Jesus Only?

“There is salvation in no one else [but Jesus], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Think of the person whom you love the most in this life (I mean other than the three persons of the holy Trinity).

Think of that person’s history (birth, family, friendships, work), interests and likes (kite-flying, apple pie), and ways of acting (the way he walks, the sound of her voice).  In your mind’s eye, trace the contours of your loved one’s face, or the feel of his or her touch, or how your loved one fills a room.

Can you ignore all of those things, or not care about them, and still love that person?

See, here’s the deal with God: He became flesh.  He became Jesus.  He just did—it’s His history.  He spoke and did things after His birth that are also part of His history, and that reveal His character and way of being.  And now God has raised this Jesus from the dead.  No one else lives as Jesus lives.  It simply is.

Can we love God and ignore who He is?  If salvation is life with God, how could we possibly have it without Him?

LET US PRAY: Thank you, dear God, for Your own dear self, in the body and the blood, bearing the name of Jesus.  In You I have received life, for You are life—blessed be Your Name forever!  Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Zion, Wausau

Steadfast under Trial

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

We’ve all seen it: a young athlete, less talented than some of his peers and rarely playing on the field or court, nevertheless devotes himself to grueling discipline and practice.  Why does he do it?  Perhaps he does so for the sheer joy of it, or because he wants the camaraderie of a team.

In the Church, we know that we are less equipped than our Savior to endure tests of faith.  Only one man remained steadfast; only one received the crown of life.  Yet now He has promised to share that victory with us.  Indeed, He even promises that whoever becomes like Him in His death (no worldly success there!) will become like Him also in His resurrection.

So why wouldn’t we, assured of His victory for our sake, not endure great hardship and discipline for the sake of this Man?  Why wouldn’t we, like less talented but aspiring athletes, take up the rigor of Christian way for the sheer joy of it, as friends and comrades of our Lord?

LET US PRAY: Grant me, O Lord, the patience to endure in faith whatever test I must face, not looking to my own strength of will or mind, but only to Your suffering and merit.  Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Zion, Wausau