We give THANKS to you and the Lord for the monetary gift and plaque received from the congregation on Pastor Appreciation Sunday. The heartfelt words of the stone plaque are on display in my office and the money will be used to God’s glory,
Pastor Jim and Pearl
IN ALL THINGS, GIVE THANKS
In this year of Covid 19, controversial elections, disruptive lifestyle, school challenges, and questions around how can we worship safely, what encouragement can we find for giving thanks?!
We are often amazed at the writings of the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Around the year 62 AD, he was imprisoned probably at Rome or Ephesus for preaching the Gospel. But even under those conditions he penned these words:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and
petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.”
Recently, I was told by a doctor that anxiety is one of the major stressors present during this year in patients. I’m sure this is true for many of us. We tend to forget that the Lord is in control or we wonder why He allows conflict in our lives. Two facts of Scripture are often overlooked: His ways are not our ways and He can turn even the wrong decisions we, or others, make in our sinful nature, into good as we trust Him. He does this out of pure grace, just as He allowed His Son to suffer and die for our sins. As the Holy Spirit continues to sanctify us through Word and Sacrament, we can be assured of His strength and comfort during these times. Always be assured that you can contact me as your Pastor for private, spiritual consultation, prayer and/or the Sacrament.
Of course, He wants us to remember our needs in our prayers. We want to pray that vaccinations will be forthcoming soon, that the elections will result in God-pleasing government, etc., but always trusting His will. With such a faith, we can look forward to Thanksgiving with the words stated above from Philippians including:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again. Rejoice.”
Our yearly special Thanksgiving worship service is Wednesday evening, November 25 at
7 pm. Mask and social distancing may still be recommended.
Rev. James W. Rhiver, Pastor
GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY AND GOD
Bible scholars are in general agreement that the Apostle Paul was in a Roman prison when he penned, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the book of Romans. Therefore it is interesting that we find these words, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities for there is no authority except that which God has established.” Following these words he indicates that to rebel against the authority set over us is to rebel against God. As Christians we also know from Scripture that we are to obey God rather than man if a choice must be made.
Being a Christian in the United States presents challenges not present in the Roman world. There is no question that our nation was founded on Scriptural principles and a strong belief in God. Our system is based on decisions being made by majority rule through leaders that we choose. Personally, I believe it is the greatest form of government that exists in the world. Thomas Jefferson once stated that democracy depends on educated people as they make decisions.
It is also good to note that sin still exists in the world and that sin can taint decisions even that have good intentions. Although founded on Christian principles, we know that our history reveals mistakes in judgment and even sinful misunderstanding of Scripture. For instance, laws may allow certain actions, but as Christians we would not want to do them.
As we again look forward to the elections we want to do so prayerfully. It is good that we educate ourselves on the beliefs and philosophies of the candidates. Do the values reflect what seems to be sound with Scripture, whether or not the candidate, himself or herself, professes Christianity? Here is when education also includes the study of God’s Word. Our decisions would want to include how God wants us to continue to proclaim His message of salvation in love toward others, as we recognize the freedom we have for all to worship according to their consciences with love and acceptance toward all people.
Finally, we want to recognize that no matter the final outcome of the election, God has promised that He can and will work all things together for the good of those who remain faithful to Him and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. May God continue to bless our nation.
Rev. James W. Rhiver, Pastor
Going into the month of September always brings back memories of starting back to school as a youngster. We always started the day after Labor Day. Now, of course, schools start sometime in August. This year there is much controversy over how “school” is to be handled. Some students are in controlled classrooms, others are on-line/virtual and others are simply being home-schooled.
No matter how school is determined, our young people do need education. Thomas Jefferson once said that a democracy can only exist in an educated society, or words to that effect. We want to pray that our children get the education needed to be responsible citizens. We further pray that they receive the proper spiritual education whether in Christian schools or by Christian parents (guardians), who take their faith seriously. Scripture reminds us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.” (“Fear” in this sense does not mean to be afraid, but rather to know Him as the source of our strength and being.)
As Christians we know the full nature of God. He is the Triune God, who has promised salvation and assured us of eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus – making us His children.
Living in this world as God’s children also necessitates that we, too, follow God’s Word. This assumes that we continue to hear and study His Word in our lives – when we feel safe during this pandemic to attend church, or make an effort to read His Word, or find ways to attend church on-line or by radio, etc.
In our country we will soon be faced with elections. Here again is a place where both our secular and spiritual education comes into play. We need to pray that the right choices are made and realize that no matter the outcome, God will turn it for good as we “fear” Him.
May the Lord be with those who are starting back to school, younger or older; may He help each of us grow in the true knowledge of the Lord; and may He bless our country as we seek His will.
Pastor Jim Rhive