Thursday, December 13, 2007
Texts: Psalm 72; Deuteronomy 18:14-18; Hebrews 2:14-18; Mark 10:35-45
Theme: “This Child is the SON OF MAN!” (Galatians 4:4-5)
Armour, (second in the sermon series: “What Child Is This?”).
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! The words which engage us this evening are from St. Galatians 4: “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5)
Saints in Christ, tonight we continue on our journey deep into the canyon of the Word to behold with the eyes of faith, the precious truth, treasures and timely words that will lead us to know full well who is this Child called Jesus; and the role He plays in our lives.
C. S. Lewis has written many wonderful books from a Christian perspective. In the classic Narnia series, one book is called “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” In this book, the author addresses the dilemma that faces the Daughters of Eve and the Sons of Adam as they embark on the journey to this land called Narnia. Lucy was the first to enter. Upon entering this place she meets a Faun named Tumnus, who begins speaking with her: “Good evening, good evening,” said the faun. “Excuse me—I don’t want to be inquisitive—but should I be right in thinking you are a Daughter of Eve?” “My name’s Lucy,” said she, not quite understanding him. “But you are—forgive me—you are what they call a girl?” asked the Faun. “Of course I’m a girl,” said Lucy. “You are in fact Human?” “O course I’m human” said Lucy, still a little puzzled (pp 11-12)….a little further into the book the Faun attempts to figure a way to release Lucy from his kidnapping attempt: With tears in his eyes, he speaks thus: “I’m crying because I’m such a bad Faun.”… “But what have you done?” asked Lucy…“Taken service under the White Witch.” “The White Witch? Who is she?” “Why, it is she that has got all Narnia under her thumb. It’s she that makes it always winter. Always winter and never Christmas; think of that!” “How awful” said Lucy. (pp14-16).
In this story, C.S. Lewis describes the events of the Daughters of Eve and the Sons of Adam who have been taken captives by the White Witch and kept frozen in the courtyard. And they remained that way until the right time when the Lion “Aslan” comes to Narnia and with his life frees the captives from the dominion of the White Witch.
You need not be a theologian to understand the meaning of this book by C.S. Lewis. He was describing how the devil takes hold of man—the offspring’s of Adam and Eve and holds them captive, freezing their lives in the prison of sin and bind them without ever being able to escape.
This is your story and mine and the world. On account of Adam and Eve, our world was frozen over. Sin was the fruit of that disobedience in the garden. Death was the result of that fruit. And there was no escaping it by our own efforts no matter how we try to escape WE CAN’T.
In the Garden, God promised a Seed to Eve who would come and bring deliverance. Eve thought Cain was going to be the Savior. But Cain was not very Abel. Nevertheless Eve thought (Gen 4:1) it would be a Son of Man who would be the Savior of the world. In both Genealogies in the New Testament one who is related to David would come to be the Savior—A Son of Man.
This promised Seed of Eve, David, Mary and Joseph came at the right time to redeem man from the burden and bondage of sin. At the right time He came to free us from the clutches of death. At the appointed time, He arrived at the Scene.
The apostle Paul tells us in our text this evening: “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Just at the right time. Not before, but in the plan of God at the right time, the Son of Man came to free man. The Son of Man came to give His life as a ransom to the world.
Jesus is the only Savior as Aslan is the only one who can be the “savior”. Aslan's purpose was to give his life so others might live and live again. In the same way Christ came as a babe in Bethlehem, but “nails, spear, shall pierce Him through, the cross be borne for me, for you.”
As we ask this question “What Child Is This?” We must come to the clear conclusion that the answer, is the Son of Man. The Son of Man born of Mary, and laid in the straw of the manger. The Son of Man humbled Himself for our sakes.
As we get deeper into the canyon of the Word, it becomes clear that at times we don’t know how bad our lives are. We don’t know what terrible fate awaits us. We don’t even know the hold that satan has over us.
Look at our situation. We are in desperate need. We are constantly harassed and harried. The enemies are all around us. There are more enemies than we can count. First there are those who would kill us because we are a follower of the Triune God. Then there are the unseen forces of economic downturn, medical crisis and natural disaster that would paralyze us with fear. Then there is the enemy that the classic Pogo cartoon would point out to us. “I have seen the enemy, and it is us!” We are our own worst enemy at times. We set out on journeys in life without consulting God or even caring what He wants for us. We cut off our nose to spite our face. We thumb our nose at God.
This is where God finds us. We are in constant combat. Day by day we are at war. We need to be rescued from this death. And what does God send us? A child. When we need a warrior, God sent His Son, born of a Woman, born under Law, to redeem those of us under the Law! When we were at war, God sent us a baby. This baby, all wrapped in swaddling clothes, one who is not even able to care for Himself, is the One that is supposed to deliver us? You have got to be kidding! A warrior in diapers is no warrior at all. We are lost.
But this is no ordinary child. This One is not just the Son of Man. This One is the Son of God. Like us, this One will grow. Like us, He will face temptation. But He will overcome it. Like us, He will face satan; But unlike us, He will defeat him. Like us, He will face death. But He will be victorious over it! This is no ordinary baby. What Child is this? He is the One God sent at just the right time, to just the right place, for just the right purpose, for the right people—you and me. He has come so that we might by His grace alone become the Sons and daughter of God.
What comfort it is for us as we travel into the canyon of the Word, that we would learn the truth of Holy Scripture. For Scripture teaches us saying: “If we are children, then we are also heirs...” heirs of heaven, of life with Him forever because God always acts at the right time. His sent this heaven-sent child so that we might become the children of God.
WHAT CHILD IS THIS? He is the One promised to the virgin, who will be called Immanuel. (Is. 7:14)
WHAT CHILD IS THIS? For unto us a Child is born...and His name shall be Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father, and of His kingdom there shall be no ending?” (Is 9:6-7).
WHAT CHILD IS THIS? He is the One who will bring a new heaven and new earth where the bear and lion shall pasture, the lamb and wolf lay down together, and little children will have no fear of vipers, cobras, and other animals that threatened us today. (Is. 11:6-9)
WHAT CHILD IS THIS? It is the Child who grew up to be the Suffering Servant who would die for the sins of mankind, suffer in our stead, and rise from the dead bringing life, love, light, and salvation? (Is. 53)
WHAT CHILD IS THIS? Why He is the Son of Man Your Savior and God. Amen.
Now the peace of God…
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Texts: Isaiah 11:1-10; Romans 15:4-13; Matthew 3:1-12
Theme: “God’s Desire For YOU!” Romans 15:13
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! The text for this 2nd Sunday in Advent is a portion of the Epistle Lesson: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen” (Romans 15:13).
