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07/29/19

  12:41:00 am, by Pastor Plagenz   , 331 words  
Categories: Devotions

God Will Work It Out

God Will Work It Out

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Written by Micah Hinds, WLA Class of 2019

Often times it is hard for us to see God's love.  We struggle daily with problems, changes, challenges, and temptations that God allows in our lives.  We tend to focus on the negatives.  We pick out every thing that goes wrong in our lives.  It is hard for us to see things as good.  God doesn't say all things in our lives will be good, but rather that He can and will work everything out for good.  I think we all agree that cancer isn't good, getting in a bad accident isn't good, war isn't good.  That is why as Christians we put our trust in God and His promise that He can and will work all things out for us in the way He sees best.

I picked this passage because it has helped me throughout my life and throughout the lives of many others.  We struggle with little things every day, get frustrated and wonder why we have to put up with them.  Even as Christians we sometimes struggle so much that we doubt God's existence, feel God hates us, or we hate Him.

This is when we need a reminder from a passage like this.  We all face challenges, and this passage serves as a constant, encouraging reminder that we're never alone and never have to go through anything alone.  This passage brings us the comfort of knowing that God really is there, He has a plan, and He is going to work things out in whatever way He know is best.

Dear Lord, sometimes we don't understand the trials You place in our lives.  Help us to remember Your promise to always be there for us and work things out for us, in whatever way You see best.  Amen.

01/18/18

  03:09:00 pm, by Pastor Plagenz   , 286 words  
Categories: Devotions

Lord, Keep Me on the Path

Written by Grant Manke, WLA class of 2018

The New Year and the month of January are here, bringing cold temperatures, ice, and snow.  Although winter is a jolly time of year, we still have to travel and deal with questionable, icy, snow-covered Wisconsin roads.  Being tough Wisconsinites, we may think that we have winter roads figured out and feel under control.  There's always that one low shoulder full of slush or that sheet of black ice that can send us spinning completely out of control.

Living in this world is like driving in a blizzard on an icy, snow-covered road.  We can only see what's right in front of us.  Just when we feeel under control, our lives can be sent spinning out of control.  We try to correct the situation on our own, but trusting ourselves we most often over-steer and end up in the ditch.  Our God makes His Word so easy to access.  It is the one thing that will keep us on the straight and narrow.  Yet our Bibles are sitting on our shelves covered in dust.  We look to ourselves for guidance and neglect what has been put right in front of us.

Thankfully, God doesn't leave us to die in the ditch.  He brings us back to His Word and graciously shines the light on our Savior who rescues us.  He lifts us out of the ditch of our sinful pride and sets us back on the path to heaven with His free forgiveness.  And the sweetness of it all is God's  promise of the warm, cozy mansion awaiting us after we have finished this long, cold, uncertain drive.  This is a drive we certainly couldn't make without our Lord.

01/11/18

  04:09:00 pm, by Pastor Plagenz   , 373 words  
Categories: Devotions

Baptism

The following devotion was written by Pastor Phil Janke, Winnebago Lutheran Academy

"In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.  The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid” (Psalm 118:5, 6a).

Jesus’ baptism is one of my favorite accounts of Jesus’ life.  Why?  Because that was one of our Savior’s ways of showing, “I’m here with you.  I’m here for you.”  You see, Jesus didn’t need to be baptized…at least not for the reasons you and I needed to be baptized.  He didn’t inherit his mother’s sin because he was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit.  He also never committed any sin.  He is perfect!  I, on the other hand, have receive my parents’ sin.  Now it’s my own, and I’ve done more than enough to prove it.  So, I needed to be baptized.  I needed to have my sin and guilt washed away.  I needed to have faith created in my heart that trusts God’s promises.  Jesus didn’t need baptism to do that.  I did.  So did you.  But since we needed that, Jesus said, “I’ll be baptized, too.”  By being baptized, he would fulfill what needed to be done.  He took up my cause and yours.  He saw our sad condition and said by his baptism, “I’m here with them.  I’m here for them.”

