Monday, November 26, 2018

November 24-26, 2018 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: John 18:3-37 (EHV) “IN THE PRESENCE OF THE KING!”


CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY

November 24-26, 2018

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: John 18:3-37 (EHV)



“IN THE PRESENCE OF THE KING!”

1.     Skeptical Questioning.

2.     Careful Listening.



John 18:33-37 (EHV)  Pilate went back into the Praetorium and summoned Jesus. He asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight so that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here.” 37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked.

Jesus answered, “I am, as you say, a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”



          So how do you act in the presence of a king? That’s a tough question to answer because I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that none of us have ever had a personal audience with someone like a governor or president or royalty from another nation. I’ve seen on TV how some people reacted in the presence of the King of  rock and roll, Elvis Presley. Kids you should google it. You’ll see how  grandma may have acted, screaming, swooning, fainting in the presence of that “king.” I don’t get it. Many Americans continue to be a little infatuated with British royalty, another thing I don’t get. If that’s you how do you think you’d react with a personal audience with the Queen or a princess?

          In God’s word today we see how a man named Pontius Pilate reacted in the presence of a king, not just any king, but the King of kings, Jesus Christ himself. As we join Pilate he finds himself in a tough spot, actually tougher than he knew. Our Bible reading is a portion of the passion history of Jesus. Jesus was arrested by the Jewish leaders who were jealous of him. They wanted him dead but had a problem. They didn’t have the authority to legally give him the death penalty. The Jewish nation was a conquered nation under the authority of the Roman empire. Pilate is the governor, there to represent the best interests of the Roman emperor. The Jewish leaders have now brought Jesus to Pilate and asked for the death penalty. They accused Jesus of causing a revolt, something sure to get Pilate’s attention. And that leads us to what Pilate thought was his tough spot. On the one side he has an angry group of Jews accusing a man of treason. On the other side he has a demanding emperor who will only be happy with Pilate if he keeps the peace. Compounding the issue is the fact that Pilate is no political dummy. He knows the charges are fake. On top of that his wife told him she had had a dream warning about the innocent man, Jesus, something sure to grab the attention of a superstitious Roman. What to do? Appease the angry crowd and keep the peace by killing an innocent man or stand up for what he knew to be right? That’s the tough spot Pilate thought he was in. But it wasn’t the real one. The real one is that Pilate was in the presence of the King and he didn’t know it. Let’s see how he acts.

          Pilate went back into the Praetorium and summoned Jesus. He asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight so that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here.” 37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked.” How did Pilate react in the presence of the King? With skeptical questioning. Are you the king of the Jews? Am I a Jew? What have you done? You are a king then? You see Pilate was focused on trying to find a way out of his little problem. He judged by what he saw with his eyes and did not find Jesus to be very kingly.

          There is a different response that should have happened. Careful listening to the King, Jesus. “Jesus answered, “I am, as you say, a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Jesus says it plainly. He is a king. Not just any king but the King of kings, Christ the King. Not of a puny kingdom of this world that rises and falls, that must use soldiers to fight to maintain peace and keep control of the kingdom. Jesus kingdom is in this world but not of this world. Jesus’ kingdom exists wherever he lives and rules in the hearts of believers. It is here in Greenfield. It is in Vietnam and Thailand. It is in Malawi and Zambia. It’s a kingdom ruled by love where Christ the King’s sacrifice to pay for sin wins hearts that love Him in return and want to serve Him. It is an everlasting kingdom having its roots in Jesus’ establishment and lasting forever with its greatest fulfillment in what we normally call heaven. Citizens of Jesus’ kingdom listen carefully to what He says. Sadly Pilate did not.

          But we are not here to talk about Pilate today, are we? We are here to talk about Jesus and our relationship to Him. Listen please to some generalized characteristics of the various generations living in America these days. If you were born between 1927 and 1945 you are known as the Mature/Silents. Many but not all of the Mature Silents have solid core values that reflect Biblical morality and are certain there are absolute truths. They are willing to sacrifice self for others. If you were born between 1946 and 1964 you are classified as a Baby Boomer.  Many, but not all, baby boomers  are classified as extremely self centered and get their core values on right and wrong based on personal experience. If you were born between 1965 and 1980 like I was you are thrown in with Generation X.  Many, but not all Generation Xers are described also as very “me” centered. All core values of right and wrong are relative and all beliefs must be tolerated. If you were born between 1981 and 2000 you belong to Generation Y/Millennials. Many, but not all, have always been told how special they are so they expect everyone else to treat them that way. Many apparently believe everything on the internet is truth so that and social media give them their rights and wrongs. And finally if you were born after 2001 you are Generation Z/Boomlets. Many but not all of this group spend more time looking at a screen than any other generation. They don’t as a group yet have a defined set of core values. You are Lutherans so you are sitting there asking, “What does this mean?” I’m a Lutheran pastor so I will tell you. It means that almost all of the living generations of people in America as a whole would act like Pontius Pilate in the presence of the King.  They skeptically question what Jesus says in the Bible. They feel free to substitute their own truth. And that is no way to treat the King.

