June Mission Musing 2019
Come, Holy Spirit, Come…
We celebrate Pentecost 50 days following Easter Sunday. This year that falls on June 9th. We remember the gift of the Helper sent to the first followers of Jesus Christ just 10 days following Christ’s Ascension into heaven. In Acts 1:4-5 we read what Jesus spoke to his disciples, On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” His disciples were instructed to remain in Jerusalem to wait for the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 continues with why; “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The Holy Spirit was going to help the disciples spread the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. This is what we continue to celebrate each Pentecost, the Holy Spirit helping us believe and spread the Gospel of Jesus to all!
I recently witnessed a group of 8th graders confirming their faith in the Triune God. As they stood before the congregation which included their family and friends, they confessed their belief in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They told us that the work which began in them at their baptism was continuing in their lives. One statement they proclaimed with boldness and confidence, was to the following question: “Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” they replied “I do so intend with the help of God.” My first thought was “Do they really understand what they just said?” To suffer even death, rather than fall away from it, does an 8th grader grasp that concept? Probably not like someone who has some years of experience at life. Even now, do I truly grasp that concept? I have thought many times, what would I do if asked to deny Christ and live, that I thought, would be a bold” No, I cannot deny my Lord!” However, what if my children or grandchildren were threatened, what would I say then? That answer may not come as quickly, because of my sinful desire, to think that I can keep them safe. That is one of those circumstances when the statement of “Yes with the help of God,” is being talked about.
The Holy Spirit keeps us in the true faith of Jesus Christ. He prays for us when we ourselves don’t know what we need. He is our helper to share the Good News that Jesus Christ suffered, died and rose again for the forgiveness of our sins. We can only come to this belief through the power of the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit just like the disciples did all those years ago. When you celebrate Pentecost, this year remember what the Spirit does for you and with you.
Our Prayer: Come Holy Spirit Come, guide me to believe and spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
In God’s Peace,
Debra Albers VP of Christian Life LWML-SID
Brought to you by the SID LWML Board of Directors
It’s that time of year again! For those of us involved in production agriculture (farming), it’s the busy time of getting our spring crops planted, with “all hands on deck”. Since our Creator has control of our weather, we work on His schedule, which can, at times, get pretty hectic. If you have a few minutes, I’d like to share one of those hectic times with you.
It happened about 40 years ago, I was moving a side dump seed wagon from one field to another for my husband with the pickup. Since this was in the days before child seats, my father-in-law was riding with me and holding our youngest son, while our 5 and 3 year old sons stood in the seat between us so they could see-one holding on to my shoulder and one to his grandpa’s shoulder. We were on a country road, and almost to the field, when my very perceptive 5 year old “farmer” said: “Mommy didn’t Daddy want the whole wagon?” I answered of course he did. My son’s next reply was, “Then why is it sitting back there in the road?” Needless to say, a quick check in the rear view mirror confirmed, that the wagon indeed was sitting back in the middle of the road, and all I had behind the pickup was the tongue with the front axle and two front wheels! When I stopped the truck, my father in law got out, and said he would direct traffic around the wagon while I went to get help—this was of course, before cell phones. You can imagine my husband’s surprise when I pulled into the field, with only part of the wagon. My 5 year old could not wait to tell Daddy, that Mommy left the rest of the wagon back in the middle of the road and Grandpa was watching it.
You knew it was coming, right-- the tie to our lives today. Well, here it is, as I see it. Our Heavenly Father wants “the whole wagon” of our lives. He doesn’t want just part of our lives, he wants all of it! Going to church on Sunday, with our body, but having our minds so full of other things that we really don’t pay attention to the service, for example, is giving God only part of our life. Not sharing the talents He has given each of us to help others and extend His kingdom, is giving Him, part of our life. Being too busy with our own material things to help a neighbor, or a stranger (who well may be a friend we have not met) is giving Him part of our life. These are just a few examples of how we are giving our Father, part of the “wagon”.
After much work, we got the whole wagon off the road and back to the farm. It takes work too for us to give all of our life to our Father, but oh is it worth it! Someday, after all our earthly work, we too will get to our forever home in heaven. NOTHING can ever be better than that!
