12th Sunday after Pentecost – A (Proper 16) LSB #’s 842, 851, 662
Text – Romans 12:1
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy & acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
A LIVING SACRIFICE
“Therefore, I will never, ever go fishing again.” Strange as it may be, that’s the opening sentence. What do you make of it? The words are simple enough. You understand what they say. “Therefore, I will never, ever go fishing again.”
I spoke those words in your 1st language – English. I enunciated them clearly & I repeated them to make sure you heard. I used good diction & syntax & grammar & volume, yet the full meaning of the sentence is still fuzzy. There’s something missing, isn’t there? Just speaking & hearing & understanding words are not always communication.
In order to truly understand the depth of meaning in that opening sentence you need more information. What is it that you need? It’s the context, isn’t it? The words themselves have meaning, but without the context you cannot appreciate their spoken purpose.
So, here is the context. We have friends from Beijing, China who’ve been in the US for almost a year. The father & son have gone fishing around Lansing, but without much success. On our vacation up north we invited them to come along for a few days & one of the things Jan arranged was for a chartered fishing trip on Pentwater Lake.
The weather was beautiful & everything was going well. The father had already caught a one pound Sheepshead & we were settling in for more. Suddenly, the guy who was running the charter leaned over to me & said, “I think I forgot to ask do all of you have fishing licenses.”
A sinking feeling hit my stomach as the realization washed over me that getting a license had never once occurred to me. Jan had arranged the entire event & I have not been fishing in my entire adult life. Yes, I know you need a license to fish, but I was just going along for the ride in case there were translation issues with the father & son from China. I have been fishing as a child. Our 4-H group charted a boat in the Saginaw Bay on several occasions for yellow perch, & that was all I needed to realize that I just have no interest in fishing.
So the boat driven by the DNR officers pulled up & asked for our fishing licenses. I admitted I didn’t have one so they took my driver’s license instead. After about 15 minutes they gave my license back along with a court citation for fishing without a license. This coming Thursday I have to appear in the Oceana County Court, by Zoom, to make my plea.
And apart from all that, the four hours we spent fishing on Pentwater Lake reconfirmed my earlier opinion. I have neither the skill set nor the desire to spend any of my time fishing. “Therefore, I will never, ever go fishing again.”
Did you hear how the context adds layers of meaning to the simple sentence opening the sermon? The context that comes before ‘therefore’ provides insight & meaning for correctly understanding what comes after ‘therefore.’ I will never, ever go fishing again, because I just don’t enjoy it, & because the last time I went I got cited for not having a license. PAUSE
Likewise with the 12th chapter of Romans; the context that comes before the ‘therefore’ provides insight & meaning for correctly understanding what comes after. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy & acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1 ESV)
In Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, with chapter 12 he begins drawing a conclusion from the previous 11 chapters. What is the reasoning behind presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice? What motivates us to do such an unselfish thing? When I was going on mission trips to Tijuana, & building houses for people, it was not uncommon for them to ask, “Why are you doing this? Why do you leave your comfortable life behind to travel here to such poverty & then build homes in the hot sun all day?” In the ministry to the international students at MSU, it also is not uncommon to hear, “Why are you doing this? Why do you take time from your busy lives to care for us & to teach us whom you had never known before?”
In the sermon text, St. Paul encourages us to do those sorts of things by the mercies of God, but He had already alluded to that in 11:30, “For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy...” He made the Good News even clearer at 5:8, “but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The heavenly Father invested the life of His Son in you & me, even though all have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. It’s that kind of mercy that the Apostle is writing about when he says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice…” (Romans 12:1 ESV)
In chapter 8 we remember these powerful words:
“If God is for us, who can be against us? …Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? …Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. …neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Because nothing ever will be able to separate God’s children from eternity in heaven, we can put ourselves last, we can be content with the crumbs, we can present our bodies as living sacrifices by the mercies, or the Good News, of God. We don’t have to be number one here in this life because children of God will be number one for all eternity.
