Daily Devotionals

TRUE CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. Oct 3)

          The foolish winds of either the world’s promise or our own desires are not the principles of Christ.  True Christian principles are those precepts which last from generation to generation.  The test is that if they change then they are weak and of the world.  But if they endure and stand, then they are born of Christ.  The responsibility of each is to learn which are of Christ, hold them dear, and then to pass them on. 

OUR SHADOW BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. Oct. 1)

          Like the silence of a shadow, there emits from each of us a measure of affect on those around us.  Whether intentional or not, we cause direction to be taken, convictions to be swayed and guidance to be had.  A day cannot be lived without touching and influencing some other life.  For better or for worse our shadow falls across the path of another.

          The Christian, therefore, bears the responsibility of a Christ-like life – noble, beautiful and holy.  For if we ourselves become a living benediction, then inspiration is our mantle and a Godly influence our crest. 

TENSION, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. Sept 30)

          There must exist tension between church and culture, and it is the Christian who must bear the weight of this tension.  If the church were to advocate the comfortable mores of society, if the Christian were to exemplify right living through the counter-culture, then where would be the hope?  God requires nothing less than to strive after perfection.  And what is perfection but to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and to walk humbly with God. 

GOD’S WORD IN US, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Thu. Sept 29)

          God says that we must lay up His Word in our heart.  His Word alone must take possession of and fill our heart.  Therefore, the heart becomes a temple containing the Word of God.  It is a temple not for the world – the beliefs, mores, and ideologies of society, but rather for God – His thoughts and His holy ways.

          Everyday the Christian is to faithfully open his or her heart to receive God’s voice in order that it may be heard what God would say.  Then throughout the day the Christian is to keep and carry about that same word.  Only in so doing will it be known how faithfully God also shall open His heart to our voice in order that He might hear what we would say to Him. 

LIGHT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. Sept 28)

          Scripture teaches us to nurture and to take care of ourselves.  It tells us that we are to let God’s light shine in us.  But if that light remains only in ourselves, what good comes of it? To open the doors and to un-shutter the windows of our lives in order to allow the light to escape does not make it any less light within – it merely serves to enlighten the world around.  In such a way let us open ourselves that our light may so shine and illumine the path for others around the place where we are. 

A SAFE PLACE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. Sept 27)

          Are you worried about finding a safe place?  The safest station in which a person can be is when going about the duty of God’s work.  In this place a person resides beneath the shelter of God’s wings.  The location is guarded with God’s peace.

          At the center of a hurricane there is a place of perfect calm.  In the eye of the storm a baby lies sleeping and a thistle rests lightly upon the grass.  So it is at the center of any great peril of life, a spot of holy calm exists where even the feeblest of souls cannot be harmed.  And how do you find this spot?  Pursue God’s will.  Perform your duty to Him.  He who stands firm in the ways of God amid the perils and trials will remain in safety, where no storm smites and no plagues come nigh.  But depart from the storm’s center and what will be formed are wild swirls of peril.  Sin is never a safe haven. 

BEING A BLESSING, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. Sept. 26)

          It is often said that Christ has no hands but ours; He has no feet but ours; the voice with which we speak makes real to others His words.  Through these means we become a blessing.  God blesses us that we might use our hands and feet and words to be a blessing to those around us in life.  It is in such a manner that we become Christ-like. 

          It is in such a manner that we also are blessed – through the realization that we are blessing.

          “Take my hands, and let them move

          At the impulse of Thy love.

          Take my feet, and let them be

          Swift and beautiful for Thee.”

                   Frances Ridley Havergal,  1874

TRUST FIRST, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. Sept 24)

          Doubt digs chasms and distrust constructs walls between human beings.  If you would be friends with another, that person must first of all trust you.  So it is with Jesus.  To know Him, to be near to Him there must be trust in Him.

          Oh for such trust that in all encounters of life, whether they be heights or depths, reward or calamity, we remain calm, secure and unbroken in our faith. 

BE NOT AFRAID, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. Sept 23)

          Our faith teaches us that before the foundations of the earth were laid, God knew our going out and our coming in.  From the dawn of creation He beheld each face and laid up the measure of our days.  The world has waited billions of years for us to get here.  But God brought us forth in His good time, for His ends; and He will return us to the same cradle of eternity upon completion of His providence.  Though we wrestle with the anxieties of the where and when and how’s of our lives, the God of Eternity speaks through the din of apprehension; and what He says is to be calm, be still, be not afraid, for if His care has been for so long will it now cease?

          “…When I was being made in secret,

          intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.

          Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance;

          In thy book were written, every one of them,

          The days that were formed for me,

          When as yet there was none of them.”

          –Psalm 139:15-16

THOSE WHO LOVE ARE IN CHURCH, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. Sept 22)

          Those who do not love, those who cannot love, close themselves off to the good and the beauty in others.  There are people in this world, some of them in the church, who are not capable of seeing or understanding love let alone expressing it.  Only those who can love are truly in the church; because love is born of God, for God is love – one of the first lessons that a child learns in Sunday School.  How sad it surely is to see those incapable of love: Never feeling another’s confusion.  Never admitting another’s mistakes.  Never believing in another’s ultimate capacity for good.  How sour these people make the milk of life.  Why would God do such a thing?  Why would God create a person incapable of joy and love?  “Why” we do not know, other than the fact that He simply does and that it has to do with the mark of His choosing.

          Therefore, “beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God.”  –I John 4:7-8

GOD IS JUST, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. Sept 21)

          A lot of people are concerned with whether other people are happy with them.  They ask questions like, “Is your father happy with you?” or “Is my mother happy with me?”  Most of it is aimed at assuring the self that others are granting their approval.  In other words, we find fulfillment and approval through the blessings of others.  This ultimately leads to the question whether God is happy with us?  But in truth we already know the answer before we ask.  It is not our job to make God happy but simply to obey.  If we follow God’s laws and walk humbly with Him, will He not be happy?  Yet, whether He is happy is a secondary point.  God created us, and He will do with us what He pleases.  God is just, and He will judge accordingly and do what is right. 

MANY MOCK THE CHURCH, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. Sept 20)

          When William Shakespeare placed into the mouth of Othello the words “jealousy is the green-eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds upon,” he was not just speaking for himself but for all people everywhere, and none truer than in the church.  How the church is mocked by those whom she holds close.  Jealous that God sets the limits of life; jealous that the church defines the limits of behavior; jealous that traditions define authority over the present, many seek to change the structure that has been passed to them.  We are such kingdom builders in our nature, so much so that in our desire to define for ourselves what is right and what is wrong, we would rather destroy the very institution that bred us and nurtured us instead of living within the bounds of God’s sovereignty. 

BEYOND OUR KNOWING, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Mon. Sept 19)

          Since we believe that God’s will is perfect, then it follows that we should be students of His intentions and submissive to His desires.  This involves the acknowledgement of ignorance on our own part and a letting go of something dear to our hearts – the presumption that we know His will and His purposes.  We must ask Him to teach us; but before any class begins, we must prepare ourselves to receive what lessons He deems appropriate for us to know.  It is only in this way that we find great blessings and take on a life in accordance with the commands of God.

          “When I applied my mind to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth…then I saw all the work of God, that no one can find out what is happening under the sun.  However much they may toil in seeking, they will not find out; even though those who are wise claim to know…”  Ecclesiastes 8:16-17

CHRIST’S COMMISSION, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. Sept 17)

          We are always under commission from Christ to work the task of the day that we are given to do.  It does not matter where we hear His call or to what service he bids us come.  Any duty given us by Christ is noble, because it is what God Himself allots us.

          If God were to send two angels to earth, one to govern a mighty nation and the other to sweep streets, they would each regard their employment as being equally distinguished.  Do the work which this day brings, and Christ will be made manifest.

FAITH HEALS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. Sept 16)

          Where there is no faith, no great deeds result.

          Where there is no faith, no mighty acts are seen.

          Where there is no faith, no miracles are known.

          Where there is no faith, nothing enraptures the soul.

          But where faith is, anything is possible.  No limit to the power of faith is ever set by Jesus or by God.  Over and over when Jesus performs a miracle, when He heals, when He restores, He credits the cure and reparation to faith. 

CHRIST AND SALVATION, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. Sept 15)

          Jesus Christ so fully and completely satisfies the justice of God that whoever seeks any means of coming to the Father other than through Him not only scoff’s at God but also gives up any favor which God may bestow through the sacrifice.  Christ is the only One who reveals the will of the Father in anything pertaining to salvation.

          “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”  –John 14:6 

LAWS LIMIT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG, (Wed. Sept 14)

          The laws of God limit and narrow the Christian, and it is precisely here that people of the faith have their biggest problems.  We do not like following rules that are not of our own making.  We are kingdom builders, and the rules we follow are the ones which structure our own kingdoms.  We want specificity so as to affect those causes and parties which we deem to be important.  But God does not give heed to our rules and our interpretation of them.  God’s laws are broad, thereby being impartial as to how they affect specific people.  We might do well to pay more mind to the judge of all creation. 

MORES OF TODAY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. Sept 13)

          Why do we have a much more difficult time acknowledging ourselves to be sinners than did our forebears?  Could it be the climate in which we live, the tone of society which refuses to say that something is wrong?  The mores of our times state that a person has the right to believe and to act upon those beliefs as he or she so chooses and the rest of us have no right to say what is right and what is wrong for that individual.  For us to recognize God as sovereign is to know that we are not God and thereby acknowledge that there is structure beyond our self.

          God forgive us for our thinking too highly of ourselves – the world does not revolve around us. 

STANDING FIRM, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. Sept 9)

          The trials of life are often won or lost through the ability to stand firm on a given belief or issue.  Much of what we Christians are called to do is not born from activity, the busyness of the activity, but from quiet, patient waiting and listening.  So often in life victory can come in no other way.  Immeasurable harm is wrought out of impatient action – the desire to push forward on our own.  God bids us forward.  We must be still and wait upon Him. 

TRUTH IS SEEN IN RETROSPECT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. Sept 10)

          Sin often comes to us as something exciting, risky, and daring: yet afterward ugliness and horror is all that is known.  Ministry and Christian service are sometimes demanding, laying great burdens and taxing much energy, yet following comes gratitude, fulfillment, and a sense of deep reward.  The true character of actions is only known afterwards when being viewed in retrospect.  So, too, the truth about one’s life is only known when looking back from the edge of eternity. 

LIFE IS A MYSTERY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. Sept 9)

          People have forgotten the mysterious character of life.  We moderns have come to expect an answer or explanation for everything – including God.  But the Bible does not shine a spot light upon the world and make everything clear and distinct.  Rather, it is a mystery, wonderful and bewildering, but still a mystery where a small light shines and a still voice is heard out of the shadows and the dark.  What the Christian learns is that this is enough.  Though the light is not seen and the voice not heard, that does not mean they are absent.  The light, however small, is sufficient to illuminate the path; and the voice, however still, is clear enough to direct the way. 

          “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it”  –John 1:5

ONE GOD – TWO PERCEPTIONS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. Sept. 8)

          The Greek philosopher Plato wrote, “It is one kind of world to the man asleep and another kind of world to the man awake.”  This is true; each of us perceives the world differently at the same time.  Still, there are not two worlds – this waking and sleeping are nothing more than two sides of the same world, hewn by God according to His precepts.

          If two people perceive the world differently, that does not mean the world is different, only that their comprehensions vary.  So it is with God.  God does not change between people; rather, their understanding differ of God. 

DIVORCING RELIGION FROM LIFE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. Sept 7)

          In truth, Jesus was quite practical.  His teachings were very down to earth without much “religious romanticism” about them.  Where humans tend to make religious experiences something sentimental, Jesus made them quite realistic and useful in everyday life.  Many of the people who disagreed with Jesus were those who had divorced religion from life.  Many of His teachings and sayings were directed toward those who had forgotten the common sense values of life – preferring instead to hide behind the veil of religious mystery. 

          Other than the value of going into a closet from time to time to pray, Jesus did not allow for withdrawal from the world in order to contemplate God. With firm and consistent teaching he asserted that our relationship with God was interconnected in our relationship with others – we are tethered to God in our bond with people.

          “As you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.”  –Matthew 25:45

CHARACTER OUTREACHES ORATORY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Tue. Sept 6)

          People can say and write wonderful things.  Words of beauty, persuasion, and conviction can be uttered in such a way that many believe and are convinced of sincerity. 

          But the living of life is far more truthful than speech.  Character far outreaches oratory as something of worth.  Therefore, Christians must make their actions and conduct their primary forces in this world.  Rhetoric will die away; writings will be lost and lose meaning; but the influence of a life well lived will remain a living power among those who follow.

          “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong.”  I Corinthians 13:1

GOD GOVERNS THE WORLD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. Sept 3)

          “The Almighty has His own purposes,” is a fragment of a sentence made famous by Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address.  Though the theology of it is readily accepted among Christians, the reality of it is not popular.  People are not accepting to the fact that there is a difference of purpose between God and themselves. 

          However, to deny this fact or to disagree with the point is to set aside the truth that there is a God governing the world.  The theme of the Bible in general and the Gospel in particular is that God intervenes in the affairs of humanity. 

CHOOSE A SIDE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. Sept. 2)

          Life can be easy and most certainly filled with less conflict simply by choosing to have it so.  But what sort of life does that portray?  Does not Christ require, yea even demand, that we come to him?  Does He not say that we need to stand on His side.?

          To come to Christ is often to cross the world, and it is in this endeavor that character is born.  It is true that some measure of growth can come without a struggle but not near the character obtained when standing up for God and Christ.  It involves choosing sides. 

          “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot…So, because you are lukewarm…I will spew you out of my mouth.”  Revelation 3:15-16

GOD’S IMAGE IN ALL PEOPLE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. Sept. 01)

          Even within the worst of humans there is a soul created in the image of God.  The responsibility of the Christian, with God’s help, is to awaken that good and bring to awareness what is holy.  Only grace can ultimately restore, but the Christian is to be the instrument through which that grace does flow.  Thus is evil vanquished. 

SILENT INFLUENCE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. Aug 31)

          Whether we intend to or not, we constantly influence those around us.  Not a single day can be lived without touching some other life.  Like footprints on the beach, we leave impressions upon all who see and hear us.  This influence then depends more on what we are rather than what we do.  It is only through the constant moment-by-moment living of each day that we continue to be a blessing to those who surround us.  Our life will fall across another this day, and whether that person is better or worse for it is our responsibility. 

LIFE IS FROM GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. Aug 30)

          Humanity does not possess the power to either shorten or lengthen the span of human life.  The time of our life lies solely in the hands of God.  Modern medicine may employ skill and medication in the name of health and longevity.  Evil may inflict upon us violence and ill will shortening our days.  But both are subservient to God’s purpose and affect us only as God permits.

          It is not in our power to prolong life or to shorten it.  God has allotted us our years as it suits Him.  Therefore, let us live wise and not delay until tomorrow those things suited for this day. 

PREVENIENT GRACE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. Aug 29)

          Modern humanity is desperately hiding, running, attempting with great effort to escape the Holy One.  It is a restless generation running through a maze at night with breakneck speed – a time in turmoil not attempting to find but to flee, not seeking but rather covering in concealment. 

          But humanity cannot escape the inescapable so easily.  If our bed is made in hell, He is there to tuck us in.  If we take the wings of morning and fly to the ends of the earth, He is there waiting for us to arrive.  His goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives.  And His Cross is our forgiveness. 

          “The Lord God called to the man…Where are you?”  –Genesis 3:9 

THE STATE OF HEAVEN, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. Aug 27)

          The old images of heaven are of a place with gold-paved streets, pearly gates, jeweled walls, and the river of life flowing like crystal.  But in truth, it is a condition of unbroken agreement with Divine Providence and perfect obedience to the Spirit of Love.  Heaven is not a place but a state.  It must first be within the Christian or it can never be entered into.  So let us prepare our hearts by doing God’s will on earth just as it is done by the saints already home. 

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. Aug 26)

          The world tries to make religion into a science, or at the very least into a philosophy – a theoretical.  If a religion involves no more than learning principles and following rules, that would be true.  No doubt for some people religion is no more than this.

          But Christianity is a life.  It is the constant growth of a human heart into a Christ-like being.  It is to live by the rule of love – that we love one another as Christ has loved us.  It is to allow the Kingdom of Heaven to blossom within us – to accept the rule and the authority of Christ.  Being Christian is a lifetime of learning how to bring the heart and mind and will into complete submittance to our Lord. 

FRIENDSHIPS ARE HOLY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. Aug 25)

          Human friendships are holy because within them is found something of God.  Through friendship God speaks to us.  Through friendship God touches us.  Through friendship God reaches out to us and invites us into His company.  Yet as wonderful as these friendships are, Christ’s is the only one that is perfect.

          In Christ is perfect peace and repose.  In Christ is the full satisfaction of what the heart craves and the soul yearns.  If we could but learn to turn in friendship to Christ, what we would know is the presence of the eternal.

          “Have we trials and temptations?

          Is there trouble anywhere?

          We should never be discouraged:

          Take it to the Lord in prayer!

          Can we find a friend so faithful,

          Who will all our sorrows share?

          Jesus knows our every weakness;

          Take it to the Lord in prayer!”

          –Joseph Scriven, 1855

GOD’S LOVE ALWAYS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          When life is rewarding, affirming and filled with peace, it is easy to say that God is good.  But when life goes into its depths, all seems against us and happiness has run its course, then seeing the Hand of God becomes much more difficult.

          Yet the Providence of God is just as sure in the depths of life as in the heights.  God comes to us in varied ways, at different times and in circumstances beyond our comprehension.  But whatever prosperity or adversity we perceive, God brings it in love.

DEVOTED TO CHRIST, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. Aug 23)

          There is far too much sentiment in our religion these days.  So much of what is written and so many of the worship experiences being offered focus on emotion.  How does the service of worship make you feel?  Do you feel tender?  Does it make your feel alive?  Does your religion cause you to want to reach out and touch others?  You have no right to judge another because it will make them feel bad.  Christianity is fast becoming an “I’m OK, you’re OK” feel-good religion where anything espoused by anyone is deemed acceptable. 

          What is devotion?  Specifically, what does it mean to be devoted to Christ?  It means nothing less than doing the will of Christ.  We say that we believe in Christ; but if we do not like what He says or where He leads, we are quick to go our own way.  We say that we love Christ; but when He says “If you love me, keep my commandments,” we are quick to respond: “Jesus couldn’t foresee what we are up against today.  If He were alive today He would think like I do.”

          To be a Christian is to be dedicated to Christ – utterly, irrevocably, combatively devoted.  Good intentions, vows, and emotional experiences are all good; but when Christ has been set as Lord, we must follow where He leads regardless of how we feel about it.

          “Sworn to yield, to waver, never; Consecrated, born again;

          Sworn to be Christ’s soldiers ever, O for Christ at least be men!

          O let all the soul within you for the truth’s sake go abroad!

          Strike! Let every nerve and sinew Tell on ages, tell for God.”

          Arthur Cleveland Coxe, 1840

COSMOPOLITAN ETHICS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. Aug 22)

          In America all of the cultures on earth have been mixed in one “melting pot.”  This is now resulting in ethical confusion.  When all of the known ways of behavior have been blended, there ceases to be a clear and unified right or a simple and single wrong.  Right conduct for one person is unquestionably wrong for another, and how are we to know what is good?

          The Christian must always submit thoughts, words, choices, and deeds to Christ and seek what He would have us do.  If conduct seems wrong, place it in the presence of Christ.  If words are empty, judge them in the light of the One whose words are Wisdom and Truth.  Only in Christ are found the tests and the standards for our lives. 

SILENCE IS GOLDEN, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. Aug 20)

          Negative utterances too easily influence – especially when other people are being talked about.  Character is called into question, friendships injured, and suspicions excited.  So easily do people believe such things that it is impossible to know to what end it will go – what may come of it, what ruin may fall before it.

          Once a word is spoken it can never be taken back.  Therefore, it behooves the Christian to let no word of vilification or disparagement have flight.  In this regard silence is indeed golden. 

THE QUIET FEET OF GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. Aug 19)

          Those who lived long ago had a saying, “The feet of the gods are shod with wool.”  This expresses well the understanding that life often happens to us quietly and quickly.  Out of nowhere things come at us which are neither planned nor anticipated.

          We are taught to believe that we make our own decisions and plans and that we are responsible to determine the course that our life will take.  But life continues to confirm the limited control that we actually have.  There is on Overruling Providence working out a Divine Plan, and the decisions we make come to fruition only insofar as they support what has been in place from the foundation of the universe. 

          The alarm of this is the thought that we are so limited.  The comfort of it is the knowledge that all is in the Hands of God. 

GOD PROVES HIMSELF, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. Aug 18)

          “Religion is nothing unless it is true,” Coleridge wrote.  Yet, what proof do we have that religion is true?  Science applies countless experiments in order to be convinced that a hypothesis is true of false.  Religion has no such proofs – or does it?

          Contrary to what many believe, the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ is a tested hypothesis.  Generations of Christians have experimented and allowed God to provide the proof, thereby becoming convinced of the truth. 

          Left to oneself, a person’s idea about God is not sufficient; because as people we are looking for something – not the Someone whom God brings to us.

          “Come and you shall see”  –John 1:39 (ASV)

          “Seek and you will find.”  –Matthew 7:7

LOOKING WITH NEW EYES, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. Aug 17)

          In truth, most of us have the same basic defects and deficiencies.  They are so abundant that it should cause great modesty with us.  Yet, one of the easiest things we do is point out those same shortcomings when observed in others.  Most certainly we do not see ourselves as others see us.

          What a difference it would be if we would as readily see in others the beautiful, the graceful, and the honorable.  How different would be our life and the lives of those around us if we would commend each in respect and affirmation.  Try this and see what the Lord achieves.

          “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” 

–Matthew 7:5

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. Aug 16)

          In contemporary society the words “possible” and “probable” have become synonymous.  But there exists a distinct difference between those two.  Many things in this life may not be probable, their possibility being slim; but they are still possible.  Nothing is ever accomplished by giving up on it.  Working for and with God is no different.  When probability is at its lowest, God is at His best.  Where else is a miracle found except in the improbable, the unexpected and the impossible?  If it is expected, then it becomes no more than an act; and where then is the miracle of it? – victory in the face of defeat, cure in the face of terminal illness, resurrection in the face of death.  As improbable as those might be, with God there exists possibility; and therein lies the miracle. 

          “All things are possible to him who believes.”  –Mark 9:23

CHRISTIANS ALONE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. Aug 15)

          To look at history is to see Christians dispersed among the world; because, like salt, to be piled in one place is of no use and can result in death.  So God spreads Christians across society and the world; He mixes them in with non-believers and secularists.  Only then does God’s Word diffuse like enriched flavor in the mouth.  Fellowship with other Christians, to share God’s Word and partake of the Sacraments together is necessary.  But the curse of Christianity is that each believer must return to the work for which he or she was called in the world – alone. 

          “I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries.”  –Zechariah 10:9 

HOLD ON TO GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. Aug 13)

          No Christian knows what the future will bring.  In ways unsuspected people will oppose, hurt, deceive and ambush.  Their strength will seem great and their cunning sharp.  Fear, indecision and despondency may result.  But never lose sight of God’s promises.  He will stand between us and our adversaries.  He has given His angels charge over us and said that He would always be with us.

          But what if God is the rival – the one who is opposing us as He did with Jacob?  Then it is all the more important to hold on to God and to shout with Jacob, “I will not let you go until your bless me.”  And He will bless. 

GOD WANTS YOUR MIND, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. Aug 12)

          A lack of intelligent thinking has no more place in our religion than it does in business or science or education.  A lazy mind filled with simple thoughts does not honor God.  Many are fond of saying, “I can’t help it;” “I was born that way;” or “I’m not even going to try because I just can’t understand.”  But usually this is not true.  It is more that we get lazy of mind and thought.  Malevolence does not cause as many problems in our life as does obtuse indolence.  And much of our senselessness is not inborn but of our own doing, or rather lack of doing.  We fail to think and thereby fail to grow in a relationship with God.  “…you shall love the Lord you God…with all you mind.”  Mark 12:30

THE LIGHT OF GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. Aug 11)

          As the sun is the most universal benefactor of nature, just so does God give unto us.  However, with the sun there are variables: Due to the earth’s rotation, we say it rises and it sets affording us times of brightness and periods of dark; from one season to the next it provides degrees of warmth, and periods of light and dark are in constant flux.  A film that covers the earth by smog or clouds affects the sun’s luster.  Through all of this the sun never changes; it is always the earth that is in motion.

          Thus it is with God.  His nature is influenced by nothing, His duration is dependent upon nothing and is unaffected by time, and His very existence has no cause.  Like the sun, He is always there and it is we who turn from Him, pull back from the light and cover our eyes against the brightness.

          O that we would allow ourselves to be bathed in His light.

          “Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  –James 1:17

JUDGMENTS MUST BE SATISFIED, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Wed. Aug 10)

          It may well be that the supreme trial of life is the one that comes following sin.  After a person has yielded to temptation, following the transgression when Satan has sifted and wounded and cut is when character is known.

          Sincere repentance brings great forgiveness.  God’s love and mercy await all who truly repent of sin, withholding nothing of self.  But know this also, God is just and His temporal judgments must be satisfied.

          “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me.”  –Jeremiah 15:19

GOD’S PRESENCE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. Aug 9)

          We have seen Him in the past.  We have known Him to be with us.  We have witnessed the might and the wisdom of His guiding hand all along the history of life.  He has confirmed to us the grace of His presence through the quiet recesses of our heart.  Yet we want more.  We want Him to come down in a way indisputable.  We want confirmation on our terms that He does indeed hold in His hand the nations of the earth and that all things will act according to His providence. 

          In other words we desire to live by sight rather than by faith.  We know Him to be with us; yet our soul cries out to see Him more, to feel Him more, and to hear Him more.  But such is His love for us that faith in His presence is the true securing gift of life. 

BALANCE OF THE SOUL, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Mon. Aug 8)

          There is a real need in our day to keep life in its proper perspective.  Standing by a grave and watching while one whom we have known and loved is lowered into the ground and covered with dirt is a haunting, wrenching, and emotionally all-encompassing experience.  But to take a step back and turn around is to see it in relation to the world and the context of the continuation of life. 

          One reason people become anxious about life is because they stand too close to it.  The Christian, through trust in God’s Providential care, maintains a sense of symmetry in life which controversies, contradictions, and confusions cannot destroy.  It is the balance of the human soul with its God. 

          “In quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”  –Isaiah 30:15

GOD IN CHRIST, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. Aug 6)

          Some people state that Christ was the only perfect person – the supreme example of how we are to live.  There are some who profess that Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit and thereby revealed the grace of God more than any other.  And there are others who argue that Christ was a special person, chosen by God and thus blessed to a life of teaching God’s ways.  These are all wrong.

          Christ was God – God was Christ.  This is the truth.  When Mary gave birth it was God who was born into the world.  When Jesus spoke it was God who was speaking.  When Christ healed the sick, the lame, and the blind, it was God who restored them to health.  And when Jesus Christ was crucified it was God who died.

          “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.”  –II Corinthians 5:19

MORAL ORDER, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. Aug 5)

          There is in creation a great moral order which is not of our making.  Neither is this order something impersonal, because it is brought about and constantly maintained by God.  This order stands as an eternal pronouncement of the fairness, the integrity, the love, consistency, and justice of God.  This order we come to know only through discovery.  Unfortunately, such discovery usually comes about when we go against it or ignore it, thereby hurting ourselves. 

KNOW THE RIGHT FIGHT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. Aug 4)

          Many persons spend their lives struggling against God, and in so doing they believe that this is the supreme conflict that a Christian must wage.  But this is not a conflict that God wants.  God’s desire is that we overcome adversaries that prevent us from entering into a relationship with Him.

          Only through faith can this be accomplished.  God has already come to us and His power is at work in those who believe.  So when we hold fast to God and His Christ through our faith, Satan deals not with us but with God.

          “…taking up the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.”  Ephesians 6:16

ONLY CHRIST IS SEEN, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Wed. Aug 3)

          The person who is thinking of his or her own esteem or credit as Christian service is being engaged in is not a person whom Christ wants to use.  It is not enough for others to respect us, or to agree with us, or even to want to work with us.  Our call is to win souls for Christ, to encourage others to commit their ways to the character of Christ – nothing more and nothing less.  How people perceive us is of little concern.  Therefore, we must be careful that nothing of our self, neither ambition nor self-serving pride, shows forth through our work.  Only Christ must be seen shining through. 

DIVERSE CURRENTS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. Aug 2)

          The stream of life has many currents upon which the soul is carried.  Friendship, love, social interaction, career, and entertainment are but to mention a few.  Some currents carry the soul on placid ripples, while other waves beat against it with intent on turning it toward submission.  The Christian is to realize that either can lead to salvation or condemnation.  Gentleness can result in destruction as surely as adversity can restrain from harm.  Therefore, with prayerful watching live each day and pray for the wisdom to discern.

          “Pray constantly.”  –I Thessalonians 5:17 

APPRECIATION OF OTHERS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. Aug 1)

          Too often the realized preciousness of a friend is born in an empty chair.  The known joy of a companion is understood in the empty side of the bed.  Unfortunately, loss brings with it the true value of our blessings.  It should not be like this.  If we were to acknowledge blessings while we have them, there would not be so painful a regret when they are gone.  Think of the joy that would be ours in realizing and naming them now.  Besides, think what grace it would bestow upon others to show an appreciation of their worth in our lives.  It should not take a hurricane to appreciate a sunny day. 

THE TOWN OF MORALITY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. July 30)

          The Town of Morality is a place born in the mind of John Bunyan and is brought to life in his work Pilgrim’s Progress.  Its existence is to show that there are many people who live under the belief that they can save themselves.  Their reliance rests on self rather than upon Christ.  Their major claim in life is that they live good, decent, honest lives.  Yet, all persons have sins and shortcomings in this world; we each are clay-footed and make mistakes – what of those?  God will overlook those things in the light of their effort.

          But that is not the way of salvation.

          “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”  –Acts 16:31

“WHAT SHALL I DO WITH HIM?”, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. July 29)

          How suddenly and without announcement come the great crises of life.  If a person knew that next week he or she would be living through great sorrow or sickness, if it were certain that in a couple of months his or her life would be at its end, how different would be their living.  But those times of life come unannounced.  The crises of our souls break over us unforeseen.

          For the Christian it bears out the importance of knowing Christ and giving answer to Pilate’s question, “What shall I do with Him?”  Will Jesus be accepted only as a good model, a wonderful instructor, a pioneer whose life bears out a better way of living?  Or do we take Him unto our self as a Savior, Redeemer and King? 

WAIT UPON GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. July 28)

          To wait quietly while remaining steadfast is very difficult but extremely important.  It is not unusual for God to speak into the life of an individual and lay out before him or her the path to follow or the principle to enact.  Yet, the rest of the world, the best of friends, and the most competent of colleagues advise otherwise.

          The Christian must listen for God, discern the right course, and stand firm against all who would detract.  God will come and bid us forward.  Only then will the world see the truth of our stance.

          “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope.”  –Psalm 130:5

TRUST CHRIST WITH OUT GIFTS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. July 27)

          The measure of an individual is not determined by what is possessed or gained.  A person may have an overflowing abundance of God’s gifts – wisdom, wealth, power – yet fail to share those possessions with others.  The measure of an individual is determined only by the degree to which others are blessed.

          All that we have is God’s.  Our responsibility is to use that which we have as God would have us use it.  If we truly believe that Christ is Lord, than all that we have is laid at His feet.  Will He accept our gifts?  Yes, and then trusting us to use them wisely, He will place them back into our hands with a gentle word to use them in His name.  It only takes an act of faith. 

WORKS WITHOUT FAITH, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. July 26)

          There are too many in our society today who profess credibility in being a good person without being a religious person.  Yet Christianity teaches that morality without faith or belief constitutes a very crude and incomplete character.  Without religion there is no absolute truth in which to abide.  Without religion there exist no grounds for universal influence.  Without religion there is no credible source on which to rely and no ultimate reason toward which to refer.

          Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the giving of alms and the performing of good works serve as a memorial to God.  Rather, they always come as a response to our love for Him who first gave to us. 

YOU ALONE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. July 25)

          Though we may belong to the family of humanity, in truth we are quite solitary.  True friendships, deep loves, enjoyed collections of people all around us are each very necessary to us; but when the crises of life descend, we pass through them alone.  We may be gathered into a battalion of others who surround us, but it is as a single individual that we wage the battle ahead.

          We each must live our own life; therefore, it behooves us to have a firm-grounded relationship with God.  Others may lend their aid as you venture on, but only God can enter in and live with you.

          “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”  –Matthew 28:20 

YIELD TO THE SPIRIT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. July 23)

          Full benefits of the faith are only known by the Christian who yields to the Spirit.  Our maturation, our enhancement, our moving forward is God’s doing – not our own.  We must have faith that the Spirit which God gives to us does guide our life wisely and lovingly.

          Therefore, know this – that the Spirit of God dwells in you, and “He will guide you into all truth.” 

Wrong Interpretation, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. July 22)

It is not unusual for us to look at events which happen in our life and give them a wrong meaning.  We want so much, sometimes, for God to be on our side, that we credit Him for doing things for us which in truth are contrary to His laws and His will.  So, we must be careful when thinking about what is from God and what is of our own doing.  Every opportunity which comes is not of God’s doing.  God’s actions will never contradict the words of life which He has spoken.

ALL SUFFICIENT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. July 21)

          Humans are always seeking the new – new ideologies, new philosophies, new science, new medicine, new ways of explaining and coping with life.  In keeping with this trend, many people adhere to the belief that it is healthy and wise to explore other religions in order to find which one suits the individual.  The Christian knows the fallacy and the danger of this. 

          In Christ all philosophy is grounded, all ideology is lodged, and all answers are found.  Jesus is the source for the filling of all needs.  In His life and words there is discovered the resources to address all the pains and confusions of living.  The afflictions, griefs, and heartaches of life still continue to assail us; but in Christ, and Him only, is all sufficiency possessed. 

          “The fullness of him who fills all in all.”  –Ephesians 1:23

WE CANNOT HINDER GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. July 20)

          No matter how grand, how large, how extensive the work we are asked to do, ours is but a small portion of God’s great plan.  Our part in His design is but a humble portion, to be sure; and should we fail – or worse, refuse – God will continue without us.  We cannot hinder God or thwart His intent.  We can only hurt ourselves.  How sad it would be to miss the blessings brought on through following God’s path. 

THIS IS SALVATION, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. July 19)

          A shop which sells finely crafted, highly valued, hand-made guitars is burning.  Someone rushes into the building and saves several of the instruments from destruction.  This is salvation.

          However, the guitars have been damaged.  A Master Craftsman lovingly and expertly restores them to their original state.  This, too, is salvation.

          An expert guitarist takes one of the guitars in hand, tunes it, and begins to play, bringing forth the beauty and grace which the instrument was conceived to have.  Again, this is salvation. 

          The guitar has been rescued, repaired and used – its salvation is complete.  So, too, does Christ save each of us.  He rescues us from danger, He restores our soul, and He sends us out to work.

          “The Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.”  –Luke 19:10

BE FAITHFUL IN LITTLE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. July 18)

          “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” is a popular saying in contemporary society.  What people mean is to keep in mind the big picture; don’t get bogged down expending needless energy on the minutia.  Those who are exacting are often scoffed at for being meticulous or discriminating concerning details. 

          It also says that how a person gets to an end is not as important as the fact that he or she has arrived.  If the ends are good, beneficial for society, or of lasting quality, then breaking the laws, ignoring statutes, or hurting others along the way is part of the price that must be paid.  In other words, the ends justify the means.

          When facing right and wrong, nothing is small or unimportant.  A person’s character is not only shown but also built on the little, the mundane, the common matters of life.  If these are dealt with in faith and care and concern, then larger responsibilities will follow.  Tend to the minutes of your life and the days will be rewarding.

          “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.”

–Luke 16:10

TRUTH IS SEEN IN RETROSPECT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Sat. July 16)

          Sin often comes to us as something exciting, risky, and daring: yet afterward ugliness and horror is all that is known.  Ministry and Christian service are sometimes demanding, laying great burdens and taxing much energy, yet following comes gratitude, fulfillment, and a sense of deep reward.  The true character of actions is only known afterwards when being viewed in retrospect.  So, too, the truth about one’s life is only known when looking back from the edge of eternity. 

WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. July 15)

A Christian is a person who does not look to nature for salvation.

A Christian is a person who does not consider ethics a path to salvation.

A Christian is a person who does not find salvation in other religions, ideologies or disciplines.

A Christian is a person who does not rely on himself or herself to earn salvation.

A Christian is a person who will not point to his or her own goodness, righteousness, justification, deserving, work, or efforts as merits toward salvation.

A Christian is a person who knows salvation is only offered through Jesus Christ, and on Him only does hope rest.

          “No one comes to the Father, but by me.”  –John 14:6

TWO WAYS TO GO, BY REV. STEPEN REHRIG (Thu. July 14)

          There are only two ways a human can go – either follow God or not follow God.  To follow is to live by His laws.  To not follow is to live by our own laws.  To follow Him is to enjoy a relationship with Him.  To not follow Him is to be outside the circle.  To follow is to have life.  To not follow is to know death.  The law of God is not made for us to judge, but rather that we be judged and ruled by it!

          We may not judge the rightness or wrongness or fairness of the law.  “My ways are not your ways,” says the Lord.  But we do.  We judge the rightness or fairness of God’s law when it makes us feel uncomfortable or when we see it as being intolerable toward another.  The mores of modern society, tolerance, will be the ruin of us. 

A PRUDENT ACTION, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. July 13)

          That Christ comes in the hour of our death is sound wisdom for the Christian to remember.  Christ alone has the keys of death.  It is he who assigns the very instant when the body shall lay down, and it is He only who grants life to the soul upon that same moment.  He is the Lord of this world and of the next, and at every moment He permits new inhabitants into the Kingdom of joy and peace or into an eternity of immortal sorrow.  Would it not seem right, therefore, to make of Christ our best friend?

          “All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  –Matthew 28:18 

          “The Father…has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man.”  –John 5:25-26

THE RECONCILIATION OF GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. July 12)

          People believe that humans are basically good.  Our actions, our decisions, our words are all of God, because they are born out of love and God is love.  But this is no more than a disguised attempt to justify what is wrong.

          God came to reconcile the world to Himself.  Therefore, the truth is that we are in need of being reconciled.  In other words, our decisions, our actions, and our words are not according to the will of God. 

          “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”  –Isaiah 55:8

AFFLICTIONS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. July 11)

          Our God is a God of righteousness.  The afflictions that come upon us are not meant for our destruction but rather for our betterment.  He desires that we grow.  He longs for our having a close relationship with Him. 

          If the way God deems to accomplish those ends demands pain, sufferings, confusion and grief, then so be it.  It should thrill our hearts that He thinks of us at all.  “Glory be to God, who regards us enough to make us suffer” is the song our longing hearts should sing. 

          “In faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me.”  — Psalm 119:75

GOD’S SUMMER DAY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. July 9)

          As a summer day unfolds it’s richness before us, so is our life made full by God.  The sun shines warm upon the ground as His love radiates within us.  The grains sprout and grow just as Grace is made more full.  The gentle breeze brings a cooling relief as the Spirit blows truth and wisdom.  The flower opens to reveal the colors of creation as Christ shows forth the beauty of the Father.

          So to what end are we appreciating the day and the time we have been allotted?  God is seen in every moment of life.  Look for Him and be made full.  

PRAY EARNESTLY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. July 8)

          The way that prayer works and the power that it contains are a blessed mystery to the Christian.  We cannot set boundaries on it.  We cannot ascribe definitions to it.  It is a power that is found and known nowhere else.  So totally unknown to us is the fullness of prayer that we become afraid or skeptical in its practice. 

          Yet this same mystery is the basis of our hope; for the promises abound throughout the scriptures that if we pray earnestly and without ceasing, God will hear us and be with us.  And is not His abiding presence the true heart of all our prayers? 

