Monday, January 1, 2018

End of the year ramblings

What do you do when one year changes to another? I asked myself that as 2017 moved into 2018. I decided that I would ramble about last year. Perhaps I will get around to thinking about 2018 but I don't know. Depends on how long I ramble on 2017.

There were some real highlights to the year. I celebrated my 30th year in the pastoral ministry. The Board of Elders of St. Paul's came up with a way to celebrate this milestone. They had a weekend in August where they had a reception after each service. It was very thoughtful of them to do this. They also gave me several gifts that were pretty amazing. I received a special 500th anniversary edition of the ESV Concordia Self Study Bible.

They also had Ruth Schmitt paint Wrigley Field in honor of the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in 2016. I would have loved a repeat of this feat but it wasn't meant to be. They did make it into the National League Championship series, which was quite awesome in 2017. I appreciated the folks that came out an voiced their support as I celebrated that milestone.

I was also elected Junior Pastoral Counselor for the National Lutheran Women's Missionary League. That happened in June. Penny and I too the Southwest Chief, a train, to Albuquerque, NM for the convention. It was pretty neat being on the ballot. It was quite overwhelming to actually be elected. In truth, I didn't think I had a chance to be elected to that position. The Lord obviously had other plans so I have spent the 2nd half of 2017 serving as Junior Pastoral Counselor. Who would have thought that a pastor in southern Illinois would be elected to serve in such a capacity. I give thanks to the Lord for making this possible. I continue to learn and grow as I serve the women of the Lutheran Church.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Troy, IL celebrated the 150th anniversary in September. That was pretty awesome. Not often that something like that happens. There were a lot of people that did a lot of things to make the celebration what it was. I give thanks to the Lord for the folks that put themselves forward and worked hard to make the celebration successful. What a glorious time it was to celebrate.

If I was to say what was the most frustrating and disappointing time in 2107 was when Penny's contract as a teacher at St. Paul's was not renewed. This really caused a lot of confusion and disappointment in the family. We didn't see it coming and it really destroyed the joy in the family. Yes, we have worked through it. Penny did get another job. She really misses being involved in the ministry at St. Paul's. I miss her being a part of the ministry here as well. For the majority of the 30 years I have been a pastor, we have been in ministry together. 2017 was the first year that I would say that has not taken place. It has been a hard adjustment. I am sure that I am not supposed to say these things but when you ramble, that is what happens.

I continue to work toward my Doctor of Ministry though 2017 was not a banner year for it. I took a class in January, did some work in February. My work on the MAP proposal took a back seat to Lent and Easter and then when June hit, and everything fell apart, I didn't have time or desire to pick it back up and work on it. I am hoping that 2018 will change my attitude and I will will work on it again. I am going to take the last class that I need before I do the MAP. Here's hoping that things work out and I am able to get this completed by summer 2019. 

What else can I say? I rejoice that Penny and I are close to Rachael and Brandon. What a pleasure that is to have them so close by and to be able to spend time with them. Matthew got engaged to a lovely gal, Chelsey Seipel from Columbus, NE. 2018 will see a wedding on May 26 in Columbus, NE. We are looking forward to that day. How great it is that we are going to have another daughter in the family.

2017 was a challenge for the health. They finally found out that I have coronary artery spasms. This causes chest angina or pain. After 7 heart catheters, they finally found it. When they did the last cath, the arteries were spasmed down pretty bad and they figured that was probably the cause of the pain. Hurrah! Now they are trying to figure out the right medication to help me with the pain. I take nitro when needed, which is about 2-3 times a day. Boy will I be glad when all this is fixed. 

What else can I say about 2017? The Lord has been good to me. He has blessed Penny and me in many and various ways, beyond what I could ever describe. Despite the setbacks and the frustrations of the situation this year, I rejoice to know that the Lord is still the Lord of the Church and the Lord of St. Paul's He still leads me in the ministry. The Holy Spirit still guides me work.

In the end I would say: All glory be to God for all that He has done for me in 2017. I ask Him to forgive me for my sins. And I pray that 2018 will be a better year for both Penny and myself. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


How are you? Blessed. Have a blessed day. I received an added bonus today. Boy am I blessed. My cancer is gone. I am so blessed. Over and over again, we talk about be blessed. What do we mean by this little word?

