Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Price for Freedom

"A time to be silent..." (Eccles. 3:7).

Memorial Day is much less a day for words and much more a day for silence.  One exception I'll make to that rule is "Hymn to the Fallen" by John Williams.

Turn up the volume a little and watch The Price for Freedom.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Way

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way...'" (John 14:6).

I shared the following, by Richard Wurmbrand, at last evening's Divine Service.  And remember that "The Way" was an early name for Christianity (Acts 9:2, 24:14).

A young Brahmin came one day to the renowned missionary, E. Stanley Jones, and told him, "Your speeches have found much response.  It would be good if you would preach Christ as one of the many ways.  There are others, too.  We love Krishna.  Others love Kali.  If you would accept this, all India would listen to you."

This temptation existed already at the beginning of Christianity.  The Roman Empire was very tolerant toward religions.  They gladly would have accepted Christ as one of the many gods in their Pantheon - on the same footing as Diana, Mars, Apollo, Mithra, and the emperors.  What led to the persecution of the first Christians was the insistence that Christ is the only way and that all the others are false.

Personally, I would like it very much if there could be many ways.  However, in no regard is the universe constructed according to my wishes.  Someone wiser than I, who knows better, has created it.  I have to accept it.  I have no other choice.  I would like to have been born and raised in other circumstances.  Again, my life has been predestinated without my being consulted.  I cannot decide how men should be saved.  The master of the universe has appointed only one way of salvation.

There is no arguing with Him.  Receive Jesus Christ and you will be saved.  Refuse Him, neglect Him, and you will be damned.  It is as simple as this.  God did not ask us about our tastes.  We would like it if there would only be a heaven.  There exists a hell, too.  It is so easy for you to avoid it.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother Knows Sorrow

"But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother..." (John 19:25).

If father knows best, mother knows sorrow - the sorrows of her child(ren).

God the Father knew best: that it was right to forsake His Son for our sake.  But the mother of Jesus never forsook Him, but stood by His cross.  She felt and endured all that He felt and endured - and then some.  She lived His death (Luke 2:35).

And I have no doubt that He drew strength from her presence.

Mary is every mother.  What mother does not feel what her child feels?  A mother carries her child in her womb for a few months, but carries her child in her heart for a lifetime.

Never think or say that your mother doesn't know what you are going through.  She feels and understands it twice as well as you do: She carries your sorrow and her own.

But happily, this applies also to joy.  When the child is blessed with joy, the mother receives double.  This is her reward for her love (besides the fact that love is its own reward).

Mary knew not only her son's suffering and death, but also His resurrection.  This Mother's Day, may our mothers know not only the sorrows but also the joys of their children!

And may all of us know both the death and the resurrection of our dear Lord for our salvation!

Monday, May 1, 2017

On the Road to Emmaus

Luke 24:13-35

My favorite part about "The Road to Emmaus" is that only one of the two men is named.  His name was Cleopas.  Who was the other?  One theory is that it was Luke himself.

I have a different theory.  I think that the other one is you.

In yesterday's sermon, I gave my people "Five Signs That You Are on the Road to Emmaus."  I will nutshell them here.

You don't have all the answers.  The two men were followers of Jesus and believers in Him.  And yet they had questions about His death and now possible resurrection.  As a Christian, you still have questions, often about the more difficult things in life.

You don't walk alone.  The two men had each other to walk with.  You have other Christians and your congregation.  And Jesus.  He came and walked with those two men.  He comes and walks with us.  "Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus"!

He opens to you His Word.  "They said to each other, 'Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked to us on the road, while He opened to us the Scriptures?'" (32).  He simplifies the Bible by showing us that it's all about Him, and especially His death and resurrection for our salvation.  Let, therefore, your heart burn with love for His Word!  And amid life's questions, we have the most important Answer: God's love in Jesus!

You see Him in the Sacrament (Holy Communion).  The two men "recognize Him in the breaking of the bread" (31 and 35).  This is a wonderfully mysterious part of the story.  And I would say that it points to the faith, given to you by the Holy Spirit, to see (and receive!) the crucified-risen Jesus in the Sacrament.

You say, "Christ is risen!"  The two men return and say to the others, "The Lord has risen indeed!" (34).  "Indeed" means really, actually, and truly.  Christians believe that Jesus has really risen, and that our lives are different now because of it!  "Christ is risen!" is a great confession, but learning to live the words is the important next step.  But the resurrection is the very power to live differently than we did before, and differently than the world around us.

If you have time, read Luke 24:13-35, believing that you are indeed the unnamed disciple!