Archive for the ‘Jeremiah 31:31-34’ Category

How’s Your Heart?

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Lent 5 B, March 18, 2018
Rev. Brian Henderson-pastor of
Trinity Lutheran Church,
7210 Lisbon Street
San Diego, CA 
92114

Click here for audio of this message

So how’s your heart? Have you been getting regular checkups? Are you eating heart healthy food? Getting regular exercise? Do you take your medications as prescribed by your doctor? Good!

So how’s your spiritual heart? Are you paying even closer attention to it?

You should you know, because that heart will be around a lot longer than your physical one. The physical heart will eventually fail from sickness or old age, but your spiritual heart, the essence of who you are, will last for eternity. Your Great Physician, the one who created your bodies, has prescribed medicine and treatments to care for your spiritual hearts as well. If you follow His care and then rest in His work, well you are absolutely guaranteed to have a blessed eternity. Listen: “For this is the covenant that I will make with (them)… declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.” [Jeremiah 31:33-34]

So there is God’s prescription for you; a new covenant! But why do we need a new covenant? Well, its because the old one can’t save you! Why; is there something wrong with it? Well no; its just that sin-sick people, people like us tend to misuse it; we want to use it in ways God never intended. You see, in our sin-sick condition we don’t want to believe that we have spiritual heart disease.

The people in the prophet Jeremiah’s time didn’t want to believe that either! In fact, every time God tried to treat His people’s disease of sin with His Word, they came up with all kinds of excuses to avoid getting the treatments. And if they didn’t like the message, why they would just attack God’s prophets, who were kind of like His spiritual paramedics. So like a child throwing a tantrum in the doctor’s office before receiving an injection, they refused to listen.

We aren’t much better today really. It’s getting harder and harder to even mention God’s name in public without someone being offended and trying to silence God’s wisdom.

Did you hear about what happened to the Christian fraternity and sorority on the campus of SDSU several years ago? They had a very simple code of conduct based on God’s Law; a set of rules that you must agree with in order to be a member. They required all perspective members to sign a pledge promising to avoid sex outside of marriage and agree that marriage is as God defines it; that is its between a man and a woman. Well, as you may have guessed, the state of California determined that they were discriminatory and not eligible for any of the state’s support that all of the other fraternities or sororities receive. Well both the fraternity and sorority sued in federal court and lost. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to even hear their case. So what does this case tell us? Well, you can’t force people to live God pleasing and moral lives. No, I’m afraid that before God’s forgiveness can be received and followed we need something more than rules and pledges in our lives; we need something new and powerful that doesn’t depend on us.

Like the true and faithful children of Abraham in the prophet Jeremiah’s time, we’ve also discovered that on our own we can’t keep God’s law and rules of conduct. We’ve all learned by experience that the old covenant, can never bring us God’s peace and salvation.

Today, God wants us to admit that try as we might, we will never please Him by being good.

God wants us to see that on our own, we are by nature sinful and unclean. We love to look at the trouble in our neighbor’s life and feel superior, while ignoring the big problems and sin that dominates our own lives. This is why we need a new covenant; a new prescription from God. In truth we need a new heart. So this morning, God is telling us that right now, He’s doing that very thing, and He does this work through the new covenant.

This new covenant is “not like the old covenant (He) made with (our) forefathers.” It contains no laws, rules, or regulations that have to be kept. It has no exclusive priesthood that limits the right of who may approach God. In fact, this new covenant invites everyone, regardless of nationality, to believe in God’s love and presence with each one personally. It sets aside ethnic, racial, and other man-made boundaries. The prescription or invitation of the new covenant is for the entire world. This new covenant invites everyone to worship the Lord in spirit and truth—“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” This is God’s miracle of conversion or new life. How does He deal with our old diseased hearts? He rips them out in baptism and replaces them with new hearts. With these new hearts, we see God’s holy and perfect righteousness and instead of being afraid, we call out to Him through the work and presence of the Holy Spirit, with the words, “Abba, Father.” We no longer look at God as angry and threatening, instead we see His forgiving love! This change in heart is something that the old covenant could never give to us.

