Pastors' Blog

January 2021

A Peace Which the World Cannot Give

As I sit here writing this, a new person is being sworn in as President of the United States.

Thus is capped off one of the most divisive elections in American history. A divisive election after a divisive campaign - which in turn took place during a divisive and brutal year. It is a sad but instantly recognizable fact that division more aptly describes our country than almost any other word right now.

Now whether you're happy for the new incumbent to begin his term of office or you're furious about it isn't the point. The point is that division has always been part of this sinful world. It is implicit in everything it does, it is inherent in that deep rooted selfishness that every human being shares.

God himself makes this point clearly in Jeremiah 6: "They say 'peace, peace,' when there is no peace." How could there be? In a world fallen into sin any unity people find with each other is doomed to be temporary.

But that is why our Savior has promised to give his peace - a peace which the world cannot give. That is why he reminds us that he is constantly at our side to protect us and watch over us. That is why he has brought us true, lasting unity as his people; a unity that he bought with his own blood. We, indeed, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now in our national landscape we see division - and may God grant that it is healed. But because we see division so often at a national level we're tempted to see it everywhere else too.

But let's not do that.

In fact, let's especially not do that here at Good Shepherd's.

Brothers and sisters, as we discuss the possible merger over the next month and a half, as we engage in the information, as we have frank and honest conversations with each other - there are going to be differences of opinion. There are going to be some strongly held opinions and some deep feelings. That is ok. In fact, it's more than Ok, it's good.

But we must not let these things turn into divisions here at Good Shepherd's. For we do not follow the pattern of behavior shown to us by the world - no, we follow our Savior and we make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bonds of Christian peace.

We, indeed, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. May he bless us always!

Pastor Joshua Zarling

 



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Self-control

God created us with emotions. It is not a sin to have emotions. Sadly however, even our emotions are corrupted by sin and do not always give witness to our faith.

The proverb found in the Bible at Proverbs 29:11, "A fool gives full vent to his anger, a wise man keeps himself under control" is a reminder that although we may be emotional people, there is great wisdom when we keep ourselves under control. This does not mean we just pretend we are not angry or that we bottle up our anger, only to explode at a later date.

Self-control is a listed as a "fruit of the spirit" in Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit of the spirit flow from a heart of faith. Faith connects us to Jesus as the Savior. In him we find forgiveness for all our sins - including the times we lost control of our emotions. In Jesus, we also find a new perspective on life. As we have been forgiven, we are willing to forgive. As God has been patient with us, we are willing to be patient with others. True wisdom comes as we grow knowledge of God's will for our lives and as we put that knowledge into practice. One of the ways we can show Godly wisdom is to grow in our self-control. 

Wise King Solomon offered useful and inspired advice in this proverb. As the world is trapped in an endless cycle of sin and as the events of your own life do not always go as you would like, do not let anger get the best of you. Trust in the Lord who is guiding all history, including your life. Trust in the Lord who saved you!

 

Pastor Tim Wempner

Pastor Joshua Zarling



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Live in the peace of knowing God's eternal love for you

Today, January 6, is the festival of the Epiphany. It is one of the oldest festivals in the Church Year that has a specific date on the calendar. It brings an end to the 12 days of Christmas.

We commemorate the coming of the Wise Men with this festival. They followed a star on a quest for someone they hadn’t met. In fact, they did not know their final destination or what they would find. Their faith serves as a model for all of us. How often we are tempted to make our faith and our God into something that is reasonable and fits our own ideas. We think we need answers from God for all our questions. The Wise Men traveled to Jerusalem, not knowing the answers to the many questions that might have been in their minds. 

The Wise Men found a baby who was the Savior of the world. We find the same. By faith, we see that in Christ we have received untold and indescribable gifts from God. The Magi let whatever their eyes saw, their ears heard, or their minds thought be subservient to the desire to see the Savior. Martin Luther commented on their faith in a sermon on their story (Matthew 2:1-12):


"The light of nature and the light of grace cannot be friends. Human nature wants to feel and to be certain before it believes. Faith wants to believe before it feels. This is the reason why human nature goes no farther than it can see by its light. But grace steps out cheerfully into the darkness, follows the bare Word and Scripture, no matter what matters appear to be like; whether human nature thinks them to be right or wrong, grace clings to the Word." What Luther Says, p. 611

Standing on the Word of God you will see countless blessings in your life. You will see God’s love at work in you, preparing you for eternity. You will see God as you look at Jesus. Join with the Magi in worshipping the one born king of the Jews who is your Savior. Then live in the peace of knowing God's eternal love for you!

 

Pastor Tim Wempner

Pastor Joshua Zarling



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All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. ~ 2 TIMOTHY 3:16