YOU MUST CROSS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. July 7)

          God’s truest and deepest rewards of life always lie beyond a gulf that must be bridged.  The darkness of the depth, the turbulence of the water, the enormity of the width serve to test the sincerity of those who would journey beyond.  The abyss must be crossed – there is no other way. 

          But the Christian must also know this: Every bit as much as God is in the reward, He is in the journey and the chasm as well.  His are the joys, the rewards, the bright sunny days of our lives; and His also are the nights and the fearsome depths.

          Not to step out in faith and begin the journey across is to always view the promised land from a distant shore. 

WHO IS LORD? BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Wed. July 6)

          If God is believed to be Lord of our lives, then how can we say that we are responsible for our own future?  To say that we are responsible says that God is not, and thereby neither is He Lord.  If God is not Lord, then our belief is untrue and our faith is false.  It could even be said that we falsely testify of God that He is Lord when in fact He is not, if indeed it is true that we direct our own futures.

          For if God is not responsible for and does not direct our lives, then we must; and if we must, then God thereby does not.  If this then is true that God does not, then surely we are without hope. 

WE TOUCH ETERNITY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. July 5)

          Everything that we do leaves its mark on life – not just our own but also the lives of all who surround us.  What tremendous duties, responsibilities, and destinies are captured in the bounds of each day we live.  Everything we do touches eternity.  Every word we speak for good or evil, for help or indifference, in cowardice or in strength has the possibility of affecting someone else forever.  This is the end result of Christian stewardship, that the words we say and the things we do will, in some way, last forever. 

APPRECIATE THE PRESENT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. July 2)

          It is said that we never know what we have until it is gone.  What is meant is that the true value of something is not realized while it is available to us.  It should not be this way.  We should not experience pain to appreciate joy.  We should not first become sick to be grateful for health.  We should not want before enjoying plenty.  Too often an absence points out the fullness of love and friendship.

          Christians learn to appreciate these things while they have them.  It is true that such blessings may be taken away and the darker, emptier side of life come in their place; but in the meantime much joy would be brought to our friends, our family and ourselves.  Is not such sharing of joy what God intends? 

APPEAL TO THE GOOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. July 1)

          The world constantly presents a rich array of personalities.  Some people have such good or bad qualities that it is easy to distinguish them as virtuous or vicious.  However, most people we meet have such traits so mixed that to distinguish character is difficult.

          Though we admire those who are thoroughly good, we will spend more time finding the good in those who are of fault.  Virtue and vice are so intertwined that we cannot label them good or bad.  Therefore, we must expend energy appealing to that portion in others which is of excellence and honesty and good. 

THE GRANDEUR OF CHRISTIANITY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. June 30)

          Nothing in this world compares to the grandeur, the beauty and the grace of the Christian faith.  Like Jacob’s ladder, it reaches from earth to heaven and from heaven to earth.  The Christian life has its foundation in the Divine lighting the path before us as we walk each day.  The Christian faith reveals through our trials and tribulations God’s plan for us, and it brings comfort to us amid our sorrows.  The Christian faith keeps us in our proper character; strengthens us when tempted; and, at the end of all, blesses us with hope and eternal life. 

THE WORLD’S ALLURE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. June 29)

          During our course in the journey of our faith, we each have our strong days and our weak days.  There are days when the desires of the world sway us toward compromise.  Yet just as sure are the days when we are strong enough to stand with Christ against the common vulgarity of the world.  None of this is an easy task for the Christian, because the alluring’s of the world cause our defenses to drop; and then that which the world professes can be made to sound like the voice of Christ Himself.

THE LOVE IN AFFLICTION, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Those things that humanity calls affliction – anguish, pain, grief, and suffering – bring out the best of love.  A parent’s love is never manifest so great as when a child is in distress.  Concern for and care of the child’s state becomes foremost in the heart.

          Thus it is also with the love of God.  By virtue of our having fallen, our being in peril of becoming lost forever, God’s richest love shows forth.  In light of our deep needs the Father’s heart is poured out in compassion.  

CHRIST IS REAL, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Mon. June 27)

          Throughout contemporary Christendom, many attempts are made to distinguish between the Christ of History and the Christ of faith.  Such writings and pronouncements maintain that it makes no difference whether the reported history of Christ is true.  Rather, it is the standards and the expectations that we derive from the stories which are of importance.

          But the Christian faith has never stood on such thought as that, nor was such an ideology ever intended to exist within it.  It stands contrary to all logic to believe that Christianity can be untrue historically and true ethically.  Without the historical facts of Christianity being true, there is no Christian hope, there is no Christian gospel, and there is no basis for living a Christian life.  There cannot be a present, living Christ without the historical reality of who He was and His having been among us. 

ACCEPT DRUDGERY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. June 25)

          The drudgery of life is of God’s design.  And though it takes its toll on us by the treadmill of it – the constant appointments, the ever-present rules, the endless tasks – and causes us to cry for relief, to lay aside the duties and seek moments of leisure, it is still all from God.

          God’s desire for us is to bless us.  Of nothing can we be more sure than this.  Therefore, in all the seeming burdens we are called to bear, true and full blessings are hidden.  Growth does not come through the ease of life but by the constant and consistent plodding to fulfill our daily chores. 

REPENTANCE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. June 24)

          The word “repentance” has become void of meaning in today’s world.  If for no other reason than its commonality, the word has become antiquated, inadequate, if not obsolete.  The term is restricted in its usage to reflect nothing more than sorrow – the sorrow of being discovered or found out.  To repent of doing or saying something without changing the behavior that accompanies the action is nothing more than regret.

          When a person has truly repented there has been a transformation, the whole being has come into line with the precepts of God.  God knows the true change of mind and heart.  Is this repenting done for the sake of social gain or for God who is above us and whose eternity lies before us?  Repentance is not just being sorry for past conduct but a true renouncing of that conduct.  It is a true change from bad to good, from what is wrong to a life in conformity to the requirements of heaven. 

GOD’S WILL THROUGH WORK, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. June 23)

          “Thy will be done” is a philosophy that we are often too anxious to profess and believe.  Then having repeated the words, we sit back in a resigned manner and wait for God to take over.  While it is true that there may be many situations in life that call for our full surrender, it should not come until we have thoroughly sought the will of God.  We are charged to do God’s will; and that means to act, to seek, to strive, to attempt and to work.  Our prayer is that in our ventures and through our endeavors God’s will is done. 

BE NOT AFRAID, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. June 22)

          Our faith teaches us that before the foundations of the earth were laid, God knew our going out and our coming in.  From the dawn of creation He beheld each face and laid up the measure of our days.  The world has waited billions of years for us to get here.  But God brought us forth in His good time, for His ends; and He will return us to the same cradle of eternity upon completion of His providence.  Though we wrestle with the anxieties of the where and when and how’s of our lives, the God of Eternity speaks through the din of apprehension; and what He says is to be calm, be still, be not afraid, for if His care has been for so long will it now cease?

          “…When I was being made in secret,

          intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.

          Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance;

          In thy book were written, every one of them,

          The days that were formed for me,

          When as yet there was none of them.”

          –Psalm 139:15-16

A TRUE MOUTH GUARD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. June 21)

          Do we pay less attention to anything in our life than the words that we speak?  Words issue forth from our mouth as fast and prevalent as leaves falling from an autumn tree.  We live under the misguided notion that we have the right, if not the expectation, to say whatever we like.

          For a Christian this is not right.  Words have power – to heal or to hurt; to be a blessing or a hindrance; to point toward good, immortality and holiness.  Therefore, a Christian must think about what words are to be spoken before they leave the tongue.  Otherwise, disrespect, venom, and malice may spew forth while love remains unexpressed.

          “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips.”  –Psalm 141:3

STORE UP WORDS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. June 18)

          God gives to us many promises concerning His abiding grace and His perpetual care.  He shares with us words of assurance, words of hope, words of comfort and untroubled resolve.  But the Christian must learn and store up these promises during times of joy and peace so that they may be called upon when affliction draws near. 

          Dark days will come, as surely as the days of light and of happiness.  Into each life ill health will enter and joy will depart.  The person who has not laid up for himself or herself the assurance of such gifts from God may not find them in times of desperate need. 

THE ARTS DO NOT SAVE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. June 17)

          Those things that the world prizes – art, music, and performance – may grow a congregation in numbers but they do not win souls for Christ.  Instead, it is faith, love, prayer and humility which do that.  Such gifts as these bestowed upon the disciples by Christ are the tools of a holy life.  The arts are a good ingredient; and people who author, compose, and perform are enjoyed and appreciated.  But the noblest work of all is done by the person who, in holy love, returns a wandering soul to the fold of God. 

UPWARD BOUND, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. June 16)

          There is no way to climb a mountain but by taking one step at a time – step upon step.  Each step is a little higher; it is slow, methodical, and always nearer the goal.

          The Christian life is not unlike conquering a mountain.  We do not achieve “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” simply by wanting it.  It is a slow process that often calls forth pain and discouragement over the course of a lifetime.  Yet it is a struggle that must be borne if ever we are to reach our goal.  And so well worth the price is each step, for the view from the top is…

          “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  –Philippians 3:14 

DON’T ACT SMALL, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. Jue 15)

          Many Christians feel the warmth of faith because they did not risk contending with the world.  Many Christians celebrate their dreams coming true because those dreams were minute.  Many Christians arrive safely at their goals because the paths they chose were easy.

          But God’s ways are not the easy ways.  Often His road will lead through obstruction, hardship, perplexity and defiance.  But it is still God’s way, God’s road; and if He deems it right will He not secure our victory along the course of it?

MORALS GO BEYOND, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. June 14)

          Death may bring an answer to many questions.  It may even offer a solution to problems.  Most certainly it does provide release from the pains of infirmity.  But there is no reason to think that death offers a release to moral character.  The moral laws by which life on earth is governed still exist as before and carry over into the great beyond.  Therefore, it behooves the individual to choose good.  For what will be gained if an ill moral character presents itself before the judgment seat of God? 

A SILENT GIFT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. June 13)

          No matter where a Christian is, what place or situation, the life that is shown should be an inspiration to all around.  A silent blessing ought to touch others.  People should feel more love, more respect, and more acceptance as a result of spending time around a Christian.  From the face of a Christian a grace-filled glow from the light of Christ should be perceived, thus proving to be a gift. 

          This is how a Christian can preach a sermon each and every day – through the holiness of his or her common life. 

SEEK THE DIFFICUL, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. June 11)

          The Christian life meets many difficult obligations and responsibilities.  Often what is asked will cost much labor and anguish.  Yet The Almighty has His reasons.  All burdens that we are called to bear declare to us the strength of God.  Every bit of path filled with rocks and holes and along whose side await bandits and thieves, bids us to place our feet where Christ trod.  Each conflict or struggle where we must stand for what is right against what is wrong contains within a blessing through victory.

          To avoid the arduous, to seek a way of escape rather than work, to look for a easier way is to miss the richest of blessings God has in store.

TRUE FORGIVENESS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Fri. June 10)

          Many Christians think of forgiveness as an ordinary or everyday thing.  For them, forgiveness is viewed as a means of being exempt from punishment.  It is being excused from a penalty.  But true forgiveness must be much more.

          If forgiveness is more than not facing the consequences of wrong doing, then what is it?  It is the estrangement caused by sin gone away.  It is trust restored.  It is reconciliation at its highest.  A president may pardon a criminal, but that person is still a criminal.  But when God pardons one who has committed a crime against Holy Law, that person becomes a new creation, an honest person. 

DEALING WITH IMMORTAL SOULS BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. June 9)

          How often do we remember that we deal with immortal souls everyday?  Those whom we touch will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  How will we have influenced them?  In what way will we have prepared them?  And how will it go for us in our time?  We, too, will stand before that same seat and make account for our deeds, our misdeeds and our ignored opportunities.  When that time comes may it be said of each of us, that with respect to the eternal, we dealt with others. 

GOD AS FATHER, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. June 8)

          The Christian calls God “Father” not because He has caused us to come into being as did our human parent, but  because He chose us.  This alone is His single greatest act of grace and mercy toward us – that He chooses, adopts, elects us to be His own.  And how is such grace brought about?  Through His Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

          “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” 

          –Ephesians 1:4

OUR ULTIMATE GOAL, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG, (Tue. June 7)

          “…until we attain…the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” is what the apostle Paul states as our ultimate goal.  We should say to ourselves: “That is what I am to reach for.”  “That is who I want to be.”  This vision of our future we should cherish above all others.  What a wondrous joy such a hope brings.  To know that we have such a capacity about us can lead to nothing less than a desire to be as Christ to those who surround us in this life.  Cherish this thought, and with it grow toward its fulfillment each day. 

APPRECIATION, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. June 6)

          It is the nature of humanity not to appreciate what we have.  “You never know what you have until it is gone” is a favorite yet factual saying.  Death removes someone from our life, and only then do we come to fully know how much we looked forward to his or her being around.  We devoid our life of some article, and not until we replace it do we realize how good the quality was.  Only after leaving a class do we appreciate the teacher.  All will be gone one day.  Therefore, let us strive to love one another now.  Let us show and tell the love we hold and the respect we feel. 

WORK FOR GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. June 4)

          How beautiful is the bequest of humility – the ability to use our gifts without thought of public recognition.  God, the source and guarantor of all, desires that we use those talents He has shared with us for His purposes and glory.  Therefore, we are to work for Him and Him alone.  Only His watchful eye should concern us and His approval be our sole desire. 

UNCOMMON FORTITUDE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri June 3)

          To stand as faithful guardians of our traditions and faith when the winds of culture blow strongly against us requires uncommon fortitude.  Before one can walk out into the world, there must be a clear and confident sense as to what God is saying , and that can be wrought only through prayer and study.  Then courage must be summoned to stand with God who often stands alone against the mores of our times.  An honest adherence to the faith demands no less.  Our faith stands on the precepts of God, not on our personal beliefs. 

GOD’S PRESENCE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. June 2)

          We have seen Him in the past.  We have known Him to be with us.  We have witnessed the might and the wisdom of His guiding hand all along the history of life.  He has confirmed to us the grace of His presence through the quiet recesses of our heart.  Yet we want more.  We want Him to come down in a way indisputable.  We want confirmation on our terms that He does indeed hold in His hand the nations of the earth and that all things will act according to His providence. 

          In other words we desire to live by sight rather than by faith.  We know Him to be with us; yet our soul cries out to see Him more, to feel Him more, and to hear Him more.  But such is His love for us that faith in His presence is the true securing gift of life. 

OBTAINING PERFECT PEACE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. June 1)

          To read about the life and the death of Christ is to see a life at peace.  Christ was at peace with who He was, what He did, and even His own death.  How was such a life of peace obtained?  It resulted from doing the Father’s will.

          Such is the case for any Christian.  Peace in life and in death can only be had from following the Father’s will.  

SHALLOW FAITH, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. May 31)

          For many people their Christianity has become nothing more than esteem for the man Jesus, and often not even that.  These people want nothing to do with the church or with what the church believes, but they profess to admire Jesus – His character, His nature, His disposition.  That is the full extent of their Christianity.

          Look around and it quickly becomes evident that this is not enough.  Christ is the most confrontative person we shall ever meet.  Either we live His life and chance upsetting our own, or we live our lives and turn our backs on Him.  A Christian cannot live for himself or herself and for Christ at the same time.

          Peter was right when he said: “Lord leave me; I am a sinful man.”  Christ is not simply a figure to be admired.  He is God to be feared – and we run from that. 

TRUST FIRST BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. May 28)

          Doubt digs chasms and distrust constructs walls between human beings.  If you would be friends with another, that person must first of all trust you.  So it is with Jesus.  To know Him, to be near to Him there must be trust in Him.

          Oh for such trust that in all encounters of life, whether they be heights or depths, reward or calamity, we remain calm, secure and unbroken in our faith. 

MISTAKES, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. May 27)

          We all have feet of clay.  We make mistakes as we walk through life.  Too many Christians do not take these mistakes seriously.  They echo the words of James, “For we all make mistakes…” and go on with life believing God accepts and forgives.

          But in truth it is God’s desire that we not stumble and fall to begin with.  Therefore, He wants to be our Keeper, our Helper, and the One who teaches us to see the wrong and thereby live in His will.  True, forgiveness can be ours; but is it better not to fall in the first place? 

          “Now to him who is able to keep you from falling.”  –Jude 24

CALLED BY CHRIST, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. May 26)

          A claim of the Christian is that Christ calls us to serve in His name.  If so, then to each soul we encounter we owe encouragement, joy, and solace.  Some act of love, some touch of grace from our hand must be seen.  If we act in the name of Christ, then each word spoken and every deed done touches, influences, and says to others who Christ is.  To act in His name is to do as he would have us to – be Christ-like.

          “Called as partners in Christ’s service

          Called to ministries of grace,

          We respond with deep commitment   

          Fresh new lines of faith to trace.

          May we learn the art of sharing,

          Side by side and friend with friend,

          Equal partners in our caring

          To fulfill God’s chosen end.”  Jane Parker Huber, 1981

A THOUGHT-FILLED FAITH, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. May 25)

          We were created in God’s image, with a character that can be noble, beautiful and strong; but it will never be realized if we fail to search the scriptures with ponderance and intelligence.  The very soul of us can only be filled when we meditate on the Word of God.  Many a fond memory is held at our mother’s knee.  The very beginnings of our journey in the faith can be traced to the old maxims and simple theology which our mothers taught.  But there are grand and glorious things that lay beyond what we learned there — strive to go beyond and to learn these.  The Word can only be engulfed into the heart and soul through intelligent thought and quiet contemplation.  Then you shall be transformed into the likeness of Christ. 

SILENCE IS GOLDEN, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. May 24)

          Negative utterances too easily influence – especially when other people are being talked about.  Character is called into question, friendships injured, and suspicions excited.  So easily do people believe such things that it is impossible to know to what end it will go – what may come of it, what ruin may fall before it.

          Once a word is spoken it can never be taken back.  Therefore, it behooves the Christian to let no word of vilification or disparagement have flight.  In this regard silence is indeed golden. 

UNINSPIRED WORDS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. May 23)

          The church today is awash in uninspired writings.  Anyone who reads scripture and also contemporary work cannot help but notice a marked difference between the two.  One is the inspired Word of God while the other is moved by the desire to publish.  To a great degree, the acceptance and propagation of this can be traced to Christians viewing the Bible as merely a source of religious knowledge.  Therefore, opinions held and expressed under the guise of Christian are, in fact, utterly incompatible with the New Testament.

          Each Christian must go directly to the Bible, directly to the source, directly to The Word and allow God to speak from the pages of scripture.  Our ancestors preserved these words for a reason, that we might know the Word of God as spoken in its power of old.  Therefore, go directly to the Bible, the only one true fully inspired Word of God.   

FOR ALL TO KNOW, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. May 21)

          As a lamp provides light indiscriminately for all within its reach, so the Christian should cast love upon all.  It matters not to the light who makes use of its benefits.  So, too, the Christian should reach out in acts of compassion, consideration, forgiveness, fairness, kindness, truth, integrity and discipline.  On such acts as these, and more, love is shone and we are known as children of God.

          “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  –Matthew 5:16

WORDS ARE NOT PRAYER, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. May 20)

          The mere repeating of words does not make for praying.  Along with the words there must also be sincerity of the Spirit, an ardent glow upon the heart, a passionate worship by the soul in earnest desire for its God.  Unless our very self pours out with the words, presenting our life at the feet of God, we have not truly prayed. 

          “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”  — Matthew 6:7

FAITH HONORS GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. May 19)

          Every day a Christian must choose between living by feeling or by faith.  Feeling does little more than to keep self at the center of everything and attempt to justify self before others.  But faith keeps God at the center.  It focuses on His Word and maintains the presence of Christ and the work of the Spirit.  It is faith that receives from God the witness of his Word. 

          Happy is the person who does not seek for how he or she feels but walks each day according to faith, listening for the will of God.  It is faith that honors God and, in turn, shall be honored by Him. 

SAYING WHAT YOU THINK, REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. May 18)

          There is a trend in our world today of saying what is on one’s mind.  Acceptability says that frankness in the name of honesty is good.  Less violent behavior results when people express their emotions verbally.  That which might otherwise be deemed impertinent or cruel is approved of when disguised as honest, helpful criticism that could lead a person to growth.

          As true disciples of Christ, we have no right to say what we think unless those thoughts are loving and grace-filled.  We certainly have no right to unload upon another our perceptions which do no more than hold in truth our own jealousies and envies.  We all have, from time to time, ugly and unkind thoughts toward others; but it is our responsibility to keep those locked within ourselves.  It used to be taught that discretion was the better part of valor.  It is also the better part of being Christian. 

THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. May 17)

          “Mystery” is a word not used much in Christianity these days – but it is an appropriate word of our faith.  So much of God is hidden from us until the time of God’s choosing and revealed to us only in His determined amounts.

          Christianity is dependent upon one fact – Jesus was God.  For Christ to be our Savior and Redeemer, no created mortal could accomplish that.  This fact alone is the supreme mystery of the faith.  To fail to acknowledge this mystery about who Jesus was is to lose everything else believed about Him. 

          “The mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh.”  — I Timothy 3:16

THE END IS THANKS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. May 16)

          When the seasons of our years give us a warning that our duration on earth is short, it behooves us greatly to look toward God and remember by whose hand our life was made.  Then, by response in all humility, it is right and proper to thank God that we have been permitted to partake so long in the wonderment of life.  It is God who has endured our incitements against Him; borne our decrepit behavior; and, in spite of all, still shared with us the grace of Himself.  So it should be that not just in faith and hope but gratitude as well that we commit unto Him the trust of our soul.

          “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for my eyes have seen thy salvation…” 

–Luke 2:29

AN UNSELFISH REACH, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. May 14)

          To be unselfish is not easy, nor is it free.  To look out for another is good.  To look after each other’s well-being takes a conscious effort and the expense of time and energy.  It is possible to get through life restricting your giving to that which will not be missed, sharing that which cost nothing, keeping away from any self-denial.  Yet, when the landowner comes and asks what you have to contribute to the great harvest, you may find that you reach out with nothing more than empty hands.

          We reap what we sow – in this world and the next. 

GOD ALLOTS YEARS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. May 13)

          Humanity does not possess the power to either shorten or lengthen the span of human life.  The time of our life lies solely in the hands of God.  Modern medicine may employ skill and medication for our health and safekeeping.  Evil may inflict upon us violence and ill will.  But both are subservient to God’s purpose and affect us only as God permits.  It is not in our power to prolong life or to shorten it.  God alone has allotted us our years.

          Therefore, let us live wisely and not delay until tomorrow those things suited to be done today. 

MISPLACED INTERPRETATIONS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. May 12)

          Our human desires often wrongfully interpret the events of our lives.  Overwhelming longing frequently brings with it an explanation that God is providing for us even when the affair itself may be contrary to his laws.  Therefore, we must be careful in determining what is of God and what is of self.  Every opportunity that arises in life is not of God’s doing.  God’s watchful care never contradicts the words of life He has given. 

TURNING FROM WORK, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. May 11)

          When faced with a task, a Christian is to presume it a duty placed there by God.  Therefore, it is not right that we should turn from doing whatever is called for.  Let the Christian never presume the work to be beneath us, too difficult, too daunting or too frightful.  Remember the words Jesus spoke: “Whoever will save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.”  The best use we can make of our lives is to give our soul to the task God sets before us.   

WHERE ARE YOU?, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. May 10)

          Genesis teaches us that in the beginning humanity was given one rule to follow – a single restraint, some one thing that was not to be done.  Free to stand or free to fall is the choice God allowed the being created in His image.

          The eons have not changed that fact.  Without such freedom how could integrity and greatness, discipline and the very soul itself be developed?  Humanity chose to fall, and by doing so thus forfeited the unique relationship held with God.  But God chose redemption and justification and reconciliation, thus securing forever the close bonds of love. 

          “The Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’”  –Genesis 3:9

A SINLESS GENERATION, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. May 9)

          The chief impediment to the church today is that people do not see themselves as sinners.  As a result, there is no need for the church, no need for Christ, and no need for the great message of salvation.  Religion should make a person feel good in the joyful worship and service of the Lord is the mantra of the hour. 

          But Christ did not come, nor did He pour out His blood “as a ransom,” so that people can feel good, have a clear conscience, and go through life being happy.  Christ came so that the sinner could stand before the Throne of Grace and see the face of God. 

          “The Lord make his face to shine upon you.”  — Numbers 6:25

          “But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face.”

 — Revelation 22:3-4

WE DON’T KNOW, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. May 7)

          There is no way for one person to know what scars there are on the soul of another person.  What ordeals, what afflictions, what throes have touched us each throughout our life is hidden deep within us.  Many smiling faces hide agonizing loss.  Many cheerful words cover deeply wounded hearts.  Many light steps speak nothing of the weight that is carried.  Therefore, it is only through eyes of love and understanding that the Christian should gaze upon the faults of others.  Even our best friends hide from us the deeps of their hearts. 

PRINCIPLES ENDURE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. May 6)

          The principles of our faith are enduring, and the charge to each succeeding generation is to apply those principles as is necessary for the problems of the day.  For one generation to say that they have outgrown or evolved past that which their forbears believed is to say that God changes His laws according to our wants. 

THE LIGHT OF GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. May 5)

          As the sun is the most universal benefactor of nature, just so does God give unto us.  However, with the sun there are variables: Due to the earth’s rotation, we say it rises and it sets affording us times of brightness and periods of dark; from one season to the next it provides degrees of warmth, and periods of light and dark are in constant flux.  A film that covers the earth by smog or clouds affects the sun’s luster.  Through all of this the sun never changes; it is always the earth that is in motion.

          Thus it is with God.  His nature is influenced by nothing, His duration is dependent upon nothing and is unaffected by time, and His very existence has no cause.  Like the sun, He is always there and it is we who turn from Him, pull back from the light and cover our eyes against the brightness.

          O that we would allow ourselves to be bathed in His light.

          “Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  –James 1:17

PRAY CHRIST’S PROMISES, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. May 4)

          The Christian must call upon Jesus in every time of trouble – whenever confusion of pain vex the body and the soul.  Do not be hesitant to ask for what is needed, for what will deliver the body or the spirit.

          Yet, the Christian must know this, that Christ may pretend not to hear.  He may scold, even chide on account of unworthiness, and our own conscience may confirm the truth of it.  But know this also: Do not leave and quit praying.  Our faith and Christ’s grace are not based on our being worthy but upon His promises.

          So this be your prayer – the promises of Christ.  And continue in that prayer.  Christ cannot contradict Himself.  He will give you what you need. 

GOD IN CONTROL, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. May 3)

          It is not very fashionable these days for God to be in control.  In a world where civility is more important than virtue, we have allowed ourselves to believe that which we know not to be true.  We allow behavior we know to be wrong because we want to get along.  We keep silent in the face of untruth for fear of criticism.  We do that which stands contrary to our faith in the false belief that peace will be promoted.  But if God is going to be in control of our life, then it will entail our standing up for that which is not popular.  When God is in control we tend to do what is right, and what is right is not always what people want. 

BLESSING IN ALL, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. May 2, 2022)

          “Every cloud has a silver lining” goes the old saying, and nowhere is this as true than in the Christian faith.  A future unknown to you lies ahead, but it is known to God.  Every experience through which you travel, whether good or bad, joyous or sorrow-filled, contain within God’s goodness which shall unfold to you.  Even the most bitter defeats and disappointments that life gives are pushed aside by the realization of God’s providential care.

          Life is not fair or just, but God is.  When seen through this understanding, the Christian may know that the path which lies ahead is one that was not only laid by God but maintained by Him as well. 

ONLY CHRIST LEADS HOME, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. April 16)

          How can one end a journey if it is never begun?  How can one come to The House of God if faith is never ventured into?  For the Christian, all journey’s begin with Christ, end with Christ, and contain Christ as their master, guide and friend.  No soul has ever found a way home without Him.

          “No one comes to the Father, but by me.”  –John 14:6

The Two Ways, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. April 15)

There are 2 ways which religion can be approached: 1)”Hey God, I have done all of this for you, now what are you going to do for me?”; or 2) Hey God, I know all that you have done for me.  What can I do for you?”  We cannot put God in debt to us, but we can gratefully acknowledge that we owe everything to him.  One is a life of selfishness; the other a life of gratitude.  

THE NEED FOR SALVATION, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thur. April 14)

          Many Christians today doubt or question the truth of a judgment to come.  It is said that there is no Hell, no separation from God.  It is being taught that Jesus was the perfect man who showed us how to live a Godly life and that we will all be brought together in Jesus – regardless of who or what we are.  It is even said that a person has eternal life because he or she is human – in other words, that is just the way it is. 

          Consider this.  If we are offered salvation through Jesus Christ, then the opposite of salvation must exist – otherwise, why would there be a need?  What would there be salvation from?  If “God gave His only begotten Son that we should not perish but have everlasting life,” then there must be a fate possible that is the opposite of “everlasting life.”  If Christ came to save us, then there must exist a condition from which we are being saved – a condition in which we are not saved.  If Christ came and died for us, enduring the agony of the Cross, then how dark must be the fate from which He redeems us?  If there is no calamity that threatens us, then Calvary was too great a price to pay – it was out of proportion to our condition.

          “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” – Matthew 25:41

SEEING SATAN, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. April 13)

          Throughout its history Christianity has acknowledged three great enemies: the world, the flesh, and Satan. Of these three enemies it is the last, Satan, which is the most dangerous.  He is most dangerous, first of all, because he empowers and invests the other two with authority.  Then, secondly and most profoundly, his threat is rooted in the fact that he is so seldom recognized and his existence too often not acknowledged.

          The ability to see that which cannot be seen and to hear that which cannot be heard is an acquisition of faith.  Therefore, it is only through living by faith that true assurance, peace, comfort and strength are found for our walk through the world and for the struggles born therein – many of which are placed in our path by Satan.  For when we acknowledge the true source of our failings, we stand better equipped to resign them to God. 

JESUS SAVES, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Tues. April 12)

          Many people today are taught, and believe, that they are able to save themselves.  In “Pilgrim’s Progress,” these are the people whom Bunyan calls citizens of “The Town of Morality.”  These people rely upon their own life – its goodness, its truthfulness, its intent – rather than relying upon Christ and His Cross.  Such people never claim to be perfect, only decent; and as for sin and transgression, those will be overlooked by a merciful God.  But that is not the way of Salvation which comes to us in the Bible.

          “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” –Acts 16:31

DEATH TO LIFE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. April 11)

          From the first Lord’s Day until now, the church has endured those who would explain away, cheapen, or compromise through voguish thought, the resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.  They equate it with such images as transformation, renewal, or healing.  But the resurrection, as the church knows and understands it, is not about transformation – for that would be nothing more than a change or a remodeling.  The resurrection is not about renewal – for then it is a renovation of that which is and continues to be.  Nor is the resurrection a balm for healing.  God never intended the resurrection of Our Lord nor our resurrection to soothe the ills of our present living.

          Resurrection involves death – real, complete, total death.  Yet here is the truth, that out of this death God brings life.  There is no symbolism or transforming renewal here.  It is about our death and the ability of our God to give life – just as He did when He first fashioned us. 

FAITH AMONG BELIEVERS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. April 9)

          More than anything else, it is the Spiritual atmosphere surrounding the believer which blurs or makes clear the Living God.  Mistakenly, humans tend to believe that it is the individual alone who opens and closes doors which lead to the understanding of God.  But this is an age marked by the disintegration of old beliefs.  So how can the individual expect to remain close to the Invisible, Living God while being surrounded by men and women who are not sure, reading books that call Him into question, or listening to music of ridicule?  The experience of the Most High God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, is best found and shared with those who have touched Him.

          It was only after Thomas returned to the other ten disciples that he experienced the Risen Lord.

          “Do not be faithless, but believing.”  –John 20:27

GROWING PEARLS WITHIN, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. April 8)

          The wound of an oyster – a grain of sand causing an irritation inside – is from whence a pearl grows.  A single grain of sand, unable to be washed out, is cause for a pearl to grow so as to protect the oyster.  So it is with our life as well.  The Christian will be wronged and know injury.  How are we to respond to these so as to have pearls grow within us?

          God will not allow our lives to be injured beyond what He has ordained for us, nor can we be wronged past His using for our benefit.  The God of all the universe, who is just and righteous, will judge according to His unfathomable ways and care for those who are His own.  So our duty is to bear wrongs inflicted, and when faced with injustice, to bathe lives around us with love.  By this or soul becomes a pearl. 

CHERISH THE STRUGGLE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Thur. April 7)

          The very moment we sit at Christ’s feet and resolve to become a Christian, we enter into a world of conflict.  To live truth, to obey God, to forsake sin, to do righteousness, to see with the eye of grace is to walk through life filled with antagonism and opposition.  There never comes a day, an hour, a moment when noble living is had without effort, without conscious resistance to wrong, without hard-fought battles against temptations.  There never comes a time when being a worthy follower of our Lord gets easier – when faithfulness is ours without effort.  Then as if all of this were not enough, what of the times when we are ready to give it all up and to cease the struggle? 

          Through it all it must be remembered that the beauty and nobleness and truth after which Christians strive can only be had in the very struggle itself.  Just as gold must be separated from the dross by fire, so, too, must the Christian be made whole through the toils, and labors, and struggles of this world.  So rejoice, for God does not desire that any should be lost.

    

APPRECIATION OF OTHERS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tues. Mar 29)

Too often the realized preciousness of a friend is born in an empty chair.  The known joy of a companion is understood in the empty side of the bed.  Unfortunately, loss brings with it the true value of our blessings.  It should not be like this.  If we were to acknowledge blessings while we have them, there would not be so painful a regret when they are gone.  Think of the joy that would be ours in realizing and naming them now.  Besides, think what grace it would bestow upon others to show an appreciation of their worth in our lives.  It should not take a hurricane to appreciate a sunny day

ONLY CHRIST IS SEEN, REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Mon. Mar 28)

          The person who is thinking of his or her own esteem or credit as Christian service is being engaged in is not a person whom Christ wants to use.  It is not enough for others to respect us, or to agree with us, or even to want to work with us.  Our call is to win souls for Christ, to encourage others to commit their ways to the character of Christ – nothing more and nothing less.  How people perceive us is of little concern.  Therefore, we must be careful that nothing of our self, neither ambition nor self-serving pride, shows forth through our work.  Only Christ must be seen shining through. 

SO IT IS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG, (Sat. Mar 26)

          When we find in the Word of God “so it is” and “so it will be,” why do we think it acceptable to contradict or negotiate His word?  Why do we feel free to call Him forth in order to examine Him?  Would we judge Him by the law of our conceits?  It must be that we see ourselves as wiser, better, and more righteous than He.  So I ask, where were you, where was I, or where were any of us when God created the laws that He did without seeking any counsel?  Why didn’t any of us step out of our nothingness to contradict Moses or Christ?

          If while we are quarreling over God’s word He were to withdraw from us His patience and sustenance thereby allowing us to fall into Hell, would we then believe?

TWO DIFFERENT FAITHS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. Mar 25)

          Throughout the long expanse of human history there has always existed the attempts of the deceitful and depraved to soil and contaminate what is good and true and holy.  Evil will always seek to pervert good. 

          Today the Christian is faced with this truth being played out on two fronts, each claiming the name of Christianity.  One speaks of reform, completeness, and ethics; the other is centered in redemption, salvation and eternity.  Each must choose for himself or herself which path is right. 

          “How long will you go limping with two different opinions?”  –I Kings 18:21 

WITHSTANDING TEMPTATION, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. Mar 24)

          To a large degree our world does not think much about the denial of temptation.  For the most part we have forgotten the importance of the word “no.”  But temptation and the subsequent refusal to yield to it are very important aspects of the Christian character. 

          To grow into “the wisdom and the stature of Christ” requires self-denial, struggle, and focused work.  To bow in the face of temptation, to yield under its pressure is to display a weakness common to most people.  But to be noble and pure, strong and resolute is to stand with Christ in the face of temptation and know the peace of God when the Sirens fall silent.

          “Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.”  — Matthew 4:11

WE ARE MADE FOR GOD’S GLORY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. Mar 23)

          The Bible affirms that God has made all things for us, and us He has made for His glory.  What importance that places upon not just our words but the thoughts behind them, not just our actions but the intentions out of which they spring.  To know that all we would do or say should work for the glory of God is, in its least, humbling. 

          The Christian must focus on the body being a servant of the Soul and the Soul a servant of Christ.  Only through our true service do we glorify God and partake with Jesus Christ in the blessings derived thereof.  Only by being what He created us to be are we rendering to Him the glory that is His due. 

          “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  –I Corinthians 10:31

LOVE THE CHURCH, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Tues. Mar 22)

          Christ loves the individual.  Christ loves the sinner so much that “he became sin who knew no sin.”  Thereby a person may come to know salvation. 

          But Christ also loved the church and He gave Himself for her.  So for a person to say the he or she believes in Jesus Christ, that he or she is a Christian, but whose life and words show no love or respect for the church, that person lives a false religion. 

          Christ loves the church and those who do not separate themselves from her and thus from Christ.

          “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  –Ephesians 5:25

AUTHORITY IN TRADITION, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. Mar 21)

          Each succeeding generation that passes through the corridors of time has interpreted the scriptures according to its own need.  That is the way of us humans.  We seek to justify ourselves and our actions, our desires and our perceptions by making the scriptures narrow enough to fit.

          But God’s Holy Word is not so small.  Speaking with consistency all along those same corridors, He does not change His Word or His perspective.  Thus, it is that the authority of the church is vested in its traditions, for tradition gives to us a firm foundation drawn from deep historical roots as the church has sought to interpret scripture down through the corridors of time. 

UNRESTRICTIVE PRAYER, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thu. Mar 17)

          When we go to God, we ask for healing and health, wisdom and clarity of thought, guidance through times of struggle, and comfort amidst the pain.  But why do we content ourselves with what is confined, small, and restricted?  When the Christian comes to God in prayer, he or she should ask for God Himself to enter in and then be prepared to receive all of this – and more. 

ONE GOD – TWO PERCEPTIONS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. Mar 16)

          The Greek philosopher Plato wrote, “It is one kind of world to the man asleep and another kind of world to the man awake.”  This is true; each of us perceives the world differently at the same time.  Still, there are not two worlds – this waking and sleeping are nothing more than two sides of the same world, hewn by God according to His precepts.

          If two people perceive the world differently, that does not mean the world is different, only that their comprehensions vary.  So it is with God.  God does not change between people; rather, their understanding differ of God. 

CHARACTER MATTERS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tue. Mar 15)

          Character matters.  It is that piece of us which is solely ours – un-willable, un-shareable, and obtained on our own through the everyday living of our lives.  Character is manifest in acts, the acts we do each and every day.  Then when comes the end of life, our character is deemed strong or weak depending on the consistency and the quality of those acts. 

ADVERSITY BRINGS GROWTH, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. Mar 14)

          As the storm tests the ship so does adversity try the spirit.  It is good and wise to avoid enticement and confrontation when possible, but by those troubles blessings may also abound.  It is the difficulty of those same experiences by which deep roots are put forth and growth occurs in Christ.  We learn the true meaning of Christ’s commands when life is wrought upon us; and by struggling to remain close to the faith, we grow in a Christ-like character.   

MERE WORDS ARE NOT PRAYER, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. Mar 12)

          The mere repeating of words does not make for praying.  Whether they are petitions originating from ourselves or forms written of old or new, along with such words there must be sincerity of the spirit, an ardent glow upon the heart, and a passionate worship by the soul in an earnest desire to touch God.  Unless our very self is poured out with the words and presents our life at the feet of God, we have not truly prayed. 

POWERLESS OVER SELF, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. Mar 11)

          For many it is out of self-discontent that God is sought.  This action stems from the realization that He alone holds the life we seek and the strength to live that life.

          There is at the same time something very humbling in this knowledge, because it involves the wisdom that we do not hold any power over our own life except for the right to turn from God and make our self powerless. 