          But what about you? You noticed as I went through every generation I said, “Many, but not all.” You would be foolish to think you can’t be influenced by the society you live in. You would be foolish to underestimate the power of the King. The Holy Spirit lives in you. You don’t have to be lumped with your generation. Pilate was at a disadvantage. He did not know Jesus was the King. He let appearances deceive Him. You and I are different. We know Jesus is the King. We show we belong to Him by careful listening to His voice. By letting Him establish our truth. When the evolutionist attacks the truth of creation and tries to argue for a statistical impossibility of even one positive mutation happening in both a male and female of a species at the same time so they could reproduce you will not sway because Jesus has told us the Creation account is the truth. When the abortionist argues for the right to murder calling the baby just tissue or too life changing you will not be swayed because Jesus has put his protection on children and wants them all to come to Him and so every life is precious. When the Devil uses society’s pressures to try to get you to be open to the idea of different gods and many ways to salvation you will remember how you carefully listened to the voice of Jesus who plainly said no one can come to the Father except through Him.

          The Bible tells us that the day is coming when everyone will acknowledge Jesus as the King of kings. Every knee will bow. But we don’t have to wait for that day. Every day we live in the presence of the King. He is with you always just as He promised. Do you know how to act in the presence of the King? With careful listening to His voice and accepting it for what it is. The truth. Amen.

Monday, November 12, 2018

November 10-12, 2018 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Malachi 4:1-2 (EHV) “THE DAY IS COMING!”


LAST JUDGMENT

November 10-12, 2018

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Malachi 4:1-2 (EHV)



THE DAY IS COMING!”

1.     A day of absolute Hell.

2.     A day of absolute Heaven.



Malachi 4:1-2 (EHV) “Look! The day is coming, burning like a blast furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble. The day that is coming will set them on fire, says the LORD of Armies, a day that will not leave behind a root or branch for them. 2But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise, and there will be healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.”



          Do you have a favorite day of the church year? I’m thinking of other than the main festivals like Christmas or Easter. If I had to pick one I’d choose next Sunday, known as Saints Triumphant Sunday. I love that Sunday because it focuses our attention on the joy and happiness of brothers and sisters who have made it from this veil of tears to the triumph of heaven. With both my parents in heaven Saints Triumphant Sunday puts a smile on my face as I picture them there. Hymns for that day like “Behold a Host arrayed in white” with its picture language. I still remember when my dad called to let me know my mom just went to heaven and I walked through the church on the way to my office and Mickey Schultz was practicing for Saints Triumphant Sunday playing “For all the Saints”. That’s a great memory. That’s why I would pick next Sunday as my favorite. And if I’d have to pick a least favorite it would be this Sunday, Last or Final Judgment. The list of hymns written especially for this Sunday include the one we just sang, “The Day is Surely Drawing Near,” and one we will sing, “Day of wrath O Day of Mourning.” An old hymnal also had what must have been a favorite, “Day of wrath that dreadful day.” And then I started to wonder. Why is it that I don’t like something the Bible clearly teaches, the fact that our Holy God makes just judgments and the last day they will be announced and for some it will be a day of wrath and mourning? And that set me down another path. We hold a service once a month at Forest Ridge apartments in Hales Corners. All they have for us to use for hymnals are ones produced by the Methodist Church from the mid 1980s. You know I couldn’t find one hymn in there that even alluded to the fact that at the Day of judgment unbelievers go to Hell. It made me wonder. Has our enemy the Devil been at work in the church on earth? Is he at work on me? Poll after poll still show that the majority of Americans believe there is some kind of heaven but fewer believe there is a Hell. Our enemy has been at work! For if there is no Hell, then there is no need for rescue, for a Savior. That’s what he’s trying to do, to get rid of Jesus.          Not so among us. While Last Judgment may not be my favorite Sunday of the church year and while I might not like the contents or melodies of Last Judgment hymns and you may feel the same, this is a message we need to hear. The Day is coming.

          The Day is coming! That’s a message God wants all people to hear. So He put it in a prominent place. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament. Chapter 4 is the last chapter of that book. Malachi was the last prophet God would use to speak His words until Jesus would come some 400 years later. What was the last word that God wanted His people to remember so they would be ready to receive their Savior? The Day is coming. What day? Judgment Day. A day of absolute Hell. “Look! The day is coming, burning like a blast furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble. The day that is coming will set them on fire, says the LORD of Armies, a day that will not leave behind a root or branch for them.” Malachi directs our attention to the day that is coming. It is not a good day for the arrogant and evil doer. Who are they? When we think of arrogance or evil, we in these days, think of those who arrogantly commit the evil of taking other’s lives in these mass shootings. That is arrogant and that is evil. But what is most arrogant and evil is to reject Jesus as Savior. God could have justly destroyed the world when Adam and Eve plunged it into sin. Instead in love God put into place His plan of salvation. He did so even though it meant Jesus would have to be punished for every sin. Heaven is a free gift for all. To reject God’s way of saving through Jesus or to in any way suggest that our own good deeds can pay what Jesus paid for is a slap in God’s face, spitting in His eye and taking Jesus and throwing Him into an outhouse. That is arrogance and evil. And for those who do so the day is coming. Absolute Hell.

          Hell is consistently described in the Bible as a place of eternal burning, hopelessness and despair. When God says not a root or a branch will be left. He means no second chance. No hope. Just despair. This is not a pretty picture. It is absolute Hell. Some of you may remember a book that was made into a movie, “Heaven is for real!” Did you know there was another book written? Hell is for real. Not a best seller. No blockbuster movie. Not what people want to hear. And yet the Day is coming. A day of absolute Hell.