Saints in Christ, this time of the year is the season of family. Some of my greatest Christmas memories are tied to family gathering both in the old country and the new. The trips are memorable. The gatherings are memorable. Even some of the down times are memorable. But the common denominator is family. Part of a being in a family is the joy of doing things for the people we love. We care about them and want to be a blessing to them.
During this blessed Season, our attention turns towards how we can fill the desires of those we love. Sometimes, we have to ask what their desire is. Husbands, you know what I am talking about. “Honey, what do you want for Christmas?” She hems and haws and then says, “Oh, I don’t know…” It’s a trap! You know that if you don’t come through, it will be hard on your wife and you! With kids it is a lot easier. Kids don’t have a problem telling you what they desire. When my children were little (and even when not so little) they would tell us of their desires—they would have a Wish book that is marked with their desires in red, or sometimes circled. It would be easy to identify their desire by simply reading the book or magazine.
This season of Advent and Christmas is a season of desire as well. It is all about God’s desire for you. This desire is totally different than the trapping desire of a loved one or a limitless desire of children. It is NOT about getting them the latest gadget, gimmick, or gizmos. Rather it is about something more substantial. It is all about God’s limitless, eternal desire to have you as His very own. God desires to give you the opportunity to live with Him for ever.
How do we know of this desire? Well, like my family with the Wish book, we are called to “just look at the Book!” Today we turn to the Book of Romans. What we find in these words from St. Paul that were written first to the Romans Christians and meant for us on this day, is that our God has a desire to have you as His very own. This is not a new desire. This desire is greater than the desire of kids to have their wishes fulfilled. It is a desire to love and care for you that has lasted longer than the desire you have had for your spouse. It is a desire rooted in the heart of God from before the first, “Let there be…” and it continues today unabated. Nothing can change this desire either. God’s desire was evident at the fall. When Adam and Eve sinned and ran away, God went looking for them, covered their shame with garments and protected them from the eternal death by removing them from the Garden. That wasn’t God’s desire for His people. Rather in the midst of Words of judgment, there were words of joy. In the midst of punishment there was a promise. This promise was for a Savior that would clothe God’s people in a new garment, a garment of righteousness. God’s desire to give forgiveness and life to His people oozes and drips from every page of Holy Scriptures. This is why Paul says what he says. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have HOPE”. This hope is not rooted in what we desire. It is a hope that is rooted firmly in God’s heart. God’s desire is to have YOU as His beloved children. God’s desire is to be your God. It is God’s desire that you be freed from every baggage and burden, sin and sorrow, grief and agony, despair and death. God’s desire for the sinner—you and me, was evident in the heavenly sent Savior, who came to earth, tasted hunger and thirst, loneliness and grief and death on the cross for YOU. God’s desire is to give you the songs of praise that shout from your lips.
We in no way deserve this desire. God’s desire is foolishness to us. It doesn’t make sense that someone could love us so much. Could give us so much. Do you have any idea who it is that God desires? He desires you! Sure that makes us feel good, but YOU? ME? You have to be kidding. We know who we are. We may well be respectable looking on the outside. The world may look at us and say that we sure have it all together. Nice job. Good kids. A Member of Christ’s Church. But we know the truth about ourselves. We give a glimpse of it to those who are gathered here together in God’s house each week by the Holy Spirit. We confess that we are poor, miserable sinners. We confess that we sin daily. This daily sin is not just little bits and pieces of our life. It is in every part of our life. We know ourselves. The truth is, most of the time, we don’t even desire ourselves, let alone be the desire of God’s heart. This is God we are talking about here!! The King of the Universe, The Almighty Creator, The HOLY One desires YOU, ME—hopeless, hapless, and helpless sinners.
That is what makes this season so special. It is all about making His desires know to us. This desire is so strong that it would lead an Eternal Father to send His only Son into the womb of a virgin. This desire would drive that same Son all the way from Nazareth to Jerusalem. This desire would lead Him to exchange a Manger for a Cross, new life for death. FOR YOU!
This desire is too good to be true. But it is! We have God’s Word on it. That is why it is so critical for us to hear and read and study and immerse ourselves in this Word. It is so critical that we here at Redeemer have declared 2008 the Year of the Word. Our study does not earn us a spot in God’s heart. Our study will not allow us to do good enough that we will pass eternity’s entrance exam. Rather our study is to remind us of God’s gracious desire for us! Reading the book points us to God’s desire for us!
Every week, we are privileged to see this desire play out as people leave their homes, and come to the home of the Lord. Each week we are blessed to see God’s desire unfolds as He forgives us our sins and blesses us with His Word and Sacrament. What blessed people to gather Sunday after Sunday to learn anew of the desire of our loving Father. Here, brothers and sisters come to know the depth of God’s desire for them. As they receive and confess that desire with us each week, we are reminded just how far and high and wide and deep is God’s desire for us.
God’s desire for us is what caused Christmas. God’s desire for us is what caused Easter! God’s desire for us is what sends us out into the world to announce this desire to a world that is filled with all too many desires. Of these, C.S. Lewis said, Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
But God’s desires are greater. He is not pleased with anyone being left in the mud. He offers us not a holiday at sea, but a blessed time in the arms of our Messiah, with our Savior and Lord, to spend an endless joy and peace with Him in Paradise.
The Apostle Paul speaks of the wonderful message on HOPE—faith toward the future based on what God has done in the past. HOPE is rooted in God’s heart, printed on the pages of Scripture, wrapped in cradle, nailed on a cross, and chiseled in the wounds of the risen Savior!
As we move deeper into this season, we recall that this is a season of desires. Not of our desire, but God’s. And this gives us comfort! Paul says it better than I. May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Now the peace of God…
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Theme: “This Child is the SON OF GOD!” Matt16:13-16 (esp. vs. 16)
Armour, (first in the sermon series: “What Child Is This?”).
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! The words which engages us this evening are from the Gospel of Matthew: “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ “But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I Am?” Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” (Mt. 16:13-16).
Saints in Christ, tonight we embark on a blessed journey deep into the canyon of the Word of the Lord, to glean and grow through our discoveries. By the Spirit’s power, we will learn the truth about the man called Jesus.
Beloved in Christ, perhaps this name is known to you or perhaps not. Voltaire is a name that is well-known yet today. Voltaire was a very famous writer in the 18th century. He is well known for his writing of plays, poems, and famous sayings. He is also well-known by the church but not for his faith but for his unbelief. Voltaire was a man who wanted nothing to do with God and religion. And in his writings he often poked fun at the Church and its leader Jesus Christ.
