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Overcoming Temptation

Overcoming Temptation
Luke 4:1-13
Lent 1

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Whenever I see one of those chocolate Boston Cream donuts, I am always reminded that temptation comes in different forms. I will admit the Swedish Flop is really number one, but excellent bakeries are hard to find, but Boston Creams are almost just around every corner. Sure you may say Pastor you just need more will power, but the truth of the matter is I have plenty of will power, because I don’t use any. While we may joke about temptations the truth is they are real and can be deadly.

In the Gospel reading for today, Jesus is tempted. Right after His Baptism where the voice of God the Father publically confirms, This is by beloved Son, then the Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness for fasting.

There is an irony going on here. You may remember from Genesis that Adam because of falling into temptation was tossed out of the Garden of Eden into the wilderness, whereas the second Adam, Jesus the Christ goes into the wilderness on our behalf to overcome temptation in order to restore Paradise lost.

Luke 4:3(ESV) 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”

Was the first temptation as the first Adam fell by eating the forbidden fruit all about food, i.e. Chocolate Boston Cream donut? Some would say yes of course, Jesus hadn’t eaten in forty days. But please notice what was being questioned, “If you are the Son of God” if I may paraphrase prove it. Prove it my satisfying that fleshy stomach. But Jesus purpose in taking on flesh and blood was to fulfill the Father’s will, that flesh and blood would be redeemed.

John 6:51(ESV) 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

It isn’t about the Chocolate Boston Cream, it is about doing the Father’s will.

In the second temptation,

Luke 4:5(ESV) 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time,

Was this some special movie playing the history of the world super fast. No. The devil only needed to show Jesus that humans were enslaved to him because of sin. The devil has taken this world by fraud, but now that the Christ has come, Jesus will restore this world back to its proper authority through his obedient suffering and death on Calvary’s cross. Please remember that right before physical suffering Jesus prays, Luke 22:42(ESV) 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

We realize that Jesus responds with these temptations by quoting Holy Scripture and remaining faithful to Father’s will. With the third temptation the scenery changes, they are at the top of the temple. The people would see the spectacular leap with the rescue from the angels and understand that Jesus is the Messiah. But knowledge Jesus is the Messiah doesn’t bring about the restoration of Humanity. Notice what the demons would say latter Luke 4:34(ESV) 34 “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” The demons knew who Jesus is, but they were not being saved. It is only following the Father’s will, that lead Jesus to suffer and die on the cross that sin, death, and the devil would be defeated, and our sin atoned. So Jesus reminds the devil again with words of Holy Scripture, Luke 4:12(ESV) 12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

Now what about us. Do we just need more will power? We need Jesus. Jesus even knew that we needed God’s help so that in the Lord’s Prayer we have: The Sixth Petition

And lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean?

God tempts no one. We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory.

God is the one who guards and keeps us. Trust in Christ and His Word. It was just quoting Bible verses and delivered, but trusting on God, believing that God does deliver.

Sure I joke about the Boston Cream donut, but there are real temptations out there. 1 Peter 5:8(ESV) 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

So we focus on the Bread of Life. His Flesh His Blood, the Lord’s Supper, for forgiveness of sins and strengthen of Faith. For God’s Word is powerful especially when attached to bread and wine. But if we leave God’s word and trust in our own will power, what we think we can do and accomplish, we may wind up like many who followed Jesus, but when Jesus said He was the bread of Life, John 6:60(ESV) 60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”

And they fell away.

St. Paul reminds us 1 Corinthians 10:13(ESV) 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Jesus the Christ gives you His very own body and blood, the same body and blood that withstood against the devil’s temptations. There is nothing more that you need. In His Holy Name Amen.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

March 9, 2019 at 4:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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Enabled to Love

Enabled to Love
Genesis 45:3–15
Epiphany 7
February 24, 2019

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Old Testament reading is about Joseph. A little history: Joseph was a major victim of sibling rivalry. His brothers conspired first to kill him, but then relented to selling Joseph into slavery, telling their father that he died by a wild animal. Now the tables are turned so to speak. Joseph went from slavery and later to imprisonment, to complete charge of the country of Egypt. God has also revealed to through Joseph that there would be a famine, so Joseph was put in charge of the food logistics and distribution. Now his brothers show up to buy food and Joseph is in charge.

So how do you finish this sentence? Vengeance is Mine: your choices are an exclamation point! Or adding the words, “said the Lord”

Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely, Lord Acton said.

