The King Who Conquered Death

November 26, 2012

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” – I Corinthians 15:20-22

It is said that campaigning for president is very different from being president. On the campaign trail you can make all kinds of promises. That’s easy. But when you become president you discover that keeping those promises is very different from making those promises. In the debates you hear candidates say things like, “When I am president, there will be fewer taxes and more jobs. We will have a stronger military and a stronger economy.” Even while the candidate is making these promises most Americans are skeptical that he will keep them.

Wouldn’t it be something if, during a debate, one of the candidates said, “Fewer taxes and more jobs would be nice. A stronger military and economy are fine. But when I am president, if you happen to die I promise that by the end of my first term I will raise you back to life and you will never die again.”

Let our laughter at such a suggestion serve as an indicator of how amazing the claims about Christ our King are. In I Corinthians 15 the apostle Paul writes, “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” That is how great our King is! He conquered death!

Presidential candidates often like to talk about their past achievements, “I balanced the budget in my state when I was governor.” “I led the way for welfare reform when I was in congress.” How about, “I conquered death when I rose from the dead three days after being crucified?” Only our King would make such a claim. Only our King COULD make such a claim because only Christ our King has conquered death.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for being my king. Thank you that as my king you defeated my greatest enemy when you defeated death. Comfort me with this truth when my days are difficult and sustain me until you take me to your kingdom where my days will be endless. Amen.


Last Sunday in the Church Year

November 25, 2012

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Thanksgiving Eve Divine Worship

November 21, 2012

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The End Will Come

November 19, 2012

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ” – Mark 13:32-37

In the 2nd Century a self-proclaimed prophet by the name of Montanus taught that the end of the world was close at hand. In 1499 a German mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and professor claimed that a deluge would bring about the end in 1524. In the early 19th century a 60-year-old woman by the name of Joanna Southcott claimed that she was pregnant with the next Christ and would give birth to him on Christmas of 1814. She claimed the second coming would follow soon after. More recently, there have been end-of-the-world predictions tied to the Hale-Bopp comet, Y2K, and May 21, 2011. Many people worry about the end of the world next month because they believe the Mayan calendar runs out of more days.

Could it be that with all of these false and failed prophecies we might wonder if the end is really coming? The first disciples had their own reasons for wondering, but Jesus clearly proclaimed the truth to them. The end will come; the Lord will return. The fact that we don’t know exactly when doesn’t make it any less certain.

So what should we do? Instead of wondering and worrying about the day and the hour, Jesus tells us to keep watch. We keep watch by fixing our eyes on Jesus, by repenting of our sins, and finding forgiveness in his precious sacrifice on the cross. We can be like the servants who are ready for their master to return at all times by clinging to God’s Word and promise. We can be ready by faithfully carrying out the tasks that God has given us and joyfully looking forward to our Lord’s return, because he has promised to take us and all believers to be with him forever.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, we do not know the day or the hour of your return. Give us faith that is fixed on you as our Savior and make us always ready for your coming. Help us to live each day with the confidence of your love and mercy and to faithfully go about our daily tasks as we joyfully await your return. Amen.


Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost

November 18, 2012

Divine Service II, Page 158, Lutheran Worship

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Will You Be Voted Out?

November 12, 2012

“As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.” – Daniel 7:9-10

This last week we had an important election. Some were re-elected while others were voted out of office. It happens in every election cycle. The term “voted off” is a regular theme with popular shows as well.

So who’s going to be voted off next? Week after week shows like Dancing with the Stars, Survivor, The Bachelor, American Idol, and the like keep us coming back to see who gets voted off, kicked out or asked to leave. The suspense is created when after a performance, the judging panel has to render a person worthy of staying or deserving an early exit from the show.

The prophet Daniel wasn’t filming a reality TV show, but he was given a vision of the reality that will take place when all of humanity stands before the Almighty God. The glory of the perfect Judge is evident. The angels surround him. The court is seated and the books are opened.

Reality shows portray individuals doing their best to win the judge’s favor or vote. Viewers sometimes cringe because the person they thought was the best is voted off the show. How unfair! So what will the Ancient of Days and the heavenly court say of you? Will you be received into heaven or voted out and sent away to hell? What will be recorded about you in the book God sees?

Don’t we like to think that our performance in life would earn a spot in God’s heaven? Unfortunately, if we are honest with ourselves and the Bible’s teaching (Romans 3:23), unless our performance is perfect, we will always deserve to be voted out of heaven.

Just as we are surprised when someone who, in our opinion, deserves to be voted off, is allowed to stay, so will we be surprised when God reads our name and welcomes us to spend eternity with him in heaven. This is grace, God’s undeserved love for us. He does not judge us as our sins deserve, but rather accepts us because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Psalm 103:8-13). Our sins are erased from his book because Jesus paid for them on the cross. Now when the book is opened and our name is there through faith in Jesus, we receive the good news that we stand forgiven and heirs of eternal life. What a glorious reality God has given to us because of Jesus!

Prayer: Ancient of Days, we humbly recognize our record cannot stand on its own. We desire your grace to not judge us as our deeds deserve, but rather on the perfect record of our dear Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost

November 11, 2012

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