Monday, October 29, 2018

Sermon October 27-28, 2018 Reformation

Title: Forgiven, Forever, and Free Indeed!
Text: John 8:31-36

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Today we remember and celebrate the Reformation of the Church, by the former Roman Catholic Priest and Augustinian Monk, Martin Luther. We also celebrate the joy found in the freedom of the Gospel message, and continue together with the whole church to proclaim that truth to reach the lost with this same blessed good news!

Jesus tells the believing Jews in our Gospel today who had been following Him that:

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.”

To be a disciple is to be a follower of Christ. One who is connected to God’s very words and who abides in them [who hears the word with the intention of following] – or is one who accepts and acts in accordance with the word of God.

In our Gospel reading for today Jesus tells the Jews and you and me as well:

32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

This freedom and liberty of the gospel is what we celebrate today. It is what Luther searched for and why he became a monk – thinking that being locked inside the walls, devoting himself to fasting, long hours in prayer, pilgrimages, and frequent confession would keep him away from sin and the power of the devil.

He said:

"If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would certainly have done so." He described this period of his life as one of deep spiritual despair. "I lost touch with Christ the Savior and Comforter, and made of him the jailer and hangman of my poor soul."

But later he found peace in the words of Romans 5:1 which reads:

5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Have you felt closed in by the walls of sin?

Have you or have your loved ones fled the blessings and Peace found only in Christ and his gifts given in word and sacrament?

Are you burdened by the Law and a slave to sin?

33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

Martin Luther writes:

“Discipleship is not limited to what you can comprehend--it must transcend all comprehension.”

He continues:

Thus Abraham went forth from his father and not knowing (where he was going). He trusted himself to (God’s) knowledge, and cared not for his own, and thus he took the right road and came to his journey's end.

Behold, that end is the way of the cross.

You cannot find it yourself, so you must let (God) lead you as though you were a blind man. (So), it is not you, no man, (and) no living creature, but (Christ) Himself, who instructs you by word and Spirit in the way you should go.

Not the work which you choose, not the suffering you devise, but the road which is clean contrary to all that you choose or contrive or desire--that is the road you must take. To that, (Christ) calls you and in that (says) you must be my disciple.”

― Martin Luther

Saying in essence: Hear me! Listen to me! Abide in me!
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.

The truth is we are all bound to sin and its cravings. We desire to do the will of our sinful nature which is in opposition to God’s will and as a result you and I fall short daily. The world says, “Deep down he is really a good person” - when the truth is: deep down we all get worse and worse.

The more you get to the core of who we are in our fallen human condition the more you see the sinfulness of man, corrupted to the core from the beginning by our first parents Adam and Eve.

But Jesus reminds His hearers: To Listen to him!

35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.

36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

The freedom for the sinner is found only in Jesus. That was the joy that Luther found and what we celebrate in the Reformation. In Christ, true freedom from sin is possible and true liberty for we who are bound with the chains of guilt and despair is broken.

Christ has set free those who could not free themselves by his own binding.

The binding of His flesh to the cross in your place

The shedding of His blood for the forgiveness of your sin

The death worthy of a criminal for you and I who are guilty and the burial in a tomb meant for another …

In Jesus’ case … Joseph of Arimathea, for it was his tomb where Jesus was laid.

But, that tomb and that death WAS meant for you!

Jesus took your place,
He took your cross,
He took your death,
And He took your tomb and He made them what you couldn't …

Life, freedom, liberty, salvation and forgiveness

Salvation is all of God and not of man. That is the message of the Reformation.

Luther restored the gospel truths about Christ and His merits that had been lost, covered by sin in the church and the focus on earthly rulers, once again by shinning the light of the gospel on Christ’s work, for you.

Because Jesus came to live, suffer, die and rise again for you … because of Christ and His merits … because the Son has set you free … you are free indeed!

May the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be and abide with you now and forever.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sermon October 20-21, 2018

Title: With God all things are possible!
Text: Mark 10:23-31

29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

(Raising hand)

Who bought a Lotto ticket! Who wants to be a Billionaire?

We all can get caught up in that frenzy. I can put my hand down because it is my wife who does my dirty work! We see wealth as the answer to our problems but in reality with wealth come other problems and especially the ones that keep us from seeing the true joy in Jesus rather than the temporal joys of the world.

Last week we spoke of treasure in heaven and how so many people see their treasure here on earth in what they have or do. The rich young man in the gospel last week went away disappointed because he had great possessions instead of following Jesus and the eternal reward that is given. Many in this life also follow material gain while at the same time giving up the nourishment needed for spiritual feeding.