So one would expect Joseph to put an exclamation point, with an added fist pump, because Joseph had absolute power.

Not that I want to disagree with Lord Acton, there is an extra factor Lord Acton didn’t realize. Faith and trust in God.

Genesis 45:7–8(ESV) 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

First point we realize is that God turns evil to good.

St. Paul says it this way: Romans 8:28(ESV) 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

We may see this as is Joseph case, but we may not. Just because we don’t see God changing all evil works before our eyes, doesn’t mean we don’t trust that God does. Consider this statement, if God is powerless over evil, there He isn’t God. But we know that Jesus defeated Sin, death and the devil on Calvary’s cross, so even though God doesn’t execute His immediate vengeance upon evil today, we know that day will come.

Second point Joseph’s brothers deserved death, but what they received was life. Call it what you want, sibling rivalry, but Joseph’s position demanded that those who opposed him but put to death. That is what they did back then. Vengeance is Mine exclamation point.

We also deserve death, but through Christ Jesus we have life, eternally. This is better than any fairy book ending. Joseph saw how God turned the evil plan of his brothers into a loving saving way, for God’s people.

Genesis 50:20(ESV) 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Joseph knew that God had placed him there.

At this point we may be jealous of Joseph, which got Joseph’s brothers in trouble. We would love to know God’s plan for us.

Many people ask What is God’s plan for my life? It should be obvious, but we are not usually satisfied with generalities we want specifics.

Mark 12:29–31(ESV) 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Where are the details, as cry out. Joseph knew why can’t I know. Remember what I said that jealousy got Joseph’s brothers into trouble, well it works for us also. We are not given the details. We are given the 10 commandment and the rest well that is in the realm of Christian freedom. Before we roll our eyes at the 10 Commandments, let us ask why.

Why didn’t Joseph fall into the Lord Acton’s idea of absolute power corrupts absolutely,? Because of God’s grace. As 1 John 4:19 tells us (ESV) 19 We love because he first loved us.

Which allows Joseph to be concerned for his brothers and his father. Joseph was faithful to his calling of his family and the family of God. Joseph didn’t act out of vengeance, but out of the 4th commandment, Honor your Father and Mother.

In the midst of God calling us into our families, we are reminded to continue to love and forgive one another.

St. Peter reminds us 1 Peter 3:9(ESV) 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

We are called, we are enabled to love, which doesn’t come from ourselves, it is a gift from God. You also are enabled to love, that is your calling, to love God with all your heart, soul, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself, all because God first loved you, you are now enabled to love others. In His holy name. Amen.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Written by dballa

February 23, 2019 at 4:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Blessings from God

Blessings from God
Jeremiah 17:5-8
Epiphany 6
February 17, 2019

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Man vs. God, it is a no brainer, God is going to win. God is perfect, man is imperfect. God is all powerful, man is weak in comparison. So in the competition of Man vs. God. God was is the clear winner. Why would we even think otherwise. That is the problem, we usually do. Our imperfect sinful nature like the underdog so to speak. We relate better with sinful man because we are sinful man, even though we know that God’s way is best, we usually follow our own way.

Consider this idea, when we see the turmoil in the world around us from the shooting in Aurora to the conflicts among the countries of the world, is our first response to go to God in prayer or is our first response to complain, fret and worry.

In our Old Testament reading Jeremiah is warning the people, because they are not trusting in God.

Jeremiah 17:5(ESV) 5 Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.

So what does it mean to trust in man? It is answered by the rest of the verse, whose heart turns away from the Lord.

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

The Psalmist reminds us Psalm 50:15(ESV) 15 call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

But in the time of trouble, do we think that we can solve our own problem? God invites us to call upon Him are we?

It doesn’t matter how big the problem or concern or how small. Does God want you to call upon Him in pray if you lose your car keys? Yes.

What happens when we don’t call upon God? Jeremiah 17:6(ESV) 6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

Are there shrubs in the desert, yes, but are they fruitful? No. What happens to the shrubs in the desert, when the water dries up? Think tumbleweed.

Jeremiah then looks at the other side so to speak Jeremiah 17:7–8(ESV) 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

So when the water dries up, i.e. bad things happening in the land and world around, the result isn’t a tumbleweed, but still a productive tree. Why, because the Lord provides strength not in the things of this world, but through the things of God.

