Romans 11:33-36 – 33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Three days after my self-imposed deadline to have this article finished, here I am still typing the introductory words. Last night someone even tried to give suggestions as for what I could address. How about you write about the election? My response was that I think many people are ready to relax and let it be over already. Thoughtfully the individual said it was still on the minds of many people who are upset by ongoing issues across the country. You might be right…
Then I found a nice note on my desk this morning with further suggestions. Maybe you could address the following: (1) prepare our hearts for proper preparation of Jesus’ birth; (2) give us tips and helps for furthering our personal devotional life into the New Year; (3) overeating through the holidays and help with indulgence.
As I think about all those things, maybe the one common thread between them all: our country, our faith & devotional life, and our physical life is that they are always, constantly transitional issues. The president elect right now is trying to figure out how and who is going to lead the country and what the platform and issues are going to be. That is daunting. With Christmas around the corner we are feverishly making to do lists and checking them twice on everything that needs to be accomplished. With even more on the plate this year, how do I transition from a rush hour mentality to have time for rest with Jesus? And speaking of plates, just think how many are going to be set before you between Thanksgiving and Christmas…and goodness, include the dessert plates! Appetites that indulge without limit may feel exactly the same afterwards in both their bodies and their souls as Adam and Eve after they indulged in the garden!
To the constant transitional issues of life, Paul offers us a word of advice, or more accurately a word of praise. His point: handle every transitional issue in life by praising God through the issue. To those still anxious over national transitional issues, remember God has never had any counselor, needed any counselor, or transitioned from one platform to the next. He is the same: merciful God yesterday, forgiving God today, and gracious God tomorrow. He doesn’t invite our advise, just welcomes our prayers and praise. Make him and his Word your constant through a life that isn’t.
During the time of the year that invites marital angst, family tension, credit card guilt and the tripling of schedules (and yes, even snow), you have a choice. Only you can set your schedule and make the time to sit with Jesus. A devotional life doesn’t necessarily mean a book. It starts with the gospel taking hold of your heart to be devoted to Jesus first. Come and give the Lord what only you can give: a heart full of praise for his to you in Jesus.
And finally you praise Jesus with not only what comes out of your mouth, but what goes in. While Jesus never taught “Everything in moderation”… my mother in law did. And she’s a pretty smart Lutheran. Better yet, the Lord teaches us the high value he places on our bodies. You were bought at a price! Paul wrote our body is a temple. What can we do? In the midst of a smorgasbord of foods, remember godliness with contentment is not weight gain but great gain. Let the Word reinvigorate your will and firmly guide your choices.
Where we transition out of praise into worry, fear, or anxiety and transgress into sin, we have one who still speaks forgiveness to our hearts and turns our lips to praise once more. Through every transition of life God gives us every reason to find hope and strength and peace in him no matter what battles we’ve lost in life and which ones we are currently facing. Come praise your Lord for his plans, wisdom, and gifts, which guides our life through every change.
Pastor Aaron Mueller