THE MOST VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thur. Mar. 10)

          The greatest and most valuable knowledge that can come into the mind of a person is eternity.  All other terms of the faith are emptied of their content if there was no “forever.”  Words like God, redemption, grace, prayer, and salvation become void of depth and meaning when eternity is removed from them.

          “[H]e has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”” To think of the sacredness of life is to cause the discouraged eyes to lift and the dejected heart to soar.  Then hope is reborn.

SPIRITUAL HUNGER, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. Mar 9)

          We are not as good as we might be.  We are not as good a Christian, as faithful a disciple, as deep in character, nor are we as responsible to life as we should be.  Why is this?  Why do we not hunger and thirst for righteousness so deeply that we shutter against the world’s winds?  Why is our striving for holiness not able to push aside the mores of society?  Why do we allow our souls to starve by eating worldly foods when God, who feeds in abundance, stands near? 

          Pray for spiritual hunger, for only then can you turn your back on what the world calls good and receive what truly nourishes from God. 

FALLING FROM GRACE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG ( Tues (Mar 8)

          The question is often asked: “Can a Christian fall from grace?”  The answer is “no.”  And why will we not?  Because of God’s choosing.  Because of God’s having chosen us we become aware of His grace and in response we live a life worthy of His choosing.

          No Christian is worthy of grace, yet God continually reaches out and bestows it.  Therefore, the capability to fall is not of our doing; rather, it resides with God alone who holds our lives, from beginning to end, in the watchful care of His Providence. 

FAITHFUL IN WORK, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Mon. Mar 7)

          The Christian believes that all work is a gift from God.  If work is a gift it is also a sacred duty.  Therefore, not to do work is to rob the world of that gift which God would bestow.  Not to perform the duty is to prove to be a slacker in the kingdom. 

          To be faithful is what Our Lord requires in all of life.  Faithful means doing the best and contributing the most always.  Faithful also means to show appreciation for the gift that God has given. 

          “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”  –I Corinthians 15:58

SUSTAINING LIFE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Sat. Mar 5)

          The Christian life can only be withstood and sustained by the Word of God, and how we live out our life will depend on whether we learn to use God’s Word wisely and well.  More trouble is wrought on the Christian when we seek to understand and use God’s Word for our own desires.  We must dedicate ourselves to the service of God’s Word until what He wants becomes what we want.  Only then will true sustenance be found to see us through this world. 

UNTHINKABLE MORTALITY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Fri. Mar 4)

          In his sonnet titled “Intimations of Immortality,” Shakespeare asserted that when a person is truly and fully in love then mortality becomes unthinkable.  When a Christian becomes fully in love with Christ, the result is no less.  Christ enwraps us and enfolds us, He places His joy in us and our joy is made full; He loves us and we know His love; He is love.

          Having been filled with such a love as this, how can we be content with anything except spending eternity bathed in the light of it?

          “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”  — Philippians 3:8

LIGHT IN DARKNESS, REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Thur. Mar 3)

          Many are the dark corners of this world.  Over much does the pall of gloom come and weigh heavy.  But it is into this same darkness that the blessed light shines.  The light of heaven comes, the darkness is pushed back, and the shadows are brightened.

          For the Christian, life is filled with points at which the warming light of God comes flooding.  In scripture, prayer, song, and other people, God places windows; and through those windows His blessed light illumines our way and gives sight to our blind eyes. 

GOD NEVER MEANS HARM, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Wed. 3/2)

          As a Christian walks through life, many encounters are born that, on the surface, appear bad.  To our perspective nothing of evil can be seen as bearing good.  Yet we know that our Heavenly Father wishes us no harm and sends our way only that which He deems as good.  All grief leads to blessing.  All trial brings rich possibility.  All pain looks toward the promises seen across Jordan’s stormy banks.  All that God wills for us comes to pass if we only allow God to work out the issue and cease relying on our own wisdom and strength.  No matter the darkness of the night, it bears within the gifts of love and grace. 

AN UNKNOWN TRUTH, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG (Tues, Mar 1)

          “God does not make a soul to be lost but has a purpose and a plan for each,” is an old Christian premise.  If we cannot come to God unless He calls, then either God calls everyone and we do not listen, or God does indeed choose and not call everyone.

          If God chooses, then He does create souls which He knows from the beginning will be lost.  If God does not choose and no soul is created to be lost, then all are saved.  If God does not choose and no soul is created to be lost yet many are lost, then in truth God does choose and the premise is wrong.

          “Thy ways are past our searching out.”  –Job 11:7

THE INNOCENT SUFFER, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          The innocent suffer because of the guilty.  To walk through a hospital, to stand in a cemetery, to read a newspaper is to know the truth of this.  It is a mystery that many shattered lives attest to – an injustice which the virtuous proclaim.  “Why?” is the question that arises out of this.  “Why does evil exist?”  “Why does God allow the innocent to suffer?”  “Why are good and loving people met with horrific pain and abuse in life?” 

          The Christian is to believe that God brings good out of evil.  God’s great goal is preparing us for eternity.  So as we struggle with the pain and abuses of life, what refinement is wrought in the soul is beyond our knowing. 

          “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” 

–Romans 8:28 

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CHURCH, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Too many persons in contemporary society have succumbed to the seductive belief that a person can be a good Christian away from the Church.  They are allured into believing that by being out with nature, or on the golf course, or enjoying a fresh morning, they can become moral.  But no fishing pole has ever produced morality, nor has catching up on sleep brought about spiritual literacy. 

          There is a dependence which exists in being part of the Christian fellowship and spiritual growth.  The art of Christian living can only be mastered in the surroundings of ideals, theology, and literature which teaches it. 

GOD IN CHRIST, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Some people state that Christ was the only perfect person – the supreme example of how we are to live.  There are some who profess that Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit and thereby revealed the grace of God more than any other.  And there are others who argue that Christ was a special person, chosen by God and thus blessed to a life of teaching God’s ways.  These are all wrong.

          Christ was God – God was Christ.  This is the truth.  When Mary gave birth it was God who was born into the world.  When Jesus spoke it was God who was speaking.  When Christ healed the sick, the lame, and the blind, it was God who restored them to health.  And when Jesus Christ was crucified it was God who died.

          “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.”  –II Corinthians 5:19

NO BUFFETING, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          In a perfect world, the Christian would feel buffeted against temptations of ambition, fears or retaliation and pressures from the perspectives of particular interests.  But the world is not perfect, and neither are we who are in it.  We are often swayed by passions and emotions and the same self-interests that affect all humans.  We are often tempted and torn by the strong winds that blow contrary to the very values we hold dear.  But if we stand firm in the face of criticism and hold fast against the forces of protest, God stands with us.  Is not what we should pray for above all else that God will come and be with us?  He does come when we have the courage not to abandon His way. 

A LAMP, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          The Bible calls scripture “a lamp unto our feet.”  This is different from a floodlight or a sun which illumines all around and far ahead.  A lamp lights up a small area, a vicinity surrounding where it burns.  So does scripture call us to faith.  We are to journey one step at a time, seeing no more than the path lit surrounding where we place our foot, then on the next step and on to the next.  This is how we walk by faith.  Seldom are we graced to see the road far ahead; but God sees it and, what is more, He is there waiting our arrival.  But for now we walk by lamplight, seeing only where we place our foot today and trusting God with tomorrow. 

CHRIST LISTENS – BUT DO WE?, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Christ will not seem to hear many Christians when they call to Him in days of sorrow, depression or confusion.  But it must be remembered that this may not be His declining to listen.  Instead, it may be that we are not ready to hear Him and to receive any blessing that would be offered.  He wants to help us; but like a parent dealing with a child, He knows that we will not listen.

          Instead of doubting or blaming Christ for not being true to His word, perhaps we should look into ourselves.  Are we listening for the words we want to have spoken, or are we willing to hear His word and to follow His instruction – whatever they say and wherever they lead? 

LITTLE ROOM FOR GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

                There is no lack of giving on the part of God.  So when we feel empty, void and unblessed, it is due to our hearts being filled with earthly things.  When our hearts are filled with anxiousness, envy, anger, and fear, there leaves little room for righteousness and holiness given by God.  If we are to have the secure and joyous life that God desires for us, then we must empty ourselves of earthly folly and make room for the Spirit of God.  Only then can we know the fullness of His love. 

UNBELIEF VERSUS BELIEF, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

                Many Christians think that if they believe in their mind that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only way to salvation, then they are a true follower of Christ.  The problem we have in the church, though, is not one of belief.  Intellectual ascent is not synonymous with commitment.  True, intellectually we must first believe; but quickly the call moves beyond and we must be prepared to commit all we are and have to God – body, mind, and will.

                Perhaps when the father of the epileptic child cried out, “I believe, help my unbelief,” he already knew in his mind the power of God.  His reservation was the humble commitance that such knowledge would require.  

TRUTH KNOWN, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          “What is truth?,” Pilate asks Jesus.  Perhaps Pilate was speaking for us all, though history considers this mocking.  Pilate may well have been saying, “In this world of sham, cruelty, greed, lust and appetite for the mores of the times, what and where is truth?  Who defines truth?”

          Unbeknownst to Pilate, Truth stood before him.  And Truth remains with us – within us, around us, behind us and ahead of us.  The Christian is held by Truth; therefore, we should walk in the countenance of its light. 

GOD AS MAKER, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          What nonsense has been written about humans being masters of their own fate and captains of their own destiny.  Such talk does no more than attempt to elevate humans to equality with God and place them on a throne.  We are not creators.  We are not even co-creators as some like to profess.  At best, humans make a mess of creation – our highest goals falling short of God’s intent for us.

          Abraham Lincoln often referred to God as “Maker,” “My Maker,” and “Our Maker.”  Lincoln recognized that there is a purposeful power which presides over us and does not dwell in us.  As such, it is a power which moves with intent through history, not a force that is limited to moving with us in our day-to-day struggles as we try and shape the world around us.  

          “Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker”  –Psalm 95:6

          “He will remember their iniquity, and punish their sins…for Israel has forgotten his Maker.” – Hosea 8:13-14

MODERN COMMUNICATION, BY REV. REHRIG

          Modern communication is a true marvel of technology.  Instantaneous contact with persons on different continents makes it possible to engage in conversation with anyone in the world.  Yet as marvelous as this is, what is it when compared with the ability of a human to speak with the Creator of Eternity – the fact that the heart and soul of man may communicate with Divine Grace Himself?

          Through leagues of unmeasured space comes the blessed communication between Christ and the Christian soul.  And this greatest of wonders comes free of charge. 

BEYOND OUR KNOWING, BY STEPHEN REHRIG

          Since we believe that God’s will is perfect, then it follows that we should be students of His intentions and submissive to His desires.  This involves the acknowledgement of ignorance on our own part and a letting go of something dear to our hearts – the presumption that we know His will and His purposes.  We must ask Him to teach us; but before any class begins, we must prepare ourselves to receive what lessons He deems appropriate for us to know.  It is only in this way that we find great blessings and take on a life in accordance with the commands of God.

          “When I applied my mind to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth…then I saw all the work of God, that no one can find out what is happening under the sun.  However much they may toil in seeking, they will not find out; even though those who are wise claim to know…”  Ecclesiastes 8:16-17

DESTROYING PEACE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          If striving to follow the Father’s will is the only way to having peace, then it follows that resisting His will, disobeying His law, and seeking to save our own life will destroy that peace.  It is only through learning God’s lessons and applying them to life that perfect peace is found.  It is inconsistent for a Christian to presume to know better than God.

A GREAT AWAKENING, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          When a human mind begins to ponder the infinite and the eternal, it discovers the immensity of the relationship it maintains with God.  Wonder and love begin to issue forth; all duties, actions and responsibilities previously thought worthy become inconsequential; everything that came before sinks into obscurity.  When, at length, a human mind comes to a comparison of this world in which we live and the heavenly world to come, the insignificance of the actual set against the grandeur of the expected, then true hope is born and the roots of faith begin to grow. 

THE SUPREME IRRESISTIBLE RULER, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Our times are not in our own hands; they are in the hand of God as a Supreme and Irresistible Ruler.  Just as our continuance in life depends not on ourselves, so, too, the events which are to happen while we have life are unknown to us and are not under our direction.  What portion of all that has happened to us could be foreseen or foretold?  How many things have occurred of which we had no expectation, either having far exceeded our hopes or befallen us contrary to our wish?  How often have each of us been admonished that there are forces unseen by us that bring with them rebellions against our own desired ends and that while we were devising our own way, Providence was directing the event.  All that is to happen to us, through this day and the succeeding length of life, to whatever end we are permitted to see, is known to God – the Supreme Irresistible Ruler. 

          “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”

–Acts 15:18  (KJV)

WE DO NOT CHOOSE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Many believe that a person can be good by choosing to be good.  It is argued that good deeds and a Christ-like behavior can be brought about by learning how to love.  Anyone can be taught the ways of Christ if enough patience and love are exhibited.

          The only reason we are able to be priests to one another is because Christ first saved us from sin and death.  Without such an act on His part, how could anything be done by us that resembles holiness?  Therefore, let us not confuse what we are able to do with what has been done for us.

          “We love, because He first loved us.”  –I John 4:19 

MAGIC OR MORAL, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Human history shows that religions have been established from one of two perspectives – magical or moral.  Either the gods are summoned to do things for people or they are trusted to do things through people.  The God of Christianity is a bit of both.  Though the Christian knows God to be acting on our behalf and doing for us what we are incapable of doing for ourselves, He is also trusted to perform wondrous deeds through the life and the works of individuals.  He saves us because we cannot save ourselves; but He does not heal all our sickness, rather choosing to give us a mind capable of finding cures. 

          God does not want us to look to Him to do what we are capable of doing for ourselves.  What He does desire is that we grow into the wisdom and the stature of Our Lord and allow Him to work through us. 

          “To him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly.”  –Ephesians 3:20

BEGIN THE DAY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          At the beginning of each day there is a moment of time when life is still.  The sun is waking the world around us yet the busyness of time has not yet begun to stir.  It is a moment in time when even creation itself seems to stand in wondrous awe of the new day unfolding before it. 

          The Christian should seek this time for worship.  The God of all eternity has once again brought the world around and with it your life.  Thank God for that.  Thank God for the days past.  Thank God for the wonderment and the mystery of the day to come, fore in the course of each day will be found the truth of your life as God deems it to be. 

THOSE LEFT BEHIND, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          When we die it is not unusual to be worried about those left behind.  It is a morose thought that we will be parted from them and they from us.  Will they suffer much over our death?  What dangers will the world expose them to?  The problem for the Christian is that such anxieties suppress the tender heart that longs for its God as life draws to a close.  But if God indeed has shown Himself to be the Gracious Guardian of His own throughout the history of their lives, shall He not, by His unchanging nature, remain God of the future also?

          Therefore, we commit our cares to our Heavenly Father, surrendering our life and family to his constant watchful love. 

FULFILLED IN CHRIST, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Recognition and appreciation are very gratifying.  Every person alive enjoys words of affirmation about himself or herself.  But what if slander, falsehood, or injustice comes instead?  What if lies come instead of truth or adversity instead of fortune? 

          If the Christian knows that Christ is served for Himself alone, then it does not matter what is said about the individual.  The Christian is to place Christ’s cause in the forefront of life.  Only in Him shall devotion and loyalty never be met with disparagement. 

BELIEF IS NOT SELF-EVIDENT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

           It has been suggested that one of God’s injustices is the fact that belief in Him is so difficult.  It is also conveyed that we are responsible for making our journey into belief more difficult than it need be.  In truth, these are common traits shared with all generations.  Since the day of Abraham there never has been a time when belief came easy.  Yet we insist on proclaiming and teaching that belief is easy.  Then to compound this misconception, we think that when God hides Himself or Revelation is lacking, it must be His doing – God’s hiding from us. 

          The evidence of God’s presence and activity are everywhere, but He does not speak unless we leave the haste of life and quietly listen.  Belief is not a clear or certain gift, it demands effort.  Perhaps the reason why we moderns find it so difficult to believe in God is because we fail to take the time necessary amidst our many distractions. 

          “Be still, and know that I am God”  –Psalm 46:10

A SHALLOW CHURCH, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          The church today has people becoming more important than Christ.  The criteria for our actions has become what is fair for persons, and the justification for the actions is the claim that Christ would do the same.  Who among us knows what Christ would do?

          We have become as shallow as the world which bred us, and we would now seek to legitimize that world through or theology.  Salvation will never be borne out through expediency.  Civility is not the way to righteousness, nor is tolerance the road to justification.  Rather, faith in God’s word is the appropriating act whereby righteousness is secured. 

          “But to what shall I compare this generation?  It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’”  –Matthew 11:16-17

PRAY FOR DISCONTENT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          The Christian life is, by nature, one of quenchless thirst and insatiable appetite.  There exists a constant discontent that drives the heart and soul on a never-ending quest.  Yet, too many Christians become satisfied with both who they are and what they know.

          Though it may sound like a contradiction, pray for discontent.  With all the infinite possibilities of spiritual life that lie spread out before us, we must not be satisfied with who we are at any given time of life. 

LIFE IS FROM GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Humanity does not possess the power to either shorten or lengthen the span of human life.  The time of our life lies solely in the hands of God.  Modern medicine may employ skill and medication in the name of health and longevity.  Evil may inflict upon us violence and ill will shortening our days.  But both are subservient to God’s purpose and affect us only as God permits.

          It is not in our power to prolong life or to shorten it.  God has allotted us our years as it suits Him.  Therefore, let us live wise and not delay until tomorrow those things suited for this day. 

LIVE IT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

We are not here to argue for God — we are here to live for God.  Any intelligent person, or fool, can point out flaws in the Christians logic.  But who can refute a glad and obedient life lived with Christ?  

Don’t just say it — live it.  

ONLY JOY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Sadness is a sin that surely brings us low.  For the Christian this is avoidable because of Christ.  Christ has placed His joy within us; He has justified our relationship with God; He has shown us what it takes to live loving, successful lives.  Christ has revealed to us the Father, and Christ has placed eternity into our minds.  All of this, and much more, calls forth from us nothing less than our delight – complete, fulfilling joy.

SEEK GOD’S VIEW, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          The Christian must learn to live by faith in God not by what is felt inside.  It matters not how we as individuals feel about something or how we perceive life but rather how God views it.  This alone is of paramount importance, and our task is to seek out His will in all things.  To seek out God’ Word and to walk according to His will produces within us a life of faith.

          “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”

 –Isaiah 55:8

MORAL ORDER, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          There is in creation a great moral order which is not of our making.  Neither is this order something impersonal, because it is brought about and constantly maintained by God.  This order stands as an eternal pronouncement of the fairness, the integrity, the love, consistency, and justice of God.  This order we come to know only through discovery.  Unfortunately, such discovery usually comes about when we go against it or ignore it, thereby hurting ourselves. 

GOD IS JUST, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          A lot of people are concerned with whether other people are happy with them.  They ask questions like, “Is your father happy with you?” or “Is my mother happy with me?”  Most of it is aimed at assuring the self that others are granting their approval.  In other words, we find fulfillment and approval through the blessings of others.  This ultimately leads to the question whether God is happy with us?  But in truth we already know the answer before we ask.  It is not our job to make God happy but simply to obey.  If we follow God’s laws and walk humbly with Him, will He not be happy?  Yet, whether He is happy is a secondary point.  God created us, and He will do with us what He pleases.  God is just, and He will judge accordingly and do what is right. 

ALMIGHTY GOD, REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          It is often said that various acts of man are against the will of God.  Yet, if God is The Almighty that we profess Him to be, how can any single act be contrary to His will?  Are not the contents of this world so held in His hands and ruled by Him that all is to the glory of His name? 

          This is important for the Christian to remember, for once being called by God, He will not merely watch over us but rather conduct our whole life to the end that we shall partake of the immortal life He has prepared for us. 

          “All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”  –Romans 8:28

LOST DIVINITY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Our contemporary world has lost its need to look for the burning bush.  This is because the burning bush is no longer a remarkable sight.  Modern theology has even gone so far as to say “every common bush is ablaze with the glory of God.”

          The same has become true with our need for Christ.  Moderns no longer look for the light of Christ because it is not believed that there is a deep darkness which only He can illuminate.  If Jesus is the light of the world, it is in the sense that we each possess that same light.  If Jesus is divine, it is in the capacity that we each hold that same nature.  In other words, His divinity has become lost in our commonality. 

          “Who do men say that I am?”  –Mark 8:27

GOD GOVERNS ALL, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          If we say that God governs the universe, then we must also say that nothing happens upon the earth apart from His providence.  Our actions are according to His will.  His wisdom, beyond our power to understand is involved in the world’s transactions.  We see ambitions clashing as people pursue selfish ends.  We know of hurtful strategies as some seek to gain at the expense of others.  Though the world appears to us to be filled with darkness and chaos, to God they are light and order.  What we see lies on the surface, for beneath it all moves the irresistible hand of God. 

          “The wrath of men shall praise thee.”  –Psalm 76:10

BETTER THAN IT SOUNDS, REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          The 19th century humorist, Bill Nye, said of classical music, “It is better than it sounds.”  The same sentiment holds true for the bad news of life.  When a Christian maintains focus upon God and the saving work of Christ, the bad news of life has a way of becoming balanced out with the good news of life.  Evil and pain, serenity and trust all come together and find a balance within us.  The Christian knows that there is always enough in this world to test courage and to tax strength.  But the Christian knows, too, that God is at work and His enduring promise is that He will never withdraw or abandon us.

          “I will never fail you nor forsake you.”  –Hebrews 13:5

BLESSING OTHERS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          To be Christ-like is to touch another’s life with blessing.  Wherever Christians go, whomever Christians encounter, their lives ought to be an inspiration and a benediction.  We preach a sermon by what people see of us, and we teach a lesson wherever our shadow falls.  Do people feel happier after meeting us?  Do others become more confident, more able to stay the course with their feet planted firmly in Christ?  Is their path more illumined so as to make the difficult journey easier to trod?  Is the weary heart raised and the sorrowful soul relieved?  If so, then we have been the benediction of life. 

LOVING THE UNLOVELY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Each of us is surrounded by people in this world.  Some of those people are very easy to love.  In our perception they are quite congenial.  They have pleasing qualities that are agreeable, lovable, and kind.  These are the people who befriend us; they become our social companions, our travel partners.  Others there are who are not to our liking.  They are not amiable, or congenial, or pleasing – at least not to our perceptions of them.  These people have unlovely and disagreeable traits about them.  Faults mar what would otherwise be a beautiful character.  Yet if we are truly Christian and act upon what we profess, we would not fail to show love toward any.  We must seek that charity and benefaction which hides the multitude of sins and faults. 

KNOW THE RIGHT FIGHT, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

                Many persons spend their lives struggling against God, and in so doing they believe that this is the supreme conflict that a Christian must wage.  But this is not a conflict that God wants.  God’s desire is that we overcome adversaries that prevent us from entering into a relationship with Him.

                Only through faith can this be accomplished.  God has already come to us and His power is at work in those who believe.  So when we hold fast to God and His Christ through our faith, Satan deals not with us but with God.

                “…taking up the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.”  Ephesians 6:16

TENSION, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          There must exist tension between church and culture, and it is the Christian who must bear the weight of this tension.  If the church were to advocate the comfortable mores of society, if the Christian were to exemplify right living through the counter-culture, then where would be the hope?  God requires nothing less than to strive after perfection.  And what is perfection but to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and to walk humbly with God. 

OUR FORGOTTEN END, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          We hear a lot today about giving to the poor, feeding the hungry, and sheltering the homeless.  Ministry as benevolence, stewardship, and charity are continually emphasized as necessary responses to what God has done for us.  We clothe the body.  We educate the mind.  We seek out equality and justice for the downtrodden and the forgotten persons among us.  All of this is well and necessary and good, but often neglected is the most important work that a Christian can do.

          The first great end of the church is “the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind.”  People are not saved through good works.  How are we proclaiming the gospel with the intent of bringing people to Christ?  Are we working to save souls or to make more comfortable their bodies?  The greatest work the church can do is to bring humanity to Christ. 

FOLLOW GOD’S WILL, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          To pursue the will of God is to be held close to God, because God never deserts anyone following His desired course.  God’s will always leads toward virtuousness, integrity, faithfulness, and a Christ-like character – and, what is more – continues through this life to the glory of eternity.  However painful or hard life may seem, if it is spent in pursuit of Divine will then it is a blessed quest; and at the end the soul shall sing in praise, “Thy will has been done.”

RESPONDING WITH INTELLIGENCE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Our God is not a God of feeling.  Never in the Bible does He say, “I feel that you should do…,” or “I would feel better if we…”  Rather, He is a God of order, a God of law, a God of intent.  He lays down before us specific rules and expectations brought about through reason, and He demands that we obey them.  Our obedience, therefore, calls for intelligence, not feeling. 

          “Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you.”  — I Peter 3:15

          “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord.  – Isaiah 1:18

FRIENDSHIPS ARE HOLY, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Human friendships are holy because within them is found something of God.  Through friendship God speaks to us.  Through friendship God touches us.  Through friendship God reaches out to us and invites us into His company.  Yet as wonderful as these friendships are, Christ’s is the only one that is perfect.

          In Christ is perfect peace and repose.  In Christ is the full satisfaction of what the heart craves and the soul yearns.  If we could but learn to turn in friendship to Christ, what we would know is the presence of the eternal.

          “Have we trials and temptations?

          Is there trouble anywhere?

          We should never be discouraged:

          Take it to the Lord in prayer!

          Can we find a friend so faithful,

          Who will all our sorrows share?

          Jesus knows our every weakness;

          Take it to the Lord in prayer!”

          –Joseph Scriven, 1855

BEHAVIOR MATTERS, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          “It matters not how one acts but rather what one believes.”  That is what many today assert as true.  As long as one’s intentions are honorable and his or her beliefs are voiced as respectful toward others, that is what is of utmost importance.  But actions do matter because behavior is a direct reflection of belief.

          It is not credible to think that a person would believe one doctrine and act in accordance with another.  The person who believes that it matters not how one behaves is not going to live as though it does.  This is why it is essential for the Christian to know Christ and Him only.  Only then can our living reflect the righteousness, truth, and grace that God desires. 

WORSHIP ONLY GOD, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          So much of contemporary religion is presented as though there were no God.  Writings, personal relations, even the act of worship are focused on living a better life, self-improvement, and achieving happiness.  We are taught to help a neighbor for no other reason than it is the right thing to do.  Worship is structured to keep people interested and to be enjoyable.  The Sanctuary is referred to as a “worship center” – though worship of what or who is not addressed. 

          God demands that we worship only Him; we aid one another because of Him; we are filled with joy only by Him.  When ethics are rewarded and taught without God as the cause and center, people become filled with self-goodness and Christ’s Blood loses all meaning. 

          “You shall have no other gods before me.”  –Exodus 20:3

A LIFE OF PREACHING, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Many Christians profess that they could never stand before a group of people and speak, whether it be in the form of reading, praying or teaching.  Yet, that does not mean that they cannot preach a sermon.

          Each of us should be an inspiration wherever we go and with whomever we find ourselves.  People should feel more fortified, more valued, more intent, more content and joy-filled after being with us.  Silently we ought to touch others with a saintly influence.  The holy light of Christ should beam through our eyes onto the dark and sad and weary hearts around us.  There is a beauty of holiness in our life.  Be sure it is a benediction to human sorrow and need. 

THE LORD WILL PROVIDE, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          Most lives are called to go through one great sorrow, one great trial, testing their faith and their character.  The particular purpose of the trial may not be evident, but every trial through which a Christian is called to pass holds a purpose designed by God; and God must be trusted.  When we deny self and obey the voice of God, not only do we discover our own life to be a blessing but also we influence the lives of others around us.

          So persevere, hold on, for it is not until we have arrived at the end and seen the destruction of our hopes and the death of loves that the purpose of God will come into view.  Yet through all one promise will sustain, “The Lord will provide.”

          “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son…He considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead.”  –Hebrews 11:17-19

THE BLESSING OF FAILURE, BY STEPHEN REHRIG

          The Great Teacher constantly sets before us lessons to be learned, and we fail at these as often as not.  The toughest subjects we could ever take in school are easy in comparison to what must be learned of love, patience, forgiveness, humility, unselfishness and contentment.  The lessons can be learned, but they oftimes come slow and at a price.  Sometimes we see the lesson and strive for attainment with all of our might and still come up short.  Yet God honors effort and the yearning; and though we may collapse disheartened and weary from our work, He carries on within us His work and sculpts divine beauty out of our souls. 

OUR SHADOW, Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Like the silence of a shadow, there emits from each of us a measure of affect on those around us.  Whether intentional or not, we cause direction to be taken, convictions to be swayed and guidance to be had.  A day cannot be lived without touching and influencing some other life.  For better or for worse our shadow falls across the path of another.

          The Christian, therefore, bears the responsibility of a Christ-like life – noble, beautiful and holy.  For if we ourselves become a living benediction, then inspiration is our mantle and a Godly influence our crest. 

CHRIST, OUR BIOGRAPHER, BY REV. STEPHEN REHRIG

          For many years now “journaling” has been in vogue – a sort of diary keeping where the individual writes down his or her thoughts and contemplations for the day.  It is believed that this furthers people along in their journeys as a way of growing and experiencing the faith on a different level.  But the Christian must be careful when writing about self because there is no need to chronicle good deeds done, sacrifices offered, or autobiographies of the physical life led.  Each life lived should let its own record be sufficient, and Christ should serve as the biographer.  Christ will not forget anything that we do or say.  One day we each will stand before Christ, and on that day the most obscure deed we have done or the lowest service we provided will be remembered.   

Does The World Need Christmas?, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          To look around and to listen is to quickly learn that the world loves “the holiday’s,” and it wants the fun and “time off” which it brings, but the world does not want the One whom Christmas brings.  In a world that is working to drain away all hope, discount the significance of a human soul and tell everyone that he or she is just fine the way we are, “yes,” the world still needs Christmas and the Child of Christmas.  The world is lost, and today as much as ever, still needs Christ to show us the way home.  The world desperately needs Christmas, and the Child which Christmas brings – whether the world knows it or not. 

THE REASON FOR THE SEASON, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “Christ, the reason for the season” has become a popular saying.  In its intent it is good; because it draws to mind the remembrance of why we celebrate and that Christ is at the heart of Christmas.  The commercialization of Christmas is frightening and crowds out the true message – the birth of Our Lord.

          But in truth the saying is not correct.  God looked down upon sinful man and knew that He had to act if we were to be saved.  Due to our shortsightedness, selfish and self-centered motives, our lack of love, and our inability to keep the laws as God had given them, we had broken our relationship with God.  If there was any other way that this relationship could be restored, God would have done so – but there was not.  Therefore, “we” are the reason for the season.

          “…the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight , behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts…For he is like a refiner’s fire and…he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord.”  –Malachi 3:1-3

A PEACE-FILLED CHRISTMAS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We celebrate Christ’s birth.  We give and we receive gifts as indicative of the Season.  Yet, how often through it all do we consider the love of God?  Christmas should be filled with our affection for Christ – thoughts about God’s tender passion poured out upon us and made real in the birth of our Savior.  A happy and peace-filled Christmas will result in the heart of the person who remembers God and gives thanks to Him for all. 

INTOLERANCE VERSUS INDIFFERENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Much is being said about intolerance – the intolerance of philosophies, the intolerance of ideologies, the intolerance exhibited toward the ever-changing mores of society.  However, the real problem is not intolerance but rather indifference.  The call of the Christian is not to agree with and tolerate every idea and desire that people have.  The call of the Christian is to care about people.

          To be indifferent toward right and wrong is much more harmful than intolerance.  One is born out of a desire to be virtuous, the other through a lack of caring. 

Blessings, Stephen

CHRISTIANS DESIRE GOD’S WAY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

                Some say that what we say and do is of God.  He who knows our frame and numbers our days has laid out for us the path we are to walk, the discourse we are to utter.

                Others maintain that if we truly love and respect God, then we will seek on our own nothing beyond His desire for us.  We will struggle to learn the limits and boundaries God has set, and we will choose to stay within those boundaries.

                It is important for the Christian to know that indeed we are free, free to walk upon or apart from the path of God.  But if God has called us, we will not want to stray beyond that which God has established and ordered for our lives.

                “I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the Lord saith, that will I speak.”  –Numbers: 24:13

Blessings, Stephen

BEING A BLESSING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          It is often said that Christ has no hands but ours; He has no feet but ours; the voice with which we speak makes real to others His words.  Through these means we become a blessing.  God blesses us that we might use our hands and feet and words to be a blessing to those around us in life.  It is in such a manner that we become Christ-like. 

          It is in such a manner that we also are blessed – through the realization that we are blessing.

          “Take my hands, and let them move

          At the impulse of Thy love.

          Take my feet, and let them be

          Swift and beautiful for Thee.”

                   Frances Ridley Havergal,  1874

OUR INFLUENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Every human life is an influential force in the world.  Everyone who comes in contact with us learns of good and bad, truth and deception, honor and insincerity by watching our actions and hearing our words.  The fact that we may not choose or want such responsibility is inconsequential – it is ours nonetheless.  Let us not set in motion any inducement we would rather take to our grave, fore it will outlive us.

          “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious…forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”  –Exodus 34:6-7

GOD’S GIFTS IN US, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          What gifts God has placed into humanity.  He has given us a mind far surpassing any other in creation – minds capable of reason; minds able to envision ourselves among the stars.  We alone explore with the intent of discovery and practice with the intent of achievement.  He has given us hearts more compassionate than any other – hearts that break; hearts that rejoice; hearts that know sympathy, patience and understanding; a heart that loves out of the richness of emotion and becomes empty from the loss of self.  He has given to us words – by the Word He created and that same Word He bestows upon us: Words that hurt; words that heal; words that provide a straight path or deceive for personal gain.  We alone use words that lead to another’s destruction; we alone use words to bring others to Christ; we alone communicate with our creator and are responsible for our communications.

FOLLOWING SLOGANS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We live in a day and a time that is in love with slogans, and the Christian religion is certainly not exempt.  Wherever the Christian turns, there is found such sayings as “Christ is the answer,” “What Would Jesus Do?,” “Christ. The reason for the season,” “God is my co-pilot,” “Got Jesus?.”  The list could go on indefinitely.  We are very quick to say that we love Jesus and from our lips erupt a great sentiment of proclamation.  But, in return, there always comes back from Christ His word to test our commitment.  “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

          To be a Christian is to be devoted to Christ – completely, unrestingly, irreversibly, and in total trust.  It is one thing to proclaim good intentions, vows, and pledges; but the true measure of the person is to what degree those same slogans are followed.  The church used to use the word “consecration.”  To be consecrated is to look to and to follow Christ whatever the unpopularity, danger, or sacrifice may be.  Hanging out a slogan for all to see just won’t get the job done. 

COME TO WORSHIP, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many people are brought into the faith today by being told how content they will be.  They come to God or come to Jesus believing that it will make them feel good.  They come seeking happiness because they are told that God will make them happy and Jesus will be the fulfillment of their life.

          To come to the faith either seeking or expecting something in return is to come with the expectation of having God serve us.  We come to the faith to worship God, nothing more.  What God does in return is up to Him. 

WORSHIP THE BIG CHRIST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

                There are words of Christ that lead to truth, but of themselves they are not enough.  There are actions of Christ whose example lights the way of love toward one another, but alone these are insufficient.  There is the known presence of Christ that brings us peace, quiets our throes, and soothes the anguish of life.  But even all of these blessings taken by themselves are impoverished and lacking.

                The Christ who must be worshipped is He in whom God is working out His great purpose for the world.  That Christ only is the start and the finish of time, the Alpha and the Omega of history.  It is He alone who holds in His hands the judgments of the living, and He also who meters out the blessings.  The Church must worship this Christ – the Savior of the World. 

NOURISH THOSE CLOSE BY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Life is long and arduous, filled with rewards and disappointments, laughter and sorrow, vitality and sickness.  Each soul needs to be nourished as he or she goes through life.  Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of each Christian to everyday touch those souls who are close at hand.  The Christian is to let others know that they are loved, thus nourishing the spirit within them.

          “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain asked the Lord.  Then centuries later the Lord answered by saying, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”

          “Love one another; even as I have loved you.”  –John 13:34

INCONSISTENCY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There are those in the Christian community who would have the church believe and practice a doctrine of inconsistency.  This means that they allow the Spirit to interpret and control each individual situation in accordance with the particulars of the instance.  In other words, each circumstance calls for its own set of values and ethics to be defined by the desired outcome.  It is disguised in such nonsense as “what would Jesus do,” or “the church must not be exclusive,” or even “we must be tolerant of everyone.”

          When our desired ends are allowed to control the journey, define the thought or structure the belief, then we have no firm foundation upon which to stand.  A doctrine of inconsistency results, no firmer than the shifting sands beneath our feet.  Our God is a God of order and constancy.  He abides through the inconsistencies of life and adheres to the laws of his making – steady and undeviating.  Our calling is not to adapt God to people but to bring people to God.

CHRISTIANS ALONE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          To look at history is to see Christians dispersed among the world; because, like salt, to be piled in one place is of no use and can result in death.  So God spreads Christians across society and the world; He mixes them in with non-believers and secularists.  Only then does God’s Word diffuse like enriched flavor in the mouth.  Fellowship with other Christians, to share God’s Word and partake of the Sacraments together is necessary.  But the curse of Christianity is that each believer must return to the work for which he or she was called in the world – alone. 

          “I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries.”  –Zechariah 10:9 

SERVING CHRIST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There are many people who believe that to serve Christ they must go somewhere and do something, they must be seen and heard by others.  They imagine that to minister for Christ must involve teaching a class, visiting the sick, aiding the downtrodden, or journeying to foreign shores to do missionary work.  These are all important ministries, they are beautiful in their spirit, and Christ does need them done; but the first place that He is served is within yourself.  The blessed light of Christ must first illuminate the darkness within you, thereby giving light to the most sacred of all spots.  Only then are you ready to become a blessing to those around you and Christ is truly served. 

LITTLE SINS AREN’T LITTLE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            People talk about little sins and big sins as if there is a difference.  There is no differentiation when speaking about our moral life.  All sins influence the eternal and have their consequences.  Does God measure sin by smallness or greatness?

            Being true to God requires that we be faithful in all things.  This is harder when the talk or event is small, obscure, or unseen by others than when we are engaged in something large, praiseworthy, or of high profile.  The fact is, though, that more persons fail in the little things than in those more prominent during the course of a day.  Yet, it must be remembered that character will unravel when one lose thread is pulled. 

CHRIST IS UNIQUE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Some people call Jesus the first Christian, or the only true Christian, or the supreme Christian whose life should prove a model to all who follow.  To speak this way is to echo the words of the impudent and the unholy.  Jesus Christ was not a Christian.

          A Christian is a sinner.  A Christian is a human being who, for salvation’s sake, places his or her trust in Christ.  Jesus Christ needed no savior – a Christian does.  Christ is unique, totally and supremely separate from us. 

LIGHT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Scripture teaches us to nurture and to take care of ourselves.  It tells us that we are to let God’s light shine in us.  But if that light remains only in ourselves, what good comes of it? To open the doors and to un-shutter the windows of our lives in order to allow the light to escape does not make it any less light within – it merely serves to enlighten the world around.  In such a way let us open ourselves that our light may so shine and illumine the path for others around the place where we are. 

GOD CALLS EACH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Each generation that inhabits this earth is brought forth according to God’s great plan.  When the appointed time is come, each appears on the stage of history; and when the time fixed for their dismissal arrives, He sends them away.

          The time of our appearing is come.  Our ancestors have left vacant their place and gone down to the dust, as did theirs before them.  Now is our time to be permitted to act out our part freely and without constraint or reservation.  So we proceed, steadfast in the knowledge that there is not a day of our life nor an event in a day but was foreseen by God. 

VIEWING LIFE RIGHT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Our own ideas are important to us – so important that we are apt to place them into the realm of God giving them to us.  In other words, we know our views to be correct; therefore, they must be ordained through the providence of God.  If we think it, believe it or do it, God’s overriding providence is guiding our every step.