Consider Jesus, after talking with the woman at the well, His disciples return to Jesus in let’s pick it up in

John 4:31–34(ESV) 31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

The disciples also failed to understand what Jeremiah was teaching. To summerize Jeremiah, remain connect to God through His Word, and you will be carried through anything the world puts in front of you.

For Jeremiah, he was preparing the people of God for exile, because they were not trusting in God. It was going to be bad, very bad when Jerusalem would fall. But even during this devastation, if they remained connected to God, they would still be fruitful.

St. Paul outlines the fruit of the Spirit for us in Galatians 5:22–23(ESV) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

It is possible to be producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self-control during difficult times, yes, as long as we remain connected to God.

We are reminded in Proverbs 16:20(ESV) 20 Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

But what are we feeding upon. Consider this comparison, do we spend more time consuming news local, world, politics, or do we spend more time reading and hearing God’s Word.

Last week we heard from:

Amos 8:11(ESV) 11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.

You could call this Spiritual Anorexia. While anorexia, is an eating disorder characterized by low weight, fear of gaining weight, and a strong desire to be thin. Spiritual Anorexia I would call is the desire to be a Christian, but starving oneself from God’s Word, in order to be more worldly. By doing so we are creating our own famine, by starving ourselves. It seems that we would rather consume the “news” rather than the Good News.

Proverbs 3:5(ESV) 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Let me end with the closing verse

Jeremiah 17:8(ESV) 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

The contrast is clear: trust in man and you are cursed, but trust in the LORD you have roots which go down into the living waters. We do not fear the drought or any other evil for those who trust in the Lord are nurtured and sustained by the Holy Word of the LORD.

Is His Holy Name. Amen.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

February 16, 2019 at 4:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Joy of the LORD is your Strength

The Joy of the LORD is your Strength
Nehemiah 8:8-10
Epiphany 3
January 27, 2019

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a coffee mug that sits on my desk that says “The Joy of the Lord is your Strength” which was part of today’s reading from Nehemiah. This is the only time in the 3 year lectionary that our church follows that there is a reading from Nehemiah. That means that, “The Joy of the Lord is your strength” is an important theme. It is paired well with the Gospel reading where Jesus return to His hometown reads and explains God’s Word. However there is a difference between the two readings. In Nehemiah the people go home celebrating and in the Gospel reading after speaking well of Jesus, the people try to kill their savior. Wow, what a contrast. So it is obvious that we will focus on Nehemiah, lest anyone is offended and tries to stone the preacher as they did in the Gospel reading.

Both reading had God’s Word being read and explained to the people.

Nehemiah 8:8(ESV) 8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.

What was the people response to the understanding of God’s Word?

Nehemiah 8:9(ESV) 9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law.

God’s Word accuses us. Shows us our sins. The response of the people was weeping and mourning because they realized their sin.

Welcome to the concept of Confession and Absolution. The two words go together, because immediately after confession must come absolution. We never separate the two. We don’t sing a hymn after confession before absolution. We don’t have the offering after confession before absolution. Absolution immediately follows.

It is like a child when confronted with their mistake is sobbing to Mom saying I am sorry. Does Mom say, let me think about this for a while as the child continues to sob. Does the Mom say if you clean up your room, wash the dishes, take out the garbage, and dust the furniture, I may forgive you? God like a loving parent immediately forgives. There may be consequences for certain actions, but the child isn’t shunned by the family until payment is made.

Nehemiah 8:10(ESV) 10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Celebrate is the response, and if other don’t have the means to celebrate with share with them. While we are eating and drinking and rejoicing in the Lord, we might have missed the reason why we are celebrating.

Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord.

A Holy Day, yes. Sounds like:

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

When God’s Word convicts us of sin, we are reminded we need a savior. The Absolution comes with Jesus’ love and forgiveness. For this is how we are made Holy. For only God is Holy, but when God touches us with His forgiveness, as we hear His word, we forgiven, we are made holy.

But is we despise God’s Word, we despise God Himself.

Luke 4:22(ESV) 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”

They heard the gracious words, but despised when the Law was preached. In the Gospel reading there was no weeping, but wrath against the Son of God.

Why? Welcome to our sinful nature, and notice it is our sinful nature.

Matthew Harrison in his book Why am I joy:fully Lutheran writes “how profoundly difficult it is even to get two Christians who have heard the Word of God for a lifetime and who have sinned against each other to ask for forgiveness and forgive!

Our sinful nature hates to confess. We would rather self-justify than admit we were wrong. The problem is that self-justification leaves no room for the merciful actions of Jesus the Christ.