So how did God do this mighty work? By showing us Jesus, His own Son upon the cross. In God’s Word, we see Jesus there upon the cross, high and lifted up as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. Through Jesus’ obedience and death we see the once-and-for-all sacrifice that pleases God and removes the guilt of sin from the entire world. He offered Himself freely; He willingly shed His blood so that all of us could be saved from our sins and given a new heart.

Now there is nothing that can prevent anyone, including you from knowing the forgiving love of Jesus Christ. When Jesus shouted from the cross “It is finished” he said those words for you.

This new covenant Word of God was sealed upon your very flesh in the waters of your baptism.

It really does not matter whether you can remember the day you were washed clean or not, because it was God’s work and not yours or any other person. In your baptism God took the sacrifice of Jesus blood, blood shed for the entire world as payment of their sins and He made it your personal payment. In your baptism God sealed you and gave to you His very Spirit and the forgiveness for all of your sins. But that is not all… He also gave to you the gift of faith to believe in this new covenant. In your baptism, the Words God spoke by the prophet Jeremiah come true: “No longer will a man teach his neighbor… saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me.”
We know Him through both the gift of faith and the promise of forgiveness that was given to us in our baptism. In both the cross and the baptismal waters, you hear God’s continuing Word of promise for each of you: “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

But the work of the new covenant does not stop at the baptismal font. Every day God feeds us with His Word; a word that can be read, spoken, and declared. He calls us to His table and shares the meal of the new covenant within Holy Communion. In this meal He draws us to Himself and feeds us His supreme gift; with the bread, we receive His body given on the cross; with the wine He gives us His own blood poured out upon that same cross.

Within each of these sacred gifts, God gives us complete forgiveness, and He removes all doubts about His love for us. With these gifts He comes to us personally and works within us, strengthening our new hearts; hearts that beat to please Him. When we keep God’s law and do what is right, we glorify and please Him!

When we fail, when we sin He wants us to confess these failures and turn to Him for forgiveness.

This is the rhythm of living in God’s Kingdom of Grace; this is the rhythm of our new hearts beating within us. It is a life that God wants us to demonstrate to others.

Now, it might seem dangerous following Jesus and sharing God’s forgiving love with your neighbor; it might make you feel uncomfortable and vulnerable to shame and ridicule. But if you will follow Jesus and the path of sacrificial love that He walked, after a while you will begin to grow in faith and learn to rest in the protecting presence of the Holy Spirit.

Before we close our message this morning, I want you to look up; look up at the ceiling of this church. Do you see how high those lights are? I would say that they are about 45 feet at the highest point. How do you think those bulbs get changed? That’s right; someone has to climb up there on a ladder, and that someone will probably be Dennis and me. The first time I went up there, I was pretty afraid. Each rung of the ladder created more fear, but I went up because it had to be done. Once I got up to the top, I felt every wiggle and jiggle of the ladder. But something happened as I began to work; I became comfortable with the height because I was comfortable with the strength of the ladder, so comfortable in fact that I had to be reminded to be careful because it’s a long way down!

Well, that’s sort of like our walk of faith. God has given us a new heart and a new covenant to live out and to share. He’s assured us that if we trust in His strong presence and work within us, then we will be alright. It might seem a little scary at first as you begin to share God’s forgiving love and Word with your neighbor. But once you start walking with God and letting Him work within you, your fear will leave and God’s peace will take its place and you will be amazed at the good He can do through you!

Just as Jesus obediently walked to Jerusalem, He wants us to allow Him to lead our new hearts governed by a new covenant. He wants us to go out into this world of sin and share His forgiving love and Word with others. It can seem intimidating and even a bit threatening, but remember you have a new heart beating within you… and that heart is saying, “You’re not alone… not alone… not alone… not alone!”

It IS the Lord’s Supper Don’t Ya Know!

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Rev. Brian Henderson-Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, San Diego, CA

Maundy Thursday (C), March 28, 2013

If you were invited to have dinner at a friend’s home, would you tell that person that you didn’t want to eat what they served you, and that you’d rather have them  order pizza instead? What if your friend served prime rib, would it be appropriate to tell everyone the next day that you were served hot dogs?  Yet in churches t  throughout this nation we find many different explanations about what Jesus instituted and served on that first “Christian” Passover meal long ago.  So, how are we  to suppose to approach this Holy meal this evening?  Well, let’s allow our Lord to answer this question for us; After all, it is HIS Supper you know!