          The Christian must remember that God never contradicts His own abiding Word.  Therefore, it is for us to hear the consistency of His voice against all the clamor of the world.  Thus only are we able to discern between God and evil. 

VICTORY OVER TEMPTATION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There exists in the human heart a desire for self-affirmation and self-grandizement.  It is one of the fruits of humanism, and it stands as one of the failings of being human.  Often it is heard in such expressions as: “Publish of die,” “Make yourself known,” or “You have to toot your own horn.”  It is the same temptation with which Jesus struggled, as did Paul and countless Saints of Christ down through the centuries.  But if instead of our own goals and accomplishments we keep God and His glory as the focus of our work, then our efforts shall be blessed and our self shall know reward.

THE WINDS OF LIFE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          To have life is to know storms.  Other than the wrenching of birth, the beginning of life’s journey is generally calm, the air soft, the breeze gentle.  But a day arrives when the gentle placidness rages, and the hurricane comes with it.  Sometimes the winds afflict a belief; sometimes the winds bear discouragement; sometimes sickness and tragedy sweep across those whom we love; always the winds bring change.  But no matter how contrary the winds of life blow, the Christian must remember that they never blow without the permission of God.

          “The wind was against them.”  — Matthew 14:24

GOD IS WITH US, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          If God gives us the task, He will share in its being carried out.  We may be an instrument of the Lord, but it is God who is using the instrument.  We are a channel, but He is the One who opens the gates so that whatever is desired may flow through us.   We are builders, but He is the Architect of our design.  Therefore, whatever task we have, whatever opportunity or work is ours, we should know that God is in it.  How supportive and exciting this is for the Christian, yet how humbling as well.

          The Great God Almighty is with us, and He does not fail. 

AFTERWARD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Afterward exists only because God maintains the present.  Many are the trials, hardships, disappointments and transgressions suffered in this world.  They all pass in time – they all pass in God’s good time.  Only then can reflection look back and in retrospect perceive that God controlled and maintained the way.  Only then are we able to know that solely by God’s good care are we here – afterwards. 

AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “As I have loved you” is the answer to the question “Am I my brothers keeper?”  Care and love for others is the outward symbol and the inward proof of our Christianity.  It is with the love of Christ that we are to keep watch.  And what is that love?  It is a love that looks for ways to bless others; it seeks the downtrodden and lifts the cheerless.  This love protects the weak, comforts the sorrowful, and strengthens the brave.  This love keeps faith; serves need; and, if need be, sacrifices self.

          This and much more is how Christ has loved us and how He would have us love others.  “Am I my brothers keeper?”  Yes, as lived out in “As I have loved you.” 

GOD AS GOVERNOR, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          When one looks around at the world, our culture, even the church which we hold dear, one must conclude that what is of norm is for God not to be dominant.  In a world where civility is more important than virtue, we have allowed ourselves to practice and profess things which we hold not as genuine.  We allow behavior we know to be wrong because we want to get along.  We keep silent in the face of untruth for fear of criticism.  We do that which stands contrary to the foundations of our faith in the false belief that peace will be promoted.

          But if God is going to be the Sovereign of our life, then it often entails our standing for that which is not popular.  When God is in control and has dominion over us, we tend to do what is right; and what is right often positions itself in contrast to the mores of the times. 

GOD WANTS YOUR MIND, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          A lack of intelligent thinking has no more place in our religion than it does in business or science or education.  A lazy mind filled with simple thoughts does not honor God.  Many are fond of saying, “I can’t help it;” “I was born that way;” or “I’m not even going to try because I just can’t understand.”  But usually this is not true.  It is more that we get lazy of mind and thought.  Malevolence does not cause as many problems in our life as does obtuse indolence.  And much of our senselessness is not inborn but of our own doing, or rather lack of doing.  We fail to think and thereby fail to grow in a relationship with God.  “…you shall love the Lord you God…with all you mind.”  Mark 12:30

AN EVEN-TEMPERED SHELTER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Some people seem to go through life forever being even tempered – nothing appears to disturb them.  It is almost as if God has sheltered these from the wiles of the world and delusions of the devil.  There are other people who seem to always be receptive to temptation if not attracted to evil, struggling with the world every day they live.

          Could it be that God has placed the more placid among us to buttress and nurture those at risk?  Could it also be that Christ spends more time bracing and interceding for the person more likely to fall?

          Even the disciple John, with his gentle way, received less attention than did fiery Peter. 

CARE IN SPEAKING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “If you cannot say something nice about someone, do not say anything at all,” are words that once were taught but have long since fallen from favor.  Yet, there remains much wisdom in those words. 

          For one, the words speak to the inability to see the good in people.  They imply that there are some who see only fault and blemish.  Ill is assumed about people rather than good.  Ugliness of character is held up as an example, ignoring the beauty within. 

          Christ condemns this behavior, therefore the Christian should seek to avoid it always.  Instead, we must work constantly at beholding the good, the beautiful, the Christ-like quality of one another.  Christ is with each of us – look for Him. 

CHRIST CAME TO CALL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          A religion that focuses on the signs and the acts of God; whose primary concern is the miracles of God, may fill people with excitement and awe while providing a sense of the sensational, but this focus too easily ends in dependence and slavery.  With little encouragement people look to God as they look to government, to do for them what they should do for themselves.  How cruel God might be if He answered all of our prayers, cured all of our sickness, solved all of our problems, thereby having spoiled and undeveloped children. 

          Christ came not to impress through miracle and magic but to call people to God.  God does not want us as infantile followers but as people who understand the fullness of life which has been given.  Life through Christ is only had through the freedom to believe. 

          “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you?”  –John 6:30

BEAUTIFUL LIVES, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Cells, spores, germs when viewed through a microscope have their
own beauty every bit as much as does an orchid or a monarch butterfly or a
sunset. Size and scope are indeterminate of beauty. So is it also with a
human life.


A beautiful life or a beautiful person is not determined by the
popularity, the public visibility, or financial success. Rather, it is the one
that fulfills the role that God assigned. The smallest, most insignificant life
in this world is a blessing when it lives out its Divine Appointment.

PAIN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Pain and suffering can be very excellent teachers.  Many a soul that cannot be touched through a human voice will heed the wordless message brought by pain.  And what if such throes should be brought by God?  Then the Christian is to take heart and know that God intends no harm and desires no hurt.  All God does is designed for good, and a faithful response is one of trust.  The will of God is what drives the course of the world, so whatever he should please to do is all within His Providence.  He has given the world Christ, so of what is there to complain?

          Part of the shear mystery of the faith is the blessed mercy contained in the simple fact that God would take the occasion to even touch us at all. 

          “Thou dost beset me behind and before, and layest thy hand upon me.”  –Psalm 139:5

FOUNDATIONAL TEACHING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          When we teach the importance of understanding and respecting the Christian view of life as it has been born out across the centuries, we are not encouraging people to run away from the present.  Rather, we seek to give people an intelligent mastery over their spiritual heritage.  This will not divert their minds from the pressing issues of the present but rather prepare them all the more to deal with them by giving an absolute sense of direction and value which has been the hallmark of Christian living throughout the ages – direction that we are sorely in need of today.

DISCIPLINE PRECEDES OBSERVANCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The Christian must be disciplined before full blessings of the faith are known.  The Christian must practice the faith and govern his or her actions in it with care before the presence of God is fully realized.  We do not decide to pray and then begin to say and experience deep, meaningful prayers.  First, we take on the orderliness and strictness of prayer and, in result, we acquire the depth that such observance brings.

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          In contemporary society the words “possible” and “probable” have become synonymous.  But there exists a distinct difference between those two.  Many things in this life may not be probable, their possibility being slim; but they are still possible.  Nothing is ever accomplished by giving up on it.  Working for and with God is no different.  When probability is at its lowest, God is at His best.  Where else is a miracle found except in the improbable, the unexpected and the impossible?  If it is expected, then it becomes no more than an act; and where then is the miracle of it? – victory in the face of defeat, cure in the face of terminal illness, resurrection in the face of death.  As improbable as those might be, with God there exists possibility; and therein lies the miracle. 

          “All things are possible to him who believes.”  –Mark 9:23

DEVOTED TO CHRIST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There is far too much sentiment in our religion these days.  So much of what is written and so many of the worship experiences being offered focus on emotion.  How does the service of worship make you feel?  Do you feel tender?  Does it make your feel alive?  Does your religion cause you to want to reach out and touch others?  You have no right to judge another because it will make them feel bad.  Christianity is fast becoming an “I’m OK, you’re OK” feel-good religion where anything espoused by anyone is deemed acceptable. 

          What is devotion?  Specifically, what does it mean to be devoted to Christ?  It means nothing less than doing the will of Christ.  We say that we believe in Christ; but if we do not like what He says or where He leads, we are quick to go our own way.  We say that we love Christ; but when He says “If you love me, keep my commandments,” we are quick to respond: “Jesus couldn’t foresee what we are up against today.  If He were alive today He would think like I do.”

          To be a Christian is to be dedicated to Christ – utterly, irrevocably, combatively devoted.  Good intentions, vows, and emotional experiences are all good; but when Christ has been set as Lord, we must follow where He leads regardless of how we feel about it.

          “Sworn to yield, to waver, never; Consecrated, born again;

          Sworn to be Christ’s soldiers ever, O for Christ at least be men!

          O let all the soul within you for the truth’s sake go abroad!

          Strike! Let every nerve and sinew Tell on ages, tell for God.”

          Arthur Cleveland Coxe, 1840

GOD’S CLOCK, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          God maintains Divine Providence over our lives and the world.  What that means is that everything is done on His time schedule, not ours.  We seldom recognize the hand and the timing that God has in all.  Usually it is only afterwards, when viewing the failures and successes, the disappointments and rewards, the hardships and the affirmations, that we see God at work and the wisdom of His schedule.

          God’s clock is always accurate. 

NOTHING IN RETURN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          It is said that the truest and purist form of giving expects nothing in return – it is unconditional.  God has given us His Son.  Without conditions God has brought salvation into the world. 

          What this means for the Christian is that God does not expect obedience, but we are bound to give it.  God does not expect our love, but we are obliged to offer it.  He does not expect our honor and praise, but we are drawn to do nothing less.  The truth of Christmas is that God comes unto us and gives Himself for us – expecting nothing in return.

          “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.”  –I John 4:10

FORGIVENESS AND JUDGMENT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          If God forgives, why is there judgment?  Because the Bible never says, “Forget the past; ignore it; God has forgotten it so you can too.”  The truth is this: What we have done we have done.  Who we were and what we did are historical facts. 

          But this is the Gospel – all that we are: the wasted years; the bad soil from which grew deceit, pain, and transgression; the days when we were sinners beyond recognition and saints beyond belief – all of that is with Christ.  And what does He do with it?  Our self-absorbing pride becomes reverence; our self-centeredness becomes dedication; and our self-aggrandizement becomes devotion for Him.

          Christ forgives it all so that He can be with us.  He transforms it all so that we can know the companionship of His presence.

          “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”  –Galatians 2:20

A JUST CHURCH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            There are those who spend their days seeking to build a Church that is Just.  By that, what is meant is all who confess Jesus Christ are brought into the unity of the Holy Spirit.  Regardless of the beliefs, dogmas, or opinions toward personal living, if Jesus is professed and the tenets of the Christian Faith are adhered to, that is sufficient. 

            But justice with God is not a matter of ethical choice because humans are not capable of bringing about right relationships.  To be just requires complete surrender to and trust in Christ.  And what does Christ require?  That we give up our ways, walk humbly with God, and do what is good in His eyes.  A just Church is one that does what God desires, not what we humans think He desires.

            “No man living is righteous.”  –Psalm 143:2

CREEDS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Our tradition is one that makes use of many creeds.  Often those creeds seem to be contradictory and to assert doctrine that cannot be reconciled within itself.  Yet how many of us have taken the time to truly study these doctrines?  How many of us have gotten out our Bibles, asked questions and sought answers therein?  It would be better, after personal inquiry, to believe only two or three of the doctrines, and be able to state why we believe them than to believe many more simply because the church teaches them.  Every Christian ought to be prepared to give an intelligent answer in defense of or rational for the faith which he or she professes to hold.  Every Christian has a personal creed, whether he or she realizes it, and that creed must be born out of a daily searching of the Word and the life that is shown thereof.

A SOLEMN REALITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          People are not inanimate objects which have no influence upon what surrounds them, and neither are those around us isolated from being swayed.  A soul is the most sensitive thing in God’s creation.  Every thought, every word, every deed finds its way into the life of another person.  Therefore, a Christian must take heed of all that is said and done lest his or her encouragement prove wrong toward another. 

          “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”  –Mark 9:42

DIFFICULTY IN PRAYER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The Christian experiences difficulty in prayer for three reasons.  One reason is our knowledge of God’s providence.  We know that God is in charge, not us; therefore, we cannot change what He has decreed.  Another reason is our own known morality.  We know ourselves to be clay footed, mistake ridden, and even bad at times; so we believe ourselves not good enough to pray and to be heard by God.  A third reason is that we approach prayer as an experiment.  We try it out, the results do not fit our satisfaction, so we declare it not to work.

          Over and over again scripture affirms the necessity of prayer: Pray without ceasing.  Pray constantly.  Pray earnestly.  Pray with trust, with hope, with expectation.  The point for the Christian is not whether God hears the prayer, but whether the Christian hears God. 

CONVICTION OF THE UNSEEN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          When God says that something is, then faith causes us joy even though we may not see it.  When God says that something belongs to us, that He will give to us a gift, we live in confidence even though the gift is not yet possessed.  When God says that some definite deed will happen, some event will come to pass, we know with certainty that it is so.  For the person of faith, all of this is just as good as seeing or experiencing.

          Each day the Christian is to go to the Word of God and find there that which God has done or promises to do for us.  Then with joyful expectation, go into the world and watch for its fulfillment.

          “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  –Hebrews 11:1

ACT NOW, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We have all heard the expression, “Better late than never.”  While this may be a comforting excuse in life, it is not applicable in Christianity.  God gives to us seasons of our lives; and within those seasons there are people, places and events which we encounter.  If we do not respond to those times when they come, perform the act of kindness and love when the moment is right, we might as well not trouble ourselves doing them at all.  The time for showing genuine interest and affection toward any is not the next day or the next week when the person’s situation has changed, they are well or perhaps dead.  Some of the best thoughts we ever have are the ones which come later involving things we should have said or done, but still the truth is that they come too late to do any good.  We all know with what stones we each pave the road to hell. 

LOOKING BACK, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Some imply that it is an indication of moral and spiritual weakness to rely on or refer to heritage when dealing with the issues of the present.  Many persons would answer this with the witness of their lives.  To refer to our heritage is not to journey into the past but to probe deeper into the present.  The experiences of our forebears gives shape to our experiences; the richness of their wisdom provides foundation to our thinking.

          Heritage is not a collection of dead people, dead ideas, and dead institutions.  It is a vibrant, living presence in the world of today – but only if we are willing to know it, speak it, and live it out.  This is what is meant by becoming a responsible participant in a vital religious tradition. 

NEVER BE SATISFIED, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          For a Christian to be alive in the faith, he or she must never be satisfied with what has been accomplished.  Growth of spirit is had through longing.  What has been achieved is good, fulfilling and rewarding but should serve as a springboard toward larger and grander goals.  The acquisition of something more can often be difficult to attain.  The continued improvement and growth of self can even be painful – discouragement appears more often and marked advancement more arduous to discern.  But it is only through longing that the soul truly reaches toward God.

          “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”  Matthew 5:6

GOD DIRECTS ALL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          What seems at first to be so lonely a desert to the soul turns out to be a place where our soul draws nearer to its God.  Yet, why is it necessary for us to so grievously sin against the Spirit of God – if indeed it is necessary?  If God is indeed to be the Supreme Irresistible Ruler of our life and our times are forever in His hands, then it is of His doing. 

          Does this absolve us of our wrong?  By no means, but it does say that at no time are we ever outside of the grace of God.  It says that He directs to His good ends our course of action.  Even when the pain of our actions seem too great, not just for ourselves but for many innocents, He is there.  Who is innocent in the sight of God and who cannot be refined by the actions of our fault?  Our times are in the hands of God, and He will direct all and move all at His good pleasure. 

CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          In a world where Christians are increasingly being torn apart due to secularism and other religions, it is by God’s grace that we live, work and worship with other believers.  To what end the effects of prayer have on us and to what blessing the results of fellowship are to us, we do not know.  But this is sure, that an extraordinary emboldenment is had through our physically being one with another – in Jesus Christ Our Lord. 

GREAT PEACE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Great peace is found when we think of God not only as a Supreme Sovereign but also the Sure Guardian of our lives and the time we have to live.  Though the days to come are unknown to us, it is sufficient that they are known to God.  Within the confines of their hours are found the blessings of trust and the assurance that each hour disposed is solely by His good will.  No end shall come to us apart from God’s own deeming. 

FREEDOM IN CHOICE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          God’s purpose and humanity’s free choice are always at work.  In the life of every person there comes a time of choice, or a whole litany of choosings, when the decision must be made between self and God, our way or His way, our desired life or His life desired for us.

          Adam chose his own way and thus we have been stained with a desire to decide for ourselves what is best.  Freedom is found in choosing what God has willed.

          “Choose this day whom you will serve.”  –Joshua 24:15

GOD BENDS OUR WILL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We look around us in this world and see ruthless ambition, deception of heart, people laboring to accomplish all kinds of false purposes – much that appears contrary to the peace of society.  But all of it exists as no more than the surface of what is.  A higher counsel and power than is given us to see is concerned with the transactions of the world.  If we at all believe in God’s governance of the universe, then we must believe that without His providence over us nothing happens.  His good pleasure overrules our passions.  He bends into subservience all of our designs.  His decree will have its way with us. 

BALANCE OF THE SOUL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            There is a real need in our day to keep life in its proper perspective.  Standing by a grave and watching while one whom we have known and loved is lowered into the ground and covered with dirt is a haunting, wrenching, and emotionally all-encompassing experience.  But to take a step back and turn around is to see it in relation to the world and the context of the continuation of life. 

            One reason people become anxious about life is because they stand too close to it.  The Christian, through trust in God’s Providential care, maintains a sense of symmetry in life which controversies, contradictions, and confusions cannot destroy.  It is the balance of the human soul with its God. 

            “In quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”  –Isaiah 30:15

AN INSTRUMENT OF SALVATION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            To claim that the death of Jesus on the cross is an act of love, even the ultimate expression of love, is to diminish this supreme act of God.  God does indeed love humanity, but God’s love for us is not the goal nor is it the purpose of the Cross.  Jesus did not die because God loves us.  Rather, He died that we might be saved.  Love is not the end – atonement and salvation are the objects.  God is a God of love, but much more He is a God of justice.  For the Christian, the Cross is not an act of love; it is the instrument of salvation.   

ADMITTED WEAKNESS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We profess God as the strength of our lives, but the reality of that can only be had when we truly see ourselves as being weak.  The ability to see ourselves as weak is very difficult, though, because we are always dignifying our actions or thinking more highly of ourselves whereby we are proving trust in our own actions or experiences.  But it is only when we see ourselves as weak that true humility is born in us and all expectations of life be placed reliantly upon the Lord.

          So the Christian must know this, that humility brings strength; for the paradox is that only through humble weakness does God grant unconquerable fortitude. 

A LIVING INFLUENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The ability to communicate effectively with words is very important, but character far surpasses speech as a force in this world.  Words can be true or false; but what is seen of a life, the actions exhibited, always speak of the essence, the fabric, the basic qualities of a person.  That which tipped the tongue will always die in time, but an influence born of example will remain a living power in many lives.  The Christian must live by nobleness and integrity – not by words. 

          “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good words and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

          –Matthew 5:16

FAITHFUL WORK, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          For God to set us upon a task is for God to place within us the skill for accomplishment.  There is no need to consider the impossibility of the task – that is God’s concern.  Our focus should be limited to the faithful use of the resources, knowledge, and skill placed at our disposal.  What becomes of our work is for God to decide. 

GOD’S PERFECT WILL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          If God’s will is perfect as we confess it to be, then we should be submissive to that will.  We must be able to acknowledge our own ignorance and never presume to know the will of God.  We should ask Him to teach us and open us to receive what lessons He deems appropriate for us to know.  It is a life lived in accordance with His desires – even His commands.  It is in this way that the Christian will find blessings abound. 

EACH IN TIME, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Each generation that inhabits this earth is brought forth according to God’s great plan.  When the appointed time is right, each appears on the stage of history; and when the time fixed for their dismissal arrives, He sends them away.  The time of our appearing has come.  Our ancestors have left vacant their place and gone, in turn, down into the dust, as did their before them.  Now is our time to be permitted to act out our part freely and without constraint or reservation.  So we proceed, steadfast in the knowledge that there is not a day of our life nor an event in a day but was foreseen and known to God. 

DIVORCING RELIGION FROM LIFE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          In truth, Jesus was quite practical.  His teachings were very down to earth without much “religious romanticism” about them.  Where humans tend to make religious experiences something sentimental, Jesus made them quite realistic and useful in everyday life.  Many of the people who disagreed with Jesus were those who had divorced religion from life.  Many of His teachings and sayings were directed toward those who had forgotten the common sense values of life – preferring instead to hide behind the veil of religious mystery. 

          Other than the value of going into a closet from time to time to pray, Jesus did not allow for withdrawal from the world in order to contemplate God. With firm and consistent teaching he asserted that our relationship with God was interconnected in our relationship with others – we are tethered to God in our bond with people.

          “As you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.”  –Matthew 25:45

A JOY AND CURSE TOGETHER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          What a joy and yet a curse you have placed upon man, O God – love that is.  It is the height of pleasure and delight, while the source of our deepest pains.  Years of life are spent amidst the pleasures, surrounded by those whom we love.  Then, born out of that love is the pain of separation.  The child grows up and leaves.  The parent grows old and dies.  Were it not for the love, it would not hurt so.  Were it not for the years of being bound one to another we could continue on, not aching for the one now gone.  But such is the wisdom of God that this be of His design.  Our task is to pray the grace to live it out well. 

BE OF CHRIST, By Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The Christian cannot be conformed “…to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” and conformed to the world.  Christ is not of the world.  The world calls us after its pleasures – beauty, glory, money, property, recognition, and much more.  While these things can be good in and of themselves, they are not of Christ.  The world causes people to make of themselves an end.  The world asks that we see ourselves as being all important, that everyone and all things serve us, and to seek out our life and what is meaningful.

          Christ asks that we serve Him, and Him only.  That means living not for the fulfillment of self but for God and the things which the world cannot give.

CORRECT RELIGION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There are two ways of being religious – though the true Christian can choose only the one.  One way is to believe that God is in debt to us.  Through our goodness, our piety, our trying real hard or our misguided view of fairness, it is believed that God owes us His approval and His love for which He will pay by our having eternal life.

          The Christian way of being religious is to acknowledge the depths of our debt to God.  It is to know that only by His giving His Son, Jesus Christ, that we are freed from our sins and gain an eternal relationship with Him.  We owe everything to God.  Believe that only!

HUMANITIES’ PERPETUAL QUEST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We humans know what we are after, but we have a hard time putting it into words.  It seems like a reaching for the impossible this attempt to describe our ultimate goal.  Are there any words or any group of words good enough, encompassing enough, grand enough to say what we know in the soul?  Many have tried – the Great Society, the New Republic, A Thousand Points of Light, just to name a few of those who have sought to declare to the world what the soul knows to be true — all have come up short.

          The Christian is to always take heart.  There is a perpetual upward movement to the soul; and though we may not realize that which we are after while on earth, we will obtain it in the end.  Words may come up short, ideas and concepts may be left wanting for expression; but the hope is that we shall obtain the stature and the joy of Christ in the end.  The truth is that God is with us ever bidding us onward. 

          “Until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.”  –Ephesians 4:13

GOD CANNOT BE CHANNELED, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Some teach that God is a source of power which people can channel into self if the correct means is applied or the right technique taught.  Prayer, for instance, becomes a conduit for tapping into and receiving this power.  God is a vast reserve of compliant energy which is controlled at our command.  Such a use of prayer is to assume that God can be manipulated or subjugated no differently than we master nature for our own personal betterment.            Contrary to all of this, the Bible teaches that peace, power and victory over life flow from the acceptance of our limitations and out of our confessing that our wants and wishes are, at best, self-absorbed, misdirected, and blind.  Prayer is the pouring out of our smallness before the greatness of God.  A humble heart is required by God, not techniques or mechanics. 

GRACE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Penitence is most certainly good and necessary if we are to be right with God, but it is not the best thing – innocence is far better.  Having once sinned, though, penitence is better than despair; for the thought of transgressions committed in the past will always bring with them a measure of pain.  Yet even out of the sin, out of the pain and sorrow, God is able to bring blessing, and not just for ourselves but for everyone whom we meet.  The past is over and done with.  We cannot undo the wrong which we committed.  But such is the grace of God that He can keep those wrongs from undoing us and, in some mysterious way, bring good out of them.  If only we could have the trust to commit the whole matter to His watchful care. 

CONTENT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Great sadness overwhelms us when those whom we love die.  But if we can learn to thank God for life — to thank God for the love which we have received and known — we begin to understand God’s amazing mercies, and we become eager to experience those which have not yet come.  Then we are content.    

TROUBLED TIMES, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many of the problems in today’s society are due to the church not adhering to the word of God but rather attempting to please people.  Who should we be pleasing, God or our neighbor?  Is pleasing our neighbor, accepting our neighbor, not pronouncing judgment upon our neighbor when we see he or she is wrong pleasing to God?  Not when it is at the expense of our neighbor’s soul!

          If we believe that the word of God lasts forever and is unchangeable, then how can we advocate modifying it or negotiating it according to the mores of our time? 

THE GRAND MOCKERY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We are called to be God’s representative, God’s emissaries in the world.  To this end, Christians will often find themselves in the company of people in pain, sorrow, or conflict.  To limit a response to the expression of pity, sympathy, good wishes or even nothing more than prayer is to make a mockery of our calling and to pervert the meaning of ministry.  In other words, “standing in solidarity,” “having empathy for,” or “feeling another’s pain,” is of little consequence.  Such actions do nothing to relieve the distress or resolve the issue.  Kindness is borne out through tangible engagement.  The Christian’s calling is to supply the need. 

          “I was hungry and you gave me food.”  –Matthew 25:35

GOD GOVERNS THE WORLD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “The Almighty has His own purposes,” is a fragment of a sentence made famous by Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address.  Though the theology of it is readily accepted among Christians, the reality of it is not popular.  People are not accepting to the fact that there is a difference of purpose between God and themselves. 

          However, to deny this fact or to disagree with the point is to set aside the truth that there is a God governing the world.  The theme of the Bible in general and the Gospel in particular is that God intervenes in the affairs of humanity. 

NOT FOLLOWING A CROWD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            In this world we naturally mold ourselves to the prevailing behavior.  We justify ourselves through our neighbor’s conduct.  Therefore, if it is misconduct that is our illustration, then we also spread unconstrained and promiscuous acts.  Generally speaking, multitudes are very bad guides for behavior.  Prejudice and passion easily sway a crowd while opinions are hastily formed with a large dose of inconsistency.

            With imperceptivity, the influence of the world around us slides into our minds.  We begin to resemble the customs and conduct of those around us.  So the Christian must be of firm intellect, guided by reason and calm inquiry.  It is so very easy to apologize for indulging our inclinations and passions, but it is more important that the principles of Christ be maintained in order to stand in opposition to the onslaught of worldly example.

            “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil.”  –Exodus 23:2

CONSISTENCY OF LIVING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            How sad it is that by the lives they live people who profess to follow Our Lord lead others to sin.  Each of us is responsible for our personal actions, and the inconsistencies we demonstrate may show a darkened road away from Our Savior rather than a lighted path leading to His feet.

            Our lives should be nothing less than the pages of the New Testament brought to life. 

CHRIST’S IMAGE INSIDE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          If a person is a true believer of Christ, then there is a concept deep inside of what that means – a picture, so to speak, of the character that makes up a follower of Christ.  Some call it an ideal, but it is carried around in the heart none-the-less.  So strong is the commitment to this ideal that it is guarded and lived by at all cost.  Bright, radiant, and unsoiled, the image of Christ is preserved in the soul; and from there it transforms a colorless, error-filled life into a heavenly vision of beauty. 

ENDURING ACTIONS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The smallest things we do become more then just part of our own selves.  Every deed done leaves its mark not just on those who surround us in life but on life itself.  Therefore, every impression we make is enduring.  When viewed from such a height as this, what tremendous destinies and responsibilities are wrapped in each day that God gives to us.  That which is done today is for eternity.  Words spoken in the ear of the discouraged, the hand of restraint placed upon the arm of the tempted, the gift of prayer breathed softly on the life of the bereaved – we will never know the ministry that these good deeds will perform or the destiny to which they will travel. 

MORES OF TODAY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Why do we have a much more difficult time acknowledging ourselves to be sinners than did our forebears?  Could it be the climate in which we live, the tone of society which refuses to say that something is wrong?  The mores of our times state that a person has the right to believe and to act upon those beliefs as he or she so chooses and the rest of us have no right to say what is right and what is wrong for that individual.  For us to recognize God as sovereign is to know that we are not God and thereby acknowledge that there is structure beyond ourself.

          God forgive us for our thinking too highly of ourselves – the world does not revolve around us. 

LEGITIMATE REACTION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          As the Christian responds to the world, there will be times when legitimate reactions are resulted from illegitimate activities.  When this happens, much pressure is brought to bear upon the Christian.  Often we avoid telling the truth to people out of fear of hurting their feelings.  The result becomes that hurtful behavior is tolerated in the name of unhurt feelings.  Hurt feelings become the criterion by which right and wrong are judged and addressed. 

          Jesus did not worry himself with hurting people’s feelings.  His concern was for their salvation.  A legitimate reaction is what leads people toward salvation not acceptability. 

SANCTIFIED BY THE SPIRIT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The Holy Spirit is God.  The Holy Spirit is God working His saving grace in our midst.  Through the Holy Spirit, God pushes back the dark, sends light to our eyes, sprinkles our conscience with the blood of Christ, and brings to our knowledge the goal of our journey through life. 

          Without the Spirit what good could we bring forth?  Without the Spirit what passion would burn within us, and what image would be seen flowing from us?  Without the Spirit what would be our end?

          “God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” 

          –II Thessalonians 2:13 

REPRESSED EMOTIONS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many people deal with their feelings outwardly; they share them with others in hopes of finding sympathy or resolution.  But this type of sharing is also nothing more than self-involvement.  By opening to another, we speak about ourselves and thus become engrossed in our own situation.

          Christians are to remain in stoic control of their emotions; they are to submit themselves to God’s will without complaint.  By doing so, the Christian is more balanced in character, healthier mentally, and capable of dealing with the vast range of emotions which life brings.

          Those who talk about themselves dwell on themselves.  Those who quietly trust their lives to God move on from their problems.

LOSS OF SELF, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          People can lose their health, their friends, even their social standing and with it their wealth, and often through no fault of their own.  But when they lose the best within themselves – truth, honor, integrity and principles, then they have lost the best of themselves.  These virtues are never taken away but always surrendered.  Where then is self-respect when this happens? 

STANDING FIRM, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The trials of life are often won or lost through the ability to stand firm on a given belief or issue.  Much of what we Christians are called to do is not born from activity, the busyness of the activity, but from quiet, patient waiting and listening.  So often in life victory can come in no other way.  Immeasurable harm is wrought out of impatient action – the desire to push forward on our own.  God bids us forward.  We must be still and wait upon Him. 

GROWING STRONG, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          How does God cause us to grow strong?  Many ways, to be sure, but none so gracious as when He raises us up to Him rather than coming all the way to us.  To bear the burdens of life without a cry for relief, to know sorrow and the ability to endure it, to experience peace with blessing and blessing without gain is to become more Christ-like in nature.

          Is it not better for us to fight a battle and be victorious over it than to shrink from the fight altogether?  Therefore, is it not also better for us to be victorious in conflict than to be relieved from the facing of it?  So, too, is not peace that is found in the midst of a storm more precious than a peace known without the tempest squall?  In such ways as these God brings us to Him whereby we can experience the fullness of life with the strength to pursue. 

GOD IS NOT A MYSTIC, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Too may Christians get caught up in that area of religion known as mysticism.  They do so in the belief that they will be able to experience God on a level of what Paul calls “the third heaven.”  It is even believed that they can have a better understanding of who God is or at least feel closer to God.

          However, this must also be considered: Of the thousands of people who heard Jesus teach and preach and pray, how many were ever invited by him to become a disciple; and of those 12 who were invited, how many were allowed into the “inner circle”?  Mystical experiences are not something which God shares.  Rather, He invites us to live our lives in accordance with His rules; and He promises to accompany us on that journey.  Our job, therefore, is not to mystically seek for Him but to receive Him when and as He comes to us. 

DILIGENCE TO LIFE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There is tremendous strength to be found in the monotonous, humdrum of life.  Granted, we go through it wanting to be done, wishing to move on, desiring to escape the merry-go-round of appointments, errands, tasks, and relationships.  But the truth is that in the leisure and ease of life is not where growth is found.  God’s blessing of a strong and noble character is in the diligence and dedication to the life He gives. 

DEALING WITH BURDENS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Burdens and problems await every person in this world.  That is one common element known by all of humanity.  The natural desire and impulse is to get rid of the weight and be shed of the problem.  Changing jobs, buying a new car, going on a trip, even leaving a marriage are but a few remedies often counseled in contemporary society.

          The Christian way is not through such actions.  The Christian learns that the pains of life cannot be cast aside but must be given to the Lord.  Will God remove the burden when asked?  Not necessarily.  Paul asked that his thorn be removed, to which God replied, “My grace is sufficient for you.”  However, Paul did receive the strength to carry it.

          “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain you.”  –Psalm 55:22

SHARING THE FAITH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          If we truly love the church as we profess, then is anything less demanded from us short of spreading the faith?  If we are in any way allied with the prophets and apostles, the martyrs and multitudes whose very lives have born witness to this faith, can we ignore multiplying the seeds they sowed?  “Go…and make disciples”  –Matthew 28:19

THOUGHTS ARE THE BEDROCK, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          That which we think is the foundation of who we are.  Our thoughts are the quarry from which is cut the blocks that make our life.  If our thoughts are right, faithful, loving, unadulterated, wise, and gentle, then so will be our life.  If our thoughts are of God and His Christ, pondering on truths as God has established them to be, then so, too, will our life be a testimony to the faith we profess to have.

          “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”

–Matthew 6:33

SHOW YOUR FAITH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          What good is the Christian religion if it is read, studied, and kept to oneself?  The faith is to be gotten down off the shelf, taken into the world, and actively lived each day.  Our faith is an experience – an experience of God first and then others experience Him through us.  Therefore, the Christian is not to know God in the heart and there only; rather, God and Christ are to be shown to the world in countless moments through all interactions.

          “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.”  –James 1:22

GOOD DEEDS USED, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We are not to be concerned about to what ends our good deeds go.  Often when we mean them for one person, they in fact touch another.  Even when all appears wasted and we have failed to influence anyone, we have affected ourselves.

          We are not always to know who is to be affected by our doings; but we are to believe this, that they are not lost.  God will use our deeds for a blessing as He has ordained. 

CHOOSING GOD’S WAY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Choosing God’s way over our own way is often difficult and not pleasing.  We learn to set our own goals and to establish our own plans.  We are taught to visualize a future as we would like it to be and then work to attain those dreams.

          How many heavenly blessings are missed because we become so self-absorbed?  How often does God bring blessings disguised as failure, inadequacy, pain or disappointment?  The Christian must not only pray “Thy will be done” but also consciously look for it even at the expense of his or her own dreams. 

          “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”  –Matthew 6:32

RESPECTFUL APPROACH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “Pray at all times,” the Apostle Paul admonishes, and again he says “pray constantly”; and this is correct, we should.  But as we do respect, reverence, and devotion must never be laid aside.  Our relationship with God is too holy and too filled with mystery to be approached with anything less.  That God hears us and chooses to have a relationship with us at all is beyond our ability to know.  Therefore, speak to God with respect, for in Him alone “do we live and move and have our being.” 

THE BROKEN OF HEAVEN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We love awards – the best, the fastest, the smartest, and so forth.  We make much of winning and losing; “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” Henry “Red” Sanders is credited with coining.

          But Christ’s Kingdom is built from broken lives.  Christ takes the unsuccessful and the broken and grows them up into His own beauty and character.  There is not a pain lived, a failure known, an experience had, or a sorrow felt that cannot be a thing of beauty in the Creator’s hands.

          Heaven’s glory is made bright by the radiance of those who persevered through Christ. 

WALKING LIFE ALONE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Friendship is indeed sweet, and a true friend or companion is someone to be treasured.  We do have a need in this life for at least one other person to be near us, to listen to us, to respond to us, to care about us.  But in truth we live very much alone.  A friend may be with you in a crisis, but you yourself walk through the crisis.  Someone may be with you when you die, but you alone do the dying.

          “We must walk this lonesome valley,

          We have to walk it by ourselves;

          O, nobody else can walk it for us,

          We have to walk it by ourselves.”

THE FACTS FOR LIFE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          In an attempt to explain, or use, or tell the Story, so much is being written today that the Gospel’s true meaning has become toned down and blurred.  The message which Christ bore is so unfocused and broadly interpreted that it has become uninteresting – so diluted that its meaning is murky and dim.  Yet even so, the Gospel declares truths which Christ presented as facts.  Religious people refer to them as “religious truth,” while the non-religious call them “words of wisdom.”

          The Christian is to hear a truth taught by Jesus as the facts needed for living.  The words may be wise and the context may be religious, but the truths to which they testify lead to eternity.

          “Lord, to whom can we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”  –John 6:68

DEFINED FAITH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          A Christian should be able to express rational reasons why he or she believes the faith.  Yet, how many have taken the faith and the creeds to which the faith holds or the doctrines and the governance professed therein and in light of scripture sought the rational reasons? 

          To believe out of testing rather than only from what is taught strengthens both – the individual person and the Church.  The faith of the Church has grown out of 2,000 years of searching – our personal faith should do no less. 

AMBIGUOUS APPEARANCES, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Often our faith is called upon to interpret scripture, to seek an understanding of what God and Our Lord meant.  Respected and seemingly well-reasoned minds argue the meaning of words and the intent of teachings.  The points which both sides lay forth suggest that no one answer is truth.  But this does not mean that there is no correct answer.  There are clear and eternal principles set forth in the Holy Scriptures of our faith, and the laws of our faith are not purely a matter of personal opinion.  God’s law contains within certain principles and disciplines which bear out correct and incorrect thinking.  As Christians we must read the Scriptures as God’s, not as ours to be thought of as we choose. 

GOD’S LOVE ALWAYS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          When life is rewarding, affirming and filled with peace, it is easy to say that God is good.  But when life goes into its depths, all seems against us and happiness has run its course, then seeing the Hand of God becomes much more difficult.

          Yet the Providence of God is just as sure in the depths of life as in the heights.  God comes to us in varied ways, at different times and in circumstances beyond our comprehension.  But whatever prosperity or adversity we perceive, God brings it in love.

MANY MOCK THE CHURCH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          When William Shakespeare placed into the mouth of Othello the words “jealousy is the green-eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds upon,” he was not just speaking for himself but for all people everywhere, and none truer than in the church.  How the church is mocked by those whom she holds close.  Jealous that God sets the limits of life; jealous that the church defines the limits of behavior; jealous that traditions define authority over the present, many seek to change the structure that has been passed to them.  We are such kingdom builders in our nature, so much so that in our desire to define for ourselves what is right and what is wrong, we would rather destroy the very institution that bred us and nurtured us instead of living within the bounds of God’s sovereignty. 

SATAN’S BUSINESS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The Bible teaches that “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”  Yet the truth bears out that everywhere men and women are, evil is also found.  The balance of nature becomes spoiled by humanity.  The harmony of relationships turn into cacophonies.  Power is abused, justice is ignored, needs are disregarded.  Evil entered history through humanity and undoubtedly will remain until the end. 