Now, by presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, through us, the Holy Spirit will build up people who’ve been broken down. Through us, the Holy Spirit will help people & raise them up to lead healthy lives as flourishing children, parents, families & congregations of people. A dead sacrifice, can only be offered up once, but as living sacrifices our entire lives can be ones of service & hope & light. You have the privilege of finishing the good works that God’s Spirit has prepared in advance for you to do. As a living sacrifice you have the joy of using the gifts God has blessed you with to lift people up.
Paul’s encouragement to present our bodies as a living sacrifice would be similar to John F. Kennedy saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” (Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961) If you listen to the promises the politicians of today are making, everything has been turned on its head since the speech given by JFK.
The difference is politicians are not going to die on a cross for your sins. In this election year, we should be voting for Jesus who did die for your sins & for mine. Jesus is pro-life, not pro-death. God’s Word says that government is given to us for providing justice to the poor & to the rich, to provide law & order. It says nothing about free college or free health care.
Members of the church, the body of Christ, should be taking care of people. Out of love for all that Christ has done for us, we should be doing those things – presenting our bodies as living sacrifices. It is the old evil age which believes that I am the center. I choose. I’m in charge. What I say goes.
It’s an old & popular way of thinking. It has values & beliefs that lead us into sin, to selfishness & to pride, but that old age is passing away. If you cling to it, you will pass away with it. You are not your own, not even your body is your own, because Jesus renewed it for you at your baptism. At the resurrection it will become part of the new age we call heaven.
Christians are never pro-choice because when the Holy Spirit is living & moving in you, there are no choices to make. God’s Spirit makes them for you & then you follow Jesus. And you do so not out of compulsion or out of fear. You follow Jesus; you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, out of gratitude & out of love. Paul’s writing is parallel to the instruction God gives to Jeremiah – resist conforming to the popular false preachers of the day. Instead, renew your mind with God’s Word. To save my life I must lose it. The same is true for you. How are we to lose our lives? Not necessarily in death, but in repentance.
In other words, in death to my own self-centered & demanding will, I am to repent, to turn my heart away from me, myself & I. My heart & yours need to be turned & tuned to our heavenly Creator. Daily we are to crucify our sinful nature in Christ. Much is lost in doing so, in worldly terms, but in the long run, in the eternal run, much more is gained.
Paul was writing to the church in Rome & the Christians there were not glorious to the world around them. Neither are we. Not many of them were rich. Not many of them were powerful. Neither are we. Their lives were a far cry from the glories of Rome, much less the glories of heaven. I know my life is not filled with earthly glory. What about yours?
Yet, as Paul looks at them, he sees earth crammed with heaven & he writes so that they join him in celebrating the wonder of God. Did you notice how Paul used the language of sacrifice? The sacrificial worship of God’s people, that glory of the temple in Jerusalem, is suddenly transformed in Paul’s thoughts.
God’s people become sacrifices, outside the temple, outside Jerusalem, hidden inside the small house churches gathering in the heart of the large empire of Rome. These people are God’s people, transformed into sacrifices that are living, holy, & acceptable to God.
Paul knew that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ put an end to temple sacrifices. His death was the perfect sacrifice. He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. By His sacrifice, God’s people were freed from offering sacrifices for sin. By His sacrifice, they were freed to become sacrifices – living sacrifices – of praise. And they poured out their lives in service to the weak & the powerless in the world around them. What was the motivating force behind presenting their bodies as a living sacrifice? It was by the mercies of God the Father who gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Presenting your bodies as a living sacrifice may not sound like something you want for yourself. I’m guessing it’s not currently on the “bucket list” for any of you. It can be a threatening & intimidating concept, certainly to the sinful nature in us.
Therefore, through the first 11 chapters, Paul goes through one presentation after another of what God has done through the Lord Jesus Christ. After all that, what is to be our response? Our saintly nature responds in repentance, & humility & surrender. Then, as we lose our life for Christ we actually gain true life as a gift from God.