But when Voltaire was about to die, his attitude and his story made a real change. He suffered a stroke and knew that he was going to die. He called for a priest and wanted to take back all the things that he had written and said about faith in God. He cursed his own friends who were also unbelieving and wanted him to die unbelieving. This is what is written about him when he was suffering:
“For two months he was tortured with such an agony as led him at times to gnash his teeth in impotent rage against God and man. At other times, in plaintive accents, he would plead, “O Christ! O Lord Jesus!” Then, turning his face he would cry out, “I must die—abandoned by God and of men!”
As the end drew near his condition became so frightful that his unbelieving (infidel) associates were afraid to approach his bedside. Still they guarded the door that others might not even know how awfully an unbeliever (infidel) was compelled to die. Even his nurse repeatedly said “That for all the wealth of Europe she would never see another unbeliever (infidel) die”. It was a scene of horror that lies beyond all exaggeration.
Voltaire was a well-known man, wealthy and witty, powerful and prominent. It seemed that he had all that the world could offer him. But there was one question that had never been answered in his life. That question was the one Jesus directed to Peter, “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?” (Matt. 16:15)
Voltaire lacked something—lacked the peace that comes from knowing who Jesus Christ is. We can know all things in the world. We can have all things in the world. We can know all kinds of people in the world. But if we don’t know who Christ is, that is a sad story indeed. The question is still asked today. “WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?” (Matt. 16:15)
A very well-known and favorite Christmas hymn asks a similar question. In reference to the Christ-Child in the manger of Bethlehem, the hymn asks, “WHAT CHILD IS THIS?”
That is the theme for our Midweek Advent Sermon series. And this evening, we will talk about the first answer to the question, “What Child is This?” With the Help of the Holy Spirit that moved Peter to respond with this courageous and bold statement; we will look at the answer: “THIS CHILD IS THE SON OF GOD!"
I. Peter's Confession was the Correct One
Though it is a mystery to us, something that we cannot fully comprehend or explain the Bible teaches us and we believe that Jesus is both God and man. And this evening we want to review again what the Bible teaches about Jesus being True God, that is, that Jesus is the Son of God!
In the Old Testament, (our reading for this evening) a very important passage is that one we have heard again and again: “... And His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God…” (Is. 9:6). There we have it. God was promising that His Son, our Savior, would be True God. And so He was called in promise, “MIGHTY GOD.”
Then the angel appeared to Mary and spoke to her. “…the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35). And after Jesus was born, the angels told the shepherds, “A Savior has been born who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:11). The Bible calls Him True God. It doesn’t mince words.
We have others mentioned in the Bible who are led to the same conclusion. We could think first of Peter. Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Then we think of those beautiful words of Thomas after Jesus had risen from the dead. Remember that Thomas just would not believe that Jesus was alive until he could see Him and touch Him. Then Jesus appeared and Thomas’ response was, “My Lord and My GOD” (John 20:28). Thomas referred to Jesus as God.
We think also of that bitter and bloody night, Jesus had been crucified for the sins of humanity. By His feet stood a Roman centurion, who having witnessed His suffering, crucifixion, and death proclaimed. “Truly this was the Son of GOD” (Matt. 27:45).
Even the demons show us that Jesus was and is True God! When Jesus approached some of those who were demon possessed, they would cry out to Him because they knew that He was the Son of God and that He had control over them.
And Jesus Himself taught again and again that He was sent by the Father to be the Savior of the world and that He was True God. When He was questioned just before His crucifixion, Jesus was asked, “Are You the Son of God, then?” Jesus answered in the affirmative, “Yes, I AM!” (Lk. 22:70).
We don’t have to wonder who Jesus WAS and who Jesus IS. The Bible answers that for us: “This Child is the Son of GOD!” And Peter’s answer to Jesus was the correct answer, the only answer!
II. Our Confession is that of Peter
Today we are faced with the fact that there are many who pick the Bible apart. Many of them work their very hardest to try to show that the Bible is wrong, that it is just a book of stories. Many of them are like Voltaire; they want nothing to do with God and Jesus Christ. And yet what terrors and torment awaits them as they are dying and facing eternity!
“What child is this? This is the question that is before us and the world today. There is no greater and more important question. To get it wrong puts people in the horrible position that Voltaire found himself in. What child is this? By faith our answer echoes Peter. “Jesus the Christ IS THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD! The long-promised Savior.”
If Jesus had been only a man, He could not have been our Savior, and He could not have risen from the dead. But because He is the Savior, He became a curse for us! He died that we might live, the Just for the unjust, the Righteous for the unrighteous. Jesus, the Son of God died the cruelest death imaginable, and even beyond all imagination. Not only experiencing the torture of crucifixion, but the torment of carrying the world’s sin and being forsaken by His own Father.
During these days of Advent we remember that with Jesus’ own cross that God the Father keeps His promise. And with the death of the Son of God, our sins are paid in full: “If one man’s sin brought death to all people, we are all the more certain God’s love and the free gift of His love in one man, Jesus Christ, have been richly poured out on all people” (Rom. 5:15).
No matter what the world says then, no matter what we hear from other who would deceived us, or destroy the faith we have in Him, or deny the Word of the Lord, we confess with Peter and Martin Luther saying: I BELIEVE THAT JESUS CHRIST, TRUE GOD, BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER FROM ALL ETERNITY, AND TRUE MAN BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY IS MY LORD, WHO HAS REDEEMED ME A LOST AND CONDEMNED CREATURE.
“What Child is this?” Why, none-other than the Son of GOD! Amen and Amen.
Now the peace of God…
Friday, November 9, 2007
Texts: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Romans 12:9-14; John 15:12-14
Theme: “The ART of Love” John 15:12-14
Wedding of Lucas Tibbets and Bobbie Krueger (Pierce, NE)
Lucas and Bobbie, family and friends Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
We have gathered on this joyful day, in the presence of God and these witnesses, to join in holy matrimony this man and this woman. The text I have chosen for your wedding homily is from the Gospel of St. John. Listen again as I read it: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:12-14).
Family and friends, please be aware that this sermon for Lucas and Bobbie alone, but if you want to eves drop on this message, you may do so.
1. The World’s View of Love.
Love is a word that is used so often. Yet, it has been used and misused more than any other word in the English language; and it has been bankrupt because love has many meanings. It has been devalued, degraded and destroyed of its true meaning. Many people use it without even thinking about it or its use. Some say, I love Pizza. I love my coffee. I love my dog. I love the Corn Huskers.
