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New Year’s Believing

cold, clear night

moon wandering low in the west

end of a day, of a month, of a year

 

in the darkness, we long for sleep

in our sleeping, we hope to awake

in our waking, we yearn for renewal

new year, new day

renewed energy, courage, hope, opportunities

 

we count planetary revolutions and orbital trajectories

hours, days, months, seasons, years, epochs

numbered by light instead of darkness

 

mercy not marking mistakes

grace given generously

promise-planted peace

faith, hope and love

 

our sleeping is a time for resurrection recharge

the light will always lighten our lives

the Lord Immanuel is with us

in every sunrise, in every new day, in every new year

in our baptism, in our singing,

in our confessing, in our communing,

in our living and in our dying and in our rising again

 

begin again, my soul

the light of the glory of God calls to you

 

By Pastor Martin Doering

Re:Words

The Gospel-writer John put it this way: The Word became flesh and dwelled among us.

In college classes, I struggled with the concept of a word becoming flesh. How could sound or ideas walk around? Then the light dawned: our lives are defined by words. Words are our tools for learning and expression. Words are our predominate means of conversation.

Jesus, the Word made flesh, lives out our words in his life, ministry and resurrection. Parables are word-pictures. Sermons are word maps in understanding ourselves and understanding God. Words from our Lord have power to heal, to affect weather, to calm troubled hearts, to raise the dead, and to change lives.

Yes, the Lord has also given us the ability to communicate in actions and music and art. You are reading a digital text delivered to you electronically. We need and desire physical touch. Like our creator G0d, we communicate, we transmit information, we share and shape ideas. My word!

A psalmist wrote these words: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Strength and Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14).  The apostle James warns us that our tongue is a difficult organ to control. (James 3) Sticks and stones can break our bones, and words can crush our spirits.

Consider these words for your life this week:

RE-FORMATION    RE-NEWAL    RE-VISION    RE-PRODUCE    RE-COVER

 

Lord, let your Word dwell richly in me, that I may be transformed by the power of your Holy Spirit. Shape and fashion me, so that my words and my actions, my sounds and my silences, bring glory to You and life and healing to others. I pray in your name, Jesus Incarnate. Amen.

 

Please take the time to locate, read and pray about Psalm 119:89-96; Romans 10:9-15; John 6:66-69.

 

Weary? Here is RESToration!

The motor finally consumed the last drops of fuel. A final puff of smoke came out of the pipes. It was exhausted!

Puns aside, when my motor runs out of fuel, when I am exhausted, my soul is weary. Having neither the desire to complete the task, nor the energy to proceed, my momentum comes to a halt. What has happened?

Perhaps I could focus on the amount or the composition of the fuels I’ve been using. Have I eaten too much, or too little? Did I swallow drinks that contained toxins that rapidly depleted my strength?

Maybe the reality is that I’ve not been taking care of my “machine.” Despite my dreams of being superhuman, I live with a body that needs exercise and sleep, movement and recuperation. The stages of life and exercise change with the activities and the years.

Like a moth drawn to a flame, I have an appetite for staying awake to watch flickering images on a screen or backlit digital displays. Thank God for the people who provide us electricity and lights and computers! But sometimes my hunger for more images and sounds keeps me awake and away from sleep.

Jesus of Nazareth, speaking in another time and a different country, spoke an invitation that seems directed to worn-out and wearied folks like me.  “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28  NIV)

Those words are directly in line with what David wrote in Psalm 23: our Shepherd Lord restores the soul. Moses had received the promise directly from the Lord: “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14  NIV)

The Lord invites us, especially when we are weary, to find rest and restoration in His presence and power and promises. St. Augustine is reported to have written: my soul knows no rest until it finds its rest in the Lord.

Let us pray:

Lord Jesus Christ, living Word of God, speak to my heart of your mercy and grace.                                     Lord Jesus Christ, living bread from heaven, fill me with strength and revive this weary body of mine. Lord Jesus Christ, the Resurrection and the Life, revive me again; grant me a new heart and a new spirit. Lord Jesus Christ, you are my peace, my rest and my energy. Amen.

Please take the time to listen to Psalm 62.

Fear? Forget about it!

The Lord is with you.

Jesus asked his friends this question: “Why do you worry about tomorrow?” Well, most of us would respond, we have good reason to worry. The world around us is full of evil and sinful people; our planet is rocked with earthquakes and buffeted by storms of all kinds; and even in the most prosperous nations, people are hungry and malnourished.  The value of currency changes without reason; our governmental leaders can’t  get along; racism and anger rule our conversations. You see, we might answer, there are thousands of reasons for worry!

The disciples were worried as they struggled to stay afloat during a storm. They woke Jesus and begged him to do something. He did, of course — Jesus always answers our prayers and cries. Then he used the teachable moment with his disciples. “Why are you worried, oh you of little faith?”

The faith that the Holy Spirit gives us through the Word is a living relationship, a connection with the God of all creation. God has chosen to be connected with us! Our Lord has made a covenant with us: “I will be your God; you will be my people.” Because we have this connection relationship with God, we also have the promise of God’s name: I AM with you.

The apostle Paul asked: “If God is with us, whom shall we fear?” Fear focuses our attention on all the dangers and troubles that might arise. Faith has the confidence that our Lord is always with us, guarding and leading us, strengthening us for our struggles, and reminding us that we have a purpose for living and dying.

A political leader once uttered: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” Rather than cowering from supposed threats or hiding from imagined woes, we live as the Lord’s sheepish people, rejoicing that we have a Good Shepherd.

Faith forms our foundation to fight and forget about fear.

Lord, let me cast all my cares upon You, for You care for me.  Amen!

 

Take some time to read these passages:  Leviticus 26:11-13; Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 8:23-26; Romans 8:31-34.