Tuesday, August 26, 2008

“Let God Be God!”

S‑1070 08/24/2008 15SAP/3A Hymns: (O) #299; (S) #647; L.S. #514; #388; #313; (C) #36

Texts: Isaiah 56:1-6; Romans 11:33-12:8; Matthew 16:13-20

Theme: “Let God Be God!” (Romans 11:33-36).


Question: “Can you identify the real God?”

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the book of Romans. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor? Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:33-36).

INTRODUCTION: Saints in Christ the world in which we live in is not fair. Perhaps you have been watching the Beijing Olympics. If you have, you must agree that there have been some questionable decisions by the judges. One such decision that caused many to question the outcome was in the uneven bar program. After the Chinese and American gymnasts were done they received the same identical score. However, the Chinese gymnast won the Gold medal and the American gymnast got the Silver medal because of some ridiculous method to determine the outcome. As Nastia Liukun sat there stunned, she asked the question, “Why?” The answer because the system is not fair, and neither is life. A 12 year old girl is diagnosed with a brain tumor. After the surgery to remove the tumor, the child dies. The parents are crushed. A young couple bring their infant son home after birth. A week later, the child dies in his crib. Their lives are turned upside down; their hearts are broken and filled with sorrow. Life is not fair.

Sometimes we think that we are being mistreated and misjudged. We complain that we didn’t get the best deal that we should have. We wonder why my neighbor got an inch of rain, and I only 500 feet away from him, didn’t get a drop. Life is not fair. We wonder how come I was overlooked with the promotion, but the newest employee gets it. Why not me? Life is not fair. But what is fair? Fair is getting what we think we should.

Certainly there are many incidents in life that we question the fairness of what has been dealt to us. Why should we be in this position and how could God do this to me?

But as we look at the words of the Apostle Paul, it becomes plainly clear that God is God and we are His created people. We are not gods. We don’t have the mind of God. We don’t act or think like God. Oh, sure sometimes we think we know more than God and question His authority, but we can’t. It is unsearchable.

In the text before us today, Paul by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, challenges us to look closely at who God is and what He has done. With these words, Paul gives us questions that demand an answer: Paul put it this way: For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor? The answer plain and simple is no one. He was here before the foundation of the world. He set the order of the Universe in place. So how can we question Him, His authority or His might?

People have tried and are still trying. In the book of Job we read these words:

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know!   Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed”? (Job 38:1-13).

This is our God who is speaking. He is telling Job and us that He is God and therefore let Him be God. But sadly things have not changed. People today still question God, His method, His Means of Grace and the authority of this message that we proclaim Sunday after Sunday.

People haven’t changed. They think they know more than God. When God says, “Take a little water and attach it to my Word and Baptize a child so that she (like Marissa) might become My child, forgiven of her sins and receiving the Holy Spirit”. They snuff their noses and say, “water can’t do that! You can’t convince me that Baptism saves!” When Jesus said, “Take eat, this IS My body…Take drink this IS My blood” People scoff and laugh that the simple wafer and wine, can truly be the Life-giving Body and Blood of Jesus. They say, “It can’t be!” In essence they are saying to God you don’t know what we know.

Even politicians think they know more than God and question His authority. A senator in a speech On June 28th of 2006 said in convention titled “A Call to Renewal” these words: “Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus which suggests slight relocate? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggest stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount, a passage that is so radical, that is doubtful that our own defense department would survive its application? Folks have not been reading their Bible!”

This senator has arrogantly mocked and ridiculed the books of Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and the Sermon on the Mount, taking those passages of the Bible so painfully out of context and condescending that folks have not been reading the Bible. People read the Bible, but don’t believe everything because they think God is not fair.

These people who deny the power of God and don’t let God be God are people without true faith in Jesus Christ. They show they have a religion without God. But what is a religion without God but a house without a foundation, an ocean without water, and a person without a heart and soul? (From God Grant It, C.F.W. Walther P. 692).

God is more than fair. Jesus the just dies for the unjust to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18) If anyone ever got the short end of the stick it was Jesus. Although He was sinless, He takes on all the sin of the world. He gets stuck with our sin. God is more than fair. Jesus suffers hell so that we might have heaven. The sweet swap. Jesus gets our sin, we get His sinlessness.

I wonder how we would do if God said, we could run the world for one day. Thankfully, we don’t have to. We have a God who loves us more than we can imagine and cares for us in more ways than we can think off.

And if we think life is not fair then consider this please: We can pile injustice after injustice about the unfairness that we get. But be aware there nothing more unfair in the history of the world than the cross of Christ. You want to talk about fair? Then study the Word of the Lord and see what it says, about His holy sinless, spotless Son of God, who endured all of God’s wrath and judgment for us. This is not fair. But He did it for YOU.

In Your eyes, God may appear that He is not fair. The reason is because we are not God. We don’t see what God sees. We don’t know what God knows. We don’t think or act like God does. For if He treated us like we deserved, we would all be damned to hell.

But thank God we are not gods, but the Lord, Jesus Christ is. He loved us, poured His mercy upon us, forgiven us all of our sins and sends us on our way with the simple but joyful task to live for Him as Living Sacrifice and to share His love with the world. Being a sacrifice isn’t easy. But it is when we know the hard part has already been done by Jesus. We deserve the sacrifice of the cross. But Jesus took it. Now, called by faith we become the sacrifice every day. God grant us the grace to be sacrificial in our following Him, be living in our worship of Him and transformed in our service to Him now and always. AMEN

Now the peace of God…

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A word from others

The below comments were shared with me after finishing a week of being the key note speaker at Shoshone Base Camp in Idaho (Lutherhaven ministries Servant Adventures) July 6-11, 2008

Dear Pastor Nour,

I was attending Idaho Servant Adventures last week at Shoshone Base Camp, and heard you preach. In full honesty, I have to say that you are one of the best pastors I have ever heard. Your words were inspiring and you could relate scripture to our lives so that we understood perfectly what your point was.

