Wrestling With God

October 31, 2011

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” – Genesis 32:24-28

God doesn’t always give us what we want, at least not right away. Have you noticed this? You pray and pray and pray for something but there seems to be no answer. Sometimes we become discouraged or angry with God because it appears that he’s not listening. We might even conclude that God doesn’t love us!

To accuse God of not loving us is a sin of the highest order. God is love. He showed that love when he sent his Son to die on a cross as payment for our sins. God’s love for us is greater than any other love we can imagine.

So, why doesn’t God give us what we want when we want it? Sometimes he is giving us the opportunity to exercise our faith by being persistent in prayer. Wrestling with God in prayer is a way of demonstrating that we trust he will do what is best for us, in his own time and in his own way.

We won’t wrestle God physically the way Jacob did in this unusual story from the Bible. But we do wrestle with God spiritually in our prayers. Like Jacob, be bold and persistent in asking for God’s blessing. Then, trust that the God of love will answer in whatever way is best for you.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the faith to trust you completely. Give me a spirit of persistent prayer that knows you will do whatever is best for me. Amen.
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Reformation

October 30, 2011

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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Thailand Flood News from Missionary Robin McCoy

October 24, 2011

“We are safe and we know that we will remain safe.”

Thai Prime Minister: Floods Will Last at Least Another Month


Following the True God No Matter How Difficult the Road May Be

October 24, 2011

Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” – Ruth 1:16

Following God is not always easy. He never said it would be. Jesus himself insisted that in order to follow him we must daily pick up our cross – whatever that cross might be.  It has always been this way. Following God is not easy.

A woman named Ruth discovered this reality. She was not one of God’s people by birth. She was a foreigner from the land of Moab. But she had married an Israelite man and had learned about the Lord from her husband and his family. Then, tragedy struck. Her husband died along with her husband’s brother and father. When Ruth’s mother-in-law decided to go back to Israel, Ruth went with her. It was not easy. She left everyone and everything she knew. But she was determined. You see, Ruth had come to trust in the God of Israel. She could not stay in Moab and worship the false gods found there. It was not easy to leave, but if that was what it took to follow the true God, then that was what Ruth would do. Please go to your Bible and read the incredible account of Ruth. It is only four chapters about a woman of remarkable faith.

Thank God that he has forgiven us for the many times we have failed to follow him, times we have gone our own way. Thank him today by following him no matter how difficult the road might be.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for perfectly following your Father’s will in my place. Help me bear whatever crosses come my way that I may follow you this day. Amen.

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

October 23, 2011

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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We Live By Faith Not By Sight

October 17, 2011

How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright – but the righteous will live by his faith.” – Habakuk 1:2-3, 2:1-4

About 2600 years ago a man named Habakkuk became frustrated with the sin he saw in his society. He cried out, “How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you will not listen… Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?”

Have you ever felt like Habakkuk? Have you ever looked at our society, thrown up your hands and said, “How long are you going to let this go on, LORD?” Perhaps you have experienced sin and wickedness in your personal life. Maybe you’ve been abused at home or mistreated at school. Maybe you’ve gone to God in prayer and said, “How long are you going to let this go on, LORD?”

This thought comes to our minds when we live by sight rather than by faith. God’s greatest desire is that we trust him. And far too often we don’t. We mutter about our misfortune and sometimes even blame God. Far from trusting him, we point our finger at him as if he were a used car salesman who has sold us a lemon. We even think that he must not love us.

Nothing could be further from the truth! God loves every one of us! But God does things differently than we would. You don’t have to look any further than the cross to see that. On that great and terrible day, as Jesus hung on the nails, things did not look good. This was not what his disciples expected. This was not what they would have done.

But, it is what God did! Because God knew that his Son had to go through hell if we were going to get to heaven. Thank God that he doesn’t do everything the way we would! Thank God that we can lean on him and trust his wisdom.

This is what God meant when he told Habakkuk, “The righteous will live by his faith.” We live by faith not by sight. We give our troubles to him, we put our trust in him and then we patiently wait for him to fulfill his promises. Most importantly, he promises that by faith alone in Jesus we have life with God forever!

Prayer: Lord, when I see the sin and suffering in this world give me the faith to trust that you are in charge. Give me the faith to trust that your love for me will not fail. Let me live by faith and not by sight. Through Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

October 16, 2011

Divine Service II, Page 158, Lutheran Worship

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