Bible Verse of the Day

James 1:2-3
“[Trials and Temptations] Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

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AYP April 2015

Grace, mercy and peace be with you all. Amen.

So I am sitting here in my office looking outside at the purple draped cross, and the plants that don’t look alive, and small piles of snow laying, I have the radio playing behind me and there is the report of more possible snow later this week. Things look a little bleak. And I wonder… wonder about Spring, when it will arrive, what it will look like, or will we have one this year. I wonder about so many things… things like, how can I help this church to grow, how can we all have fun doing it, what do the people in this church need, and what does the community need. Then I started to think about myself, what is it that my family needs, what is it that my wife needs, what is it that I need. And then it hit me.

HOPE!

And then I wrote that one word down on a piece of paper, and it bothered me. It bothered me because we have seen that one word so much in the last 8 years. It was the basis of a presidential campaign, it has been emblazoned on bumper stickers, posters, signs on the side of the road, been remade into Andy Warhol type artistic posters and it started me to think… just what are we hoping for?

A SAVIOR!

I suppose that is what we are always looking for, but we don’t recognize it when it is there. We want a quick fix. We want a diet pill that will give us the body of Duane Johnson, or Elle Macpherson. We want the lottery numbers that will put us into the same tax bracket of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. We want the faith of Job, or Esther. We want the intelligence of Da Vinci, or Sir Isaac Newton. We want the integrity of Theodore Roosevelt, or Gandhi. This list could go on and on.

But what are we really looking for? I think that we are looking for things to be simpler, not necessarily easier, but less complicated. We want to see so much, and we have such good intentions but we get bogged down. We get bogged down and confused between wants and needs, and then we forget how to prioritize all of these things.

I suppose that we become too comfortable with things and we forget to pay attention to what we pray for.

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

I think that Martin Luther explained it best:

Our Father who art in heaven. What does this mean?

Answer: God would thereby [with this little introduction] tenderly urge us to believe that He is our true Father, and that we are His true children, so that we may ask Him confidently with all assurance, as dear children ask their dear father.

The First Petition.
Hallowed be Thy name. What does this mean?
Answer: God's name is indeed holy in itself; but we pray in this petition that it may become holy among us also.
How is this done?
Answer: When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we as the children of God also lead holy lives in accordance with it. To this end help us, dear Father in heaven. But he that teaches and lives other than God's Word teaches, profanes the name of God among us. From this preserve us, Heavenly Father.

The Second Petition.
Thy kingdom come. What does this mean?
Answer: The kingdom of God comes indeed without our prayer, of itself; but we pray in this petition that it may come unto us also.
How is this done?
Answer: When our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead a godly life here in time and yonder in eternity.

The Third Petition.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. What does this mean?
Answer: The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that it may be done among us also.
How is this done?
Answer: When God breaks and hinders every evil counsel and will which would not let us hallow the name of God nor let His kingdom come, such as the will of the devil, the world, and our flesh; but strengthens and keeps us steadfast in His Word and in faith unto our end. This is His gracious and good will.

The Fourth Petition.
Give us this day our daily bread. What does this mean?
Answer: God gives daily bread, even without our prayer, to all wicked men; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to know it, and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.
What is meant by daily bread?
Answer. Everything that belongs to the support and wants of the body, such as meat, drink, clothing, shoes, house, homestead, field, cattle, money, goods, a pious spouse, pious children, pious servants, pious/faithful magistrates, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

The Fifth Petition.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. What does this mean?
Answer: We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor deny such petitions on account of them; for we are worthy of none of the things for which we pray, neither have we deserved them; but that He would grant them all to us by grace; for we daily sin much, and indeed deserve nothing but punishment. So will we verily, on our part, also heartily forgive and also readily do good to those who sin against us.

The Sixth Petition.
And lead us not into temptation. What does this mean?
Answer: God, indeed, tempts no one; but we pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us, so that the devil, the world, and our flesh may not deceive us, nor seduce us into misbelief, despair, and other great shame and vice; and though we be assailed by them, that still we may finally overcome and gain the victory.
Amen.

The Seventh Petition.
But deliver us from evil. What does this mean?
Answer: We pray in this petition, as in a summary, that our Father in heaven would deliver us from all manner of evil, of body and soul, property and honor, and at last, when our last hour shall come, grant us a blessed end, and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Himself into heaven.

Amen. What does this mean?
Answer: That I should be certain that these petitions are acceptable to our Father in heaven and heard; for He Himself has commanded us so to pray, and has promised that He will hear us. Amen, Amen; that is, Yea, yea, it shall be so.

So now I ask you to come and join me, help me to work for a better future for ourselves, for our families, and our community. Let us start small, here within the community of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran, and then lets let that hope and strength grow, as we grow to trust even more our Lord and Savior and let him restore the hope and faith within us.

As for everything else that we have going on in our lives… we need to let go and let God. Not easy for sure! But that which we need for our daily lives our Lord will provide. Even HOPE! Because look, outside the window, I am starting to see some green things poke up out of the ground! Just as these things live, so does our Lord! He lives! He lives. Christ has risen! He has risen indeed!

Amen.

Last Updated on Sunday, 03 May 2015 23:16