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Pastor David Reim

Easter Glory!

COVER STORY – Easter Glory!

Is there any more glorious day than Easter? Christ is risen from the dead! From the DEAD! What is more dreadful or final than death? Death is a bleak reminder of the horror of our sin, the wages of which must be paid. It violently tears the soul from the body. It tears a loved one from family and friends. No one has power to stop death. No one can escape it, or even lessen its blow. No one can release death’s grip.

No one except Jesus! 

Jesus said that He has power to lay down His life and power to take it up again. (John 10:18)  He proved it when He rose from the dead. He conquered death for us. Praise be to God Who gives us the victory! What a glorious event!

That being said, do you ever wonder why Jesus didn’t show Himself to everyone? After all, His suffering and death were on public display. He was crucified near Jerusalem where everyone could see His agony and disgraceful death. Why didn’t He go and stand in the Temple and show everyone that He was alive? He won the victory. Why not appear to the whole world as He did to Saul, shining brighter than the sun? Let the world see that He is the Son of God!

Instead, He appeared to only a select few. Enough to provide plenty of reliable witnesses, but very few compared to all the people of Israel or the world. When He did appear, His glory was still hidden in His human nature. The angels in the tomb appeared more glorious than Jesus. Why not show His glory now that His work was accomplished? Wouldn’t that bring many more to faith?Read More »Easter Glory!

God and Sinners Reconciled!

Are there any more amazing words than that? We sing these words of Hark, the Herald Angels Sing (TLH 94) every year. Those words might roll off our tongues with hardly a thought. In fact, many secular choirs sing this famous hymn of Charles Wesley at this time of year without even pausing to wonder what “God and sinners reconciled!” actually means.

Could there be two more polar opposites than the holy God and wretched sinners? Could there be any more irreconcilable differences? It would be an astonishing thing that would grab the attention of the whole world if North and South Korea could be reconciled and find peace with each other. It would make your jaw drop in amazement if a serial killer would become best friends with the families of his victims.

Could irreverent rebellious creatures, who mock and blaspheme the God Who created them and revel in everything God forbids, be reconciled to the God Whom they despise? Should God, Who cannot tolerate sin and Who must punish every sin—yes, the God Who destroyed the entire world in a flood because of the wickedness of mankind—be reconciled to the sinners who hated Him and even crucified His own Son? That would the news of all the ages.Read More »God and Sinners Reconciled!

Remember Your Baptism

“See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”

(Acts 8:36)

When the Ethiopian heard the message of Jesus as the Christ, Who willingly gave His life for the sins of the world, he desired to be baptized into Jesus’ name. Would anything hinder him from receiving this great blessing and from being received by God? Would the color of his skin, his nationality, or his past sins make him unacceptable to the Lord? What joy and relief when Philip took him down into the water and baptized him! Nothing would hinder him from receiving the grace of God in Baptism and being made a child of God. No wonder “he went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:39)

Do you want to go on your way rejoicing today, tomorrow, every day? Then remember your Baptism! Whether you can actually remember the day you were baptized or simply know that you were baptized as a child, remember the fact that you were baptized. For that is the day when you were connected with Jesus and everything He did for you.

Whenever you sin you deserve to die, for “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) Remember your Baptism and rejoice, for that is when you were united with Jesus in His death. “Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death.” (Romans 6:3-4) His death counts for you, and all your sins were paid for.

Your Baptism also connected you with Christ’s life. “We were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (verse 4) We now have a new life with Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)Read More »Remember Your Baptism

A Day of Deliverance and Hope!

“Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.”

Genesis 8:4

What a joyful day of deliverance and hope. It had to have been a terrifying five months being tossed about in the torrential flood. For five months the angry hand of God was destroying every corruption of mankind together with every living thing that lived on dry land. Now at last the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat. The fierce judgment of God was past, and the ark was now back on solid ground. It would be another seven months before Noah and the others could leave the ark and make a new life in the new world, but landing on solid ground gave them the promise and hope of the new life that lay ahead.

What does this have to do with Easter? Ask yourself why God identifies the specific day the ark landed. Is there anything special about the “seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month”? The Children of Israel left Egypt in the seventh month. Moses told Israel, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (Exodus 12:2)  Every year after that they were to sacrifice the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of that month. Jesus and His disciples, together with all Israel, sacrificed and ate the Passover lamb according to the command on the fourteenth day, the Thursday of Holy Week. Count it out! Friday was the fifteenth, Saturday the sixteenth, and Easter Sunday—the day Christ rose from the dead—was the seventeenth day of the month. Yes, Jesus rose from the dead on the very same day that the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat.Read More »A Day of Deliverance and Hope!

“Behold, I Am Coming Quickly!”

“He’s coming! I’m so excited! It was three years ago that we were engaged, then he was sent overseas. I think about him every day. We text and e-mail, but I long to see him face to face and hold him in my arms. Now he’s coming home. We will be married and live happily ever after! I just can’t wait!”

If you can imagine the excited anticipation of that fiancée, then you can understand the joy, excitement, and preparation of Advent. Your Bridegroom is coming! You were betrothed to Jesus Christ when you were baptized and brought to faith in Him alone for your forgiveness and salvation. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:2).