I know what is generally meant - the Lord has watched over me and has done something good for me. He made me healthy. He gave me something I needed. He kept me safe from a moment of crisis. He has helped my family through a difficult time. And truly, you are blessed when these things happen. What a joy it is to be able to see that the Lord is the One who has guided you through a situation and brought it to an end that you appreciate. It is wonderful to see the Lord do good in your life, my life, the life of a loved one.

But what about when the cancer doesn't disappear? What about when the money doesn't come in? What about when the family is torn apart? What about when there is a death? Are you still blessed? Or do you turn from that statement and say, "No, I am not blessed. The Lord messed up and didn't do what I wanted Him to do."

I guess what I am thinking about today is how the Lord responds to our prayers. We have developed into a Christian culture that uses God to get what we want. We pray. Then expect that the answer is always going to be "yes." Now I know that what some will point to: "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord: he is a double-minded man, unstable in his ways." (James 1:6-7) See, if we ask, believe that God will give it to you, and He will. He has too. He has promised that He will give it to you. If you doubt that He will do it, then He will not do it. If you believe that He will do it, then He will do it.

Wait, does that mean I can control what God does? Does it mean that if I pray for something, really believe that I will receive it, then I will receive it? If I really, really, really believe that God will fix my heart problem, then He will fix my heart problem? If I believe that God will give me a better paying job, then He will give me a better paying job?

Some would say yes. I would say, I don't know. You see, God is still God. He is in control of my life and my situation. I do not control God. I do not control the destiny of my life. I am not God. That's right, I am not God. I am one who trusts in God, loves Him and follow Him. But I do not control Him. But what about these verses? They tell us that if we believe it, then we receive it.

Let's look at the verses that precede these. Let's get the context. James writes, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting..." (James 1:2-6a) Does this talk about using God like a grandfather who will give you whatever you ask? Does it mean that you control what God does or gives to you? No. It is talking about the fact that God will guide you, uphold you and be with you through all sorts of trials and tribulations. It talks about asking for wisdom. Wisdom for what? Wisdom to understand that God is producing steadfastness of faith in you through the trials that you are facing. It isn't telling you that God has become your in the sky.

How do I get here? I have been thinking about being blessed. Are we only blessed when things go well? No, we are blessed every day as we live in the grace of God. We are blessed to be called children of God. You are blessed when the cancer continues and the treatments make you ill. You are blessed when job stinks and the people around you are a pain in the neck. You are blessed when the car doesn't start, when the traffic is backed up and moving slow. You are blessed when the family doesn't make it home for Thanksgiving or for Christmas.

How can I say that? You are blessed because blessing doesn't rely upon receiving that which we ask for. Blessing comes from God day in and day out, without your asking. It comes because of His love for you. You are blessed in Christ Jesus. You are blessed as you receive forgiveness of sins. You are blessed as you live each day as a child of God. You are blessed.

I know why we say "I am blessed because my car started in this cold weather." What I want you to remember is that you are blessed when the car doesn't start on that cold morning. You are blessed because the Lord is still with you. He hasn't turned His back on you because your car didn't start. He is still right there, with you, blessing you. The blessing we receive from the Lord is a blessing that transcends the here and now. It is a blessing that is much deeper and more meaningful that the physical. It is a spiritual blessing that is part of our lives day after day, 24/7, 365.

I will still say that I am blessed when the health is given. I will tell someone that the Lord has blessed them when the family is all together. I will rejoice that the Lord has blessed the physical life. Yes I will. And I am sure that you will too.

But remember this, you are blessed. Period. Good or bad in your life, you are blessed. Health or illness in your life, you are blessed. Why? There my friends, take a look in the manger. You will see your true blessing.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Randomness in the morning.

Cold air. Darkness. Christmas lights. Barking dogs. Hot tea. What do all these have to do with each other? As I sit here this morning, all of those things are tied together. Here in December, it is dark outside. The sun comes up later and later. It goes down earlier and earlier. For many, these are difficult days. There is not enough hours of daylight. And for most folks, those hours of daylight are spent at work, where they cannot experience them. If they are lucky enough to have windows to see the short hours of daylight, they rejoice. Darkness - into this darkness comes a Savior, the Light of the world. He comes to lighten the darkness of sin that encompasses each heart. He comes to break the grip of darkness on the hearts and lives of all people. The Light is Christ, the Child born in Bethlehem.

