shows the chosen One of God.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday of Easter 7 - Luke 19 Prayer

All praise to You, O Lord, for making this heart of stone cry out to you.  Help us to know the times of Your visitation.
[see Prayer of the Day, pg. 318]

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Easter 7, Tuesday - Prayer from the Gospel

(beautiful collect included in TDP by the way.  Go read it if you haven't already.)

O Lord, as You have entrusted us with the treasure of Your word, let us not bury it deep.  But let us receive Your Word in the Spirit it has been given - not just for our benefit, but given to use in service of our neighbor like all Your gifts.  Amen.

Easter 7, Tuesday - the Rebellion of Korah

Last week I posted about how conceit and envy "kill the communal sharing of joy (and love and peace, patience, kindness, etc)."  We see in Numbers 16 an example of envy cutting off the joy of life with God in His orderly worship.

So, when peace in the congregation is disrupted and envy rears its ugly head, what to do?  Here's an excellent Luther quote on Numbers 16:15 in The Lutheran Study Bible:
The ungodly... are obsessed with the ambition to apply and appropriate the promises to themselves.  Therefore they oppress and harass the true church.  In these circumstances there is nothing else for us to do than to commend our cause to the Lord, as Moses did in that troublesome conflict with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Num. 16).  They were entirely incurable and so sure of their own cause that they were neither willing nor able to be instructed.  Therefore Moses refers the matter to a divine judgment and prays the Lord not to regard their sacrifice.  Thereupon the Lord pronounces judgment upon them and encourages the true church" (Luther's Works: Volume 3 - Lectures on Genesis Chapters 15-20, page 15, emphasis added).

Easter 7 - Monday - Luke 18-19

I had never before seen the parallelism going on in these two pericopes.
Both the blind man and Zacheus are excluded from the Savior's presence by the crowd
  (who communicate verbally and non-verbally that these two men are not worthy of Christ's presence
    - and the blind man agrees with their assessment in his request for mercy).
But neither man gives up.
And Jesus personally brings salvation to both.
And this being parallelism, the second is greater than the first.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sharing the joy of yesterday / Love covering the sins of Pastor and People

all sorts of reasons to rejoice yesterday - as Pr. Mark Buetow preaches in this excellent installation sermon for Rev. Alan Kornacki, Jr., a new brother in my neck of the woods.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ascension Sermon 2010 (Year C)

(HT: Todd Pepperkorn for the structure of this sermon)
            As the disciples gaze into Heaven, the two angels in white ask them, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?  This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
            This Jesus will come back.  Listen to what God’s Word has told us about this same Jesus here at Church since last December:

This same Jesus is the ruler “from of old, from ancient days,” who was born for you in Bethlehem as prophesied by Micah (5:2).
This same Jesus came to this world to do the will of God, that we be sanctified through the offering of His body (Hebrews 10:7, 10).
This same Jesus appeared in this world to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
This same Jesus “is in your midst; [so that] you shall never again fear evil” (Zephaniah 3:15).
This same Jesus today takes His throne in Heaven as God and Man, doing His Kingly work with the personal knowledge of what it is like to face your flesh and blood joys and struggles.

This same Jesus was seen as an infant by Simeon and Anna at the Temple, and they recognized Him as the Christ, so they were ready to depart this world in peace (Luke 2).
This same Jesus opens your ears to recognize His voice, and opens your mouth, so that you may declare His praise.

This same Jesus went into the water of Baptism, so that you could be united to His Baptismal death and resurrection.
This same Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil in every way that you are tempted (Luke 4).
This same Jesus calls you to repent of your failures in temptation, lest you perish like the rest of the world (Luke 13).

This same Jesus is the Rock from which OT Israel drank in the wilderness of Exodus (1 Corinthians 10:4).
This same Jesus changed water into wine, even as He still does far more than we could ever ask or imagine of Him.
This same Jesus is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him (Romans 10:12).

This same Jesus went to desolate places to spend time alone with His Father in prayer.  And He ascends today to serve as your mediator, speaking of His love for you to the Father.