On the night before He died, Jesus shared with His disciples the Passover, or the Seder. But in the midst of this Seder meal, Jesus served and instituted another meal, a whole new  meal, a meal that was meant to be repeated; it was “The Lord’s Supper.”  Tonight, through eight explanations, we will explore just what kind of meal it was and continues to be today  and always will be until He returns!

I.  First, it is a historical meal. In Exodus 12, we learn that the Seder meal was instituted as a way to help the Jews remember how God led them out of captivity in  Egypt towards their promised land.  God did it. Not one Hebrew warrior stood against the mighty Egyptians; not one Jew contributed anything in accomplishing  their deliverance!  Freedom came in the blackest night while Hebrew slave families huddled around the Passover table, their bags packed, waiting for deliverance.  Why was it called the Passover meal?  Well, it’s because the angel of death visited only the homes of the Egyptians but it passed over the homes of the Hebrew families because they had marked their homes as God directed them—with the blood of a lamb.  The Jews celebrate that event each year with humility and praise through the Seder meal.  In that meal they remember how God alone saved them; in this meal, there is no room for pride. For the children of Israel, independence from Egypt meant dependence on God. In fact, God comes back to this event throughout the Bible as a way of describing himself: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt.”

Much later, in the upper room, Jesus would give Passover night an even broader significance. In a time when Jews throughout the world were bringing out their choice lambs to slaughter, eat, and remember the blood and deliverance, Jesus would now show the world that He had been selected as the TRUE Passover Lamb, not just for the Jews, but for all of humanity (1 Corinthians 5:7). The words “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13) came to convey a whole new meaning. The Lord’s Supper is now superior to the Passover meal in that it promises salvation not from physical slavery, but deliverance from the power of sin, death, and the devil.

II. Second, it is a Memorial Meal That Remembers Christ’s Death on Behalf of Us All. St. Paul speaks of Holy Communion as a memorial meal in this way: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).

Did you notice that each time Jesus delivered the elements of His Holy Supper that he punctuated it with the need to Remember Him?  Since the bread eaten is Christ’s body “for us” and the wine drank “is the new covenant in (His) blood” then clearly this meal is a memorial or a way of remembering Christ’s atoning death. In churches all across the world, we can find other Christians partaking in the Lord’s Supper and recognizing it as a meal that remembers Christ’s death. But sadly, sometime after the zeal of the Reformation wore off, some churches began to look at HIS Holy Supper as nothing more than a memorial meal.  Now it’s here that we need to turn our hearts towards God and receive everything that He’s lovingly giving to us in this meal, because it is so much more than a memorial meal!

III. It is a Holy Meal, because God’s very Word makes it holy. When someone asks you “Why do you believe that the bread and wine are holy in the Lord’s Supper?” simply answer that “It is God’s Word that makes it holy!”  You see, the words of consecration that Christ spoke at the Last Supper and which the Pastor repeats each time this meal is served are the very power of God. Now, we do not say that a pastor or priest by virtue of their ordination has the power to transform simple bread and wine into a holy meal, but rather it is the very Words of Christ spoken over the bread and wine that makes it holy, presenting both bread and wine and Body and Blood. But why does God do this?  The answer to this question brings us to our Fourth explanation of what kind of meal this is.

IV. It is a meal in which God feeds us with the forgiveness for all of our sins and serves us an overflowing cup of peace with God. In our Gospel reading you heard Christ Himself say, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Friends, if you can only remember one thing about this meal then remember this, IT IS A MEAL OF FORGIVENESS!  Take your sins to this meal and exchange them for God’s mercy and peace!

Just as the preached Gospel announces and gives forgiveness through the cross of Christ to everyone who believes, so does this meal. In the Holy Supper, the Gospel of forgiveness is not only heard but it is also seen, smelled, touched and tasted. But why?  Because we have been wonderfully created to experience God in ways even the angels stand in awe of!  You see God created us as flesh and blood.  We experience God through our senses.  Through all of our senses then, God is allowing us within His Holy Meal to experience the complete forgiveness that Christ has won for us upon the cross. In the Lord’s Supper, that once-and-for- all forgiveness is freely given to each one of us who have been baptized and by faith, believe in His promise.  Friends, God wants you to experience the assurance that all of your sins, including the ones that are heavy on your heart right now, are completely forgiven.

