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A Glorious Sight

DEVOTION –
Epiphany

“This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him” (John 2:11)

“Now that was a glorious sight!”

That’s what we might say after viewing a magnificent natural landscape or the star-filled sky on a clear night. Nature can be glorious because it is the handiwork of God (Psalm 19:1). Something of His divine glory shines in it, even if many who gaze in awe at the Grand Canyon do not acknowledge it.

Marriage_at_CanaThe glory of God that we see in His creation is that of His power and wisdom, and even His goodness to mankind (Acts 14:15-17). But His glory is also seen in His other attributes: that He is holy, just, all-knowing, present everywhere, and eternal. Furthermore, His glory is especially seen in His grace and love, which are revealed on the pages of Scripture.

In the season of the church year called Epiphany, we learn of the glory of God as it was revealed in Jesus. In His miracles, the almighty power of God was revealed in Him. By these acts of power it could be seen that Jesus was the Son of the living God. The first of these took place at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11), where Jesus turned water into wine. With this work Jesus “manifested His glory” by doing something that only God could have done. His disciples saw it and believed in Him.Read More »A Glorious Sight

Celebrating the Jesus Antipoverty Program

Basic RGB“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”

(2 Corinthians 8:9)

Fighting poverty has been at the forefront of American politics for longer than I have been alive. Every few years a new government program is established to ward off the devastating effects of poverty in our nation. This issue is customarily brought to our attention during December. Well-intentioned efforts are made during the Christmas season to gather food for the needy, winter coats for the underprivileged, and toys so that every child can have a gift under the Christmas tree. Many claim that this is what Christmas is supposed to be about. Surely the volunteers who ring bells at the red kettles across our nation would agree with this assertion. But are we ready to agree that Jesus was born to fight poverty?

Absolutely!

But not the poverty that is described as a deficiency in material goods. The poverty that caused the Son of God to be born into this world was much deeper and far more devastating in its effects than what most Americans would Read More »Celebrating the Jesus Antipoverty Program

‘Going All In’ with Thanksgiving

‘To the max,’ ‘pedal to the metal,’ and ‘nothing in reserve’
are several more slang terms that express a total commitment
to a cause or undertaking.

If one were to poll Americans as to what that means for them in connection with their Thanksgiving Day activities, no doubt many would answer they were ‘going all in’ with a day of football or ‘leaving nothing behind’ on the dinner table.

King David would have been amazed, if not shocked, for he put high value on actually giving thanks. Many are the psalm verses where he gives praise and thanksgiving to God for His wonderful works and words.

But there is one incident in David’s life when he especially ‘gave it all he had.’ It is recorded in the second book of Samuel (chapter 6), with a parallel account in 1 Chronicles 16.Read More »‘Going All In’ with Thanksgiving

The Reformation Blessing Above All Others

Martin_luther_BWartMany blessings of the Reformation of the 1500’s still affect us today.

We could mention having a Bible translation in our native tongue, having many hymns to sing praises to God, putting into practice the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers (that Christ has given every believer—not just to the pope and his priests—the keys to forgive or to retain sins), and parents and pastors using Luther’s Small Catechism to instruct children in the basic Bible teachings.Read More »The Reformation Blessing Above All Others

Restarting of School— a Wonderful Opportunity!

“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.” 2 Peter 1:12-15

One of the most difficult and challenging things with the restarting of school every fall is what has been called the “summer slide.” During the school year students receive regular reminders combined with the introduction of new material. This helps to keep the material fresh in their memories.

But then comes summertime when those daily reminders are inclined to turn into a three-month moratorium. And it is going to happen that many things have been forgotten.

So it is that during those first days back at school much time is spent reviewing what was taught at the end of the previous school year.Read More »Restarting of School— a Wonderful Opportunity!

“Turning the World “Upside Down”

CLC President’s Report to the 31st Convention

Dear saints in Christ and fellow workers in His kingdom:

Does it matter? Does what we do here make any real, significant, positive, lasting difference? If it does, we have reason and incentive to get to work; if not, what’s the point? From a human perspective we have little chance of accomplishing anything lasting. We are a small group with no political capital to spend and few material resources. What could we possibly do?

However, that could also have been said of the Apostle Paul and Silas when they arrived in Thessalonica in the course of Paul’s second missionary journey. There was nothing impressive about these two itinerant missionaries of Jesus. Yet before long, the Jews were accusing Paul and the other Christians of “turning the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). Sent out from the living Lord of the Church, they upset the status quo. Hearts and attitudes were completely changed. Without question, they made a difference.Read More »“Turning the World “Upside Down”

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

“Pay It Forward”

 31st CLC CONVENTION
June 16-19, 2014
Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire, Wisconsin

THEME:
“God Our Savior Desires All Men to be Saved!” (1 Timothy 2:3-4 NKJV)
Essay 1: Jesus is the one Mediator of that truth! (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
Essay 2: We are appointed to proclaim that truth! (1 Timothy 2:7)

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-7)

Back in the year 2000 the movie Pay It Forward was released, based on a book by the same title.

In that connection students in a social studies class were given the assignment to put into action a plan that would change the world for the better. As the story goes, one seventh grade boy came up with the idea that a person who had been done a favor should do a favor for three others—paying it forward instead of paying it back.Read More »“Pay It Forward”

Jesus — the Good Shepherd and the Lamb of God

One of the distinctive ways the one true God reveals Himself in Holy Scripture is by referring to Himself as the great “I AM” God. When the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush to call him as one of His prophets and Moses asked Him to give His name by which He is to be known, God said, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14).

By identifying Himself with this remarkable name, the Lord was revealing Himself as the very special personal divine being who always was and always will be.

The Son of God who appeared to Moses on this occasion (Exodus 3:2-4) is the great “I AM” God together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. In John’s Gospel record, we find Jesus referring to Himself in various ways as the “I AM” God. To this unique name Jesus added special descriptive identifiers such as “I am the bread of life” (6:35), “I am the light of the world” (8:12), “I am the good shepherd” (10:11),  “I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25), and “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6).

In each of these cases, Jesus makes known wonderful truths about Himself which serve for our blessing and are a source of great comfort. For example, when Jesus tells us He is the bread of life, He helps us to understand that He is spiritual nourishment for our souls, who gives us spiritual and eternal life so that we will never die.Read More »Jesus — the Good Shepherd and the Lamb of God

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!

Where Is the Lamb?

Abraham offers up the son he loves : Genesis 22:1-19

Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.” So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together. Read More »Where Is the Lamb?