In Christ, that is always what comes after “therefore.” Amen.
Lord of glory, You have bought us with Your lifeblood as the price, never grudging for the lost ones that tremendous sacrifice; & with that have freely given blessings countless as the sand to the unthankful & the evil with Your own unsparing hand. Grant us hearts, dear Lord, to give You gladly, freely of Your own. With the sunshine of Your goodness melt our thankless hearts of stone till our cold & selfish natures, warmed by You, at length believe that more happy & more blessed ’tis to give than to receive. Amen. LSB 851:1-2.
11th Sunday after Pentecost – A (Proper 15) LSB #’s 861, 848, 832
Text – Matthew 15:27
She said, “Yes, Lord, for even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
How many of you had crumbs for breakfast this morning? If you didn’t, what about dinner last night, or lunch yesterday afternoon? When you go to a restaurant you’re not likely to find crumbs on the menu unless they happen to serve ‘crumb cake’ for dessert. A lot of people don’t even like leftovers, let alone just the crumbs.
What is it that makes us that way? Why are we so unappreciative of small things? That may seem to be a ridiculous question. It’d be very difficult to survive on a diet that was all crumbs, yet a lot of us did grow up being taught to eat everything on our plate.
Did it really matter if a few peas or carrots did not make it into your stomach by the end of every meal? It’s not like it was a matter of life or death. Neither you nor I were going to starve if we did not clean off our plate. So what is the underlying principle, or lesson, that is being taught by the words, “You need to eat everything on your plate”?
It’s the same point the Canaanite woman makes when she says, “Yes, Lord, for even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Are you humble enough to eat crumbs? That’s an excellent illustration of faith in Jesus, & we can know without a doubt that it’s true because Jesus tells us, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.”
The woman was humble enough to be satisfied with crumbs. Now, Jesus & the woman are not talking about literal crumbs like you’d find in the bottom of an empty cake pan. They are talking about being satisfied with getting the leftovers, with being last instead of being first.
Do you agree with Jesus? It seems like an easy question to answer if you follow Him, but listen carefully. I’m not asking if you believe in Jesus. The question is, “Do you agree with Him?” You heard it just minutes ago in the Gospel reading. A Canaanite woman whose daughter is suffering from demon possession comes to Jesus & asks for help:
…“Have mercy on me… Lord, help me!” …“And He answered & said, ‘To take the children’s bread & to throw [it] to the dogs is not good.’” (Matthew 15:22 & 26) Effectively, Jesus is calling this woman a dog. And the woman agrees with Him, that she should not receive the bread meant for the children. She is humble & will be content with the crumbs.
Why is she like that & why are so many Americans not? The answer can only be that the woman knows full well the depths of her depravity. Do you truly grasp how intertwined your heart is with the Great Deceiver? Do you realize the evil that you yourself have done? Can you describe to someone who is searching for hope what you have found in Jesus Christ?
Would you like to be content with just the crumbs of life? The Gospel reading describes a woman who appears to relish her Jesus given identity of dog. Do you agree with His description? Do you want to be like this Canaanite woman, an outcast among the followers of Christ? “His disciples came & begged Him, saying, ‘Send her away…’”
Her daughter is suffering terribly from demon possession. We don’t even know what that is, because it’s so beyond anything you or I have experienced. For this mother, all of life had narrowed down to zero options. She has absolutely no control over what going on in her life & with her daughter. It is a mother who is powerless to stop their suffering.
It is this suffering that enabled her humility to be genuine. It is this suffering that empowered her to beg. It is this suffering that turned her to Christ in great faith, & there in that most narrow of places, with nowhere else to turn, there stands Jesus. This suffering & helpless mother is an excellent illustration of faith in Jesus.
Do you admire her faith? What would you be willing to endure in order to have faith
like hers? That’s a frightening question to consider, because all of us are a long way from being content with crumbs for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And we are even farther away from begging for them out in public. Have you considered that your faith in Jesus might not be all that? Maybe you don’t love Jesus as much as you thought!