          Christ called Satan “the prince of this world,” “the enemy,” “a liar.”  He knew that Satan’s business is to control the souls of this world.  But Jesus also knew that Satan would be destroyed and his desire for humans would one day end. 

          “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”  –Luke 10:18

THE CENTER OF RELIGION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The center of religion is prayer.  The essence of the faith is found in communion with God.  What then does it mean if the Christian does not pray?  It proves a failure to take advantage of speaking to the One who is the founder of religion.  Failure to pray is to have a God in theory only, for how can He be alive and real if He is never spoken with? 

          Failure to pray is to lose faith, and thus religion.  A theoretical God cannot save.  A God in theory can offer no joy to the heart nor fill a life with the majesty of the Divine.  Therefore, the Christian must pray constantly lest the faith that has been bestowed by God becomes lost – and with it a soul. 

WHO HOLDS TRUTH? by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many people today believe that all religions are essentially the same.  This conviction has even given rise to its own religion which professes exactly that – no religions are uniquely right and none are wrong.

          For such a belief to be true, then God ceases to be King of all the earth whom all persons must ultimately face.  Rather, those who believe in Him stand before him in judgment; and those who do not believe in Him suffer no consequences. 

          The Bible teaches that God is the creator and foundation of all, the One to whom every soul must one day account.  The Bible also teaches that Christ is the truth, and His words testify to the true faith in Him as God.  Therefore, every individual must decide the veracity of this claim.

          “Thou desirest truth in the inward being.”  –Psalm 51:6

HANDLING LIFE’S DIFFICULTIES, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          If a person becomes fatigued with the ordinary, daily living of life that is marked with common strains and struggles, then how are the truly difficult trials going to be handled?  Far worse then can be imagined will always befall a person in life.  From relationships, sickness, wrong choices and death great pain, confusion and sorrow become known.  The Christian has Christ and thereby knows God, thus obtaining a securing faith with which to face the perilous hours that will lie ahead.

          “How will you fare in the thickets of the Jordan?”  –Jeremiah 12:5

FOLLOWING SUGGESTIONS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          To do what another suggests merely because he or she suggests it is to give up the responsibility and privilege of making up one’s own mind.  It is to cease thinking as an individual but yet retain responsibility for the result.  It is to abandon a portion of one’s uniqueness.  Let us, therefore, strive for our own minds as the Spirit bears us witness.  Pray, therefore, for clarity of mind. 

GOD’S PURSUIT OF MAN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There exists the concept that humanity is seeking God – that we are searching for Him, engaged in a quest for Him as though He were the one lost or a prize to be captured.  A measure of credibility exists in this, for each soul does possess a yearning to be united with its Creator. 

          But the Bible mostly tells a different story, one of God’s pursuing, and, in the end, His seizing the human soul.  It tells of God haunting us and hunting us until, in the end, He makes us His own.  We seek Him because He first sought us. 

          “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.”  –Jeremiah 31:5 

THOSE WHO LOVE ARE IN CHURCH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Those who do not love, those who cannot love, close themselves off to the good and the beauty in others.  There are people in this world, some of them in the church, who are not capable of seeing or understanding love let alone expressing it.  Only those who can love are truly in the church; because love is born of God, for God is love – one of the first lessons that a child learns in Sunday School.  How sad it surely is to see those incapable of love: Never feeling another’s confusion.  Never admitting another’s mistakes.  Never believing in another’s ultimate capacity for good.  How sour these people make the milk of life.  Why would God do such a thing?  Why would God create a person incapable of joy and love?  “Why” we do not know, other than the fact that He simply does and that it has to do with the mark of His choosing.

          Therefore, “beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God.”  –I John 4:7-8

THE GOOD FIGHT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          To live is to know struggle; therefore, to grow is to contend.  Most days bring with them, to a greater of a lesser degree, conflicts, temptations, and grappling that we would rather avoid if given a choice.  The easy path is to avoid the more disagreeable aspects of life, but then little is gained that is of merit.  If we are to grow into the stature of Our Lord, then we must contend with life as it comes upon us.

          Infants and children are allowed to go home without conflict; the rest of us must struggle our way there.

          “Fight the good fight with all thy might;

          Christ is thy Strength, and Christ thy Right;

          Lay hold on life, and it shall be

          Thy joy and crown eternally.”   John S. B. Monsell, 1863

WHAT GOD DOESN’T DO, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many people think that if they can give their heart to Christ and work faithfully for God then they, in turn, deserve or will have a contention-free life.  But God never promises that He will take trials out of life.  The Christian will never know the entire world to be in agreement with him or her.  The Christian will still hear unkind words of distain and contempt.  The Christian will still experience those of a narrow and self-seeking nature, those who find fault and those who criticize.  The Christian will still know jealousy, pettiness, and hatred.  God does not place about the Christian an impregnable wall then say to the world “this soul you may not touch.”  But what God does do is say to that soul, “Be still.  Be calm, and know that I am God.”  Then, by such words as these, tranquility is found and peace is known. 

ARE THE WICKED SAVED? by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          If all that is done in this world is according to the will of God, then do the perpetuators of evil find favor with God and inherit His Kingdom? 

          While it is true that the wicked have no power that is not allowed them by God, they still are not excused from their evil deeds because they have no intent of pleasing God.  The Christian, therefore, must live each day in ways that bring God pleasure.

          “For Christ did not please Himself.”  –Romans 15:3

          “If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.”  –Galatians 1:10

          “We receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him.” 

          –I John 3:22 

FOCUS ON PURSUIT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “There are no guarantees in life.”  That is certainly true.  No matter how much we desire to know or to be assured of a given result, it cannot be promised.

          For the Christian, the desire to be absolutely certain of an out come is a wrong approach to life.  For us, the emphasis is not the effect but the path on which we travel.  Is it God’s path?  Is it His desired way for us?  Is it a task or a duty given by Him or by our own selfish motives?  The right way to live is to maintain clarity of thought and strength of skill and hold fast to what appear the correct things to do, then leave the results to God.  God has promised His presence in those who pursue His will.

GOD AS KING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          For Christians to acknowledge God as King, Lord, Almighty, Shepherd, or any other supreme attribute that we ascribe to Him, is to state that we are not such.  If God is King, we are not; therefore, we must be His subjects.  If God is Almighty, then we are something less though our weakness denies such acknowledgement.  Much unhappiness is brought on ourselves when we insist on asserting that we are something more than is our true nature. 

LIFE IS A MYSTERY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          People have forgotten the mysterious character of life.  We moderns have come to expect an answer or explanation for everything – including God.  But the Bible does not shine a spot light upon the world and make everything clear and distinct.  Rather, it is a mystery, wonderful and bewildering, but still a mystery where a small light shines and a still voice is heard out of the shadows and the dark.  What the Christian learns is that this is enough.  Though the light is not seen and the voice not heard, that does not mean they are absent.  The light, however small, is sufficient to illuminate the path; and the voice, however still, is clear enough to direct the way. 

          “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it”  –John 1:5

ENEMIES OF SELF, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          That human beings would be enemies to themselves, that they would cast aside their own souls is baffling to consider.  But also, that God should stoop so low as to plead His case with people is even more a wonderment.  Yet in spite of it all, humanity remains obstinate, refusing to acknowledge its own need.

          Thank God for God.  That even in our persistent stubbornness He knows us, created us for Himself, and continues to champion His case with us.

          “Woe unto him that strives with his maker.”

          “We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.”

BE STILL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We often exert a great deal of effort placing our self-will into the recesses of our character in an attempt to be closer to God.  Yet, if we would be still and rest in silence before the strength of God, what we experience is the peace, the serenity, and the assurance of His Spirit gracing our soul.  For the Christian this is the foundation of a Christ-like nature – allowing God to breathe His renewing life upon us.  Our self-will then becomes lost to Him.

          “Breathe on me, Breath of God,

          fill me with life anew,

that I may love what Thou dost love,

And do what Thou wouldst do.”

Edwin Hatch, 1886

THE FAILING OF OUR WORD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “A man’s word is his bond,” is an expression not heard much anymore.  Today it does not matter if what was promised or assured does not come to pass – the intent was sincere and that is of prime importance. 

          This failing is quite serious for it shows a disregard of fidelity to self.  If we fail to keep covenants, contracts, agreements, and promises made with other people, what does it say about the promises and oaths we make with God?  What does it say about our perception of God’s promises to us? 

LOVE’S DEFINITION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Love lives its definition in the care that it shows others regardless of the pain that itself endures.  Love grows through sacrifice.  Love does not coerce or force.  Love continually seeks out what is best for those who are loved in spite of what effects it may bring upon self.  Love comes to bud and to flower through suffering for another.

          God is love, and Christ is love’s manifestation.

FAITH HEALS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Where there is no faith, no great deeds result.

          Where there is no faith, no mighty acts are seen.

          Where there is no faith, no miracles are known.

          Where there is no faith, nothing enraptures the soul.

          But where faith is, anything is possible.  No limit to the power of faith is ever set by Jesus or by God.  Over and over when Jesus performs a miracle, when He heals, when He restores, He credits the cure and reparation to faith. 

EACH HAVE THEIR PLACE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We hear a lot today about being a total person, a well-rounded individual, a complete and a whole being.  But in truth no one person is complete nor should he or she try to be.

          God endows each of us with our own special abilities, a combination of gifts and skills which are unique.  No two people who have ever been created are precisely the same.  The lowest of gifts and the stoutest of minds each have their place in the order of creation. 

          The great life, in the sight of God, is not the one that accomplishes the most according to the world but rather the one who works to find the place and fulfills the tasks which have been given. 

PRACTICE TRUTH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Our society is witness to a temerity of lies, deceptions, and false accusations.  The two themes of furthering an interest or avoiding punishment is the common thread shared.  But what lie ever furthered a person’s interest in heaven or what false accusation of another ever shown favorably in the sight of God?

          The Christian believes that Christ is Truth and we are to always seek to pursue truth.  Truth may prove very difficult at times, but it will never lead to wrong.  And besides, if Christ is Truth, then does it not follow that the practice of deception and untruth shows a disbelief in Christ?

          “Deceive not with thy lips.”  –Proverbs 24:28

GOD IS NOT OUR PARTNER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many in the Christian community focus on God’s affirming relationship with people.  God is the “life partner” and “problem solver.”  There is no matter, difficulty, or situation which cannot be conquered if God is near.  The benefits of His help are had by those who lean upon Him and talk with Him. 

          While such an understanding of God may be comforting, it is greatly limited and of a one-dimensional faith.  Throughout the pages of scripture, God reveals Himself to us not as our “partner” but as Our Lord, Our Savior, and Our Judge.

LIVING LIFE OVER AGAIN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Often people express the longing to live life over again.  Most remember doing things which are now regretted, situations that were not taken seriously, goals to which great energy was expended now viewed as insignificant.  Even the present is often viewed as failure, because the past was not lived wisely and well. 

          But life cannot be lived again and the past remains the past.  The Christian knows this and commits to living future days earnestly and carefully, looking to Christ in all trust.  Christ is the great end of life, and faith in Him is the true goal.  Vain regret for yesterday is not the Christian’s calling, rather acknowledgement and acceptance of past mistakes and the sure belief that Christ calls us unto Himself – eternally, in the future. 

          “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:13-14

BEYOND SORROW’S JORDANS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          For the Christian, one of the more difficult tasks of life is to find joy in the midst of sorrow.  Yet, if we trust God’s promises that is exactly what is found.

          Afflictions come upon us in life, and by them God never means harm to us.  Grave disappointments are often God’s appointments, and what God sends us as growth may well resemble misfortune.  Even that which comes as evil contains within a rich compensation when we allow God to work through the issue.

          “Beyond sorrow’s Jordans green fields lie,” the old-time preachers would say –and it is still true. 

EFFORT WITHOUT RESULT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Often a great deal of effort can be put into something without yielding any visible results.  Dreams that are in the heart and plans that are in the mind never come to fruition, not due to lack of desire but rather through the wanting of skill or knowledge to make it so.  Tears flow over failures, and regrets rise out of shortcomings. 

          But Christ knows the heart and our true desires, and Christ sees what we had planned on His behalf.  So though it failed or came up short of the end we sought, Christ accepts the work we do and the plans we make and credits them to us. 

ATTAIN CHRIST’S STATURE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          People lose many things as the path of life is trod upon.  Wealth, good health, friends, companions, employment – these and many more are forfeited contrary to will or desire.  But those things that are forever, that are lasting and of greater worth – goodness, dignity, truth, respect, faith – are never taken but rather surrendered.  When integrity is relinquished and character is abandoned, what then remains of a person? 

          The Christian knows that happiness and peace lie not in the attainment of earthly reward but in the abiding character of Christ. 

          “Until we all attain…to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”  — Ephesians 4:13

A GREAT IMPARTIALITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There exists a great impartiality to the general providence of life.  The sun shines equally upon the just and the unjust, the breeze blows gentle upon the saint and the sinner, and the rain falls to cleanse both good and evil.  Each person, regardless of character, knows joy and pain, reward and failure.

          For the Christian hope is found in knowing that results are not the same.  Two ships enter the gale side by side; one is broken upon the rocks while the other rides the storm to safety.  Two souls ride the storms of life; one is destroyed while the other arrives safely home.  It all depends on how the soul reacts to what the world calls “hardship.”

          “All things work together for good to them that love God.”  –Romans 8:28

ETERNITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We live in time, days passing into days; but when death comes, time is swallowed up into eternity.  To what can eternity be compared?  It is an age never expiring, always, forever, without change.  When ten thousand times ten thousand years have passed, the soul in residence is no closer to the end.  It is astonishing to contemplate no measure of bounds, no chance of knowing, no comprehension of infinitude.

          Each of us is running out of time and heading toward the eternal.  What gives emphasis to this is that which is to be will be forever.  Therefore, should we not be seeking what the Lord requires?  And what is that but “To do what is right, to love loyalty, and to walk humbly with your God.” –Micha 6:8, The New Jerusalem Bible.

NO REVERSAL OF TIME, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The great cog of nature does not run in reverse.  Everything in existence continues on toward eternity.  From the birth of time a spontaneous, impulsive flow has borne all humanity towards the ceaseless abyss.  Everything that through grace have been prepared and beautified shall be brought to naught.  As Christians therefore, let us see that we are attracted unto heaven by enriching ourselves in what is permanent and divine. 

THE QUIET FEET OF GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Those who lived long ago had a saying, “The feet of the gods are shod with wool.”  This expresses well the understanding that life often happens to us quietly and quickly.  Out of nowhere things come at us which are neither planned nor anticipated.

          We are taught to believe that we make our own decisions and plans and that we are responsible to determine the course that our life will take.  But life continues to confirm the limited control that we actually have.  There is on Overruling Providence working out a Divine Plan, and the decisions we make come to fruition only insofar as they support what has been in place from the foundation of the universe. 

          The alarm of this is the thought that we are so limited.  The comfort of it is the knowledge that all is in the Hands of God. 

THE NEED FOR GETTING PERSONAL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Concerning God, the modern world is fond of saying both that we are more enlightened and that we are more skeptical than were our forbearers.  In reality, the opposite is true. 

          The modern world also asserts that science, technology, and life in general have crowded out our need to believe in God.  But these are only indirect symptoms of our situation. 

          It is quite misleading, if not wrong, to assert that those who have gone before had fewer conflicts in life and found it easier to believe in God; that they understood less or doubted more.  But what they did have, now in peril of becoming lost, is a personal relationship.  The modern world has paid a very great price for its advances.  In the long perspective of history it is worth it, but only if we remain personally spiritual along the way. 

CHRIST, THE EXAMPLE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          A common quest is to find and live the truest and noblest life.  But the frustration is that no portion of our original beauty and perfection as first bestowed from the Creator’s hand still exists.  The purity, the wholeness, the beauty, even the truth as we were created to be, are utterly foreign.  Therefore, how do we know where to look and what pattern to follow?

          Become like Christ.  This is the pattern of true life.  He is the ideal and He will draw us unto Himself.  Never lose sight of Him. 

A CLEAR AND CERTAIN LAW, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There is one truth that stands clear from the start of history to its end, and that is the law of retribution – the fact that we will one day face our sins.  We may face them in another.  We may face them in the conscious of self.  Most certainly we will face them before the Judgment Seat of Christ.

          Yet, what the Christian knows is that by laying his or her sins at the feet of Christ, grace is found in abundance.

          “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”  –Romans 5:20

CHRIST’S COMMISSION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We are always under commission from Christ to work the task of the day that we are given to do.  It does not matter where we hear His call or to what service he bids us come.  Any duty given us by Christ is noble, because it is what God Himself allots us.

          If God were to send two angels to earth, one to govern a mighty nation and the other to sweep streets, they would each regard their employment as being equally distinguished.  Do the work which this day brings, and Christ will be made manifest.

GOD USES US, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Though we may profess with our lips that the ways of God are not the ways of man, people are not receptive to being informed that there may be a difference of purpose between themselves and God.  We want our plans and our goals to be preeminent.  We want God to support us in our self-identified endeavors.  However, God has His plan for the world.  His ways are just and His ends will be accomplished.  To deny any part of this is to deny that there is a God governing the world.  It is to His end that God uses us; we do not use Him.

CHRIST AND SALVATION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Jesus Christ so fully and completely satisfies the justice of God that whoever seeks any means of coming to the Father other than through Him not only scoff’s at God but also gives up any favor which God may bestow through the sacrifice.  Christ is the only One who reveals the will of the Father in anything pertaining to salvation.

          “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”  –John 14:6 

GOD PROVES HIMSELF, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “Religion is nothing unless it is true,” Coleridge wrote.  Yet, what proof do we have that religion is true?  Science applies countless experiments in order to be convinced that a hypothesis is true of false.  Religion has no such proofs – or does it?

          Contrary to what many believe, the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ is a tested hypothesis.  Generations of Christians have experimented and allowed God to provide the proof, thereby becoming convinced of the truth. 

          Left to oneself, a person’s idea about God is not sufficient; because as people we are looking for something – not the Someone whom God brings to us.

          “Come and you shall see”  –John 1:39 (ASV)

          “Seek and you will find.”  –Matthew 7:7

IN HIS NAME, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “What would Jesus do?” is not a correct motivation factor, for who knows what Jesus would or could do?  By contrast, all of our actions should be performed “in His name.”  Therefore, the correct cause for ministry should be “what would Jesus have me do” that I may perform “in His name?” 

          All that we engage in must be done for the sake of Christ.  No matter what the service, task or ministry that we are called to, if it is not done for the sake of Christ it runs the risk of being for the glory of self and thereby not acceptable to God. 

LAWS LIMIT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The laws of God limit and narrow the Christian, and it is precisely here that people of the faith have their biggest problems.  We do not like following rules that are not of our own making.  We are kingdom builders, and the rules we follow are the ones which structure our own kingdoms.  We want specificity so as to affect those causes and parties which we deem to be important.  But God does not give heed to our rules and our interpretation of them.  God’s laws are broad, thereby being impartial as to how they affect specific people.  We might do well to pay more mind to the judge of all creation. 

PUNISHMENT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Is humanity punished by its sins or for its sins?  That is one of the tough, old questions of the faith; and how a person answers the question tells much of how he or she sees God.  Some would argue that God creates and maintains a moral universe and to go against the laws contained therein is to cause a person to be out of step, an outcast amidst the rhythm of life, thereby inflicting upon oneself his or her own pain.  Others argue that God directly wills punishment for human sin; that in a universe structured by law, the breaking of the law calls forth reproach from the author of the law.  To answer the one is to say that God has no desire to punish people and that He will go to extremes in order to avoid it.  To answer the other is to say that God wills us do good in such a way that He will allow us to stand before Him and be accountable for our own actions. 

SPIRIT-FILLED, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Self dies when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.  This is what Jesus means when He talks about the evil spirits filling an empty house.  If we seek solely to rid ourselves of evil thought, unkind attitudes, and ungracious perspectives, then what is there to prevent those things from returning?  Rather, seek to fill yourself with the Holy Spirit and the gifts which He brings.  Then every room of your house will be overflowing with peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodwill, and love.  Where then are the evil spirits to lodge? 

WE ARE TO WORSHIP GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Concentration on the way of life which Jesus taught has resulted in encouraging contemporary Protestants to fall into a state of ignorance concerning the overall message of the Bible and Christianity.  Through a one-sided interpretation of Jesus Christ – a single view of the God whom Christ revealed – and a resulting focus on the nature of Christian living, a very effective loophole for idolatry has been provided. 

          If a Christian concentrates his or her attention on the human personality of Jesus, His life and His perspectives, and considers that to be the heart of the Gospel, then Jesus becomes an idol and we have interpreted Him in the light of our own times – how we see Him – and not from the Bible.  The underlying question therefore is, “What is the purpose of human living?”  Is it praising God and living in fellowship with Him, or becoming our “best self” in as full a measure as is possible?  Even to pray that God will help us grow into our best self is to pray that it is “our self” which we are most concerned about. 

          “He who believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me.”  –John 12:44

FAITH MUST BE CULTIVATED, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The ability to have a religious experience must be prepared for, acquired, even developed.  Faith, and the capacity to experience it, grows through studying the Bible, worshipping with other Christians, praying the prayers and singing songs whereby communion with the Most High God is enjoyed and engaged in.  Faith must be brought out, expressed, and exercised – otherwise it dies of atrophy and suffocation.  Those who exclude themselves from the community deprive their soul of the power, peace, and enrichment found therein, and in so doing, never come to fully know the Living God.

          “The company of those who believed were of one heart and soul.”  –Acts 4:32

“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witness, let us…run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

BLESSINGS IN ADVERSITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          When all of our physical needs are met and life is one of ease, we tend not to seek God.  Given a choice, people are not fond of burdens, labors, and decisions that cause them to do with less.  We choose inactivity so long as we are comfortable.  Yet, while it is true that God’s blessings may be found in the repose of life, it is truer still that His richest blessings are bestowed through adversity, fatigue, and want.  Therefore, greet these as the gifts they are and look in them for God’s presence amongst your life and his blessings upon you. 

NO, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          People today have forgotten the power and the necessity of the word “no.”  It is a word that must be spoken with courage and resolution lest it becomes meaningless, and that is often a formidable task.  There is a power in the word “no” which not only prevents wrongs but also turns wrong to right.  “No” is a good word.  “No” is a necessary word.  It is not a word of judgment, as some would profess, but rather a word of conscience and of structure.

          Deep in the heart where speaks “the still small voice of God,” the Christian knows what is right and wrong, good and bad.  An uncompromising “no,” though difficult, must stand against the wrong.

TRUE CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The foolish winds of either the world’s promise or our own desires are not the principles of Christ.  True Christian principles are those precepts which last from generation to generation.  The test is that if they change then they are weak and of the world.  But if they endure and stand, then they are born of Christ.  The responsibility of each is to learn which are of Christ, hold them dear, and then to pass them on. 

A SAFE PLACE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Are you worried about finding a safe place?  The safest station in which a person can be is when going about the duty of God’s work.  In this place a person resides beneath the shelter of God’s wings.  The location is guarded with God’s peace.

          At the center of a hurricane there is a place of perfect calm.  In the eye of the storm a baby lies sleeping and a thistle rests lightly upon the grass.  So it is at the center of any great peril of life, a spot of holy calm exists where even the feeblest of souls cannot be harmed.  And how do you find this spot?  Pursue God’s will.  Perform your duty to Him.  He who stands firm in the ways of God amid the perils and trials will remain in safety, where no storm smites and no plagues come nigh.  But depart from the storm’s center and what will be formed are wild swirls of peril.  Sin is never a safe haven. 

GOD’S IMAGE IN ALL PEOPLE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Even within the worst of humans there is a soul created in the image of God.  The responsibility of the Christian, with God’s help, is to awaken that good and bring to awareness what is holy.  Only grace can ultimately restore, but the Christian is to be the instrument through which that grace does flow.  Thus is evil vanquished. 

LOOKING WITH NEW EYES, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          In truth, most of us have the same basic defects and deficiencies.  They are so abundant that it should cause great modesty with us.  Yet, one of the easiest things we do is point out those same shortcomings when observed in others.  Most certainly we do not see ourselves as others see us.

          What a difference it would be if we would as readily see in others the beautiful, the graceful, and the honorable.  How different would be our life and the lives of those around us if we would commend each in respect and affirmation.  Try this and see what the Lord achieves.

          “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” 

–Matthew 7:5

BEING LIKE GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Humanity can only do one of two things, either become like God or make God like us.  The trend is to do the latter.  God is defined as reflecting our sense of fair play.  He adheres to our values, professes our truths, and upholds our laws.  If it offends our sense of justice then it must offend God’s.  If God’s law is difficult, then it is intended that we modify it to accommodate our expedience.  The burden of judgment is not fair, so God is said to accept all.  Acts which are contrary to the teachings and the traditions of the faith are tolerated and blessed by God because they are performed in the name of love.  Out of self-absorption, God is said to love, respect, and accept us unconditionally – but this is not the truth. 

          God does judge us.  We are to conform to the image of Christ – God among us.  If in the process we do not get what we want or have things as we believe they ought to be, is it not for our own good?  God made us; we are His to do with as He pleases.  He is not ours to do with as we please. 

          “Be conformed to the image of His Son.”  — Romans 8:29

LASTING WORK, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Everything that is built by the hands of people will one day be gone.  The greatest structures, the most magnificent compositions of music or art or literature will become lost or destroyed eventually.  To leave something eternal, that which is immortal must be touched. 

          To place beauty and truth into a life; to bring a vision of heaven into a heart; to shine the light of Joy on the soul of another – these works will never perish, for the soul they touch will be immortal. 

OBLIGED TO INFLUENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We as Christians profess that we believe ourselves to be under obligation to shape and influence the world’s institutions so that they conform to God’s purposes.  This means not accepting the world as it is and not bowing to its pressures for approval.

          So why are we apologetic for our actions?  Why do we allow the world to control what we do and what we say?  The Christian agenda in the modern world is being set by the society in which the church exists, not by the church.  The question is being raised as to whether the Christian has the right to tell institutions and groups that what is being professed is not right.  We are being told that we do not possess the right of judgment.

          Yes we do possess the right.  Not only do we have the right, we are under obligation.

GOD’S WORD IN US, by Rev. Stephan Rehrig

          God says that we must lay up His Word in our heart.  His Word alone must take possession of and fill our heart.  Therefore, the heart becomes a temple containing the Word of God.  It is a temple not for the world – the beliefs, mores, and ideologies of society, but rather for God – His thoughts and His holy ways.

          Everyday the Christian is to faithfully open his or her heart to receive God’s voice in order that it may be heard what God would say.  Then throughout the day the Christian is to keep and carry about that same word.  Only in so doing will it be known how faithfully God also shall open His heart to our voice in order that He might hear what we would say to Him. 

FAITH IS PERSONAL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The present movement to depersonalize issues that affect the church is to ask the impossible of a Christian.  The relationship we have with Our Lord is only fully lived and understood in the personal.  Individually we are called to serve Christ.  God comes to each in the silence of prayer and the movements of the Holy Spirit.  We are to work out our own salvation, and we are each to one day stand before the Throne of God – alone.  To assert that the hard issues which face the Church must be dealt with on an impersonal level is to move the whole theology of the Church away from her historical understanding.  The hard issues which affect the Church are very personal, as are the prayers of those who struggle with them. 

BLESSING THE WORLD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We bless the world through the life we live; therefore, never underestimate our activity in it.  A true life must be one where upright deeds are born.  Hands that do unselfish works and backs that bear the burden of others are instruments of God at work.  To be an inspiration and a benediction are to show forth the beauty and the holiness of a Christ–like nature.  Do not think that holy activities go unnoticed in this life – they will bear fruit, though you may not see it. 

CHOOSE A SIDE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Life can be easy and most certainly filled with less conflict simply by choosing to have it so.  But what sort of life does that portray?  Does not Christ require, yea even demand, that we come to him?  Does He not say that we need to stand on His side.?

          To come to Christ is often to cross the world, and it is in this endeavor that character is born.  It is true that some measure of growth can come without a struggle but not near the character obtained when standing up for God and Christ.  It involves choosing sides. 

          “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot…So, because you are lukewarm…I will spew you out of my mouth.”  Revelation 3:15-16

GOD IS HERE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There is in man a tendency to think of God as not being here because we do not see Him.  But as He spoke of old, “I am with you always,” so He continues to speak today.  We are never out of His sight or the reach of His knowledge, even for one moment.  He watches and knows our lives every instant, and not a time goes by that He does not come to us in our need and comfort us in our pain.  So we rest in blessed assurance, knowing that God sees us and delivers us. 

CHERISHED IGNORANCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We have not the slightest concept of what it means to have life in God and to walk truly in His ways.  That which we think of as serving God and being pleasing to Him is perverse at best.  Everything we do, everything we think is so rooted in ourselves that even when we think that we hear or understand or follow God’s Word it is at best our own human desire imposed upon the Divine.

          Never forget that all of the rules and the laws of God are in conflict with what we see as the way to please Him.  Never rely too much on your own thoughts nor trust without question that your actions are right.  Even so, as ignorant as we may be regarding God’s Word to us, we must cherish that ignorance for through it God will speak. 

PRAYER AND DESIRE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many people believe that the only answer to prayer is found in the reception of that which is prayed for.  But what if that being prayed for is not in line with what God wants?  Should He grant us our petition in violation of His own order?  If God were to do that, then He would be guilty of breaking His own laws.  The purpose of prayer is to bring about our submission to a stronger power, not God’s submission to our desires.

          “Seek the Lord and his strength.”  I Chronicles 16:11

SIN WRONGS SELF, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          To speak of sin is to bring our own offenses against God to mind – we have transgressed against God and broken His holy law.  But sin also is a person’s transgression against self.  To break God’s law is to violate the soul – the image of God in which each is made. 

          Sin always divorces a person from his or her true self.

          “He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul.”  –Proverbs 8:36

WHOM DO WE WORSHIP? by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Any religion which puts a primary emphasis on “being good” or “making the most of one’s self” is nothing more than a self-centered religion.  Whom do we actually worship?  Is God first or is God second in our life?  Do we allow God to be God or de we subordinate Him in our pursuit of happiness and personal fulfillment?  Does the quest to be our best make the purpose of our religion one of personal growth?  Do we follow the faith so that we can be a better person?  Do we make God a source of personal improvement?

          It is very easy for a Christian to find an idol to worship – just look in the mirror. 

BETWEEN YOU AND CHRIST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We tend to get caught up in the belief that to truly love Christ, our love must be shown through beneficial acts toward others.  What this says is that unless we are helping others, we are not showing Christ our love for Him.  But our love for Christ is not solely borne on the wings of feeding the hungry or clothing the naked.

          To bathe the feet of Christ with our penitential tears, to sing songs of praise and offer prayers in time of worship, to pour out our hearts in silent adoration though never a word of it is spoken to another – in these ways we show love.  Even though we do nothing to affect another’s life, we comfort no sad heart and support no weary soul save our own, the heart of Christ is made glad by us.

          Perhaps we sometimes need to forget all others and simply love Christ ourself –for our own sake. 

AN INCOMPLETE THOUGHT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “God loves you” is a popular saying, but stated alone it is incomplete.  Unless a person can see in our eyes and words and acts the truth of it, then it is useless.  Therefore, the complete sentence says, “God loves you and so do I.”

          How else can we win and hold people in Christ unless our personal interest is shown?  When our heart aches and our mind labors for others, God’s love becomes born in human acts.  Unless we show love our words are empty, and the very people we are hoping to reach with the word of God remain untouched.

TO FOLLOW, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          When God says to us “Follow me,” it is for the doing of His will.  Too often though we set out to accomplish our own will instead.  Is it right for us to insist on having our own way and to press on toward our own desired ends?  When God calls us to “Follow,” is that not precisely what He means, to follow?  He does not mean to lead.  He does not even mean for us to seek His approval to our desires.  What God intends is that we seek out His will and make it our own.  Only God knows what is best for us, and only the life commended to His superior wisdom will be a blessing to anyone, including oneself.

          “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  — Matthew 16:24

LOVE’S TRUE TEST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          One of the more perplexing facts about some Christians is that they exude a great deal of love and compassion for people they have never met while people in their immediate surroundings experience indifference and isolation.  There are Christians whose lives and words glow with concern for the Muslim, the Hindu, the African, and the Asian; those who are displaced, disposed, and ravaged by disease.  Yet, these same Christians fail to show love to their neighbor, to their business associates, or to those who sit across the aisle at church.

          The measure of true love, of Christ-like love, is that it does not cease or fail when encountering the immediate relationships of life with all of the strain and stress and conflict as well as the joy and reward.  A true Christian is known by his or her actual day-to-day living. 

          “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  –John 13:35

THE MYSTERIOUS URGE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The pressures of life often tempt the Christian to doubt the reality of God.  In light of what is happening all around, where is the God of life?  Where is the God of history?  If there really is a God, how could He allow children to be murdered, the aged to suffer, and the guilty to go free?  Why does the deceiver prosper and the tyrant know reward?  Why is the world loveless for some, friendless for others, and unfair in its treatment of all?  This and more only serves to show that there is no God. 

          Yet, through the entirety of the human clan a living Spirit runs.  Like a deep-seated urge it calls to us, disturbing our nights and leaving us dissatisfied with the state of things as they are.  Larger possibilities exist in the world, and from within there comes the vague urge that what is not could yet be.  Our best efforts resist the voice, and still the whisper comes – calling us to be something better than we ever dreamed.  And in that we know God. 

DIVERSE CURRENTS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The stream of life has many currents upon which the soul is carried.  Friendship, love, social interaction, career, and entertainment are but to mention a few.  Some currents carry the soul on placid ripples, while other waves beat against it with intent on turning it toward submission.  The Christian is to realize that either can lead to salvation or condemnation.  Gentleness can result in destruction as surely as adversity can restrain from harm.  Therefore, with prayerful watching live each day and pray for the wisdom to discern.

          “Pray constantly.”  –I Thessalonians 5:17 

BEING SURE OF GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Life often proves that God-given talents and abilities must be tempered through hardship and struggle.  It was following deep sorrow and much suffering that Dante was moved to write his “Divine Comedy.”  With death crossing the threshold of his life, Mozart composed his immortal “Requiem.”  John Milton showed moments of brilliance during his youth, but it was not until his sight had been surrendered and blindness darkened his world that his most masterful work came forth. 

          Who of us has not been through days of such depression, disappointment, confusion and anger that little if no comfort was found in the words, “All things work together for good to them that love God?”  Yet the Christian must cling to the understanding that all does fit into a great framework of life whose designer is God.  Alone, the death of a child, the business that failed, the betrayal of a trust would cause the end of us.  But through trust in God’s providence and goodness we can be sure of God and sure of our place in His Divine Plan.

          “He is not afraid of evil tidings.”  –Psalm 112:7

THE STATE OF HEAVEN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The old images of heaven are of a place with gold-paved streets, pearly gates, jeweled walls, and the river of life flowing like crystal.  But in truth, it is a condition of unbroken agreement with Divine Providence and perfect obedience to the Spirit of Love.  Heaven is not a place but a state.  It must first be within the Christian or it can never be entered into.  So let us prepare our hearts by doing God’s will on earth just as it is done by the saints already home. 

HURTFUL SILENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Is anything so selfish as holding to oneself words of love and forgiveness, gentleness and kindness when the sharing of those words could feed, nurture and even save another?  Speech is a gift from God, and we are to use our gifts for the glory of God.  Does not encouraging the disheartened, supporting the weary, bringing cheer and hope to the downcast glorify God?  To state high and holy motives and blow gently on the embers of faith, are these not to instill the cold altars of the heart with warmth?  Strive not to keep your thought and words to yourself but to do these things, and God will be in your speaking. 

PREVENIENT GRACE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Modern humanity is desperately hiding, running, attempting with great effort to escape the Holy One.  It is a restless generation running through a maze at night with breakneck speed – a time in turmoil not attempting to find but to flee, not seeking but rather covering in concealment. 

          But humanity cannot escape the inescapable so easily.  If our bed is made in hell, He is there to tuck us in.  If we take the wings of morning and fly to the ends of the earth, He is there waiting for us to arrive.  His goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives.  And His Cross is our forgiveness. 

          “The Lord God called to the man…Where are you?”  –Genesis 3:9 

THE ESSENTIAL QUESTION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          In these days, humans experience the denial of life’s mystery.  What is taught is that life has problems rather than mysteries, and problems can always be solved when the correct “method” is applied.  Therefore, the question “why?” has become irrelevant because it has no answer, and the question “how?” has replaced it.

          But is it really possible to truly live without asking why we suffer, or why we toil, or why we love?  Why is goodness good?  Why is there beauty in the beautiful?  Why were we brought into existence?

          Perhaps the true questions of our faith can never be answered.  Still, they must be asked. 

          “Faith is…the conviction of things not seen.”  –Hebrews 11:1

EASY IS NOT BEST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The idea is a false one that God bestows His blessings most richly amid the ease and beauty of life.  But the deep, rich blessings of life are most truly found among work, hardship and disappointment.

          A human being is, by nature, not fond of self-denial, difficult talks or the bearing of heavy burdens.  Just as water seeks its own level, so too does our nature seek the easy way.  Our preference runs toward inactivity if given a choice.  Yet in shrinking from self-denial, refusing difficult talks, and avoiding heavy burdens, we are missing some of the best things God has to give – His lessons, His presence, and His love. 

COSMOPOLITAN ETHICS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          In America all of the cultures on earth have been mixed in one “melting pot.”  This is now resulting in ethical confusion.  When all of the known ways of behavior have been blended, there ceases to be a clear and unified right or a simple and single wrong.  Right conduct for one person is unquestionably wrong for another, and how are we to know what is good?           The Christian must always submit thoughts, words, choices, and deeds to Christ and seek what He would have us do.  If conduct seems wrong, place it in the presence of Christ.  If words are empty, judge them in the light of the One whose words are Wisdom and Truth.  Only in Christ are found the tests and the standards for our lives.

SELF-HELP, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Good need not be imparted to another for a blessing to occur.  Everything that we do with the intent of serving God will always touch ourselves.  Every act performed in the name of Christ, though seen by no one else, is beheld within our self.  Therefore, a blessing has come about – our own – and could it be that the enhancing of our self is what God desired?

NO LIFE UNFULFILLED, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many fear going to their grave never having done that which God set out for them.  They know of things to be written or spoken that God would have said, yet what if they fall short of such proclamation?  There is still more to be done and more life to be lived, yet will it be enough?  Is God’s will to be accomplished or is it to be thwarted through their own shortcomings?

          For God to give us a task is for God to also grant us the way to complete that task.  No person ever need fear coming to the end of life with God-given goals unattained so long as the desire to reach them has been attempted.  We do not know what goals God sets out for each of us, nor do we know what the success of those goals may be in God’s sight.  All that He asks of us is the fidelity of pursuit.

GOD THROUGH FRIENDS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We humans have a tendency to seek out our friends in times of need or times of trouble.  Yet, let us not forget that God can come in human form.  His words flow through human lips.  His embrace is felt in human arms.  His love made manifest from human hearts.

          Though we should go first to God for help and aid, when we do not may we never forget that behind the love of a human friend stands God reaching out to us a helping hand. 

MIXED EMOTIONS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We kneel in fear of God and we kneel in fear of the world – one foot in eternity, the other in the temporal.  In part, we know that all is in the realm of God and that no evil, regardless of how wild it may rage, can exist outside the bounds of God.  Yet, we know that same evil to have the ability to perpetuate ill upon us.  We live torn between assurance and anxiety.

          Lord, help us to focus more on you and less on the world.  Give us to know that you will overrule all evil in your time.  We do believe, Lord; help our unbelief. 

DO WHAT IS RIGHT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The forces which drive the secular world should find no place amidst the motives that structure a Christian.  Yet, in the church much worldly policy, mundane caution and temporal wisdom exist.  Attitudes and perspectives are shaped according to what works in society or in business.

          The only influence to find a home in the church is that which God desires.  To do what is right, to follow duty, to love what is just is God’s way of life.

