January

20/20 vision

     This first month of 2020 let us be still and consider our vision.  While we may go to an optometrist or ophthalmologist to have our eyes and vision examined we gather before God that His Holy Word would be clearly and properly heard, understood and spoken.  This year we will consider the divine work of God’s Word in and upon our faith

 

     The Holy Spirit speaks through King Solomon to you and me in Proverbs 29: 18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.  Each month we will consider the divine blessing of God’s Word in and upon our life as children of God.

 

February:                           God and gods.

March:                               What is in a name.

April:                                 The Feast.

May:                                  Always and in all ways.

June:                                 Sustaining God’s children.

July/August:                      Strengthening God’s holy ones.

September:                        Safeguarding God’s chosen people.

October:                            Comforting God’s saints.

November:                        Conforming the children of Israel more and more into the image of the Incarnate                                               Word.

December:                         The consummation.

     May the Holy Spirit fully open our eyes of faith in Jesus that God’s Word will be a blessing to both us and those we love.

 

     And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus to the Last Day.  Amen

February

God and gods

 

To all the Saints of the Martin Luther Chapel Lutheran Church,

     Let us for a few moments consider our need to have clear and undistorted vision as we live, move and breathe in this life that we would correctly see and understand there is God and there are gods. 

 

     God spoke all of creation into existence from nothing in the beginning of time except for one creature, man, whom God forms with His very hands and breathes His very life into us.  While all creation, in heaven and on earth, declares His glory He has formed only man in His own image and declares through the Psalmist to His children “I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;” (Psalm 82: 6).  God’s self-revelation of this truth is Jesus, the Son of God, who took on our human nature, lived, suffered and died as true man to reconcile you and me to God. 

 

     Jesus confirmed this truth when He claimed divinity, responding to the Jews who accused Him of blasphemy, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 3do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? (John 10: 34 – 36).

 

      There is no contesting the fact that there is only one God, revealed in the three persons of the holy Trinity.  The second person of the holy Trinity declares confidently and unashamedly that you and I, God’s children, are gods.  Jesus declares this because He knows and speaks the Father’s will.  Jesus asserts this because He purchased us as a holy people for our heavenly Father with His precious life, returned us into a familial relationship with God that had been broken by sin, and are being brought to completion by the purifying work of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is the Son of God and affirms you and I are sons and daughters of God.  Jesus is not saying we are God or possess the divine essence as do the persons of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit in our might or means.  Jesus is saying because He lives in us, we live, move and have our being in Him (2 Timothy 1: 14; 1 John 3: 24).

 

      We believe, teach, and confess that God rules through civil rulers and governments (Defense of the Augsburg Confession, XXI Invocation of the Saints, paragraph 44).  In that day the German signers acknowledged Emperor Charles (Holy Roman Empire) was charged by God to rule for the “preservation and propagation of divine things, i.e., the Gospel of Christ, on the earth, and, as vicars of God, should defend the life and safety of the innocent [true Christian teachers and preachers].”  In this day we are called to recognize that those God has placed in positions of government over us are recognized as God’s representatives, giving them respect and support until they demand we do something counter to God’s command.

 

     However, there are false gods created and perpetuated by Satan and the old Adam.  Satan and the old Adam despise God, seeking to desecrate His kingdom and children, deny His glory revealed in Christ and the Church, and fraudulently claim sovereignty and authority over mankind.  These toxic gods exert influence and power through political, financial, social, religious, and recreational organizations and activities, demanding mankind’s time, talent and treasure to sustain and increase their influence and power.  They are neither divine nor sovereign but temporary and dependent upon the emotions and false faith of those that created and serve them.  False gods industriously work to enflame our passions and camouflage death, having their being within the kingdom of the evil one.

 

     My brothers and sisters in Christ, God created mankind to be in an intimate and eternal fellowship with Him as beloved children.  Jesus affirms to us this day that all God’s children are gods, possessing all the rights and privileges as co-heirs with Him in the kingdom of heaven here in time and then in eternity. 

 

     By the power of the Holy Spirit may we always look, with clear and undistorted vision, to Jesus:

  • and follow God while refusing to look to and follow the Satan and the old Adam and their false gods;
  • that we would do the will of our heavenly Father while declining to gaze upon and do the will of the Satan and the old Adam’s will with false gods;
  • for true fellowship with the one true God and His gods while rejecting fellowship with Satan and the old Adam and their false gods.

 

     May the peace of God that surpasses all human understanding guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus until He comes again.
 
Amen and Amen.

March

What’s in a name?

 
To all the Saints of the Martin Luther Chapel Lutheran Church,
 

     Let us for a few moments consider let us consider our need to have clear and undistorted vision as we live, move and breathe in this life that we would correctly see and understand what is in a name. 

 

     In our daily lives we often meet someone new and ask, “What is your name?”  It establishes a personal contact as well as offers us the opportunity to share the importance of their name in our lives. 

 

     Our heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit know us be name, never call us by the wrong name, and call us individually and personally by name.  God reveals His name to us:

  • in Holy Scripture;
  • is the only name in which humanity will find salvation, refuge, strength and peace;
  • that we would know who to thank and praise for every good thing in our lives, every mercy we receive, and the provision of work for our hands and minds.

 

     God’s name is holy and reveals His person: love and righteousness.  God’s name is holy in and of itself yet Jesus encourages us to cry out to our heavenly Father as His beloved children in prayer and praise without the constrain of time, space and location.  God knows when we:

  • ponder His name;
  • form our prayers in Jesus’ name;
  • when we give voice to our needs and wants;
  • when we give voice to the needs and wants of others;
  • hear the prayers to God offered by our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

     It is good that we remember we are never out of the presence of our loving and righteous God.  He stands with us and our brothers and sisters in Christ:

  • knowing our thoughts, motivations and intentions;
  • supporting our every need of body and spirit;
  • hearing our words of
    • comfort and condemnation,
    • thankfulness and thanklessness,
    • praise and profanity;
    • and honor, love and trust as well as distain, hatred and unbelief
    • uttered in His name.

 

     God freely absolves us for the sake of Jesus when we confess our sins and He cleanses us from all unrighteousness, proving His name is trustworthy and true.  He is grieved when we refuse to call upon His name for strength, wisdom and love when we find it difficult or impossible to forgive our neighbor.  He is offended when we cloak our bad intentions and actions with His name, wearing it like we wear a sports jersey of a famous or our favorite athlete.  God longs to hear our voices lift up His name as our only hope for true, abundant and eternal love, forgiveness, peace, comfort, joy and fellowship.  God rejoices when we forgive others in His name and receive forgiveness of others in Jesus name.  God’s peace rests on you and me, His dear children, when we seek peace and unity in His name.  God is glorified when we live our lives according to His word and refuse and rebuke fleshly interpretations and teachings of God.

 

     By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we this day and every day until Jesus comes again:

  • remember God placed His holy name on us in our baptism.
  • live every second of the day lovingly, humbly and selflessly bearing His name as we love our neighbor through our vocations.
  • Joyfully acknowledge God has placed His holy name upon our brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Willfully and willingly proclaim the Gospel to those who sit in the darkness of sin and the shadow of death that God would place His life-giving name upon them in Holy Baptism.
 
     May the peace of God that passes all human understanding guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus until the last day when He returns in glory to judge the living and the dead.
 
 
Amen and Amen.