The familiar Christmas story begins like this: “It came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed, and this taxing was first made when Quirinius was governor of Syria” (Luke 2:1). At first glance this may appear irrelevant to the birth of Jesus Christ or to the Christian faith. Yet the Scripture is here affirming a historical fact. The birth of Jesus, and His life, death, and resurrection are events in history. Unlike other religions which are a state of mind, a faith that is no more than an emotion or feeling, the Christian faith has as the object of faith certain facts and events, and the promises of God relating to these facts and events, such as, “I bring you glad tidings of great joy which shall be for all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
The facts stand whether you believe them or not or whether you feel them or not. God invites you to believe and thereby receive “the Gift of God” (Romans 6:23) and then join with the angels, and God’s people, to say and sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to mankind.” Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday Service time is 10:00 a.m.
Those who do not know if they will have food to eat the next day are surely deprived. Love demands that we share with those whom we know are going hungry. Homes where parents cannot afford gifts for their children at Christmas are also considered to be deprived.
The truly deprived, however, are those who do not have “the Bread of Life” (John 6:35) and are left unaware of the Gift beyond all compare (2 Cor. 9:15). Sadly, this will include many who will be overfed on Christmas Day and receive an abundance of gifts to fill their “toy boxes”. “The Bread of Life” is that baby, who is Christ the LORD laid in a manger (Luke 2). His name is Jesus, for He saves His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Only those who repent of their sins and trust in Him as their Savior have their hunger satisfied. The one who has this GIFT is rich beyond all comparison (2 Cor. 8:9; Romans 6:23), even if there are no other gifts to open this Christmas. Peace Lutheran Church would like to share with you this BREAD which satisfies and this GIFT that continues to give. Sunday Service time is 10:00 a.m. Christmas Eve Children’s and Candlelight Service is 6:00 p.m.
Here are the qualities of genuine thanksgiving:
1) Recognize God is the giver, the God who created the world (Gen. 1), the God who gives all creatures their food in due season (Psalm 145:15). How can one express thanksgiving when he believes this world just came into being over time and by chance? For such, thanksgiving is an empty word.
2) Recognize your unworthiness. It is not thanksgiving to say or think within one’s heart, “I deserve this!” God warns about saying or thinking, “My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth….It is God who gives you power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18-18). The truly thankful will say, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which you have shown Your servant” (Genesis 32:10).
3) Say it! Ten lepers were healed as they were going at Jesus’ command to show themselves to the priest (Luke 17:11-19). They may have all felt grateful, but only one returned to say it. In doing so He received a greater gift, “Your faith has saved you!” His eagerness to say, “Thank you!” brought him face to face with the One who came to save us from the curse and power of sin. Join with those of Peace Lutheran Church to say “Thank You” and learn of God’s inexpressible gift (2 Cor. 9:15). Sunday Service time is 10:00 a.m.
When the Apostle Paul wrote, “Their feet are swift to shed blood” (Romans 3:15) he was not specifically speaking of the “Islamic State”, though this latest carnage in the city of Paris would tend to make one think so. Bombing, shooting, beheading, and suicide seems to be their way of life. However, the sacred writer is quoting Isaiah 59 which begins, “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.” He then lists the sins among which are these, “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood” (59:1, 7).
While we may prefer to apply these words to a certain group of people, the Apostle Paul is applying them to all mankind. “Radicalized Islam” is simply going the way of natural man apart from the restraining Spirit of God. Each of us must admit, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” God reveals this about us so that “every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Romans 3:19). His goal is that “through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ” (3:24) you may be justified, forgiven, not by your works, but by the grace of God (3:25-28). Sunday service time at Peace Lutheran Church is 10:00 a.m.