And at the same time a day of absolute Heaven!  The Word of God goes on. “But,” now I hesitate to say this because I know how your juvenile minds work. However you need to understand this is a really big but. It means everything that follows is the opposite of what you heard before. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise, and there will be healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.” You are described as those who revere the Lord’s name. Revere has that idea of loving respect, wanting someone’s approval. That’s a good description of believers. We know the Lord as the Savior God. We know we deserve punishment for our sins. We know that we can’t make up for even one sin. We sadly see what Jesus has gone through instead of us when He was forsaken on the cross. At the same time we are happy and thankful for it. For Judgment Day, the day that is coming, we will be among those who see a day of absolute heaven.

Malachi describes our judgment day as the sun of righteousness rising with healing in its wings. Picture the sun rising and feeling its rays warm you on a cool fall day. That’s a picture of the Son, Jesus, who by rising from the dead has his forgiveness of sins touching every believer. Maybe a picture will help. It’s judgment day. You have watched the line of unbelievers stand before the judge. You hear the long litany of their sins revealed. You see their shame and despair. Now it’s your turn. You walk forward and sweat is beading on your brow. You see family members, neighbors, co-workers and you dread them hearing the sins you have worked so hard to keep hidden. Now they will know what you said about them behind their backs. They will hear what you really thought. The shameful embarrassing sins you thought to keep secret. Exposed! Reluctantly you step forward. The judge says. “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. You made sure I knew I had a Savior. You served the needs of others. Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your Master’s happiness.” And so you leap for joy like a calf getting to run free for the first time. It’s absolute heaven. You are sin free. Pain free. Healed from every sickness of sin, body and heart. That day is coming. Absolute heaven.

Brothers and sisters, I began today expressing the truth that the reality of Hell is something we need to talk about as much as the reality of heaven. It’s what we need to hear so we see our need for Jesus as Savior and appreciate what He has done. This Day that is coming, the last day, Judgment Day is when God will make public what happens the day you die. Do you die trusting in Jesus or rejecting Him? You younger people especially need to understand that the Devil is going to work hard on you to give up your faith in Jesus, to not value it and take care of it and feed with regular word, worship and sacrament. Take heed. The Day is coming! Only with Jesus is it absolute heaven. But friends, others need to hear too. The unbelievers. We can snatch them from the fires. This Christmas churches of the WELS throughout the nation are banding together with the goal of inviting one million unchurched people to come and hear the Good News of a Savior. St. Jacobi is joining that effort and we’ll talk more about your part at the end of service. We need to. For the day is coming. Amen.

Monday, October 22, 2018

October 20-22, 2018 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Luke 12:27-34 “WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS…”


STEWARDSHIP

October 20-22, 2018

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Luke 12:27-34



“WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS…”

1.     Let’s check where God’s treasure is.

2.     Let’s check where our treasure is.



Luke 12:27-34 (NIV 1984) “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”



          Today we are going to be talking about money so if that will bother you, you should probably leave. For visitors here today please don’t go away thinking we are one of those churches where all they talk about is money. We aren’t. We are actually one of those churches where all they talk about is Jesus and since Jesus sometimes talked about money we sometimes do too. So if talking about money at church bothers you maybe you shouldn’t leave because the only reason Jesus is going to be talking about money is to draw us further into His kingdom.

          He does that in Luke 12. First Jesus warned the people he loved against adopting the values of the society they lived in which valued pride in outward obedience over humble repentance in the heart. Not really much different from ours. He then warned the people against placing too much value in money and placing their trusting in the size of their bank accounts rather than God. And then in our reading he followed with the reason why. Where your treasure is there your heart will be. Did you hear that correctly?  He didn’t say, “Where your heart is you will put your treasure, your money.” He said, “Where your treasure is, your heart will be!” Your heart follows where you put your treasure. There’s another way of saying that. “Follow the money.” That phrase has many uses but in essence it says if you follow the money you will get to the heart of the matter.

          Let’s do that with God. Let’s check where His treasure is. Follow the money. Only we realize God uses a different form of currency. Gold is paving material in heaven. Worthless. Diamonds as valuable as glass. What is God’s currency? Not with gold or silver but with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death. That’s the price God paid. His treasure is His Son. Now follow the money trail. No follow the blood trail. For whom does Jesus bleed? Follow the blood when it drips from His head as the crown of thorns is smashed down again and again. Follow the blood as His back is laid open with a Roman scourge. Follow it as it drips from his chin as he staggers under the cross. Follow it as it bleeds anew when the spikes go into foot and hand. God’s treasure trail leads to you. God spent His treasure on you. He spends His one and only Son Jesus on you to free you from your sins, to keep you out of Hell. God spent His treasure on you and so that’s where His heart is. He cares most about you. Listen to what He says!

          “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”  “Don’t be afraid.” God says, “My heart is yours. Look what I do for what I created that does not have my heart. I take care of my creation. I will take care of you. Don’t be afraid,” God says. “I spent my Son for you and it pleases me to give the kingdom.” Did you hear that? You own a kingdom. You are royalty. Kings. Queens. Princesses and Princes. Because God put his treasure on you.

          Now why is the Lord telling us these things? To help us in our weakness. To help us avoid falling into the trap of the unbeliever and putting your treasure on what will not last because where you put your treasure your heart is going to be. Listen to what He says. “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” God wants you to have lasting blessings that won’t wear out or be destroyed. He’s talking about people. Only people go to heaven, not things. To work to get people in heaven is divine.