Did Jesus know that that meant he would suffer and die?  Did he know that because he identified with sinful human beings (although he himself was sinless) that he would suffer for it?  Did he know that taking up our cause would lead to his death?  Yes.  In fact, that is who was crying out to the LORD for help in Psalm 118.  When his enemies were pursuing him and causing his suffering which culminated on the cross, he cried to the Lord for help.

The LORD helped him.  The LORD rescued him.  The LORD was with him.  And because Jesus was victorious over sin and Satan and the grave, so is everyone who trusts in him.

Because of that good news, the lonely person no longer needs to feel lonely.  The struggling person can have renewed strength.  The person with a guilty conscience can find peace.  So you, too.

12/20/17

  12:20:00 am, by Pastor Plagenz   , 409 words  
Categories: Devotions

Peace

This devotion was written by Pastor Phil Janke from Winnebago Lutheran Academy.

“Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.”  (Isaiah 9:5-6)

You could probably file that verse under “Things you will NOT find on a Christmas card to Grandma.” It could also be linked to other files, such as “Things NOT to write your wife to show her your love,” and “Things you will NOT hear a Kindergartener say at your local Christmas Eve Children’s Service.”

But actually, those are Christmas words. In fact, they are the words immediately preceding this famous Christmas promise: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

“How in the world are those two verses related?” you ask.

I’m glad you did. The answer is in one word: Peace.

We might better understand it in these terms: “Every terrorists vehicle, every IED, and every ISIS flag will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders…”

For ancient Israel, the promise that their enemy Assyria would be destroyed meant the world. But even greater than rescue from that enemy was the promise of rescue from their more dangerous spiritual enemies of Satan, sin and guilt. God promised his people from long ago peace from all those enemies.

And he promises you peace, too. Yes, one day we will not have to fear any terrorist. That ultimately will be in heaven. (We will probably have to deal with terrorists until then). But even today, we have a greater peace. God gives it to us. It’s a peace with him that happens when he promises he will not hold our sin and guilt against us. He held it against his Son Jesus in our stead. That’s why Jesus was born: to destroy the power of sin, death, and the devil. He was born to bring us peace from our spiritual enemies.

So I guess you could include battle boots and blood soaked garments in your Christmas cards. Just make sure you explain that the peace between nations pales in comparison to the peace that the baby in the manger came to bring.

09/03/14

  10:45:00 pm, by Pastor Plagenz   , 397 words  
Categories: Devotions

How Unsearchable His Judgments

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to play a game of chess with God?  I don't know how much you know about chess, but it's a game of thinking and strategy.  There are all kinds of different pieces, and they all move in different ways.  The bishop moves diagonally, and the rook moves straight.  The object of the game is to trap your opponent's king.  When you're playing, you are trying to think two, or three, or four moves ahead so that you can catch your opponent in a trap.

So imagine playing that game with God.  It would be over before we knew what hit us.  God would have known all of His moves before we moved our first pawn.  In fact, He would have also known all of our moves.  After the game was over , can we imagine saying to God, "When You moved Your knight to take my bishop, I think that was a bad move"?  That's silly!  All His moves would be wisely planned out for a perfect purpose.

That being said, why do we sometimes say to God, "When You did this in my life, I think that was a bad move"?  We know why we say it.  We say it because bad things happen in our lives.  We wish they wouldn't happen to us, and we think it would be better if God didn't let them happen to us.  However, Paul reminds us in Romans 11 of how wise and loving our God is.  He writes:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  Who has know the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counselor?  Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?  For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever! Amen.  (Verses 33-36)

 God's wisdom is so far above ours that we can't even imagine it.  His love is so great that we can't comprehend how He could give us all things, even His only Son.  When we consider all that He has given to us and all He does through us, all we can say is, "To You be the glory!"  God asks us to trust His wisdom and His love.  Lord help us to do this.

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