2021 Good Morning Church

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February 8, 2021

Matthew 2:1-12

Come winter, especially in Minnesota, daylight is of short duration and the desire for "more light" is often expressed.

Our world is in a spiritual darkness, winter and summer. The gloom that is sin deepens into the total darkness of godlessness, greed, hatred. People speak of the "seven deadly sins." Truth is, sins are more numerous than seven, more than seventy times seven. And each one is as deadly as the next because every sin merits God's condemnation. This is darkness - fatal darkness - and what is all the more frightening is that people, in Christ's day and now, "loved darkness instead of light" (John 3:19). If given the choice, they choose the darkness of sin over the light of salvation.

The Epiphany festival celebrates God's outreach to the heathen world. The coming of the Magi to worship the Christ Child anticipated the worldwide mission command given by the same Christ thirty years later. At the end of His ministry on earth, Jesus told His followers to evangelize the world - "all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Salvation from sin is God's gift to all who believe in Christ as Savior and are baptized.

Jesus is the "Light of the world" (John 8:12), the "Sun of righteousness" (Malachi 4:2), the "Radiance of God's glory" (Hebrews 1:3), the total expression of "the grace of God that brings salvation...to all men" (Titus 2:11). He enlightens the road leading to heaven; He is our guiding light for a purposeful life here and now.


Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

February4, 2021

Psalm 2:7 "You are My Son; today I have become Your Father."

At the baptism of Jesus, the heavenly Father said, "You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased" (Mark 1:11). At Jesus' transfiguration the same heavenly voice said, "This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him" (Luke 9:35). Isaiah spoke of the Messiah as the Servant. He wrote, "You are my witnesses, declares the Lord, and My Servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He" (Isaiah 43:10. Peter testified that Jesus was God's Son, the Chosen One, quoting Isaiah: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious Cornerstone" (1 Peter 2:6).

If Jesus of Nazareth is the Father's Chosen One, and that He is, we need not look for another. he is God's Son who died and rose again for our salvation. Of this we are sure.

Also important is God's choice of us as His sons and daughters. This eternal election is inseparable from the Father's choice of Christ: "In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory" (Ephesians 1:11-12).

In brief, the Father chose Christ, and in Him, without an merit or worthiness on our part, God chose us to be His children. In the Bible, God assures us of our salvation. Adhering to Jesus Christ by faith, and faithfully using the means of grace, we will certainly prevail, for God has chosen us in Christ


Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

February 3, 2021

Psalm 2:1-6

While we don’t know the precise historical backdrop for this Psalm it’s clear that it was written at a time of national crisis. Those who felt that they were “chained” by Israel were conspiring to rebel. Regardless, the primary point of these verses is the complete sovereignty of God. No earthly power will be able to thwart God’s plans. Even the greatest powers on earth aren’t enough to get God to rise up off the throne of heaven. God simply sits and laughs!

The biblical narrative, from beginning to end, reveals the absolute sovereignty of God, at least at the highest level (as opposed to an unbiblical determinism which sees God controlling every detail of life and history). This is certainly true in the political processes recorded in the Bible. Consider Pharaoh, Xerxes, Nebuchadnezzar, Darius and Pilate. Each was a tool in God’s hand to accomplish God’s purposes without the significant interference or influence of God’s people. This is the central message of today’s reading from Psalm 2: God is large and in charge!


Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

February 2, 2021

Psalm 8:3-5

The last generation has seen many notable events in space. Sputnik, the fulfillment of President Kennedy's challenge to put a man on the moon, the exploration of Mars, the Challenger disaster, the return of Halley's comet, and the Hubble telescope are but a few of those worthy of mention. All have barely scratched the surface of the vastness of God's heavens. Mind-boggling is a word that must be used when trying to comprehend the vastness of outer space. In all this vastness, how can God be mindful of me!

The hymn writer begins to grasp the idea of God's perfect knowledge and care for us with the words "But God had see my wretched state before the world's foundation, And mindful of His mercies great, He planned for my salvation" (Dear Christians, One and All by Martin Luther)

Our God is a God who reveals Himself to us chiefly in showing mercy by sending His one and only Son, Jesus, to bring us back to Himself. This God who formed Adam by hand is the same God who watches over you and me, who has counted the very hairs on our head, and who has planned all our days before our life began. We are the crown of His creation, destined to live with Him forever in heaven. Such knowledge brings serenity and joy.


Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

February 1, 2021

Psalm 8:4 What is man that You are mindful of him?

In the poem "Stars of the Summer Night," Henry W. Longfellow gazes into "yon azure deeps" and contemplates how the stars and moon hide their "golden light" so his beloved can sleep.

The Psalmist also looked into the sky. He set his thoughts on the Creator who reveals His glory in the heavens and beyond. The universe, he said, is "the work of your fingers" (8:3). Larger than we can comprehend, it is nevertheless delicately made. Moreover, sun and moon stay in perfect rhythm to keep time and seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth" (Genesis 1:14-15).

In this magnificent universe, one little creature is the object of God's special love. God bestowed a great distinction on the human being in making him the caretaker of "all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea" (Psalm 8:7-8)

But God did more. He thought so highly of mankind that He caused His own Son to become one of us. In order to lift up the sinful human race, the Son of God lowered Himself to servanthood and took our place. Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, entered the state of humiliation, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. What a miracle of divine love, exceeding even the miracles of creation!

Beyond the stars and moon of a winter night, we see a reflection of the glory of God, who sent His Son to bring us back into His family.


Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

January 26, 2021

Jeremiah 31:31-34

Situated in the midst of Jeremiah’s words of judgment and retribution, this passage breathes a needed word of hope. God promises a new covenant with the Israelites. The old covenant was written on tablets of stone. While God had been faithful to this covenant, the Israelites had not. God had been a faithful husband, but Israel had been an unfaithful wife.

The new covenant that God promises will be written on the hearts of the people. We know both from Scripture and from experience that some external law will never be enough to change us. The law can give us guidance and show us the boundaries, but it ultimately shows our inability to be obedient. Put another way, the more we’re told “no,” the more we’re driven to “yes”!

And so, God promises to do what we cannot do for ourselves: renew our hearts. Why will God do this? The Hebrew syntax is clear: because God chooses to forgive their sins. God’s decision to forgive restores the Israelites’ relationship with God.


Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

January21, 2021

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

Certain phrases in Scripture stand out like a beacon, trying an event or an individual into the entire history of God's dealing with creation and His people. One of these is John the Baptist's acclamation about Jesus: "Look, the Lamb of God!"

An unblemished lamb was sacrificed every year at Passover in remembrance of God's delivering His people from Egypt centuries before. As John unfolds the events of Holy Week we see the significance of this "Lamb of God" title as Christ is led to His slaughter on Golgatha at the precise hour when the lambs for the Passover celebration are being sacrificed in the temple. Jesus was indeed the final Lamb to be sacrificed, this time on the altar of the cross. We are eternally grateful to God for that sacrifice. In fact, we commemorate that sacrifice every time we come to the Lord's table to receive the body and blood of Christ.

But two questions remain to be asked. Can we picture John the Baptist pointing to Christ and saying, "Look"? More important, do we point others to Him? The church of God is not a comfortable capsule in which we are transported to the throne of the Lamb in heaven. It is the freedom train through whose windows we wave and beckon to people to "Get on board, little children, for there's room for many a more!" To whom will you beckon today?


Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,