This same Jesus rebukes fevers and demons, and they leave their victims (Luke 4).  He healed many so that the lame blind could see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, and lepers were cleansed (Luke 7:31).
This same Jesus rejoices over you with gladness, quiets you by His love, and will restore your fortunes before your eyes (Zeph. 3:17, 20).

This same Jesus had the Spirit upon Him to proclaim good news to the poor, that this is the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18)
This same Jesus has fulfilled the Scriptures in your hearing (Luke 4:21).
This same Jesus commanded the fishermen to let down their nets, and they caught so many fish that their nets were breaking.  This same Jesus made them to be fishers of men.
This same Jesus, through the apostles and prophets, gives His Word to dwell in you richly, that you might teach and admonish “one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16)

This same Jesus receives sinners and eats with them (Luke 15:2).
This same Jesus says to you, “Take, eat, this is my body; take, drink, this is my blood for the forgiveness of sins” – though we have invited God’s wrath by our appetite for loveless sins.
This same Jesus “loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood” (Rev. 1:5).

This same Jesus tells you all that “The Father Himself loves you” with the extravagant love of a Father who restores His lost sons to the family home with a feast.
This same Jesus makes “you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).

This same Jesus borrowed a donkey to ride into Jerusalem as the King in peace, here to save us from our rebellious pride and disobedience.
This same Jesus “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a Cross” (Philippians 2).
This same Jesus “was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows… wounded for our transgressions… The LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53).
This same Jesus promised Paradise at His death to the repentant thief on the Cross – and to you and me who also justly deserve eternal punishment for trying to steal God’s power and glory for ourselves (Luke 23).
This same Jesus was made to be sin, though He knew no sin, so that in Jesus “we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

This same Jesus committed His spirit into the hands of His Father at His death.
This same Jesus on the third day rose from the dead, just as He said (Luke 24:6-7).
This same Jesus “will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:21).

This same Jesus breathed His Holy Spirit on the Apostles, and let Thomas touch the nail marks and His side, so that they could bring peace and the forgiveness of sins to you (John 20).
This same Jesus is your good shepherd, who watches over “His flock in the strength of the LORD,” and so you shall dwell secure and never perish, for He is your peace (Micah 5:4), and no one will ever snatch you out of His hand (John 10:28).

This same Jesus today is exalted by God to His right hand “as Leader and Savior, to give repentance… and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).
This same Jesus makes sure you know that His Ascension is not the end of His work on earth.  It is only the beginning.  His work now continues by His Word throughout the entire world.
This same Jesus, after His ascension, appeared to and converted Paul, who had been an enemy of the faith (Acts 9) – and still converts many more enemies by the power of His Spirit and His love.

This same Jesus is making all things new (Rev. 21), even making the heavens and earth new (Isaiah 65:17) – and He makes you new too.
This same Jesus establishes “your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father” (1 Thess. 3:13)
This same Jesus says you will have sorrow, but He will see you again, “and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22).

And that is just from the Scripture readings that we have heard since Advent.  Upcoming in this year of Our Lord’s grace, we will soon hear that:
This same Jesus prayed for you in the Garden of Gethsemane, that through the apostolic word, you may be one with all His people as you believe the Father sent Him.
This same Jesus teaches us to pray to “Our Father, who art in Heaven…” (Luke 11).
This same Jesus teaches you to ask for God’s Kingdom, and for daily bread so that you will not be anxious about your life, because the Father values you more than the birds and the lilies, and it is His good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12).

This same Jesus has traveled through our land as a Good Samaritan, a foreigner from Heaven.  And when He finds us left for dead by sin, He lifts us up and heals our wounds as the One who shows mercy (Luke 10).
This same Jesus comforts your hearts and establishes “them in every good work and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:17) that shows mercy to your neighbor, as God has first done for you.
This same Jesus now lives in you, as you have been crucified with Him (Galatians 2:20).

This same Jesus raised the widow’s son at Nain from the dead – and He will raise your dead loved ones too (Luke 7).
This same Jesus stopped the hand of Abraham so that son Isaac would live, and then Jesus put Himself on the altar of the Cross to be sacrificed instead.
This same Jesus suffered “in order to sanctify the people through His own blood” (Hebrews 13:12).
This same Jesus tells you to “rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).

