Sunday, January 23, 2022

Love Never Fails

Photo by Judy Mattson"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 

                            (1 Cor 13:4-8a NIV)

One of the most often requested scripture readings for wedding is from 1 Corinthians, chapter thirteen. It is is very good advice for two people who are about to commit their whole earthly lives to one another. Love does not fail; however, due to our sinful natures we often fail to love. Marriages fall apart because we love ourselves or someone or something else more than the one we have committed to spend the rest of our lives with. Relationships whether it is in a marriage or with other family members or friends will fail because of a lack of love.

God has given us many gifts. Faith, hope, and love being among them. The greatest of these, says St. Paul, is love. (1 Cor 13:13) God has given us love in His Son, Jesus Christ. There is no greater love than a love that is willing to give their very lives for others, even as Jesus gave his life for us. We respond to His love by sharing that love with others.

The love from God does not fail. It can move mountains and crush molehills. His love inspires us to be patient and kind; not disrespecting others, nor being self-seeking, nor angered. Rather, that love inspires us to love God above all things and to love others even as he loves us.

As a friend of mine often says: "Share the love!"

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Miracles

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 
                                                                              (Matt 7:7-11 KJV)

Miracles abound!  The other day there was an event in the life of a friend of mine that could only have been a miracle. I had been praying for him as were other people. Then when the prayer was answered for the good of the man it took me a few hours before I realized that God had indeed answered our prayers. I then wondered why in the world it took me so long to give thanks to our Father for granting him a reprieve from his troubles.

God provides miracles all around us all of the time. Are our eyes and ears and hearts open so that we can recognize them?  There are so many good things that our Father in heaven does for us; so many prayers answered. Yet, do we even acknowledge that he does them and give him thanks or do we just go on with our lives as if he did nothing; as if it was not his hand that lifted the burden from us? 

Our Father in heaven does indeed hear our prayers and he answers them. The answer does not always come in the way we would have it come nor in the time we want it accomplished. But, it does come in God's time and and in his way for the good of all who love him. 

Talk to our Father in heaven. Ask and you shall receive. But, don't forget to give him thanks for hearing your prayer and answering.

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Do Good To Others

photo by Judy Mattson

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Gal 6:7-10 KJV)

Do good! Be careful in what you say and do for whatever you put out there you will likely come back to you whether it is a good thing or a bad thing. If you are hateful toward others you will be despised. What you do to others will inevitably come back to you as they seek revenge. 

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (Luke 6:31)

Support one another without great concern about your fleshly needs because God will provide for you and he desires to provide for others through you. Love one another as he loves you. 

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35)

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Patience From Trials

photo by Judy Mattson
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (James 1:2-3 KJV)

2022 seems to have already been filled with all kinds of temptations to be upset; to be angry; to be anxious. Crime has skyrocketed over the last few years. Wages have gone up; but, as many of us predicted, inflation has gone up even higher.  The supply chain has gotten incredibly slow.  

Our vehicle went into the shop yesterday. There is something wrong with the gear shift that caused the key to get stuck in the ignition on accessory when we try to take the key out. The mechanic was able to clean it up a bit so hopefully we can continue driving it until the part comes in. The part is expected in about four weeks.  For this kind of test, patience is required. We will attempt to not drive it unless necessary and hopefully it will last until they can do a more permanent fix. We are retired so this is probably doable for us. But, what about those who have to go to work every day? What happens when their only means of transportation goes down and they can't get the part to fix it? That would definitely be a temptation to much frustration, anxiety, and even anger. It would be a very trying test of one's faith.

As I've gotten older, I have noticed that generations below me have much less patience than I had at their ages. I accepted the temptations as reality and dealt with them. Yes, I would get upset at times; but, not usually enough to take it out on the world around me. 

It would be very wise for those who get so anxious that they can't function when they are faced with trials and temptations to remember that this will all pass and a new trials will come. That is the way of the world and until we learn to patiently deal with whatever comes our way  the anxiety that comes with trials and temptations will be compounded.

With faith; rejoice for God is with you in whatever you are going through and this too shall pass.

