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Our Savior: From Ourselves

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Celebrate the Right Labor

Matthew Maguire and Peter McGuire. Do you recognize those names? Unless they are your great grandfather, I wouldn’t expect you to. They are the two people, long dead, yet still fighting on the pages of history journals for the coveted acclaim as the founder of Labor Day.  Yes, that holiday that we celebrate this month and gives us the long weekend – perhaps we so desperately need.  Then again, maybe you have to work this Labor Day anyway.  Still, both Peter McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, and Matthew Maguire, secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York in 1882, are given credit for proposing this holiday to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” (Taken from the Department of Labor website: https://www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history)

No matter who really started the holiday it is intended to pay tribute to the “contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” And in that, it is a very American holiday.  We are certainly a nation that prides itself on putting our mind to a task, working incredibly hard, and achieving that goal. That’s a good thing most of the time.

“I can do it all by myself!” If you have children, you have heard these words. It’s even an attitude we want them to obtain and practice.  You want them to become independent. You want them to work. “I can do it all by myself!”  You say it too. You complete the project at work by yourself to receive the raise or promotion.  You work tirelessly on your backyard landscape so you can enjoy the crisp Autumn evenings.

Still, there is one realm in which you cannot say, “I can do it all by myself.”  That is in the realm of your relationship with God. God’s expectations are far greater than your boss’s or even your own.  God’s expectations are perfection and holiness because he is perfect and holy. To stand on our own in his eternal presence would require nothing less. We can be good workers, parents, siblings, and people, but unless we are perfect, we can’t do it “all by myself.”

But we don’t have to do it ourselves! God tells us in his Word that we have been saved by grace – undeserved love! The love of a mother or father for their child, that sees them putting on their shoe all wrong, but still finds pride and joy in them. We all are undeserving. Still, God deeply loved us. He sent Jesus to open the way to heaven.

When it comes to the eternal prosperity of your soul, you have someone’s labor and contributions to celebrate. Not your own, but Jesus’.  Jesus is the one who opens heaven. He lived a perfect, righteous, and completely god-pleasing life. Then he sacrificed his innocent life in our place for all of our failings and imperfections. Now, through Jesus, we are perfectly right before God, all because we didn’t do it ourselves. Jesus did it for us!

Thank Jesus for this wonderful gift! He is your Savior who did it all for you!

Join us at Beautiful Savior to learn more about everything Jesus has done for you.


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October 2014

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Looking For Help

This month Beautiful Savior sponsors a Port-a-Pit fundraiser to support our local volunteer fire department. The event serves as the culmination to Fire Prevention week.  That week, along with the Port-a-Pit, puts these volunteer firefighters, as well as all firefighters and emergency responders, in the forefront of our minds. While we might not always be conscience of their presence, how grateful would we be when we experience a true emergency?  When we desperately look for help in the face of the fire consuming our house or the twisted hunk of metal that seconds ago was our car, how grateful would we be that those emergency personnel show up with their training, their tools, and their expertise?

There are also times in our lives when we face emergencies for which we are not able to pick up the phone and dial 911.  There are times in our lives when we desperately look for help, but know that human beings can only do so much.

I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?

Give thanks that you know the answer to that question!

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

In our deepest needs – from personal demons that attack us to stress when we try to balance too much in our life to agony at the prospect we may lose a child to the dramatic realization that we don’t know what to do – in all of those needs, as we lift our eyes in search of help, our LORD is there.  Our Lord helps us with his tools and his expertise as the Maker of heaven and earth.

Emergency responders always keep track of their response time.  They always want to be quicker to get to the scene. Seconds could be the difference between a life saved and a life lost. Certain things get in the way of those response times. There is equipment to check and put on, there is drive time and road conditions, and when an emergency occurs in the middle of the night, there is the obstacle of sleep. However, your Lord does not sleep:

He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

Emergency responders must travel to the scene.  Your LORD, the maker of heaven and earth is always with you.  He is ready to respond at a moment’s notice, whether day or night:

The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

We give thanks for the work of all of our emergency responders, police officers, and firefighters; both paid and volunteer.  The work they do is truly amazing.  Our Lord’s work of help and protection is also amazing. Give thanks that he watches over you.

The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. – Psalm 121

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.

 

Port-a-Pit for CTVFD

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church will host a port-a-pit event on October 11th, 2014 to support the work of the Center Township Volunteer Fire Department.This event reflects our congregation’s commitment to our community.  As we recognize the vital role our volunteer fire department fills in our community, we hope to support them. The total profit of the funds raised through this Port-a-Pit event will be given to the Center Township Fire Department for their necessary, but non-budgeted items, as they continue to meet the emergency response needs of Center Township.

