The Reason For Suffering

May 27, 2013

We share in [Jesus’] sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. – Romans 8:17

A man once came across the cocoon of an Emperor Moth. He took it home. In time he began to see movement inside. The moth was getting ready to emerge.

But there seemed to be a problem. The moth struggled and struggled, but it appeared that the moth was having great trouble breaking through the cocoon. The struggle continued, and still the moth could not break through. Finally, the man had an idea. “I’ll save this moth a lot of trouble,” he thought.

He took a scissors. And with the scissors he carefully snipped the bottom of the cocoon so that the moth could get out. As soon as he did, the moth slipped out easily.

But then, the man noticed something. He noticed that the moth had a large, swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man thought, “No problem. In a few hours the fluid will go from the body into the wings and the moth will be fine.”

But the moth was not fine. Because the man had cut short the time of struggle inside the cocoon, the wings never got a chance to get strong. The wings remained withered. The moth never flew.

When the Lord gives us a time of suffering in which to struggle, he does it for a reason. One of his purposes is to keep us close to him, his Word, his love and forgiveness. For when we do, his Holy Spirit strengthens us. He seasons our faith. He reinforces our bond with Christ. And when that happens, our Christian lives can take flight. We can touch the lives of others with the gospel. We can do the wonderful things the Lord intends for us to do.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when sufferings come, bless my struggle. By your gospel, fill me with your Holy Spirit. Strengthen the wings of my Christian life. Amen

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The Holy Trinity

May 26, 2013

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Pentecost

May 19, 2013

Divine Service II, Page 158, Lutheran Worship

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A Joy Story – A Jailer Is Set Free

May 13, 2013

The jailer… asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. – Acts 16:30-33

Paul and Silas were in the city of Philippi. They had been jailed for proclaiming the gospel. Rather than demanding to see an attorney or singing the jailhouse blues, they demonstrated their faith by praising God with hymns and prayers. It was truly a unique experience for their fellow prisoners and, as we learn, it had an impact on their jailer as well.

About midnight an earthquake shook the city of Philippi. The jail was so rattled by the tremor that the cell doors opened. The jailer feared that his prisoners had escaped. He knew that the consequence of losing a prisoner was a death sentence or him. Absent faith, and therefore hope, he saw only one course to take. He drew his sword and was about to end his own life, when Paul stopped him. The apostle told him that the prisoners had not fled. No one had escaped. Everyone was present and accounted for. The jailer had nothing to fear from the authorities, but that didn’t remove the fear of a Judge greater than the Roman government.

A second quake occurred. Not one that shook the earth, but one that awakened in the jailer the great need of forgiveness for his sins! The need of some means by which he might appease the divine Judge.  The jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” He didn’t know his Savior; didn’t understand that it was not about his doing something, but learning what God had already done for him. There was a void in his life that needed to be filled; a chasm that separated him from God. He was searching for the means of being rescued from the guilt of his sin.

The jailer didn’t have to wait long for the rescue. Two redeemed sinners, who understood his need, spoke the answer that every soul needs to hear: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” The stream of living water that brings life and hope to spiritually dead and desolate hearts poured forth from the apostles’ mouths. “They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.” Freedom from bondage to sin! Freedom from the power of the devil! Freedom from the fear of punishment! Now that’s a joy story. And it is intended for you, too!

Prayer: Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them, that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise. Amen. (Psalm 106:4-5)


Mother’s Day

May 12, 2013

Seventh Sunday of Easter

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Ascension Day

May 9, 2013

Evening Prayer, Page 250, Lutheran Worship

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Even in Prison We Can Find Joy!

May 6, 2013

All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. – Philippians 4:22

The apostle Paul was innocent of any wrongdoing. Yet he was arrested and imprisoned, even faced possible execution all because he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. Did he complain? Was he filled with self-pity? Did he doubt God? No. He rejoiced! He was filled with joy because he saw God’s purpose for him. The Lord had put him where he was at that very moment in time. And God always has a reason wherever he leads his children. Paul illustrates one of those reasons in these words near the end of his letter to the Christians in Philippi: “All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.” Yes! It’s a joy story. A Christian bearing the good news about Jesus finds in his imprisonment, not sorrow, but purpose. He was a missionary who discovered a new field into which God’s gospel could be sowed for a harvest of souls – and this field reached into the home of the pagan emperor of Rome.

Think what that means for you! Look around you. Maybe you’re in a stressful work environment. Maybe you’re a person who is surrounded by unfriendly neighbors. Maybe you’re just one Christian in a family of unbelievers! God has placed you right where he wants you to be at this very time for a specific reason. Look around you again! See God’s purpose for your life. Open your eyes and ears, and when the time is right open your mouth and speak. Tell those people around you what Jesus has done for you and also for them. Watch with expectation the power of that message which can change those who are dead in their sin and unbelief into those who are spiritually alive in Christ.

The joy of our lives is Jesus. He is our Savior who sacrificed his life that we may live forever with God. This joy is so wonderful that we want others to share it with us. So we look for opportunities that God gives us to tell our joy stories of Jesus!

Prayer: Lord, it is your will that all come to a knowledge of the truth. Use me to bring the message of salvation to people so that they may be brought to saving faith in Jesus. Help me be your witness even under difficult circumstances. Amen.