I’m the girl with the green cast on her right arm. I do not yet know the outcome of that situation, as I go to see a hand surgeon about it on Monday.

Kat Waymire


Pastor Nour,
I want to thank you for coming to Shoshone base camp this past week, you have no idea how glad I was that you came. Since I have left and come home to Washington I have thought of a few questions to ask you.

I am baptized, redeemed, forgiven, blood bought and heaven bound

Nick Johnson
(Sammamish, WA)


Just a quick note to let you know how much we appreciated your presentations of the Gospel this past week at Shoshone.  My boys and I really grew in our faith this week as God used you to speak to us. May God continue to bless your work as you serve the Master.

Pastor Brent Parrish

Our Savior Lutheran Church

Escanaba, Michigan


Pastor Nour,

WOW! What an incredible week it has been. What a joy to see God at work in you and through you. Thank you for allowing the Gospel to ooze from you. Thanks for your time, voice, hands; and especially, your heart! The Lord Bless you mightily Nabil –

Lutherhaven ministries

Shoshone Base Camp Staff.


Pastor Nour,

You have no idea how much you enlightened me. You really changed my views on Jesus. I can’t wait to go home and share the good news. I was lost before I met you and going through some hard times and you affected me so greatly. I hope to see you again on this side of heaven. God Bless You,

Love your sister in Christ,

Caylie Gray (MI)


Pastor Noore,

You’r sermons and prayers have always been amazing. We have been so blessed to have you here this week. –Renee


You are so wise. This week you have really opened my eyes in my faith, and I am really happy about that.

Love, Jaymson

“It is NEVER Too Late!"

S‑1069 08/17/2008 14SAP/3A Hymns: (O) #13; (S) #244; (C) #469

Texts: Isaiah 56:1. 6-8 Romans 11:1-2, 13-15, 28-32; Matthew 15:21-28

Theme: “It is NEVER Too Late!" (Romans 11:13-15).


Question: “Do you hate being late?”

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the book of Romans. “Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” (Rom. 11:13-15).

INTRODUCTION: Saints in Christ, there are certain events in life that we just get there too late to make a difference. A basketball game is in the final seconds. The opposing team is ahead by 2 points. Your point guard and the star of your team has the ball, but he doesn’t release the ball, till after the horn sounded and it was too late. The game is lost and you as fans leave frustrated and upset. You have an airplane trip coming up. You head to the airport and clear security. But by the time you got to the gate the airplane is taxing away, and it is too late. You are mad at yourself for not getting to the airport sooner. Your child is learning to ride his bicycle. And he says dad, “I can do it by myself, let go of the bike!” Soon after you let go, you see that he is loosing control of his bike. You run as fast as you could, but it is too late, your son has fallen to the ground and broken his arm. You’re disappointed that you listened to your son and let go. You get a call from the hospital. Please get here as fast as you can. You get in the car and head to the hospital. But with travel and traffic you get there only to hear the nurse say, “I am sorry, it is too late. He has passed away.” You are sad and mad because you didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, I love you, or ask for forgiveness for a pain that has separated you. When the horn blows, when the clock ticks, when the light is out, and when the nurse speaks. It is too late.

In the world in which we live, there are events that happen too late. But not when it comes to the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what the Apostle to the Gentiles—Paul tells us in this text. That it is never too late to share what God has done for us and continues to do for us. As long as there is breath in us, we can by the mighty working of the Holy Spirit tell the Good News to others.

Paul, in the words of Chapter 11 shares with us, his anguish and agony over the lot of his brothers—the Jews who have refused the message of hope and help that God offered them. He is bringing to the forefront that God has not rejected them. Even though they have rejected Him, God still desires today to reach out to all people to know Him whether they be Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and others. It doesn’t make any difference, but what matters that they may know His love and His Son, Jesus Christ who died for all people that they may live with Him in the place He has prepared for them in heaven.

Even the evangelist Peter speaks of the same message. Listen to Peter’s words: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Did you hear what Peter said? God is patient towards us so that we might hear the message and repent before it is too late. God wants us all people to come to the knowledge of His grace and see Him as the loving, caring, compassionate Father. God spares nothing looking for us lest we spend eternity in the fires of hell.

How important then it is for us to be in partnership with Paul, Peter, and Jesus in sharing the timeless message of the Good News. How valuable for us to be concerned about others before it is too late. How essential it is for us to be doing the Father’s work in seeking, and searching for the lost, the erring, the blind and the simple. We dare not waste the time any more, but take to heart that our days count for something.

Don’t take lightly the joys and privileges the Lord gives you in speaking with the family of faith about their lives and actions. Don’t take lightly the blessings you can be to reach out in the name of the Living and Loving Christ to others. You are the ONE whom God has called to be an instrument in sharing the most important message the world needs to hear.

The mission of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has taken some twists and turns. It has faced rejection. But that rejection still can be overcome by the Gospel. It is true of the Jews. It is also true of those we know and love who do not know Jesus.

Paul’s discussion in the Epistle on the fate of his fellow Jews leaves little doubt that the Gentiles, too, are reconciled to God only by His mercy. Are you aware of the needs of those around you? Have you lost your family? Is there a member in your family who has nothing to do with Christ, His Church? PAUSE. Then in love show them that you care and concerned about their well being.

This past week I read a story of a former son of Hamas cleric who became a Christian and denounced the Islamic faith.

MOSAB HASSAN YOUSEF: “My family is educated and it was very difficult for them. They asked me many times, especially for the first two days, to keep my faith to myself and not go to the media and announce it.

But for me it was a duty from God to announce his name and praise him (around) the world because my reward is going to be that he's going to do the same for me. So I did it, basically, as a duty. I (wonder) how many people can do what I can do today? I didn't find any.

