Free and Full Forgiveness

January 30, 2012

If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O LORD, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. – Psalm 103:3-4

Imagine you are taking a look at your checkbook, and you don’t like what you see. Maybe you don’t have to imagine. Looking at the list of deposits placed into your account, you see a problem. The amount of income is not enough to cover your expenses. Frustration! What’s more, you don’t have a solution for reconciling the account.

Imagine if the Lord God kept a record of sins like we keep a record of our finances in our checkbook. We would have a massive debt before God, and have no hope of settling the account with him. We would be helpless and hopeless before God.

But don’t despair; there is good news: with the Lord there is forgiveness. He is our merciful, loving God who paid the debt of sin for us. He charged his Son for our sin; the blood of Jesus was the complete payment that has set us free us from the guilt of all of our sins. We are forgiven!

If some kind person made a deposit into your checking account to wipe out your financial debt, certainly you would be happy and thank that person for their help and generosity. How much more will we always thank and praise the Lord for the free and full forgiveness of sins that we have through Jesus!

Prayer: Lord God, fill me with the peace and joy of the forgiveness of sins accomplished by Jesus’ suffering and death for me. Help me to thank and praise you for your great love. Amen.

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

January 29, 2012

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January 23, 2012

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way. – I Corinthians 1:4-5

A series of commercials from Master Card has featured the word “priceless.” The commercials describe some extravagant purchases the owner of the credit card makes: dinner at a five-star restaurant, a limousine ride, a diamond ring, celebrating his wife’s birthday – priceless!

As I watch those commercials, I think, “Sure … but how are you going to pay off the credit card bill?” That comes with a price. Suddenly priceless gets pricey.

If God’s blessing came with a price tag on it, who could afford it? The price to obtain God’s favor would cost you your life. Unless you have kept every command of God perfectly, you cannot expect even an ounce of his favor.

The testimony of God’s Word says, “The ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough – that he should live on forever and not see decay” (Psalm 49:8-9).

With a great sense of relief, we know that God’s grace is free. He demands nothing from us. He gives us everything. He leaves us under no obligations because Jesus has so perfectly met them all.

The apostle Paul thanked God for his priceless grace given to the Corinthians in Christ Jesus. If you read 1 Corinthians, you will find how this group deserved none of God’s favor. If you read your life accurately, you will come to the same conclusion.

Jesus Christ secured God’s grace for us. His priceless, perfect life established the standard of conduct God accepted for all sinners. His priceless blood shed on the cross established that no curse for sin remains for any sinner anywhere.

When you know this and believe it, then you are enriched in every way. If you choose not to believe it, you have forfeited your riches and lose everything. Embrace God’s priceless grace in Christ Jesus to enjoy being enriched in every way.

Prayer: Dear Savior God, impress on my heart the inestimable value of your priceless grace. Enrich me in every way as I contemplate your gift to me in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Third Sunday after the Epiphany

January 22, 2012

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Marlin James Deppermann, 1955-2012

January 21, 2012

The Memorial Service Bulletin

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I Want to Hold Your Hand

January 16, 2012

“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.” – Isaiah 42:6

“I wanna’ hold your hand.” Remember that Beatle’s tune? We appreciate a personal touch. But in this verse of the Bible from Isaiah, the picture isn’t so much of romantic lovers, but of the parent who is taking the child by the hand. Can you picture it? The parent along with the toddler needs to cross the street, so the parent takes the toddler by the hand, guiding and protecting.

Surprisingly, in our Bible reading, the picture is that God the Father is the parent, and it’s Jesus’ hand which is being held. It reminds us that Jesus – the true God – became truly human, with our human weaknesses and needs. And so God the Father guided him, protected him, indeed, “held his hand” as he walked Jesus through life and finally to his death on the cross. The Father was guiding, protecting and holding his Son through it all.

But to what end? It was all for YOUR benefit, and MINE! It was all so that forgiveness and eternal life could be won for YOU and for ME! The Father held the hand of the Son, guiding him, directing him, caring for him, but ultimately with your interests in mind.

Now God the Father, because of the work of his Son, can look at you and say, “I wanna’ hold your hand, too.” And he does!

Prayer: Lord, I am encouraged to know that I can count on you for help in my life. Take my hand and lead me. Give me the assurance that as your child by faith in Jesus, you are guiding me through every circumstance and pointing me on my way to heaven. Amen.

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

January 15, 2012

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