A friend of mine who makes his living teaching guitar always keeps Sunday as his day of rest where he doesn’t teach or play gigs … and the Lord knows that he could use the money. But instead he goes to church and focuses on his spiritual feeding and family time. He’s told me once,

“God always meets my needs … rarely early … but always on time!”

Jesus, in speaking to his disciples about those who trust in riches or wealth says:

“Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!”

Remember the young man went away disappointed because he had great possessions. And Jesus then adds:

25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

We all know how hard it is to just thread a needle don’t we? Have you ever sewn or tried to sew a button on? I have … it wasn’t good. Thankfully my wife is good at it.

So, then the image that Jesus is giving the disciples of entering the Kingdom of God by any means other than, 8 by grace … through faith is what we have to focus on.

Camel … eye of a needle … you get it. It is quite literally impossible!

So the things of this world and all of the accomplishments you and I achieve won’t measure up in God’s cup of salvation.

So the disciples ask:

“Then who can be saved?”
Who can meet the requirements?
Who can get through the eye of the needle?
Jesus tells them:

“With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

We can’t do it.
We can’t achieve it.
We can’t buy it.
Heck … we can’t even steal it!

But … we can have it none the less.
In fact … we can have it all … because:

This is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph 2:8-9

But we want to boast don’t we? We always want to share the good news of our team winning don’t we? It seems that way with so many.

Working on Saturdays and Sundays for most of my adult life sucked all the interest out of football for me, both college and pro. I don’t have a favorite team and really I’m happy to see Michigan and Michigan State do well. I really don’t follow football much, and it is more likely that you’ll see Monica turning on the game than me. I must admit though that this Michigan / Michigan State football weekend looks to be an exciting one.

Our lives revolve around what we do, how we prepare, what advantages we find, and how we perform. Some struggle and some excel. Both Michigan and Michigan State have had great wins and hard loses. We live and die with the teams we follow and we see it in our own lives.

Success and failure is all part of our own game of life too. We live with the ups and downs of family and friends.

We try not to let the successes or failures define us.
We try not to get too high or too low.

Work hard, do your best, provide for your family, but see the greater gift – not in the success or things of this world - but what you have received that you could never earn, the gift of grace and faith in Jesus Christ and his righteousness.

28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.”

Last week Jesus told the rich young man to sell everything, give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and then Christ compelled him to come follow me.

But he went away in sorrow because he had great possessions.


Martin Luther in speaking in his lectures in Genesis says:

“Do not fear those, says Christ (Matt 10:28), who kill the body, house, and other things, what of it? These things have to be left behind in any case.”

He then continues:

“For neither Peter nor Paul even though they were saintly men, had better flesh than we have.” They too, were children of Adam, [broken in sin] just as we are. Paul sometimes glories and boasts as if he were already victorious over all evils. Sometimes he complains pitiable about fears within and fighting’s without (2Cor.7:5).

Where was that completely invincible hero, that victor over all hell, then?”

LW Am. Ed. Vol.5, Pg 27

29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands,

[And in this life] persecutions, and in the age to come [but they will also receive] eternal life.

We will have tribulations and persecutions but also, heaven … and eternal life. That is fully on account of God, in Christ, through the Spirit’s work.

The first will be last and the last first!

We have Christ’s assurance of eternal life and the word of Jesus is always trustworthy and true. Those who trust in him and follow him have what he has promised … eternal life.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit

Amen

Monday, October 15, 2018

Sermon October 13-14, 2018

Title: What we lack is found in Christ!
Text: Mark 10:17-22

20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

As I began my week last Monday I said half jokingly to Debbie our secretary at the church, "I just did a sermon this weekend, I can't believe I have to get another ready!" But, that is how it is for you and me. We receive the Lord's forgiveness in worship and them stumble through the week both dead in sin and forgiven in Christ and we need to come back and receive that forgiveness once again.

"I, a poor miserable sinner, confess unto you all my sins and iniquities ...

Yes, that is who we are dead in sin. So we come back each week to hear the Good News and it is for that reason that I prepare a sermon each week that shows us our sin and also shows us our savior so that we can be forgiven, comforted, and renewed as we go back into this broken world for the week that lies ahead.

17 And as [Jesus] was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Isn’t that the question most ask? What must I do? What can I expect? What do you expect of me?

