Tag Archives: August

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August 2015

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Credo Pt. 3

Vicar Mike Schwab

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

These are the words that we say as part of our creed. In our creed we confess what we believe. What is the Holy Spirit? What is the holy Christian Church? The communion of saints? We say these phrases every Sunday, and I have to admit, often enough my mind goes on autopilot and my mouth does all the work. Sunday after Sunday the meaning is lost.

When we think about God, what comes to mind? We look around and we see God’s creation, and we are reminded of our heavenly Father. But what from God’s creation can tell us about the good news of Jesus our Savior? How can I come to know and believe in God’s saving work for the world if I was born into a sinful world?

The world into which we were born was fallen into sin. All people by nature are dead, (Eph 2:5) blind, (1 Cor 2:14) and opposed (Romans 8:7) to God.

The Holy Spirit is revealed to us in God’s Word as the sole provider for faith.

Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

–1 Corinthians 12:3

Simply by grace are God’s people brought to glorify his name. Popular thought in some Christian circles today establishes faith as a work that man does. You have to make your decision for Christ! Accept Jesus as your Savior! While we might be able to understand these statements correctly, there is a misunderstanding to avoid. The danger in this philosophy is that man is still weak with sin. The seed of faith is planted there, but he sprouts up and relies on himself. Then when trials and persecution come, he starts to wonder, what is Christianity all about? I thought things were going to be better now!

If we rely on reason to be holy, if we rely on intelligence to be right with God, our confession of faith only scratches the surface. If we think that being part of the holy Christian Church is something that we’ve grasped with sheer willpower, we’ve put aside the source of all wisdom and knowledge just for the chance to say, “I did this.” What’s the point in satisfying the prideful man inside, when you don’t give the new man a chance to grow?

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”

–1 Peter 1:23

Those who confess Jesus as Lord can only do so with the help of the Holy Spirit, and by the Holy Spirit we receive blessings that come through Baptism, Holy Communion, and the Word of God. We receive forgiveness of sins, we get to cheat death (resurrection) and we have eternal life. These are the gifts that come to us through the means of grace (Word and sacraments) so that we can glorify his name. That awesome task is something we can do with all our gifts and talents in whatever we do. We also have the specific opportunity to glorify God as we gather for worship.

When we say our creed, we confess with the whole Christian Church on earth the glory that is due to God for all his grace. To create us, preserve us, redeem us, and preserve the Church for the glorification of his name.

Take a moment to see God’s hand in everything you do, that he has bought you back and restored you to a new life to live in his glory. We are his saints, washed clean in the blood of Christ.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

–Ephesians 2:10

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August 2014

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A Blockbuster God

Are you a movie fan? If you are, summer is a fantastic time for you. In summer, Hollywood always seems to pull out some of their biggest blockbuster attempts. So did you see or are you planning to see any blockbuster films? Transformers: Age of Extinction? Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? How to Train Your Dragon 2? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Planes: Fire and Rescue?

You might have huge anticipation built up for these movies. You may check every day to see when they are going to come to a theater near you. You long for that movie to come out so you can take it all in. As the release gets closer it’s almost as if you can taste it – the excitement, the adventure, the drama, the explosiveness! In Psalm 63 David expresses his longing and anticipation for the Lord, even comparing it to a deep thirst:

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Do you have such a longing for God? Much of the excitement and anticipation of the blockbuster movies comes from the previews. There you see glimpses of what to expect. David’s longing for God came from knowing who God is and what God does. David had seen not just glimpse, but the entire beauty, majesty, and splendor of God. He writes:

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.

You also have seen God. You also have seen his power and his glory. His power and glory goes beyond the special effects of blockbuster films. Your God created the heavens and the earth. Your God created you. Such thoughts of our holy, majestic, and glorious God may even bring sadness and despair, because we know we have fallen far short of his expectations for us. You know the disgust and disappointment when the Hollywood blockbuster doesn’t live up to your expectations. Imagine God’s disgust and disappointment as he views the film roll of our lives. Yet, David praises God because he knows his love:

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

This love that produces praise is the incredible love and forgiveness God has displayed in his son, Jesus, and in all Jesus has done for us. Jesus’ death to take away our sins and his gift of righteousness and eternal life are God’s true glory and majesty.

When a movie truly is a blockbuster and wows, dazzles, and impresses us, it also sticks with us. We rave about it to our friends. We keep thinking about the incredible scenes and the climax, and the twist we didn’t see coming. David also kept thinking of God and his love, reveling in happiness, delight, and security:

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. – Psalm 63

As you consider the blockbuster films of the summer, remember the blockbuster love of your God. He has forgiven all of your sins and brought you satisfaction and life in Jesus. He upholds you with his right hand.

Beautiful Savior’s newsletter articles in 2014 will focus on portions from short Psalms. These Psalms can be easily committed to memory and serve as wonderful prayers and tools for daily meditation on God’s Word.

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I need more…Satisfaction!

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“A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.”

Do you recognize that quotation?  Do you relate to that quotation? It sounds simple enough: Somehow find the ability to lean back in your hammock on your day off and say, “What a satisfying life this is!”

But what if your expectations for satisfaction are too high? What if they are unrealistic? What if they are wrong?  What if they only pivot around yourself and your own ego?

What if you never find that satisfaction you seek?

Then you know how the person felt who wrote that quote.  His name was Solomon and he wrote a book about his search for satisfaction.  He couldn’t find it either, except when he looked for his satisfaction in his God.

The Bible says about God, “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing” (Psalm 145:16). Do you believe that?  What about this: The Apostle Paul told a young pastor, “If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1 Timothy 6:8). Is that truly satisfaction – simple food and clothing and contentment? How can you be truly satisfied with that?

Which is worth more – simple satisfaction or sublime satisfaction?  Which type of satisfaction do you seek?

What satisfaction do you deserve?

When God sought satisfaction from us we left him empty.  Our lives have never lived up to the expectations of our God.  God had every right to be dissatisfied with us, and to let us know in no uncertain terms.  Instead, God sent his Son to completely satisfy everything he expected – both a perfect life and the punishment and penalty that needed to be paid for all the times we let God down.  Jesus paid that price on the cross.  Jesus gave us a reason to be completely satisfied.

Satisfaction in our lives does not come because of what we do but because of what God does. He takes care of us…body and soul. He feeds us. He sent Jesus to rescue us from his great dissatisfaction over our sin, and in Jesus we receive that sublime satisfaction we seek.  We receive the love, kindness, and comfort of our amazing God. We know his promises are sure and certain.  He promises to be with us.  He promises to bless the work of our hands. He promises that whatever we do for him will not be in vain.

“[God] who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)

Be satisfied—truly satisfied—in Jesus!


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