Sunday, November 18, 2012

“Shining Like Stars” (Daniel 12:3)

S-1343 25SAP/3B 11/18/12 Hymns: (O) #400; (S) #441; (C) # 803 LSB

Text: Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-25; Mark 13:1-13

Theme: “Shining Like Stars” (Daniel 12:3)

Question: “Are you letting Christ’s light shine through you?

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our Meditation is from the O.T. lesson: “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3).

Precious children of the heavenly Father, in his devotional book “God Grant It” C. F. W. Walther writes: “If you want to learn to know God’s heart and will toward you, look at Christ in the manger, in the circle of sinners that sur­rounded Him, in Gethsemane, and on the cross. There you can read God’s heart as in an open book. For whoever sees Christ also sees God the Father. As you find nothing with Christ but kindness, love, and grace, so you can be certain that you will find all of this with the Father. Christ calls sin­ners to Himself, and He does not condemn them; instead, He forgives them their sins. And this is also what God does. He, too, wants to have mercy on you. Christ desires to take you up into His heavenly kingdom and so does the Father. To know the disposition of God’s heart, you need only to look at how Christ is disposed toward you. His mercy is the reflection of the mercy of God. The sympathy of the Father is reflected in Christ’s tears over the misfortune of the sin­ner. Christ’s blood, which flowed for the atonement of the world, washed away the wrath of God, so He could pro­claim, ‘I am reconciled with men!’” (P. 879). With these words, Pastor Walther shows us a little more of who God is and what He does for His precious children—that is you.

In the text before us we see the great and profound mystery that our world denies. It denies the truth of Scripture. It denies that Jesus is the ONLY Lord and Savior. It denies that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. It denies that there is going to be a Judgment Day. It denies that there is heaven and hell. And it denies the teaching of the Church. How tragic!

Yet, “In a culture that encourages people to celebrate the idea that life has no goal and urges each individual to find meaning wherever he or she can, the Church offers a very different description of reality. Our author, Daniel, gives the shocking prophecy that at the end of time the dead will rise; some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt!”

Daniel says it like it is the time is coming when we shall stand before the Throne of Grace and receive the judgment for our actions. He also tells us what our Awesome God will do—deliver the world from the tyranny, oppression and cruelty of the devil. He will deliver us by the mighty deed of Him whom the Star over Bethlehem’s manger identified as the long expected Messiah.

This Messiah shined brighter than the sun. In John we read, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (1:4-5). On the Transfiguration Mountain we are told, “And he [Jesus] was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light” (Mt. 17:2). And Jesus Himself taught saying: I Am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Those who know Jesus, those who follow Jesus, and those who worship Jesus will shine like the brightness of the stars. That is the same message Daniel conveys to us today: “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” Indeed, we who have seen the light of the Gospel should be shining like the stars in the heavens. PAUSE.

Now you do not have to be an astronomer to know that stars shine. All you need to do is look up to the skies at night and you will see the stars shining. They don’t have to be told to do so, that is what they are.

Likewise, we too, are called to shine with the brightness of the stars. Sadly, however, most often we don’t. We have lost the holy fear of offending our gracious God. Rather than living in the light, we walk in the dark. Rather than letting the light of Christ shine through us we let the black deeds of the devil overcome who we are and manifest itself in our actions.

It saddens me when I see us (ALL of us) getting angry and upset with one another over stupid stuff. Rather than talking with the one who hurt us (intentionally or otherwise) we go downtown to the Bowling alley, Blue Moon, at the Coop or by our cars and cut others down. Some even post things on Face Book denouncing what they don’t like about the Church. It is the gossip of the town. It breaks my heart when we let the devil take over our lives because we are not happy with this or that. Why is it necessary for us to feel we have to hang our dirty laundry for the world to see? Why is it necessary to break the 8th Commandment by not speaking well of each other or putting the best construction on everything? PAUSE.

Oh precious, precious children of the heavenly Father, that is not who you are. You ARE God’s beloved children. You are the Baptized by God. You are the Redeemed of God. You are the reconciled by the Savior through His death and resurrection. You have your names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Kindly don’t let the devil rob you of the joy of working together and letting your light shine. Don’t let Satan get in the way of the mission and ministry of this Church. Don’t let an evil thought or an angry moment to dwell in your heart. Instead, bring it to Christ, lay it at His feet and let Him carry that burden so that you may shine in this dark world.

Please, always look to the opportunities the Savior gives us—to build each other up rather than tare each other down. Always think the best of your brother and sister in this place, not that they are trying to hurt you but as ones who want to honor God by serving you.

We may not always do things the way you think it needs or should be done. But that doesn’t mean it is wrong. We may not always be the kindest and gentlest of people, but that doesn’t mean we are hate you or uncaring about you. This is who we are as sinners who have been made saints by the blood of the Lamb. PAUSE.

Precious, precious, children of the heavenly Father, one day, a group of tourists were viewing the Great Cathedral and the guide was explaining all of the saints in the stain glass windows. When the guide was done, a young girl hollered to her dad saying: “Daddy, I know what a saint is!” His response was, “who are they?” The girl smiled and said, “Saints are people who let their lights shine.”

That is you my beloved saints. Therefore, as Christ dwells in you, shine His light on those who are still in darkness. As you hear and heed His Word, shine like the stars in word and deed. As you partake of His Body and Blood you are strengthened for the ministry of letting the Gospel light ooze out of you. May God continue to use you as you shine like the stars in this dark world now and forever; Amen and Amen.

Now the peace…


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