Jesus’ Blessings from Above

April 26, 2010

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. – Luke 24:50,51

It must be hard for a father to leave his wife and children to go on a business trip. It can be hard enough to be apart for a weekend how much more difficult to be gone longer. Thankfully today there are ways to keep in touch. For a father who can’t be home physically he can still send his love. He may have free night minutes on his cell phone to talk to his wife. He may have an Internet connection and a web camera so he can read a bedtime story to his kids. He can even send gifts or letters overnight in the mail.

Jesus had a very close relationship with his disciples. It must have been very hard for them to see him go. If only he could stay a little longer and remain with them physically.

But Jesus had to go. He had finished his work on earth and it was time to return to heaven. When Jesus left, however, he made sure to keep in touch with his disciples. Soon after Jesus’ ascent into heaven he sent the Holy Spirit to empower the disciples to be witnesses throughout the world.

What great blessings are ours because of our ascended Jesus! He is in heaven preparing a place for us, interceding before the throne of God, and ruling over creation. What is more, he has promised to be with us always to the very end of the age. The more we open our eyes to his acts of love around us the more we see our blessings from above.

Jesus is still with his people even today. Although he is not here physically, we can always find Jesus in his Word. We don’t even need a cell phone or web camera. All we need is right in our hands whenever we pick up to read the precious message of the Bible.

Jesus makes a point to keep in touch with us who are left to wait for his second coming. Although he can’t be here with us physically he never stops to send us his love. In joy we respond with faith, hope, and love. We could not ask for more than the blessings from above that Jesus gives us daily through his Word.

Jesus, Thy Church with longing eyes
For Thine expected coming waits.
When will the promised light arise
And glory beam from Zion’s gates?
Teach us in watchfulness and prayer
To wait for the appointed hour
And fit us by Thy grace to share
The triumphs of Thy conquering power.
– TLH 64


Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 25, 2010

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

Today’s Readings

Psalm 23

Today’s Adult Bible Class Slides

Confirmation class review takes the place of the sermon today.

Read Saturday’s Sermon

Too Good to be True

April 19, 2010

“I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep.” – John 10:14

Almost daily there are advertisements that make incredible claims: “This is the best product on the market.”  “This is the most effective ever seen.”  “There is nothing that can compare with this.”  These are just a few of the claims.  Then, the offer becomes even more enticing: “Double the amount at an incredible savings.”  Finally, there is the clincher: “A 100% money back guarantee.”  Almost immediately the thought ignites: “This is too good to be true.”

Too good to be true.  Disappointment can usually be avoided when this proverb is followed.  It is a reliable rule of thumb, except in one instance.  The one exception is with Jesus.  In a very precious and picturesque way, Jesus proclaims, “I am the Good Shepherd.”  What makes this claim believable is how he backs it up.  Jesus gives more than a money back guarantee.  He even offers more than double the regular amount.  He provides solid and unmistakable proof.

Just think about the claim Jesus makes as the Good Shepherd.  When I am ignored by an impersonal world, the Good Shepherd knows me personally.  When I am rejected because of failure and disappointment, the Good Shepherd calls me his own.  When my cries for help go unanswered, the Good Shepherd responds in the best way possible.

It almost sounds too good to be true.  But it is true!  My assurance comes from what Jesus did for me, and what he daily does for me.  His work is the proof I need.  His obedient life, his willing death on the cross, his precious shed blood, his victorious resurrection, here are indisputable evidences.  My Savior-Shepherd is there for me, and he will always be there.  He even gives me his word:  “I know you.”

Although this may sound too good to be true, it is the good news Jesus established through his innocent suffering and death.  Jesus is my Good Shepherd.  He knows me, and he loves me!

Because Jesus is my Good Shepherd, I will follow him through this life.  I will also follow him to life in heaven.

Prayer: Oh precious Savior, my Lord Jesus Christ, because you gave your life for me, I am now your lamb.  Be with me.  Keep me safe in every danger.  Guide me and give me peace in knowing I am your sheep and you are my Shepherd.  Amen!

Third Sunday of Easter

April 18, 2010

Divine Service II, Page 158, Lutheran Worship

Today’s Readings

Today’s Bulletin

Today’s Adult Bible Class Slides

Listen to Today’s Sermon:

Read Today’s Sermon

Mission Glimpses

April 16, 2010

Read Mike and Cindy Rodewald’s latest newsletter from Africa.

Jesus Gives Us Peace!

April 12, 2010

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. – John 20:19-20

When the disciples were gathered behind locked doors on that first Easter Sunday, they were very afraid.  They were afraid for their lives.  They truly thought that those who killed Jesus were now going to come after them and kill them, too!  The bottom line is that they had no peace, and they lacked a faith that believed Jesus would rise from the dead.

What is it that scares you?  Studies show that people are most often scared by spiders, snakes and other creepy crawly things. Does that hold true for you as well?

Perhaps you’ve out-grown that fear. Yet as we grow older, we face a new set of fears. Will our health hold up?  Will our children be okay when they leave the house?  Will we have enough money to support ourselves?  All of these “fears” are things that are out of our control.  They, too, rob us of peace – which is where faith in Jesus comes in.

Just as the disciples could not control the enemies of Jesus, so we can’t control the economy, disease, or people who wish to cause harm. Oh, if only Jesus would appear to us and say, “Peace be with you!”

But don’t be fooled.  This “peace” Jesus gives is not intended to make all the bad things in life go away.  The peace Jesus gives strengthens us as we endure the many difficult challenges of life.  The peace Jesus gives also lifts our eyes from the temporary things of this world to the eternal things of heaven. The peace Jesus gives is the assurance that our sins are forgiven, and we will be in heaven forever with him.

Truly, there is nothing to fear.  Cancer, thieves, storms cannot take away the eternal promises Jesus has made to you.  Trust in him and his words, and you will have the peace Jesus gives.

I am content! My Jesus lives again, in whom my heart is pleased.
He has fulfilled the law of God for me; God’s wrath he has appeased.
Since he in death could perish never, I also shall not die forever.
I am content! I am content!

Second Sunday of Easter

April 11, 2010

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

Today’s Readings

Today’s Adult Bible Class Slides

Listen to Today’s Sermon:

Read Today’s Sermon