          But hard to prioritize. Sell what you have and give to those who don’t have. Even pagans agree that is noble. But how far do you go? Jesus knows we will never be perfect in this. That’s why He was perfect for us. Jesus also knows we can be better so He encourages us. “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” What are things we might put our treasures towards and set our hearts on? The people that Jesus was talking to were poor. Their treasure, their money would be spent on food and drink the things that they needed. We will be a little different because we are rich. Not feeling rich are you? Well consider this. Rich people wonder what they will eat for their next meal. Poor people wonder when they will get their next meal. Rich people wonder if their clothes look good on them. Poor people wonder if their clothes will keep them warm at night. Rich people complain about how much it cost to fix their car. Poor people don’t have car. Got it? And so my fellow richies where is your treasure? Follow the money. It will show you where your heart is.

          For us rich people it won’t be the necessities. If you buy a case of toilet paper at Costco your heart won’t be there. You have to. It’s needed. I’m talking about where you are putting your treasure when you don’t have to. If an auditor came and checked your wants not needs spending where would they find your treasure at? Alcohol? Restaurant eating? Club sports? Clothing? Golf? Now don’t misunderstand me. It is not wrong at all for us to enjoy things. God chose to put us in a wealthy country and God has given us wealth. But friends, it is not a good sign for our hearts if we don’t bat an eye at paying $700 for a seat a game or concert or $3000 for a nice vacation or $4000 for our kids extra curricular activities but inwardly cringe at and can’t get ourselves to give $5000 to spread the Gospel and save souls for heaven. There is no wiggle room here. Jesus is black and white. Where your treasure is there your heart will be. If your treasure is with Jesus your heart will be there too but if your treasure isn’t with Jesus don’t fool yourself, your heart isn’t there either.

          I have to confess to you that there was a time, when I was in high school, if you had told me that to win a football championship game I would have to blow out my knee I would have said, “Sign me up!” I was willing to spend the treasure of my knee. You can guess where my heart was. Now most of you are thinking Pastor was sure a dumb kid and you’d be right. Juvenile priorities. In my defense I was a kid. And now I have grown. I don’t  think that way anymore. As you check where your treasure is if it reveals something you don’t want to see or admit to, turn back to these words of Jesus. He not only tells you what to do but gives you what you need to do it. “But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Jesus loves you. He forgives you and me for misplaced priorities in high school and old age. He knows we can’t be perfect in this or any other way so He was perfect for us. He also knows we can get better. So He promises, He promises, that when we put our treasure on Him and for His kingdom He will give those things we do need, that will provide lasting happiness. For then our treasures and our hearts will always and only be with Jesus. Amen.


Monday, October 1, 2018

September 29-October 1, 2018 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: 2 Kings 6:8-17 “THOSE WHO ARE WITH US!”


ST MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS

September 29-October 1, 2018

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: 2 Kings 6:8-17



“THOSE WHO ARE WITH US!”

1.     Mighty servants of God.

2.     Mighty servants of God’s people.



2 Kings 6:8-17 (NIV 1984) “Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.” 9The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places. 11This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?” 12“None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.” 13“Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. 16“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”



          It seems to me there are two spiritually dangerous mistakes we can make when it comes to God’s angels. The first is to adore them, to treat them greater than they are. Even our brother, John the Apostle, fell into that one. He was the one given the Revelation which is written down as the last book of the Bible. An angel delivered that revelation to him and he was so overwhelmed by the vision, so in awe of the angel, that he wrote this about himself,  I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!” (Revelation 22:8-9) How painful that must have been for John to own up to, getting rebuked by an angel. No you don’t want to adore angels, worship them, pray to them, in any way treat them as God. You also don’t want to ignore angels, act or live as they don’t exist, that God does not have them all around us, guarding and protecting us. If this was the 90’s we’d probably be talking about adoring them. If you remember that was when the angel craze was in full swing. Even in the early 2000’s I remember seeing ads in the Journal Sentinel with someone setting up shop at a local hotel meeting room offering to help you get in touch with your own personal angel, for a price, of course. No, instead I wonder if God’s people today aren’t more likely to ignore God’s angels. We live at a time with heightened concerns for safety, and rightly so. As we march to the end of the world there will be more wickedness and evil and people who do evil. We can tend to live in fear, too much fear, for people whose God is the Lord who commands the angel armies.

          If fear that forgets the presence of God’s angels describes you in anyway you are not alone. You heard in our reading of a brother in faith found himself very afraid, and with reason. The nation of Aram, where Syria is today, was raiding the nation of Israel. Whenever the king of Aram planned an ambush to destroy Israel’s army, God, through Elisha, warned the king of Israel. As you can imagine the king of Aram thought he had a spy in his camp. But his men told him, “No! There is a prophet of God named Elisha. He’s telling them where they are.” So the king of Aram sent soldiers to capture Elisha.

          Then this happened.  “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.” Can you blame him? Imagine you woke up in the morning and the breaking news was that Milwaukee was surrounded by troops from the People’s Republic of China. We’d be asking, “What shall we do?” Our thoughts would likely not be centered on the protection God provides through angels. Elisha’s was. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Those who are with us, we are going to find out, are the angels, mighty servants of God and God’s people. Who then are the “those who are with them?” Well the angels’ opposites of course, the fallen angels, we call demons. These attacks on Israel were prompted by demons who were using Aram’s greed and pride to try to wipe out the people who carried the Savior with them. That, God would not let happen. He provided those who are with us, angels. “And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” Angels. Mighty servants of God were sent by Him. They appeared as an army. Reminds me of the angels, the cherubim, guarding the Garden of Eden with a sword. Not little babies with tiny bows and arrows. Mighty servants. Of God. They serve Him. In the Bible we see angels serving God as messengers, taking to people the good news of salvation in Jesus. We see them serving God by praising Him for how great He is. We see angels serving God by protecting His people. The angels are powerful. God has given them the power to do things that are impossible for us, like be invisible and the appear, like making it so people cannot see for a time, like ending the lives of those who try to harm God’s people, these and many more for the mighty servants of God.