Cold air. It is December. It is supposed to be cold, at least here in Illinois. This cold blast has reached all the way to the gulf coast. They are probably grumbling about the cold more than we are here in the central part of the country. But I tell you what, I sure seem to be affected by the cold more now than when I was younger. That is part of life. It reminds me that I am living in a world affected by sin. It is fallen. I am fallen. My very nature is sinful. As the years go on, as more things seem to pop up in my life, like the less than pleasing effect cold has upon me especially in the morning, it reminds me that I need a Savior. Yes, once again such a thing points that out. Each time I grumble about the cold, it reminds me that I am not able to change anything, including the weather. I can't even change my spiritual situation. Without a Savior, my heart remains cold and lifeless. Without a Savior, my heart will grow colder as I grow older. Only through the new life given by Christ Jesus can my heart grow warm (metaphorically speaking). He comes into this cold person that I am and gives me a new life that is filled with the warmth of His love and forgiveness.

Darkness, cold air. What next? Christmas lights and barking dogs. Hmmmm. What about these two things? Well, the Christmas lights make things brighter. They brighten up a dark neighborhood. They are meant to remind us of the Light of Christ that has come into this world. We have a neighbor down the road who decorates greatly. He has more lights out than one can imagine. It really brightens the neighborhood up. He leaves them on all night. As such, they remind us of Christ shining in the dark world. As joyous as that is, it leads to barking dogs. My dogs. Sorry neighbors. I get onto them in the early morning hours and don't let them stay outside barking. But they are able to see things they wouldn't normally see/ Why? Christmas lights brighten things up and cast strange shadows in places there have not been shadows. They causes "concern" in the dogs minds and they bark. Yep, they bark because of the extra light that is not normally there. Barking dogs and Christmas lights - go together. Christ brings light into the world and Satan doesn't like it. Satan would prefer that it remained dark. He would be silent (not really but he wants us to think that he would). If Christ didn't bring light into the world, then Satan would be content to let the darkness continue. Christ's light exposes those works of sin, the works of darkness. Turn the lights out, then those works would not be seen and there would be no problem. What to do? Light up the world! Make it shine brightly, not with Christmas lights, but with the Light of Christ. Show sin for sin. And bring Christ to all who are struggling.

Hot tea? I threw that in because I like to sit here and drink my hot tea in the morning. It warms me up. I enjoy it. I like to drink my tea while I read my Bible, do my devotions and prepare for the day. So hot tea is part of my daily routine. So is the Word. One is desired and one is needed. I will let you decide which is which.

Cold air. Darkness. Christmas lights. Barking dogs. Hot tea. Random thoughts brought together in the rambling mind of this preacher. All of them point me to one thing - Christ Jesus. Yes, living in the Light of Christ sure ties everything together.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Really Rambling. Just thoughts that flowed from my fingers.

Well, the turkey has been stuffed, cooked, carved, eaten and the leftovers have already begun to disappear. The stuffing has been stuffed into so many different family members. The sweet potatoes are no longer so sweet. They have disappeared. Family is starting to think about that return trip back to their homes. It has been a good visit or may it hasn't been such a good visit. I don't know the dynamics of your family. Perhaps you love being around them or maybe you are happier when they finally leave.

Me? I love my family. I love having Rachael and Brandon and Matthew and Chelsey around for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, we don't always get what we want. We had Rach and Brandon here but Matt and Chelsey were in Florida to see her new niece. Made our heart sad to not have them here. But then again, life is filled with disappointments.

I wasn't sure what to write about but perhaps that it is - disappointments. Not an uplifting thought but we all have them. Disappointed about how the Thanksgiving meal went. Disappointed certain family members didn't make it. Disappointed that other family member did make it. Disappointed that - someone close to use has died, that somone's health is not what we had hoped, that a relationship is broken, that a heart is hurting, that a gift was not given, that a kind word was not said, that a harsh word was said, and the list goes on and on.

Why are we disappointed? Because we have set up a certain expectation. I expect that I will spend the next 25 years with Penny. I imagine that a young couple that we have known for years, one which I married nearly 25 years ago had but will not see come to fruition as they must have his funeral today. Not easy to face. Not easy to accept.

We have expectations. We set expectations. We know what we want. Disappointments come when they don't happen. We forget that we do not live in a perfect world. We live in a broken world, a world that will disappoint us (perhaps even crush us) from time to time.

I don't mean to say that we will never have joys. I know I have had plenty of joys. 33 years of marriage - a joy. 30 years in the ministry - a blessing. Family and friends - a blessing. Dogs that bring me joy. Days that are filled with sunshine. Ministry that sees the Holy Spirit working wonders as that one person who didn't know Christ is saved. The joy of baptizing an infant, a child or an adult. They joy of seeing a heart lifted with the message of life and hope that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as the Savior. There are more joys and blessings than we can count.

But we do hit those disappointing times. May disappointment isn't the word that you would use. Frustration. Anger. Fear. Whatever you want to use, those times do come. Loss of a loved one. Loss of a job. Loss of health. Loss of ... whatever it might be. Those times can destroy the joy we have in a brief moment. One moment, sisters are driving down the highway singing their favorite song at the top of their lungs, laughing and enjoying life and the next there shriek of tires, the grinding of metal, the final breath of life ebbing from their broken bodies. Terrible. One moment feeling good and the next moment seeing the husband laying the hospital with a doctor saying they are going to have perform surgery in order to try to save his life. More than disappointment. More life fear. More like, "What am I going to do?"

The very same thing that you have always done. Where can you go when your loved one lies in the hospital? When you get the phone call about an accident? When you hear the last breath come from the lips of that special person?

You trust in the Lord. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23 from my memory) You turn to the Lord. Your heart is broken, He holds the pieces in His hand. Your life is struggling, He gives you the guidance you need.

Talking with the young widow, she tells us, "The Lord has made my faith stronger through this. I know my husband is out of pain and is with the Lord." What a powerful witness to the strength that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. He is the Savior, the Strengthener, the One who guides through the valley, who lifts up when disappointment sets in, when the family leaves and heads home, leaving you alone in a quiet house, when you wait for that message that says, "I love you mom, dad, brother, sister, son, daughter, friend."

I guess in the end I want to turn your eyes from disappointment, frustration, anger, bitterness, loss and pain. I want to help you turn them to the cross, to the Savior, to the only One who is always there to help, to lift up and to save. Jesus alone is the One you can turn to that will never disappoint you, that will always love you, and that will never leave you alone.

I rejoice that the Lord loves me, cares for me, and is with me every day. I thank the Lord for Penny, my family (both near and far), for my church family, for my everything. Yes, thank You Lord for the joys and the disappointments. Thank You. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Almost Thanksgiving Day

It is Sunday, the 1st day of the week. This is a special week because by the time we make it to Thursday, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day. I was sitting here thinking about what am I thankful for? I was going to put it as a post on FB, but then realized I had more to be thankful for than a FB could hold. Imagine that! Not a post or a tweet but a blog doth hold some (but not all) that I have been blessed with. So here goes ...

I am thankful first and foremost for my faith. It isn't something I have given myself but is a gift to me by the heavenly Father, working through the Holy Spirit, given in my Baptism, strengthened through Word and Sacrament. Daily the Lord strengthens my faith and I rejoice and give thanks for this greatest of all gifts.

My family. I give thanks for my loving wife, Penny, who loves and cares for me more than I deserve. She has been my love for longer than I can remember (not true). We started dating in high school and have weathered all the storms of life together since that day in 1979. I love her with all my heart. I give thanks to God for the blessing of a wife who is a helpmate, who lifts me up, who inspires me, who is my rib.

My children - Rachael and Matthew. What a blessing they are. I could not imagine what life would have been like without them. They are a joy and a frustration. The joy far outweighs the frustration and I give thanks to God for them. I thank God that He lead Brandon into Rachael's life and brought them together as husband and wife. He has been a blessing as part of our family. I thank God for Chelsey, who though not officially part of the family until May, is a joy for Matthew. Together they will make the family that God intends them to be. Both children are truly faithful Christians and have become such wonderful adults.

My church family. Yes, I give thanks to God for the church family here at St. Paul's, Troy, IL. Like all families, they can be challenging but they are my family. I love and care for them. Each one is a gift from the Lord that I care for and feed through Word and Sacrament. I pray for each of them, lifting them up in a special way to the Lord of all things. Rejoice! Give thanks and worship the Lord for we are family.

Food. Oh my yes I give thanks for food. Biscuits and gravy, turkey, ribs, blackberry pie and a whole host of other wonderful tidbits of sustenance that the Lord has given for the strengthening of the body and the joy of life. I do believe that He gave us food to enjoy, not just to maintain the body.

My body with all its aches and pains. I have had this body for 56 years and it has served me well. I have mistreated it but it has held together. I give thanks for doctors and nurses who are able to take care of me and all the things that go on with the body. I rejoice and give thanks for medicine, though I might grumble about taking it. Thank God I am able to take it for it helps me through each day.

The Chicago Cubs. OK, I was just seeing if you were really paying attention. I do enjoy the Cubs, win or lose. I have learned much from them and the Lord has taught me over and over again what patience is. I enjoy baseball more than other sports. Yet I know that many give thanks for a variety of sports and sporting teams. And there are those who even enjoy and support the redbirds (I can't bring myself to say their name). God has given all for the good of those whom He has given them to.

What else? I could go on and on. The Lord has been good to me. And so I thank the Lord. I pray that you will also take time to give thanks to God this week. Not only this week but every day for He is good and gracious to us day after day. His mercies are new every morning.

Happy Thanksliving.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Give Thanks

I can't believe it! Thanksgiving is only a week away! Really, only a week. Today is Wednesday, which means that this time next week, we will be preparing for family gatherings, turkey dinners and lots and lots of eating. It just dawned on me this last weekend that it was so close. Has it hit you yet?

Thanksgiving. Give thanks. Yes, give thanks. I have much to give thanks for in my life. The greatest thing I give thanks for is that God has saved me. He saved me, a lost and condemned sinner, a person who is not worthy of being saved. He gave His only-begotten Son for me and for my sin. As one who was born sinful (as all people are, Psalm 51:5 "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the moment my mother conceived me."). I did not deserve to have God send His Son to take my place. I did not deserve to have Jesus Christ go to the cross in my stead. Just the opposite is true. I deserved to have God turn His back upon me for all the times I have turned my back upon Him. Yet "For our sake (that is my sake) he (the Father) made him (the Son) to be sin who knew no sin (Jesus was sinless), so that in him (Jesus) we (you and me) might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV) All I can say is "Thank You!"

Thank You God. Yet I should do more than just say thanks. I should live a life that reflects that thankfulness. In all that I do and say, I give thanks to God. I give thanks to God by how I treat others. I give thanks to God in how I work. I give thanks to God in forgiving others. I give thanks to God in sharing the message of the gospel. I give thanks to God with my life.

I also thank God for my family, for my lovely wife of 33 years Penny, for my daughter Rachael and her husband Brandon, for my son Matthew and his fiance Chelsey, for my mother-in-law Shirley Rex, for my brothers John, Bub and Nathan, for my birth father John and his family, and for the extended family which includes Penny's sisters and their families, my brothers families and the others like Bill & Cassie, Gina and those that I can't think of right now. I rejoice that I am blessed with such family, even if we don't see each other or talk to each other as much as we should. That is not all their fault. It is mine as well. We all allow ourselves to get too busy to talk with those we love. Thank You God for family.

I give thanks to God for church family and friends. Here, there are too many to list. There are the folks here at St. Paul's, Troy for which I am thankful. I give thanks that I have the opportunity to be a part of so many lives and bring to them the message of hope found only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I thank God for those at Immanuel, Altamont; Bethlehem, Ferrin and Trinity, Harvel (all in Illinois) . Each congregation held a special blessing for myself and my family, blessings that were sometimes open and apparent and then at other times hidden by the things of this world. Thank You God for all those lives that have touched my life and the life of my family. Thank You for those who lift us up in prayer as well as those who challenge us at different times.