We ask it in all aspects of life. We ask it of parents, at school, with friends, or groups of friends. We ask it as we grow older, at work, and at times we rail against those expectations. They expect too much.

How can I measure up to that we think?

As a hockey fan I look forward to the Red Wings season. Some might say anything less than the Stanley Cup is a failure. But with a new team and so many young players hew can that be our goal?
For some fans only achieving the ultimate prize … makes it a successful season. The Tigers are done again this year and the Lions are new once again and just getting started.

“Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The rich young man asks Jesus in our gospel lesson for today. As a rich young man he has achieved much success in his life.

Ill.

To give you some perspective, how many of you know the name Dustin Moskovitz … No one?

Well, he is a billionaire. On May 18th 2012 he became an instant billionaire. He was the third employee hired by Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. He was in charge of their technology and was so excited to get involved that he taught himself computer code over a weekend. He left the company in 2008 to peruse other interests, but in May of 2012 when Facebook went public he received over 5 billion dollars for his shares in the company. Like the man in our gospel lesson today … he is a rich young man.

At 28 he became a billionaire … at 34 he is worth over 12 billion dollars.

So Jesus asks first: “Why do you call me good? And tells him, No one is good except God alone.”

Jesus here sets the stage for what God requires. No one is good except God alone. But trying to go a bit deeper with this young man Jesus lays it out.

19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness [or] defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”

Jesus gives him half of the commandments. He says for a start, how do you do with these? And remember Jesus hasn’t asked him about the table of the law that deals with God.

You are to have no other Gods, do not misuse the name of the Lord your God and keep holy the Sabbath day.

Jesus just asks … how do you do with these interactions with your neighbor in the world?

The rich young man answers:

“Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.”

And I’m sure there are people who think that they measure up well. “I’m pretty good they think.”

The Red wings pre-season record was 6-1 six wins, and one losses. In the eyes of we who are fans that was an acceptable record. May be this year won’t be so bad? If they win the Stanley Cup, we as Red Wing fans would rejoice! As the season begins that are in last place in their division …

0 wins
2 loss
2 overtime loss

But perfection for God is so much more than what we as fans expect.

Winning the Stanley cup would be great but perfection in the Lord’s eyes requires no mistakes, no goals against, no injuries, no penalties, no overtime - in fact the other team can’t possess the puck at all - because if they have the puck you’ve missed the mark by not having the it. No missed shots because every shot has to go in the net.

That’s perfection. That’s impossible, you might say … and it is.

Even as good as Miguel Cabrera is or has been, he makes an out almost 7 out of every ten times he comes to the plate and we revere him as a great hitter when our God would require 10 hits out of 10 at plate appearances.

That’s perfection. That’s impossible, you might say … and it is.

Jesus loved this young man so it may seem a bit funny what he says next.

“You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

You only lack one thing. It’s your stuff. Jesus say, “Sell it all and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven!”

22 Disheartened [by what Jesus had said to him], he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

The other part of the law, the part about this man’s relationship between his stuff … and his God … has now come to light.

He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

It is not sinful to have stuff … as long as your stuff doesn’t have you I heard a pastor once say.

Ill.

Guitars were my idol. I grew up wanting a better guitar. When I got that a nice acoustic guitar was next on the list on needs. After three my dad didn’t know how many I had. It was just a pile of cases in my room.

Joe Bonamassa is a guitarist. He is really good. I saw a meme on Facebook where he was standing on a stage with 20 or 30 guitars and it seemed as many amplifiers. The caption read: “Teach your children to love guitars and they won’t have money for drugs.”

It’s funny but true. My mom always knew where I was … down the basement with my band practicing. It kept me out of trouble but not focused on Jesus. My friend Rob, a great guitarist once said, “I use to worship the wood in my hands but now, by grace, I worship Jesus Christ and what he accomplished on the wood of the cross, for me.”

By God’s Holy Spirit he takes our eyes off of self and points us to Jesus, his cross, and the salvation he won for us there and the glorious resurrection that followed.

Where is your treasure?

The possessions we have, the work we do, and the things we save and treasure … the guitars for instance … will not measure up in God’s eyes. It is after all already his and it has been given to you … and how you use it can certainly benefit those in need, physically and spiritually.

There is nothing to be earned, because it has all been given. There is nothing to do, because it has all been done. Because of Christ, the good teacher, you have received God’s favor. Not for what you have or what you have done but because of what Christ has done for you.