That’s why we teach that the Lord’s Supper is for true sinners.  If you are sorrowing and struggling over your sinfulness, then Jesus says “Come unto me ye weary and I will give you rest!”  Friends, this is not a meal for people who feel worthy, but it was instituted for those peculiar children of God who cry out “Have mercy on me Lord Jesus, a pitiful and unworthy sinner!”

V. Fifth, it is a Meal that is God’s Work for Us, Not Our Work for Him. Just as the Jews played no part in their deliverance from the oppression of the Egyptians, we also play no part in our Salvation and the complete forgiveness of our sins.  This is all entirely the work of Jesus.  It was His blood that was poured out for the forgiveness of your sins. In this holy meal, Jesus invites us to eat and drink His forgiveness. Can you see that it is Jesus, not us, who is the one who offers, prepares, and serves this Divine Supper?  He serves us His body “which is given for you” (Luke 22:19). He serves us His blood “which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20). All the emphasis is on what He does for us. Our “job” is only to receive.

VI. In our sixth explanation we are taught that this is a Meal in Which We Eat and Drink Christ’s Body and Blood. Now most Christian traditions affirm that Christ is present somehow in the Lord’s Supper. But it’s not enough to just say that Jesus is present in this meal. Some Christians today speak of Christ’s “real” presence in the bread and wine as being spiritual.  Some will say that when Christians eat and drink they spiritually ascend to Christ who is at the right hand of God. While these words may seem harmless, we must not be deceived; remember, IT IS HIS SUPPER, NOT OURS!  Jesus clearly says “This IS my body” and “This IS my blood.”  He did not say that this represents my body and blood; nor did he say ‘I am spiritually present in the bread and wine.”  No, our Savior clearly states that the bread IS His body and the fruit of the vine “IS (His) blood of the new covenant!”

We Lutherans firmly believe that this is a meal in which we consume Christ’s body and blood along in, with and under the bread and wine. We base this on the words of institution, in which Christ offers bread and says of that bread, “This is my body.” and offers the wine and says of that wine, “This is my blood.” Do we try to explain how this can be? No! We simply accept the plain sense of the words that the bread, somehow, is also Christ’s body, and the wine, somehow, is also Christ’s blood and we let it remain within those words.

VII. In our seventh explanation, we learn that this meal is also a Family Meal that gives and Celebrates Unity among those who eat it. The Lord’s Supper has often been called the Sacrament of unity. Why? In part, because of the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:17 where he writes: “Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.”

These words hint towards two things. First, they tell us that the one bread broken and distributed signifies the oneness of the body of Christ, the Church. On most Sundays this may be difficult to understand when we receive individual bite-size wafers. But tonight I will distribute the body of Christ from one large loaf of bread.  As the bread is broken and distributed think about this concept of unity. Realize that while you may be receiving only one small piece of the loaf, every one here is being fed from the same source.

Second, the words of Paul infer that those who partake of the one bread become one body; that is, the eating of this meal creates as well as celebrates unity within God’s people. St. Paul’s point is that it is wrong to enter into communion with those with which you have no true unity – and true unity includes recognizing all of the mysteries that are given in His Holy Supper.  For us here tonight, when we respond to His invitation to eat and drink, we are professing that we come together truly as a family that is one body in Christ, one in faith, and one in doctrine. When we eat this meal together, we will as one heart celebrate our Lord’s life, death and resurrection until He returns!

VIII. Lastly, in our eighth explanation, we discover that this is a Meal that is “a Foretaste of the Feast to Come.” This phrase, taken from a Communion liturgy of Lutheran Worship, beautifully expresses another aspect of the Lord’s Supper. It is a foretaste of that eternal, heavenly meal that we will enjoy with our God. For this meal points not only backwards but also forward in time. It looks to the past and remembers, looks to the present and receives and gives thanks, and looks to the future and anticipates!

