Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The One Year Bible- April 26th

When I was in college I worked at Arrowhead Lutheran Camp for many summers as a counselor. Right out of college I was hired to be the program director at the camp. I was just a young kid but I had quite a bit of experience at working with children. As a counselor I always struggled with finding ways to get my campers to go to sleep. Some other counselors told ghost stories or scary tales but those freaked me out too much. Quite by accident one night I began to read stories from the book of Judges. I started with Gideon. That took about two nights then I went to Ehud, Samson, Deborah and others. My young boys really enjoyed the blood and guts stories that weren’t too scary. I liked them because they also taught that God was in control. Some people have a tough time with the book of Judges because of its violent nature and that is fine, but if you look at the stories through the eyes of a 10 year old boy you might get some understanding. The key thing to remember is that God has mercy on his people and shows his love to them by sending a judge. Not a judge that comes to condemn, but one that comes to save. Sounds kind of like Jesus doesn’t it? On to the study for this week……

Where We Have Been

The Old Testament
As I have alluded to in the opening the book of Judges is all about God’s mercy. It seems like it is about his wrath with some blood and guts thrown in for good measure but when you really look at it you see a familiar pattern emerge with all the judges. We see this same pattern when Jesus is sent as the final Judge. Why was it necessary for the Judges to come anyway? Didn’t the people promise that they would be faithful to God? What happened to the promises they made? In the first part of the book we get the answer. “The LORD was with the people of Judah and they took possession of the hill country. But they failed to drive out the people living in the plains who had iron chariots.” (Judges 1:19 NLT) The story was the same with the other tribes. Reading a bit further, “The tribe of Manasseah failed to drive out the people….” Then the tribe of Ephraim failed, then Zebulen failed, then Asher failed, then Naphtali. Then Yahweh (LORD in all caps) sent his angel (some think this may be the pre-incarnate Christ) to talk to the people. Judgment was to be upon the people. “So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.” (Judges 2:3 NLT) This sums up the problems that the people will encounter the rest of the Old Testament. The people living in the land and their gods will cause major problems for the people. Remember this as we read the rest of the story this year. But the LORD (Yahweh) in his infinite mercy shows love to the people and sends help. The account of each Judge has a similar pattern. It usually begins with, The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, He turned them over to their enemies for so many years. Then the LORD raised up a Judge. The people followed this Judge and were saved. The land had peace for so many years. The Judge dies and the people return to their old ways and do evil in the eyes of the LORD. Get familiar with this pattern. This is some foreshadowing of the New Testament story of Jesus. We don’t have time to discuss each Judge (we will spend more time with Gideon next week) in detail so let me give you some highlights. Ehud is my favorite. He is left-handed. Why does the writer of Judges tell us this? He was able to smuggle his dagger into the presence of the king because, being left handed he drew it from his right side. Most people carry their dagger or sword on the left side because they are right handed. Ehud was able to get close to the king and kill him because he was left handed. You see, God uses all things for his good purposes. I also think it is funny that Ehud escapes through the outhouse in the kings chambers and the attendants are so embarrassed to disturb the king when he is in the bathroom. Some commentators even suggest that the king was actually sitting on “the throne” (the one in the bathroom) when Ehud stabs him (you see why young boys like this story?). The account of Deborah is good to show that God works through women as well. God raised her up as a Judge and she led the people in battle. In the story it was another woman, Jael, who took care of the evil Sisera. Talk about girl power (both the boys and some of the girls like this story). The story of Gideon is a bit longer and has some interesting insights for us. We will talk about him next week.