The treasures on earth pale in comparison to the treasure God has in heaven for you.

What we lack is found in Christ!

Jesus says: come, follow me!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit

Amen

Monday, October 8, 2018

October 6-7, 2018 LSB Setting I with Holy Communion
Title: The bride of Christ, the bridegroom of man!
Text: Mark 10:2-16

9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Marriage is when you agree to spend the rest of your life sleeping in a room that's too warm, right next to someone who's sleeping in a room that's too cold.

Contributed by E.J. Graff.

2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test [Jesus] asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

Divorce has become all too common. It is all too common in the world and among Christians as well. The Pharisees were coming to test Jesus asking if it allowable for a man to divorce his wife? I spent many years in the sales business and one of the key teachings of sales is to: answer a question with a question.

So Jesus, being one of the best at it asks:

“What did Moses command you?”

And the Pharisees reply:

“Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.”
What they are really asking Jesus in a roundabout way is this:

“Moses said that is lawful for a man to divorce his wife and send her away. What Jesus, do you say?”

In Creation God made all things good, even saying in our Old Testament lesson for today:

18 … “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Gen 2:18

So Jesus calls them out on their question because what God has made good sin has broken. Their hardness of heart is opposed to God and his design so that a law was given to allow divorce for reasons of unfaithfulness.

And Jesus answers them:

“Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

So the word of God is in conflict. The man and the woman shall become one flesh and the Law of Moses allows for a divorce for reason of unfaithfulness.

Not really … but "because of your hardness of heart," Jesus says.

One of the most quoted stats by Christian leaders today is also perhaps one of the most inaccurate.

“Christians divorce at roughly the same rate as the world!”

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/factchecker-divorce-rate-among-christians/


We may think that.
We may know other Christians that are divorced.
It may even be you that has suffered a divorce.

During the 36 years of my marriage to Monica we have known someone, family, friend or acquaintance that

Is divorced,
Has been divorced,
Or is going through a divorce.

The brokenness of sin gets to the very core of who we are as sinners. Adam’s choice to sin has cast God’s perfect creation into the chaos of dead in sin – and dead to God.

God created marriage perfect.

Adam and Eve were created as a perfect couple – “a helper fit for him”, God says in Genesis. But where Creation gives way to corruption by the fall into sin all things – marriage too – have been broken.

If you think about it, unfaithfulness in a perfect creation is impossible, but in a corrupted and broken world it is all too common.
Jesus even says to his broken world disciples:

“Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

The six commandment:

You shall not commit adultery.
What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.

It sounds good on paper but in a broken world it’s hard if not impossible to keep.

But Jesus came to restore all that was broken. The sin of separation from God has been restored and redeemed in Christ.

The idolatry of self in marriage just doesn’t work.

The two have now become one so that in all things - in marriage / in Christ - the focus is placed on this unity.

The article that I mentioned earlier about the statistical divorce rate among Christians being about the same as the world is wrong.

Here’s the truth…

People who seriously practice a traditional religious faith—have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population.

The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice.

What appears intuitive is true. Couples who regularly practice any combination of serious religious behaviors and attitudes—attend church nearly every week, read their bibles and spiritual materials regularly; pray privately and together; generally take their faith seriously …

Living not as perfect disciples, but serious disciples—enjoy significantly lower divorce rates than mere church members, the general public, and unbelievers.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/factchecker-divorce-rate-among-christians/

There is no guarantee of a divorce free married life but being in the word is a great help. You see, in Christ you are a new creation. Set apart as God’s child and fully forgiven in Christ. When two in Christ become one there is something bigger than the individual to unite them. They become one in marriage and one in Christ.

This oneness - sees the woman as bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.
This oneness - becomes subject to her husband as unto Christ.
This oneness - loves his wife as Christ loves the church.
This oneness - is no longer two but one and in Christ.
This oneness - can endure the trials of sin, death and the power of the devil because …
Christ is the Lord of husband, of wife, and of family.

Many enter marriage with the hope of “A happily ever after!” – This is nothing more than a fairy tale apart from a unity in Christ.

The Marriage can even become an idol, made in the image of husband and wife where hopes and cares are placed in failed sinful beings rather than in Jesus Christ as Lord who came to restore all things in him.

Paul in speaking about idol worship in 1 Cor. 10:23 says,

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

This is also especially true with the neighbor we are united to, and in unity with, within our marriages.

While sin remains a part of our life and the world we live in … it is also true that in Christ all things have been made new; so when Christ rules your life and your marriage together, all things work better with Christ as the head.

love and cherish those blessed children God has given you.