The next time you see a wagon—of any kind—ask yourself—“Am I giving my Father the whole wagon of my life?” No one can answer that but you, so I’ll close this month with the question, “Are you?”
Helen Mayer, Past President of SID
Once again, the words, “Out of the mouths of babe’s” has proven to be so true. Let me explain—I was leading chapel at St. Mark’s on February 13, and we were talking about the history of St. Valentine’s Day, how it began during the Roman Empire to honor two men put to death by their government even though they had committed no wrong. This led us to yet another man put to death by the government, even though innocent of all charges—ok, by now, most of you know who this man was. We talked about how Valentine’s Day had developed into a day to show love to all those whom we love. We kept returning to that one man who had died so long ago—He did it out of love-the greatest love of all.
To help visualize our chapel theme, I had made a dark, (dirty) brown cross to share with the children. It was on that dark, dirty cross that our Savior gave His life so we could really become His children for eternity. As we listened to the favorite hymn-“The Old Rugged Cross”, the children all came up and each of them put a small red or white heart on the cross. To get them all on the cross, the hearts had to touch, or even over lap a little. I asked them why the little hearts were red and white, and they were excited to tell me that the red ones reminded us of Jesus blood, and the white ones were for the way our hearts (lives) were made pure, clean of all our sins. One of the children even shared that the hearts that were touching on the cross was because all of our lives were touching each other and Jesus was touching us all! What insight!
To wrap up our chapel, I asked the students how our cross looked now—I reminded them about the dirty dark cross we started out with, and now we saw a cross filled with red and white hearts. Once again, “out of the mouths of babes”, a little girl raised her hand and said: “It’s now a cross of love and life.” A cross of love and life---how wonderful—how true! As we celebrate Easter this month, may we too, look from the dirty, dark cross of death that our Savior died on to the Easter cross of life and love! The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!
Mission Musings (March, 2019)
Serve the LORD with gladness! (Psalm 100:2)
For many years, Christians around the world have given up a favorite treat or activity during the Lenten season. These small sacrifices help individuals to focus on the biggest sacrifice ever—when Jesus gave His life on the cross to save us from our sins and from the eternal death our sins cause. On the cross, Jesus fully paid the price we owed God for our disobedience. When He rose from the dead, Jesus conquered sin’s fatal hold on us so that we might receive God’s forgiveness, eternal life, and all the riches our Heavenly Father desires to give us as His children through faith in Jesus. Knowing that Jesus has done it all for us, we are free to serve Him with gladness!
As women in mission during this Lenten season, instead of giving up something, let’s make some “sacrificial additions” to our lives. A “sacrificial addition” is an additional way to serve God using the time, talents, and treasures with which He blesses us. These “sacrificial additions” show our love and gratitude to Jesus for all that He has done for us on the cross and for all He continues to do for us as our risen Savior. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
- Add an additional five or ten minutes to your personal Bible study and devotional time each day.
- Add a Bible passage to memory each week. Some suggested passages to learn are Ephesians 2:8–9, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:24, 2 Corinthians 8:9, Philippians 2:5–8, and John 11:25–26. An added benefit of Scripture memorization is that you are better prepared to defend your faith whenever you have opportunities to witness to others.
- Add an additional prayer need to your daily prayers. You may wish to pray each day for one of our district or national mission projects which share the saving Word of God with those in need.
- Add some additional dollars to your Mite Box each week to help serve the Lord through our district and national LWML mission projects.
- Invite an additional woman to your LWML Bible study this month. When you invite her, offer to drive her to and from the meeting. After the meeting, spend some additional time with her in prayer as together you thank God for the joys in her life and as you ask Him for help with challenges.
Diane Grebing, SID LWML President
Mission Musings February 2019
My mother was a keeper! This is true in more ways than one, but today, it is in the way of keeping things that are full of memories, things that most people would not keep. Oh the memories I relived as I went through her house after she went to her heavenly home! Oh the tears that filled my eyes, but not just tears of loss, but laughter too, as the memories raced through my mind when I “found” the long forgotten “treasurers”.