          And they also serve God’s people. You picked that up from the reading in Hebrews, didn’t you? Look again at the last verse of that reading. “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Those who will inherit salvation, that’s you and me. Because the one who is greater than all angels, Jesus Christ, gave His life as a ransom, because the Holy Spirit worked in your life to bring you to faith through the Gospel and keep you in faith, you will inherit salvation. And the angels, the mighty servants of God, are serving you, God’s people. They are all around us though most often unseen like with Elisha and his servant. They are here right now. The Bible tells us they long to look into and understand the truths of Scripture. They love to worship the Lord. Though they have no physical form they have appeared as human beings and some have entertained them without knowing it. And they do a lot of helping and guarding and protecting. The Devil and the demons who were behind the attack on the prophet Elisha want to hurt us too. The angels stop them. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them. They help God’s people like getting the Apostle Peter out of jail or helping lift a car off of a person. I still remember Clarence Zastrow telling me how his neighbor who had fallen whose weight was beyond Clarence’s strength was thanking him for helping her up and he didn’t know how that could possibly be. I still remember the triple rollover crash I and my friend survived in college. 60 MPH with no seat belts and all he got was a little scratch. I had nothing. Angels. Mighty servants of God and His people. This doesn’t give us the right to be foolish. Jesus refused to jump from the Temple when Satan urged him to trust God’s promise of angel protection. It doesn’t mean that we should stop being safety conscious. It does mean that because Jesus has made us heirs of salvation we don’t have to live in fear and worry for ourselves and our children. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.

          Those who are with us. Angels are mighty servants, of God and of you, God’s people. So don’t ignore ‘em. God has them here for a reason. To give us comfort and peace in a world where sinful people do evil things. But don’t adore ‘em. They are servants of God so it’s only Him that we praise. Amen.

Monday, September 17, 2018

September 15-17, 2018 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Isaiah 50:4-10 FOLLOW JESUS IN THE FACE OF SUFFERING


PENTECOST 17

September 15-17, 2018

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Isaiah 50:4-10



FOLLOW JESUS IN THE FACE OF SUFFERING

                                                1. Expect It.

                                                2. Endure It.

                                                3. Embrace It.



Isaiah 50:4-10 (NIV 1984) The Sovereign Lord has given Me an instructed tongue, to know the Word that sustains the weary. He wakens Me morning by morning, wakens My ear to listen like one being taught. 5The Sovereign Lord has opened My ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. 6I offered My back to those who beat Me, My cheeks to those who pulled out My beard; I did not hide My face from mocking and spitting. 7Because the Sovereign Lord helps Me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set My face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. 8He who vindicates Me is near. Who then will bring charges against Me? Let us face each other! Who is My accuser? Let him confront Me! 9It is the Sovereign Lord who helps Me. Who is he that will condemn Me? They will all wear out like a garment; the moths will eat them up. 10Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the Word of His Servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”



          Have you ever heard the word “utopia?” If you have you know it’s the idea or concept or desire to build a perfect place to live, a perfect society here on earth. That philosophy is really just an extension of man’s idea that we can fix anything, that this life can be perfect, if we work hard enough and try hard enough. A pop singer from the famous 80’s crooned “Ooh heaven is a place on earth.” Um, no it’s not. Heaven is heaven.  And earth, Earth has struggles, problems, sin and suffering. Life is not fair. Sometimes the guilty go free and the innocent pay the price. You can do everything right and be kind and people will turn on you. You can exercise, don’t drink, don’t smoke and still have a heart attack. Earth is no heaven. It will never be perfect. You know it. I know it. It will be that way until the Lord comes back on the last day and makes all things new. But God has not left us alone or helpless as we deal with suffering. There is help and hope and comfort. As we continue the Pentecost season emphasis of growing in our Christian faith life God’s words for us today urge us to follow Jesus in the face of suffering.

          The words of God we are looking at written down in the book of Isaiah are actually Jesus speaking through Isaiah 700 hundred years before He was born to the virgin Mary. He is the servant. And before he ever steps foot on His earth as Jesus He knows that His job description includes suffering. The Sovereign Lord has given Me an instructed tongue, to know the Word that sustains the weary. He wakens Me morning by morning, wakens My ear to listen like one being taught. 5The Sovereign Lord has opened My ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. 6I offered My back to those who beat Me, My cheeks to those who pulled out My beard; I did not hide My face from mocking and spitting.” When you realize this is Jesus talking it makes sense. His Father, the Sovereign almighty ruling Lord, had passed on the plan of salvation. In order to be the Savior Jesus would suffer. Though He had done no wrong he would be beaten by Roman soldiers, mocked and spit upon. Because sin, defiance of God, is so bad to save sinners Jesus would pay the price. He would be forsaken of God. He would suffer. And He knew it. Nothing that happened to Jesus was a surprise to Him. Think of how many times He told His disciples what would happen. They were surprised when it did. Jesus was not. He expected suffering.