In this look towards the future, we are strengthened in the present.  In His Supper tonight, we are allowed to look ahead to a time when there will be no more tears or pain, only joy and peace with the God who created us to be in a relationship of love with Him and each other.  Through this Holy Communion, we are assured that no matter how difficult our current circumstances may be, through our crucified and risen Savior, we shall overcome, and feast with Him in glory forevermore!  How can this Holy Supper do all of this?  Because He says so, and after all “IT IS THE LORD’S SUPPER!”  I pray that God will richly bless each of us this evening as we approach His table to hear, see, touch, smell and taste forgiveness.  I ask this in Jesus name… AMEN and AMEN!

How’s Your Heart?

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Lent 5 B, March 25, 2012
Pastor Brian Henderson-Trinity Lutheran Church, San Diego, CA

Click here for audio of this message

So how’s your heart?  Have you been getting regular checkups?  Are you eating heart healthy food?  Getting regular exercise?  Do you  take your medications as prescribed by your doctor?  Good!

So how’s your spiritual heart?  Are you paying even closer attention to it?  You should you know; that heart will be around a lot longer  than your physical one.  The physical heart will eventually fail from sickness or old age, but your spiritual heart, the essence of who  you are, will last for eternity.  Your Great Physician, the one who created your bodies, has prescribed medicine and treatments to care  for your spiritual hearts as well.  If you follow His care and rest in His work, then you are absolutely guaranteed to have a blessed  eternity.  Listen: “For this is the covenant that I will make with (them)… declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will  write it on their hearts.  And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each  his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD.  For I will  forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.” [Jeremiah 31:33-34]

So there is God’s prescription for you; a new covenant!  But why do we need a new covenant?  Well, its because the old one can’t save  you!  Why; is there something wrong with it?  Well no; its just that sin-sick people, people like us tend to misuse it; we want to use it in  ways God never intended.  You see, in our sin-sick condition we don’t want to believe that we have spiritual heart disease.  The people  in the prophet Jeremiah’s time didn’t want to believe that either!  In fact, every time God tried to treat His people’s disease of sin with His Word, they came up with all kinds of excuses to avoid getting the treatments.  And if they didn’t like the message, why they would just attack God’s prophets, who were kind of like His spiritual paramedics.  So like a child throwing a tantrum in the doctor’s office before receiving an injection, they refused to listen.

We aren’t much better today really.  It’s getting harder and harder to even mention God’s name in public without someone being offended and trying to silence God’s wisdom.

Did you hear about what happened to the Christian fraternity and sorority on the campus of SDSU?  They had a very simple code of conduct based on God’s Law; a set of rules that you must agree with in order to be a member.  They required all perspective members to sign a pledge promising to avoid sex outside of marriage and agree that marriage as God defines it is between a man and a woman.  Well, as you may have guessed, the state of California determined that they were discriminatory and not eligible for any of the state’s support that all of the other fraternities or sororities receive.  Well both the fraternity and sorority sued in federal court and lost.  The U.S. Supreme Court refused to even hear their case.  So what does this case tell us?  Well, you can’t force people to live God pleasing and moral lives.  No, I’m afraid that before God’s can be received and follow we need something more than rules and pledges in our lives; we need something new and powerful that doesn’t depend on us.

Like the true and faithful children of Abraham in the prophet Jeremiah’s time, we’ve also discovered that on our own we can’t keep God’s law and rules of conduct.  We’ve all learned by experience that the old covenant, can never bring us God’s peace and salvation.

So this morning God wants us to admit that try as we might, we will never please Him by being good.  He wants us to see that on our own, we are by nature sinful and unclean.  We love to look at the trouble in our neighbor’s life and feel superior, while ignoring the big problems and sin that dominates our own lives.  This is why we need a new covenant; a new prescription from God.  In truth we need a new heart.  So this morning, God is telling us that right now, He’s doing that very thing, and He does this work through the new covenant.

This new covenant is “not like the old covenant (He) made with (our) forefathers.”  It contains no laws, rules, or regulations that have to be kept.  It has no priesthood that limits the right of who may approach God.  In fact, this new covenant invites everyone, regardless of nationality, to believe in God’s love and presence with them personally.  It sets aside ethnic, racial, and other man-made boundaries.  The prescription or invitation of the new covenant is for the entire world.  This new covenant invites everyone to worship the Lord in spirit and truth—“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.”  This is God’s miracle of conversion or new life.  How does He deal with our old diseased hearts?  He rips them out in baptism and replaces them with new hearts.  With these new hearts, we see God’s holy and perfect righteousness and instead of being afraid, we call out to Him through the work and presence of the Holy Spirit, with the words,  “Abba, Father.”  We no longer look at God as angry and threatening, instead we see His forgiving love!  This change in heart is something that the old covenant could never give to us.