Since this is the month of Valentines, I hope you have a little time to spare so I can share one of the forgotten “treasurers” I found in Mom’s attic. Among the boxes, I found an old shoe box that had been my Valentine box in 2nd grade. Now this was long before Pinterest or any other collection of ideas for decorating Valentine boxes. Instead it was decorated with pictures of flowers cut from seed catalogs, kinda “crude” crayon hearts, and “not so neat” 2nd grade printing. Do you get the picture? I’m sure that most of you at sometime in your life have made such a Valentine box for yourself, or supervised your child or grandchild making Valentine boxes. A work of art it wasn’t, but, when I found it, there were tears in my eyes as I remembered the time Mom and I had worked on it together.
Taking the lid off, I found that it still had those 60+ year old Valentines in it, just as they were when I brought the box home from school. It did not take long before I had carefully opened each of them and reread them with new eyes! Some were “home-made” while others were bought from the local “Dime” store. Some were funny, a couple serious, some small in size, and a couple were so big they could not get through the hole on the top of my box. As I reread them, I thought about my 2nd grade classmates. Some of my classmates I still see today, some I have lost track of, and a number of them are now home with their Savior. Oh the memories!
We are all a little like that Valentine box—we are first of all, all “keepers” filled with memories and uniquely made by God Himself! God in His love and wisdom keeps adding His “love” Valentines to us every day—all day long, 24-7, 365 days a year. Sometimes He does it with the smile of a friend, the unexpected note/card in the mail, the beauty of His creation, the love of our family and friends. Not all the Valentines from our Savior are beautiful because we have the serious ones, of sickness and hurt, of sorry and loneliness, but we know that everyone is sent with love from our Savior.
May your Valentine box (your heart) be filled with our Savior’s love and peace, not only during February, but every day of your life, until we receive the final and best Valentine of all, our Savior’s gift of eternal life with Him and all our fellow believers!
Mission Musings (January, 2019)
You Are a New You, It’s True!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I am an avid magazine subscriber. I think that this habit was passed down to me from my grandfather. Despite having only an 8th grade education, he loved to read and regularly subscribed to at least 20 different magazines, many of which centered on fishing and hunting. He got me started on loving magazines back in 1963 with a gift subscription to the children’s magazine, Jack and Jill. Today, I especially love the thick holiday women’s magazine issues. Each page bursts with colorful decorations, interesting gift ideas, and of course, enticing recipes.
It’s always a bit of a let-down for me when the January magazine issues arrive. Instead of food, gifts, and fun on every page, instead there are diet plans, exercise regimens, and advice on how to make myself new as the New Year begins. I always feel a bit discouraged when reading these issues as they point out my imperfect body and diet, my lack of regular physical activity, and my somewhat mundane lifestyle.
Fortunately, God’s Word gives us an entirely different message than most of the magazines to which I subscribe. As those who trust in Jesus, our Lord and Savior, 2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us, we’re new creations! Having been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God and having been washed in Holy Baptism with water and the Word, our loving God has made us new. Our sins have been forgiven. We’ve each received a new, eternal life. We’ve been welcomed as members of God’s family. There is no better newness than this.
Not only are we new creations through faith in Christ Jesus, God daily renews us through His Word and Sacraments. In His Word, God promises that His steadfast love … never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22–23a). Because of God’s grace and mercy for us in Jesus, every day is a “New Year’s Day” for us. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are daily washed and renewed and given the strength to live for our Lord.
As His new creations, every day God gives us new opportunities to share with others the Gospel message which proclaims that new, eternal life is found through faith in Christ alone. As 2019 begins, with what new person might you share the saving love of Jesus so that by the work of the Holy Spirit they, too, might have newness of life? What new way can you in your local LWML groups and zones get the women in your life into God’s Word? May I suggest meeting together and using the Bible studies found in our official LWML magazine (and one of my favorite subscriptions), the Lutheran Woman’s Quarterly (LWQ)? Not only does this magazine offer three new Bible studies per issue, it’s full of Christ-centered devotions and articles that show how God daily works in the lives of women across the globe.
In this New Year, may God richly bless all that you do in His name and to His glory as His new creations!