          Do you expect to suffer for doing what is right or are you surprised when it happens? Last week as Pastor Bivens encouraged us follow Jesus in serving He reminded us of Jesus’ words. “A servant is not above His master. If they hated me they are going to hate you too.” Think about it with your reason controlled by your faith. If Jesus who is perfect suffered in this life, if the sinless Son of God suffered, why wouldn’t those who are imperfect and sinful? So why are you surprised Christian parent when your kids get mad at you when you enforce the rules or when they aren’t allowed to do what everyone else is doing? Why are you surprised Christian worker when the cheater, backbiter and manipulator gets away with it at work and your faithfulness goes unnoticed? Why are your surprised Christian student when you are made fun of or feel uncomfortable with all the sin around you? Why are we surprised that a congregation that holds to all of God’s teachings is not as popular as the feel goods? A servant is not above His master, is He? Follow Jesus in the face of suffering and expect it.

          Follow Jesus and endure it. “Because the Sovereign Lord helps Me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set My face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. 8He who vindicates Me is near. Who then will bring charges against Me? Let us face each other! Who is My accuser? Let him confront Me! 9It is the Sovereign Lord who helps Me. Who is he that will condemn Me? They will all wear out like a garment; the moths will eat them up.”  Jesus has an edge here, doesn’t he? He’s ready to fight the fight of a Christian solider. He sets His face like flint. He knows that to be the Savior He must endure. So when He is falsely accused He doesn’t throw a fit, a “How could you?” or threaten to sue. He remains silent. Though He is the Son of God with all power He does not retaliate. He takes it. When He is taunted to come down from the cross to prove He is the Son of God He ignores it. Why? He knows it will pass. He won’t be left disgraced. His endurance of suffering will not put Him to shame. His almighty Father would help him. Those who caused Him to suffer would fade away. He endured.

          You can follow Jesus and endure too. Are you at one of those times when you are dealing with unjust suffering? Where you have done what is right and someone else is attacking you and accusing you? Are you dealing with an injustice at work, school or home? Are you tired of Christian bashing? Follow Jesus and endure. Set your face like flint. Pull on your big Christian pants. Buck up little trooper. This too will pass. The Sovereign Lord is your helper. Endure.

          But you can do even better than stoic endurance as you follow Jesus in the face of suffering. You can embrace it. Quick review. Jesus knew that if He took the role of Messiah, Savior, He would suffer horribly and unjustly. He came anyway. He did not turn away. He came willingly. In the midst of His suffering He did not back away, throw Himself a pity party or whine, cry, complain, “That’s not fair!” How? Why? The book of Hebrews gives us a little insight into that. In Hebrews 12:2 we are told, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  For the joy set before Him. Jesus had his eyes on the prize. Jesus had us in mind. It gave Him joy to know He would win us for God and save us for eternity. Like a mom who knows if she gets pregnant what her body will go through yet for the prospect of joy goes through it and embraces it. Jesus embraced suffering by looking to the good that would come.

          You can too. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. Follow Him in suffering and embrace it for the joy set before. Brothers and sisters, when we suffer for what is right, when we get treated unfairly whether that’s by our own kids, or our own parents, by the Christ rejecting society we live in or even by a brother or sister in faith who is following their sinful nature rather than Christ there is a joy set before us—to be like Christ. We servants can in some small measure be like our Master and it is evidence that we belong to Him. Do not misunderstand me. If you are a jerk to other people, if you are mean and spiteful, if you have a sharp tongue, are conniving and scheming and lie and manipulate and no one wants to be around you or be your friend or help you, that is on you. You need to change and repent. That’s the suffering of sin. But when you have sufferings that just happen because the world is ruined and especially when you suffer for doing what is right follow Christ. And then like those same disciples we heard about in the Gospel lesson who at that point were all about dodging suffering we will instead be like them after Jesus ascended when they were whipped and went away rejoicing. Why?  Because they had been counted worthy of suffering for the kingdom of God. Bring it on! Amen.

Monday, August 27, 2018

August 25-27, 2018 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18 (EHV) “CHOOSE!”


PENTECOST 14

August 25-27, 2018

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18 (EHV)



“CHOOSE!”

1.     gods

Or

2.     GOD!



Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18 (EHV) “Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, and he summoned the elders of Israel, its heads, its judges, and its officers, and they presented themselves before God. 2Then Joshua told all the people, “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly and faithfully. Remove the gods that your fathers served in the region across the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15But if you see no benefit in serving the LORD, then choose for yourselves today whomever you will serve—whether the gods that your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household—we will serve the LORD!” 16The people responded by saying, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD in order to serve other gods! 17For the LORD our God, he is the one who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, where we were slaves. He is the one who performed these great signs right before our eyes and protected us on the whole journey that we made and among all the peoples through whom we passed. 18The LORD drove out of our presence all the peoples and the Amorites who were living in the land. We too will serve the LORD, because he is our God!”



          Choices. We make all kinds of them every day. We make choices on small things. What will I wear today? What time do I set the alarm for? What will we eat? We make choices on big things. Fix the car or get another one? Do I accept the job offer? Every choice we make whether little or big has potential consequences for our lives. Food choices can affect our health. Clothing choices can effect what other people think of us. Car choices effect our wallets. Jobs can dictate much of the rest of our lives. Today in God’s Word we join some people who are much like us as they are faced with a very important choice: whom to serve, gods or GOD. With the Spirit’s help we’ll see how this same choice plays out in our lives.