How does God respond with we realize our sin? I will let Jesus tell you in

Luke 15:7(ESV) 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Luke 5:32(ESV) 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

So how do we get to this Joy, there are two things: Hearing God’s Word, for faith comes from hearing, and not denying our sin, Jesus came for sinners. For this is how we realize “The Joy of the Lord is your strength”

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

January 26, 2019 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Infinite Gifts in Finite Wrappings

Infinite Gifts in Finite Wrappings

Hebrews 1:1–6
Christmas Day
December 25, 2018

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome to the miracle of the birth of Jesus.

While most people think that babies don’t do much except eat sleep cry and poop the Baby Jesus does all of that and even more. For Jesus is the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

When you open a typical Christmas Gift, getting past the wrapping and the stuffing, you then receive the gift, and the wrappings and packaging can be recycled. We like the wrappings because of the surprise inside. But the size of the container may give us a clue what is inside. But once the gift is receive it is done and people move onto the next gift. However many would like to sell you the gift that keeps on giving, never ending gift unwrapping, think of the joy, i know think of the cleanup. But if there was no cleanup to receive one gift after another would be paradise. But we know that many claim to sell you the gift that keeps on giving it is just a marketing ploy. Unless of course you are talking about Jesus, but then again Jesus if given for free.

Jesus however isn’t a marketing ploy. Infinite Gifts in a Finite wrapping may sound like a conundrum or a marketing play. How can something finite that is something that has limits and boundaries contain something that is infinite without limits or boundaries. Jesus is more than just a small baby, for Jesus is also the Son of God.

God who is infinite who speaks Himself into His creation and becomes finite for the purpose of giving infinite gifts to a people who doesn’t derse any gift.

God who spoke by prophets now speaks directly to us through His Son.

But His Son is so small, but don’t look at the size of the gift to determine its value.

But yet how often to we equate gifts their size and cost it is not a fair comparison with something that is truly priceless. For God can take something so small. That He wraps His love for us in our own flesh and blood and shows that God and humanity are reconciled. The finite body of a little baby, and the radiance of the glory of God.

It is beyond our understanding, for we are finite people. We have a beginning and we have seen the end of many people. We realize that

WE only have so much money

We only have so much patience

We are only human right? We are limited.

While this is true is had led many down the wrong path, thinking that Jesus cannot be the infinite God. For how can the finine contain the infinite? But notice what Hebrews says

Hebrews 1:3–4(ESV) 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

Jesus is the glory of God.

Remember last night:

Luke 2:9(ESV) 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.

Yes, the glory of the Lord is bigger than a person, but Hebrews reminds us that Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature.

He is God, we are not. So while we have limitations of love, forgiveness, patience with others.

Yes, but Christ is true man yes human and true God.

He is unlimited in His gifts

He is unlimited in His Love

He forgives, restores and reconciles while we cannot

Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature

He uphold the universe by the word of His power

We receive this precious gift and just as John the Baptist leaped for joy at the Sounds of Mary’s greeting so also there is a change in us.

We leap for joy, We share God’s love and forgiveness

But we see our limitations and say I don’t have enough strength to be loving and forgiving all the time. Your are right you don’t, but that baby Jesus of finite form who is infinite in His gifts that He brings does. So we go back to the source of our strength. Not me myself and I, but back to the baby Jesus, the source of our love

The source of our forgiveness,

This is why we gather here at Peace Lutheran Church, to continue to receive God’s Word and Sacrament for God does not run out of Grace and mercy.

By the way, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Again many say how can bread and wine be the body and blood of Jesus. The bread and wine cannot be our body and blood, for we are finite.

But as the Baby Jesus as the author of the Hebrews notes

Hebrews 1:3(ESV) 3bhe upholds the universe by the word of his power.

So we gather each Lord’s day and receive unending gifts of Jesus. His love and mercy always ready for you. So we gather at the Lord’s Table to receive, for Jesus is of infinite gifts.

In the name of Jesus Amen.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

December 25, 2018 at 7:45 am

Fear Not

Fear Not
Christmas Eve
December 24, 2018
Luke 2:10-12

Christians around the world gather to celebrate the birth of the world savior and redeemer Jesus the Christ. While we have the picture in our minds with the baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph we realize that this simple birth is anything but simple. In this iconic manger scene we see the greatest gift given in the world. God kept His promise and is reconciling a lost world back to Himself. So we realize that Jesus is the great gift and a gift we don’t deserve to receive, but God gives us Jesus anyway.