          “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

 –Micah 6:8

CHARACTER OUTREACHES ORATORY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          People can say and write wonderful things.  Words of beauty, persuasion, and conviction can be uttered in such a way that many believe and are convinced of sincerity. 

          But the living of life is far more truthful than speech.  Character far outreaches oratory as something of worth.  Therefore, Christians must make their actions and conduct their primary forces in this world.  Rhetoric will die away; writings will be lost and lose meaning; but the influence of a life well lived will remain a living power among those who follow.

          “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong.”  I Corinthians 13:1

RESPONDING WITH INTELLIGENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Our God is not a God of feeling.  Never in the Bible does He say, “I feel that you should do…,” or “I would feel better if we…”  Rather, He is a God of order, a God of law, a God of intent.  He lays down before us specific rules and expectations brought about through reason, and He demands that we obey them.  Our obedience, therefore, calls for intelligence, not feeling. 

          “Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you.”  — I Peter 3:15

          “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord.  – Isaiah 1:18

WORDS ARE NOT PRAYER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The mere repeating of words does not make for praying.  Along with the words there must also be sincerity of the Spirit, an ardent glow upon the heart, a passionate worship by the soul in earnest desire for its God.  Unless our very self pours out with the words, presenting our life at the feet of God, we have not truly prayed. 

          “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”  — Matthew 6:7

THE NEED FOR SALVATION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many Christians today doubt or question the truth of a judgment to come.  It is said that there is no Hell, no separation from God.  It is being taught that Jesus was the perfect man who showed us how to live a Godly life and that we will all be brought together in Jesus – regardless of who or what we are.  It is even said that a person has eternal life because he or she is human – in other words, that is just the way it is. 

          Consider this.  If we are offered salvation through Jesus Christ, then the opposite of salvation must exist – otherwise, why would there be a need?  What would there be salvation from?  If “God gave His only begotten Son that we should not perish but have everlasting life,” then there must be a fate possible that is the opposite of “everlasting life.”  If Christ came to save us, then there must exist a condition from which we are being saved – a condition in which we are not saved.  If Christ came and died for us, enduring the agony of the Cross, then how dark must be the fate from which He redeems us?  If there is no calamity that threatens us, then Calvary was too great a price to pay – it was out of proportion to our condition.

          “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” – Matthew 25:41

BLESSING IN ALL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “Every cloud has a silver lining” goes the old saying, and nowhere is this as true than in the Christian faith.  A future unknown to you lies ahead, but it is known to God.  Every experience through which you travel, whether good or bad, joyous or sorrow-filled, contain within God’s goodness which shall unfold to you.  Even the most bitter defeats and disappointments that life gives are pushed aside by the realization of God’s providential care.

          Life is not fair or just, but God is.  When seen through this understanding, the Christian may know that the path which lies ahead is one that was not only laid by God but maintained by Him as well. 

UNCOMMON FORTITUDE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          To stand as faithful guardians of our traditions and faith when the winds of culture blow strongly against us requires uncommon fortitude.  Before one can walk out into the world, there must be a clear and confident sense as to what God is saying , and that can be wrought only through prayer and study.  Then courage must be summoned to stand with God who often stands alone against the mores of our times.  An honest adherence to the faith demands no less.  Our faith stands on the precepts of God, not on our personal beliefs. 

TRUST CHRIST WITH OUT GIFTS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The measure of an individual is not determined by what is possessed or gained.  A person may have an overflowing abundance of God’s gifts – wisdom, wealth, power – yet fail to share those possessions with others.  The measure of an individual is determined only by the degree to which others are blessed.

          All that we have is God’s.  Our responsibility is to use that which we have as God would have us use it.  If we truly believe that Christ is Lord, than all that we have is laid at His feet.  Will He accept our gifts?  Yes, and then trusting us to use them wisely, He will place them back into our hands with a gentle word to use them in His name.  It only takes an act of faith. 

MANY MOCK THE CHURCH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          When William Shakespeare placed into the mouth of Othello the words “jealousy is the green-eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds upon,” he was not just speaking for himself but for all people everywhere, and none truer than in the church.  How the church is mocked by those whom she holds close.  Jealous that God sets the limits of life; jealous that the church defines the limits of behavior; jealous that traditions define authority over the present, many seek to change the structure that has been passed to them.  We are such kingdom builders in our nature, so much so that in our desire to define for ourselves what is right and what is wrong, we would rather destroy the very institution that bred us and nurtured us instead of living within the bounds of God’s sovereignty. 

BEYOND SORROW’S JORDANS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          For the Christian, one of the more difficult tasks of life is to find joy in the midst of sorrow.  Yet, if we trust God’s promises that is exactly what is found.

          Afflictions come upon us in life, and by them God never means harm to us.  Grave disappointments are often God’s appointments, and what God sends us as growth may well resemble misfortune.  Even that which comes as evil contains within a rich compensation when we allow God to work through the issue.

          “Beyond sorrow’s Jordans green fields lie,” the old-time preachers would say –and it is still true. 

BELIEF IS NOT SELF-EVIDENT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          It has been suggested that one of God’s injustices is the fact that belief in Him is so difficult.  It is also conveyed that we are responsible for making our journey into belief more difficult than it need be.  In truth, these are common traits shared with all generations.  Since the day of Abraham there never has been a time when belief came easy.  Yet we insist on proclaiming and teaching that belief is easy.  Then to compound this misconception, we think that when God hides Himself or Revelation is lacking, it must be His doing – God’s hiding from us. 

          The evidence of God’s presence and activity are everywhere, but He does not speak unless we leave the haste of life and quietly listen.  Belief is not a clear or certain gift, it demands effort.  Perhaps the reason why we moderns find it so difficult to believe in God is because we fail to take the time necessary amidst our many distractions. 

          “Be still, and know that I am God”  –Psalm 46:10

CARE IN SPEAKING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “If you cannot say something nice about someone, do not say anything at all,” are words that once were taught but have long since fallen from favor.  Yet, there remains much wisdom in those words. 

          For one, the words speak to the inability to see the good in people.  They imply that there are some who see only fault and blemish.  Ill is assumed about people rather than good.  Ugliness of character is held up as an example, ignoring the beauty within. 

          Christ condemns this behavior, therefore the Christian should seek to avoid it always.  Instead, we must work constantly at beholding the good, the beautiful, the Christ-like quality of one another.  Christ is with each of us – look for Him. 

GOD AS FATHER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The Christian calls God “Father” not because He has caused us to come into being as did our human parent, but  because He chose us.  This alone is His single greatest act of grace and mercy toward us – that He chooses, adopts, elects us to be His own.  And how is such grace brought about?  Through His Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

          “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”  –Ephesians 1:4

THE BLESSING OF FAILURE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The Great Teacher constantly sets before us lessons to be learned, and we fail at these as often as not.  The toughest subjects we could ever take in school are easy in comparison to what must be learned of love, patience, forgiveness, humility, unselfishness and contentment.  The lessons can be learned, but they ofttimes come slow and at a price.  Sometimes we see the lesson and strive for attainment with all of our might and still come up short.  Yet God honors effort and the yearning; and though we may collapse disheartened and weary from our work, He carries on within us His work and sculpts divine beauty out of our souls. 

VIEWING LIFE RIGHT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Our own ideas are important to us – so important that we are apt to place them into the realm of God giving them to us.  In other words, we know our views to be correct; therefore, they must be ordained through the providence of God.  If we think it, believe it or do it, God’s overriding providence is guiding our every step.

          The Christian must remember that God never contradicts His own abiding Word.  Therefore, it is for us to hear the consistency of His voice against all the clamor of the world.  Thus only are we able to discern between God and evil. 

“WHAT SHALL I DO WITH HIM?” by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          How suddenly and without announcement come the great crises of life.  If a person knew that next week he or she would be living through great sorrow or sickness, if it were certain that in a couple of months his or her life would be at its end, how different would be their living.  But those times of life come unannounced.  The crises of our souls break over us unforeseen.

          For the Christian it bears out the importance of knowing Christ and giving answer to Pilate’s question, “What shall I do with Him?”  Will Jesus be accepted only as a good model, a wonderful instructor, a pioneer whose life bears out a better way of living?  Or do we take Him unto our self as a Savior, Redeemer and King? 

AN INSTRUMENT OF SALVATION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          To claim that the death of Jesus on the cross is an act of love, even the ultimate expression of love, is to diminish this supreme act of God.  God does indeed love humanity, but God’s love for us is not the goal nor is it the purpose of the Cross.  Jesus did not die because God loves us.  Rather, He died that we might be saved.  Love is not the end – atonement and salvation are the objects.  God is a God of love, but much more He is a God of justice.  For the Christian, the Cross is not an act of love; it is the instrument of salvation.   

THE RECONCILIATION OF GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          People believe that humans are basically good.  Our actions, our decisions, our words are all of God, because they are born out of love and God is love.  But this is no more than a disguised attempt to justify what is wrong.

          God came to reconcile the world to Himself.  Therefore, the truth is that we are in need of being reconciled.  In other words, our decisions, our actions, and our words are not according to the will of God. 

          “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”  –Isaiah 55:8

THOSE LEFT BEHIND, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          When we die it is not unusual to be worried about those left behind.  It is a morose thought that we will be parted from them and they from us.  Will they suffer much over our death?  What dangers will the world expose them to?  The problem for the Christian is that such anxieties suppress the tender heart that longs for its God as life draws to a close.  But if God indeed has shown Himself to be the Gracious Guardian of His own throughout the history of their lives, shall He not, by His unchanging nature, remain God of the future also?

          Therefore, we commit our cares to our Heavenly Father, surrendering our life and family to his constant watchful love. 

UPWARD BOUND, by Stephen Rehrig

          There is no way to climb a mountain but by taking one step at a time – step upon step.  Each step is a little higher; it is slow, methodical, and always nearer the goal.

          The Christian life is not unlike conquering a mountain.  We do not achieve “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” simply by wanting it.  It is a slow process that often calls forth pain and discouragement over the course of a lifetime.  Yet it is a struggle that must be borne if ever we are to reach our goal.  And so well worth the price is each step, for the view from the top is…

          “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  –Philippians 3:14

WITHSTANDING TEMPTATION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          To a large degree our world does not think much about the denial of temptation.  For the most part we have forgotten the importance of the word “no.”  But temptation and the subsequent refusal to yield to it are very important aspects of the Christian character. 

          To grow into “the wisdom and the stature of Christ” requires self-denial, struggle, and focused work.  To bow in the face of temptation, to yield under its pressure is to display a weakness common to most people.  But to be noble and pure, strong and resolute is to stand with Christ in the face of temptation and know the peace of God when the Sirens fall silent.

          “Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.”  — Matthew 4:11

TRUTH KNOWN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “What is truth?,” Pilate asks Jesus.  Perhaps Pilate was speaking for us all, though history considers this mocking.  Pilate may well have been saying, “In this world of sham, cruelty, greed, lust and appetite for the mores of the times, what and where is truth?  Who defines truth?”

          Unbeknownst to Pilate, Truth stood before him.  And Truth remains with us – within us, around us, behind us and ahead of us.  The Christian is held by Truth; therefore, we should walk in the countenance of its light. 

A THOUGHT-FILLED FAITH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We were created in God’s image, with a character that can be noble, beautiful and strong; but it will never be realized if we fail to search the scriptures with ponderance and intelligence.  The very soul of us can only be filled when we meditate on the Word of God.  Many a fond memory is held at our mother’s knee.  The very beginnings of our journey in the faith can be traced to the old maxims and simple theology which our mothers taught.  But there are grand and glorious things that lay beyond what we learned there — strive to go beyond and to learn these.  The Word can only be engulfed into the heart and soul through intelligent thought and quiet contemplation.  Then you shall be transformed into the likeness of Christ. 

WHO HOLDS TRUTH? by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many people today believe that all religions are essentially the same.  This conviction has even given rise to its own religion which professes exactly that – no religions are uniquely right and none are wrong.

          For such a belief to be true, then God ceases to be King of all the earth whom all persons must ultimately face.  Rather, those who believe in Him stand before him in judgment; and those who do not believe in Him suffer no consequences. 

          The Bible teaches that God is the creator and foundation of all, the One to whom every soul must one day account.  The Bible also teaches that Christ is the truth, and His words testify to the true faith in Him as God.  Therefore, every individual must decide the veracity of this claim.

          “Thou desirest truth in the inward being.”  –Psalm 51:6

WE ARE TO WORSHIP GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Concentration on the way of life which Jesus taught has resulted in encouraging contemporary Protestants to fall into a state of ignorance concerning the overall message of the Bible and Christianity.  Through a one-sided interpretation of Jesus Christ – a single view of the God whom Christ revealed – and a resulting focus on the nature of Christian living, a very effective loophole for idolatry has been provided. 

          If a Christian concentrates his or her attention on the human personality of Jesus, His life and His perspectives, and considers that to be the heart of the Gospel, then Jesus becomes an idol and we have interpreted Him in the light of our own times – how we see Him – and not from the Bible.  The underlying question therefore is, “What is the purpose of human living?”  Is it praising God and living in fellowship with Him, or becoming our “best self” in as full a measure as is possible?  Even to pray that God will help us grow into our best self is to pray that it is “our self” which we are most concerned about. 

          “He who believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me.”  –John 12:44

THOUGHTS ARE THE BEDROCK, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          That which we think is the foundation of who we are.  Our thoughts are the quarry from which is cut the blocks that make our life.  If our thoughts are right, faithful, loving, unadulterated, wise, and gentle, then so will be our life.  If our thoughts are of God and His Christ, pondering on truths as God has established them to be, then so, too, will our life be a testimony to the faith we profess to have.

          “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”

–Matthew 6:33

SPIRIT-FILLED, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Self dies when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.  This is what Jesus means when He talks about the evil spirits filling an empty house.  If we seek solely to rid ourselves of evil thought, unkind attitudes, and ungracious perspectives, then what is there to prevent those things from returning?  Rather, seek to fill yourself with the Holy Spirit and the gifts which He brings.  Then every room of your house will be overflowing with peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodwill, and love.  Where then are the evil spirits to lodge? 

ARE THE WICKED SAVED? by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          If all that is done in this world is according to the will of God, then do the perpetuators of evil find favor with God and inherit His Kingdom? 

          While it is true that the wicked have no power that is not allowed them by God, they still are not excused from their evil deeds because they have no intent of pleasing God.  The Christian, therefore, must live each day in ways that bring God pleasure.

          “For Christ did not please Himself.”  –Romans 15:3

          “If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.”  –Galatians 1:10

          “We receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him.” 

          –I John 3:22 

WALKING LIFE ALONE, by Rev. Stephen Rehig

          Friendship is indeed sweet, and a true friend or companion is someone to be treasured.  We do have a need in this life for at least one other person to be near us, to listen to us, to respond to us, to care about us.  But in truth we live very much alone.  A friend may be with you in a crisis, but you yourself walk through the crisis.  Someone may be with you when you die, but you alone do the dying.

          “We must walk this lonesome valley,

          We have to walk it by ourselves;

          O, nobody else can walk it for us,

          We have to walk it by ourselves.”

FOLLOW GOD’S WILL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          To pursue the will of God is to be held close to God, because God never deserts anyone following His desired course.  God’s will always leads toward virtuousness, integrity, faithfulness, and a Christ-like character – and, what is more – continues through this life to the glory of eternity.  However painful or hard life may seem, if it is spent in pursuit of Divine will then it is a blessed quest; and at the end the soul shall sing in praise, “Thy will has been done.”

THE SANCTITY OF COMMONNESS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Sometimes the reasons are obvious, but most often they are obscured.  Yet when God sets us somewhere it is not by chance but for a specific purpose.  There is something definite that we were created to do at this time of history: some task to perform, some deed to accomplish, some soul to touch.  There is something very humbling and encouraging about this.  It affirms God’s presence and gives rise to the knowledge that the most common moment of the day could be filled with the sacred.  We can never know when such great times will come to us. 

THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “Mystery” is a word not used much in Christianity these days – but it is an appropriate word of our faith.  So much of God is hidden from us until the time of God’s choosing and revealed to us only in His determined amounts.

          Christianity is dependent upon one fact – Jesus was God.  For Christ to be our Savior and Redeemer, no created mortal could accomplish that.  This fact alone is the supreme mystery of the faith.  To fail to acknowledge this mystery about who Jesus was is to lose everything else believed about Him. 

          “The mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh.”  — I Timothy 3:16

DEALING WITH IMMORTAL SOULS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          How often do we remember that we deal with immortal souls everyday?  Those whom we touch will stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  How will we have influenced them?  In what way will we have prepared them?  And how will it go for us in our time?  We, too, will stand before that same seat and make account for our deeds, our misdeeds and our ignored opportunities.  When that time comes may it be said of each of us, that with respect to the eternal, we dealt with others. 

BEING LIKE GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Humanity can only do one of two things, either become like God or make God like us.  The trend is to do the latter.  God is defined as reflecting our sense of fair play.  He adheres to our values, professes our truths, and upholds our laws.  If it offends our sense of justice then it must offend God’s.  If God’s law is difficult, then it is intended that we modify it to accommodate our expedience.  The burden of judgment is not fair, so God is said to accept all.  Acts which are contrary to the teachings and the traditions of the faith are tolerated and blessed by God because they are performed in the name of love.  Out of self-absorption, God is said to love, respect, and accept us unconditionally – but this is not the truth. 

          God does judge us.  We are to conform to the image of Christ – God among us.  If in the process we do not get what we want or have things as we believe they ought to be, is it not for our own good?  God made us; we are His to do with as He pleases.  He is not ours to do with as we please. 

          “Be conformed to the image of His Son.”  — Romans 8:29

ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          In contemporary society the words “possible” and “probable” have become synonymous.  But there exists a distinct difference between those two.  Many things in this life may not be probable, their possibility being slim; but they are still possible.  Nothing is ever accomplished by giving up on it.  Working for and with God is no different.  When probability is at its lowest, God is at His best.  Where else is a miracle found except in the improbable, the unexpected and the impossible?  If it is expected, then it becomes no more than an act; and where then is the miracle of it? – victory in the face of defeat, cure in the face of terminal illness, resurrection in the face of death.  As improbable as those might be, with God there exists possibility; and therein lies the miracle. 

          “All things are possible to him who believes.”  –Mark 9:23

VICTORY OVER TEMPTATION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There exists in the human heart a desire for self-affirmation and self-grandizement.  It is one of the fruits of humanism, and it stands as one of the failings of being human.  Often it is heard in such expressions as: “Publish of die,” “Make yourself known,” or “You have to toot your own horn.”  It is the same temptation with which Jesus struggled, as did Paul and countless Saints of Christ down through the centuries.  But if instead of our own goals and accomplishments we keep God and His glory as the focus of our work, then our efforts shall be blessed and our self shall know reward.

THE GRAND MOCKERY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We are called to be God’s representative, God’s emissaries in the world.  To this end, Christians will often find themselves in the company of people in pain, sorrow, or conflict.  To limit a response to the expression of pity, sympathy, good wishes or even nothing more than prayer is to make a mockery of our calling and to pervert the meaning of ministry.  In other words, “standing in solidarity,” “having empathy for,” or “feeling another’s pain,” is of little consequence.  Such actions do nothing to relieve the distress or resolve the issue.  Kindness is borne out through tangible engagement.  The Christian’s calling is to supply the need. 

          “I was hungry and you gave me food.”  –Matthew 25:35

TWO DIFFERENT FAITHS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Throughout the long expanse of human history there has always existed the attempts of the deceitful and depraved to soil and contaminate what is good and true and holy.  Evil will always seek to pervert good. 

          Today the Christian is faced with this truth being played out on two fronts, each claiming the name of Christianity.  One speaks of reform, completeness, and ethics; the other is centered in redemption, salvation and eternity.  Each must choose for himself or herself which path is right. 

          “How long will you go limping with two different opinions?”  –I Kings 18:21 

GOD’S PERFECT WILL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          If God’s will is perfect as we confess it to be, then we should be submissive to that will.  We must be able to acknowledge our own ignorance and never presume to know the will of God.  We should ask Him to teach us and open us to receive what lessons He deems appropriate for us to know.  It is a life lived in accordance with His desires – even His commands.  It is in this way that the Christian will find blessings abound. 

FOLLOWING SLOGANS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We live in a day and a time that is in love with slogans, and the Christian religion is certainly not exempt.  Wherever the Christian turns, there is found such sayings as “Christ is the answer,” “What Would Jesus Do?,” “Christ. The reason for the season,” “God is my co-pilot,” “Got Jesus?.”  The list could go on indefinitely.  We are very quick to say that we love Jesus and from our lips erupt a great sentiment of proclamation.  But, in return, there always comes back from Christ His word to test our commitment.  “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

          To be a Christian is to be devoted to Christ – completely, unrestingly, irreversibly, and in total trust.  It is one thing to proclaim good intentions, vows, and pledges; but the true measure of the person is to what degree those same slogans are followed.  The church used to use the word “consecration.”  To be consecrated is to look to and to follow Christ whatever the unpopularity, danger, or sacrifice may be.  Hanging out a slogan for all to see just won’t get the job done.

BE FAITHFUL IN LITTLE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

​          “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” is a popular saying in contemporary society.  What people mean is to keep in mind the big picture; don’t get bogged down expending needless energy on the minutia.  Those who are exacting are often scoffed at for being meticulous or discriminating concerning details.  

​          It also says that how a person gets to an end is not as important as the fact that he or she has arrived.  If the ends are good, beneficial for society, or of lasting quality, then breaking the laws, ignoring statutes, or hurting others along the way is part of the price that must be paid.  In other words, the ends justify the means.

​          When facing right and wrong, nothing is small or unimportant.  A person’s character is not only shown but also built on the little, the mundane, the common matters of life.  If these are dealt with in faith and care and concern, then larger responsibilities will follow.  Tend to the minutes of your life and the days will be rewarding.

​          “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.”  –Luke 16:10

Wrong Interpretation, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

It is not unusual for us to look at events which happen in our life and give them a wrong meaning.  We want so much, sometimes, for God to be on our side, that we credit Him for doing things for us which in truth are contrary to His laws and His will.  So, we must be careful when thinking about what is from God and what is of our own doing.  Every opportunity which comes is not of God’s doing.  God’s actions will never contradict the words of life which He has spoken.

TWO WAYS TO GO, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There are only two ways a human can go – either follow God or not follow God.  To follow is to live by His laws.  To not follow is to live by our own laws.  To follow Him is to enjoy a relationship with Him.  To not follow Him is to be outside the circle.  To follow is to have life.  To not follow is to know death.  The law of God is not made for us to judge, but rather that we be judged and ruled by it!

          We may not judge the rightness or wrongness or fairness of the law.  “My ways are not your ways,” says the Lord.  But we do.  We judge the rightness or fairness of God’s law when it makes us feel uncomfortable or when we see it as being intolerable toward another.  The mores of modern society, tolerance, will be the ruin of us. 

WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

A Christian is a person who does not look to nature for salvation.

A Christian is a person who does not consider ethics a path to salvation.

A Christian is a person who does not find salvation in other religions, ideologies or disciplines.

A Christian is a person who does not rely on himself or herself to earn salvation.

A Christian is a person who will not point to his or her own goodness, righteousness, justification, deserving, work, or efforts as merits toward salvation.

A Christian is a person who knows salvation is only offered through Jesus Christ, and on Him only does hope rest.

“No one comes to the Father, but by me.”  –John 14:6

DEATH TO LIFE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          From the first Lord’s Day until now, the church has endured those who would explain away, cheapen, or compromise through voguish thought, the resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.  They equate it with such images as transformation, renewal, or healing.  But the resurrection, as the church knows and understands it, is not about transformation – for that would be nothing more than a change or a remodeling.  The resurrection is not about renewal – for then it is a renovation of that which is and continues to be.  Nor is the resurrection a balm for healing.  God never intended the resurrection of Our Lord nor our resurrection to soothe the ills of our present living.

          Resurrection involves death – real, complete, total death.  Yet here is the truth, that out of this death God brings life.  There is no symbolism or transforming renewal here.  It is about our death and the ability of our God to give life – just as He did when He first fashioned us. 

AFTERWARD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Afterward exists only because God maintains the present.  Many are the trials, hardships, disappointments and transgressions suffered in this world.  They all pass in time – they all pass in God’s good time.  Only then can reflection look back and in retrospect perceive that God controlled and maintained the way.  Only then are we able to know that solely by God’s good care are we here – afterwards. 

A SINLESS GENERATION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The chief impediment to the church today is that people do not see themselves as sinners.  As a result, there is no need for the church, no need for Christ, and no need for the great message of salvation.  Religion should make a person feel good in the joyful worship and service of the Lord is the mantra of the hour. 

          But Christ did not come, nor did He pour out His blood “as a ransom,” so that people can feel good, have a clear conscience, and go through life being happy.  Christ came so that the sinner could stand before the Throne of Grace and see the face of God. 

          “The Lord make his face to shine upon you.”  — Numbers 6:25

          “But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall worship him; they shall see his face.”

 — Revelation 22:3-4

FULFILLED IN CHRIST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Recognition and appreciation are very gratifying.  Every person alive enjoys words of affirmation about himself or herself.  But what if slander, falsehood, or injustice comes instead?  What if lies come instead of truth or adversity instead of fortune? 

          If the Christian knows that Christ is served for Himself alone, then it does not matter what is said about the individual.  The Christian is to place Christ’s cause in the forefront of life.  Only in Him shall devotion and loyalty never be met with disparagement. 

FORGIVENESS AND JUDGMENT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          If God forgives, why is there judgment?  Because the Bible never says, “Forget the past; ignore it; God has forgotten it so you can too.”  The truth is this: What we have done we have done.  Who we were and what we did are historical facts. 

          But this is the Gospel – all that we are: the wasted years; the bad soil from which grew deceit, pain, and transgression; the days when we were sinners beyond recognition and saints beyond belief – all of that is with Christ.  And what does He do with it?  Our self-absorbing pride becomes reverence; our self-centeredness becomes dedication; and our self-aggrandizement becomes devotion for Him.

          Christ forgives it all so that He can be with us.  He transforms it all so that we can know the companionship of His presence.

          “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”  –Galatians 2:20

HURTFUL SILENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Is anything so selfish as holding to oneself words of love and forgiveness, gentleness and kindness when the sharing of those words could feed, nurture and even save another?  Speech is a gift from God, and we are to use our gifts for the glory of God.  Does not encouraging the disheartened, supporting the weary, bringing cheer and hope to the downcast glorify God?  To state high and holy motives and blow gently on the embers of faith, are these not to instill the cold altars of the heart with warmth?  Strive not to keep your thought and words to yourself but to do these things, and God will be in your speaking. 

DON’T ACT SMALL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many Christians feel the warmth of faith because they did not risk contending with the world.  Many Christians celebrate their dreams coming true because those dreams were minute.  Many Christians arrive safely at their goals because the paths they chose were easy.

          But God’s ways are not the easy ways.  Often His road will lead through obstruction, hardship, perplexity and defiance.  But it is still God’s way, God’s road; and if He deems it right will He not secure our victory along the course of it?

ALL SUFFICIENT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Humans are always seeking the new – new ideologies, new philosophies, new science, new medicine, new ways of explaining and coping with life.  In keeping with this trend, many people adhere to the belief that it is healthy and wise to explore other religions in order to find which one suits the individual.  The Christian knows the fallacy and the danger of this. 

          In Christ all philosophy is grounded, all ideology is lodged, and all answers are found.  Jesus is the source for the filling of all needs.  In His life and words there is discovered the resources to address all the pains and confusions of living.  The afflictions, griefs, and heartaches of life still continue to assail us; but in Christ, and Him only, is all sufficiency possessed. 

          “The fullness of him who fills all in all.”  –Ephesians 1:23

A GREAT IMPARTIALITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There exists a great impartiality to the general providence of life.  The sun shines equally upon the just and the unjust, the breeze blows gentle upon the saint and the sinner, and the rain falls to cleanse both good and evil.  Each person, regardless of character, knows joy and pain, reward and failure.

          For the Christian hope is found in knowing that results are not the same.  Two ships enter the gale side by side; one is broken upon the rocks while the other rides the storm to safety.  Two souls ride the storms of life; one is destroyed while the other arrives safely home.  It all depends on how the soul reacts to what the world calls “hardship.”

          “All things work together for good to them that love God.”  –Romans 8:28

CHRIST CAME TO CALL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          A religion that focuses on the signs and the acts of God; whose primary concern is the miracles of God, may fill people with excitement and awe while providing a sense of the sensational, but this focus too easily ends in dependence and slavery.  With little encouragement people look to God as they look to government, to do for them what they should do for themselves.  How cruel God might be if He answered all of our prayers, cured all of our sickness, solved all of our problems, thereby having spoiled and undeveloped children. 

          Christ came not to impress through miracle and magic but to call people to God.  God does not want us as infantile followers but as people who understand the fullness of life which has been given.  Life through Christ is only had through the freedom to believe. 

          “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you?”  –John 6:30

AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “As I have loved you” is the answer to the question “Am I my brothers keeper?”  Care and love for others is the outward symbol and the inward proof of our Christianity.  It is with the love of Christ that we are to keep watch.  And what is that love?  It is a love that looks for ways to bless others; it seeks the downtrodden and lifts the cheerless.  This love protects the weak, comforts the sorrowful, and strengthens the brave.  This love keeps faith; serves need; and, if need be, sacrifices self.

          This and much more is how Christ has loved us and how He would have us love others.  “Am I my brothers keeper?”  Yes, as lived out in “As I have loved you.” 

TURNING FROM WORK, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          When faced with a task, a Christian is to presume it a duty placed there by God.  Therefore, it is not right that we should turn from doing whatever is called for.  Let the Christian never presume the work to be beneath us, too difficult, too daunting or too frightful.  Remember the words Jesus spoke: “Whoever will save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.”  The best use we can make of our lives is to give our soul to the task God sets before us.   

THE NEED FOR GETTING PERSONAL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Concerning God, the modern world is fond of saying both that we are more enlightened and that we are more skeptical than were our forbearers.  In reality, the opposite is true. 

          The modern world also asserts that science, technology, and life in general have crowded out our need to believe in God.  But these are only indirect symptoms of our situation. 

          It is quite misleading, if not wrong, to assert that those who have gone before had fewer conflicts in life and found it easier to believe in God; that they understood less or doubted more.  But what they did have, now in peril of becoming lost, is a personal relationship.  The modern world has paid a very great price for its advances.  In the long perspective of history it is worth it, but only if we remain personally spiritual along the way. 

AUTHORITY IN TRADITION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Each succeeding generation that passes through the corridors of time has interpreted the scriptures according to its own need. That is the way of us humans. We seek to justify ourselves and our actions, our desires and our perceptions by making the scriptures narrow enough to fit.

But God’s Holy Word is not so small. Speaking with consistency all along those same corridors, He does not change His Word or His perspective. Thus, it is that the authority of the church is vested in its traditions, for tradition gives to us a firm foundation drawn from deep historical roots as the church has sought to interpret scripture down through the corridors of time.

A LAMP, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The Bible calls scripture “a lamp unto our feet.” This is different from a floodlight or a sun which illumines all around and far ahead. A lamp lights up a small area, a vicinity surrounding where it burns. So does scripture call us to faith. We are to journey one step at a time, seeing no more than the path lit surrounding where we place our foot, then on the next step and on to the next. This is how we walk by faith. Seldom are we graced to see the road far ahead; but God sees it and, what is more, He is there waiting our arrival. But for now we walk by lamplight, seeing only where we place our foot today and trusting God with tomorrow.

GOD GOVERNS THE WORLD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

“The Almighty has His own purposes,” is a fragment of a sentence made famous by Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address. Though the theology of it is readily accepted among Christians, the reality of it is not popular. People are not accepting to the fact that there is a difference of purpose between God and themselves.

However, to deny this fact or to disagree with the point is to set aside the truth that there is a God governing the world. The theme of the Bible in general and the Gospel in particular is that God intervenes in the affairs of humanity.

Content, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Great sadness overwhelms us when those whom we love die. But if we can learn to thank God for life — to thank God for the love which we have received and known — we begin to understand God’s amazing mercies, and we become eager to experience those which have not yet come. Then we are content.

EACH HAVE THEIR PLACE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We hear a lot today about being a total person, a well-rounded individual, a complete and a whole being.  But in truth no one person is complete nor should he or she try to be.

          God endows each of us with our own special abilities, a combination of gifts and skills which are unique.  No two people who have ever been created are precisely the same.  The lowest of gifts and the stoutest of minds each have their place in the order of creation.  

          The great life, in the sight of God, is not the one that accomplishes the most according to the world but rather the one who works to find the place and fulfills the tasks which have been given. 

AN EVEN-TEMPERED SHELTER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Some people seem to go through life forever being even tempered – nothing appears to disturb them. It is almost as if God has sheltered these from the wiles of the world and delusions of the devil. There are other people who seem to always be receptive to temptation if not attracted to evil, struggling with the world every day they live. Could it be that God has placed the more placid among us to buttress and nurture those at risk? Could it also be that Christ spends more time bracing and interceding for the person more likely to fall? Even the disciple John, with his gentle way, received less attention than did fiery Peter.

ACT NOW, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We have all heard the expression, “Better late than never.”  While this may be a comforting excuse in life, it is not applicable in Christianity.  God gives to us seasons of our lives; and within those seasons there are people, places and events which we encounter.  If we do not respond to those times when they come, perform the act of kindness and love when the moment is right, we might as well not trouble ourselves doing them at all.  The time for showing genuine interest and affection toward any is not the next day or the next week when the person’s situation has changed, they are well or perhaps dead.  Some of the best thoughts we ever have are the ones which come later involving things we should have said or done, but still the truth is that they come too late to do any good.  We all know with what stones we each pave the road to hell. 

A SOLEMN REALITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          People are not inanimate objects which have no influence upon what surrounds them, and neither are those around us isolated from being swayed.  A soul is the most sensitive thing in God’s creation.  Every thought, every word, every deed finds its way into the life of another person.  Therefore, a Christian must take heed of all that is said and done lest his or her encouragement prove wrong toward another. 

          “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”  –Mark 9:42

GOD THROUGH FRIENDS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We humans have a tendency to seek out our friends in times of need or times of trouble.  Yet, let us not forget that God can come in human form.  His words flow through human lips.  His embrace is felt in human arms.  His love made manifest from human hearts.

          Though we should go first to God for help and aid, when we do not may we never forget that behind the love of a human friend stands God reaching out to us a helping hand. 

GOD IS NOT A MYSTIC, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Too may Christians get caught up in that area of religion known as mysticism.  They do so in the belief that they will be able to experience God on a level of what Paul calls “the third heaven.”  It is even believed that they can have a better understanding of who God is or at least feel closer to God.

          However, this must also be considered: Of the thousands of people who heard Jesus teach and preach and pray, how many were ever invited by him to become a disciple; and of those 12 who were invited, how many were allowed into the “inner circle”?  Mystical experiences are not something which God shares.  Rather, He invites us to live our lives in accordance with His rules; and He promises to accompany us on that journey.  Our job, therefore, is not to mystically seek for Him but to receive Him when and as He comes to us.

CHRIST AND SALVATION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Jesus Christ so fully and completely satisfies the justice of God that whoever seeks any means of coming to the Father other than through Him not only scoff’s at God but also gives up any favor which God may bestow through the sacrifice.  Christ is the only One who reveals the will of the Father in anything pertaining to salvation.

          “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”  –John 14:6 

AN UNSELFISH REACH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          To be unselfish is not easy, nor is it free.  To look out for another is good.  To look after each other’s well-being takes a conscious effort and the expense of time and energy.  It is possible to get through life restricting your giving to that which will not be missed, sharing that which cost nothing, keeping away from any self-denial.  Yet, when the landowner comes and asks what you have to contribute to the great harvest, you may find that you reach out with nothing more than empty hands.

          We reap what we sow – in this world and the next. 

AN INCOMPLETE THOUGHT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “God loves you” is a popular saying, but stated alone it is incomplete.  Unless a person can see in our eyes and words and acts the truth of it, then it is useless.  Therefore, the complete sentence says, “God loves you and so do I.”

          How else can we win and hold people in Christ unless our personal interest is shown?  When our heart aches and our mind labors for others, God’s love becomes born in human acts.  Unless we show love our words are empty, and the very people we are hoping to reach with the word of God remain untouched.

A SILENT GIFT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          No matter where a Christian is, what place or situation, the life that is shown should be an inspiration to all around.  A silent blessing ought to touch others.  People should feel more love, more respect, and more acceptance as a result of spending time around a Christian.  From the face of a Christian a grace-filled glow from the light of Christ should be perceived, thus proving to be a gift. 

          This is how a Christian can preach a sermon each and every day – through the holiness of his or her common life. 

APPEAL TO THE GOOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The world constantly presents a rich array of personalities.  Some people have such good or bad qualities that it is easy to distinguish them as virtuous or vicious.  However, most people we meet have such traits so mixed that to distinguish character is difficult.

          Though we admire those who are thoroughly good, we will spend more time finding the good in those who are of fault.  Virtue and vice are so intertwined that we cannot label them good or bad.  Therefore, we must expend energy appealing to that portion in others which is of excellence and honesty and good. 

A SAFE PLACE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Are you worried about finding a safe place?  The safest station in which a person can be is when going about the duty of God’s work.  In this place a person resides beneath the shelter of God’s wings.  The location is guarded with God’s peace.

          At the center of a hurricane there is a place of perfect calm.  In the eye of the storm a baby lies sleeping and a thistle rests lightly upon the grass.  So it is at the center of any great peril of life, a spot of holy calm exists where even the feeblest of souls cannot be harmed.  And how do you find this spot?  Pursue God’s will.  Perform your duty to Him.  He who stands firm in the ways of God amid the perils and trials will remain in safety, where no storm smites and no plagues come nigh.  But depart from the storm’s center and what will be formed are wild swirls of peril.  Sin is never a safe haven. 

FAITH AMONG BELIEVERS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          More than anything else, it is the Spiritual atmosphere surrounding the believer which blurs or makes clear the Living God.  Mistakenly, humans tend to believe that it is the individual alone who opens and closes doors which lead to the understanding of God.  But this is an age marked by the disintegration of old beliefs.  So how can the individual expect to remain close to the Invisible, Living God while being surrounded by men and women who are not sure, reading books that call Him into question, or listening to music of ridicule?  The experience of the Most High God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, is best found and shared with those who have touched Him.

          It was only after Thomas returned to the other ten disciples that he experienced the Risen Lord.

          “Do not be faithless, but believing.”  –John 20:27

A LIVING INFLUENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The ability to communicate effectively with words is very important, but character far surpasses speech as a force in this world.  Words can be true or false; but what is seen of a life, the actions exhibited, always speak of the essence, the fabric, the basic qualities of a person.  That which tipped the tongue will always die in time, but an influence born of example will remain a living power in many lives.  The Christian must live by nobleness and integrity – not by words. 

          “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good words and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

          –Matthew 5:16

CHARACTER MATTERS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Character matters.  It is that piece of us which is solely ours – unwillable, unshareable, and obtained on our own through the everyday living of our lives.  Character is manifest in acts, the acts we do each and every day.  Then when comes the end of life, our character is deemed strong or weak depending on the consistency and the quality of those acts. 

A FULL HOUSE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

​            Self dies when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.  This is what Jesus means when He talks about the evil spirits filling an empty house.  If we seek only to rid ourselves of evil thoughts, bad attitudes and ungracious perspectives, then what is to prevent those things from returning?  Rather, seek to fill yourself with the Holy Spirit and the gifts which He brings.  Then every room of your house will be overflowing with peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodwill, and love.  Where then are the evil spirits to lodge?  

​            “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest; and finding none he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’…and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”  –Luke11:24-26

YOU ALONE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Though we may belong to the family of humanity, in truth we are quite solitary.  True friendships, deep loves, enjoyed collections of people all around us are each very necessary to us; but when the crises of life descend, we pass through them alone.  We may be gathered into a battalion of others who surround us, but it is as a single individual that we wage the battle ahead.