The New Testament
I don’t know how many of you saw or read any of the information about the gospel of Judas that was in the news recently. I saw bits and pieces of it, but I have not studied it in great detail and I probably will not. First of all this is not something that is all together new. There are many other gospels that were written after the life of Jesus. Most of them were discussed and left out of the New Testament because they did not give the true history of the events. The gospel of Judas was written by a Gnostic group that did not believe in the humanity of Jesus (there is more to it but we don’t have time here). They were a sect of Christianity that died out hundreds of years ago. The gospel of Judas makes the claim that Judas acted on behalf of Jesus when he betrayed him and if it the story was true would change how we view not only Judas but also Jesus as well. This gospel was known at the time of the formation of the New Testament and was left out on purpose, just like the others. Why bring this up in our study? In our readings from Luke on April 23rd we have this, “Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them.” (Luke 22:3-4 NLT) In my mind this shows beyond a doubt that it was Satan a.k.a. the deceiver who put the idea into Judas’ mind. The other thing that jumped out at me this week came from the scene where Jesus is before the High Priest. When Jesus is asked point blank if he is the son of God he says, “I am”. OK you say? No big deal? But, the words Jesus used are very important. When he says “I am” not only is he answering in the affirmative, he also is using the name God used when talking to Moses in the burning bush. Remember that God said his name was, “I am”. No wonder the High Priest and the others wanted Jesus dead after he had said this. Jesus goes in there and uses the name of God that the Jews to this day will not even use. Jesus was saying in no uncertian terms that he was the Christ, the promised Messiah. When we get to the Gospel of John we will see seven big “I am” statements from Jesus. Remember them when you read and pour into them the Old Testament meanings.

The Psalms
The readings from Psalm for April 26th contained Psalm 95. For those of you who remember the old 1941 Lutheran hymnal the first seven verses from this Psalm are part of the Te Daum from the service of Matins. I couldn’t help but sing that Psalm as I was reading it. You might have too.

Where We Are Going

The Old Testament
We will continue with the story of the Judges. We will spend more time with Gideon than with any other Judge. Try to see the standard form of all the accounts that we talked about above. Remember that this cycle of events will continue for the rest of the Old Testament and into the New Testament as well. Eventually the Judges will be replaced by the prophets and later Jesus.

The New Testament
We will finish the Gospel of Luke this week and we will start the Gospel of John. As a quick note, the first four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) are grouped together and are referred to as the synoptic Gospels. The basically have the same form and tell the same story. They probably leaned on one another for source material. John is its own animal all together. John is the only Gospel that mentions three different Passover celebrations which is where we get the three year ministry of Jesus. John does not have a standard birth story. John begins with creation, but more on all this next week. John also makes heavy use of metaphor. We will see Jesus referred to as the door, the lamb, the good shepherd, the gate, the way the truth the life, and others. I will give you the vital stats for the Gospel of John next week.

Key Verses
Luke 20:17-18
Psalm 89:14-15
Joshua 24:15
Psalm 90:1-2
Luke 22:42
Psalm 95:1-7

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The One Year Bible- April 19, 2006

He is Risen!! He is Risen Indeed!!! I pray you all had a blessed Easter. My Easter was of course busy, but very fulfilling; I have also been continually fulfilled by reading through the Bible this year. I hope you feel the same way. I know I seem to say it every week but there was so much good stuff in this weeks readings. My prayer is that these studies shed some light on parts of scripture that may not be familiar to you. On to the study...

Where We Have Been

The Old Testament
The conquest of the Promised Land has begun. Joshua is now the leader of the people and he shows his military skills. After the first debacle at Ai the people learned their lesson and started to trust in God. God gave them the victory over most of the people. Even after all the kings got together, the people of Israel were still victorious. They followed God’s orders and were blessed. They defeated 31 kings with the help of the Lord!! This will not always be the case. We will see soon enough that the people will stray away from God. We see the beginnings of the problems when the people of Gibeon tricked the Israelites and signed a treaty with them. This would be the first of many groups of people that were not completely destroyed as Moses commanded. We will see that these people will cause problems for the people in the future. I really like the fact the Joshua learned his lesson about being strong and courageous. On the battlefield Joshua tells his troops, “Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged. Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies.” (Joshua 10:25 NLT) Joshua was a great leader and he instructed his troops with the same wise words that Moses and the Lord had given him. A large part of our reading this week centered around the division of the promised land. These are some tedious chapters especially if you are not familiar with all the landmarks. I hope you found a map in a Bible to help you. If not here is one that I found:

Even though the people are now settled in the land and there is peace, it will not last. Problems will arise because the people did not completely destroy all of the people, but more about that later.