So, I had to be strong about that. That was very challenging. That was the most difficult decision in my life and I didn't do it for fun. I didn't do it for anything from this world. I did it only for one reason: I believed in it. People are suffering every day because of wrong ideas. I can help them get out of this endless circle ... the track the devil (laid) for them.”

You and I may not agree that this man had to do something for God. That is not true. But what is true is that the Lord does everything for us to save us. Look intently at the cross and see His love. Look intensely at His Son sacrificing His life for you and see His compassion. Look profoundly at the empty tomb and see the victory He has won for you.

Brothers and sisters in Christ know for certain, that it is never too late to bring an end to all the evil in this world. It is never too late to end the massacre of Abortion. It is never too late to bring a halt to murder. It is never too late to stop all rape. It is never too late to win a Silver meddle in the Olympics at age 41 as Dara Torres did last night. It is never too late to tell the world of our Savior. Time is of the essence. Now is the day of salvation and we should be about our loving Savior’s business.

As a family of believers we have at times got together for a picnic at the park. While there we begin to play different games. When choosing sides, many of the young people wonder who will pick them since they are little or less gifted.

However, in God’s economy God doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t look at us and pick us because we are good at something. For we are all disabled by sin that there is no good in us. We’re all deserving of hell that God wouldn’t even waste a first glance at us.

But look closer at the words of Paul. God doesn’t work that way. He is patient with us. He is gracious towards us. He is merciful to us. He is loving toward us. Instead of sending us to be on Satan’s losing team in hell, He sent His only begotten Son from heaven to take care of our sins. He has provided the uniform that we will wear—the garment of salvation. It’s His Son’s payment for every sinner that makes it all possible.

God wants every single sinner on His team. He sent His Son to pay for every single sinner. He gives life to every single sinner as the time to learn of the Savior and readied for Eternity. Those who reject Jesus do so at their own peril. Those who are clothed with Him rejoice in God’s grace.

Follower of the Savior, we need to remember that Christianity is not a spectator sport; following the Savior calls for courage and commitment. The Lord has entrusted us with the salvation story. We are people of Christ with the one and only hope that can forgive sins and save souls. As Christians, we need to know it is a great joy and privilege for us to share the love of Jesus with others before it is tool late.

On this day and every day may we be faithful in caring and sharing the sweet message of our salvation with others before it is too late. Amen.

“Jesus is LORD!”

S‑1068 08/10/2008 13SAP/3A Hymns: (O) #354; (S) #377 1-4; L.S.; #377 5-10; #350; #314; (C) #348

Texts: Job 38-4-18; Romans 10:5-17; Matthew 14:22-33

Theme: “Jesus is LORD!” (Romans 10:9-10)


Question: “What does the word LORD mean to you?”

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the book of Romans. “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Rom. 10:9-10).

INTRODUCTION: Saints in Christ, if you were to ask a person who is Jesus? He/she might respond Jesus was a historical figure. He was a good person who lived a long time ago. Some might even say He was a figment of someone’s imaginations. Others might say He was a religious figure or a good teacher. Some might even dare to say, He was a prophet and performed many miracles.

Skeptics would say that Jesus was a fake or fraud; clown or a con-man; a rebel or revolutionary; a sinner and satan-filled, a martyr or a mad-man.

But this is not what Paul teaches us today. He declares that Jesus is the Lord of all Creation. And by confessing Him as Lord with our hearts and mouth, we shall be saved. Salvation comes to all who believe on the One whom God sent to die in our place.

However, we have no concept of what the Lord really means. In the first century it was a common thing to have lords over people. They understood this lordship. Many a people called on their masters as lord. Servants took care of their lords. Servants did what their Lord demanded and said. In the Middle Ages too, that term meant something.

But what does the lordship of Jesus mean today for us believers in light of “lordship” not fitting into today’s society, modern economy and social structures?  Today’s high-tech world with corporate CEO’s and governmental bureaucrats, congressmen, and president it is another matter. We don’t use that term often except in religious circles. We don’t know what that terms mean.

To be sure, this term is mainly reserved for us Christians (with some exceptions: I am sure some cults and even Satanists may use it for their superiors).  There is but one Lord Jesus, and that makes it unique.  Our honor and worship of Him is singular.  We give respect to all leaders and rulers in society.  But worship only to the One Lord Jesus Christ. 

As followers of the Lord, Jesus Christ, we take our faith into the world every day we go out to work, school, and play and everywhere.  Is there an acceptable place for sharing the lordship of Jesus to leaders in the secular world, even our bosses, family, friends and others?

That’s the most important question that you and I need to answer and answer it well. For the apostle Paul declares without any hesitation or fear, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”. Salvation is found in the truth of declaring Jesus as our Lord and Savior. This is the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts that leads us to confess Him as our Lord.

This week, I was traveling to Sioux Falls to spend time with my family. As we approached junction 44 & 81 there was an 18 wheeler in front of us with these words emblazoned on it. JESUS CHRIST IS LORD, and below these words, were these other words, IS NOT A SWEAR WORD. Jesus Christ is Lord, is not a swear word.

How true. Jesus is the Lord of lord and King of kings. Without Him there is no salvation. Peter and John boldly confessed Him before the religious leaders of the day, saying: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other NAME under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Salvation comes through Him. Thomas on the second Sunday of the resurrection day made this great confession: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). And one day all people will stand before Him and speak the words of Philippians: “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).

By the power of the Holy Spirit we confess Jesus as our Savior and Lord whom God raised from the dead. I can with conviction know for certainty: Jesus’ death counted for me. His resurrection assures my resurrection. Because He lives, I also will live, body and soul in heaven some day. Through the working of the Holy Spirit you and I are moved to confess to the public and to everyone. Not because we have too, but because we want to. Not because we need to, but because it is a privilege and honor to introduce others to the Savior of our souls, JESUS OUR LORD.