But lets be honest, would you love the pizza if it was spoiled? Would you love your coffee if it was cold or too strong? Would love your dog if he tore your apartment and destroyed your precious belongings? Would you love the Corn Huskers if they were a losing team?
As the world views love, it becomes apparent that love is conditional. You love me, I love you back. You hate me, I will hate you. You hurt me; watch out, because I am getting even with you.
Lucas and Bobbie, do you remember the first time you came to see me to begin our pre-marriage counseling session? I had you fill out some papers. One of the questions I asked was, “why do you want to get married?” Lucas you said, “I fell in love with my best friend and the person I want to share the rest of my life with.” (I think you had a little help from my son David). And you Bobbie said, “I feel I’ve found the perfect man to spend the rest of my life with. I want someone to share all of my moments with.” And I said that is good, but not good enough. First, because there is no one perfect, even if you think that Lucas is (I you know he isn’t), and second, there is more to marriage than just feelings.
II. Definitions of Love
C. S. Lewis wrote a book about love. In this book The Four Loves he teaches us that there are four different types of love.
- 1. “Storge” love of parent
- 2. “Agape” God’s unconditional love towards man
- 3. “Philew” love of man to man, brotherly love
- 4. “Eros” love of man to woman, erotic/passionate love
Now I am not here to promote the book of C. S. Lewis, even though it is a good book. Neither am I here to expound on all of these different kinds of love, but I am here to share with you the ART of Love, not from human’s perspective, but from God’s perspective.
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 lays out for us the true meaning of love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” 1 Cor. 13:4-7).
Did you hear what Paul said? Love doesn’t seek its own, but rather thinks of the other person first. As you come into the marriage, you will by the grace of God learn the ART of love in that you no longer think of ME, but of WE. Because from now on, you will be one in the sight of God. One in unity. One in marriage. One in purpose and one in mission.
But I will tell you it is not easy to be united as one. For the sinful flesh always desires what’s in it for me. The old man in us, always thinks of self first. The old nature always desires to please self rather than the other person.
Your marriage is by grace connected to Christ’s cross. The real hard work of marriage was done when our Lord Jesus Christ offered up His life for you both. There you received forgiveness for all your sin. Even the sins you will commit against one another in marriage. Yet, as married and forgiven sinners, you see the masterpiece of forgiveness painted on Calvary’s cross. There is no greater portrait of true love than Jesus offering His life for you.
Lucas and Bobbie, I want you to think of the ART of love in this manner. I will use ART as an acronym:
A is for absolution. In order for your love to flow towards each other, you will need two good forgivers in your home. You see, you will hurt each other. You will disappoint each other. Someday you will say, “What possessed me to marry him/her? At you will be mean to one another, and when that happens you ask the Savior to help you forgive your spouse as the Savior Himself has forgiven you. Absolution becomes the glue that holds this marriage together.
R is for romance. After today, don’t stop being the courtship with one another. Keep the Romance alive. Set a time to go out on a date. Do something special for one another. Something unexpected that demonstrates that you are thinking of the other always. When the Romance is going strong, the flames of LOVE will never die down. Schedule on your calendar a time for this romance. Study together the book that Solomon wrote The Song of Songs and that will keep you on fire for one another. And the,
T is for the Tree of the Cross. Remember this well Lucas and Bobbie: where the cross is center, the apple does not fall far from this tree, and it is a delicious fruit of the spirit kind of love. When the cross is the hallmark of all you do, you will be able to be kind and patient and loving to the other. When the cross is the center, you will not seek your own will by His will and fulfill His commandments in your lives. The cross of Christ will be to you the guidelines of love and the lifelines of love.
With the Help of the Holy Spirit connected to a Church that teaches the Word of God and that is Christ focused and Cross-centered, you will be the best friends and lovers for the rest of your days. You will learn that love has no boundaries just as God’s Boundless love has no limits. You will fight for this marriage when disappointments, discouragement, disillusionment and dissatisfaction set in. And by the grace of God you will learn the meaning of Paul’s teaching on God’s Four Dimensional Love (Eph. 3) Length: Height: Breadth: and Depth.
Daily walk the extra mile with the help of Your Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Learn from Him the meaning of love—a love that took Him to the cross to die for your sins. Love that fulfilled what He taught, “Grater love has no man than this, than he lay down his life for His friends. You are His friends; He laid down His life for you so that you will be happy and blessed all the days of your married lives.
Remember these tid-bits of wisdom as you think about the ART of love.
- * God is LOVE. It is not that He should be; could be; ought to be, will be; He IS LOVE.
- * A goof friend of mine said, “Love is giving!”
- * “You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.”
- * * Nothing speaks more clearly of God’s love than the cross. For there you truly come to know, and see the love of God not merely in words, but also in action.
- * * There is an Arabic proverb that says, “The house that you love is not far from you.” In other word, when we love someone, their house is never far. How true that is in our love to our Awesome God, whose house of worship is never far from our hearts and heads.
- * So you ask what is love? Love is that pulse that moves your heart to acknowledge your sins and need for a Savior. Love is working at forgiving those who hurt you and harmed you. Love is giving without expecting something in return. Love is that instrument that causes you to do things that may appear foolish or crazy.
- * And when you asked God about love, this is how He paints the love scene, “For God so loved the world, “ME” so that He gave His one and Only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) And this picture slowly unfolds before our very own eyes, as we see the Son of God, our Savior, Lord and King, allow Himself to be beaten, bruised and bloodied for us. He further opens His arm and allows others to nail it to a wooden beam, and then He opens the other arm, and allows this one to be nailed to the same beam. And with His outstretched and extended arms says, “I LOVE YOU MY CHILD.” Indeed, God is love and His love is made manifest in His will to the Father, in His Work on the cross, and in His Word–The Bible–our love letter.
What a privilege today to speak to you about the Good News of infinite love through our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the Author of the ART of love. May this ART hold your picture of marriage till the ends of your lives. Amen.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
radio, newspaper and leaders of the community (or those who couldn't attend
the evening program) and then in the evening at 7:00 I will be speaking to
many about How to Witness to Muslims.
Pastor Nour a foot washer Phil. 1:6
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Texts: Isaiah 26:1-4, 8-9, 13-21; Rev. 21:9-11, 22-27, 22:1-5; Matthew 5:1-12
Theme: “It Is Hard to Imagine” Rev. 21:9-11,
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! The text for today’s homily is the Reformation Psalm: “One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal” (Rev. 21:9-11).