The New Testament
Jesus seems to talk a lot about money in this weeks readings. To Jesus, money is something that can be used for good but it can also be used as something to be worshiped. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate (remember our discussion of hate from last week) one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Luke 16:13 NLT) This was a direct attack on the Pharisees who loved money. The point is that God wants us to be faithful with the monetary blessings that we have been given but they are not to rule us and in reality become an idol that we worship. When Jesus talks to the rich young ruler, money is again an issue. Jesus tells him to sell everything he has and give the money to the poor. This man was not ready to give up his money. We all struggle with money. How much should we give away. How much is too much etc. Many of us are afraid if we do not save money we will not be able to survive. We sometimes forget the wonderful words of Jesus, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27 NLT) God will take care of us, we should not have to worry about money because we can focus on money and it will rule us if we are not careful. In our readings for today we begin the story of the Passion. Luke makes an interesting comment about all the praise that Jesus is receiving on Palm Sunday. Some of the Pharisees tried to get Jesus to stop the celebration and Jesus says, “If they keep quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!” (Luke 19:40) This is an amazing statement. We have read in the Psalms that all creation praises the Lord, but here is proof that it can happen. Can you imagine if no one would praise God and then the rocks start to cry out? What a sight that would be!

Where We Are Going

The Old Testament
We will finish up the book of Joshua this week and begin the book of Judges. Here are the vital stats on the book of Judges:

Purpose: To show the God’s judgment against sin is certain, and his forgiveness of sin and restoration to relationship is just as certain for those who repent

Author: Possibly Samuel

Setting: The land of Canaan, later called Israel. God had helped the Israelites conquer Canaan. which had been inhabited by a host of wicked nations. But they were in danger of losing this Promised Land because they compromised their convictions and disobeyed God.

Key Verse: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” (17:6)

Key People: Othniel, Ehud (my favorite Judge), Deborah, Gideon, Abimelech, Jephthah, Samson, Delilah

Special Feature: Records Israel’s first civil war

The New Testament
In our readings in Luke we will hear a few more teachings of Jesus including the Signs of the end of the age and then we will spend a few weeks on the story of the passion beginning with the betrayal by Judas and the Last Supper.

Key Verses
Luke 16:13
Luke 17:20-21
Psalm 84: 1, 10

Let us all live in the joy that comes from the Risen Christ!!!

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Thirst of Life- Good Friday- 2006

Have you ever been thirsty? I mean really, really thirsty? The kind of thirst where your tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth, the kind of thirst where you get dizzy and your head hurts, the kind of thirst that doesn’t seem to be quenched by just water. Maybe it was that time backpacking in Yosemite, or that week of two-a-day practices during football season. Perhaps it was after a hard day of work in the yard. We all know what it is to be thirsty. Without water a human can only last about a week.

A True Story…

It all started in 1967 with a University of Florida research team. Their goal was to develop a drink to rapidly replace fluids and help prevent dehydration, and heat illnesses such as muscle cramping and heat exhaustion experienced by athletes. The beverage they created was tested on members of the Florida Gators football team and became known as “Gatorade.”

That season, fueled by Gatorade, the Gators had fewer problems with dehydration and showed greater endurance. They actually developed a reputation for outplaying their opponents in the final half and became known as the “Second-Half Team.” They even made it to their first ever Orange Bowl, and true to their nickname, came from behind to win a storybook game.

Since that day, Gatorade has become the most researched sports beverage in the world. The Gatorade formula is continually tested by research scientists around the globe and proven on the world’s best playing fields. Nothing beats Gatorade to replenish what athletes lose so they can continue to give it all they’ve got. There’s a reason this stuff was created.

Gatorade may be able to quench some thirst but there are other things in life that we are thirsty for. We thirst for the desires of our hearts. A new car, and new job, a bigger bank account. As sinners we thirst for the things in this world. We thirst for things we have no business thirsting for. We become obsessed with status, or climbing the corporate ladder, we thirst for things that only matter to us. More often than not our thirst is never really quenched. We always want more. Our desires take over and we have no control. These things all promise to quench our thirst but in the end we are just as thirsty as we began.