Sine He is our Lord, we owe Him total obedience and allegiance. We bow to Him, worship Him, obey Him, fear Him, serve Him and love Him. As Lord we acknowledge His Words are true and everlasting. We hold on to these words for they are our life-line to heaven. We take these Words to heart realizing that in them we know that we are sinners, but Jesus is our Lord and Savior who came from heaven to redeem us, reconcile us to God and restore our broken relationship with our heavenly Father.

Who is Jesus? Some might say that He is a liar, lunatic, and loser. But we say He is our Lord. Some might say that He is a fraud or fake but we say He is the faithful Lord who paid the ultimate price on Calvary’s cross. Some might say He is a clown or a con-man, but we say He is the conqueror of death, hell and the grave. Some might say He is a rebel and revolutionary, but we say He is our heaven-sent Redeemer.

This Lord comes to us today in His Word and Sacrament serving us. He doesn’t force His lordship over us, but He gives us His love and life. He doesn’t mandate that we bow the knee to Him, but He invites us to come to Him with all of our love and heart; so that we might confess Him as the Lord of all creation.

Today, we stand in God’s house and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we cry out with Thomas, “MY LORD, and AND MY GOD!” Today, we speak of the Resurrected Lord who has conquered our enemies. Today, we boldly confess Him as the Lord and Savior of all mankind. Today, we proclaim that Jesus is the heaven-sent Rescuers. Today, we declare to the world that this Jesus is OUR LORD.

Isn’t wonderful that the Holy Spirit through the Word reveals to us, that Jesus is our Lord? Yes, indeed! Amen and Amen.

Now the peace of God…

“The Children of Promise”

S‑1067 08/03/2008 12SAP/3A Hymns: (O) #457; (S) #370; (C) #43 S.O.D.

Texts: Isaiah 55:1-5; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21

Theme: “The Children of Promise” (Romans 9:4)


Question: “What do you think of promises?”

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the book of Romans. “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises” (Rom. 9:4).

INTRODUCTION: Saints in Christ, children are wonderful gifts from God. When they are born, their lives are filled with promise. As we stare down at the bundle of joy that is our child, we begin to see the promise of a star quarterback or the point guard in the NBA until they are 40 so that we can retire early. We look into the small yet bright eyes and we see the promise of a child that looks heavens for inspiration while remaining firmly on the ground. We grasp their tiny hands and we see the promise of a skilful piano player or jazz trumpeter, dancer or actress. We look into their eyes as they walk down the aisle to live happily ever after with their wife/husband. As we stand and gaze upon them, we see nothing but promise.

Abraham knew this. Imagine waiting those 99 years to look at the bright eyes and tiny fingers of Isaac. Sure there was Ishmael, but he just wasn’t the one. Isaac had all the promise. He was the child of God’s promise. He was the heir who would inherit the promise that Yahweh had spoken decades earlier. This one, this son, this Isaac, was the many nations! Now there is some promise!!!

Then there were the twins, Jacob and Esau. They too were full of promise. These were the sons of the miracle Isaac. Esau was first. Jacob was second. According to the laws of inheritance, Esau was entitled to the promise that Yahweh had spoken to Grandpa Abraham and Dad Isaac. All was right. The first born would inherit the best, the second the rest. St. Paul captures this in our text when he writes, “Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen”. (Romans 4-5).

But here is where Yahweh turns the tables. It is here that we are confronted by the reality that God will bless whom He will bless. And in the case of Rebecca’s wrestling twins, The older will serve the younger. Esau was entitled, but Jacob was blessed. Esau deserved it all, but Jacob was the one God’s chose.

When Jesus walked the face of the earth, He was the PROMISED Child who came down from heaven. He is the Word made flesh who made His dwelling among us. He was the One and only full of grace and truth. He was the One that the Heavenly Father promised to send into the world for the sake of every human soul. He was the Child of the promise who would crush the head of the ancient serpent that had beguiled our first parents and led them into sin. He was the Promise to which generations of a chosen nation would cling. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all their children were the children of this promise. They looked to that promise throughout the years. They were the heirs of that promise. They were entitled to every blessing that came with it.

But when Jesus came to His very own, these legal inheritors of the promise soon started to behave like Esau. They may have been entitled, but they would not be the heir. Again, God will bless whom God will bless. These legal heirs rejected the inheritance that would be Jesus. They fought Him at every turn. His miracles they mocked. His teaching they taunted. Even when they had nothing to say in the face of His actions they still would not believe. The very will and testament of God Himself stood before them in the flesh and they would not receive Him. Rather than receive Him, they plotted His murder. While Jesus was speaking Law and Gospel, the children of promise were speaking words of death and destruction. These words would lead to action. There was betrayal and arrest. There was beating and bludgeoning. There was a cross and there was death. The children of Abraham, the children of promise, seemed to have victoriously rejected the very promise to which they were called.

This could be a story that very well ends badly. And for some, it does. But we are not among them. For you see, where there is an inheritance there must be an heir. When the children of Jacob refused the promise, others will take their place. And just who are the others? YOU AND ME!! We are the heirs. God will bless whom God will bless. And that blessing has fallen to us. While we are not the full blood relatives of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, we are children of the promise. Everything that Yahweh promised to our first parents in the Garden after the fall has now been promised to us. WE, not children of birth, have become children of the promise!

This is great news for us! We have a promise! We don’t deserve it, but we have it! It is ours now, not by birth but by grace. Freely we have been given, freely we have received. This promise has us looking beyond the world in which we live and the places where we dwell to that final promised inheritance in eternity. This is ALL OURS by promise, God’s promise to us! We have nothing else to say but thanks be to God!