          So that we can make the right choice we need to be in the same context as Joshua and the people of Israel. If you recall, God used General Joshua to bring the people of Israel into the Promised Land. The walls of Jericho came tumbling down. 31 kings and their little kingdoms fell to Israel because God was fighting for them. The crisis was over. It was time to settle down. Now you know very well how it works in your life. When there is trouble, when you lose your job, when you face a serious health issue you know you are God dependent and it shows in your life. You worship, you listen, you pray. And then when things get back to normal what can happen? We can lose our intensity and let God fade to the background. No more kings to conquer. No more battles. What would happen with God’s people called Israel? Joshua was not just their general but their God appointed spiritual leader so he went into action. Before he asked the people to choose he reminded them of their choices. What I need you to do now is grab a Bible from the pew or, yes, you have my permission, get out your smartphone and open your Bible app to Joshua 24 and let’s quickly review the verses missing from our printed text, verses 3-13. Before Joshua exhorted the people to choose He reminded them what the God who had chosen them had done for them. Verses 3 and 4 God’s goodness to Abraham, then the rescue from Egypt with Moses and Miriam, then the giving to them the land they now lived in and the defeat of their enemies. This is the GOD who loves and saves His people and the people knew Him.

          These were believers gathered before Joshua just like you are believers gathered before me. They needed to understand that each day of their life they would be making a choice, not whether or not to be a believer, but whether or not to live as believers. “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly and faithfully. Remove the gods that your fathers served in the region across the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15But if you see no benefit in serving the LORD, then choose for yourselves today whomever you will serve—whether the gods that your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household—we will serve the LORD!” Choose. Not whether or not to serve but whom they would deliberately serve.

          Choose! GOD or gods. We’ll talk about the only GOD in a minute but first we need to talk about gods, with a small g. What does this mean? Pastor Luther provided an explanation to that as well. He gave this practical definition of a god.
“Whatever is your first priority that is your god.” With that definition you can see there can be all kinds of gods and which ones people may choose to serve depends on their culture and their circumstances. The people of God gathered before Joshua lived in a culture that definitely believed there were higher powers and that they needed to please those higher powers to have good crops and healthy babies, to avoid plague, drought and war. The people of that culture had very few comforts easily available to them and mostly hoped for full bellies and a safe place to sleep. So the gods those people were tempted to serve had names like Baal and Molech and Asherah. And people believed if you served those gods you would have good corps or healthy babies. If Israel served those gods they would keep the idols in their homes and spend their money on wine and grain to buy that idol off though it would neither eat or drink. If they chose to serve God they would worship Him like He told them to and would trust Him for babies and crops and herds.

          We live in a different culture and time. Sad to say a lot of people in our culture don’t believe in any higher power. They mostly believe they are in control of their own lives. We also live in a culture where we enjoy a lot of nice things: more food than we need to survive and good tasting foods. Almost endless entertainment opportunities and we don’t have to work every day just to stay alive. The gods Americans serve are usually listed as money which gives a sense that we are in control, leisure and rest, entertainment and hobby.  Most Americans are not concerned with getting a meal today but what will entertain me today, and will I have enough to retire and do fun things. Those are just some gods we could serve.

          Now choose. If you are at a crisis time in your life right now, if another 9/11 happens today, if the economy goes back into recession so you are losing jobs and houses, your choice will be easy because you will realize how God dependent you really are. But if your life is fairly normal right now, no health scare, job is OK, the Devil is going to tempt you to get sloppy in your sanctified living, to put your relationship with the Lord on the back burner. Like Joshua did with the people of Israel let me do for you today. Choose. The people who know you, your family, friends and neighbors, what would they say your number one passion is (your god)? I could be wrong but it seems to me that some among us have slipped into a pattern that worships God when it is convenient rather than a prioritized choice. In the New Testament times we live the Third Commandment gives us freedom on which day of the week to get together and worship, not the freedom to put other things ahead of worship. And let me suggest that if you can’t get your worship choice right the chances of getting your other ones right aren’t very good. Choose. God or sports. Choose. God or recreation. Choose  God or sleep. Choose entertain yourself or get the name of Jesus to more people. You will make a choice. Now choose.

          Joshua and his people did. “But as for me and my household—we will serve the LORD!” 16The people responded by saying, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD in order to serve other gods! We too will serve the LORD, because he is our God!” They recognized how good God had been to them and they responded. You can too. Today is a good day, brothers and sisters, to take stock of your life. First whom have you been serving? Look at your choices in words you use, how you schedule your time, how you prioritize your budget, why you believe what you do. That’s your past. Today is your present. Whom will you serve? Let me help you. This is what the Lord says, He who formed you in your mother’s womb, who chose you as his own before the creation of the world, who made sure you knew it at your Baptism, who keeps forgiving you far after any person in your life would have given up, who never leaves you or forsakes you, who loves you do the death of His Son, who has prepared your place in heaven and deliberately works all things in your life for your good, He says, “Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve, whether the gods of the Americans or the only God who saved you through Jesus.” Choose! Now if it’s true for you say it with me. “As for me and my household—we will serve the LORD!” Amen.

Monday, August 6, 2018

August 4-6, 2019 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Ephesians 4:17-24 “HOLY HYGIENE!”


PENTECOST 11

August 4-6, 2019

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Ephesians 4:17-24



“HOLY HYGIENE!”