It is good to be confident that Jesus loves you, but it is not good, right or salutary to be confident in your love for Jesus. There are two ways in which we can deal with our sin. One is to deny its power. I’m okay, Pastor. I don’t need your help. Who are you to be pointing out my sins? The other way to deal with our sin is to confess its power & to admit our helplessness.
So Matthew doesn’t just plop this event down in the middle of the Gospel with no context. In chapter 14 Jesus fed the 5000. The disciples were feeling nervous as the huge crowd was forming. What would all of them eat? They were in the middle of nowhere with only 12 disciples to serve them. Jesus, send them away!
Do you remember what Jesus told them? “You give them something to eat!” And shortly after the Canaanite woman is satisfied with crumbs, Jesus feeds another 4000 who had been with Him for three days & had nothing to eat. You see, Jesus is the Bread of life! No matter how impossible or narrow the way forward Jesus can feed you so that you live.
“This encounter between Jesus & the Canaanite woman is situated in every way on the edge. It’s on the boundary between the old & the new, between male & female, between Jew & Gentile, between friend & enemy, between the holy & the demonic.” And you too have experienced many of those edges, or points of friction, in your life.
What is it that makes Americans so unappreciative of small things? The international students that Jan & I interact with are so much more appreciative of simple gestures & small acts of kindness. I think one of the reasons is that living in a foreign country means you are in control of very few aspects of your life. Living with the illusion that we are in control seems to give us a hard edge & we lose our ability to appreciate the simple & the small blessings of God.
We don’t care much for crumbs. We don’t want them left on the table or on our lap after a meal. We don’t like them on the floor or on the furniture in the living room, & we certainly don’t want them in the bedsheets. Crumbs are the messy residue of meals & snacks. Yet, in the text from the Gospel of Matthew, we see the power of even the crumbs from Jesus’ ministry.
This suffering woman recognizes Jesus for what He is – the Bread of Life – & seeing the divinity of Jesus, she knows that she needs merely a crumb of His love & provision. God’s Son commends the woman’s faith (given to her by the Holy Spirit) & heals her daughter.
The Gospels often point out the importance of the smallest things – of a mustard seed, of a single candle, of the last two mites, of a crumb. It is the power of Messiah to turn the smallest & most insignificant element, like a baby born in a cattle stall in Bethlehem, into the instrument of salvation. If we only have the crumbs of Jesus we have everything we need, forever.
Like He did with the Canaanite woman, Jesus draws His brothers & sisters to Himself for strength, for healing, for peace & for hope. He is literally the source or the Bread of life. Whatever your struggles are, whatever wall you find yourself up against, know that even the crumbs of Jesus’ love can remove your sin & shame to make you whole again. Amen.
Lord, whose love through humble service bore the weight of human need, who upon the cross, forsaken, offered mercy’s perfect deed, we, Your servants, bring the worship not of voice alone, but heart, consecrating to Your purpose every gift that You impart. Called by worship to Your service, forth in Your dear name we go, to the child, the youth, the aged, love in living deeds to show; hope & health, goodwill & comfort, counsel, aid & peace we give, that Your servants, Lord, in freedom may Your mercy know & live. Amen. LSB 848:1, 4.
 Thomas Long, Matthew (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press), p. 175.
 Hilgendorf, T.R. Portals of Prayer, Concordia Publishing House, Vol. 80, #436, 9-30-2017.
9th Sunday after Pentecost – A LSB #’s 660, 869, 662
Text – Matthew 14:15-16
As evening approached, the disciples came to Him & said, “This is a remote place, & it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages & buy themselves some food.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” (NIV)
A REMOTE PLACE
The event is Call Night – the most anticipated service of the entire four-year program of seminary. Families, friends, pastors, the Synod President & your fellow students are all there, anxiously waiting to hear your name called; waiting to see you step forward to the front of the chapel. There, the church, city & state where you will be serving as pastor are 1st revealed.
