These are crazy times. But God is still in control.
Here’s Sunday’s radio program sermon via audio only. The reading is the whole chapter of John 11. But I’m sure you’ve got time on your hands with shelter-in-place in effect in most states. So, take some time to read the chapter. It’s one of my favorites in the whole Bible!
Here’s a little devotion from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther. You are not alone!
COMFORT WHEN FACING GRAVE TEMPTATIONS
First, such a person must by no means rely on himself, nor must he be guided by his own feelings. Rather, he must lay hold of the words offered to him in God’s name, cling to them, place his trust in them, and direct all the thoughts and feelings of his heart to them.
Second, he must not imagine that he is the only one assailed about his salvation, but he must be aware (as St. Peter declares) that there are many more people in the world passing through the same trials [I Pet. 5:9]. How often does David lament and cry out in the Psalms, “O God, I am driven far from thy sight” [31:22], and, “I became like those who go into hell” [28:1]. These trials are not rare among the godly. They hurt, to be sure, but that is also in order, etc.
Third, he should by no means insist on deliverance from these trials without yielding to the divine will. He should address God cheerfully and firmly and say, “If I am to drink this cup, dear Father, may your will, not mine, be done” [Luke 22:42].
Fourth, there is no stronger medicine for this than to begin with words such as David used when he said in Psalm 18 [:3], “I will call upon the Lord and praise him, and so shall I be saved from all that assails me.” For the evil spirit of gloom cannot be driven away by sadness and lamentation and anxiety, but by praising God, which makes the heart glad.
Fifth, he must thank God diligently for deeming him worthy of such a visitation, of which many thousands of people remain deprived. It would be neither good nor useful for man to know what great blessings lie hidden under such trials. Some have wanted to fathom this and have thereby done themselves much harm. Therefore, we should willingly endure the hand of God in this and in all suffering. Do not be worried; indeed, such a trial is the very best sign of God’s grace and love for man. At such a time it is well to pray, read, or sing Psalm 142, which is especially helpful at this point.
Martin Luther, Devotional Writings I, ed. Martin O. Dietrich, vol. 42 of Luther’s Works. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969), 183-184.
Quick trivia: what does the word “merry” mean? In the Olde English it means “mighty.” So God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen means God Rest Ye, Mighty Gentlemen. So Merry Christmas means Have a Mighty Christmas.
Are you buying presents for some people? Why do people buy presents for other people? Do they expect something in return? And what about the person that gets the present; what’s his or her “responsibility?”
AND–have you ever thought about Christmas and the birth of Jesus as Judgment? Here’s the Christmas Eve sermon.
You can see that it’s Christmas time. Look at the lights, the trees, the sales, the decorations. The signs are all over the place! You can see it. It’s right in front of us and it’s all around us.
But what about “seeing Christmas” in April or May? It’s tougher then because there are other things on our calendars and in our minds. But Christmas is there nevertheless.
Problems in life cloud our vision and the truth of God. He has something waiting for us who follow Jesus. That’s what Isaiah 35 is all about. And Christmas–the birth of the Christ Child–is what began to usher this all in. Can you see it? That’s what this sermon is about.