This same Jesus will be seen “coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  [And] when these things take begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:27-28).
This same Jesus is surely coming soon (Rev.22:20).

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  Amen.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Easter 6, Tuesday - Sharing the Joy of the Passover

While reading about the first anniversary Passover celebration, Numbers 9:14 jumped out at me.  Naturally one might wonder what the sojourner has to celebrate at the Passover.  They (or their ancestors in Passovers to come) were not rescued from slavery in Egypt.  Now, there is something to be said for the fact that the sojourner would not know the LORD God of Israel if not for the first Passover, but I think this is something more.

Last night we studied Galatians 5:25-26 at Men's Club (and I wish I had thought of this then!) St. Paul strongly ends his section on life in the Spirit with "Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another."  Both kill the communal sharing of true joy (and love and peace, patience, kindness, etc).  Conceit says "I have reason for joy and you don't."  Envy says, "You have reason for joy and I want to take your reason for myself."  (Now if only I had thought of this last night as I was teaching that verse at Men's Club.)

However, when the the Spirit gifts to us joy (and love and peace), it is not given just for the one person.  As we studied at Bible Class this morning, even as we are to bear one another burdens in the Church, we also are meant to share in each other's holy joys in this community of joy (HT: Rev. Matthew Harrison's "A Little Book on Joy" - listen to Issues etc intervieworder the book here).  And so the sojourner is meant by God to share with the Israelite's joy over their (or their ancestors') redemption from Egypt as if the redemption was their own.

"Blessed are You, O Lord our God,
king of the universe,
who led Your people Israel by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
Enlighten our darkness by the light of Your Christ;
may His Word be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path;
for You are merciful, and You love Your whole creation
and we, Your creatures, glorify You,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen."  (Evening Prayer's "Thanksgiving for Light", LSB 245)

Lord, help us to be like the shrewd manager (Luke 16:1-9) - not in dishonesty and faithlessness, but in single-minded devotion to salvation for ourselves and for our neighbor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sermon for Easter 6C - John 16:22-33

