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Friday, November 5, 2021

The Marks of Thanksgiving

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus feet, giving him thanks” Luke 17:15-16

The ten lepers is a story of true thanksgiving. Mired in the horrifying reality of leprosy, their lives were defined by this debilitating disease. Yet one day as they saw Jesus from a distance, they lifted their voices saying “Jesus have mercy upon us”. The Lord directed them to the priests and on the way they were cleansed. Imagine the great reversal that took place that day! How lives were changed as they were no longer defined by the words “unclean! unclean!” but through His grace, they were restored in Christ. As one leper returned, he praised the Lord and Jesus said to him, Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well” [Lk17:19]. Indeed, this is the mark of true thanksgiving!

And so it is for us. As we were born into the leprous state of sin and death, we cannot rescue ourselves from the consequence of the fall. Thus, we too proclaim the words, “Lord have mercy upon us” [Kyrie]. For it is only by God’s mercy that He would send His Son to die for sinners.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” Ephesians 2:8-9.

The great reversal is credited to Christ who shapes and defines you by His grace. As an undeserved gift, Christ by His merits worked salvation upon the Cross for you. You are saved by the one who stood in your place, dying the big death so that by the shedding of His blood you are forgiven and declared righteous in front of God. Indeed, this is the mark of true thanksgiving.

Or as it reads in the explanation of the 3rd article of the Creed:

“I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.”

As the 3rd article indicates, we are thankful for the faith that He has been given to us through the Word and the Sacraments. For as it reads in Romans 10:17, “so faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”. Indeed, by His Word we are illumined and enlightened by the very gift of the Gospel. Through His gifts, namely the Sacraments, we have been given the robe of righteousness as we have put on Christ in Holy Baptism [Gal3:27]. Sunday after Sunday we feed upon Christ as He serves us His own true body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of sins. Indeed, these are the marks of true thanksgiving. And these marks are yours all by the grace of God!

Have blessed November,

✝️ Pastor Jeong

The full newsletter can be found here:
https://www.faithmoorpark.com/files/pdf/2021/2021-11-Newsletter.pdf

Friday, October 1, 2021

Enduring Faith

Technology is wonderful! For it provides a vast array of opportunity to proclaim the word of God. The other day, as I was having a FaceTime Word devotion with one of our YouTube followers in Europe we read from the book of Hebrews,

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God”. Hebrews 12:1-2

Indeed, an important scripture passage that points to the true meaning of endurance. What does it mean to endure? For many, it is the clenched hands, the nose to the grindstone, the bull charge forward like “The Little Train that could” [by Watty Piper, 1930].

“I think I can, I think I can” as the train was chugging up the mountain by all of his will and way. And this is the picture of endurance according to man. We tell ourselves that we must simply push forward as if we are treading through thick mud, trying our best to simply go from point A to point B. Day to day, we live the grind, wincing and grimacing, hoping that this enduring design will eventually provide a light at the end of the tunnel.

Yet, we know the end result. We are tired and weary as we run out of steam. “I think I can” loses its luster as so is the hope for the light at the end of the tunnel. The writer of Hebrews describes the true meaning of endurance.

“Looking to Jesus...who for the joy that was set before him endured the Cross” “let us run with endurance that is set before us”

The enduring faith is one that trusts in the enduring word of Christ and His promise. For, it is our Lord Jesus who endured the Cross that was set before him to be the Savior for you. Our Lord endured in every facet. From the crown of thorns, to the nailed pierced hands, to harassment and ridicule, our Lord stayed the course. The course that was not filled with the words “I think I can”, “I think I can” but rather “Thy will be done”, “It is finished!” Therefore by His enduring faith, our Lord accounts for you by His work upon the Cross and Empty Tomb. In His victory over sin, death and the power of the devil, our Lord overcame the world and has given you the gracious remedy of His body and blood shed for the forgiveness of your sins.

And thus we proceed with enduring faith. No longer it is “I” that endures but rather it is Christ who endured, won, and delivered His gracious gift of salvation for you. This is your hope and true light as you endure in His name.

“if we endure we will also reign with him. If we deny him, he also will deny us If we are faithless, he remains faithful- for he cannot deny himself” 2Tm2:13

Your enduring faith is Christ who remains faithful. Even in the greatest struggle and suffering where we fail and fall short, I was reminded of the Name to which keeps us. The gentlemen in the FaceTime Word devotion said, “I am baptized into Christ and the victory has been won. And this victory is for me.” What great enduring words of faith!

And so it is for you. Even in the heaviest times, where it seems we are tunneled with terror and despair, take heart! For the light of Christ is not only at the end of the tunnel, but is with you always until the end of the age [Mt28:20].

Have a blessed October,
✝️ Pastor Jeong

The full newsletter can be found here:
https://flc.ms/files/pdf/2021/2021-10-Newsletter.pdf


Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email