Monday, March 5, 2012

DEVOTION: And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11

In the fall of 2011, Mr. Bruce Wurdeman, LHM's executive director, and I visited Israel and Palestine. Upon our return he asked me to write a series of Lenten devotions which center on the Savior and some of the places we saw. This week's devotions fulfill his request. It is my prayer that the Lord will use them to bless you as well as those who will be traveling with us to the Holy Land in the fall of 2012. In Him, Pastor Ken Klaus

Years ago I met a woman whose husband had just died at home after a prolonged illness. She shared with me how, while the rest of the world prepared for Christmas, she had administered pain medication and spent sleepless nights by his side.

I said, "That had to be doubly difficult for you, especially during the holidays."

Then she told me how her neighbors, all Christians, had kept their Christmas lights burning 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They told her it was their way of letting her know that "We're thinking of you. We're praying for you. We're by your side, even if we're not at your house. We want you to see our lights, so you can be reminded that Jesus, the light of the world, is with you, too."

With tears the lady said, "God's light can punch holes in the darkest nights of the soul."

More than 2,000 years ago, some Bethlehem shepherds were given a similar message.

In many ways, they -- like the man in the story above -- were cut off. True, they may have derived some consolation in knowing King David had served as a shepherd in their fields, but the truth is this: their job, the sheep smell, and prejudice made them unwelcome in polite society.

Today you can still go to those rock-encrusted pastures. They have not changed much over the centuries. That is why it doesn't take much imagination to see those shepherds sitting by a fire, enduring a lonely, dark night. That's the way it would have been if God hadn't intervened.

But the Lord did intervene and He punched holes in the shepherds' darkness. At first there was one angel, and then there were a multitude.

What did they say? "Good news ... great joy ... for you ... a Savior."

With the birth of the Christ Child, the Lord was fulfilling an ancient promise made to a world that had been plunged into darkness by sin's disobedience. A Child placed in a Bethlehem manger was God's way of punching holes in the darkness of the shepherds, a man dying at home, in our own special darkness.

When the shepherds went to Bethlehem and saw this thing, this Baby, their Savior, they knew they had been privileged to observe something special.

Even so, gazing down at that Child, they could be forgiven for not knowing all He would endure to win their salvation. Looking at His little hands, they would not have known those hands would be pierced by nails. Watching His chest rise and fall in peaceful sleep, they would not have anticipated Him being stabbed by a Roman spear.

These pains and many others Jesus endured, so we might be forgiven of our sins and saved from hell. These hurts He suffered, so we might have good news ... great joy ... a Savior ... so we might have holes punched in our darkness.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord for sending Your Son to be my Savior I give thanks. May I be assured that His life, suffering, death and resurrection have punched holes in my darkness. For this good news and great joy I praise you. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
YESTERDAY'S QUIZ:  What must happen to a bull that gores a man or a woman to death, and what about the owner of the bull?  The bull must be stoned to death but the owner will not be held accountable.  On the other hand, if the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but does not keep the bull penned up, then both the bull and its owner shall be stoned to death, however if payment is demanded, he may redeem hi sown life by paying whatever is demanded.  Exodus 21:28-32  (Not sure who the winner was, I deleted the email.)
TODAY'S QUIZ:  When the army was to go to battle what was the priest's job? 
Question: Where alone does God offer the forgiveness of sins?
Answer: God offers the forgiveness of sins only in the Gospel, the good news that we are freed from the guilt, the punishment, and the power of sin, and are saved eternally because of Christ's keeping the Law and His suffering and death for us.
Mon- confirmation 5-6:15; hs youth leave for paintball at 6:30
Tues- quilters 9-2; Pastor doing chapel at LHS at 9:40; Bible study 11:30-12:15
Wed- Supper 5:30; bells 6; worship 7; choir 7:30
Fri- Bible study at hendershot's 7pm
Sat- worship 5pm
Sun- Bible Study 8; worship 9;Sunday School and Bible class 10:15; WORSHIP 11am; elders noon
Dress warm and wear a lot of clothes with padding in them!!!
Supper- 5:30---Baked potato bar w/ all the toppings, salad, rolls, dessert
Worship- 7pm-  Peter comes to talk to us about his false allegiance
What is it?  Bible 101 is a new online product from Concordia Publishing House that increases Biblical literacy in adults. 
It is for all levels of learning and knowledge.  Even pastors learn things from this course. 
Participants simply log into Bible 101 and enter an online learning environment.  Members start out by learning essential Bible basics from "square one" and then build upon that as they progress through the course.
Here are som of the features of Bible 101
online- uses proven online educational strategies and models that facilitate retention among multiple learning styles.
videos- throughout the week, participants can access videos that relate to the lesson
discussion forum- participants are not left on their own as they are connected to a community where they can correspond, question, and encourage each other.
podcasts- daily devotional for each weekday
quizzes- test your knowledge and easily benchmakr where you are in your learning cycle.
printing- easily print the materials for even more easy access. 
Please call or reply to this email to let me know that you want to sign up for this wonderful opportunity.  I will sign you up!  The congregation has already paid the annual fee so IT IS FREE for you!!! 
PRAYERS: (If I have missed anyone please let me know.)
For THOSE WHO LOST LOVED ONES in the tornadoes this past week. 
For THOSE IN LAKE ST LOUIS who lost their homes in an apartment fire last week.
For MISSIONARIES AND PASTORS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD who are dealing with severe opposition, imprisonment and even the threat of death because of the faith.
For JEANETTE KOEHLER who is recovering after surgery to repair her broken hip.
For DOLORES DEBLAZE as she will soon begin treatments for cancer.  She is undergoing more tests this week.
For HANK SCHMIDT who is going through radiation treatments for stage 2 lung cancer.
For JONAS BORCHERT, grandson of Don Nolte, who continues to be up and down because of chemotherapy treatments.