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(Past, Present, Future)

A Christmas Message From Our CLC President —

“… The Father’s faithfulness to His promise of the past is

guarantee of His faithfulness to His promises of the present

as well as the future. “

Children enjoy looking through the Christmas toy catalog. They identify what it is that they would like to have for Christmas. Some of the things they desire may not be good for them at their age, if ever. Almost certainly the number of things they would like to have are beyond the budget of the parents. Yet if the parent does not listen carefully to what the child is requesting, he may answer with a casual, “Okay,” or possibly a more non-committal, “We will see.” Sometimes the parent means it; at other times it may be just a response to quiet the child. More often than not the child understands the parental response as a promise. “You promised . . .” When he finds that it was not all that he thought it was the child may enter into negotiations, “I will be good if you will . . .”

Be careful how you respond. Be careful what you promise! Do not promise more than you mean, or more than you can give.

At Christmas time our thoughts turn to remembrance of the promise kept. Not a promise sought or negotiated, but a promise made with all faithful intent and faithfully fulfilled.

We know many of the divine promises given by the Father in which He promised to send the Savior. The Father made a promise recorded in Genesis 3:15 even before Adam and Eve asked. Indeed, in their fear and fright, as they hid from God, they could not have asked had they even known for what to ask. Yet the Father promised.

Further, the promises of the Father were hardly non-committal “maybes.” Time and again He promised. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come; . . . He will come and save you” (Is. 35:4). Again: “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord” (Is. 59:20). Good promises in substance, as well as credible promises! “God is not man, that He should lie; hath He not said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken and shall He not make it good” (Num. 23:19).

“And she shall bring forth a Son and thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21). Christmas is celebration of a promise kept. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:11). He whom the father said would come has come, bringing salvation.

In the midst of darkest sin,

Our faithful Lord His Promise gave;

His own Son would enter in

Our souls from sin and death to save.

What the Father gave is more than we would ever have asked for had we been able to ask. It is the magnificence of divine grace — that He promised and gave because He was compelled by His own love to give us what we in no way deserved or asked for.

In the turmoil of this age, in the world as well as in the church, our minds are so often distracted and our hearts discouraged. In the stress of our day to day labors, we — pastors also have them with the same effect — may fail to see the love of God in making promise, and the faithfulness of God in keeping promise. That is unfortunate to say the least, because in that condition we so often fail to hear the invitation, loaded with promise: “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28).

In heaven is our rest, but we need not wait. The Father invites us this season, and daily: “Return unto thy rest, O my soul” (Ps. 116:7). As we lean on Jesus, the Promised One Who has come, we will this Christmas and as often as we do lean on Him, find that rest, and will acknowledge with thanks: “For the Lord hath dealt bountifully with (us) you” (Ps. 116:7). The Father’s faithfulness to His promise of the past is guarantee of His faithfulness to His promises of the present as well as the future. “And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life” (1 Jn. 2:25).

It remains the single purpose of our church, and the pastors of the CLC, to preach the faithful Word so that you who hear may rest your life and your hope confidently in both the Promiser and the Promised — our God Who shall bring all things to pass even as He has.

As the Word is preached faithfully, may we all hear it faithfully. We know then that all will have a . . .

Blessed future in Christ (it’s guaranteed),

–Pastor Daniel Fleischer