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

One In Christ

photo by Judy Mattson
Valaam Transfiguration Monastery
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

For the body is not one member, but many.

If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

And if they were all one member, where were the body?

But now are they many members, yet but one body.

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.

That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
                                                                        (1 Cor 12:12-26 KJV)

Let all the people applaud the choir!  I have not been able to find anything in scripture that remotely tells us that we should clap our hands for anyone other than God during a worship service.  I have never understood lifting up gifts of specific individuals within a worship service for in lifting up one we neglect the others. I have never understood putting plaques on the wall in thanksgiving to the biggest givers. There is no one and there are no gifts within the Body of Christ that are more important than another.

Within the congregation the janitor is just as important as the council member. That should apply not only just within the congregation but for the world around us.  Worship is indeed enhanced by the choir - at least in most cases. What would it be like if we walked into the sanctuary and had to walk on old bulletins and candy papers; with empty coffee cups leaning up against the back of the pews? 

The pastor is not more important than the council nor the council more important than the pastor. All, every member of the Body of Christ, are needed to function properly and in unity, for the Word of God to be declared and glorified. 

We are many members. Yet, we are all one in Christ. Let us worship and serve as one that God may be glorified and not any one or group of human beings. To God alone belongs all glory!

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

All That We Say And Think And Do

Photo by John Arthur Mattson edited by Judy Mattson

Psalm 19:8-14 KJV

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

+++

The law of the Lord is most difficult for us to keep. We are sinful human beings and the truth is we do not and cannot keep it perfectly. But, we can understand when we do not keep them. We can know and we can repent and ask the Lord to help keep us from sin even as we ask in the Lord's Prayer that he keep us from all temptations. 

The Law if it could be kept would keep us in harmony with God and with one another. Yet, it is broken every minute of every day. Therefore our Father in heaven sent his only begotten Son, Jesus, to take our sins upon himself and be put to death for our transgressions. He was tried, sentenced and executed for our sins. Through this one act of love for humankind forgiveness belongs to us. For all who believe in him; in his act of love by dying for us, will inherit eternal life, reconciled to our Father and to all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

We cannot keep the law perfectly. But, out of love for the one who loves us so much we ask and trust that the Spirit of Christ, who has redeemed us, will give us strength to glorify his holy name in all that we say and think and do.

Let us always pray:  "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Monday, January 17, 2022

God's Handiwork

photo by Judy Mattson

Psalm 19:1-6 KJV

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

+++

It is a very rare evening or morning that I do not look to the heavens to see the beauty of God's handiwork. This morning the almost full moon lights up the clouds in magnificent splendor.

Take the time to look around and see and enjoy the beauty of God's handiwork in the heavens and on earth! If you live in the city where you can see neither the moon nor the stars because of the artificial light or the air pollution look around and see the awesome creative ability of God in his people.

God's creation declares his glory. We can see it more clearly when we take the time to look for it; when we take the time to look outside of ourselves.

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Devil And Earthly Lusts Depart

"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." 
                                                              (Gal 5:13-17 KJV)

Desires of the world infiltrate our lives. But, they do no have to take over our lives.  Jesus said:
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matt 6:24)

The lusts of our flesh and the Spirit within fight against one another as the devil is always in conflict with the Spirit of God. It can be a major battle especially for those with addiction problems. The Good News is that the Spirit of Christ will help us to flee from the temptations of the devil and overcome any worldly lusts that we may have. The Spirit of Christ will teach us how to put behind us our own earthly desires so that we might live empowered by the Spirit loving one another.

Jesus is the ultimate example of how to love one another as he gave his whole life for you. Focus on him and walk in the Spirit commanding that the evil spirits, that would lead you to a self-centered way neglecting to love and care for others, would flee in the name of Jesus.  

Love one another and live in peace!

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Arise And Shine

Photo by Judy Mattson

"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."  Isaiah 60:1

There are some days when evening comes that I feel as though nothing was accomplished. I feel as though an entire day has been wasted. I may have been up and about; but, I feel like I may as well have slept the day away. This doing nothing is a bad habit to get in to. Before we know it our days on earth will have come to an end and we will have spent them as though we were fast asleep.