            On this day that reminds us to be thankful for our mothers, Jesus reminds us to pray.  That is good.  We need both reminders – to give thanks to mom AND to God for blessing us with mom – and dad.  Our sermon hymn praises God for faithful mothers.  God is pleased when they behave like Lydia, the business woman in today’s reading from Acts.  They make it their business to see that their households are baptized, attend church and know God’s Word.  Christian mothers live lives that “bear clear witness to Christ, our risen Lord” (LSB 855.13).
            Years ago, I noted that we need to work on our thanksgiving prayers, since we tend to pray them so much less than our prayers asking God for stuff.  But we need to work on our prayers asking for stuff too.  Otherwise, Jesus would not have to tell us, “Ask, and you will receive.” 
            As Christians, we all know we should pray.  The problem is we tend not to do it.  When we do pray, it is kind of like when we were kids and we had a problem we could not deal with.  We did not want Mom or Dad to find out about the mess we got into, but we did not know what else to do than to ask them to fix it.  And so we go to God feeling a little guilty – afraid of the trouble we are going to get into, knowing we should be talking to Him more often than we do.
            Various people have encouraged us to be Prayer Warriors.  So then prayer becomes a sword, a weapon to use in our fight against sin.  Since even the best sword is only as good as the person holding it, naturally we think that is the way it is with prayer – that our prayers will only be effective if the words are put together well, if I am skilled and not distracted or weak.
            But no!  That is the way prayer may be taught, but that is not the proper Christian view.  In fact, I got that description of prayer as a sword from a Muslim teacher.  Jesus does not describe prayer that way.  In Islam, you better have your life just right, your prayers just right, your holy deeds just right so that Allah will care for your needs.  But listen to Jesus say, “The Father Himself loves you.”      
            And because “the Father Himself loves you,” do you think that now He will deny your prayers because you did not put the words together right?  Because you got distracted?  No way.  How many of you mothers or fathers, if your children asked you for something they really needed would say “no” simply because their grammar was wrong, or because they said hateful things in the past?  No, even though the child takes their parent’s love for granted, the love of parents for their children still remains. 
And God the Father’s love goes even deeper.  It is a tragedy that the worst fathers and mothers abandon and forsake their children.  Yet even the best mom in the world finds self-serving reasons not to give her children all the loving care they need.  Other things became more important.  Sometimes we make the right decision about priorities.  Sometimes we must pick the least bad option about which need to meet and which need to set aside.  Like with the rest of life, parenting requires sacrifice – and none of us can claim to have made all the right sacrifices.  Not when our selfishness remains. 
It is common to picture God the Father as a stern, grumpy and strict deity until Jesus comes along.  And when we break His command to honor motherhood and fatherhood we certainly give God plenty of reasons to leave us as orphans.  But at least we have Jesus, who is nice and smart and knows exactly what to say to change God the Father’s mind about you, to get Him to see it your way so that you get back on God’s good side – about the way that if you were in big trouble with mom, dad might help you by getting mom to calm down – or vice versa. 
But that is not the way it is with God.  Do not see God the Father as an old grump who is annoyed by you.  Jesus says, “The Father Himself loves you.”  Because He loves you, the Father sent His only begotten Son to be your Savior, to be a human like you spending nine months inside His mother’s womb before birth.  Because the Father loves you, the Son became your perfect substitute and never disobeyed the Fourth Commandment, but honored Joseph and Mary all the way to death.  Because the Father loves you, Christ willingly sacrificed Himself on the Cross to pay for your sins – for all the times you failed to treat your mother and father with respect and love and care; for all the times that you moms and dads have failed to be honorable and respectable caregivers.  Because the Father loves you – Alleluia, Christ is Risen!
[He is risen indeed, Alleluia] – because the Father raised Jesus from the dead so that you now hear you are forgiven of all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen!
It is in, with, and under that Holy Name that we pray and we say our “Amens.”  With faith IN that name, we use His name not to curse and swear and deceive, but we pray WITH His name as we call upon Him in our times of trouble, and praise and give thanks with His Name.  And we pray UNDER Christ’s name.  It is almost like we wear a Jesus costume when we go before God’s throne of mercy, as St. Paul says that all of us who have been baptized into Christ’s name are clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27).  Ephesians 2:18 says, “Through Him we… have access in one Spirit to the Father.”  Luther explains that praying in Christ’s name is the way that Jesus “unites Himself to us, really puts us on a par with Him, and merges our praying into His and His into ours” (AE 24:407).
God’s grace overcomes all our anxieties about praying and gives us boldness and confidence.  The Father answers all our worries about the performance and acceptability of our words by listening to them “as if they came from the mouth of Jesus.  He is just as pleased with us and our prayers as [He is] with Jesus and His prayers” (Kleinig, “Prayer – We Speak to God”, 44).  Luther goes on to explain that “there is really no difference [between Christ’s prayers and ours] except that our prayers must originate in Him and be spoken in His name… Aside from this, He makes us equal to Himself in all things” (AE 24:407).
All of us have room to grow in prayer.  We still have much to learn about praying with trust in the truth that you are as much a child of God as Jesus is, praying to the Father like little children chatter on and on with their parents throughout the day.
So we ask as dear children ask their dear Father.  “Father, I'm hungry - give us this day our daily bread.  Father, I'm lonely and the kids make fun of me at school.  Father, I am having nightmares and I can’t sleep.  Father, my friends are in a big mess and need some help too.”  And in the same breath we ask, “Father, can I have the keys to the car” - which I only thought of praying because Jesus this week says, “Ask” and I lost my car key and need some help to find it.  Or you ask, “Father, can I have some candy?  Or some cake?”  That sounds silly, but many of our requests are for silly things like candy and cake.  Yet even these prayers do not annoy God.  And God most certainly gives you things in life that you really do not need, but are pretty sweet to have.
              On this side of glory you always you pray in a world filled with trouble.  John 16 is only a few hours away from Jesus’ death, and His mother Mary will see that happen, and she will not be the last mother to watch her child die.  That is how Jesus has overcome the world.  But you still live in it.  Rejoice and thank God for those times when He gives you the joys of this creation – like dinner with friends and the love of mom and dad.  But also submit to His goodness and will.  We are still children.  We do not know best.  Sometimes God says it is not time for healing yet – or that it is not time for candy and cake, which will spoil your appetite for the Bread of His Word, or the Supper of His Son.  So we wait for Him to reveal His goodness, trusting that He will bring us to Himself in heaven, that Christ was forsaken by His Father at the Cross so that the Father would never, ever forsake you.  Because the Father Himself loves you, you will not be destroyed in Hell.  You look forward to the happy reunion in Heaven with faithful mothers and fathers– AND children – for Mary will not be the only mother who will see her child alive again after death.  Those who have died in Christ will be raised in His glory, so that the arms that wrapped around you in love will hold you again.  Because the Father Himself loves you, on the day Christ raises the dead, all your prayers for help and healing, faith and love – and candy and cake – will be answered.  Amen.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Leviticus readings - again