It is a night filled with powerful emotions. You’ve been waiting for that moment, through all the struggles & frustrations, ever since you decided to enter the ministry. As you’re standing in line, waiting for your name to be read, it seems as if four years of preparation went by in the blink of an eye.
So here I am, next in line. The guy in front of me hears his name & steps forward. The Director of Placement announces: Trinity Lutheran Church, Wahiawa Oahu, Hawaii. The surprise & excitement echoes through the seminary chapel.
Next, my name is read & as I step forward, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Rugby, & St. Paul Lutheran Church, Willow City, North Dakota are announced. The contrast could not have been more pronounced. Hawaii – North Dakota. I’ll be honest I had never expected to set foot in that state, & I’ve been to almost all of the others.
With the guy in front of me getting sent to Hawaii you can just imagine what I spent the rest of the evening hearing. Jokes about dog sleds & tractors; jokes about being stranded & frozen in blizzards; jokes about more people living in one block of NY City, than in the entire state of North Dakota. Yes, the Director of Placement tried to reassure me, & the District President talked with me to make sure I wasn’t jumping ship. They were in the minority. One of my friends walked up to me, stuck his finger in my face, & laughed for a full 10 seconds. Of course, he’s from Boston & people from that part of the country have a reputation for being somewhat obnoxious.
The most common theme I heard that evening could be summarized by the phrase, “North Dakota is a Remote Place.” PAUSE
In the Feeding of the 5000, the disciples had the same words for their teacher. This is a ‘remote’ place. The Greek word used there can refer to a place that is uncultivated, uninhabited, abandoned or even wilderness. There would’ve been no restaurants or shops anywhere nearby. And with 5000 men being there, it was very likely there were as many as 10-15,000 people total.
It’s easy to understand why the disciples were starting to feel a bit nervous as the huge crowd was forming, & it was getting towards evening. What would all of them eat? The disciples were simply trying to be practical by anticipating a problem & heading it off. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages & buy food for themselves.
I’m certain His disciples were caught off guard when Jesus replied, “They don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat.” They were in the middle of nowhere, with as many as 5000 men to feed, & only the 12 disciples to serve them – an impossible problem even if they had enough food. It’s not practical & it lacks common sense. Had Jesus been in the sun too long?
That might seem a bit exaggerated. After all, Jesus is God. Certainly He had not lost His mind. You know the ending to the story, so where’s the problem? “Jesus performs a miracle,” you say. And your answer IS correct. But that answer is where your dilemma begins. The words of Matthew weren’t written to the 12 disciples. They were written to you: “You give them something to eat!” How well have you done at helping the hungry people in our world? Is our mission budget really sacrificial giving? Have you helped feed any of the refugees of any crisis around the world? Are you personally helping to care for the homeless or those in prison right here in our own country? Or even our own community?
Now that Jesus’ words are applied to you, do those tasks seem more impractical? Are your seats becoming more uncomfortable as you try to think up excuses?
“Well, not me pastor. I’m just a poor nobody in a small town in Michigan. I have no influence or access to millions of dollars. Besides, I’m too busy, & I wouldn’t know where to start &, well, it would take a miracle to help all the needy people of the world. PAUSE
And you are right on that. It would take a miracle.
In the Gospel of John, the same Feeding of the 5000 is recorded, but John adds a detail to the story. He writes, “When Jesus looked up & saw a great crowd coming toward Him, He said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for Jesus already had in mind what He was going to do.” (John 6:5-6)
Philip flunked the test. He answered, “Eight months’ of wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” In a narrow sense Philip is correct, eight months wages would not buy enough to feed them all. But the fact remains that even if the disciples had 108 months of wages they could not feed the multitudes as Jesus did. Neither can us!
Here’s the correct answer: “Lord, you command us to give them something to eat, but whether little is needed or much, we are unable to provide it.” We are poor miserable sinners. We can do nothing without our Lord’s provision, not even breathe. If He did not love us first, in but a moment, we would all cease to exist.