Get up! Live life! Let the light of Christ shine on, in, and through you. Live the fleeting moments that God has given you here on earth. He gave them for a purpose and living in the darkness was not it.

Live in the light and have a very blessed day!

God's Peace - Pr. J

Friday, January 14, 2022

Reconcilded Through Christ

photo by Judy Mattson
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (2 Cor 5:19-20 KJV)

What a gift!  Even though we don't in any way deserve to be united with the Father, by the blood of Christ that was shed for us, we are!  Thanks be to God! 

I cannot think of anyone or anything that could bring me more joy than being in a close relationship with God our Creator and our Father! Just think about it. We who were not his children are now his children! Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen!

God's Peace - Pr. J. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Marriage Feast

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:

And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
                                                                        (John 2:1-10 KJV)

Jesus' first miracle was at a wedding celebration. When they ran out of celebratory wine he turned water into very good wine for the people. The man in charge of the feast tasted it and said: "Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now." 

Jesus provided the best wine to celebrate with. That is how a relationship with Jesus goes as well. When we receive the bridegroom, Jesus, into our lives we are receiving the best! 

Jesus began his ministry by turning water into wine for the wedding feast. On the night in which he was betrayed he took the cup of wine and said:  "this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me." (1 Cor 11:25)

Taste and see that the Lord is good as you look to the day when we will celebrate at the marriage feast of the lamb! (Rev 19:6-9)

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Gifts For God's Glory


Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.

And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 
                                                                     (1 Cor 12:1-11 KJV)

We do not all have the same gifts. But, we all have been given gifts by God to use that God might be glorified. Jesus was willing to be tortured and die a cruel death for us; yet, so often we are not even willing to use our gifts for the sake of others; for the sake of the Kingdom; for the sake of glorifying God.

Do not worry about what gifts others have.  If everyone had the same gift not much would be accomplished toward the Kingdom of God. Use the gifts that God has given you and thank him for the opportunity to use them. Do not be afraid to use your gifts for God would not have given them for us just to set them on a shelf in the closet like an unwanted Christmas present. 

You are a child of God and he has given you good gifts for a purpose. Use those gifts for the growth of the Kingdom and ultimately to glorify our Father in heaven!

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

In God We Trust

Photo by Judy Mattson
Psalm 118 KJV

I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

The Lord taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.

+++

There is one whom you can trust 100% to be on your side. That one is the Lord God; the creator of heaven and earth. No matter what the world may throw at you he is there for his children. You may suffer for a bit of time; but, be assured that God has a plan for you. He is merciful  and will not have you suffer eternally. Trust him above all other for he has a great plan for you. 

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28)

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalm 118:29)

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Walk In His Ways

Photo by Judy Mattson

Psalm 128 KJV

Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways.

For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.

Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.

The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.

Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.

+++

The Psalm today sounds a lot like "IF" you do this the Lord will bless you. The plain truth is that the Lord has shown us a fruitful way to live. Do good! Doing what is contrary to the way that God has shown you to live will lead you into trouble of your own making. 

He has shown us the way to live lives of peace. Dwell in his Word. Abide in Christ and follow in the way. 

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Baptized?

And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,

And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 
                                                               (Luke 3:15-16, 21-22 KJV)

John the Baptist baptized all of the people for the repentance of sins and there were multitudes of them! He told them that one was coming who was greater than he was and that one would baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire. That one has come. Have you been baptized? Have you shared the Good News and encouraged anyone to be baptized lately?  After all Jesus did command us to:    
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." 
                                                                    (Matt 28:19-20)
Over the years I have encountered so many people who were not baptized and that includes both children and adults. Some were eventually baptized. Many chose not to be. In Baptism your sins are forgiven. In Baptism you are anointed with the Holy Spirit. In Baptism you are a child of God.  What precious gifts from God these are! If you have not been baptized into the Body of Christ what are you waiting for? If your neighbor has not been why are you not teaching them and sharing the Good News of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord?

Receive the gift of life and live life redeemed by the Word who willingly shed his blood for you! 