I rarely want to do this, but I thought that the resources I posted here last year would be good to re-run.

Pastor Weedon wrote this for those who find the Leviticus readings getting them down.

Rev. McCain wrote this about how to understand Leviticus.

and Pastor Petersen wrote this about the Levitical distinctions of holy and common, clean and unclean and the New Testament application for us.

365 days of posts

well, not really... plenty of days where some of you have checked my blog and found nothing.  But this is the 365th day of this blog's existence (though the anniversary according to the Church calendar happend some time last week.)  Kind of fun to look back to my comments on the same Scripture passages we're reading now (and to remember that my mom was my first commenter, and Rick Stuckwisch the second).  Also fun to note from SiteMeter how people found my blog - and, for some reason completely mysterious to me, a bunch of people find my blog searching for "Ascension Sermons" - all throughout the year too, not just in May. 
I'm still glad I started blogging, so I guess I'll keep on going.
Weedon has a fun little practice of reaching milestone visit #s and asking for people to introduce themselves - and SiteMeter says I'm at 1700 right now, so who are you?  How did you find this blog?  Have we ever met in person, or just online?

God grant you a heart open to His word, this day and always.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Easter 5 Wednesday - Psalm 116

I was hit hard last night when I found out from a friend about the wife of a friend's tragic death.  Rev. Michael Poynter was a few years behind me at Seminary, and then we would see each other every so often at St. Louis events like CPH's warehouse sale.  His wife Rachel and my wife Laura seemed to be pregnant at exactly the same times (except for our last pregnancy.)  Reading "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints" was a blessing this morning.
Please keep their congregation, children, and Mike in your prayers.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Luke 12

nice little dovetail in Luke 12:1-12 with what I preached in my sermon yesterday based on John 16:12-22. 
Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit would come to them (John 16:13-15, Luke 12:11-12), and no one would take their joy from them (John 16:22). 
Though the rulers and authorities tried (Luke 12:4, 11).  But when they threatened the Disciples with death if they would not give up on Jesus, the Disciples response was that the rulers might destroy their body - but the One who can destroy both body and soul in Hell forever, has said that by grace, He does not want to.
God will make them - and us - to be like Jesus.  Tormented by sin for a while, as dead as Jesus was on Good Friday, but then as alive as Jesus on Easter, raised up with sorrow turned to complete joy.

Monday of Easter 5 - Leviticus 21

I note that a son of my congregation is still a pastor by the grace of God.  Under the old covenant, Leviticus 21 would forbid him of continuing as a priest due to the breaking of his arm about 3 years ago (healed nicely through the wonders of surgery.  But it certainly was mutilated for a time.)

Also, though it may seem there is a bunch of Law in this book, don't miss the Gospel.  This book is about God's desire to relate to His people, and how sin must be dealt with for that to happen.  Also, note the grace in Leviticus 21:8, 15, and 23 - people do not sanctify themselves.  The LORD sanctifies you and His priests.