But there are times in our lives when that promise is hard to believe. We see the happenings in our world and we begin to wonder. Where is the promise when we can’t pay for our house? Where is the promise when there is a diagnosis of a dread disease? Where is the promise when death seems to get the upper hand over those we know and love? Where is the promise when we can’t ever seem to get beyond those sins, both big and little, the very sins that our God says is punishable by death?

St. Paul reminds us that our salvation is not a matter of who we are born to be or what we accomplish in our lives. It is all by promise. In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. Our salvation is rooted in the death and resurrection of our adopted brother Jesus Christ. Everything He did, He did for God’s children. These children are not children by birthright but by adoption. That means you and me! We are Abraham’s offspring!

This is God’s gift to us by grace through faith. We who have become the children, dare not attempt to live as the children of the Law. Sometimes it is hard for us to believe even the Word of God and His promises to us. And when we think of promises, we always think of the positive. But the promises can also be in the negative. Such as, God promises that those who don’t believe in Him will go and spend an eternity apart from His presence. We love to hear as His beloved children the promise that our sins are forgiven. That God sent Him to die for us. But we are not willing to believe the promise that those who live in their own ways and ignore the Word of the Lord will find a day of judgment.

But we are not children of Law. We are children of the promise! Our promise is rooted in the certainty of our Lord and His Christ. In order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls, we have been made something that we once were not. We are children of the promise. Our promise is rooted in Christ and what He has done for us. This promise is all about our brother Jesus. His action gives us an inheritance that will neither spoil nor fade. The devil can’t take it from us. The world can’t snatch it from our hands. The only thing we can do is forget the promise by making it Law.

We are children of the promise. The promise was made to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. And from the moment of our baptism, the promise is ours. It is ours today as well. And when God looks at us infants brought to the fount He smiles and blesses us with the sure and certain promises that Christ has given us—forgiveness of sin, faith and life eternal.

And these promises are real. And this promise is always enough. Like the Gospel for today, there is more than enough to go around when you include the leftovers. That is how awesome our Lord’s promise is to us. And that promise is fulfilled, because we are the children of promise. We have Jesus to thank for that! AMEN.

Now the peace…

“The ROPE of Love” Ecclesiastes 4:12b

S‑1066 08/01/2008

Texts: Ephesians 5:21-33; John 15:9-12; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Theme: “The ROPE of Love” Ecclesiastes 4:12b

Wedding of David Nour and Jody Veurink (Faith, Sioux Falls, SD

Precious son David and Gem Jody, family and friends, in the name of Him who is love Jesus Christ. Amen. On this joyful day, we stand in God’s house and in His Presence asking Him to be the honored guest and to bless you as you begin on the journey called marriage. The text I have chosen for this wonderful celebration is tested, tried and true. The author of this book knows what he is speaking about. He is speaking from personal experience. Listen to Solomon as he gives you a golden nugget that will help you throughout your married life: “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (4:12b). Now I should inform all of you are seated in this church that this sermon is written JUST for David and Jody, but if you would like to eaves drop, you may do so.

Well, here we are. No more counting down the days. Today by the grace of God you will be joined as husband and wife in His sight. Therefore, it is fitting that He would give you His Word that will guide and guard your hearts throughout your lives.

Jody, I like to share with you a message you sent me sometime ago. “Did you talk to David last night about this? If not...how amazingly and wonderfully ironic. I was not sure if he and I needed to pick a text for our wedding or if you already had since you were writing the sermon already, but I had just told him that I thought the PERFECT (emphasis mine) verse for our wedding would be Ecc. 4:12b... ask him about that~”.

I didn’t speak with David about it, but I spoke with His heavenly Father for guidance and direction on what I should preach for my son’s wedding. And by the power of the Holy Spirit I was led to choose the same text you have chosen. So here it is again. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (4:12b)

I am sure you both have used a rope to tie something. Ropes have been in use since the 4th Century B.C. Ropes come in different sizes and colors, and are used for many different uses. There are a jump rope, a climbing rope, a tow rope a magic rope, and a hang man’s rope just to mention a few. Some might even say, “YOU ARE TEING THE KNOT TODAY”. But did you know that there is also a Rope of Love? This is what Solomon is saying in this text and this is what I want to speak to you about today—the ROPE of Love.

But in order to understand Solomon’s thoughts we have to go back few verses in this chapter. Notice please the movement that Solomon shares. First, “There was a man all alone” (4:7). Second, “Two are better than one” (4:9). and third, YOUR text A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Solomon has more than numbers in mind. Much, much more. First he tells us that man all alone is not a good thing. Even in the Garden of Eden, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helpmate suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18).

You know from your personal experience, that being alone is not fun. For this reason, Solomon goes on to say, “Two are better than one”. How right God is. Just look at your lives since you met. You are inseparable. You do things together, because two is just a lot more fun than being by yourself. God meant for us to have companionship on our journey.

And finally Solomon has more than rope-making in mind too. Especially when it comes to the companionship of marriage. Marriage is like a three-stranded cord. One cord is the husband. Another cord is the wife. A third cord is the Lord Jesus. On your own, Precious David and Gem Jody, you can be easily broken. Together, you acquire more strength. But with the Lord you become three cords woven together and are much stronger still.
How do you become a three-stranded cord? It is the working of the Holy Spirit in your lives. He is the One who guides and weaves you together with Him so that you may become this three-strand cord.

Now I need your help to make my point. (I go to the altar and get the Ropes—Pink, {Jody’s} Blue {David’s} and White Christ’s). Jody hold this rope. David hold this rope and I will have this one with me. Notice that your ropes are the same size. However the center rope that which represents Christ is longer than yours. (Will start to braid the ropes).

Take a close look at this braided rope and you will see how it is interwoven so closely. That is what will make your marriage strong. When Jesus is in the center of your home and hearts, this marriage will not unravel. This Rope will not break. No might or power in this whole world can separate it. Nothing can break it. Why not? Because Christ is the strength of this Rope of Love. He will hold you together until He calls you home. Hold on to this Rope to remind you of His unending Love.

