What causes you to question God’s ways? What loss, what difficulty, what frustration do you struggle with that causes you to ask God, "Why?" But who are you, with limited understanding and imperfect judgment, to question God, who has full understanding and perfect judgment? Who are you to question the One who makes no mistakes? "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay Him?"
But the One who owes you nothing has given you everything. For God’s ways led to a cross where the richness of Christ’s blood covered all your sin, where your Savior freed you from all that condemns you, and where all the real questions ended with a divine exclamation point: "It is finished!" These are the realities of your salvation. Could you have imagined this or planned this or accomplished this in any way? Yet God did. "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things." In the end, the "whys" don’t need an answer when you know you are forgiven and going to heaven through faith in your crucified and risen Savior. Come and see how GOD SILENCES YOUR "WHYS" WITH HIS GRACE. "To Him be the glory forever. Amen."
Some people (perhaps many, perhaps you?) don’t pray as much as they’d like because they don’t know what to pray for. This is in part what led Jesus’ disciples to ask Him, "Lord, teach us to pray." (Luke 11:1) Jesus then teaches them what has come to be known as 'The Lord’s Prayer.' With it we ask God to take action in the world for the sake of His name, His kingdom, and His will – that His Word be faithfully proclaimed, believed on, and lived out among us. With it we ask for all that we need for bodily life in one simple sentence. With it we ask for God’s limitless forgiveness, and that we would give the same forgiveness to those who wrong us. With it we ask for protection against all the devil would use to tear us apart and lead us into doubt and unbelief.
But how can we call upon the Holy God as "our Father in heaven"? God’s Word tells us, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26) Through faith in the One who paid for all of our sins, we have a place in God's family! So He tenderly invites us to pray to Him as "our Father in heaven," just as boldly and confidently as dear children ask their dear father. The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer of the family of God, the prayer of children who know God as their Father. …THE LORD’S PRAYER IS YOUR PRAYER.
What do you do if you need help from someone who doesn’t care about you and is not interested in helping you? Have you ever felt that way about a public official, a boss, a teacher, even a parent? Perhaps you’ve felt that way about God. ...I wonder how many don’t come to church or approach God in prayer because they feel He doesn’t care about them.
"Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." (Luke 18:1-8) A widow persistently sought the help of a judge who didn’t fear God or care about anyone. He finally helped her just to get rid of her. Jesus’ point: If this callous judge finally answered and helped the poor widow, how much more will your gracious God willingly answer and help you?
Consider this: When the widow went to the judge for justice, she was going to the throne of the law. If God were to deal with you according to the law, what could you expect but punishment for your sins? But He poured out judgment on His Son instead; Jesus willingly took your punishment, and in Him you stand forgiven. (Does this sound like a God who doesn’t care about you?) So when you go to God for help, you go to the throne of grace. Because of Jesus, God’s Son, you have every reason to BE PERSISTENT WITH GOD IN PRAYER.
Have you ever felt helpless or alone or outcast? Have you ever felt like you are just living to survive…or living to die? You can relate to a person with leprosy in Jesus’ day more than you realize. Worse than the pain and disfigurement was the helplessness and isolation; with no known cure, lepers were cast out from society. It doesn’t matter if it’s leprosy or cancer or a broken marriage or bullying or a disability that you are experiencing; whatever it is, the helplessness and loneliness is real to you. The hope is that you come to the same conclusion as the ten lepers who called out to the Lord, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" (Luke 17:11-19.) They realized that JESUS IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN HELP.
Jesus invites you to do exactly what the lepers did. He invites you to cry out to Him, to lay your needs before Him, and to ask Him to help you. He wants you to trouble Him, even though it is no trouble at all for Him. Put your trust in Him who dealt with your greatest affliction, your sin. Put your trust in Him who alone can deal with your every need and burden as well. Put your trust in Jesus, and ask Him for help.
It is a widely held belief that many (if not all) paths lead to heaven. This assumption is rarely questioned in today’s world. But one person who listened closely to Jesus asked, "Lord, are only a few going to be saved?" Jesus answered, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to." (Luke 13:22-30) Jesus is clear: It is a myth to think that many paths lead to heaven, that everyone or even most will go to heaven.
There is only one way, only one entry, because only one person has solved our problem. Only Jesus has paid the price for our sins. This message is an offense to human pride and contrary to every assumption of man. But to try to enter heaven any other way – by what seems right to you, by trying to earn your way in, by thinking you’re set because you belong to a church – none of these solve our problem of sin. Only Jesus has. Yes, only a few are going to be saved, but you can be sure that includes you as you look to the cross of the One paid the price for you and the empty tomb of the One who defeated death for you. THE DOOR TO HEAVEN STANDS OPEN!
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.