1.     It’s absolutely necessary.

2.     You know what to do.



Ephesians 4:17-24 (NIV) So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.  20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”



          Now don’t get me wrong. I love Saz’s. I love the food and the sauce. But mostly I love the company for giving my daughters some very good jobs. The problem I have is the smell. Not the cooking ribs smell but the smell my girls come home with from working the festivals. It’s the smell of deep fried food. Sometimes when they come home the shoes, the clothes, the smell is so strong the clothes and shoes just need to stay outside. We don’t want that smell in the house. In a much more important way there is a smell that we need to get rid of regularly, a smell we don’t want in our homes. It’s the smell of sin, the smell of defiance in the face of a holy God. I’m not sure if Robin ever said it to Batman but we’ll say it today, Holy Hygiene! God’s word will help us see that it is absolutely necessary and thankfully we know exactly what to do.

          Holy Hygiene. It’s absolutely necessary. Just like I like Saz’s despite the deep frying oil smell, I also like pig farms. I am glad there are pig farms so that Saz’s can make their delicious ribs and I can have a BLT and an Easter ham. I’m a fan of pig farms but I wouldn’t want to live near one. Have you driven by? This isn’t sweet cow manure from a dairy farm we are talking about. How do the farmers live there? Well they’re used to it of course so it doesn’t bother them and they probably don’t notice. That same thing can happen to us Christians with sin smell. We live in a society that is corrupted by sin and defiance of God. If we are not careful we can get used to it, not notice it anymore and become a part of it.

          Holy hygiene is absolutely necessary.  So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” Like a good friend who offers you a breath mint and when you decline more firmly says, “No, I insist. Take two!” and is doing that for a reason, God had the Apostle Paul insist on holy hygiene.

          Don’t live like the Gentiles. Paul uses the word Gentile here as a synonym for unbeliever. Here are the signs of unbeliever living: a futility of thinking, a darkened understanding, separation from God shown in a loss of sensitivity to sin, indulging in it and a continual lust for more. We see this, don’t we? Futile thinking and darkened understanding. Did you know that according to the laws of the state of  Wisconsin, a senior citizen who gets confused, drives the wrong way on the interstate and accidentally kills a pregnant woman can get charged with two counts of homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle. One charge for the woman and one for the unborn child. At the same time, by state law, a doctor who murders a baby by aborting it from its mother’s womb and the mother who brings her child to get murdered will be charged with nothing. You kill by accident, a felony. You kill on purpose, a right. Does that make sense? Is that reasonable and logical? Yes, when you have a futility of thinking and a darkened understanding. That’s just one example and we are living in that swamp. You walk through it every day at work. How about loss of sensitivity and a continual lust for more? In 1972 a foul mouthed comedian named George Carlin got arrested after his act at Summerfest where he used his infamous Seven Dirty words. Now these same words are used in songs on the radio and in movies, on our TVs and from the mouths of children. We’ve gone from affairs shown on TV, to people in bed to same sex kisses and more. Where will it end? You know. You heard what God said. It won’t end. As unbelief grows it will get worse.  And we are living in this swamp of sin and it smells. God in His righteousness is offended. This way of living is separated from God. It may not look like it, but it is Hell on earth, separation from God. And you leave your home and you go out and work in it and you go to games, restaurants and bars and it’s all around and unless you have chosen a total media blackout and no internet it seeps into your homes. We need holy hygiene. We need to a spiritual bath and shower for if we do not, if we are not careful we will get used to the smell of sin in our lives and like the proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water we and our children will be among those described as those with a darkened understanding and a life separated from God. Holy hygiene! It’s absolutely necessary!

          And there is good news. You serve the God who provides for His people. He provides food like He did for the Israelites. He provided His Son Jesus when we needed the bread of Live even though that meant Jesus would die. When holy hygiene is needed God also provides. “You, however.” Sweet words! Beautiful words! “You, however.” With those two words God tells you that you are different from those with darkened minds who are separated from God. He reminds you you know how to practice holy hygiene. “You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desire. 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”” At some time, many years ago or a few you were taught to know Christ. You were taught in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.

          The unbelieving world thinks it’s OK, cool, tough, to talk with a potty mouth, and to that God is a word that follows Oh my when you are surprised, that Jesus is a name to say when you were mad. It thinks sex jokes and drunkenness are funny. It thinks it’s right to be extravagantly expensive on entertaining oneself but pitch pennies to church or charity. You did not come to know Christ in that way. You came to know Him as your Savior who willingly gave His life to pay for that whole laundry list of sins and so many, many more. And you were taught to love that Savior in return and to show that love in the way that is most meaningful to Him, willing obedience to what He says is right.

          You know what to do. Holy hygiene. Off with the old sin smelly clothes. On with the new Christ like holy robe of righteousness. Just like you were taught to clean your teeth by brushing and flossing and to change your clothes and to clean yourself by bathing, and not to do this once a month or once a week but daily, you’ve been taught holy hygiene. It’s our regular repentance cycle where we hear God’s word so we know right and wrong, where we realize not just the world’s sins but our own, where we take that sin off through the forgiveness of Jesus and where we put Jesus on, that is desire to please Him in our lives. Holy hygiene!  You know what to do.

Today and for as many more todays that God gives you before heaven practice your holy hygiene. It won’t matter how much more sinful our society gets. It won’t control us or our children. Just like I can enjoy Saz’s ribs without being engulfed by the smells of a deep fryer or pig farm, all of us can enjoy our lives without worrying we’ll be overcome by the sin of the society we live in. God, who is faithful, has promised it. And He will do it. Amen.