“The Rope of Love” is the thread of Christ’s redemption work on the cross of Calvary. Christ redeems relationships, quickens the love in marriages raising it to a higher level, and provides the steadfast love (chesed) for making these vows which are always greater than any couple. Yes, Solomon is telling you that the three-strand Rope is God’s covenant to you and it will never be broken.

The Holy Spirit leads and keeps you bound to Jesus Christ, the center strand. When He is at work and you are not resisting, your marriage will remain strong. The strength of that rope will be the fruit of the Spirit. For the Word of God teaches that where there is love, there is joy. Where there is joy, there is hope. Where there is hope, there is peace, and where there is peace there is Jesus, and where there is Jesus there is unity. And this unity is the family that your and Savior will make of you two.

David and Jody, as a family you will come to realize this in time, as parents you will go through difficult times with your children and some of your days will bring tears of sadness a as well as tears of joy. Such is the case tonight. But you need to know that this is a tough time for us parents. While we are filled with joy that our children are being joined by Christ, it is a bit hard to admit we are not so much in charge any more. Jody, I know that today your father will become second fiddle; he no longer will be the Big Kahuna, but David will. David, I know that today, Jody becomes the apple of your eye and no longer mother filling your needs. Forgive us if we grieve a bit. But know that we are overjoyed at what the Lord is doing in you both today

David and Jody, sometime back, I read a story that went like this - A group of scientists and botanists were exploring remote, natural, undisturbed areas of the Alps in search of new species of flowers. One day as they looked through binoculars, they noticed a flower of such beauty and rarity, that its value to science was immeasurable. But, it lay in a place that was difficult to get to - a deep ravine with cliffs on both sides. To get the flower, someone would have to be lowered over the cliff on a rope.

A curious young lad was watching nearby, and the scientists said, "We'll gladly pay you if you would be willing to get that flower for us.” They wanted him to be the one who would be lowered over the cliff and bring back that flower that lay below.

The boy took one long look down the steep, dizzy depths and said, “I’ll be back in a minute.” A short time later he returned, rope in hand, followed by a gray-haired man. Approaching the scientists, he said, “I’ll go over that cliff and get that flower for you if this man holds the rope. He is my father.”

I'd like to ask you two a question, “Who holds your rope in your life?" More than likely, many of you have tried to climb up the cliffs and out of ravines of one kind or another in your life. You may have felt that you just couldn't hang on much longer and if someone didn’t help you out soon, you’d fall into a depth of darkness you couldn’t get out of. But remember David and Jody, as Christians you and I can be confident that we have the strongest and best One holding our rope—our heavenly Father. In the Inspired book of Hebrews, we are reassured of this and can be confident as we read these precious and ever faithful words, “I will NEVER leave you nor for sake you.” (Hebrews 13:5).

A strong rope is a valuable piece of equipment for anyone trying to climb a cliff or come up out of a ravine. It helps someone reach his goal safely. Our heavenly Father has not only promised to be there holding our rope, but He also provides the lifesaving rope. It guarantees our heavenly destination. Jesus is our rope—a lifesaving ROPE.

I know that is the case with you. Pastor Sailor shared with me some of your discussion with him while you were doing the pre-marriage counseling. He normally asks the couple-to-be some questions. Here are some of your responses to this one question: Jody, why David (of all the guys out there)?  Why do you want to marry him?  She answered:  “We are at the same faith-level.  We have been friends for so long.  He would be the leader of our household.  He would see to it that our children are raised in a Christian manner.  He is thoughtful, looks out for me, takes care of me.”
David, why Jody?  “Her honesty and faithfulness.  She has the most unselfish, loving heart.  Our mutual Christian faith and how we connect at that level.  Yes, she is fun and good looking, too, but her inner beauty is even more beautiful.”

You are wise in your responses. As Pastor Sailor said: “Ah, service, not surface!”  This fine young couple is far more interested in loving each other by serving each other.  “Surface” things (looks, charm, beauty, humor etc.) are far less important.

The reason you are able to do so, is because Christ is occupying the most important place in your hearts. He is the One who binds you together in His love. He is the One who wraps you with His grace. He is the One who will forgive you your sins when hurt each other. He is the One who will strengthen your marriage as you gather in His house around Word and Sacrament.

(Here go to the back and get the main piece of wood. 17x 14x 1 with heart and in the center of the heart there is a cross and a three-strand (colored) Rope all around the heart.)

Precious David and Gem Jody, let me give you something that you can keep for years to come and will help you think of the words I am sharing with you today. I have made this for you. You see the heart that is God’s heart. In the center of that heart you will see the cross of Christ—that is displaying His love for you. And all around the heart, you see the Three-colored-rope. That is to remind you that God’s love, covenant, grace, and mercy will never be taken away from you and broken from you.

It is my prayer for you David and Jody that by power of the Holy Spirit, you will learn to have faith in your Heavenly Father like that little boy in our story. Remember, God loves you so much that He sent Jesus Christ, His one and only Son, to earth to be the ROPE for you when you fall because of trials and temptations. Every morning, give thanks that your Heavenly Father is holding your rope, Jesus Christ, and let that Rope guide and lead you through your life by remembering this acronym for the word ROPE:

R Read God’s Word.

O Obey God’s Word.

P Pray to Your Heavenly Father and to each other.

E Enjoy God’s purpose for you each day.

David and Jody may God’s richest blessings abide in your heart and home and heads as you hold on to the rope of love. Amen.

"God is For US! Any questions?”

S-1065 7/27/08 10SAP/3A (O) #10; (S) #528; vs. L.S. #437; #313; #311; (C) #52

Texts: Deuteronomy 7:6-9; Romans 8:28-39; Matthew 13:44-52

Theme: “God is For US! Any questions?” Romans 8:31-32


Question: “How Big is Your God?”

