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October 13, 2021

Isaiah 66:12-13  For this is what the Lord says: "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."

Our first memories are often connected with our mother. It was she in whose presence we felt safe and comforted. Her hug could cure most ills. Her singing voice assured us of her presence and made our lives music. All was well.

"Mother Jerusalem" is the city in whose presence God's people find comfort and safety. We are nursed there and carried by her and we play on her lap. All is well with us and with the world.

"The Lord says, 'As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.'" The strong, mighty Lord compares Himself to a mother. With tender love He calls us back to Himself when we stray.

But beware lest we ignore His call! "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing" (Luke 13:34). We can misunderstand the motherly love of God and believe that it is smothering us and keeping us from being ourselves. But as He opens our ears to answer His call, we know once more that life is full only when it is lived in the comfort of our God.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

October 12, 2021

Luke 21:32-33  Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Jesus' disciples had been marveling at the size of the stones that were used to beuild the temple. they had looked at the splendor of Jerusalem and wondered at the scope of human achievement, and then Jesus spoke up" "The time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down." (Luke 21:6).

Anyone today who has had the chance to see the size of the stones used to build the temple mount can easily  understand the surprise expressed by the disciples. Even with modern weaponry, the destruction of such massive structures is hard to wrap your mind around! But Jesus reminded his disciples that within their lifetimes they would see such destruction, and indeed, they did when the Romans leveled Jerusalem just a few decades later in A.D. 70.

It's easy to find trust and confidence in the seemingly unshakable pillars of life and society that God blesses us with, whether it's a seemingly indestructible structure, an presumably invincible military, outwardly perfect health, or a presumably loyal friend. But eventually structures crumble, politics change, disease strikes, friends disappear, and a life built on confidence in such temporal things falls into shambles.

Jesus gives us confidence through a new perspective. Amidst the tumult sin brings into the world, there remains one place where God's people can turn to find confidence - the words and promises of God. The entire world may fall into mayhem and chaos, but the promises of God will never pass away. No matter how string the powers of this world might think they are, they are pawns in the hands of the almighty God. No matter how many accusations he lets fly, Satan cannot undo the forgiveness Jesus won for us on the cross. No matter how hard they might try, the forces of evil cannot prevent Jesus from returning in glory to take his people home. God's people can find lasting confidence in the person and work and words and promises of Jesus.

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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

October 11,2021

When we say that God’s name is holy, we mean also that God sets it apart from all evil. This we are to remember when we use it. God’s name is to be used with care and reverence. It is like an expensive tool that a man uses in his work. He carefully protects it against abuse. So God gives us His name to bless us and bring us salvation. “In every place where I cause My name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.” (Exodus 20:24a)  “Everyone who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

 

We therefore love and fear our God and believe that His name is a precious gift. God firmly commands us to avoid thoughtless and evil use of His name: “The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” (Exodus 20:7b)

 

It is a misuse of God’s name to curse. This means to call down God’s anger upon ourselves or others or to speak evil of God. A curse is a sinful use of God’s name, whether it is really intended as such or only spoken in thoughtless anger. Among the people of Israel it was considered worthy of death. Their law said: “Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin.” (Leviticus 24:15)

 

It is a misuse of God’s name to swear. Only when the glory of God or the need of a fellowman demand it (as in court) may we use God’s name in speaking an oath.

 

It is a misuse of God’s name to try to gain knowledge of the future by it. God forbids fortune telling, superstitions, and good luck charms; those who try to bring messages from the dead are deceivers. When all this is done in God’s name, it is especially wicked. God says: “Behold, I am against the prophets…who use their tongues and say, ‘Says the Lord.’” (Jeremiah 23:31)

It is a misuse of God’s name to lie or deceive by it. We are not to use His name to cover up a lie, to get people to believe false religious teachings, or to make people think we are devoted to God when we are not.

 

Our respect and love for God leads us to use his name properly.

 

We use His name rightly in prayer. It is proper to say “God” or “Jesus” in prayer. We may use any of God’s names in prayer. Trusting His promises and His wisdom, we believe: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)

 

We use His name rightly in praise and thanksgiving. God wants us to tell Him and others what we think of His goodness. This is one of His reasons for choosing us as His own people. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

October 7, 2021

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Brent Parrish

7:52 AM (10 minutes ago)

 

 

 

 

to bcc: me

 

We believe that God alone has the right to take human life. He gives life; He takes it when people die. If a court sentences a person to death, it does so as God’s representative. As God’s representative a government may also send its citizens to war. Government gives its citizens the right of self-defense. We do not have the right to take our own lives (suicide). God’s order is clear: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in His own image.” (Genesis 9:6)

 

We believe that deliberately or carelessly hurting one’s own or another person’s body is forbidden. Joseph’s brothers broke this commandment by selling him as a slave. They also hurt their father by telling him that Joseph was dead. Our fear and love of God move us not to hurt others or cause them sorrow in any way.

