Sunday, February 2, 2020

February 2020 Pastor's Article

I had occasion to assemble an exercise gadget for my daughter the other day.  It came with directions for assembly and I read them carefully before starting.  Within minutes it was put together and ready to use.
A little later I decided to make a party mix that included melting butter, combining cereals and garlic spices, etc. I was to put the ingredients together in a microwave bowl and “nuke” it for 5-6 minutes.  I thought I had read the directions carefully, but after about 4 minutes in the microwave, suddenly the kitchen was filled with smoke and we were turning on the exhaust fan and fanning the smoke alarm to keep it from going off.  Oops, I missed something—I was supposed to stir the ingredients in the bowl every two minutes.
In Holy Scripture, God gives very specific directions for leading our lives.  In addition to His Ten Commandments, He also included many stories about what happens when people do not follow the directions as written!
So many times we ignore His directions or think we can get by doing things “our way”.  Our sinful nature is at work to lead us not to pay attention to our Creator.  The devil and the world would work against the Holy Spirit’s guidance He provides through Word and Sacraments.
Fortunately, God in His love for us sent His Son to follow all the directions He has given.  Jesus led the perfect life for us.  In the Garden, the night before He was crucified, Jesus said to His Father, “Your will, not mine, be done.”

Following the directions means confessing that we are sinful and in need of a Savior.  We are assured of God’s forgiveness.  So, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can make an effort to amend our sinful lives. Out of appreciation for God’s grace to us in Jesus’ death and resurrection, we want to follow God’s directions.  When we fall away we have His promise that He will restore us to a perfect relationship with Him as we confess our faith in His grace in Jesus Christ. 
Remember that as we abide in His Word and Sacraments, His Holy Spirit continues to keep us faithful unto eternal life.
--Pastor James Rhiver