Children are a blessing that results from the union of man and woman.
Children brought to Christ are welcomed by him.
Childlike faith receives the Kingdom of God.

With child like faith we all have entered the Lord’s courts let us together with Christ love and live as one in Him being received as his beloved children.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit

Amen

Monday, October 1, 2018

Sermon Sept 29-30, 2018

Title: Prayer, Proclamation, Love, and Peace!
Text: James 5:13-20

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

Source Unknown.

Our Epistle reading in James begins:

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

At times, we can all feel this need. Who among us hasn’t suffered, or been cheerful … or sick?

For some though, suffering is an ongoing problem. It may be long term physical illness or depression that consumes one’s life. I’ve seen both and neither is fun to deal with.

James calls those who suffer to prayer.

Prayer brings the one suffering to the one who suffered too. Prayer brings the one who hears our prayer and those who pray together - and through this union prayer brings comfort, peace and healing. The suffering servant Jesus himself, hears and answers our prayers. At times we crave comforting answers … at other times we struggle to hear any at all. Sin brings death and suffering to us all. It is a result or our life broken in sin.

At times there is also joy in your life and when those times of joy are yours James says to … sing!

It comforts and focuses our joy in the true giver of joy … Jesus Christ our Lord. Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual songs – or as the word φαλλετω (Psalleto - singing psalms or even playing on a string instrument) not only fill our hearts and lives with the joyful music, but with the words of God’s truth so we can be connected to the joyful giver of peace and forgiveness.

Playing this music as well can bring great joy.

Luther on music:

Martin Luther said, "The devil takes flight at the sound of music, just as he does at the words of theology, and for this reason the prophets always combined theology and music, the teaching of truth and the chanting of Psalms and hymns."
"After theology, I give the highest place and greatest honor to music."

Martin Luther.

Proclamation

Music brings great joy and so does singing for and with those who cannot get to worship.

Visiting the sick and bringing the proclamation of the gospel to those in need go hand in hand.

James says:

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

Ill.

Pastor Merrell and I have been blessed to visit and pray for those who are ill. Before Dorenne Ridge passed we had an opportunity to visit her - though she hadn’t seen either of us for quite a while and was moved away from our area for her care. When I told her who we were she smiled her acknowledgement. The visit brought the anointing balm as a reminder of God’s Holy Spirit that indwells all believers and the Lord’s Supper to one in need. Sins are confessed and forgiveness proclaimed and received. I am always comforted when a dear brother or sister in Christ prays for me … as we together pray for one another.

Too often we forget that prayer has power. It is not that we control God but that we cast all our care upon him, knowing that he hears and answers our prayers.

Or, as a friend of mine once said;

“God always answers my prayers. He’s just never has been early with the answer … but answers in his time and way.”

God answers because he loves you and in Christ we love others because he first loved us.

How do we display his love?

Love

Love is silence--when your words would hurt.
Love is patience--when your neighbor's curt.
Love is deafness--when a scandal flows.
Love is thoughtfulness--for other's woes.
Love is promptness--when duty calls.
Love is courage--when misfortune falls.

Source Unknown.

Certainly this is not the ways of the world.

The word of God is rejected by many and even believers forget the wonderful word during times of trial and troubles.

During a time of great depression for Veretta Cheal I brought my guitar on a visit to sing a few hymns with her. It gave her comfort in the midst of trial and soon after she had a time of peace in her life.

God uses us all where we are. Through our own gifts at times he gives comfort, peace and joy to those who suffer.

Peace

Peace that Jesus gives is not the absence of trouble, but is rather the confidence that He is there with you always.

Source Unknown.

Martin Luther found peace with God when he found the gospel. What had been for Luther the trial of life as he struggled with Gods righteous justice - that sins separated us from God and as sinners we, in the sight of God, must be condemned - became a joy on account of Christ. Because of Christ as our substitute who stands in our place and receives God’s wrath as the once for all sacrifice for our sins we by faith receive his reward by faith as God’s beloved children in whom he is well please.

5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. 5:1

Because of Christ and by faith we have peace with God.

Christ’s peace is your peace by faith.
Christ’s peace is freely give in the gospel
Christ’s peace is not received by works of righteousness.
Christ’s peace is a gift to be shared with others.

Let us close with the prayer that we began:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

Source Unknown.

Prayer, Proclamation, Love, and Peace!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit

Amen