          We each must live our own life; therefore, it behooves us to have a firm-grounded relationship with God.  Others may lend their aid as you venture on, but only God can enter in and live with you.

          “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”  –Matthew 28:20 

WORK FOR GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          How beautiful is the bequest of humility – the ability to use our gifts without thought of public recognition.  God, the source and guarantor of all, desires that we use those talents He has shared with us for His purposes and glory.  Therefore, we are to work for Him and Him alone.  Only His watchful eye should concern us and His approval be our sole desire. 

PREVENIENT GRACE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Modern humanity is desperately hiding, running, attempting with great effort to escape the Holy One.  It is a restless generation running through a maze at night with breakneck speed – a time in turmoil not attempting to find but to flee, not seeking but rather covering in concealment. 

          But humanity cannot escape the inescapable so easily.  If our bed is made in hell, He is there to tuck us in.  If we take the wings of morning and fly to the ends of the earth, He is there waiting for us to arrive.  His goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives.  And His Cross is our forgiveness. 

          “The Lord God called to the man…Where are you?”  –Genesis 3:9 

JESUS SAVES, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many people today are taught, and believe, that they are able to save themselves.  In “Pilgrim’s Progress,” these are the people whom Bunyan calls citizens of “The Town of Morality.”  These people rely upon their own life – its goodness, its truthfulness, its intent – rather than relying upon Christ and His Cross.  Such people never claim to be perfect, only decent; and as for sin and transgression, those will be overlooked by a merciful God.  But that is not the way of Salvation which comes to us in the Bible.

          “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” –Acts 16:31

GOD AS MAKER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          What nonsense has been written about humans being masters of their own fate and captains of their own destiny.  Such talk does no more than attempt to elevate humans to equality with God and place them on a throne.  We are not creators.  We are not even co-creators as some like to profess.  At best, humans make a mess of creation – our highest goals falling short of God’s intent for us.

          Abraham Lincoln often referred to God as “Maker,” “My Maker,” and “Our Maker.”  Lincoln recognized that there is a purposeful power which presides over us and does not dwell in us.  As such, it is a power which moves with intent through history, not a force that is limited to moving with us in our day-to-day struggles as we try and shape the world around us. 

          “Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker”  –Psalm 95:6

          “He will remember their iniquity, and punish their sins…for Israel has forgotten his Maker.” – Hosea 8:13-14

GOD DIRECTS ALL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          What seems at first to be so lonely a desert to the soul turns out to be a place where our soul draws nearer to its God.  Yet, why is it necessary for us to so grievously sin against the Spirit of God – if indeed it is necessary?  If God is indeed to be the Supreme Irresistible Ruler of our life and our times are forever in His hands, then it is of His doing. 

          Does this absolve us of our wrong?  By no means, but it does say that at no time are we ever outside of the grace of God.  It says that He directs to His good ends our course of action.  Even when the pain of our actions seem too great, not just for ourselves but for many innocents, He is there.  Who is innocent in the sight of God and who cannot be refined by the actions of our fault?  Our times are in the hands of God, and He will direct all and move all at His good pleasure. 

WHAT GOD DOESN’T DO, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many people think that if they can give their heart to Christ and work faithfully for God then they, in turn, deserve or will have a contention-free life.  But God never promises that He will take trials out of life.  The Christian will never know the entire world to be in agreement with him or her.  The Christian will still hear unkind words of distain and contempt.  The Christian will still experience those of a narrow and self-seeking nature, those who find fault and those who criticize.  The Christian will still know jealousy, pettiness, and hatred.  God does not place about the Christian an impregnable wall then say to the world “this soul you may not touch.”  But what God does do is say to that soul, “Be still.  Be calm, and know that I am God.”  Then, by such words as these, tranquility is found and peace is known. 

WAIT UPON GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          To wait quietly while remaining steadfast is very difficult but extremely important.  It is not unusual for God to speak into the life of an individual and lay out before him or her the path to follow or the principle to enact.  Yet, the rest of the world, the best of friends, and the most competent of colleagues advise otherwise.

          The Christian must listen for God, discern the right course, and stand firm against all who would detract.  God will come and bid us forward.  Only then will the world see the truth of our stance.

          “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope.”  –Psalm 130:5

STRIVE TO BE PERFECT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Part of what distinguishes humanity from the rest of creation is the desire to strive for excellence, to win, to achieve.  There prevails today a homogeneous ideology throughout our society.  Everyone is praised for the degree of success he or she attains, or lack thereof.

          This is not the way of the Christian.  When Christ says “you must be perfect,” He places upon us the expectation that we will constantly strive to be just that – perfect, of Christ-like character.  To say that He really doesn’t mean this and that anything and everything we are is acceptable to God is to say that Jesus was wrong and to call God a liar. 

GOD NEVER MEANS HARM, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          As a Christian walks through life, many encounters are born that, on the surface, appear bad.  To our perspective nothing of evil can be seen as bearing good.  Yet we know that our Heavenly Father wishes us no harm and sends our way only that which He deems as good.  All grief leads to blessing.  All trial brings rich possibility.  All pain looks toward the promises seen across Jordan’s stormy banks.  All that God wills for us comes to pass if we only allow God to work out the issue and cease relying on our own wisdom and strength.  No matter the darkness of the night, it bears within the gifts of love and grace. 

GOD WANTS YOUR MIND, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          A lack of intelligent thinking has no more place in our religion than it does in business or science or education.  A lazy mind filled with simple thoughts does not honor God.  Many are fond of saying, “I can’t help it;” “I was born that way;” or “I’m not even going to try because I just can’t understand.”  But usually this is not true.  It is more that we get lazy of mind and thought.  Malevolence does not cause as many problems in our life as does obtuse indolence.  And much of our senselessness is not inborn but of our own doing, or rather lack of doing.  We fail to think and thereby fail to grow in a relationship with God.  “…you shall love the Lord you God…with all you mind.”  Mark 12:30

ETERNITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We live in time, days passing into days; but when death comes, time is swallowed up into eternity.  To what can eternity be compared?  It is an age never expiring, always, forever, without change.  When ten thousand times ten thousand years have passed, the soul in residence is no closer to the end.  It is astonishing to contemplate no measure of bounds, no chance of knowing, no comprehension of infinitude.

          Each of us is running out of time and heading toward the eternal.  What gives emphasis to this is that which is to be will be forever.  Therefore, should we not be seeking what the Lord requires?  And what is that but “To do what is right, to love loyalty, and to walk humbly with your God.” –Micha 6:8, The New Jerusalem Bible.

NEVER BE SATISFIED, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          For a Christian to be alive in the faith, he or she must never be satisfied with what has been accomplished.  Growth of spirit is had through longing.  What has been achieved is good, fulfilling and rewarding but should serve as a springboard toward larger and grander goals.  The acquisition of something more can often be difficult to attain.  The continued improvement and growth of self can even be painful – discouragement appears more often and marked advancement more arduous to discern.  But it is only through longing that the soul truly reaches toward God.

          “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”  Matthew 5:6

GOD’S PURSUIT OF MAN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          There exists the concept that humanity is seeking God – that we are searching for Him, engaged in a quest for Him as though He were the one lost or a prize to be captured.  A measure of credibility exists in this, for each soul does possess a yearning to be united with its Creator. 

          But the Bible mostly tells a different story, one of God’s pursuing, and, in the end, His seizing the human soul.  It tells of God haunting us and hunting us until, in the end, He makes us His own.  We seek Him because He first sought us. 

          “I have loved thee with an everlasting love.”  –Jeremiah 31:5 

FOCUS ON PURSUIT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “There are no guarantees in life.”  That is certainly true.  No matter how much we desire to know or to be assured of a given result, it cannot be promised.

          For the Christian, the desire to be absolutely certain of an outcome is a wrong approach to life.  For us, the emphasis is not the effect but the path on which we travel.  Is it God’s path?  Is it His desired way for us?  Is it a task or a duty given by Him or by our own selfish motives?  The right way to live is to maintain clarity of thought and strength of skill and hold fast to what appear the correct things to do, then leave the results to God.  God has promised His presence in those who pursue His will.

FAITHFUL IN WORK, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The Christian believes that all work is a gift from God.  If work is a gift it is also a sacred duty.  Therefore, not to do work is to rob the world of that gift which God would bestow.  Not to perform the duty is to prove to be a slacker in the kingdom. 

          To be faithful is what Our Lord requires in all of life.  Faithful means doing the best and contributing the most always.  Faithful also means to show appreciation for the gift that God has given. 

          “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”  –I Corinthians 15:58

AFFLICTIONS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Our God is a God of righteousness.  The afflictions that come upon us are not meant for our destruction but rather for our betterment.  He desires that we grow.  He longs for our having a close relationship with Him. 

          If the way God deems to accomplish those ends demands pain, sufferings, confusion and grief, then so be it.  It should thrill our hearts that He thinks of us at all.  “Glory be to God, who regards us enough to make us suffer” is the song our longing hearts should sing. 

          “In faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me.”  — Psalm 119:75

ADMITTED WEAKNESS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We profess God as the strength of our lives, but the reality of that can only be had when we truly see ourselves as being weak.  The ability to see ourselves as weak is very difficult, though, because we are always dignifying our actions or thinking more highly of ourselves whereby we are proving trust in our own actions or experiences.  But it is only when we see ourselves as weak that true humility is born in us and all expectations of life be placed reliantly upon the Lord.

          So the Christian must know this, that humility brings strength; for the paradox is that only through humble weakness does God grant unconquerable fortitude. 

GROWING STRONG, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          How does God cause us to grow strong?  Many ways, to be sure, but none so gracious as when He raises us up to Him rather than coming all the way to us.  To bear the burdens of life without a cry for relief, to know sorrow and the ability to endure it, to experience peace with blessing and blessing without gain is to become more Christ-like in nature.

          Is it not better for us to fight a battle and be victorious over it than to shrink from the fight altogether?  Therefore, is it not also better for us to be victorious in conflict than to be relieved from the facing of it?  So, too, is not peace that is found in the midst of a storm more precious than a peace known without the tempest squall?  In such ways as these God brings us to Him whereby we can experience the fullness of life with the strength to pursue. 

THOSE WHO LOVE ARE IN CHURCH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Those who do not love, those who cannot love, close themselves off to the good and the beauty in others.  There are people in this world, some of them in the church, who are not capable of seeing or understanding love let alone expressing it.  Only those who can love are truly in the church; because love is born of God, for God is love – one of the first lessons that a child learns in Sunday School.  How sad it surely is to see those incapable of love: Never feeling another’s confusion.  Never admitting another’s mistakes.  Never believing in another’s ultimate capacity for good.  How sour these people make the milk of life.  Why would God do such a thing?  Why would God create a person incapable of joy and love?  “Why” we do not know, other than the fact that He simply does and that it has to do with the mark of His choosing.

          Therefore, “beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God.”  –I John 4:7-8

THIS IS SALVATION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          A shop which sells finely crafted, highly valued, hand-made guitars is burning.  Someone rushes into the building and saves several of the instruments from destruction.  This is salvation.

          However, the guitars have been damaged.  A Master Craftsman lovingly and expertly restores them to their original state.  This, too, is salvation.

          An expert guitarist takes one of the guitars in hand, tunes it, and begins to play, bringing forth the beauty and grace which the instrument was conceived to have.  Again, this is salvation. 

          The guitar has been rescued, repaired and used – its salvation is complete.  So, too, does Christ save each of us.  He rescues us from danger, He restores our soul, and He sends us out to work.

          “The Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.”  –Luke 19:10

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CHURCH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Too many persons in contemporary society have succumbed to the seductive belief that a person can be a good Christian away from the Church.  They are allured into believing that by being out with nature, or on the golf course, or enjoying a fresh morning, they can become moral.  But no fishing pole has ever produced morality, nor has catching up on sleep brought about spiritual literacy. 

          There is a dependence which exists in being part of the Christian fellowship and spiritual growth.  The art of Christian living can only be mastered in the surroundings of ideals, theology, and literature which teaches it. 

NO LIFE UNFULFILLED, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many fear going to their grave never having done that which God set out for them.  They know of things to be written or spoken that God would have said, yet what if they fall short of such proclamation?  There is still more to be done and more life to be lived, yet will it be enough?  Is God’s will to be accomplished or is it to be thwarted through their own shortcomings?

          For God to give us a task is for God to also grant us the way to complete that task.  No person ever need fear coming to the end of life with God-given goals unattained so long as the desire to reach them has been attempted.  We do not know what goals God sets out for each of us, nor do we know what the success of those goals may be in God’s sight.  All that He asks of us is the fidelity of pursuit. 

GOD IN CHRIST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Some people state that Christ was the only perfect person – the supreme example of how we are to live.  There are some who profess that Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit and thereby revealed the grace of God more than any other.  And there are others who argue that Christ was a special person, chosen by God and thus blessed to a life of teaching God’s ways.  These are all wrong.

          Christ was God – God was Christ.  This is the truth.  When Mary gave birth it was God who was born into the world.  When Jesus spoke it was God who was speaking.  When Christ healed the sick, the lame, and the blind, it was God who restored them to health.  And when Jesus Christ was crucified it was God who died.

          “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.”  –II Corinthians 5:19

WE TOUCH ETERNITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Everything that we do leaves its mark on life – not just our own but also the lives of all who surround us.  What tremendous duties, responsibilities, and destinies are captured in the bounds of each day we live.  Everything we do touches eternity.  Every word we speak for good or evil, for help or indifference, in cowardice or in strength has the possibility of affecting someone else forever.  This is the end result of Christian stewardship, that the words we say and the things we do will, in some way, last forever.  

THE ESSENTIAL QUESTION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

In these days, humans experience the denial of life’s mystery. What is taught is that life has problems rather than mysteries, and problems can always be solved when the correct “method” is applied. Therefore, the question “why?” has become irrelevant because it has no answer, and the question “how?” has replaced it.

But is it really possible to truly live without asking why we suffer, or why we toil, or why we love? Why is goodness good? Why is there beauty in the beautiful? Why were we brought into existence?

Perhaps the true questions of our faith can never be answered. Still, they must be asked.

“Faith is…the conviction of things not seen.” –Hebrews 11:1

THE TOWN OF MORALITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The Town of Morality is a place born in the mind of John Bunyan and is brought to life in his work Pilgrim’s Progress. Its existence is to show that there are many people who live under the belief that they can save themselves. Their reliance rests on self rather than upon Christ. Their major claim in life is that they live good, decent, honest lives. Yet, all persons have sins and shortcomings in this world; we each are clay-footed and make mistakes – what of those? God will overlook those things in the light of their effort.

But that is not the way of salvation.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” –Acts 16:31

SAYING WHAT YOU THINK, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

There is a trend in our world today of saying what is on one’s mind. Acceptability says that frankness in the name of honesty is good. Less violent behavior results when people express their emotions verbally. That which might otherwise be deemed impertinent or cruel is approved of when disguised as honest, helpful criticism that could lead a person to growth.

As true disciples of Christ, we have no right to say what we think unless those thoughts are loving and grace-filled. We certainly have no right to unload upon another our perceptions which do no more than hold in truth our own jealousies and envies. We all have, from time to time, ugly and unkind thoughts toward others; but it is our responsibility to keep those locked within ourselves. It used to be taught that discretion was the better part of valor. It is also the better part of being Christian.

GREAT PEACE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Great peace is found when we think of God not only as a Supreme Sovereign but also the Sure Guardian of our lives and the time we have to live.  Though the days to come are unknown to us, it is sufficient that they are known to God.  Within the confines of their hours are found the blessings of trust and the assurance that each hour disposed is solely by His good will.  No end shall come to us apart from God’s own deeming. 

APPRECIATION OF OTHERS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Too often the realized preciousness of a friend is born in an empty chair. The known joy of a companion is understood in the empty side of the bed. Unfortunately, loss brings with it the true value of our blessings. It should not be like this. If we were to acknowledge blessings while we have them, there would not be so painful a regret when they are gone. Think of the joy that would be ours in realizing and naming them now. Besides, think what grace it would bestow upon others to show an appreciation of their worth in our lives. It should not take a hurricane to appreciate a sunny day.

UNTHINKABLE MORTALITY. by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            In his sonnet titled “Intimations of Immortality,” Shakespeare asserted that when a person is truly and fully in love then mortality becomes unthinkable.  When a Christian becomes fully in love with Christ, the result is no less.  Christ enwraps us and enfolds us, He places His joy in us and our joy is made full; He loves us and we know His love; He is love.

            Having been filled with such a love as this, how can we be content with anything except spending eternity bathed in the light of it?

            “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”  — Philippians 3:8

OUR FAITH IS SMALL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            The best of our faith is but a small cup of what we need; that is all the depths we possess.  Therefore we must go to God daily.  For should we fail to come into His presence and the world continue to tax and siphon what little faith we have, then far too soon the reservoir becomes dry and we have no defense against the world’s alluring calls.  Only by quiet, trustful faith in God and obedience to Him at every step are we defended from life.  Tomorrow will bring no harm.  Those who do God’s will each day hide beneath His wings as the storms of life rage around.  Live this day, do this day’s work, enjoy this day’s blessings, and God will keep you tomorrow.

MAGIC OR MORAL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Human history shows that religions have been established from one of two perspectives – magical or moral.  Either the gods are summoned to do things for people or they are trusted to do things through people.  The God of Christianity is a bit of both.  Though the Christian knows God to be acting on our behalf and doing for us what we are incapable of doing for ourselves, He is also trusted to perform wondrous deeds through the life and the works of individuals.  He saves us because we cannot save ourselves; but He does not heal all our sickness, rather choosing to give us a mind capable of finding cures. 

            God does not want us to look to Him to do what we are capable of doing for ourselves.  What He does desire is that we grow into the wisdom and the stature of Our Lord and allow Him to work through us. 

            “To him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly.”  –Ephesians 3:20

GOD USES US, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Though we may profess with our lips that the ways of God are not the ways of man, people are not receptive to being informed that there may be a difference of purpose between themselves and God.  We want our plans and our goals to be preeminent.  We want God to support us in our self-identified endeavors.  However, God has His plan for the world.  His ways are just and His ends will be accomplished.  To deny any part of this is to deny that there is a God governing the world.  It is to His end that God uses us; we do not use Him. 

ALMIGHTY GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          It is often said that various acts of man are against the will of God.  Yet, if God is The Almighty that we profess Him to be, how can any single act be contrary to His will?  Are not the contents of this world so held in His hands and ruled by Him that all is to the glory of His name? 

          This is important for the Christian to remember, for once being called by God, He will not merely watch over us but rather conduct our whole life to the end that we shall partake of the immortal life He has prepared for us. 

          “All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”  –Romans 8:28

ADVERSITY BRINGS GROWTH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          As the storm tests the ship so does adversity try the spirit.  It is good and wise to avoid enticement and confrontation when possible, but by those troubles blessings may also abound.  It is the difficulty of those same experiences by which deep roots are put forth and growth occurs in Christ.  We learn the true meaning of Christ’s commands when life is wrought upon us; and by struggling to remain close to the faith, we grow in a Christ-like character.  

The Two Ways, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

There are 2 ways which religion can be approached: 1)”Hey God, I have done all of this for you, now what are you going to do for me?”; or 2) Hey God, I know all that you have done for me.  What can I do for you?”  We cannot put God in debt to us, but we can gratefully acknowledge that we owe everything to him.  One is a life of selfishness; the other a life of gratitude.  

SHOW YOUR FAITH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

                What good is the Christian religion if it is read, studied, and kept to oneself?  The faith is to be gotten down off the shelf, taken into the world, and actively lived each day.  Our faith is an experience – an experience of God first and then others experience Him through us.  Therefore, the Christian is not to know God in the heart and there only; rather, God and Christ are to be shown to the world in countless moments through all interactions.

                “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.”  –James 1:22

FREEDOM IN CHOICE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            God’s purpose and humanity’s free choice are always at work.  In the life of every person there comes a time of choice, or a whole litany of choosings, when the decision must be made between self and God, our way or His way, our desired life or His life desired for us.

            Adam chose his own way and thus we have been stained with a desire to decide for ourselves what is best.  Freedom is found in choosing what God has willed.

            “Choose this day whom you will serve.”  –Joshua 24:15

CHRIST, OUR BIOGRAPHER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            For many years now “journaling” has been in vogue – a sort of diary keeping where the individual writes down his or her thoughts and contemplations for the day.  It is believed that this furthers people along in their journeys as a way of growing and experiencing the faith on a different level.  But the Christian must be careful when writing about self because there is no need to chronicle good deeds done, sacrifices offered, or autobiographies of the physical life led.  Each life lived should let its own record be sufficient, and Christ should serve as the biographer.  Christ will not forget anything that we do or say.  One day we each will stand before Christ, and on that day the most obscure deed we have done or the lowest service we provided will be remembered.   

CHRIST IS REAL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Throughout contemporary Christendom, many attempts are made to distinguish between the Christ of History and the Christ of faith.  Such writings and pronouncements maintain that it makes no difference whether the reported history of Christ is true.  Rather, it is the standards and the expectations that we derive from the stories which are of importance.

          But the Christian faith has never stood on such thought as that, nor was such an ideology ever intended to exist within it.  It stands contrary to all logic to believe that Christianity can be untrue historically and true ethically.  Without the historical facts of Christianity being true, there is no Christian hope, there is no Christian gospel, and there is no basis for living a Christian life.  There cannot be a present, living Christ without the historical reality of who He was and His having been among us. 

BE STILL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          We often exert a great deal of effort placing our self-will into the recesses of our character in an attempt to be closer to God.  Yet, if we would be still and rest in silence before the strength of God, what we experience is the peace, the serenity, and the assurance of His Spirit gracing our soul.  For the Christian this is the foundation of a Christ-like nature – allowing God to breathe His renewing life upon us.  Our self-will then becomes lost to Him.

“Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what Thou dost love, And do what Thou wouldst do.” Edwin Hatch, 1886

INCONSISTENCY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            There are those in the Christian community who would have the church believe and practice a doctrine of inconsistency.  This means that they allow the Spirit to interpret and control each individual situation in accordance with the particulars of the instance.  In other words, each circumstance calls for its own set of values and ethics to be defined by the desired outcome.  It is disguised in such nonsense as “what would Jesus do,” or “the church must not be exclusive,” or even “we must be tolerant of everyone.”

            When our desired ends are allowed to control the journey, define the thought or structure the belief, then we have no firm foundation upon which to stand.  A doctrine of inconsistency results, no firmer than the shifting sands beneath our feet.  Our God is a God of order and constancy.  He abides through the inconsistencies of life and adheres to the laws of his making – steady and undeviating.  Our calling is not to adapt God to people but to bring people to God.

Jehovah-Jireh, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          This New Year’s day, write upon your heart the words “Jehovah-Jireh; “The Lord will provide.”  This reminds us that we can trust God always; that no promise He has ever made gets broken; that He does all things well; and that out of all that, to us, seems lost and destroyed He brings blessings.  None of us have ever gone this way before, but He has.  In this new year which lies ahead there will be joys and there will be sorrows; there will be successes and there will be failures; there will be the experiences which come every year of life.  We cannot see what lies ahead of us – but God can.  So Jehovah-jireh calls out to us to enter the new year with calm trust.  It bids us put away all anxieties and forebodings.  Jehovah-jireh – “The Lord will provide.” 

BLESSING OTHERS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            To be Christ-like is to touch another’s life with blessing.  Wherever Christians go, whomever Christians encounter, their lives ought to be an inspiration and a benediction.  We preach a sermon by what people see of us, and we teach a lesson wherever our shadow falls.  Do people feel happier after meeting us?  Do others become more confident, more able to stay the course with their feet planted firmly in Christ?  Is their path more illumined so as to make the difficult journey easier to trod?  Is the weary heart raised and the sorrowful soul relieved?  If so, then we have been the benediction of life. 

CHOOSING GOD’S WAY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Choosing God’s way over our own way is often difficult and not pleasing.  We learn to set our own goals and to establish our own plans.  We are taught to visualize a future as we would like it to be and then work to attain those dreams.

            How many heavenly blessings are missed because we become so self-absorbed?  How often does God bring blessings disguised as failure, inadequacy, pain or disappointment?  The Christian must not only pray “Thy will be done” but also consciously look for it even at the expense of his or her own dreams. 

            “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”  –Matthew 6:32

ACCEPT DRUDGERY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            The drudgery of life is of God’s design.  And though it takes its toll on us by the treadmill of it – the constant appointments, the ever-present rules, the endless tasks – and causes us to cry for relief, to lay aside the duties and seek moments of leisure, it is still all from God.

            God’s desire for us is to bless us.  Of nothing can we be more sure than this.  Therefore, in all the seeming burdens we are called to bear, true and full blessings are hidden.  Growth does not come through the ease of life but by the constant and consistent plodding to fulfill our daily chores. 

A LIFE OF PREACHING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Many Christians profess that they could never stand before a group of people and speak, whether it be in the form of reading, praying or teaching.  Yet, that does not mean that they cannot preach a sermon.

            Each of us should be an inspiration wherever we go and with whomever we find ourselves.  People should feel more fortified, more valued, more intent, more content and joy-filled after being with us.  Silently we ought to touch others with a saintly influence.  The holy light of Christ should beam through our eyes onto the dark and sad and weary hearts around us.  There is a beauty of holiness in our life.  Be sure it is a benediction to human sorrow and need. 

A PEACE-FILLED CHRISTMAS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

                We celebrate Christ’s birth.  We give and we receive gifts as indicative of the Season.  Yet, how often through it all do we consider the love of God?  Christmas should be filled with our affection for Christ – thoughts about God’s tender passion poured out upon us and made real in the birth of our Savior.  A happy and peace-filled Christmas will result in the heart of the person who remembers God and gives thanks to Him for all. 

A JOY AND CURSE TOGETHER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

                What a joy and yet a curse you have placed upon man, O God – love that is.  It is the height of pleasure and delight, while the source of our deepest pains.  Years of life are spent amidst the pleasures, surrounded by those whom we love.  Then, born out of that love is the pain of separation.  The child grows up and leaves.  The parent grows old and dies.  Were it not for the love, it would not hurt so.  Were it not for the years of being bound one to another we could continue on, not aching for the one now gone.  But such is the wisdom of God that this be of His design.  Our task is to pray the grace to live it out well. 

COME TO WORSHIP, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

                Many people are brought into the faith today by being told how content they will be.  They come to God or come to Jesus believing that it will make them feel good.  They come seeking happiness because they are told that God will make them happy and Jesus will be the fulfillment of their life.

                To come to the faith either seeking or expecting something in return is to come with the expectation of having God serve us.  We come to the faith to worship God, nothing more.  What God does in return is up to Him. 

A CLEAR AND CERTAIN LAW, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

                There is one truth that stands clear from the start of history to its end, and that is the law of retribution – the fact that we will one day face our sins.  We may face them in another.  We may face them in the conscious of self.  Most certainly we will face them before the Judgment Seat of Christ.

                Yet, what the Christian knows is that by laying his or her sins at the feet of Christ, grace is found in abundance.

                “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”  –Romans 5:20

A SHALLOW CHURCH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

                The church today has people becoming more important than Christ.  The criteria for our actions has become what is fair for persons, and the justification for the actions is the claim that Christ would do the same.  Who among us knows what Christ would do?

                We have become as shallow as the world which bred us, and we would now seek to legitimize that world through or theology.  Salvation will never be borne out through expediency.  Civility is not the way to righteousness, nor is tolerance the road to justification.  Rather, faith in God’s word is the appropriating act whereby righteousness is secured. 

                “But to what shall I compare this generation?  It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’”  –Matthew 11:16-17

GOD AS KING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            For Christians to acknowledge God as King, Lord, Almighty, Shepherd, or any other supreme attribute that we ascribe to Him, is to state that we are not such.  If God is King, we are not; therefore, we must be His subjects.  If God is Almighty, then we are something less though our weakness denies such acknowledgement.  Much unhappiness is brought on ourselves when we insist on asserting that we are something more than is our true nature. 

DESTROYING PEACE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            If striving to follow the Father’s will is the only way to having peace, then it follows that resisting His will, disobeying His law, and seeking to save our own life will destroy that peace.  It is only through learning God’s lessons and applying them to life that perfect peace is found.  It is inconsistent for a Christian to presume to know better than God.

CHOOSE A SIDE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Life can be easy and most certainly filled with less conflict simply by choosing to have it so.  But what sort of life does that portray?  Does not Christ require, yea even demand, that we come to him?  Does He not say that we need to stand on His side.?

            To come to Christ is often to cross the world, and it is in this endeavor that character is born.  It is true that some measure of growth can come without a struggle but not near the character obtained when standing up for God and Christ.  It involves choosing sides. 

            “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot…So, because you are lukewarm…I will spew you out of my mouth.”  Revelation 3:15-16

CHERISHED IGNORANCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            We have not the slightest concept of what it means to have life in God and to walk truly in His ways.  That which we think of as serving God and being pleasing to Him is perverse at best.  Everything we do, everything we think is so rooted in ourselves that even when we think that we hear or understand or follow God’s Word it is at best our own human desire imposed upon the Divine.

            Never forget that all of the rules and the laws of God are in conflict with what we see as the way to please Him.  Never rely too much on your own thoughts nor trust without question that your actions are right.  Even so, as ignorant as we may be regarding God’s Word to us, we must cherish that ignorance for through it God will speak. 

A GREAT AWAKENING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            When a human mind begins to ponder the infinite and the eternal, it discovers the immensity of the relationship it maintains with God.  Wonder and love begin to issue forth; all duties, actions and responsibilities previously thought worthy become inconsequential; everything that came before sinks into obscurity.  When, at length, a human mind comes to a comparison of this world in which we live and the heavenly world to come, the insignificance of the actual set against the grandeur of the expected, then true hope is born and the roots of faith begin to grow. 

A TRUE MOUTH GUARD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Do we pay less attention to anything in our life than the words that we speak?  Words issue forth from our mouth as fast and prevalent as leaves falling from an autumn tree.  We live under the misguided notion that we have the right, if not the expectation, to say whatever we like.

            For a Christian this is not right.  Words have power – to heal or to hurt; to be a blessing or a hindrance; to point toward good, immortality and holiness.  Therefore, a Christian must think about what words are to be spoken before they leave the tongue.  Otherwise, disrespect, venom, and malice may spew forth while love remains unexpressed.

            “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips.”  –Psalm 141:3

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            The world tries to make religion into a science, or at the very least into a philosophy – a theoretical.  If a religion involves no more than learning principles and following rules, that would be true.  No doubt for some people religion is no more than this.

            But Christianity is a life.  It is the constant growth of a human heart into a Christlike being.  It is to live by the rule of love – that we love one another as Christ has loved us.  It is to allow the Kingdom of Heaven to blossom within us – to accept the rule and the authority of Christ.  Being Christian is a lifetime of learning how to bring the heart and mind and will into complete submittance to our Lord. 

TRUTH IS SEEN IN RETROSPECT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Sin often comes to us as something exciting, risky, and daring: yet afterward ugliness and horror is all that is known.  Ministry and Christian service are sometimes demanding, laying great burdens and taxing much energy, yet following comes gratitude, fulfillment, and a sense of deep reward.  The true character of actions is only known afterwards when being viewed in retrospect.  So, too, the truth about one’s life is only known when looking back from the edge of eternity. 

UNBELIEF VERSUS BELIEF, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Many Christians think that if they believe in their mind that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only way to salvation, then they are a true follower of Christ.  The problem we have in the church, though, is not one of belief.  Intellectual ascent is not synonymous with commitment.  True, intellectually we must first believe; but quickly the call moves beyond and we must be prepared to commit all we are and have to God – body, mind, and will.

            Perhaps when the father of the epileptic child cried out, “I believe, help my unbelief,” he already knew in his mind the power of God.  His reservation was the humble commitance that such knowledge would require.  

ONLY JOY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Sadness is a sin that surely brings us low.  For the Christian this is avoidable because of Christ.  Christ has placed His joy within us; He has justified our relationship with God; He has shown us what it takes to live loving, successful lives.  Christ has revealed to us the Father, and Christ has placed eternity into our minds.  All of this, and much more, calls forth from us nothing less than our delight – complete, fulfilling joy.

LOSS OF SELF, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            People can lose their health, their friends, even their social standing and with it their wealth, and often through no fault of their own.  But when they lose the best within themselves – truth, honor, integrity and principles, then they have lost the best of themselves.  These virtues are never taken away but always surrendered.  Where then is self-respect when this happens? 

BEING SURE OF GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Life often proves that God-given talents and abilities must be tempered through hardship and struggle.  It was following deep sorrow and much suffering that Dante was moved to write his “Divine Comedy.”  With death crossing the threshold of his life, Mozart composed his immortal “Requiem.”  John Milton showed moments of brilliance during his youth, but it was not until his sight had been surrendered and blindness darkened his world that his most masterful work came forth. 

            Who of us has not been through days of such depression, disappointment, confusion and anger that little if no comfort was found in the words, “All things work together for good to them that love God?”  Yet the Christian must cling to the understanding that all does fit into a great framework of life whose designer is God.  Alone, the death of a child, the business that failed, the betrayal of a trust would cause the end of us.  But through trust in God’s providence and goodness we can be sure of God and sure of our place in His Divine Plan.

            “He is not afraid of evil tidings.”  –Psalm 112:7

SILENT INFLUENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Whether we intend to or not, we constantly influence those around us.  Not a single day can be lived without touching some other life.  Like footprints on the beach, we leave impressions upon all who see and hear us.  This influence then depends more on what we are rather than what we do.  It is only through the constant moment-by-moment living of each day that we continue to be a blessing to those who surround us.  Our life will fall across another this day, and whether that person is better or worse for it is our responsibility. 

THE REASON FOR THE SEASON, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            “Christ, the reason for the season” has become a popular saying.  In its intent it is good; because it draws to mind the remembrance of why we celebrate and that Christ is at the heart of Christmas.  The commercialization of Christmas is frightening and crowds out the true message – the birth of Our Lord.

            But in truth the saying is not correct.  God looked down upon sinful man and knew that He had to act if we were to be saved.  Due to our shortsightedness, selfish and self-centered motives, our lack of love, and our inability to keep the laws as God had given them, we had broken our relationship with God.  If there was any other way that this relationship could be restored, God would have done so – but there was not.  Therefore, “we” are the reason for the season.

            “…the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight , behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts…For he is like a refiner’s fire and…he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord.”  –Malachi 3:1-3

MERE WORDS ARE NOT PRAYER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            The mere repeating of words does not make for praying.  Whether they are petitions originating from ourselves or forms written of old or new, along with such words there must be sincerity of the spirit, an ardent glow upon the heart, and a passionate worship by the soul in an earnest desire to touch God.  Unless our very self is poured out with the words and presents our life at the feet of God, we have not truly prayed. 

LOSS OF SELF, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            People can lose their health, their friends, even their social standing and with it their wealth, and often through no fault of their own.  But when they lose the best within themselves – truth, honor, integrity and principles, then they have lost the best of themselves.  These virtues are never taken away but always surrendered.  Where then is self-respect when this happens? 

ENDURING ACTIONS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            The smallest things we do become more then just part of our own selves.  Every deed done leaves its mark not just on those who surround us in life but on life itself.  Therefore, every impression we make is enduring.  When viewed from such a height as this, what tremendous destinies and responsibilities are wrapped in each day that God gives to us.  That which is done today is for eternity.  Words spoken in the ear of the discouraged, the hand of restraint placed upon the arm of the tempted, the gift of prayer breathed softly on the life of the bereaved – we will never know the ministry that these good deeds will perform or the destiny to which they will travel. 

BETWEEN YOU AND CHRIST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            We tend to get caught up in the belief that to truly love Christ, our love must be shown through beneficial acts toward others.  What this says is that unless we are helping others, we are not showing Christ our love for Him.  But our love for Christ is not solely borne on the wings of feeding the hungry or clothing the naked.

            To bathe the feet of Christ with our penitential tears, to sing songs of praise and offer prayers in time of worship, to pour out our hearts in silent adoration though never a word of it is spoken to another – in these ways we show love.  Even though we do nothing to affect another’s life, we comfort no sad heart and support no weary soul save our own, the heart of Christ is made glad by us.

            Perhaps we sometimes need to forget all others and simply love Christ ourself –for our own sake. 

SATAN’S BUSINESS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The Bible teaches that “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”  Yet the truth bears out that everywhere men and women are, evil is also found.  The balance of nature becomes spoiled by humanity.  The harmony of relationships turn into cacophonies.  Power is abused, justice is ignored, needs are disregarded.  Evil entered history through humanity and undoubtedly will remain until the end. 

          Christ called Satan “the prince of this world,” “the enemy,” “a liar.”  He knew that Satan’s business is to control the souls of this world.  But Jesus also knew that Satan would be destroyed and his desire for humans would one day end. 

          “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”  –Luke 10:18

WE CANNOT HINDER GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          No matter how grand, how large, how extensive the work we are asked to do, ours is but a small portion of God’s great plan.  Our part in His design is but a humble portion, to be sure; and should we fail – or worse, refuse – God will continue without us.  We cannot hinder God or thwart His intent.  We can only hurt ourselves.  How sad it would be to miss the blessings brought on through following God’s path. 

Thanksgiving Proclamation, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.  I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”  –Abraham Lincoln

MISPLACED INTERPRETATIONS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Our human desires often wrongfully interpret the events of our lives.  Overwhelming longing frequently brings with it an explanation that God is providing for us even when the affair itself may be contrary to his laws.  Therefore, we must be careful in determining what is of God and what is of self.  Every opportunity that arises in life is not of God’s doing.  God’s watchful care never contradicts the words of life He has given. 

THE END IS THANKS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            When the seasons of our years give us a warning that our duration on earth is short, it behooves us greatly to look toward God and remember by whose hand our life was made.  Then, by response in all humility, it is right and proper to thank God that we have been permitted to partake so long in the wonderment of life.  It is God who has endured our incitements against Him; borne our decrepit behavior; and, in spite of all, still shared with us the grace of Himself.  So it should be that not just in faith and hope but gratitude as well that we commit unto Him the trust of our soul.

            “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for my eyes have seen thy salvation…”  –Luke 2:29

TRUTH – THE PRICE OF CHRISTIANITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          Many people in our society would never dare dream of stating a lie, yet untruths are professed in their life every day.  Words are couched so as to leave the impression of truth when they really are not so.  Behavior is acted out contrary to promises made or commitments assured thus making the words a lie.  Insincerity, deceit, concealment, dissimulation each contribute to a climate of dishonesty.

          Christians must never deceive.  Christians must be true to every word, every action, and every inflection of the voice; for only then will they be true to their own soul and thus to God in whose image they were made.  There are no little untruths with God.

          “I by my works will show you my faith.”  James 2:18

THE WORLD’S ALLURE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          During our course in the journey of our faith, we each have our strong days and our weak days.  There are days when the desires of the world sway us toward compromise.  Yet just as sure are the days when we are strong enough to stand with Christ against the common vulgarity of the world.  None of this is an easy task for the Christian, because the alluring’s of the world cause our defenses to drop; and then that which the world professes can be made to sound like the voice of Christ Himself.

TO FOLLOW, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          When God says to us “Follow me,” it is for the doing of His will.  Too often though we set out to accomplish our own will instead.  Is it right for us to insist on having our own way and to press on toward our own desired ends?  When God calls us to “Follow,” is that not precisely what He means, to follow?  He does not mean to lead.  He does not even mean for us to seek His approval to our desires.  What God intends is that we seek out His will and make it our own.  Only God knows what is best for us, and only the life commended to His superior wisdom will be a blessing to anyone, including oneself.

SANCTIFIED BY THE SPIRIT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          The Holy Spirit is God.  The Holy Spirit is God working His saving grace in our midst.  Through the Holy Spirit, God pushes back the dark, sends light to our eyes, sprinkles our conscience with the blood of Christ, and brings to our knowledge the goal of our journey through life. 

          Without the Spirit what good could we bring forth?  Without the Spirit what passion would burn within us, and what image would be seen flowing from us?  Without the Spirit what would be our end?