So how did God do this mighty work?  By showing us Jesus, His own Son upon the cross.  In God’s Word, we see  Jesus there upon the cross, high and lifted up as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.  Through Jesus’ obedience and death we see the once-and-for-all sacrifice that pleases God and removes the guilt of sin from the entire world.  He offered Himself freely; He willingly shed His blood so that all could be saved from their sins and be given a new heart.  Now there is nothing that can prevent anyone, including you from knowing the forgiving love of Jesus Christ.  When Jesus shouted from the cross “It is finished” he said those words for you.

This new covenant is sealed upon your very flesh in your baptism.  It really does not matter whether you can remember the day you were washed clean or not, because it was God’s work and not yours or any other man.  In your baptism God took the sacrifice of Jesus blood, blood shed for the entire world as payment of their sins and He made it your personal payment.  In your baptism God sealed you and gave to you His very Spirit and the forgiveness for all of your sins.  But that is not all… He also gave to you the gift of faith to believe in this new covenant.  In our baptisms, the Words God spoke by the prophet Jeremiah come true: “No longer will a man teach his neighbor… saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me.”  We know Him through both the gift of faith and the promise of forgiveness that was given to us in our baptism.  In both the cross and the baptismal waters, you hear God’s continuing promise to each of you: “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

But the work of the new covenant does not stop at the baptismal font.  Every day God feeds us with His Word; a word that can be read, spoken, and declared.  He calls us to His table and shares the meal of the new covenant within Holy Communion.  In this meal He draws us to Himself and feeds us His supreme gift; with the bread, we receive His body given on the cross; with the wine He gives us His own blood poured out upon that same cross.

Within each of these sacred gifts, God gives us complete forgiveness, and He removes all doubts about His love for us.  With these gifts He comes to us personally and works within us, strengthening our new hearts; hearts that beat to please Him.  When we keep God’s law and do what is right, we glorify and please Him!   When we fail, when we sin He wants us to confess these failures and turn to Him for forgiveness.  This is the rhythm of living in God’s Kingdom of Grace; this is the rhythm of our new hearts beating within us.  It is a life that God wants us to demonstrate to others.

Now, it might seem dangerous following Jesus and sharing God’s forgiving love with your neighbor; it might make you feel uncomfortable and vulnerable to shame and ridicule.  But if you will follow Jesus and the path of sacrificial love that He walked, after a while you will begin to grow in faith and learn to rest in the protecting presence of the Holy Spirit.

Before we close our message this morning, I want you to look up; look up at the ceiling of this church.  Do you see how high those lights are?  I would say that they are about 45 feet at the highest point.  How do you think those bulbs get changed?  That’s right; someone has to climb up there on a ladder, and that someone in usually Dwain and me.  The first time we went up there, we were pretty afraid.  Each rung of the ladder created more fear, but we went up because it had to be done.  Once we got up to the top, we felt every wiggle and jiggle of the ladder.  But something happened as we began to work; we became comfortable with the height because we were comfortable with the strength of the ladder, so comfortable in fact that we had to remind each other to be careful because it’s a long way down!

Well, that’s sort of like our walk of faith.  God has given us a new heart and a new covenant to live out and to share.  He’s assured us that if we trust in His presence and work within us, then we will be alright.  It might seem a little scary at first as you begin to share God’s forgiving love and Word with your neighbor.  But once you start walking with God and letting Him work within you, your fear will leave and God’s peace will take its place and you will be amazed at the good He can do through you!

Just as Jesus obediently walked to Jerusalem, He wants us to allow Him to lead our new hearts governed by a new covenant.  He wants us to go out into this world of sin and share His forgiving love and Word with others.  It can seem intimidating and even a bit threatening, but remember you have a new heart beating within you… and that heart is saying, “You’re not alone… not alone… not alone… not alone!”