“O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14
A Devotion from the Pastor’s Devotions
One day a week, as part of my devotion reading, I read a portion of something that a professor of Theology wrote. These readings bring me back to the classroom as a student learning at the feet of some wise, respected professors. Learning doctrine and Scripture from these men, both in past in the classroom and now in the present through books, I am humbled, awestruck, and encouraged in my faith. Previously, I was reading from Dr. CFW Walther on “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel.” Though Dr. Walther has been dead for over 130 years, I can learn from his sound, theological writings. Currently, I am reading “The Theology of the Cross: Reflections on HIS Cross and Ours” by Professor Daniel M. Deutschlander.
Reading “The Theology of the Cross” fits in perfectly with the season of Lent, where we focus on Christ carrying his cross and on carrying our own crosses. But many people get confused by what is a cross that they would be bearing. Everyone understands that bearing a cross is not pleasant by itself. So, they equate cross bearing with anything bad in their life through which they must suffer. That definition is close, but not exactly right. By that definition, and what many people then claim, that their cross to bear is not being able to eat gluten, or the pain they have from stubbing their toe, or not being able to purchase their fourth truck to pull their third boat. Yes, those things are not the most pleasant to experience, but they are not crosses for people to bear.
Instead, the definition of bearing a cross is to endure something bad ON ACCOUNT of being a Christian. For example, to ask your boss time off on Sunday morning only then to receive an evil glare is NOT a cross you bore, but if you asked your boss time off on Sunday morning SO THAT you can come to church and worship God, and then receive an evil glare would be a cross you are bearing.
Bearing a cross runs even deeper and is a part of who we are as Christians. The Devil and his agents target those who are on the side of Christ. They bring evil and temptation into your life. As a Christian, you patiently endure these evils in your life. The Sinful World flaunts what they claim to be good and makes fun of you for your faith. As a Christian, you can never set your cross down for your own Sinful Nature wants you to sin and please itself instead of being a good child of Christ. Everyday as a Christian our enemies oppress us with crosses upon crosses hoping we would throw off our crosses and go to Hell.
Our crosses are not the only crosses on which we focus. As the writer to the Hebrews wrote,
Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author of our faith and the one who brings it to its goal. In view of the joy set before him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of God’s throne. Carefully consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinful people, so that you do not grow weary and lose heart.
We most certainly focus on Jesus’ cross. And we are relieved to see that Jesus bore every cross in his life perfectly including the one on which he died on. Because of Jesus’ life and death, you have salvation. In knowing that Jesus has already saved you, you are motivated to willingly bear any cross in your life.
But not only are you motivated by God, but you are strengthened by God to bear your crosses. He strengthens your faith to bear such crosses through his Word, through Baptism and Holy Communion. And no matter what the cross is…
God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tested beyond your ability, but when he tests you, he will also bring about the outcome that you are able to bear it. (1 Cor 10:13)
Rejoice also that our cross bearing years are limited. Once we are in heaven there will be no more crosses. Do not throw your cross off too early, wait until the end—wait until you arrive in Heaven.
No wonder the Seasons of Lent and Easter are so dearly loved by Christians as they are so applicable to our daily lives as Christians. Christ, our Master, bore his crosses. Should we not as Christ’s servants also expect to bear crosses as we live in saving faith in him. Ultimately, it is only by the cross of Christ that we have the strength to bear any cross until we reach our home in Heaven. Thank you, God, and give me strength!
Lenten Bible Class: Our Sunday Morning Bible class will be focusing around the new featurette TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH until Palm Sunday.
Your Question Bible Class: Pastor Schwartz would like to answer your questions during Bible Class. Pick up a question sheet at church. Take it home. Talk about it with your family. Write down a few questions that you come up with and submit it in the box. Pastor will go through them and the next Bible Class series after Easter will be to answer your questions.
Lenten Schedule: “A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth” is not just the title of the hymn that we are singing every week, it is also our focus during our mid-week services. A lamb may not understand that it is being led to slaughter, but Jesus understood that he was being led to the cross. Yet, he went uncomplaining forth. What strength! What love! What innocence our Lord showed being led like a lamb. Jesus, being A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth…
Easter Candy: We are accepting donations for candy to stuff in Easter eggs for our annual Children Easter Egg Hunt. PLEASE MAKE SURE THE CANDY DONATED WILL FIT IN THE PLASTIC EGGS. Thank you.
||Deserving our Thanks
||More Precious than Silver or Gold!
|Apr 18th Maundy Thursday
||Who Gives Himself as our Greatest Treasure
|Apr 19th Good Friday
||To Defeat Death and its Sting
Easter Lilies: Easter is coming quickly! We are currently taking donations for the purchasing of Easter Lilies.
Men Serving Breakfast: It is tradition that the men of the congregation organize and serve Easter Breakfast. Please take a look at the “How You Can Help” bulletin board and sign up to bring food and/or serve on the morning of Easter.
LWMS Spring Rally: The next Lutheran Woman’s Missionary Society Rally will be at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Roscoe, SD on Saturday, May 4th. All the women from Redeemer are welcome to attend.
Confirmation Sunday: Confirmation Sunday will be on May 5th. A public (open to the congregation and family/friends of the confirmands) examination will take the place of the Bible Class time. We will then welcome Rachel Salvetti and Layton Hoffman as communicant members. Please give them encouragement leading up to and after confirmation Sunday.
Congregational Mission Statement: The mission of Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church is to reach out with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to call those who are lost, comfort those who mourn, rejoice with those who come to know and believe that Christ’s victory is their victory and to grow together in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ until the final victory is ours.