Saints in Christ, the last couple of weeks we have been reading in the newspaper and listening on the radio and watching on TV the tragic account of Ted Klaudt (former state Rep), who is charged with the rape of two of his foster daughters. According to the defense attorney Klaudt is charged with sexual contact with these girls by lying to them, that he needed to test them if they could donate their eggs for profit. We listen to something like this, and we can’t imagine that someone could stoop so low.
Ashly Duchene of Phoenix is charged with negligent homicide of her one year old son, Ryan Galicker after leaving him in the hot sun for 7 hours while she worked as a waitress at Hooters. It is hard for us to imagine that a mother could forget her son. But she did.
In Kearney, NE., a six grade teacher is on the run with one of her students who is 13 years old. According to the AP report she is intimately involved with her student. It is hard for us to imagine why anyone would do something like this.
My sister Yasmine 2 months ago was diagnosed with the dreaded disease of cancer. Yesterday, the Lord who bought her with His precious blood called her to His eternal rest to be with Him forever. It is hard for me to imagine life without my sister Yasmine. Without her smile, her love and her zest of life.
But today, the Evangelist John speaks to us about the beautiful home that awaits us. The home of the Lord, where He dwells with the Father and the Holy Spirit. It is really hard to imagine a home like that. A home where there is no pain, suffering and sorrow.
On this All Saints Day, our eyes are lifted up to heaven to our home of glory. For there the promises of Christ spoken while He was on earth are fulfilled. He, who is the Resurrection and the Life, takes all of those who die in Him to be forever in His presence.
The Bible tells us that God can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that is as work within us (Ephesians 3:20). On Easter Sunday the disciples began to realize this when they saw the risen Lord. On Ascension Day their realization that God can do beyond the imaginable increased as they witnessed the Risen Savior ascended into Heaven to fill all things. On Pentecost Day the Lord again surprised them with a real but hard to imagine experience when the Spirit gave them the miracle of new languages to tell of the victory Jesus brings.
It is hard to imagine how God created the universe out of nothing, yet He did (Genesis 1:1). It is hard to imagine how God split the Red Sea to give birth to a new nation even as those same saving waters swallowed up Pharaoh’s chariots. It is hard to imagine how God made the sun stand still for hours—extending daylight so that Israel would gain victory over the Amorites.
The God we worship has a pattern of doing the unimaginable. It was hard to imagine Jesus being born of a Virgin so much so that Mary asked, “How can this be?” It is hard to imagine the Lord who runs the whole universe asleep in a boat during a terrible storm, yet this occurred so that Jesus would keep the law perfectly for us. It is hard to imagine the Savior in love going without food for forty days and forty nights so that He would overcome the devil for us. In love, He was willing to starve for us.
However, what is most hard for us to imagine is that Jesus would purposely walk to the skull shaped hill to suffer for us in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine. For us He would drink the full cup of suffering, the full cup of despair, the full cup of loneliness. It is hard for us to imagine how Jesus wracked in infinite pain could upon the cross pray, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” It was so hard for the one repentant thief to imagine Jesus praying that prayer, that Gospel prayer converted him upon his cross. It moved him to pray to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Jesus spoke to him words that this man found hard to imagine but now knows to be totally true, “Truly I say unto you, this very day you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Today the Holy Spirit tells us we are heading to a glorious future. Each day we draw one day closer to the time when God will wipe away ever tear, when death and mourning will be forever gone, when we will dwell in an existence free from all the effects and defects of sin.
The group Mercy Me wrote a song that says very well, what I want to share with you.
Can Only Imagine Lyrics » Mercy Me
I can only imagine. What it will be like. When I walk By your side
I can only imagine. What my eyes will see When your face Is before me I can only imagine
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine
I can only imagine When that day comes And I find myself Standing in the Son
I can only imagine When all I will do Is forever Forever worship You I can only imagine
I can only imagine [x2]
I can only imagine When all I will do Is forever, forever worship you
On All Saints day we celebrate how in Holy Baptism the Holy Son of God has made us Holy—in other words saints. In Christ we are saints, holy, forgiven, blessed, sons and daughters of the God of all grace. It is hard to imagine that God views us as saints but that is His glorious verdict. Because of that glorious verdict we will participate in the glorious victory of dwelling in the New Heaven and New Earth with forever New bodies because of Him who took on a body for us to save us body and soul. May the Holy Spirit fire your imagination with the love of the crucified Risen Savior who comes to us even now with His body and blood for the forgiveness of sins.
Hard to imagine—all these good things—yes, and no. When we look into the deep wounds of Christ, the deep love of Christ, the powerful victory of Christ, these things are not hard to grasp. When we look only by human measurements—then they are very hard to grasp. May God the Holy Spirit enable us to look to the Risen Savior who fills the whole universe yet dwells within us so that our imagination is stretched to see His passion, His gift of paradise, His powerful promises, and His abiding presence; and His everlasting Peace. Amen.
Now the peace of God…
Saturday, November 3, 2007
God's morning to you all.
My sister is now celebrating the victory and triumph her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ earned for her on the cross of Calvary. She is in the presence of the Lamb with all the saints who have washed their robes in His blood. TO HIM ALONE BE ALL THE GLORY.
She fell asleep in Jesus this morning SD time 1:45 a.m. and awaken to look at the most beautiful sight in the world the face of her and Savior, Jesus Christ. What a blessing to see the promise of God fulfilled.
Thank you for your prayers and support. Please continue to pray for her husband, daughters and the rest of the Nour and Khoury family.
In Christ's love and in His service,
Rev. Nabil S. Nour Pastor and foot washer Phil. 1:6
Redeemer Lutheran Church
P. O. Box 158
Armour, SD. 57313-0158
"Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" Philippians 1:6
Friday, November 2, 2007
How do I begin to thank you for for such a memory filled trip as we have just experienced with you? Words to that effect seem rather insignificant when compared to the volume of "Christ filled" time and information we all received.
I spoke with you early in the trip as to different reasons people accompany you on such a trip of a lifetime. Why we came? I know my original thoughts were of retracing the footsteps of Christ and in so doing learning the geography and history of the land. Through Raed, our Israeli guide; we certainly weren't disappointed there. However, through you, we received an insight into the Bible; I'm sure other tours miss completely. You made the Bible come alive, not only through prayers, devotions, and scripture readings, but also through your first hand knowledge of the country and the customs and idiocyncracies of the local people; and in so doing, lit the fire of the living Christ within us all. I come from this trip a better Christian, most certainly an enlightened and better educated one; and hopefully a better person.
Why I came? It doesn't matter. How I left.....that matters.
I wish you and your family the very best and send a special prayer for your sister.
