Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, `Peace be with you’ (Luke 24:36).

Jesus Blessing 2
“Peace be with you”

 Peace can be a scarce commodity in our demanding twenty-first-century world. After all, our culture is overflowing with an astounding array of distractions, interruptions, and temptations. How, then, can we find the peace we desire? By turning our days-and our lives-over to God.

Elisabeth Elliot wrote, “If my life is surrendered to God, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hand, but would be safer in mine!”

Are you willing to entrust your life to God? Will you build your life on the firm foundation of God’s promises? If so you’ll experience the only peace that lasts: God’s peace.

(Taken from “Hugs” Devotional)

These wonderful words of wisdom really “hit home” with me when I read them. In this hectic life we live now days its so easy to forget who we are and where we are going or if we are going anywhere. We claim to have faith in God, and we do, but the troubles and responsibilities of life sometimes override our faith. Suddenly we begin worrying about this and that – wondering how we are going to do it all and what is going to happen when/if we fail. We start thinking about the “what ifs” and our faith, the rope which attaches us to Jesus, gets set aside. We let go of it and try to go it alone without even realizing we are doing it.

It’s kind of like being out in the middle of a lake with no life vest. The boat I am in capsizes. I begin frantically dog paddling trying to keep my nose above the water so I don’t drown. I finally become completely exhausted and can’t swim any further. When I stop swimming I realize that my feet are touching the sand which was beneath me all along.

In the same way, when this life gets difficult and I am too tired and weary to move forward – when my heart is breaking or I am worrying about the future, I need to remember that God is with me. He won’t let me drown. He is my life vest. He says, “Just trust me. I won’t let go of you. You will be fine.” Only in Him will I find lasting peace – “the peace which passes all understanding”. I never need to despair. I can let go of the worry and pain and know that He will keep me afloat.

"The Lord bless you and keep you"
“The Lord bless you and keep you”

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Gloria Dei!

By Christine

Deliberate Sin

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26)

I know it’s wrong, but I’m going to do it anyway! I’ve talked to God about it. I know He will understand. It’s what I have to do. These words were spoken to me recently by a young woman contemplating an abortion.

What have you done?

As children growing up in a small town, my sister and I had lots of freedom. We walked to the beach, we walked to our friend’s homes several blocks away, we walked to the cemetery where there was a sand hill we loved to play on, we walked to and from school, and we walked to the post office, the library, and the corner store. Everyone knew everyone, and all looked out for each other.

There were however, still rules to follow and of course, being normal children, there were times when we broke the rules. The one thing mom stressed more than any other was this; “ALWAYS let me know where you are going”.

I can still remember one time when I broke this cardinal rule. I rode the bus home from school with a friend without letting mom know that I was going. You see, I originally had permission to go, but changed my mind and told my mother I wasn’t going. Then during the school day I changed my mind again and decided to go. The problem was, that the bus was leaving and if I ran home to tell mom, I would miss the bus. I knew I shouldn’t go without letting someone know, but I didn’t want to miss out…so I went. My sister went also, however she had permission. When our father came to pick us up later, I knew I was in trouble by the look on his face. When we got home I was sent to my room. I can still picture him coming into my room with a yardstick in his hand. Now a yard stick is not a very sturdy stick. I only got a couple of swats on the bottom which stung a little, but didn’t harm me physically. It made a huge impression on me though. I remember it to this day and I never did that again.

There are consequences for sin. As a result of my disobedience, I received a spanking with the yard stick. Later, after the punishment, came forgiveness. I told my dad I was sorry and I truly was. Although that didn’t minimize what I had done, I was forgiven and life was back to normal.

On another occasion my sister and I both did something foolish. There were railroad tracks running through our small town. The yard of one of our friends backed up to the tracks, but we were told to NEVER play near the tracks. It was very dangerous for children. The rule was made to keep us safe.

One day while we were playing there the temptation to play on the tracks overcame our common sense. If we walked down the tracks a ways, there was a trestle where the train crossed the river. We wondered what it would be like to stand on the trestle and look down at the river below. There was a deep ditch on each side of the tracks, so in order to get to the trestle we had to walk along the top of the rails. There was no jumping off to either side because it was very steep and full of thick brush. We made it onto the trestle and as we stood there looking down at the water below us, we heard the train whistle. It was very close to us. The only thing we could do was RUN!! We ran for our lives and just made it off the tracks in time to avoid being hit by the train. What a tragedy that would have been for us and for our family.

In both incidents there was the knowledge that we were doing wrong.

I knew I shouldn’t get on that school bus without letting my mother know. It was breaking the rules but I didn’t want to miss out…so I did it anyway. When the fun was over and it was time to go home, I realized what a foolish thing I had done.

My sister and I both knew that it was dangerous and against the rules to play on the tracks, but…we did it anyway. We put our own agenda over and above what we knew was right. We willfully and deliberately did wrong.

I have sinned more times than anyone can count during my lifetime. We all have. So what is the difference between my sins of disobedience as a child, along with all the other sins I have committed, and hers? Am I better than she? Does God love me more? Is one sin worse than the other?