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the book of Romans. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31-32).


Saints in Christ, week in and week out we gather in God’s house. Week after week we hear the Gospel message that Jesus, God’s only Son descended from heaven, was born of a virgin, took on flesh and blood, lived a perfect life for us on earth for 33 years, suffered the punishment of hell on the cross of Calvary, died to pay the penalty for our sins and rose from the Grave to guarantee our eternity. Even though we know all of these blessed truths, there are those times in our lives we don’t believe them or take them to heart.

Even as Christians who know God’s love and have seen it plainly through the eyes of faith, yet we don’t take it to heart. Sometimes we act like we are gods. We act as if we know better than God what should happen to us. Sometimes we question the authority of God, His Word and the situation that comes our way. We question His love, care and compassion towards us. We question how big our God is. At times we even swap places with Him because we think we could do a better job running the world’s affairs and ours.

But today, like a roaring wave coming to the shore; like a volcano descending on the valley below; like a thunder booming in the heavens, like lightening flashes across the sky Paul speaks to our darkened and dead heart a message that we need to hear again and again: “If God be FOR US! Who can be against us?”

If you know the truth that God loves you. If you know the truth that God sent His Son to earth. If you know the truth that Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice with His life. If you know the truth that He destroyed your enemy, then why do you act as if God is not in control of your life, the world and everything in it? Why oh, why do we act as if our God is not big enough to work in all situations for our good?

By the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul wants us to keep our eyes focused on the Author and Perfecter of our faith—Jesus Christ. For in Him and through Him we know that our God—the caring, loving, compassionate God has done everything to secure our future and guarantee our eternity.

In the Words of the text before us, Paul prods, prompt and pushes us to ask the most important question in the world. Oh, there are many questions that we often ask. Questions that deal with our daily lives—socially, economically, physically, and spiritually. Some of the questions really don’t matter that much and others are of utmost importance. Some of the questions are challenging and others are life-changing. What you will wear today or what you will eat today is not that big of a deal. But what college you will attend, who you will marry, and what kind of job you will get really matters.

However, none of these questions are as important as the question that is posed by our author: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The question is not simply “who can be against us?” You and I can answer that question. Who is against you? Disease, divorce, death, inflation, draught, calamities, tornadoes, hurricanes, flood, cancer and the like. We can easily name our enemies and our foes. But that’s not the question. The question is “If God is for us, who can be against us?” More importantly and directly, the thrust of the text is “SINCE God is for us.”

What Paul wants you to understand is this: SINCE God is for us, it really doesn’t matter who is against us. All our enemies can mount their forces against us, they could swarm on us like locusts, they could bring their hatred and anger against us. But they are no match to our God. Please say these four words with me. “GOD IS FOR US!” Maybe we should practice saying these words every time we wake up from our slumber. This is the point of this text—God is with us. There is nothing to fear—neither fire, no foe; because we are God’s treasured possession.

Search the Scripture and you will get the clear picture—God is for us. When the Israelites stood by the Red Sea and the Egyptians were approaching from behind, they were terrified. The sea before and the army from behind and they are right dap in the middle and they thought death and destruction was coming. But hear how Moses shares the outcome: “And Moses said to the people ‘Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.’” (Ex. 14:13-14). In the book of 2nd Kings we read the story of King Aram who with a huge army surrounded the land of Israel to attack it. Elisha’s servant saw this and he was terrified. “Then Elisha said: ‘Don’t be afraid,’… ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.’ Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:16-17).

Likewise, Paul wants you to hear the TRUTH that will remove your fears and foes from your hearts and head. God is on YOUR side. Nothing can separate you for Him. In Isaiah, we read these words: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are ever before Me” (Is.49:15-16). PAUSE.

Perhaps, you remember the commercial that came on TV few years back about the Krazy glue. When that commercial first hit the market, a catchy commercial helped sell it. It showed a 200-some-pound construction worker suspended high above the ground in his helmet to an iron beam on a construction site.

Krazy glue is still going strong. But far stronger is the glue of which Paul speaks. It’s God love for me. His love is so powerful that nothing can ever rip me loose from it. Nothing in life can do it, regardless how bad. Nothing the future can bring, regardless how bleak. Not even death, regardless how foreboding, can separate me from God’s love. That love binds me safely to Him for all eternity.

I dare not close my eyes or ears and not see how Paul describes God’s powerful love. It’s “in Christ Jesus”. When I look at Jesus on the cross, I see God’s love in person. How He must love me to do this for me! When I hear Jesus on that cross cry out in anguish, “My God, why have You forsaken Me?” I get a deeper insight into God’s love. It even caused Him to turn His holy back on a Son loaded with my sins so that I might stand forever at His side. When I celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, I am assured that God’s steadfast love will raise me. When I look at my faith to believe all this, I again see His love, which has worked such trust in my heart.

Saints and fellow followers of Jesus, Romans chapter Eight is a most beautiful Chapter. A chapter that begins with these words: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1) and ends with the great crescendo that there is nothing in this world that will EVER be able to separate us from the love of God.

Because God is for us, we can rise above every adversity, not merely cope, but conquer. Because nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from God, because of His Son’s death and resurrections, we possess ALL things with Him. And we know this for sure. GOD IS FOR US. Any questions? Amen.

Now the peace of God…

Patience on the Road to Glory

S-1064 7/20/08 9SAP/3A (O) #5; (S) #518; (C) #516

Texts: Isaiah 44:6-8; Romans 8:18-27; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Theme: “Patience on the Road to Glory” Romans 8:18-19


Question: “Are you a patient person?

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the book of Romans. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:18-19).