With the greatest gift given we don’t always receive it well, because something stops us. What stops us from receive this greatest gift, well we need to go back to the angels message for a clue.

Luke 2:10–12(ESV) 10 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. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Fear Not, the opening words of the angel, meaning they were afraid. In one essence they should be afraid. It isn’t every day that you see an angel. This is the third time in the Gospel of Luke that the angel meets someone and their response is fear so it is expected. As people we do have real fears. We fear the future, government, economy, world politics, you see it as people react to one another. There is a lot of anger in today’s world and behind that anger is fear. The fear shows our insecurity. The fear shows our sinful nature and our growing desire for isolation.

So the angels message is a bit out of the norm. Fear Not. Why, because our Savior is born God is reconciling the world to Himself.

There is nothing to fear from this baby, the fear comes ourselves. So the angel has to tell us not to fear. Because this message of God transcends our fear as Jesus is that special message of peace. Jesus is the only massage that can break through our fear.

This baby breaks through the fear that God is an angry judge and is going to zap me.

This baby breaks through the fear of the economy of this world, so that I don’t have to be stingy, but so that I can share with my neighbor in need.

This baby even breaks through our worry and anxiety especially as we pray in His pray the He Himself tells us to pray, give us this day our daily bread.

Why do Christians give gifts, and if I may add without an expectant return of a gift? Why do we teach it is better to give than to receive? Our selfish fear tries to tells us to give nothing away. But if we know what the Christ child Jesus is all about, we will agree with the angel’s message fear not.

Fear keeps us from giving freely because we are afraid of loss. As Christians we see the perfect gift of Jesus given to all people, we see the forgiveness of sins the reconciliation of all people through this Christ child. The reconciliation of all people in the world would even make most people fear, but not the baby Jesus, for is why God takes on our flesh and blood. For God sent His only Son Jesus born of Mary, into this world to redeem this world. So as God gives this greatest gift. And this gift is given without strings attached. Without an expectation of payment. We receive this gift of love and forgiveness. And like the Shepherds we are free to tell others about it.

While our stingy sinful nature likes to ask the question why do I have to give. We answer because it shows that we have been released from the attachment of the things in this world. Giving show how the love of Christ Jesus is flowing through us to other people. It shows that we have listen to the angel’s message and we have no need for fear. Notice the shepherds response

Luke 2:17–18(ESV) 17 And when they saw it,

Said that if we keep our mouths shut we get heaven to ourselves. No, that is not what the Bible says

they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

They freely gave away the good news of God’s salvation for all the people.

So here we have the Baby Jesus, who come into this world to redeem and reconcile a people filled with fear. In His Holy Name Amen.

Written by dballa

December 24, 2018 at 11:27 am

Posted in Sermons, Uncategorized

Christ(mas) is for You

Christ(mas) is for You

Most Americans know have heard about Christmas. The advertisements, the decorations, the parties give us some idea that something is different. Yes, Christmas is different than any other day. But do most know the reason why Christmas is special.

Christians celebrate Christmas as the Nativity of our Lord. The problem is that many have no idea that Jesus, who is the Christ, was born for them. Knowing about Christmas and knowing that Christ was born for you are radically different things.

Consider the angel’s announcement to the shepherds and to us

Luke 2:11 (ESV) 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Sure people can see the manger and realize that there is a baby involved, but babies are born every day. What make this day different is this baby was born for you. That’s right, because we need this baby, to be both God and man. It is difficult for one to admit that they need a savior who delivers us. It is difficult to consider this baby as true God. Even though it is difficult, our eternal life depends upon it.

It shouldn’t surprise us that God directed the angels to proclaim this message to shepherds who went to the Christ child, all the while the great lords and leaders of Jerusalem who would not accept a Christ child were allowed to go on sleeping.

Christmas is coming for you. Are we going to be like the Shepherds go to where the Christ child is located? Where does Christ promise to be? As the Christ Himself says in Matthew 18:20 (ESV) 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Christ promises to be here at Peace as we gather around Christ’s Word and Sacraments. Please join us at Peace for these Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve at 5,7,11 PM and Christmas Day at 10AM.

We will have a merry Christmas because the Lord Christ was born for us.

Pastor Balla

Written by dballa

December 12, 2018 at 11:45 am

Posted in Uncategorized