Even in this season of lent we live lives that are thirsty. We are thirsty for Easter to come; we thirst for the alleluia of our lives to return. But it seems that everywhere we turn there is chaos, riots, wars, and protests. We are thirsty for some normalcy, some hope, and some peace. Our world seems to be stuck in the season of lent. Our thirsts are not quenched. Our lives seem hopeless. And on this Good Friday, all seems lost. The shadow of the cross ominously covers the face of the earth. The storm clouds have arrived. The end is near.

But let me tell you another true story…

It all started well before 1967 with a loving God and his son Jesus Christ. Their goal was to develop a plan to rapidly fix and help prevent death, and illnesses such as cancer, and heartache experienced by all people. The plan he created was for all members of the human race and became known as “Salvation”

That season fueled by Salvation, the human race had fewer problems with death and showed greater endurance. They actually developed a reputation for outplaying the enemy and became to be known as Followers of Christ. They even made it to the far reaches of the earth for the first time, and true to their calling they began to win the world for Christ.

Since that day, the plan of Salvation has become the most researched plan in the world. The Salvation formula has been continually tested by skeptics around the globe and proven in worlds mission fields. Nothing beats the plan of Salvation to give to the human race what they could never get on their own, so now they can give it all they’ve got. There’s a reason this Jesus came.

Jesus came to quench a thirst. As our text for today tells us, Jesus was thirsty. When he said, “I am thirsty” it was more than just the fulfillment of scripture. His thirst brought him to that very place. He was following his own teachings and he is blessed because he had a hunger and a thirst for righteousness, our righteousness.

The only thing that can quench our thirst is HIS thirst on our behalf. His thirst to quench our thirst brought him to Calvary. His desire that we have a right relationship with him drove him that first Good Friday. By his actions, he provided that life giving water he promised to woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Indeed we all have that spring of water that flows in us. Without this living water we cannot last, we will die of thirst. The bread of life that was broken for me and for you last night in the Lord’s Supper has today been broken himself on the cross.

As we remember the death of Christ today, let us not forget HIS thirst on our behalf, and his plan of Salvation. For this is the very reason that Jesus was came. AMEN!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The One Year Bible: April 12, 2006

The Word of the Lord is a powerful thing. For those of you who worshiped at Bethany this past weekend know, we experienced the powerful Word of the Lord. As we read through the story of the passion from Mark’s Gospel, many felt that power. I had more than one person come up to me after the service and commented on how moving the readings were. I can’t agree more. For those of us reading through the Bible this year we have begun to understand the power that comes from the Word. We should all be as bold as Paul and proclaim, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16) On to the study...

Where We Have Been

The Old Testament
In this weeks readings we have finished the last of the five books of Moses. These books go by some other names, The Torah, The Pentateuch, The Law, and they are the most important books for the Jewish people. Congratulations on finishing these books. They are full of theology and they form the foundation for the rest of the story. You will find many references to these books and the stories contained therein as you continue reading. We finished up our reading of Deuteronomy with the death of Moses and the beginning of Joshua’s leadership. Moses finished his pep talk to the people by reminding them of the covenant that God has made with them and the three fold promise that they are not to see first hand. As Joshua is given leadership of the people we see some very comforting words. Moses tells Joshua to “Be strong and Courageous!” He tells him twice. Then a few verses later, the LORD tells Joshua to “Be strong and Courageous.” In the first chapter of the book of Joshua we see these same words given from the LORD. Was Joshua afraid? Did he lack courage? I know I would have some fear if I had to lead an entire nation! We can take some comfort today in these words as we remember that God is in control. We can be strong and courageous in Christ who gives us the strength and the courage because of his death and resurrection.

Here are the vital stats for the book of Joshua:

Purpose: To give the history of Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land

Author: Joshua, except for the ending, which may have been written by the high priest Phinehas, an eyewitness to the events recounted there

Setting: Canaan, also called the Promised Land, which occupied the same general geographical territory of modern-day Israel

Key Verse: “Go through the camp and tell the people. ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.’” (1:11)

Key People: Joshua, Rahab, Achan, Phinehas, Eleazar

Key Places: Jericho, Ai, Mount Ebal, Mount Gerizim, Gebeon, Gilgal, Shiloh, Shechem

Special Feature: Out of over a million people, Joshua and Caleb were the only two who left Egypt and entered the Promised Land

One quick note about the name Joshua: it means “The Lord Saves” and is the Hebrew version of the Aramaic Jesus. You might guess that Joshua is a type of Christ (remember typology from a few weeks back?). Keep this in your mind as you read this book.

