Excerpt from January, 2018 "The Mountain Top Messenger" newsletter...

As I sat down to write this month's cover letter I was looking out my window, watching the snow fall and hoping that the storm that was missing us would not. I thought having some more snow would be nice, after all it is winter in Wisconsin...
 
[hover curser over text to stop scroll]
1111 11th Avenue West Ashland, WI USA 54806 715.682.6075 inquiry@zionashland.org


LCMS.org

Witness, Mercy, Life Together

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Current Newsletter
Newsletter Archives
Adobe® Reader® is needed to download the following documents. A free download of Adobe® Reader® is available by clicking on the logo... Get Adobe® Reader®
February 2018 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter
[please click on above link to open current newsletter]
As I sat down to write this month's cover letter I was looking out my window, watching the snow fall and hoping that the storm that was missing us would not. I thought having some more snow would be nice, after all it is winter in Wisconsin. But my hoping was to no avail, the storm moved South and East and all we got was a smattering.

As I struggled with my disappointment I began to think about the word hope. A quick search let me know that the word hope is used at least 240 times in the Bible. The first use comes in the book of Ruth in the Old Testament and the last in III John. In the Old Testament, it is used the most in the Book of Psalms, 28 times, and in the New Testament Paul uses it the most, 13 times in Romans and a total of 49 times in all his Epistles.

Now, hope is a good thing, we hope for the best, we hope our visit at the doctor goes well, in Jesus we hope for our salvation. Now wait a minute; shouldn't our hope for salvation be something more than just a hope? Doesn't that hope make it sound that our salvation is something that might happen? Well in present day English the answer to your question would be yes and that might be worrisome when it comes to our salvation. However, because of the limitations of our modern-day English we can be misled. In scripture the definition for hope is far more clear. In scripture when we are talking about hope we are talking about something that is assured. Hope in the Bible, particularly the New Testament is something we can bank on, it is not something that might be, it is something that is guaranteed. When we read the Gospels and Epistles, we can replace hope with assurance. Let me give you an example.

Romans 8:23-25 "And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."

Here Paul is trying to let us know that the hope we have in Christ is not like the hope we have in the world. I am going to make a few changes to verses 24 and 25 and see if you can see what I am speaking of:

"24For in this assurance we were saved. Now assurance that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But we have assurances for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."

The hope that we have in Christ, the hope of our salvation is not the same kind of hope that we have when we hope to win the lottery. Our Biblical, scriptural hope, is the assurance from God, that through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we have been made righteous, we have been adopted as children of God, and because of our baptism, we have died a death like his and will also be raised on the last day in a resurrection like his. This is the hope the Apostle's write about, this is the hope that we believe in. So as Paul wrote to Timothy: For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Tim 5:5) It is my hope, that you are all assured of the grace and love of God, your Father and live in the assurance of your salvation through Jesus Christ, his Son, your Brother, our Savior.

As we are now heading into Lent, Ash Wednesday is February 14. I wanted to let you know that our Wednesday Lenten series is entitled: "Return to the Lord!" We will be looking at how we can Return to the Lord; Who is Gracious, Who has redeemed you, Who will restore you, Who will raise you up, Who does not change, and Who does not tire of Calling you!

Please join us for soup and sandwich before you Return to the Lord. God bless you in your Lenten journey and as we complete the journey of our Savior from Manger to Cross, to Grave, to his Glorious Resurrection. The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. (2 Tim 4:22)

Pastor Rick
excerpt from...
February 2018 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter