Grace By Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Norfolk
‘The healing power of God’s word’
Jesus spoke his word and gave a disabled man the ability to hear and speak. It takes years for us to learn how to talk the natural way. Yet, “Immediately his ears were opened and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.”
Christ is the great healer of both body and soul. When he speaks his word, great things are accomplished. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” He opened this man’s ears, but he also continues to open our hearts that we may believe in Christ and know that God forgives our sins.
His Spirit works through his word to bring us not only bodily, but also spiritual and eternal healing for our soul. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” In God’s word, we learn about his priorities. Most importantly, God sent his Son to bare our sin on the cross.
The primary concern of our Savior was the healing of our soul and the forgiveness of our sins. Before Jesus healed the sick of the palsy, he dealt with the much bigger problem first, saying, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” First and foremost, he healed his soul, and then he healed his body, saying, “That ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins … Arise, take up thy bed.”
The Bible says, “First of all ... Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Most importantly, Christ came to grant us assurance in the forgiveness of our sins.
— The Rev. Wyatt Rosebrock
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Norfolk
Called to contemplate the cost of discipleship today, we might be helped by translating Paul’s request to Philemon into our prayer of the day. Refresh my heart in Christ. Strengthened by the company and forgiveness of the Christ in the blessed sacrament and recalling God’s grace in remembrance of baptism, we can be strengthened in this hour to “choose life” — to choose life in God as our own.
— Randy Rasmussen, pastor
Norfolk Church of Christ, Norfolk
‘Counting your blessings’
There have been times where I could not think of one good thing in my life. Oh, they were there alright; but holding a pity party for one was blocking my ability to sense any good thing in my life.
On the other hand, I have a dear friend who was thanking God for the time they had spent in jail. She saw it as a time that God saved her life, gave her time to clear her head, and set her free. Philippians 4:11 implores us to think about what is true, honorable, pure, lovely and worthy of praise. What would be on your list? What should be on your list? In the letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul says that he prays “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what the hope of His calling ... and the riches of the glory of His inheritance” for the saints are. Sunday morning, we will look at a list of blessings that we have when we are in Christ.
Sunday evening, we will look at the uniqueness of the gospel. Paul says in Romans 1:16 that he is “not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation ...” Ask 10 different churches “What must I do to be saved?” and you may get 10 different answers. Is that the way the Lord intended it?
— Jeff Schipper, minister
First Presbyterian Church, Norfolk
‘Hard to follow’
In today’s world, society as a whole is always looking for something new. We have new models of cars every year, for example, even though there was nothing wrong with the old ones.
That goes for entertainment and scholarly pursuits as well. A more modern approach to novels, movies, and even TV shows is one that uses techniques like flashbacks to present material in a different order than it naturally occurs (i.e., “nonlinear”).
Some people like this technique as something different and as an attempt to imitate the way our brains work. But other folks find it confusing — when events andsituations are presented out of their natural order, it can be hard to follow what’s going on.