Feeling the Same as Jesus

September 30, 2013

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens. Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we might receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:14-16

Remember when you were so tired that all you wanted to do was sleep, and instead your baby with an ear infection woke up every time you tried to lay her down? When you wanted to get some extra tasks done at work, and fell farther behind? When you looked forward to the leisurely Saturday filled with college football, and ended up fixing the garage door?

Know this about God whom you worship: Jesus came down to our world, and he knows how you feel. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.”  Jesus was willing to deal with the poison, the sin of this world, so that he could win you for an eternity of heaven. He willingly lifted up and carried your sins to the cross. Suspended between heaven and earth he felt the white-hot anger of his Father for your sins. Filled with life – because he had no sin and paid for yours – he rose from the dead bringing with him your unconditional forgiveness.

Rejection? He knew it. Temptation? He felt it. Loneliness? He experienced it. Death? He tasted it. Stress?  He could write the book on it. When you tell God you’ve reached your limit, he knows what you mean. When your palms sweat at the impossible deadline, when your plans are interrupted by people who have other plans, he nods in sympathy. There is something extraordinarily comforting in knowing that Jesus is like you in every way, just that he had no sin. It brings calm to the most frayed nerves, the most frenzied and frazzled days.

So use this Bible truth! When you hurt, go to Jesus with confidence. He will help you in your time of need. Jesus knows how you feel.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, it is comforting to remember that you are like me and know how I feel. On those most difficult days, move me to come to you and have you heal me. Amen.

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

September 29, 2013

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God or Government

September 23, 2013

Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – the LORD, who remains faithful forever. – Psalm 146:1-6

Does the future scare you? I sense that some people in America are worried about the future of our country. Expensive wars, both in terms of money and human life, that seem to have no end in sight. A national debt that seems to be spiraling out of control and a government that can’t seem to agree on how to deal with it. Add to the list a sluggish economy, uncertainty concerning the future of Social Security, and a fear of what the new health care law really means for our pocketbooks have many people worried.

I don’t sense any of that fear from the writer of Psalm 146. That doesn’t mean he didn’t face some of the same issues in ancient Israel that we face today. And I certainly don’t hear in the psalm writer’s words any unrealistic expectations of his government leaders. As he faced an uncertain future, he knew exactly where to put his trust and where not to put his trust.  He writes, “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – the LORD, who remains faithful forever.”

Our government officials, as flawed as they are, are a blessing from God. But at the end of the day, they aren’t able to solve our biggest problem – that each of us deserves the eternal wrath of God in hell for our sinfulness. President Obama can’t save us from that, but God can and does through Jesus Christ. The same God who created the universe is the same God who kept his promise to Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, you and me that he would send Jesus to suffer hell in the place of every sinner and win for sinners peace with a perfect God and a secure future in heaven that will never end.

With that confidence the psalm writer approached the present and the future. May we approach the present and the future with that same confidence, and like him: “Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”

Prayer: Lord, you alone save sinners for eternity through Jesus Christ. Help me to find comfort and confidence in this good news as I face a present and a future on earth that is uncertain. Help me to believe that through Jesus I am prepared to face and deal with anything. Amen.


Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

September 22, 2013

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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Paula A. Sprick, 1922-2013

September 16, 2013

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Satisfying Your Hunger

September 16, 2013

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! – Psalm 103:119

Food always tastes better when you’re hungry, doesn’t it?

You might know what it feels like to be spiritually hungry. The personal “should have’s” and “shouldn’t have’s” we all struggle with each day have a draining quality to them. The conscience God has given us often growls like an empty stomach. Even if we aren’t keeping track of where we’ve fallen short of God’s holy commandments, he is. The only place to satisfy the pangs of a hungry conscience and find true peace with God is in the forgiveness Jesus won for us.

That forgiveness is yours, today and always. By his suffering and death on the cross, Jesus has swallowed every “should have” and every “shouldn’t have” on your record. By his resurrection from the dead, he has given you life with him, life free from the guilty verdict we all deserve, life that will last forever.

Now he packages this forgiveness for you and me in a variety of ways: in Baptism, in Communion, and in the Scripture. Every time we go to church he lays out a rich banquet for us, a feast with all the fixings. Then when the service is done, he continues to provide all the spiritual food we want and need throughout the week in plentiful supply.

Have you noticed how “dangerous” it is to leave an open bag of potato chips next to you on the couch? Leave an open Bible on your pillow or your kitchen table and see how easy it is to catch a snack here and there. Post your Baptism certificate above your bedroom dresser, and see how often your eye catches it. You can savor the sweetness of God’s Word by spending hours in personal Bible study, but there’s also satisfaction to be found in bite-sized morsels.

We know what the psalmist was talking about. Whether it comes as a full meal in church or in a light snack, God’s word of forgiveness saves and satisfies every starving sinner, and it always tastes delicious!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your delicious, delightful word of forgiveness. Lead me to continue to seek out your heavenly food each day.  In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.


Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

September 15, 2013

Divine Service I, Page 136, Lutheran Worship

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