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Willful Sin

photo by Judy Mattson
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.                                                      (Rom 6:1-4 KJV)

Baptism is so much more than simple washing with water. It is a gift from God. When we are baptized into Christ the old man is put to death even as Christ was put to death for us. When we are baptized into the Body of Christ we receive new life in him. 

There are so many times that we willfully sin using the excuse that God  will forgive us because of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Shall we really purposefully continue in sin that God's grace might abound? How ungrateful can we be? Jesus loves us so much that he would allow himself to be tortured and put to death for our sins and yet we would continue to willfully sin! We are sinners. That is a fact. We are also saints having been washed clean by the blood of Christ. Out of love for the one who died for us let us live as Christ lives reconciled to God our Father and one another doing what is right and good glorifying our Father in heaven.

In baptism the old man in us has died and a new man is born. May God help us to live life in Christ!

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Our Father Doesn't Slander Our Name

Photo by Judy Mattson
But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.

Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;

I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. 
                                                                         (Isa 43:1-7 KJV)

Talk about slander and name calling!  I was riding home with my husband yesterday. He insisted on listening to the news; news that made me nauseous. So much vitriol! So much anger because everyone does not think alike. The reality is we don't. The anger; the slander; the name calling is dividing the people. It is a great attempt to cover the world in darkness. But, it will not succeed. The light of Christ shines. The One who overcame death has overcome all obstacles for the children of God.

Fortunately, all who believe and are baptized into the Body of Christ have been united in Christ. We have a Father who does not slander us. He calls us by name and not hurtful names. He calls us because of his great love and not out of anger; not out of revenge. He did not send his only begotten Son to accuse the world of not listening to Him and obeying His law. He did not send his Son to condemn the world. He sent His Son so that all who would believe in the Son and the Son's life giving sacrifice would be forgiven and be reconciled to him and to one another. 

Do not fear for the One who knows us so intimately calls each of us by name. He calls us and leads us out of the darkness into the light. He is with us through every trouble that might assail us because we are His children and He will not abandon us.

Listen to the One who never forgets your name. Listen to the One who created you and glorify His Holy Name.

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Bringing Gifts

Photo by Judy Mattson
They followed the star
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. 
                                                                                  (Matt 3:9-11 KJV)

Reminiscent of the journey of the three wise men who followed the star bearing gifts for the baby Jesus people around the world give gifts to the children during the Christmas season. 

Annually, U.S. Marines around the world, have toy fund-raisers so that they can give gifts to children. Santa Claus normally delivers them for the Marines. When we lived in Rota, Spain these gifts were given on Epiphany which is also known as Three Kings Day after the three wise men. Three of the Marines would dress up as the wise men and deliver the gifts to  the children at the local orphanage.

The wise men followed the star to bring gifts to the baby Jesus to worship and honor him. They blessed this child with lavish gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. May God help us to honor and bless every child born as they did our Savior not just one a year but every day as Jesus himself is the gift that keeps on giving.  Thanks be to God for Jesus the King above all kings.

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

The Voice Of The Lord

photo by Judy Mattson

Psalm 29 KJV

Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength.

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters.

The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars; yea, the Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.

He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.

The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire.

The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness; the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.

The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever.

The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.

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The psalmist reminds us that all glory and strength belong to God. He is all powerful. The strength of his voice does awesome things. The good news is that he gives strength to his people. He blesses us with peace!

Thanks be to God!

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Walk Humbly With God

Photo by Judy Mattson
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8 KJV)

Do Good! Do what is just! 

The word of the Lord unto Micah was that what he wanted out of humankind was for us to humble ourselves and treat each other with loving mercy. 

The world is full of people who try to do just that. But, often our egos take over and we do not even recognize how we may be harming others. We become so engaged in seeking happiness for ourselves that in the end happiness and any semblance of peace end up eluding us because  we have not recognized that the injustice and lack of love that we have for others is engulfing us in a blanket of darkness.  

Why choose the darkness when you can be engulfed in the light of Jesus the Christ? Walking in the light of Christ we will be following in his very steps. As we walk in his light we will do for others as he did for us; humbly and lovingly putting the needs of others before our own desires;  doing justice; doing what is right; doing what is good. 