The New Testament
A few things jumped out at me as I read through the readings from Luke this week. After our readings in the Old Testament about washings, the section at the end of chapter 11 (readings for April 6th) where Jesus really blasts the Pharisees makes more sense to me. Jesus really lets them have it for only worrying about the outside things. He tells them in no uncertain terms that God looks at the inside as well and they need to get their act straight. In Luke 7 Jesus says some hard things. Jesus tells us that if we want to be his disciple we need to hate other things. I have always struggled with this statement. In my seminary class last week we talked about the word “hate” and how it is used in the New Testament. This is another word that we translate the Greek literally but it has some Hebrew meaning. In Hebrew this word means that we prefer one thing over the other but not necessarily at the expense of the other. In the Old Testament we read that Jacob “hated” his wife Leah, but he still cared for her, he had children with her and he provided for her. This does not sound like the “hate” we think of. Now it is true that Jacob preferred Rebekah, but he did not “hate” Leah as we see it. I hope this sheds some light on this passage for you. We are to prefer following Jesus over all others. We will still need to carry our cross and count the cost and that will only be possible with the help of the Holy Spirit.

One quick comment from one of our readings this week: In Psalm 78:41 (April 7th) a reference to the “Holy One of Israel” is found. We will see this term often when we get into Isaiah and some of the other prophets. This term refers to the promised Messiah and when you see it you can be certain that this is talking about the coming of Christ.

Where We Are Going

The Old Testament
The book of Joshua will tell about the military conquest of the people in the Promised Land. Don’t get bogged down with the details. You might want to look at a map so you can keep the places straight. The one thing we will see is that the people don’t always do exactly what the LORD commanded. This will come back to haunt the people soon. For the mean time look how Joshua leads the people. He will show that he is strong and courageous.

The New Testament
We will see more teachings of Jesus along with a few miracles and parables. We are reaching the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and we will be getting into the story of the passion soon. Pay close attention to what Jesus has to say about money and riches this week.

Key Verses
Deuteronomy 29:15
Deuteronomy 30:6
Deuteronomy 31:6
Luke 12:22-31
Luke 12:39-40
Joshua 4:14
Luke 14:33
Luke 15:7

Have a blessed Easter!!!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The One Year Bible: April 5, 2006

It is April and we have read more than a quarter of the Bible together this year!! Congratulations! I was a bit behind this week and had to double up my readings the last three days to get it all in. Don’t worry if this happens to you. Just keep plugging along. On to the study for today...

Where We Have Been

The Old Testament
A few things caught my attention this week and I wanted to make mention of them. Remember the scene here. Moses is giving a pep talk and history lesson to the people on the eastern side of the Jordan River. The people are about to enter the land of the promise under the leadership of Joshua. Moses cannot enter because of his actions in the wilderness. The dietary restrictions of the people serve a two-fold purpose. First of all, God was setting these people apart to be special in doing so he has selected their diet. This was a health thing. Many of the foods that were unclean were also potential health hazards. These animals carried diseases and God was making sure the people were healthy. Secondly, these restrictions served as a way for the people to be obedient to God. They could show their willingness to follow by adhering to the dietary restrictions. Most Jews still practice many of these laws and they have been expanded and interpreted in many ways. You can find kosher foods in most stores now days. If you look for the kosher label (a circle with a K inside) you can be sure that this product is made under the strict standards of modern Jewish law. The question remains, why don’t we all follow these guidelines? The answer is complex on the one hand but the simple answer is that we have freedom in Christ. We live under the new covenant of Grace and we no longer are subject to all the rules and regulations of the law, of which part is dietary restrictions. Does this mean we can do whatever we want? Well, yes, and no. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me—but I will not be mastered by anything.” More about this when we get to that section of the New Testament. The other thing that jumped out at me was this: What is God’s deal with blood? He seems to have a fascination with blood. In our society and culture blood has become taboo. It carries disease and it reminds us of death and many get squeamish around it. I think this was probably the case for many back in the Old Testament as well. For the Israelites, blood means life. In fact the word for blood is sometimes used as a synonym for life. The life of the organism is in its blood. Blood was a key part of the sacrifice. God required punishment for sins and he accepted the life (ie. blood) of an animal in our place. This concept gets further expanded when the blood of Jesus is shed for us. His life (and blood) were given for us for our forgiveness. Now in communion his blood (ie life) is offered for the forgiveness of sins. So the blood thing my gross you out but it is vitally important to understand the sacrificial system and how Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice.

