Sunday, October 17, 2010

"I Will Give You Rest"

This morning I drove to Dinkytown to meet a friend (a former member of ELC/Cokato) at his church.  While there, we sang this hymn:
I leave all things to God's direction;
He loves me both in wealth and woe.
His will is good, sure his affection;
His tender love is true, I know.
My fortress and my rock is he:
What pleases God, that pleases me.

God knows what must be done to save me;
His love for me will never cease.
Upon his hands he did engrave me
With purest gold of loving grace.
His will supreme must ever be:
What pleases God, that pleases me.

My God desires the soul's salvation;
My soul he, too, desires to save.
Therefore with Christian resignation
All earthly troubles I will brave.
His will be done eternally:
What pleases God, that pleases me.

My God has all things in his keeping;
He is my ever faithful friend.
He gives me laughter after weeping,
And all his ways in blessings end.
His love endures eternally:
What pleases God, that pleases me.
After that hymn we heard a sermon based on Second Timothy 2:8-13 where Paul writes:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. The saying is sure:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
What do we do when we have lost our dreams?  What do we do when all seems hopeless?  When we know Jesus, we can rest and say "it is well."  When we know Jesus, when we remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, coming again to rule over all--then we can have peace.

Is everything lost for you?  Jesus died and all was lost.  The hopes and dreams of all the world were crushed on the cross.  But then, on the third day, Jesus rose, defeating death, and giving hope to the most desperate, hope to the most hopeless, forgiveness and peace to the most sinful. 

The resurrection of Jesus, his glorious rising from the dead, it proves that God's good will be done.  Because of Jesus, risen from the dead, we know nothing will keep God's good purposes away.  Knowing that keeps us from despair.  Knowing that lets us rest and trust in the worst of storms.

God desires that you know his peace--peace beyond circumstances, peace beyond understanding. God desires that you find rest.  So God gives us Jesus, risen from the dead, and His Holy Spirit, living in and among us when we trust him.  Now we have a place to go when all is lost.  We can come with a brother or sister, come with a friend or a stranger, and we can wrap them in prayer and in love, and have every load lightened through his presence and his purpose, knowing that, in the end, we will not be lost.

Come to Jesus tonight.  Listen to this Word for you:  Jesus, crucified, deserted, abandoned, tortured dead and buried--He has risen from the dead and he comes to you in and among His people.  Jesus has defeated every pain and evil evil that afflicts you, and he is now your true and lasting place of peace.

Do not carry your burden or your grief alone.  Ask someone to pray with you and for you.  Because of Jesus, risen from the  dead, you will find full forgiveness, a new beginning, unconditional love for the deepest part of who you are.  In His Word, and through those gifts we call Baptism and the Lord's Supper... in these ways Jesus calls you to himself... to be welcomed and fed like a child in the arms of a loving mother or father.

God wants that for you tonight.  "Come to me," says Jesus, "all you who are weary and are carrying such heavy burdens.  Come to me," says Jesus, "and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28-30)

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