Thursday, December 20, 2012

DEVOTION:  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4
Joy and pain just don't sound right together, do they?  Have you ever heard the phrase "No pain, no gain"?  That is kind of what James is talking about here in this passage. 
Think of the times when you grew most in your faith.  Weren't they the times that were most trying and difficult for you?  Maybe you grew stronger in your faith, because you figured out that you couldn't do it on your own but that you had to rely on God for help. 
I remember back to when Cara was born.  She was born two months early and her lungs hadn't fully developed yet.  Even before she was born Karin had to be on bed rest from Epiphany Day, Jan 6, to the day Cara was born March 13.  It was a very trying and scary time for us, but it was also a time where we realized that God held our very lives and the lives of our children in His hands. 
Other times we didn't realize that we had grown in our faith until later, after the trying and difficult time had passed.  It helped us to appreciate the Lord's goodness and grace when it came in the good times. 
It is a tough time for a lot of people throughout the world these days.  For the people in Newtown, CT it seems impossible that anything good could come out of such a tragedy.   But just think of the faiths that are getting strengthened during this time.  Think of the people that are coming to Christ.  And think of all the souls that went to be with Jesus forever that day. 
It is a financial struggle for just about everyone these days.  This kind of struggle helps us to realize how much we really don't need, and how much our Lord God truly does supply ALL of our needs.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you go through times of faith testing, because you know that God is still with you and making you stronger!  Consider it pure gain to grow in your faith even through the most difficult of times. 
Prayer:  Lord God, strengthen us through our times of suffering and show us your grace more and more!  Amen.

WEDNESDAY'S QUIZ:  Why did Alexander the metalworker oppose Paul?
I'll keep it up another day.

Question: What do the Scriptures teach about the resurrection of the body?
Answer: They teach that on the last day Christ "will raise me and all the dead." The same bodies that have died shall be made alive.
Thurs- Giving Tree Gift Recipients come to get their gifts in afternoon
Fri- Giving Tree gift recipients come to get their gifts in the morning.
Sat- worship 5pm
Sun- worship 8:30; Sunday school 9:45; AVENUE OF THE SAINTS (Christmas Special)  11am
Come, hear and sing some great Christmas music with Bill Rowe and Corey Tobias!!
Sat, Dec. 22 at 5pm-  Come and hear all about the magnification of the Lord through Mary and through us and sing some wonderful Christmas songs!!
Sun, Dec. 23 at 8:30 or 11am- Come and hear all about the magnification of the Lord through Mary and through us and sing some wonderful Christmas songs!!
Mon, Dec. 24 at 7pm- Celebrate the Nativity with many carols, hear the choir, and find out what it means that God so loved the WORLD that He sent His only Son at Christmas.
Tues, Dec 25, at 9am- Sing MORE Christmas songs and find out what the WORD, that John speaks of is all about. 
There is no excuse for not being in worship at least once (if not three different times) within the next seven days!  Come and worship!  Come and worship!  Worship Christ the newborn King!! 
The LCMS is asking for donations to help with relief efforts.  If you care to give, you may use a designated envelope, or you can go to and donate directly online. 
For the family of BETH RITTER, especially Dave and Carol Kohrs, as they mourn her loss after a long battle with many illnesses. 
For the community of Newtown, Connecticut that the good news of Christ's salvation might have free course during this most difficult time and that all will find comfort in the salvation won for all mankind in Christ Jesus. 
For TINA RUTH'S SISTER, who is dealing with cancer.
For SANDRA PERRICONE'S SISTER, KAREN,  as she continues to deal with her heart issues.
For MARILYN FOSTER'S NIECE, HEATHER. who is regaining her strength very slowly as she is recovering from an undiagnosed illness.
For CHRISTIAN WENZEL, art teacher at Blackhawk Middle School, who continues to recover from a fall from his deer stand that left him paralyzed from the waist down. .