Facing Troubles and Trials with Scriptures
How do you face problems when they arise? Do you become filled with fear or do you have faith that it will all work out for good? Do you become impatient or do you wait for better days? Do you become defeated, lose hope, and isolate yourself or are you hopeful even as you reach out and seek help? Are you conflicted and troubled or do you have peace in the midst of the storm? Do you become angry and resentful or are you thankful? How do your face troubles and Trials when they rear their ugly head in our lives?
The reality is that sooner or later we all face problems. Sometimes they may be minor other times they may be major and life altering. Regardless of the nature of the problem at some point we encounter them in our lives. It is a reality of living in a sinful and broken world as sinful beings. Ever since Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit troubles and trials, problems and pain, difficulties and even death have been a part of our lives.
As most of you know I and my family have encountered our share of troubles as well. These past months have been a struggle with health as I faced some difficult realities and possibilities in my life. The disease that I have has changed my life, presented me with many challenges, and has affected my family, and even you my church family. It has been a time of searching and struggling. Nevertheless, God has been with us and has been working His good and gracious will and purpose through it all. It has been a faith strengthening process.
Along the journey I have grown in different ways and learned a few things or had some aspects of our faith reaffirmed in my life. I invite you to join me on part of my journey as I will be sharing some of the things I learned or had reaffirmed along the way. Beginning the weekend of July 29 & 30 I will deliver a five-part, five-week, sermon series titled, Facing Troubles and Trials with Scripture. As I have faced this disease by God’s grace I turned to Scripture and I would like to pass some of what I learned along to you. This is a sermon series that can be summarized in 5 words. Each week we will consider a different word. Some of you are thinking, finally a nice short sermon, one word. Don’t worry I will elaborate a little bit. But these are 5 words that I landed on as I searched Scripture and searched for answers and hope while I was in the hospital.
The purpose of the series is not to talk about myself, although there will be some of that, especially in the first message. Instead I hope to share some of my journey with you in order to help you as you too face your own troubles and trials. I will share some of my searching, struggles and experiences, but all of it will involve Scripture and Jesus
The purpose of the series is not to talk about myself, although there will be some of that, especially in the first message. Instead I hope to share some of my journey with you in order to help you as you too face your own troubles and trials. I will share some of my searching, struggles and experiences, but all of it will involve Scripture and Jesus.
In the midst of Troubles and Trials we can all take heart in the reality that Jesus told us about in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart: I have overcome the world.” Tribulation is a reality because of the sin we bring into this world and our lives. But Jesus came and He faced the ultimate tribulation. He went to the cross for our sin. He overcame the world and all of our tribulations by His resurrection. Through faith In Jesus God brings this victory to us so that we can experience eternity free from tribulations. As we face the troubles and trials of life we can face them with faith and hope, waiting for God even as we experience peace. And you never know, we might even find some things to be thankful for along the journey. Join me in my journey as together we will face the troubles and trials of life with Scripture. I look forward to seeing you there. Invite a friend to attend these services and messages with you. God’s peace be with you.
Where does God want you to be?
There are many important things to do and places to be in this world. But when one considers the big picture, where truly does God want you to be? The world will distract us and strive to prevent us from even asking the question. The world will find many places where we should be and many ways we should occupy our time. Just consider how Martha was distracted by all the busyness of life which kept her from sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His word. Consider also what Jesus said how what Mary had chosen was better (Luke 10:38-42).
It is imperative that you attend worship regularly. It is important because in church, in the Divine Service, God blesses you in amazing ways. He blesses you through the Word, the Sacraments and the fellowship of the church. Here in church you have opportunities to confess sin and have your sins forgiven. Here the forgiveness Jesus won for you upon the cross enters into your life. Here God speaks to you through His Word. Here you are strengthened in the faith that Jesus died and rose so that believing in Him alone you may have eternal life. Here you are reminded of your baptism and you are able to have your family and children and neighbors baptized. Here you can receive the sacrament of Holy Communion as Jesus gives to you His true body and blood shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins. In the fellowship of the church you can encourage one another. Others can be a blessing to you and you can be an encouragement and a blessing for others by your presence, your listening ear, and your words of encouragement.
Of course, you would expect me, as your pastor, to say you should be in church. But don’t just take my word for it. Listen to what God says to you. Let Scripture speak for itself. Read the following passage and as you ponder these passages ask yourself, “where does God want me to be?”
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” Exodus 20:8-10a
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listing to the truth and wander off into myths." 2 Timothy 4:2-4
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
“So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.” 1 Corinthians 11:33
“Oh, come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.” Psalm 95:6-7
“O Lord, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells.” Psalm 26:8
As you ponder the will of God, the Word of God, and the blessings God gives to you in the Divine Service, these seasons of Advent and Christmas and Epiphany are a great time to begin a new with your lives dedicated to faithful and regular worship attendance in the Divine Services. I look forward to seeing you there. May God bless all of us through these sacred services.
Something Everyone Needs to Know
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
Ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3) every human being has come into this world as a sinful being. Our sin separates us from God. Left to ourselves we would perish for eternity in hell (John 3:36 & Hebrews 10:26-27).
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
God loves you so much that He came into this world as a human being (Luke 2:1-20). Jesus, the Son of God, lived a perfect life for you (Hebrews 4:14-16), suffered and died upon a cross for you (John 19), and rose from the dead for you (Luke 24). Now our risen Lord will forgive your sin (1 John 1:8-9) and grant eternal salvation to you if you believe in Him.
“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…” Acts 16:31
When God blesses you with a living faith in Jesus you will have a place in heaven. Such salvation comes not by our works but by grace through faith in Jesus (Romans 3:28; Ephesians 2:8-10).
“And He died for all, that those who live, should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15
Now as those who have been given the gift of heaven we live no longer just for ourselves but to serve God and our fellow human beings. (Ephesians 2:10)