I also thank God for the trials and tribulations I have faced. They have taught me not to rely upon myself but to rely upon God alone. When I turn my eyes from Him, I find myself not doing what needs to be done, even straying off into sin. I ask Him to forgive me for all my sins. Yet, many of those trials and tribulations have made Penny and I what we are today, the people we are and the pastoral family that we are. Yes, they have brought Penny and I closer and molded us into a team to serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have never understood all those things that have happened to us but we have trusted God through them all. He alone has given us strength to come through the storms of life. At times, we were certain that our boat was going to be swamped and we would cry out, "Master, save us!" Only to hear the words, "Oh you of little faith, did you not know that you were safe with Me all along." He has spoken to the wind and the waves and the they would calm. At other times He would stand with us, holding us tight, as the waves battered the boat, as we were soaked to the  bone with the issues and problems of life, only to find that He also dried us off as the storm passed. So I really am thankful once again for the Lord who has brought Penny and I through so much and has strengthened our relationship and love. Together we face this world, Penny, me and the Lord, a cord of three strands that is not easily broken.

I give thanks for...oh my, there is so much to thank God for. I now realize that it shouldn't just be one day a year. Giving thanks is meant to a daily thing. I am to give thanks each day, throughout the day. When I fail to do so, forgive me God. When I actually do it, thank You Holy Spirit for leading me to do that which is right. Yes, thank You God for all things in my life.

And that, my friends, is where we are. I didn't know where this was going but I reckon it went where it was meant to go. Give thanks! With a grateful heart.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Reformation Thoughts

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's posting of the 95 Theses. He did this in Wittenberg, Germany. In his day, you might say he was "blogging." Why? Because he saw that there was a problem with the teachings of his church. He put them up against the teaching of the Word of God and found that the church was lacking in truth. The way of man had usurped the way of God.

In today's world, the same could be said. The way of man has usurped the way of God. The world does not want the message of the Gospel. It wants a message that tells people that any way that they live is all right. A message that proclaims goodness that is found in every individual. It wants any message other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Many churches have given in to that message. Proclamation of Law and Gospel is not clearly and properly proclaimed. Sin is no longer called sin. Salvation is found in Jesus and...whatever you want to add to that message. Why? Churches want to bring people into their doors, with the hope that the message that the pastor proclaims doesn't upset or turn off the folks sitting there. "Tell me that my life is all right." "Tell me that if I follow Jesus I will have no more problems." "Tell me that my lifestyle is acceptable to God, perhaps even a gift from God." "Whatever you do, don't tell me that I am a sinner."

But that is not the way of the Reformation. The truth of the Word of God needs to be proclaimed clearly in a world of lost sinners. We, you and me, are in need of a Savior who died upon the cross and rose on the 3rd day. We cannot save ourselves. You and I cannot make the decision to follow Jesus. Why? Our hearts and lives, our very nature, is sinful and wants nothing to do with God. Oh, it might long for God when it needs something, like health or security or hope. But notice, it is selfish desire that makes us want God. Sin says, I don't want God in my life to change it. No, I only want God if He will give me what I want at the moment. And then, the God I am calling on is not the God of Scripture. It is a god that I have made up, created in my image, which will do what I want in the times I want and will not make any demands upon me. No, my sinful nature will have nothing to do with a God that comes to me in the Word.

I need Him. I need Him to save me. I need Him to come to me. I need Him to change my heart. I need Him to save me. I need Him, period. AND He comes to me through His Son Jesus Christ, shown to me by the Holy Spirit who does this through Word and Sacrament. My action? It is there as I live my life in faith. My salvation hinges on Him and not on me. He saves me. He enfolds me in His arms. He gives me hope. He guides me through my life. He gives and I receive. What a blessing!

Reformation thoughts. Yes, I guess they are because Luther was working towards that end. The Spirit was guiding him as he studied the Word. The Spirit showed him the truth that everything hinges on Christ and not on us. He forgives, without our help. He holds in His hand. He fills. He lifts up. Notice, it is all about Christ and not about what we have done. That is Reformation thoughts. That is what Luther was trying to get people to see.

And today, we still try to see that truth. It is still all about Jesus.