 

Furthermore, we believe that God does not want us to hate others. Ungodly people may scoff and say, “We may hate others so long as we do not actually hurt them.” The Scripture says: “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3:15)

 

Unbelievers are puzzled when we tell them that we believe that we do not have the right to “get back” at people who hurt us. The love of God moves us to forgive, as we are forgiven. We let God deal with evildoers. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” (Romans 12:19)

 

We believe that each Christian is appointed by God as a caretaker of other people. Our Savior has given us a wonderful example. We remember His kind deeds reported in the gospels: “He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil.” Acts 10:38)

 

The fear and love of God in our hearts will show itself in our loving concern for others. As if we were agents of God, He instructs us: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:16)

 

Doing good, even to our enemies and without hope of being repaid, is a mark of the Christian, as Jesus said: “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36)

 

The greatest reward of all for helping others is to know that we are doing God’s work. Through His people He sends His loving care to those who need it. Jesus’ words have always excited God’s people: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40)

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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

October 6, 2021

Isaiah 55:8-9  "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."

One of the most haunting questions we face is: Why? Why did this relationship fall apart? Why did that accident have to happen? Why did my loved one have to suffer and then die? Each of us can add our own complaints to the catalog of charges against God.

If we were in charge, life would be quite different. We would make certain that neither we nor our family and friends would have to suffer. In fact, we would do all that we could to make certain that we would enjoy the good life with no trouble at all.

The morning alarm clock, however, awakens us to the realities of life. There are bills for us to pay. We are getting older and more susceptible to illness and disease. Loved ones or we ourselves do suffer from a cancerous invasion or the mysterious ravages of Alzheimer's disease. And the old question still remains: Why?

The life of suffering and disease is not God's way, either. For God designed a life for us that was free from all that. When sin ruined God's perfect creation, God designed a way to recreate the world. That design focused on His Son, Jesus the Christ, who took on our human flesh and bone, fulfilled the Law of God perfectly, and then died and rose again for us. All this was done in God's way because there is no way we could have done it ourselves. Thank God, His ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

October 5, 2021

Isaiah 49:16  See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are ever before Me.

Remember the time when someone in your history class tried writing notes on his hand to cheat on his test? I've often wondered how that worked and if he ever got caught.

Different than writing important facts on His hand, the Lord tells us that He has our names engraved on His hand. What a comfort to know that God knows us so well! He even knows our name, and He will never forget it.

Maybe you have seen your name in some special place - in the newspaper, on a sports program, on an award or diploma, or on a walnut door. Or maybe you have heard your name from some important people - a coach, a celebrity, a teacher. But to think that our names are written on God's hand...how beautiful!

Not only does God know our names, but He knows everything about us. Through God's Son, Jesus Christ, God knows and loves us perfectly! He forgives our sins and has our best at heart. The One whose hands were pierced on the cross of Calvary has our names recorded on them. This is why we can always trust in Him.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

October 04, 2021

Matthew 11:28  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Many assaults, demands, temptations, and expectations can press upon the Christian. Christ understood the challenges we face in a world infected by sin. Therefore, he invites those who become burdened by the stresses of life: "Come to me, and I will give you rest. Come, be revived in my life-giving Word. Come, be refreshed in my Body and Blood of Holy Communion for the forgiveness of your sins. Come, let me carry your burden for you."

The Greek word for rest is anapausis, from which we get the English word pause. The rest that Christ offers is one that gives us pause from life's demands. Christ offers us a rest stop from our weary journeys. He provides a pause that revives us in Christ.

Jesus does not guarantee that we will have a hassle-free life. But he does promise to sustain us through Word and Sacrament, his means of grace. His invitation gives us an opportunity to pause and rest in his grace.

When we are fully rested and equipped with the power of the means of grace, we are ready to serve faithfully. Although we may be assaulted from the world's pressures and snares, we can be renewed to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord. Energy, commitment, and dedication are needed to give witness to Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. Faithful servants accept their Lord's invitation to pause and be revived in Christ.

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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

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