The New Testament
A few books could be written regarding our reading for the past week in Luke. Just two things I want to touch on today. If you have other things you want to discuss please feel free to make some comments and I will get some information for you. In Luke 9, right after the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus takes some time out with his disciples. They get away from the crowds and pray. This is just a short interlude, a mini-retreat if you will. But in this time we have some very profound events. Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do people say I am?” In the moment Peter gives a wonderful confession of faith, “You are the Messiah”. This was a big step for most Jews. They were waiting for the Messiah to come and when Peter gives this profession of faith he is saying that he now believes that the Messiah has come and that he is right in front of him. Jesus goes on to describe his mission on the earth, to suffer, be rejected, and to be killed, but be raised again. This was not at all the kind of Messiah the Jews were expecting. The key here is the profession of faith by Peter. The other passage that I found interesting this week is in Chapter 11. Jesus talks about the sign of Jonah. What is Jonah doing here in the New Testament? Matthew records that Jesus talked about Jonah as well. You remember the story. Jonah was the prophet who was sent to Nineveh but he didn’t want to go. God made sure he got there by sending a storm and then Jonah was swallowed up by a big fish. Jesus uses this common story to describe his ministry. “But the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah. What happened to him was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had sent him. What happens to the Son Of Man will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God.” Jonah is seen as a “type” of Christ. And his three days in the belly of the fish parallel the three days that Jesus will be in the belly of the earth. Very interesting stuff indeed.

Where We Are Going

The Old Testament
We will be finishing up the book of Deuteronomy and we will move into the book of Joshua. I will give you the vital stats of Joshua next week. Just before Moses dies he sings a song of praise and then blesses the tribes. He is now ready to hand over authority to Joshua.

The New Testament
We will be reading a lot of the teachings this week. Look how Jesus uses stories and analogies like a good teacher. We are still a few weeks away from the story of the Passion in Luke.

Key Verses

Psalm 71:22-23
Luke 9:20
Luke 9:48
Luke 10:9-10
Deuteronomy 21:23 (can you see the illusion to Jesus?)

Have a wonderful week!!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Parish Theme- April

The Toll-Road
Our Journey in Jesus

Our Journey in Jesus takes us on many roads of life. Some of the roads of life are under construction and bumpy, others are risky and treacherous - roads with black ice or wintry conditions. One of the greatest joys of life is when we enjoy experience smooth sailing!

But I must confess that I am afraid of toll roads. I know, it sounds silly, but it’s true. My fear is that I will reach the tollbooth and not be able to pay the toll. I remember being on toll roads across the country that did not have an attendant. Drivers needed exact change. Since I usually don’t carry cash I worry that I’ll end up on a toll road and not have any money. Then what will happen? Will I get a ticket? Will I call the police and explain my humiliating situation? Will I just wait for a care to arrive and beg for change?

Eventually, our road of life will come to an end and we will reach a final tollbooth—eternity. This eternal tollbooth may be intimidating to people. Will they have enough loose change to pay the toll? Will they have enough good works to pay the toll? Our goodness cannot pay the tollbooth of eternity.

In Luther’s explanation of the 2nd Article of the Apostles Creed, we read about how Jesus Christ paid the cost of this toll. “I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father form eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and earth, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.”

Jesus Christ paid the toll for us. His death and resurrection paid the price and guarantees us eternal life! Let us rejoice in Him and because of Him.

--Ingrid Johnson, Minister of Youth

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