Friday, October 5, 2007
You will find it very uplifting. If you desire to listen to DAP call 605-724-2444 any time 7/24
Also if you have a prayer need, please share it with Pastor Nour, he will take these requests before the throne of Grace.
Enter Prayer Requests Here
Thursday, October 4, 2007
S-1003 9/30/07 18SAP/3C Hymns: (O) #439; (S) #442; L.S. #313; #314; #315; (C) # 416
Texts: Amos 8:4-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-3
Theme: “Realize Your Calling” (1 Timothy 2:7)
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! The text for today’s homily is a portion of the Epistle Lesson: “And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles” (1 Timothy 2:7).
Saints in Christ, the Bible is a book of stories. Some of the stories are very familiar, and others are not. Today, I share with you one of these stories that are tucked way back in the first book of the Hebrew Scripture. In Gen. 24, we are told Abraham wanted a wife for his son Isaac. He sent his servant Eliezer back to his hometown and commissioned him to get a wife from among his people. He forbade him to take a wife for Isaac from among the Canaanite women. Eliezer went. Along the way he prayed for God to bless his journey. When the Lord of heaven and earth answered his prayers by picking out Rebekah, he spoke with her family to take her with him to be the wife of his master’s son. They agreed to this offer and wanted him to let her remain with them for 10 more days to help her celebrate and prepare her going away. But he responded: “Do not detain me, now that the LORD has granted success to my journey. Send me on my way so I may go to my master” (Gen. 24:56).
The servant of Abraham didn’t forget his calling. He was called to go and get a wife for his master’s son. And he did.
Today, the Holy Spirit tells us of the calling that the Apostle Paul received from the Lord Himself. Here is how Paul speaks of his calling, “And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles” (1 Tim. 2:7).
Paul never wavered from his calling as the preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul understood the calling he received from God. Paul carried out this calling going from one place to the next, never permitting anything or anyone to get in the way of preaching the Good News to all people. He faithfully remembered his calling until he was beheaded in a Roman prison.
In the Words that are before us today, the Apostle Paul encourages and exhorts Pastor son Timothy to remain steadfast and carry on the ministry of preaching the Word of the Living God—so that all people might know the heart of God—that He wants all people to be saved. He wants people in our day and age to come to the realization that without Jesus in their lives, there is no hope, heaven, or happiness.
In these same words, Paul clearly and concisely declares this absolute truth that has become a stumbling block to many and will remain as such a scandalous to others. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men” (v 5-6).
You see saints in Christ, Paul, Timothy and all other faithful followers speak of the calling they received from God to share the love of Jesus that took Him to the cross on their behalf.
Indeed, you and I are called to be Christ’s ambassadors to speak His message of truth to the world that doesn’t believe it. In an age of political correctness we Christians are chided for saying there is no other way, but through Jesus. But whether they agree or they don’t, the truth MUST be told—there is ONLY One Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus.
Jesus is that go-between. He doesn’t only defend and speak on your behalf before the judgment seat of God, but He does it well. The Good News is His Father listens to Him because Jesus your Mediator and Savior has already paid the full amount for ALL your sins. That’s why the Son of God came to earth. He became man to offer His life as the ultimate sacrifice for all people. As the God-man, His blood was precious and His death powerful enough to cover all of mankind’s sins. When your Redeemer—the Mediator stand between us the sinners and His Holy God, we are safe. Not only safe, but forgiven and blessed beyond our wildest imagination. For by this marvelous act of Redemption, you are counted as saints in His sight, holy to spend eternity with your loving and gracious Father.
What wonderful news the Apostle Paul shares with you today. Today, by the Spirit’s power you continue to learn the truth about your Savior, Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished for you. And because He is your Savior, He calls you to be His faithful servants.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, do you realize that you are not normal people. Don’t be offended by my statement. Indeed, you are not normal people. You are a peculiar people, called out of darkness to show His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:8-9). Normal people when challenged to do something for the Church, would respond, “How much does that cost?” Peculiar people respond, “Lord, what would you have me do!” Normal people would say, “There is a need in the church and somebody should do it.” Peculiar people say, “Lord, I will do what I can with the gifts You have given me.” Normal people see the problems. Peculiar people see God’s power and providence, and what He can accomplish in spite of them. Normal people say, “It is NOT my job to do this”, peculiar people ask God to give them the privilege to honor Him with their services.
The fact that you are here on this Sunday morning shows the world that you are not NORMAL, but PECULIAR People. Yes, you are peculiar, because you come to confess your sins, receive His absolution, give your gifts so that others might know the will of the Father, and before leaving this holy house, receive the precious gift of the body and blood of the Lord to remind you that you are truly His forever.
Do you realize you calling faithful friends? Do you understand what it is that the Good and gracious God has called you to do? Our good doctor—Martin Luther in his Small Catechism addresses these issues under the heading, Table of Duties. There he speaks about what we are called to do as husbands, wives, children, parents, pastors and even to the authority and the Church.
By the grace of God we are privileged to share the blessed and beautiful news with the people of the world. Do you want to see people’s lives changed, then share the greatest story ever told. Not the story of Abraham commissioning his servant Eliezer to get a wife for his son. No, the greatest story is His Story, and not all people have heard it. And you and I are the privileged ones who are called by God in the waters of Baptism to live our lives as His spokesperson.
We would like to think that we always live our lives most of the time, as the Redeemed of God, but do we? The absolute truth is that we don’t always live like God’s people. More often than not, we live like normal people, rather than peculiar people. It is then, that we lift our eyes and hearts of faith to God and thank Him for sending His Son, Jesus Christ who never forgot His mission or His calling and the purpose to which He was sent to earth—to fulfill the Law of God perfectly in our place. In Mark 10 Jesus said: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). Again, Jesus said, “[I came]… to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work” (Jh. 4:34).
Faithful friends, Jesus realized His calling. He knew His mission. And nothing would deter Him from completing the salvation of man—yours and mine. Today, we were privileged to be reminded how God’s love in Christ Jesus brings us life, salvation, the knowledge we are loved, making us also His pleasantly peculiar people. What a blessing to be known not as normal people but peculiar people sharing the Good News with all. Amen.
Now the peace God…
Monday, September 24, 2007
It was a cold blustery day on Saturday September 15th, as 11 Bike-For-Life Riders braved the elements of wind and cold 34 degrees and rode off on a long arduous trip of 100 miles to speak on behalf of the unborn and the defenseless.