The light who is Jesus the Christ has come into the world to show us the way. That same light will guide us if we would but follow wherever he will lead us.

"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." (Isa 60:1)

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Monday, January 3, 2022

The Kingdom Is Yours


Psalm 72 KJV

Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son.

He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.

The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.

He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.

They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.

He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.

In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.

They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.

The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.

Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.

For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.

He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.

He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

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The judgments of the Lord will come. They come in the kingdom that has already broken into this world through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ our Lord and our salvation.

He brings justice to the forsaken. He brings judgment upon those who persecute others. Rejoice for the Lord is with you and for you.

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Matthew 5:1-12 KJV

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

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Rejoice for all who believe are children of God's Kingdom! Rejoice!

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Wise Choices

Photo by Judy Mattson
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Psalm 90:12 KJV)

Life is short. Humans make a lot of mistakes. We can make a lot of wrong choices. Some of those mistakes can be avoided by doing what is right. Some of those mistakes have major consequences.

God help us to make better choices in this new year. Help us to choose wisely who or what we will follow. Help us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the light! Help us to live life in his light! Amen. 

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

A New Day; A New Year, With Peace

Photo by Judy Mattson
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
                                                                        (2 Cor 5:17-19 KJV)

May God bless this new year richly for each and everyone of us!  I believe that he will. The old has gone away so let us not cling to our old ways.  This year let there be reconciliation with God and with one another for all people. Let there be peace.

The last two years have seen an influx of crime; of hate, in this country. It is time to stop living in the darkness and relish the good things that God has provided us with. Such an old saying; but, "Take time to smell the roses!"

In Christ we have been forgiven our sins so why do we continue, in so many cases, to willfully sin?  Just, why!! As Christ has forgiven us, let us forgive one another and live in peace!

May God help each and every one of us to strive to live reconciled to one another in peace in the coming years. 

God's Peace - Pr. J.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Hear And Study The Word Of God

(Col 1:9-10 KJV)
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.

And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 
                                                                   (Luke 2:40-46 KJV)

Twelve years old and Jesus stayed behind when his parents left Jerusalem to go home. He stayed behind to hear the word of God. He stayed behind to learn.

This past year I began working with St. Paul Lutheran Seminary as a student coordinator. I still have a tremendous amount to learn about the position and all that we offer. Education is important to me and it should be to everyone. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to aim for the highest degree in everything. It means, to me, that you keep on learning so that you can actually use the gifts that God has given you to the utmost so that he might be glorified. St. Paul has courses for everyone. There are courses for the lay members of congregations to help enhance evangelism and outreach. This fall we once again held a course to teach lay people to preach when they could not find pulpit supply when needed or even to share the word of God at nursing homes or other such places as part of their congregation's ministry. We have programs for those who are interested in obtaining a Parish Service Certificate designed to train lay people to serve in congregations in various way including congregations who do not have ordained pastors for whatever reason. We also have programs for the Masters of Divinity as well as the Doctor of Ministry. There is something for everyone who wants to learn no matter what your plans are for future service of the Lord.

I am not sure exactly how or when I managed to agree to it; but, I am also a student. God manages to get his will done whether I am in agreement or not at times. I am working toward a Doctor of Ministry. To be truthful, the degree is not all that important to me; but, the opportunity to learn is. Albert Einstein once said: "Once you stop learning, you start dying" And...  I want to truly live life for as long as I have breath in my body. My first class this last semester was taught by Dr. James Nestingen. What an opportunity that was and is!

Jesus' parents found him in the temple learning from the doctors of theology. His disciples did not receive diplomas as I've been reminded by many people. However, we cannot disregard the fact that they did receive about three years of training from the master himself. They gave up everything to learn from him. They gave up everything for the most intensive internship ever. They had to because they needed this knowledge in order to be able to do the ministry that they had been called to do.

May God grant that we will all be fruitful witnesses and glorify our Father in heaven in all that we say and think and do in this upcoming new year!

God's Peace - Pr. J.