Ever since your engagement, you have been physically separated from your Bridegroom. You think about Him daily and communicate with Him by reading His letters and talking to Him in prayer. In the approaching Christmas season you fondly remember how He came to this world to rescue you from the misery of sin and the bondage to Satan, and to unite you with God forever. During Lent you remember with great pride how He heroically went to battle for you and came out victorious on Easter morning. Then you think about how He ascended to take up His throne in heaven to rule everything in the world for your benefit. Doesn’t it give you a thrill to hear Him say that He went to prepare a place for you in the mansions of heaven, so you can live with Him there forever?

Now we hear, “Behold, the Bridegroom is coming!” (Matthew 25:6). Do you feel the excitement in those words? Your long awaited bridegroom is coming! And He promises, “Behold, I am coming quickly!” We don’t know what day He will come, but it will be soon. When He comes, we will be part of the greatest marriage celebration ever, and truly live happily ever after with Him in Paradise. John sees ahead to that day and says, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:7-8).Read More »“Behold, I Am Coming Quickly!”

Faith Is a Gift from God

“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord”

(1 Corinthians 1:4-8).

LS_Aug_2016_59_2_Hands2Photo_TSr2_4c_fnlThe Apostle begins many of his letters with thanksgiving to God for giving his readers faith in Christ and eternal salvation. How much more shouldn’t we thank and praise God daily for the faith which He has given us? Scripture emphasizes over and over that the faith which receives forgiveness and salvation in Christ is a gift of God’s grace.

Our conversion was worked entirely by God. It had to be, because by nature we were spiritually blind (Ephesians 4:18), but “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind” (Psalm 146:8). We were spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1), “But God . . . made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:4-5). We were enemies of God (Romans 8:7) and could not receive the things of the Spirit, for they were foolishness to us (1 Corinthians 2:14), but “we have received . . . the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).Read More »Faith Is a Gift from God

Jehovah Blesses You!

 Jehovah Blesses You!Page3Bkgd

“And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, “This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: ‘The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.’” ‘So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them’” (Numbers 6:22-27). 

We hear those words every Sunday. This is not just the wish of your pastor; God instructed Aaron to use these words to bless His people. When His servants pronounce this benediction, something wonderful happens: God’s name is placed upon you. Remember, when you see the word Lord with all capital letters, that represents God’s personal name. The popular English pronunciation is Jehovah, but most Hebrew scholars believe it was something more like Yahweh.

God gave this benediction to Moses after the people had shown their rebelliousness and worshiped the golden calf. God still wanted to bless His people. That is amazing grace!

Jehovah places His name upon you and identifies you as His own, so that you receive Him and have His promise, “I will bless them.”

There are three parts to this blessing, each coming from Jehovah, the Lord. These blessings can be summed up with the words “protection,” “grace,” and “peace.”Read More »Jehovah Blesses You!

What is a Lutheran (according to Luther)?

You meet a new colleague and to your surprise you discover she is a Lutheran. You are delighted to find you have this in common.

In the course of time, however, after several discussions you realize your colleague does not believe God created the world in six days, as the Bible says. Then, come to find out, she doesn’t really believe the account of Jesus’ resurrection is to be taken literally. When it really comes down to it, she isn’t even sure there is a literal heaven and is pretty sure there is no such thing as hell.

You finally ask, incredulously, “You call yourself a ‘Lutheran’?”Read More »What is a Lutheran (according to Luther)?

Thank God for Your Spouse

“And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone;
I will make him a helper comparable to him” 
(Genesis 2:18).

Have you thought of the implications of these words of our God? Adam was living in the Garden of Eden. It was literally a paradise. Everything was perfect. Not just by human standards but by God’s standards.  “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Everything must have been exquisitely beautiful—more beautiful than we can even imagine.

And Adam had it all to himself. He had everything the perfect world had to offer. What a life!

Yet what do we read? God said, “It is not good…” Something was missing—something so important that without it Adam’s life was incomplete. So what was not good? “…that man should be alone.” He didn’t have anyone with whom to share all the goodness of God.Read More »Thank God for Your Spouse

Christ, the Firstfruits, Is Risen!

“Now Christ has risen from the dead and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Three important festivals came together at the time of the Passover, therefore also at the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection. All three have great significance for our salvation—significance that we do not want to miss.

Together they make up the season of liberation and salvation, showing how carefully God had planned and prepared every detail of our salvation. He pictured it for us 1500 years beforehand so that nothing would be left to chance.

The Passover

The first and most recognizable festival was the Passover itself. Just as the blood of the Passover lamb saved Israel from the plague of death which brought about their freedom from slavery in Egypt, so the blood of Christ, our Passover Lamb, saves us from death and frees us from slavery to sin and Satan.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread

The very next day the Feast of Unleavened Bread began. Israelites were required to remove all leaven from their homes for eight days. This feast was symbolic of how Christ has cleansed us from the leaven of sin.Read More »Christ, the Firstfruits, Is Risen!

Happy New Year!

Do you ever wonder what is so new about “New Year”?

Oh sure, we add another number to the counting of years. We will call it 2014 instead of 2013, but does that really make it new?

The world still has the same problems. Our flesh is still plagued with the same sins. A succession of broken resolutions reminds us that we haven’t really changed. We truly ought to have been consumed in God’s wrath long ago.

We remember that Achan was stoned to death because he coveted and took some of the plunder of Jericho for himself (Joshua 7). We think of the man who was stoned because he gathered sticks on the Sabbath Day to build a fire to cook the manna (Numbers 15). Remember how Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead because they lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5).

Are we any less sinful than they? Because of the many times we have sinned, shouldn’t we have been struck down with God’s righteous judgment? ABSOLUTELY!Read More »Happy New Year!