On that nasty ear numbing winds cold Saturday morning, riders from across the state of SD., began to gather at Pastor Nour’s house to begin the 10th anniversary of the Bike-For-Life ride. The riders included people from Yankton, Sioux Falls and as far away as Rapid city. They are: Father Albert, Kevin Werkmeister, Troy Ziebart, James and Tara Kinsely, Deb Eilers, P. R. Olson (Yankton) Albert Sutton (Rapid City) Mark Loneman (Sioux Falls), Jim Wynia (Platte) and Pastor Nour.
These men and women started out bundled up with winter coats, gloves and stocking caps, and long pants due to the coldest weather ever. We rode joyfully and with eagerness to our first leg of the journey at Parkston. There we stopped at Faith Lutheran Church and were greeted by a faithful servant—Phyllis Ehler, who has hosted us for the last 10 years with an awesome breakfast. There we were met with another rider Shelly (Werkmeister) Tupper).
Just as we were approaching the Church, one of our riders had a flat tire. After the tire was fixed and all riders fed; we bundled up again and continued our journey on to Sioux Falls. Our next stop was at Junction 81 and 44. There we stopped for our noon meal which was served by another faithful supporters of the Bike-For-Life ministry, Rev. John and Martha Werner from St. Peter in Clayton. They put on a feast for us of Lasagna, garlic bread and 3 types of pies, Apple, Pumpkin and Rhubarb. Yummy. What a wonderful meal and a needed rest we had.
At this location we gained 3 other riders, Adel Valdes from Sioux Falls, and Doug and Lynette Auch who rode that same morning from Yankton to meet us for our noon meal.
From now on we had vehicle escorts for protection. One ahead of us and the other behind us with amber light and sings declaring this is a Bike-For-Life. The lead van was driven by Don Sperlich who is the Treasure for the Lutherans For Life and avid supporter of the Bike-For-Life and the back car was driven by my wife, Jean, who has done that for the last 10 years. We continued our journey bundled up and fought the wind with all of our strength on to Sioux Falls. Our third stop found us at First English Lutheran Church, in Parker. The ladies of the Church offered us a break from the wind, a smile and refreshments and food loaded with iron to help us remain strong.
In Parker, we were met by 15 other riders. One rider Paul Peterson started on his down from Watertown, rode all the way to Brookings, but couldn’t go any further due to the strong southerly wind. He was picked up by another 10 riders who began their ride from Brookings, but after 15 miles they gave up due to the cold and blustery South Wind. We also picked up some riders from Sioux Falls who were friends of Mark Lonemann.
By now the riders have grown in size to 29. We rode to Tea were we stopped for our final break before we headed on to Sioux Falls. The last 7 miles from Tea to Sioux Falls were the easiest because the wind was behind us and pushing us on. Oh, how we appreciated God’s little favors. We arrived at the SD District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, by 6:30 p.m. All of the riders and support teams of many vehicles got t-shirts promoting the Alpha Center and the Bike-For-Life and rode together on to the final destination which is the Alpha Center right across from the mall on Louise Ave.
Here we were met by a host of people with cheers and balloons and plenty of drink and food.
After 11 hours and 45 minutes we arrived safely, exhausted but rejoicing that the Good Lord saw to it to allow us once again to speak on behalf of those who can’t speak for themselves and to fight the fight that destroys life in the womb—through abortion.
I wish to thank all of those who rode with me, supported me financially and with their donations. So far we have received $1748.00. Other funds are still coming and I am praying that we surpass last years gifts of $10.205.00.
This is my 10th anniversary of the Bike-For-Life. The way it got started was, I received a bike from my three sons—Tony, David and Michael for Father’s Day. That year I wanted to do something that will make a difference. I decided to ride to Sioux Falls and raise funds to help Lutherans For Life purchase an Ultra Sound Machine to be placed at the Alpha Center to help those expecting mothers and fathers realize that the living organism inside the woman is not just a blob of tissue, but rather a true, living, breathing child—a precious gift from God the Creator of Life. Ten years ago, I only had one rider from Sioux Falls, David Olson who made sure through his coaching and words of encouragements that I would make the trip to my final destination. Oh, how I thank God for that man who was a gift to me that year to complete my mission. Had it not been for David, I would have never reached that goal or continued the event year after year. The first year, we raised close to $5500.00. Praise be to God Alone.
I never intended to make it an annual event. Yet, after I arrived to Sioux Falls some people asked if I would do it again? I said, I would think about it. As the next summer started out, I began to ride my bike again, and people encouraged me to ride one more time. The rest is history as they say.
I have gained much knowledge about biking. I have a different and a better bike than the one I rode the first year, which has made a world of difference.
Over the last 10 years, by the grace of God with the aid of the Alpha Center and the Ultra Sound machine we know that over 2000 babies were spared from the butchering mill of abortion. Over $60.000.00 have been raised to keep this ministry going and promoting the preciousness of the Gift of Life.
I still pray and hope that we will surpass last years amount of $10, 205.00 so that we can now aid the Alpha Center in purchasing another Ultra Sound that has a 4 Dimensional imaging.
Thank you to all of the riders, supporters, contributors and prayer partners. Many thanks are due to many different people.
I like to thank my congregation Redeemer Lutheran Church for their constant support of prayers and donations and words of encouragements.
Don Sperlich for his willingness to drive and be of help in any department.
Kevin Werkmiester for getting the word out to many other riders.
For all of the riders from all around the State, who keep joining me year after year to fight the fight of faith.
For Dana and Jen Krull and Krull’s Market for providing us with ALL that we need to make the trip possible.
Pyllis Ehler of Parkston for serving us breakfast.
Rev. John and Martha Werner of Clayton for proving us with a sumptuous meal.
For the Ladies of First English Lutheran of Parker in providing refreshments.
The Armour Chronicle for promoting the event in their papers.
And my wife and son Michael for their willingness to give me all the time I need to prepare for this event.
Above all, I thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for giving me the strength that I need to exalt His name and defend the unborn.
If you would like to make this year a great success you may support it with your prayers and financial donations.
Donations might be sent to
Rev. Nabil S. Nour
P. O. Box 158
Armour, SD 57313-0158
Make checks payable to South Eastern Lutherans For Life of South Dakota (SE LFL SD) and in the memo write Bike-For-Life.
Texts: Proverbs 25:6-7; Hebrews 13:1-8; Luke 14:1, 7-14
Theme: “A Powerful Promise!” (Hebrews 13:5).
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! The text for today’s homily is a portion of the Epistle Lesson: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5).