Yahweh only allows us to live in the hope that we might repent & turn back to Him,
like the thief on the cross, as he & Jesus were about to die. The correct answer is for you & me to daily recognize our sin, our helplessness, & turn to the God who created us – who loves us.
That God, who is the source of everything good, of every blessing, longs for you & me to repent of our rebellion & seek His forgiveness. He gives that freely, & promises that nothing will be able to separate us from His love. The OT lesson began:
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; & he who has no money, come, buy & eat!!” (Isaiah 55:1a ESV) If Philip had understood that, he would have known that Jesus could feed the 5000 with just 5 loaves of bread & two fish; never mind about money.
Likewise, we who are thirsting & hungering for relief from our sins, from our illnesses & from all the shattered hopes of our lives; we also can come to the Waters of Eternal Life.
What Philip did not comprehend is that even if they had enough money to feed the whole multitude, it would still have been nothing more than temporal life. Jesus feeds His sheep with food that provides heavenly life, for all of eternity. PAUSE
No, we are never able to keep any of God’s commands. Whether we at St. Matthew are commanded to, “Go ye therefore, & teach all nations,” or whether we are commanded to, “Love our neighbors as ourselves.” But the true God freely offers His forgiveness as He freely offered bread & fish to the 5000.
Is that forgiveness an excuse to say I live in a remote place, & cannot possibly help others? No, because God also says that faith can move mountains. The faith that moves mountains does not respond out of being commanded. It responds out of love for the forgiveness that Christ has generously given to each of us.
That is a faith which knows how helpless we are, yet trusts that Jesus will provide even what seems impossible. Sometime after He fed the 5000, followers asked Him, “What are the works that God wants us to do?” Jesus answered, “This is the work of God – that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:28-29) When you believe in Jesus He will use you to accomplish His will. He will use you to reach the world with the Good News of salvation that Christ has bought for us. Here’s a story of her doubts that Corrie Ten Boom repeated many times.
She was telling her father that she could never be a missionary because of all the hardships & sacrifices it required. “I don’t have the strength to do it.” Her father replied, “You know when I send you once a week to Amsterdam on the train to get the exact time to set our clocks in the shop, when do I give you the fare for the train?”
“Just before I am to get on the train,” she replied. “Yes,” he said, “& so it is with the tests of life that come to each of us. God may not give you the strength beforehand, but when the time of the test comes He will give you the fare for the journey.” Corrie Ten Boom believed in her father, & because he loved her he gave her the fare for the train.
Our Savior loves us so much more, & as we believe in Him, He too will give us the fare – everything that we need – for our journey here on earth. But sometimes He asks us to be patient & to trust Him for that fare.
It’s easy for you & me to ignore God’s will in our lives. We can come up with very logical & practical reasons for doing so. Letting those who need something fend for they are much less trouble for us. But that is not answering God’s call. He has already prepared in advance those good works for you to do.
By faith in His power to accomplish them, we can participate with our Heavenly Father in sharing His love with the world. It is only that love which has the power to change the world, to redeem it, to recreate it. The law, of he that does not work shall not eat, has no power to change anyone. It only condemns, just as we are condemned by our own failures to obey God’s command to give them something to eat. Being in a remote place & of little influence is no excuse. The Feeding of the 5000 shows that God is willing to work miracles even in places like this shrunken congregation. He’s already worked the miracle of faith in your heart, & He promises to continue working miracles during the rest of your life here on earth.
Like the disciples, & like Corrie Ten Boom, you may be surprised with what God can work through you, even here at St. Matthew Lutheran church.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Amen.
With the Lord begin your task; Jesus will direct it. For His aid & counsel ask; Jesus will perfect it. Every morn with Jesus rise & when day is ended in His name then close your eyes; be to Him commended. With your Savior at your side, foes need not alarm you; in His promises confide, & no ill can harm you. All your trust & hope repose in the mighty Master, who in wisdom truly knows how to stem disaster. Amen. LSB 869:1, 3.
 Romans 8:37-39
Pastor Dean R. Poellet