Members of the Center Township Volunteer Fire Department will be on hand to answer questions about their work, their training, and their equipment. Multiple trucks and rescue vehicles will be on display.  Sparky the Firedog is also scheduled to make an appearance. Bring your family and enjoy your Port-a-Pit lunch on the grounds of Beautiful Savior.


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Jesus

Jesus is…King of Kings and Lord of Lords

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JesusWe live in a world that is often affected by tragedy and disaster. Right now our president and our country are contemplating military strikes against an Islamic group, known to support terrorists. Recently, hurricanes smashed into the lush islands of Hawaii. Even on the local level we hear of arrests made for drunk driving, drug possession and distribution, and even murder. Perhaps our own families have felt the deep pain and sad consequences of those vices.

Evil in the world around us and problems in our own lives bring fear. They bring a feeling of weakness and helplessness. Evil seems to have the upper hand. This world is out of control. We wonder, “Who is in control?”

Jesus is in control. The Bible assures us, “The Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers” (Revelation 17:14). At the root of all this evil is a source. Human beings are to blame. Buried deep within ourselves is an incipient need to by my own Lord and king over my own life, which means I can justify any action I take as long as it is good for me. Inevitably, this self-centered attitude plays out and results in evil. The first time it played out that way, Adam and Eve justified eating forbidden fruit and threw our entire world into turmoil. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords because he is also “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

Jesus’ rule and kingship was demonstrated in a unique way. On the cross, Jesus conquered sin. He conquered death. He conquered the devil. He conquered evil. He wasn’t caught off guard and forced to die. He has always been in control, even on the cross. Unlike us, Jesus was completely selfless, even as the true King of Kings and Lord or Lords. Jesus willingly gave his life for us, only to take it up again. His death on the cross would seem a defeat, but it was the defeat of evil, for Jesus rose again to life to assure us of his kingship.

He remains in control today. The Savior, whose love moved him to die for us, is the same Savior whose love leads him to rule everything for our eternal good. When you abandon your need to be your own lord and king and live trusting in Jesus’ kingship and lordship, your fears are calmed and you are strengthened to face the challenges of your life.

Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords is in control. He speaks to you through his Word, the Bible. There you hear his promises. There you receive his comfort and are assured of his kingship.

– “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”  – John


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April 2014

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How Majestic!

“Ride on, ride on, in Majesty…”  Jesus rode into Jerusalem as our majestic King.  That classic hymn is fitting, isn’t it? Jesus does exude majesty.  Our God exudes majesty.

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

So begins, and ends, Psalm 8.  God is truly majestic.  We see it in his creation. When we remove the distractions and distortions of stubborn hearts, or complaints, or regrets, we are compelled to praise God for his majesty.  Children understand the greatness of God and are quick to praise him for it.  Certainly there were children among those who lined the path with palm branches as Jesus rode into Jerusalem.  What joy must have filled their young voices at the sight of Jesus! When the Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke the crowd and silence those children, Jesus said, “If they were silent, the stones would cry out.”  The Psalmist captures that compelling nature of God’s majesty:

“You have set your glory above the heavens.  From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise…”

Yet, when we consider God’s majesty aren’t we struck by our own unworthiness?

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”

God’s creation opens our eyes to his power, his goodness, and his perfect majesty.  His works, made by his own hands sit in stark contrast to the works we try to accomplish with our feeble hands. When we look at our life and our work, what majesty is there?  None.  Instead we see the blemishes and defects of sin littered across the landscape of our life.  Why would God care for us?

That’s his true majesty. God crowns us with glory and honor, even in our imperfection. God’s true majesty is found in what he did for us through Jesus.  After Palm Sunday it seemed Jesus’ majesty was stripped from him.  He was beaten, ridiculed, and hung upon a tree to die.  The creator of the heavens and the earth suffered as the worst of criminals.  Yet, this was God’s majesty: the king who would die for his subjects; the king who really did care for his people; our God who cares for us.  So Jesus died for us. He died to remove our blemishes and he rose to life to give us his majesty.

On Easter we celebrate his life and the life he gives to us.  Psalm 8 speaks first about Jesus and then what Jesus gives to us:

You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.  You made him ruler over the works of your hands; and put everything under his feet.

This Easter, and always, let us join to say:

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”


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