Saints in Christ, in the advertising business, the people behind the scene desire to sell you their products. They promise that their products are the best on the market. In the cosmetic area we have many items that don’t deliver what the advertisement states. Examples: There is a product called “TimeWise”, it is an Age-fighting moisturizer. Tell me when was the last time you saw a person that didn’t age even with the use of this product? Oil of Olay has an anti wrinkle cream. Again, those who use it in time begin to show their wrinkles. Colgate has a product called Simply White. You are to brush it on your teeth and they will be whiter than snow. But again, stop using it and the white color fades. Botox and plastic surgery keep their promises only briefly. Before long the wrinkles show, hair color changes, our bodies sag and we feel time ebbing away.
Unlike the advertising world the author to the Hebrews tells us of One who keeps all of His promise—not just any promise—but all of them. The Word of the Lord in our text tells us that this promise is not just a pie in the sky. But rather this promise is a tried, tested and true.
From the beginning of the world our loving and faithful God has proven Himself to be trustworthy. When Adam and Eve fell into sin God promised a Savior to redeem man and restore the broken relationship that man had with God in the Garden of Eden. He also went looking for them, assuring them, even though they have broken His commandments, disobeyed His Word, listened to the devil; He will not forsake them nor leave them alone.
The Apostle Paul in Galatians chapter 4 writes: “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). These words from Galatians assure us again and again that our loving and faithful Father didn’t forget the human race nor the promise He made.
Sometimes, we act as if God doesn’t care. Sometimes, we wonder if God really even knows the promises He has made. We doubt His power. We doubt His presence. We doubt His promise. We treat Him as we treat other men who have broken their promises before.
Many a man and a woman have broken the promises they have made. The Native Americans claim that the White Fathers have broken their treaties with them. Doctors take promises to protect life, and yet we have some even here in SD who has forgotten that promise, and instead of protecting life, they destroy it through the abortion mill. Priests and Pastors promise to adhere to a certain confession and doctrine, and soon forget what that promise was. Police officers promise to uphold the Law and keep drugs off the street, but sometimes they close their eyes when money is given under the table. Companies in China promise to make good toys, but now Metal is calling thousands of Chinese-made toys because they have led in them.
But they are not alone. How many of us here have broken our promises? Parents promise at the Baptismal font to bring their children in the ways of the Lord. But soon they forget. Confirmands promise to be in Church, but after confirmation, it becomes graduation from Church. How many have stood before the altar of God and promised, “until death parts us” only to be parted when the flames of passion grow cold.
None of us whether pastors, police officer, or parents are able to keep these promises, because we are selfish and self-centered. We always want what’s in it for me. Though we have the best of intentions, they are not enough. That is why we need always be in the House of the Lord to give us the certainty and assurance that He will care for us and give us what we need.
Saints in Christ, I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit has brought you to His house this morning. Here you will once more learn of the Powerful Promise of God. Paul reminds us of this truth saying: “Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise” (Gal. 4:28). For here the promise becomes evident as we gather around Word and Sacrament for strength and stamina for the journey of faith.
Yet, the devil doesn’t want us to believe these Words of hope. Satan wants us to think that we are all alone. The evil foe always wants us to ponder our sin rather than our Savior and think that He has left us to fend for ourselves. But that is not the case.
A young lady wrote saying, “I am reminded of the verse given to me at my confirmation: ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ (Heb. 13:5). This promise from God has been a source of comfort and hope to me in my times of tears. As Christians, when frustration, sorrow, or regret overwhelms us, we look to the cross and remember the tears of Good Friday and the joy of Easter.”
That is a wonderful advice to remember daily. Daily look to the cross of Christ, and you will see a marvel above all marvels. There on the cross you will see the Powerful Promise of God still striving, seeking, and searching for lost man as He did in the Garden. On the cross we hear the promise of Jesus to the dying thief, “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise!”
I pray that you will not allow the devil and his cohorts to close your ears to the Powerful Promise given by our good and gracious Lord and Savior. Why do I say that? Because God’s precious Word is filled with His promises. Study the Psalms and you will see that the Psalmist knew of God’s presence and promise in the midst of great adversity. Our God doesn’t allow disease, death, destruction and devastation to be the final word. The Lord hears our cries and will not abandon us, even when all seems futile and lost. God makes a dwelling place with us, right in the thick of our problems, even though we might not feel God’s presence. God has promised to be with us, saying, “Lo, I Am with you even to the end of the Age” (Mt. 28:20). We can certainly and confidently trust this promise.
What do we do with the worries that plague us daily? Take your anxieties to the cross—literarily. Next time you’re worried about your health or house or finances or flights, take a trip to the Hill. Next time you doubt God’s presence, power, peace and promise take a mental trip up the HILL. Spend a few moments looking again at the pieces of the Passion.
Run your thumb over the tip of the spear. Balance a spike in the palm of your hand. Read the wooden sign written in your own language. And as you do, kneel down and touch the velvet dirt, moist with the blood of the Lamb of God. Blood He bled for YOU. The spear He took for YOU. The nails He felt for YOU. The sign He left for YOU. He did all of this for YOU. Knowing this, knowing all He did for you there, don’t think He’ll look out for YOU here?
Is there any more powerful promise than what we have in the book of Hebrews? The Lord Promised, “I will NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU”. Now that is a promise you can take to the bank. Amen.
Now the peace…
In 1977 I married Jean Marie Miedema of Hitchcock, S.D. Into this marriage three lovely sons were given us, Tony, 28, David, 24, and Michael 15. After converting to Lutheranism, I received encouragement to consider the pastoral office from my fellow church members and pastor.
In 1989 I entered Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO. and graduated in the Spring of 1994 with a Master of Divinity Degree. I am now a servant of the most High God and Lord, in His vineyard at Armour, South Dakota. And I am enrolled at the same Seminary for the Doctoral of Ministry Program in the department of Homiletics and also writing a Bible Study for CPH on the book of Ruth.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Pastor Nour a native of Nazareth, Israel, leads tours to the Holy Land once a year.
This year's tour is scheduled to depart from Minneapolis, MN on October 2nd. We have a total of 35 tourist.
The tour is for 11 days and inclusive of flight and ground transportation. Five star hotels, two meals (breakfast and supper), tips and all entry fees.
This is more than shrine hopping, but more of a Biblical journey in the steps of the Savior, Jesus Christ. I will share with you the rich heritage and culture of the Middle East. Allow your senses to smell and taste and hear and feel the land, its people and the food.
Next Year’s tour is scheduled for May the 11th. The price is $3150.00 per person double occupancy.
For further information contact:
Rev. Nabil S. Nour Pastor
P. O. Box 158
Armour, SD 57313-0158