Saints in Christ, a week ago Saturday was one of those days that I needed all the patience in the world. I flew from Spokane, WA after finishing speaking at Shoshone Base Camp and arrived at the Denver airport in good time—4:00 p.m. Having had lunch I waited for my flight to take off. Getting to the proper gate, I read the notice, “FLIGHT TO SIOUX FALLS IS DELAYED.” “O Lord”, I said. I walked up to the counter and asked how long of a delay? The agent responded saying, “We should have an update by 8:03 p.m.” Keep in mind that was the time I was supposed to leave Denver. I reviewed my sermon for Sunday. I had a bite to eat, and I waited and waited. I prayed to the Lord for patience. At 8:03 the agent announced there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the mechanics fixed the plane. The bad news is the pilot who is going to fly our plane was in Sioux Falls. O brother was the groans of all who were waiting for the flight to depart. We were also informed that we will leave by 10:30 and should be home by 12:00. Great I thought, I could still make it in time home and be ready for the privilege to preach the Word of the Lord. I decided to take a little nap so that I don’t have to drive tired when I get into Sioux Falls. About 10 at night, the agent announced the REALLY BAD news, that the flight was cancelled. You should have been there and you would have heard the groans of the passengers to be. We were told to go to the Service Counter and they will tell us what is next. I prayed for more patience. Now it is getting later. I am tired. I will not be preaching in the morning. But church service will go on. By the grace of God things worked out. I was shuttled to a hotel, got few hours of sleep and didn’t get home till 6:00 p.m. the next day. Almost 24 hours later than planned.

Patience on the journey was needed. But patience was not what I had. I was groaning, complaining and asking God why it has to happened to me and get stuck in Denver? Why couldn’t the flight leave on time? Was there only one pilot that could fly the plane?

In an age of “instant gratification” people (including your pastor) find it hard to wait. But “wait patiently” is what Christians are told to do when we are burdened by trials, temptations and troubles. We are told to be patient whenever we are burdened and oppressed by trials and sufferings of all kinds.

We are so accustomed at having everything at our fingertips. If the internet is not working fast we begin to tap our fingers for patience. If the instant message doesn’t go through, we have a hard time waiting. We hate to wait in the check out line, food line and doctors office. Waiting is not what we do well. But waiting is part of the process that God gives us to help us trust Him totally.

God’s whole creation has been crippled by the effects of sin. And Christians are not immune to these troubles. Even though we have become children of God through faith in Jesus, our Lord and Savior—the redemption of our bodies is still unfulfilled. That means they continue to fall into sin. And they experience disease and handicaps of all kinds. Sin and its consequences are evident in the life of every follower of Jesus.

But the promise of God is that a day is coming when also the physical world will be set free from the effects of sin. “That [all of] creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (vs. 21).

You probably have known the anguish of waiting to be freed from this bondage due to the difficulties in your life, whether it is arthritis, bad hearing, bad sight, sickness of every kind. Indeed, our own bodies cry out for that day of redemption. So for now we wait patiently for these things. We wait in the knowledge that God will most certainly keep the promises He has made for us.

Being patient in time of trouble will not take away the trouble, the trials or the temptations. But as we wait in faith and hope, our attitude toward our trouble can change. Not by our own doing, but putting our trust in God alone that He might use these events in our lives to bring us to Him and find our fulfillment in Him ALONE.

Through the aid of the Holy Spirit, we see the troubles as part of God’s righteous judgment on a world of sin. We see it as temporary. We see it as something that will end when God completes that work of redemption that has already freed us from the guilt of our sins.

How patient are we while we wait? Patience is certainly not easy. Hours, weeks, days and years of suffering and sorrow go by very slowly. Sometimes the loss is overwhelming we can hardly think about anything else. Who can be patient in such circumstances?

Consider the saints of the past, Joseph was put in a pit, sold into slavery, was in prison and separated from his family for 20 years. Yet, he waited patiently for God’s goodness in his life. He served as the 2nd in command of Egypt. Moses waited patiently for God to deliver the Israelites from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. For 40 years he heard the groans and moans of the delivered people from slavery in the wilderness and finally he got to see the Promised Land. David, after being anointed by Samuel, waited patiently for years to be delivered from the pursuits of Saul. And in time, God made him the King over His people. God gives the strength to wait patiently to bring to fruition His plans of salvation.

Paul, in this text, points us not to our suffering but to our Savior, Jesus Christ. For the more we read these Words, we realize that God gives us encouragement for the journey ahead even as we go through the immediate suffering, it doesn’t compare to the glory that awaits us. The more we concentrate on the cross of Christ, the more we are able to endure the suffering.

Thank God Jesus was perfectly patient while He walked the dirty roads of Galilee with His disciples. He was patient in guiding and leading the lost throughout His earthly ministry. He was patient in granting us to see what He came to do—suffer and die in our place. He was patient—perfectly patient even as He hung on the cross to die in our place. His patience is evident even today, as He grants others the opportunity to hear the message of the Resurrection and the Life. What a patient God we have. His patience is still evident today because He is still giving people time to repent before it is too late.

Remember, what happened to me a week ago Saturday. I was STUCK in Denver. But I made it home. I walked into my house and saw my lovely wife and son. What a glorious sight that was. Even though I was tired, and late when I got home, I forgot all of my pains and difficulties. So it will be when we get to heaven. The suffering in this world will not compare to what awaits us.

And while we wait, we remember our faithful God who leads us from slavery to eternity along a wilderness road marked with the sure promises of salvation and lighted by the cross of Christ. Our faithful God meets and gives us our greatest needs—the forgiveness our sins. We have this need and we suffer like this because we are waiting patiently. We are waiting patiently, and sometimes not so patiently, for the redemption of our bodies. Like most children, we don’t always like to wait. But we have our faithful ABBA Father’s word that what we are waiting for is well worth it. For because of Jesus a day is coming when all of the suffering we face from living in a broken world well be a swiftly forgotten memory. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Now the peace…