My thoughts are not your thoughts

Many events take place which we do not understand. Comfort is found in this passage where God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways My ways….For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts”  (Isaiah 55:8,9). While this may apply to many afflictions in our lives, the context of this passage is God’s FORGIVENESS. The thoughts of people are that of revenge, and the ways of mankind is retaliation and “getting even.” Humanity assumes that God is out to get revenge for those who disobey His commandments; hence the efforts to pacify Him with good deeds. FORGIVENESS is incomprehensible.

Yet the ways and thoughts of God which natural man cannot comprehend is this statement: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that He may have compassion on him, and to our God , for He will abundantly pardon” (55:7). Does this include the murderer, the rapist, the homosexual, the adulterer, liars, thieves, and worshipers of the wrong god? Yes, and it includes you. In chapter 53 we read, “ALL WE like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way, and God laid upon Him (Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Savior) the iniquity (sins) of us all.” Thank God for His thoughts and His ways. Come to Peace Lutheran Church to hear these ways and thoughts of God. Sunday Service time is 10:00 a.m.

Forgiveness

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times? (Matthew 18:21). Peter thought himself to be rather generous. According to one’s sinful nature he was generous. Instead of forgiveness, our thoughts run to revenge, retaliation, getting even, or at least carrying a grudge. Such is the destructive force between husbands and wives, parents and their children, brothers and sisters, and even church members.

To not forgive incurs this judgment of God, “‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt….Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you.’…And he delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him” 18:33,34). The debt which God forgave is our sin, an enormous debt no one of himself could repay. God Himself paid that debt in the death of His Son:“Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:3). Yet this is a forgiveness which one forfeits whose heart is fill with retaliation and revenge. 

In humble repentance listen again for the Word of forgiveness. Then in the power of the Holy Spirit, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you”  (Eph. 4:32). Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.

Become Like Children

“Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). A point of comparison from these words of Jesus is that a child from infancy is totally helpless. An infant must be cleaned, clothed, and fed. The infant is totally passive, humbly allowing these things to be done for him. This is likeness to becoming a Christian. The Scripture reminds us that human beings in their natural state are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1); hence, “Natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:14). To believe this is to become like a little child. God must and did take the initiative. God does the acting. God gave His Son to redeem us and bring us life. The Holy Spirit enables us to receive what God had done by leading us to faith in Christ through the Gospel. Only those who are like children, passive, enter the kingdom of heaven as a result of God’s action. He cleans us, clothes us, and feeds us (Acts 2:38; Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 11:23-29).

The disciples were questioning as to “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” When people do the “acting” then there will be competition for who is the greatest. People naturally prefer to be doing something for their salvation. It makes them feel good. On the other hand it is very humbling to say, “I can do nothing! (John 15:6). God has done it all.” Join with us at Peace Lutheran Church to offer this praise to God.

Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.

Repentance

“Don’t press your morality on me!” is the response we hear one give when rebuked for his sin. Or “Who are you to accuse me, when you are not so perfect yourself?” Or “What I do is my personal affair.” Such is the response if one dares to say, “Having sex with your girlfriend apart from marriage is wrong.” Or “Cheating on your expense account is a sin, or in your school work.” Or “Lying to destroy another’s reputation is wickedness.”

Knowing the response of the accused makes cowards of most people. We tend to shrug our shoulders and say, “That’s their business.” Yet God gives the Christian this responsibility, “If your brother sins (against you), go and tell him his fault between you and him alone” (Matthew 18:15). God said to the prophet Ezekiel, “I have made you a watchman…If…you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand” (Ezekiel 33:8).

In the spirit of meekness (Galatians 6:1), (“Yes, I too am a sinner who would be condemned except for the forgiveness that comes through faith in my Lord Jesus Christ”), the Christian is directed to go to his brother. If the person goes on in sin he is lost. If he is led to repentance he is restored as a brother and a child in the family of God.

Come to be encouraged in this work of love at Peace Lutheran Church.

Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.

The Antichrist

The Bible warns of “antichrists.” It explains that those who do not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (2 John 7; 1 John 4:3) is antichrist, and that there are many antichrists (1 John 2:18). An antichrist is one who opposes what the Bible teaches of Christ, true God and true man, that He is the only Savior (Acts 4:12). By this definition “antichrist” could be applied to all who oppose Biblical Christianity, and there are many.

“Anti” also carries the meaning, “instead of”. When The Lutheran Confessions refer to THE Antichrist, they apply this meaning from 2 Thessalonians 2:4,9: “Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God showing himself he is God….The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders.” This Scripture leads us to expect that the “Instead of Christ” will be postured in the church, the Temple of God, claim to be vicar of Christ, declaring doctrines not found in the Bible, and in doctrine and practice rejecting the finished work of Christ on the cross.

This same chapter warns that many will perish “because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2:10,11), that is, they will be deceived by The Antichrist. The Holy Scripture unmasks all antichrists. Come to Peace Lutheran Church to know the true Christ and His salvation. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.