The difference is Faith. I have Faith. I love God. I appreciate all that He has done, and still does for me. I know that I am a sinner. Psalm 51:5 tells me, surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. But I also know that because of what Jesus did for me, I am a Saint (Holy in God’s eyes). Through faith I am forgiven. I can’t stop myself from sinning because it is a part of my human nature, but I know that when I go to God in prayer and acknowledge my sin and the sorrow I feel over it, he will wrap His arms around me lovingly, just like my parents did so many years ago after I had done wrong, and take me back into His fold.

Christ’s suffering and death is a serious matter and not to be taken lightly. He is the Son of God. He was holy and without sin. He gave up His life for us. He tells us in His word that life is a precious gift – a gift from Him. By going against His will this young woman is blatantly disregarding the sacrifice He made for her and for all people. She is saying it’s not important. She is saying God’s will is only important when it fits her lifestyle.

In her defense, I think she is a little confused. The devil is preying on her heart through human reason, outside of the realms of faith. She may not understand what faith is. Maybe she has never been exposed to the word enough to have experienced faith. Anyone can say that they believe in God, but that doesn’t mean they have faith. The devil believes in God too, but he doesn’t have faith. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even demons believe that – and shudder. (James 2:19)

I am not able to judge what is in her heart – only God can, but I can judge her actions. James 2:17 tells us In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead…and in verse 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. Where there is faith there is love. Where there is love there is respect and trust. If there is faith, love and trust in her heart for God, it will show in her life and her actions. She would trust that God would take care of her and her unborn child.

God would not tell her it’s okay to murder her child. He forbids murder in the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:13). To tell her its okay this one time would make Him go against His own word and make Him a liar. God is no a liar. His word is the truth and does not change. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17) If she truly had respect for God’s will, she would never ask such a thing of Him. Does she really think that God would approve of and understand her reasons for murdering her child, a precious gift from Him? God does not say to us; you shall not murder and then in the next breath tell us go ahead, I understand and I will forgive you later. That is not the way He works.

There are consequences for the sin of abortion, and it isn’t just a couple of swats on the bottom with a yardstick. Once done, there is no turning back. She will regret taking the life of her child the rest of her life. She will wonder what her baby would have looked like. She will wonder if it was a girl or a boy. She will think of him/her each year on the date the baby would have been due to be born. It will leave a scar on her heart that will never go away.

When I ask a young woman if she has had emotional problems as a result of an abortion and she says “NO”, she is either lying to suppress her feelings, or she is not sorry for what she did. If she is truly not sorry and doesn’t see it as a sin, then she has no love and respect for God and His holy will, and all that’s left for her is a fearful expectation of judgment, and a raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. At that point she is an enemy of God and there is no salvation for the enemies of God.

This young woman and many like her need our prayers. They need to experience faith in a loving and forgiving God. They are very confused and insecure. They are told it’s alright to abort their children. Deep in their hearts they know it is wrong, but our government says it is okay. The day will come however when we will all have to answer to God. What will this young woman say when she stands at the judgment seat of God and he asks her; where is that child I blessed you with – that precious gift with a beating heart and a will to live? What did you do with it?

Pray for the moms and the unborn babies!

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1John 1:8-10)

By Kristeen – To God be the Glory!

I you are reading this and you are suffering from a past abortion, please remember that there is hope. Our God is a loving and forgiving God. If you are truly sorry for what you did, there is forgiveness for you. Go to Him in prayer. Talk to Him. You are loved. You are forgiven.

"Inspired to Write."

But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. (1Corinthians 7:7)

There are many different life situations which inspire me to write. I always keep my Bible and concordance handy, and as I search the scriptures for answers and guidance from God’s word, my faith is strengthened. I feel closely connected to God as I write.

I was brought to baptism by my parents on April 24, 1950. I was one month old. My baptism day is very special to me. It is the day I became a member of God’s family. Through Baptism the Holy Spirit puts faith in the hearts of babies who are too little to understand, but who are still little sinners and need forgiveness.

Many people feel that baptism is something we do for God. They opt to let their children choose to be baptized when they are old enough to understand and make their own choice. On the contrary – Baptism is a gift from God to us. Through baptism, (the water connected to the Word) our sins are forgiven, we become members of God’s family, and the Holy Spirit ignites faith in our hearts. Baptism is not just plain water, but it is water used by God’s command and connected with God’s Word… For without God’s Word the water is just plain water and not Baptism. But with this Word it is Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of rebirth by the Holy Spirit. (Luther’s Catechism pg.9)

My Baptism was just the beginning of my relationship with God. My religious knowledge comes from a lifetime of attending Lutheran schools – from the first grade through my first and only year of college. Beginning in the first grade, I was taught to memorize scriptures. I learned the books of the Bible and can still recite them. I memorized the Ten Commandments from Luther’s Small Catechism (now simply Luther’s Catechism). I also memorized the creeds and I learned to praise God in song.

Each school day began with devotion and a Bible History Lesson. The Holy Spirit gives us faith not only through Baptism, but through the word. All those childhood and teen years while I thought I was simply learning memory work and doing my Bible History Lessons, the Holy Spirit was growing my faith through the word.

The WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) does not deviate from scriptures in any way. That wonderful background of scriptures has led me to where I am today. I am using that Christian education in my writings to tell others the wonderful things God has done for all people.