This season of the year lights penetrate the darkness and decorate many of our homes inside and out. This is an appropriate symbol for the birth of “the Savior, Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:14).
The Scripture identifies godlessness, unbelief, and its symptoms, rebellion against God’s commandments and the ensuing misery, sorrow, pain, disease, hopelessness and condemnation as darkness, as “sitting in darkness and in the land of the shadow of death” (Isaiah 9:2; Matt. 4:16). This was the world when Christ was born. This is our world without Christ and a rejection of His Word (Isaiah 8:20)..
But the coming of Jesus Christ is foretold, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” This was fulfilled when Jesus began His ministry, and when He was born: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called WONDERFUL, COUNSELOR, MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE” (Isaiah 9:6). This light penetrates the darkness wherever and whenever the good news of His redeeming grace is proclaimed. Come to Peace Lutheran Church for this light. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
“Are You the one to come, or do we look for another?” John, languishing in prison, sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus. Upon the answer to that question hangs eternal hope, forgiveness of sins, and joy in the midst of affliction. A positive answer invites faith, trust, confidence.
Jesus answers them by saying, “Go and tell John what you hear and see:
The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raise up, and the poor have good news preached to them” (Matthew 11:2-15). Not only was Jesus doing what God alone can do, what He was doing fulfilled what the Old Testament prophecy said that the Messiah, the Savior of the world would do (Isaiah 35:5,6).
John who at Jesus’ baptism heard God the Father say, “This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased,” and who himself testified of Jesus, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” would be comforted in his affliction to hear, “Yes, this is the One indeed!” If John needed to hear that again and again, so do you. Come to Peace Lutheran Church to hear this good news. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
The harshest condemnation in the Bible is aimed at people who merely went through the motions in their religious observance. In the Old Testament God through the prophet Isaiah declares, “When you come to appear before Me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?
Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me….When you spread out your hands I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen” (Isaiah 1:11-15). In the New Testament, John the Baptist declares to the religious leaders who were coming to him for baptism, “You brood of vipers!…Bear fruit in keeping with repentance….Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:7-12).
Every person who participates in the life of a church must continually ask, “Am I for show, or am I real?” The Bible directs us, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5). The goal of such introspection is that we flee for refuge to the Savior, born in Bethlehem and Who bore our sins in His own body on the cross. Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (Psalm 118:8,9). This is better understood in the light of this statistic:
“Over a 150,000 deaths occur each year as a result of prescription drugs” (Charles Walters in “Trace Minerals for the Genetic Code). Some predict that this passage will be even clearer when the “Affordable Care Act” gets into high gear. Neither doctors or government are God. Neither are worthy of our implicit trust.
Psalm 103 reminds people to put their trust in God: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:2-5). Pray for healing. Pray for a wise doctor who sees himself or herself as an instrument of God in the healing process, but who recognizes that God alone heals. Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
Symptoms of a post Christian culture were evident again on Thanksgiving Day. The doors of most churches were not open for enthusiastic Americans to offer their thanks to God for food, family, freedom, for houses, health, and the privilege of hearing God’s Word. Instead, the doors of retail establishments were open this year so citizens could fill their overstuffed houses with the bargains awaiting them, not that this is any worse than stuffing their bodies before passing the time peering at the TV enamored with their favorite football team.
Thanksgiving Day in this nation became a national holiday during the Civil War. It was a time when many citizens grieved the loss of a loved one in the war. It was a time when many people felt the wrath of God upon a people so blessed, but so ungrateful. Even now the prayer of Daniel (9:3-19) is fitting for this nation: “O Lord…we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land…We do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive!…” Come to Peace Lutheran Church and join in prayer for this nation. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m. Wednesday Advent Services, 7:00 p.m.