          “God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” 

          –II Thessalonians 2:13 

SIN’S THREE AVENUES, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Sin comes at the Christian by three avenues: The doubt of God; the arrogant temptation of God; and the chasing after “vainglory” as the old preachers would say.

            We doubt God by wondering about His promises, by questioning His care for us and thereby striving to keep ourselves in control of our lives.  This was the sin of Adam and Eve, an idolatrous knowledge which declares that we know what is best for ourselves rather than what God declares to be best. 

            The arrogant temptation of God is what scripture calls “grieving the Spirit.”  Egotistically, deliberately, for self-approving, self-grandizing motives, we do and say things that are contrary to the will of God.  We know what is offensive, but self-affirmation proves stronger.

            Chasing after “vainglory” is appealing to the mores of the world and seeking those rewards which perish.  The world’s recognition is fleeting, while God seeks to know and hold us forever.

            These are the three temptations which Jesus had to conquer when Satan met Him in the wilderness.  They have not changed in all the centuries hence, and we must face them as well.

            “…You shall worship the Lord you God and Him only shall you serve.”  –Matthew 4:10

GOD GOVERNS ALL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

If we say that God governs the universe, then we must also say that nothing happens upon the earth apart from His providence. Our actions are according to His will. His wisdom, beyond our power to understand is involved in the world’s transactions. We see ambitions clashing as people pursue selfish ends. We know of hurtful strategies as some seek to gain at the expense of others. Though the world appears to us to be filled with darkness and chaos, to God they are light and order. What we see lies on the surface, for beneath it all moves the irresistible hand of God. “The wrath of men shall praise thee.” –Psalm 76:10

GOD IN CONTROL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

It is not very fashionable these days for God to be in control. In a world where civility is more important than virtue, we have allowed ourselves to believe that which we know not to be true. We allow behavior we know to be wrong because we want to get along. We keep silent in the face of untruth for fear of criticism. We do that which stands contrary to our faith in the false belief that peace will be promoted. But if God is going to be in control of our life, then it will entail our standing up for that which is not popular. When God is in control we tend to do what is right, and what is right is not always what people want.

THE FACTS FOR LIFE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

In an attempt to explain, or use, or tell the Story, so much is being written today that the Gospel’s true meaning has become toned down and blurred. The message which Christ bore is so unfocused and broadly interpreted that it has become uninteresting – so diluted that its meaning is murky and dim. Yet even so, the Gospel declares truths which Christ presented as facts. Religious people refer to them as “religious truth,” while the non-religious call them “words of wisdom.”

The Christian is to hear a truth taught by Jesus as the facts needed for living. The words may be wise and the context may be religious, but the truths to which they testify lead to eternity.

“Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” –John 6:68

WHO IS LORD?, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

If God is believed to be Lord of our lives, then how can we say that we are responsible for our own future? To say that we are responsible says that God is not, and thereby neither is He Lord. If God is not Lord, then our belief is untrue and our faith is false. It could even be said that we falsely testify of God that He is Lord when in fact He is not, if indeed it is true that we direct our own futures.

For if God is not responsible for and does not direct our lives, then we must; and if we must, then God thereby does not. If this then is true that God does not, then surely we are without hope.

THE LOVE IN AFFLICTION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Those things that humanity calls affliction – anguish, pain, grief, and suffering – bring out the best of love. A parent’s love is never manifest so great as when a child is in distress. Concern for and care of the child’s state becomes foremost in the heart.

Thus it is also with the love of God. By virtue of our having fallen, our being in peril of becoming lost forever, God’s richest love shows forth. In light of our deep needs the Father’s heart is poured out in compassion.

GRACE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Penitence is most certainly good and necessary if we are to be right with God, but it is not the best thing – innocence is far better. Having once sinned, though, penitence is better than despair; for the thought of transgressions committed in the past will always bring with them a measure of pain. Yet even out of the sin, out of the pain and sorrow, God is able to bring blessing, and not just for ourselves but for everyone whom we meet. The past is over and done with. We cannot undo the wrong which we committed. But such is the grace of God that He can keep those wrongs from undoing us and, in some mysterious way, bring good out of them. If only we could have the trust to commit the whole matter to His watchful care.

CORRECT RELIGION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

There are two ways of being religious – though the true Christian can choose only the one. One way is to believe that God is in debt to us. Through our goodness, our piety, our trying real hard or our misguided view of fairness, it is believed that God owes us His approval and His love for which He will pay by our having eternal life.The Christian way of being religious is to acknowledge the depths of our debt to God. It is to know that only by His giving His Son, Jesus Christ, that we are freed from our sins and gain an eternal relationship with Him. We owe everything to God. Believe that only!

APPRECIATION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

It is the nature of humanity not to appreciate what we have. “You never know what you have until it is gone” is a favorite yet factual saying. Death removes someone from our life, and only then do we come to fully know how much we looked forward to his or her being around. We devoid our life of some article, and not until we replace it do we realize how good the quality was. Only after leaving a class do we appreciate the teacher. All will be gone one day. Therefore, let us strive to love one another now. Let us show and tell the love we hold and the respect we feel.

OUR INFLUENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Every human life is an influential force in the world. Everyone who comes in contact with us learns of good and bad, truth and deception, honor and insincerity by watching our actions and hearing our words. The fact that we may not choose or want such responsibility is inconsequential – it is ours nonetheless. Let us not set in motion any inducement we would rather take to our grave, fore it will outlive us.

“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious…forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” –Exodus 34:6-7

ONLY CHRIST LEADS HOME, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

How can one end a journey if it is never begun? How can one come to The House of God if faith is never ventured into? For the Christian, all journey’s begin with Christ, end with Christ, and contain Christ as their master, guide and friend. No soul has ever found a way home without Him.

“No one comes to the Father, but by me.” –John 14:6

GOD PROVES HIMSELF, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

          “Religion is nothing unless it is true,” Coleridge wrote.  Yet, what proof do we have that religion is true?  Science applies countless experiments in order to be convinced that a hypothesis is true of false.  Religion has no such proofs – or does it?

          Contrary to what many believe, the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ is a tested hypothesis.  Generations of Christians have experimented and allowed God to provide the proof, thereby becoming convinced of the truth. 

          Left to oneself, a person’s idea about God is not sufficient; because as people we are looking for something – not the Someone whom God brings to us.

          “Come and you shall see”  –John 1:39 (ASV)

          “Seek and you will find.”  –Matthew 7:7

GOD IS NOT OUR PARTNER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Many in the Christian community focus on God’s affirming relationship with people. God is the “life partner” and “problem solver.” There is no matter, difficulty, or situation which cannot be conquered if God is near. The benefits of His help are had by those who lean upon Him and talk with Him.

While such an understanding of God may be comforting, it is greatly limited and of a one-dimensional faith. Throughout the pages of scripture, God reveals Himself to us not as our “partner” but as Our Lord, Our Savior, and Our Judge.

EFFORT WITHOUT RESULT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Often a great deal of effort can be put into something without yielding any visible results. Dreams that are in the heart and plans that are in the mind never come to fruition, not due to lack of desire but rather through the wanting of skill or knowledge to make it so. Tears flow over failures, and regrets rise out of shortcomings.

But Christ knows the heart and our true desires, and Christ sees what we had planned on His behalf. So though it failed or came up short of the end we sought, Christ accepts the work we do and the plans we make and credits them to us.

OUR INFLUENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Every human life is an influential force in the world. Everyone who comes in contact with us learns of good and bad, truth and deception, honor and insincerity by watching our actions and hearing our words. The fact that we may not choose or want such responsibility is inconsequential – it is ours nonetheless. Let us not set in motion any inducement we would rather take to our grave, fore it will outlive us.

“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious…forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” –Exodus 34:6-7

REPENTANCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The word “repentance” has become void of meaning in today’s world. If for no other reason than its commonality, the word has become antiquated, inadequate, if not obsolete. The term is restricted in its usage to reflect nothing more than sorrow – the sorrow of being discovered or found out. To repent of doing or saying something without changing the behavior that accompanies the action is nothing more than regret.

When a person has truly repented there has been a transformation, the whole being has come into line with the precepts of God. God knows the true change of mind and heart. Is this repenting done for the sake of social gain or for God who is above us and whose eternity lies before us? Repentance is not just being sorry for past conduct but a true renouncing of that conduct. It is a true change from bad to good, from what is wrong to a life in conformity to the requirements of heaven.

SEEING SATAN, Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Throughout its history Christianity has acknowledged three great enemies: the world, the flesh, and Satan. Of these three enemies it is the last, Satan, which is the most dangerous. He is most dangerous, first of all, because he empowers and invests the other two with authority. Then, secondly and most profoundly, his threat is rooted in the fact that he is so seldom recognized and his existence too often not acknowledged.

The ability to see that which cannot be seen and to hear that which cannot be heard is an acquisition of faith. Therefore, it is only through living by faith that true assurance, peace, comfort and strength are found for our walk through the world and for the struggles born therein – many of which are placed in our path by Satan. For when we acknowledge the true source of our failings, we stand better equipped to resign them to God.

THE ARTS DO NOT SAVE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            Those things that the world prizes – art, music, and performance – may grow a congregation in numbers but they do not win souls for Christ.  Instead, it is faith, love, prayer and humility which do that.  Such gifts as these bestowed upon the disciples by Christ are the tools of a holy life.  The arts are a good ingredient; and people who author, compose, and perform are enjoyed and appreciated.  But the noblest work of all is done by the person who, in holy love, returns a wandering soul to the fold of God. 

WORSHIP ONLY GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

            So much of contemporary religion is presented as though there were no God.  Writings, personal relations, even the act of worship are focused on living a better life, self-improvement, and achieving happiness.  We are taught to help a neighbor for no other reason than it is the right thing to do.  Worship is structured to keep people interested and to be enjoyable.  The Sanctuary is referred to as a “worship center” – though worship of what or who is not addressed. 

            God demands that we worship only Him; we aid one another because of Him; we are filled with joy only by Him.  When ethics are rewarded and taught without God as the cause and center, people become filled with self-goodness and Christ’s Blood loses all meaning. 

            “You shall have no other gods before me.”  –Exodus 20:3

NOTHING IN RETURN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

It is said that the truest and purist form of giving expects nothing in return – it is unconditional. God has given us His Son. Without conditions God has brought salvation into the world.

What this means for the Christian is that God does not expect obedience, but we are bound to give it. God does not expect our love, but we are obliged to offer it. He does not expect our honor and praise, but we are drawn to do nothing less. The truth of Christmas is that God comes unto us and gives Himself for us – expecting nothing in return.

“In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.” — I John 4:10

GRIEVING THE SPIRIT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Though we are chosen by God it is still possible to “grieve the Spirit,” as the old time preacher would say. In order to understand what was meant, it must be looked at thus: it is God’s Spirit that abides with us and within us and by which we are strengthened and led in our daily witness of Him. And it is this same Spirit that sanctifies us and fills us with the holy life of God. Why then would we choose to do that of which the Spirit does not approve – lying, stealing, showing disrespect, breaking promises, and so much more. Each of these cause the joy of our faith to dim within us. Therefore, hold fast to God’s laws and the Spirit will abide in you.

GOD CALLS EACH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Each generation that inhabits this earth is brought forth according to God’s great plan. When the appointed time is come, each appears on the stage of history; and when the time fixed for their dismissal arrives, He sends them away. The time of our appearing is come. Our ancestors have left vacant their place and gone down to the dust, as did theirs before them. Now is our time to be permitted to act out our part freely and without constraint or reservation. So we proceed, steadfast in the knowledge that there is not a day of our life nor an event in a day but was foreseen by God.

CONSISTENCY OF LIVING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

How sad it is that by the lives they live people who profess to follow Our Lord lead others to sin. Each of us is responsible for our personal actions, and the inconsistencies we demonstrate may show a darkened road away from Our Savior rather than a lighted path leading to His feet.Our lives should be nothing less than the pages of the New Testament brought to life.

BEING A BLESSING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

It is often said that Christ has no hands but ours; He has no feet but ours; the voice with which we speak makes real to others His words. Through these means we become a blessing. God blesses us that we might use our hands and feet and words to be a blessing to those around us in life. It is in such a manner that we become Christ-like.
It is in such a manner that we also are blessed – through the realization that we are blessing. “Take my hands, and let them move At the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet, and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee.” Frances Ridley Havergal, 1874

DIVERSE CURRENTS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The stream of life has many currents upon which the soul is carried. Friendship, love, social interaction, career, and entertainment are but to mention a few. Some currents carry the soul on placid ripples, while other waves beat against it with intent on turning it toward submission. The Christian is to realize that either can lead to salvation or condemnation. Gentleness can result in destruction as surely as adversity can restrain from harm. Therefore, with prayerful watching live each day and pray for the wisdom to discern. “Pray constantly.” –I Thessalonians 5:17

THE GREAT QUESTION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

John Brashear wrote, “Somewhere beneath the stars is a work which you alone were meant to do. Never rest until you have found it.” This is the supreme task for the Christian. We have been chosen in Christ to be vessels for His work. And what work might that be? Christ tells us to “go.” “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Go and preach salvation through Jesus Christ and Him only. Go and heal the sick, lift up the lame, proclaim that the year of the Lord is at hand. Go and work until “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Go and show the world the love of Grace. Go and bring the world to Christ – bring the world to God! The litany is a long one, and within its bounds we each have our work to do – we each have a special gift which is ours and ours alone. The supreme question therefore is, “What does God want me to do with the talents He has bestowed upon me?” “What am I to do, Lord?” –Acts 22:10

THE MOST VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The greatest and most valuable knowledge that can come into the mind of a person is eternity.  All other terms of the faith are emptied of their content if there was no “forever.”  Words like God, redemption, grace, prayer, and salvation become void of depth and meaning when eternity is removed from them.

“[H]e has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”” To think of the sacredness of life is to cause the discouraged eyes to lift and the dejected heart to soar.  Then hope is reborn.

OBLIGED TO INFLUENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

We as Christians profess that we believe ourselves to be under obligation to shape and influence the world’s institutions so that they conform to God’s purposes.  This means not accepting the world as it is and not bowing to its pressures for approval.

So why are we apologetic for our actions?  Why do we allow the world to control what we do and what we say?  The Christian agenda in the modern world is being set by the society in which the church exists, not by the church.  The question is being raised as to whether the Christian has the right to tell institutions and groups that what is being professed is not right.  We are being told that we do not possess the right of judgment.

Yes we do possess the right.  Not only do we have the right, we are under obligation.

PRAY FOR DISCONTENT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The Christian life is, by nature, one of quenchless thirst and insatiable appetite.  There exists a constant discontent that drives the heart and soul on a never-ending quest.  Yet, too many Christians become satisfied with both who they are and what they know.

Though it may sound like a contradiction, pray for discontent.  With all the infinite possibilities of spiritual life that lie spread out before us, we must not be satisfied with who we are at any given time of life.  

LAWS LIMIT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The laws of God limit and narrow the Christian, and it is precisely here that people of the faith have their biggest problems.  We do not like following rules that are not of our own making.  We are kingdom builders, and the rules we follow are the ones which structure our own kingdoms.  We want specificity so as to affect those causes and parties which we deem to be important.  But God does not give heed to our rules and our interpretation of them.  God’s laws are broad, thereby being impartial as to how they affect specific people.  We might do well to pay more mind to the judge of all creation. 

OBTAINING PERFECT PEACE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

To read about the life and the death of Christ is to see a life at peace.  Christ was at peace with who He was, what He did, and even His own death.  How was such a life of peace obtained?  It resulted from doing the Father’s will.

Such is the case for any Christian.  Peace in life and in death can only be had from following the Father’s will.  

BETTER THAN IT SOUNDS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The 19th century humorist, Bill Nye, said of classical music, “It is better than it sounds.”  The same sentiment holds true for the bad news of life.  When a Christian maintains focus upon God and the saving work of Christ, the bad news of life has a way of becoming balanced out with the good news of life.  Evil and pain, serenity and trust all come together and find a balance within us.  The Christian knows that there is always enough in this world to test courage and to tax strength.  But the Christian knows, too, that God is at work and His enduring promise is that He will never withdraw or abandon us.

“I will never fail you nor forsake you.”  –Hebrews 13:5

WE DO NOT CHOOSE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Many believe that a person can be good by choosing to be good.  It is argued that good deeds and a Christ-like behavior can be brought about by learning how to love.  Anyone can be taught the ways of Christ if enough patience and love are exhibited.

The only reason we are able to be priests to one another is because Christ first saved us from sin and death.  Without such an act on His part, how could anything be done by us that resembles holiness?  Therefore, let us not confuse what we are able to do with what has been done for us.

“We love, because He first loved us.”  –I John 4:19  

LOVE THE CHURCH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Christ loves the individual.  Christ loves the sinner so much that “he became sin who knew no sin.”  Thereby a person may come to know salvation.  

But Christ also loved the church and He gave Himself for her.  So for a person to say the he or she believes in Jesus Christ, that he or she is a Christian, but whose life and words show no love or respect for the church, that person lives a false religion.  

Christ loves the church and those who do not separate themselves from her and thus from Christ.

“Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  –Ephesians 5:25

DIVERSE CURRENTS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The stream of life has many currents upon which the soul is carried.  Friendship, love, social interaction, career, and entertainment are but to mention a few.  Some currents carry the soul on placid ripples, while other waves beat against it with intent on turning it toward submission.  The Christian is to realize that either can lead to salvation or condemnation.  Gentleness can result in destruction as surely as adversity can restrain from harm.  Therefore, with prayerful watching live each day and pray for the wisdom to discern.

“Pray constantly.”  –I Thessalonians 5:17  

BLESSING THE WORLD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

We bless the world through the life we live; therefore, never underestimate our activity in it.  A true life must be one where upright deeds are born.  Hands that do unselfish works and backs that bear the burden of others are instruments of God at work.  To be an inspiration and a benediction are to show forth the beauty and the holiness of a Christ–like nature.  Do not think that holy activities go unnoticed in this life – they will bear fruit, though you may not see it.  

DO WHAT IS RIGHT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The forces which drive the secular world should find no place amidst the motives that structure a Christian.  Yet, in the church much worldly policy, mundane caution and temporal wisdom exist.  Attitudes and perspectives are shaped according to what works in society or in business.

The only influence to find a home in the church is that which God desires.  To do what is right, to follow duty, to love what is just is God’s way of life.

“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” –Micah 6:8

ONLY CHRIST IS SEEN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The person who is thinking of his or her own esteem or credit as Christian service is being engaged in is not a person whom Christ wants to use.  It is not enough for others to respect us, or to agree with us, or even to want to work with us.  Our call is to win souls for Christ, to encourage others to commit their ways to the character of Christ – nothing more and nothing less.  How people perceive us is of little concern.  Therefore, we must be careful that nothing of our self, neither ambition nor self-serving pride, shows forth through our work.  Only Christ must be seen shining through. 

FOR ALL TO KNOW, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

As a lamp provides light indiscriminately for all within its reach, so the Christian should cast love upon all.  It matters not to the light who makes use of its benefits.  So, too, the Christian should reach out in acts of compassion, consideration, forgiveness, fairness, kindness, truth, integrity and discipline.  On such acts as these, and more, love is shone and we are known as children of God.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  –Matthew 5:16

DIFFICULTY IN PRAYER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The Christian experiences difficulty in prayer for three reasons.  One reason is our knowledge of God’s providence.  We know that God is in charge, not us; therefore, we cannot change what He has decreed.  Another reason is our own known morality.  We know ourselves to be clay footed, mistake ridden, and even bad at times; so we believe ourselves not good enough to pray and to be heard by God.  A third reason is that we approach prayer as an experiment.  We try it out, the results do not fit our satisfaction, so we declare it not to work.

Over and over again scripture affirms the necessity of prayer: Pray without ceasing.  Pray constantly.  Pray earnestly.  Pray with trust, with hope, with expectation.  The point for the Christian is not whether God hears the prayer, but whether the Christian hears God. 

GOD IS HERE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

There is in man a tendency to think of God as not being here because we do not see Him.  But as He spoke of old, “I am with you always,” so He continues to speak today.  We are never out of His sight or the reach of His knowledge, even for one moment.  He watches and knows our lives every instant, and not a time goes by that He does not come to us in our need and comfort us in our pain.  So we rest in blessed assurance, knowing that God sees us and delivers us. 

NO, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

People today have forgotten the power and the necessity of the word “no.” It is a word that must be spoken with courage and resolution lest it becomes meaningless, and that is often a formidable task. There is a power in the word “no” which not only prevents wrongs but also turns wrong to right. “No” is a good word. “No” is a necessary word. It is not a word of judgment, as some would profess, but rather a word of conscience and of structure.

Deep in the heart where speaks “the still small voice of God,” the Christian knows what is right and wrong, good and bad. An uncompromising “no,” though difficult, must stand against the wrong.

LIFE IS FROM GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Humanity does not possess the power to either shorten or lengthen the span of human life.  The time of our life lies solely in the hands of God.  Modern medicine may employ skill and medication in the name of health and longevity.  Evil may inflict upon us violence and ill will shortening our days.  But both are subservient to God’s purpose and affect us only as God permits.

It is not in our power to prolong life or to shorten it.  God has allotted us our years as it suits Him.  Therefore, let us live wise and not delay until tomorrow those things suited for this day. 

SELF-HELP, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Good need not be imparted to another for a blessing to occur.  Everything that we do with the intent of serving God will always touch ourselves.  Every act performed in the name of Christ, though seen by no one else, is beheld within ourself.  Therefore, a blessing has come about – our own – and could it be that the enhancing of our self is what God desired? 

THE STATE OF HEAVEN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The old images of heaven are of a place with gold-paved streets, pearly gates, jeweled walls, and the river of life flowing like crystal.  But in truth, it is a condition of unbroken agreement with Divine Providence and perfect obedience to the Spirit of Love.  Heaven is not a place but a state.  It must first be within the Christian or it can never be entered into.  So let us prepare our hearts by doing God’s will on earth just as it is done by the saints already home. 

SHARING THE FAITH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

If we truly love the church as we profess, then is anything less demanded from us short of spreading the faith?  If we are in any way allied with the prophets and apostles, the martyrs and multitudes whose very lives have born witness to this faith, can we ignore multiplying the seeds they sowed?  “Go…and make disciples”  –Matthew 28:19

UNINSPIRED WORDS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The church today is awash in uninspired writings.  Anyone who reads scripture and also contemporary work cannot help but notice a marked difference between the two.  One is the inspired Word of God while the other is moved by the desire to publish.  To a great degree, the acceptance and propagation of this can be traced to Christians viewing the Bible as merely a source of religious knowledge.  Therefore, opinions held and expressed under the guise of Christian are, in fact, utterly incompatible with the New Testament.

Each Christian must go directly to the Bible, directly to the source, directly to The Word and allow God to speak from the pages of scripture.  Our ancestors preserved these words for a reason, that we might know the Word of God as spoken in its power of old.  Therefore, go directly to the Bible, the only one true fully inspired Word of God.  

THE QUIET FEET OF GOD, Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Those who lived long ago had a saying, “The feet of the gods are shod with wool.” This expresses well the understanding that life often happens to us quietly and quickly. Out of nowhere things come at us which are neither planned nor anticipated.

We are taught to believe that we make our own decisions and plans and that we are responsible to determine the course that our life will take. But life continues to confirm the limited control that we actually have. There is on Overruling Providence working out a Divine Plan, and the decisions we make come to fruition only insofar as they support what has been in place from the foundation of the universe.

The alarm of this is the thought that we are so limited. The comfort of it is the knowledge that all is in the Hands of God.

WHY WISH DAMNATION? By Rev. Stephen Rehrig

It is interesting to ponder that though we would not wish eternal damnation, we are more than willing to engage in the acts which lead there. Old-time preachers would phrase something about people not wanting to burn in hell and at the same time their being willing to kindle the fires of it and cast themselves into it.

For the Christian, actions have consequences. God gave us laws that we might enjoy life and the act of living peaceably with one another. But where there is law there must be judgment and punishment when the laws are broken. For what good serves a law if it is not enforced?

WORSHIP THE BIG CHRIST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

There are words of Christ that lead to truth, but of themselves they are not enough. There are actions of Christ whose example lights the way of love toward one another, but alone these are insufficient. There is the known presence of Christ that brings us peace, quiets our throes, and soothes the anguish of life. But even all of these blessings taken by themselves are impoverished and lacking.

The Christ who must be worshipped is He in whom God is working out His great purpose for the world. That Christ only is the start and the finish of time, the Alpha and the Omega of history. It is He alone who holds in His hands the judgments of the living, and He also who meters out the blessings. The Church must worship this Christ – the Savior of the World.

PUNISHMENT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Is humanity punished by its sins or for its sins? That is one of the tough, old questions of the faith; and how a person answers the question tells much of how he or she sees God. Some would argue that God creates and maintains a moral universe and to go against the laws contained therein is to cause a person to be out of step, an outcast amidst the rhythm of life, thereby inflicting upon oneself his or her own pain. Others argue that God directly wills punishment for human sin; that in a universe structured by law, the breaking of the law calls forth reproach from the author of the law. To answer the one is to say that God has no desire to punish people and that He will go to extremes in order to avoid it. To answer the other is to say that God wills us do good in such a way that He will allow us to stand before Him and be accountable for our own actions.

ONE GOD – TWO PERCEPTIONS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The Greek philosopher Plato wrote, “It is one kind of world to the man asleep and another kind of world to the man awake.” This is true; each of us perceives the world differently at the same time. Still, there are not two worlds – this waking and sleeping are nothing more than two sides of the same world, hewn by God according to His precepts.

If two people perceive the world differently, that does not mean the world is different, only that their comprehensions vary. So it is with God. God does not change between people; rather, their understanding differ of God.

GOD’S GIFTS IN US, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

What gifts God has placed into humanity.  He has given us a mind far surpassing any other in creation – minds capable of reason; minds able to envision ourselves among the stars.  We alone explore with the intent of discovery and practice with the intent of achievement.  He has given us hearts more compassionate than any other – hearts that break; hearts that rejoice; hearts that know sympathy, patience and understanding; a heart that loves out of the richness of emotion and becomes empty from the loss of self.  He has given to us words – by the Word He created and that same Word He bestows upon us: Words that hurt; words that heal; words that provide a straight path or deceive for personal gain.  We alone use words that lead to another’s destruction; we alone use words to bring others to Christ; we alone communicate with our creator and are responsible for our communications. 

FOUNDATIONAL TEACHING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

When we teach the importance of understanding and respecting the Christian view of life as it has been born out across the centuries, we are not encouraging people to run away from the present.  Rather, we seek to give people an intelligent mastery over their spiritual heritage.  This will not divert their minds from the pressing issues of the present but rather prepare them all the more to deal with them by giving an absolute sense of direction and value which has been the hallmark of Christian living throughout the ages – direction that we are sorely in need of today.

FAITH IS PERSONAL, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The present movement to depersonalize issues that affect the church is to ask the impossible of a Christian.  The relationship we have with Our Lord is only fully lived and understood in the personal.  Individually we are called to serve Christ.  God comes to each in the silence of prayer and the movements of the Holy Spirit.  We are to work out our own salvation, and we are each to one day stand before the Throne of God – alone.  To assert that the hard issues which face the Church must be dealt with on an impersonal level is to move the whole theology of the Church away from her historical understanding.  The hard issues which affect the Church are very personal, as are the prayers of those who struggle with them. 

AN UNKNOWN TRUTH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

“God does not make a soul to be lost but has a purpose and a plan for each,” is an old Christian premise.  If we cannot come to God unless He calls, then either God calls everyone and we do not listen, or God does indeed choose and not call everyone.

If God chooses, then He does create souls which He knows from the beginning will be lost.  If God does not choose and no soul is created to be lost, then all are saved.  If God does not choose and no soul is created to be lost yet many are lost, then in truth God does choose and the premise is wrong.

“Thy ways are past our searching out.”  –Job 11:7

OUR SHADOW, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Like the silence of a shadow, there emits from each of us a measure of affect on those around us.  Whether intentional or not, we cause direction to be taken, convictions to be swayed and guidance to be had.  A day cannot be lived without touching and influencing some other life.  For better or for worse our shadow falls across the path of another.

The Christian, therefore, bears the responsibility of a Christ-like life – noble, beautiful and holy.  For if we ourselves become a living benediction, then inspiration is our mantle and a Godly influence our crest. 

LOVING THE UNLOVELY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Each of us is surrounded by people in this world.  Some of those people are very easy to love.  In our perception they are quite congenial.  They have pleasing qualities that are agreeable, lovable, and kind.  These are the people who befriend us; they become our social companions, our travel partners.  Others there are who are not to our liking.  They are not amiable, or congenial, or pleasing – at least not to our perceptions of them.  These people have unlovely and disagreeable traits about them.  Faults mar what would otherwise be a beautiful character.  Yet if we are truly Christian and act upon what we profess, we would not fail to show love toward any.  We must seek that charity and benefaction which hides the multitude of sins and faults. 

GOD’S ANSWER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Prayer is ofttimes answered not through God giving us that for which we ask but by His bringing our desires in line with His will.  We may pray to have our burden lightened and in response He gives us strength to bear it.  We may pray to escape conflict while He gives us the intelligence and the energy to prevail over it.  The blessings we deem necessary are often not in our best interest.

It would appear that for God victory in conflict is better than freedom from it and strength to endure is of more value than relief from burden.  Perhaps God’s great lesson is this: To know peace at the center of a storm is a greater blessing than being lifted above it.

“…Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”  Matthew 26:39

CREEDS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Our tradition is one that makes use of many creeds.  Often those creeds seem to be contradictory and to assert doctrine that cannot be reconciled within itself.  Yet how many of us have taken the time to truly study these doctrines?  How many of us have gotten out our Bibles, asked questions and sought answers therein?  It would be better, after personal inquiry, to believe only two or three of the doctrines, and be able to state why we believe them than to believe many more simply because the church teaches them.  Every Christian ought to be prepared to give an intelligent answer in defense of or rational for the faith which he or she professes to hold.  Every Christian has a personal creed, whether he or she realizes it, and that creed must be born out of a daily searching of the Word and the life that is shown thereof.

ATTAIN CHRIST’S STATURE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

People lose many things as the path of life is trod upon. Wealth, good health, friends, companions, employment – these and many more are forfeited contrary to will or desire. But those things that are forever, that are lasting and of greater worth – goodness, dignity, truth, respect, faith – are never taken but rather surrendered. When integrity is relinquished and character is abandoned, what then remains of a person? The Christian knows that happiness and peace lie not in the attainment of earthly reward but in the abiding character of Christ. “Until we all attain…to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” — Ephesians 4:13

Labor Day, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Martin Luther wrote that a person’s work, that which a person spends their time laboring at, is sacred.  Luther believed that whatever constitutes the majority of your time on earth is not just work, it is your ministry – every bit as much as that of a priest in the parish or a pastor in the pulpit.  Whatever God has given you to do, do it with all of your heart, and with your head held high.  You are God’s minister for this time and this place.  Happy Labor Day. 

WHERE ARE YOU? – by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Genesis teaches us that in the beginning humanity was given one rule to follow – a single restraint, some one thing that was not to be done. Free to stand or free to fall is the choice God allowed the being created in His image. The eons have not changed that fact. Without such freedom how could integrity and greatness, discipline and the very soul itself be developed? Humanity chose to fall, and by doing so thus forfeited the unique relationship held with God. But God chose redemption and justification and reconciliation, thus securing forever the close bonds of love. “The Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” –Genesis 3:9

SO IT IS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

When we find in the Word of God “so it is” and “so it will be,” why do we think it acceptable to contradict or negotiate His word? Why do we feel free to call Him forth in order to examine Him? Would we judge Him by the law of our conceits? It must be that we see ourselves as wiser, better, and more righteous than He. So I ask, where were you, where was I, or where were any of us when God created the laws that He did without seeking any counsel? Why didn’t any of us step out of our nothingness to contradict Moses or Christ? If while we are quarreling over God’s word He were to withdraw from us His patience and sustenance thereby allowing us to fall into Hell, would we then believe?

GOD’S LOVE ALWAYS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

When life is rewarding, affirming and filled with peace, it is easy to say that God is good. But when life goes into its depths, all seems against us and happiness has run its course, then seeing the Hand of God becomes much more difficult.​Yet the Providence of God is just as sure in the depths of life as in the heights. God comes to us in varied ways, at different times and in circumstances beyond our comprehension. But whatever prosperity or adversity we perceive, God brings it in love.

ONLY CHRIST IS SEEN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig​

The person who is thinking of his or her own esteem or credit as Christian service is being engaged in is not a person whom Christ wants to use. It is not enough for others to respect us, or to agree with us, or even to want to work with us. Our call is to win souls for Christ, to encourage others to commit their ways to the character of Christ – nothing more and nothing less. How people perceive us is of little concern. Therefore, we must be careful that nothing of our self, neither ambition nor self-serving pride, shows forth through our work. Only Christ must be seen shining through.

NO BUFFETING, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

In a perfect world, the Christian would feel buffeted against temptations of ambition, fears or retaliation and pressures from the perspectives of particular interests.  But the world is not perfect, and neither are we who are in it.  We are often swayed by passions and emotions and the same self-interests that affect all humans.  We are often tempted and torn by the strong winds that blow contrary to the very values we hold dear.  But if we stand firm in the face of criticism and hold fast against the forces of protest, God stands with us.  Is not what we should pray for above all else that God will come and be with us?  He does come when we have the courage not to abandon His way. 

DEVOTED TO CHRIST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

There is far too much sentiment in our religion these days.  So much of what is written and so many of the worship experiences being offered focus on emotion.  How does the service of worship make you feel?  Do you feel tender?  Does it make your feel alive?  Does your religion cause you to want to reach out and touch others?  You have no right to judge another because it will make them feel bad.  Christianity is fast becoming an “I’m OK, you’re OK” feel-good religion where anything espoused by anyone is deemed acceptable. 

What is devotion?  Specifically, what does it mean to be devoted to Christ?  It means nothing less than doing the will of Christ.  We say that we believe in Christ; but if we do not like what He says or where He leads, we are quick to go our own way.  We say that we love Christ; but when He says “If you love me, keep my commandments,” we are quick to respond: “Jesus couldn’t foresee what we are up against today.  If He were alive today He would think like I do.”

To be a Christian is to be dedicated to Christ – utterly, irrevocably, combatively devoted.  Good intentions, vows, and emotional experiences are all good; but when Christ has been set as Lord, we must follow where He leads regardless of how we feel about it.

                “Sworn to yield, to waver, never; Consecrated, born again;

                Sworn to be Christ’s soldiers ever, O for Christ at least be men!

                O let all the soul within you for the truth’s sake go abroad!

                Strike! Let every nerve and sinew Tell on ages, tell for God.”

                Arthur Cleveland Coxe, 1840

TRUE FORGIVENESS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Many Christians think of forgiveness as an ordinary or everyday thing.  For them, forgiveness is viewed as a means of being exempt from punishment.  It is being excused from a penalty.  But true forgiveness must be much more.

If forgiveness is more than not facing the consequences of wrong doing, then what is it?  It is the estrangement caused by sin gone away.  It is trust restored.  It is reconciliation at its highest.  A president may pardon a criminal, but that person is still a criminal.  But when God pardons one who has committed a crime against Holy Law, that person becomes a new creation, an honest person. 

LOVE’S TRUE TEST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

One of the more perplexing facts about some Christians is that they exude a great deal of love and compassion for people they have never met while people in their immediate surroundings experience indifference and isolation.  There are Christians whose lives and words glow with concern for the Muslim, the Hindu, the African, and the Asian; those who are displaced, disposed, and ravaged by disease.  Yet, these same Christians fail to show love to their neighbor, to their business associates, or to those who sit across the aisle at church.

The measure of true love, of Christ-like love, is that it does not cease or fail when encountering the immediate relationships of  life with all of the strain and stress and conflict as well as the joy and reward.  A true Christian is known by his or her actual day-to-day living.

GOD AS GOVERNOR, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

When one looks around at the world, our culture, even the church which we hold dear, one must conclude that what is of norm is for God not to be dominant. In a world where civility is more important than virtue, we have allowed ourselves to practice and profess things which we hold not as genuine. We allow behavior we know to be wrong because we want to get along. We keep silent in the face of untruth for fear of criticism. We do that which stands contrary to the foundations of our faith in the false belief that peace will be promoted.

But if God is going to be the Sovereign of our life, then it often entails our standing for that which is not popular.  When God is in control and has dominion over us, we tend to do what is right; and what is right often positions itself in contrast to the mores of the times. 

A PRUDENT ACTION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

That Christ comes in the hour of our death is sound wisdom for the Christian to remember.  Christ alone has the keys of death.  It is he who assigns the very instant when the body shall lay down, and it is He only who grants life to the soul upon that same moment.  He is the Lord of this world and of the next, and at every moment He permits new inhabitants into the Kingdom of joy and peace or into an eternity of immortal sorrow.  Would it not seem right, therefore, to make of Christ our best friend?

“All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me.”  –Matthew 28:18 

“The Father…has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man.”  –John 5:25-26

CHERISH THE STRUGGLE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The very moment we sit at Christ’s feet and resolve to become a Christian, we enter into a world of conflict.  To live truth, to obey God, to forsake sin, to do righteousness, to see with the eye of grace is to walk through life filled with antagonism and opposition.  There never comes a day, an hour, a moment when noble living is had without effort, without conscious resistance to wrong, without hard-fought battles against temptations.  There never comes a time when being a worthy follower of our Lord gets easier – when faithfulness is ours without effort.  Then as if all of this were not enough, what of the times when we are ready to give it all up and to cease the struggle? 

Through it all it must be remembered that the beauty and nobleness and truth after which Christians strive can only be had in the very struggle itself.  Just as gold must be separated from the dross by fire, so, too, must the Christian be made whole through the toils, and labors, and struggles of this world.  So rejoice, for God does not desire that any should be lost.

CALLED BY CHRIST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

A claim of the Christian is that Christ calls us to serve in His name.  If so, then to each soul we encounter we owe encouragement, joy, and solace.  Some act of love, some touch of grace from our hand must be seen.  If we act in the name of Christ, then each word spoken and every deed done touches, influences, and says to others who Christ is.  To act in His name is to do as he would have us to – be Christ-like.

                “Called as partners in Christ’s service

                Called to ministries of grace,

                We respond with deep commitment      

                Fresh new lines of faith to trace.

                May we learn the art of sharing,

                Side by side and friend with friend,

                Equal partners in our caring

                To fulfill God’s chosen end.”  Jane Parker Huber, 1981

THE BROKEN OF HEAVEN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

We love awards – the best, the fastest, the smartest, and so forth. We make much of winning and losing; “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” Henry “Red” Sanders is credited with coining.But Christ’s Kingdom is built from broken lives. Christ takes the unsuccessful and the broken and grows them up into His own beauty and character. There is not a pain lived, a failure known, an experience had, or a sorrow felt that cannot be a thing of beauty in the Creator’s hands.

Heaven’s glory is made bright by the radiance of those who persevered through Christ.

MORALS GO BEYOND, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Death may bring an answer to many questions. It may even offer a solution to problems. Most certainly it does provide release from the pains of infirmity. But there is no reason to think that death offers a release to moral character. The moral laws by which life on earth is governed still exist as before and carry over into the great beyond. Therefore, it behooves the individual to choose good. For what will be gained if an ill moral character presents itself before the judgment seat of God?

MISTAKES, Rev. Stephen Rehrig

We all have feet of clay. We make mistakes as we walk through life. Too many Christians do not take these mistakes seriously. They echo the words of James, “For we all make mistakes…” and go on with life believing God accepts and forgives.

But in truth it is God’s desire that we not stumble and fall to begin with. Therefore, He wants to be our Keeper, our Helper, and the One who teaches us to see the wrong and thereby live in His will. True, forgiveness can be ours; but is it better not to fall in the first place?

“Now to him who is able to keep you from falling.” –Jude 24

HOLD ON TO GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

No Christian knows what the future will bring. In ways unsuspected people will oppose, hurt, deceive and ambush. Their strength will seem great and their cunning sharp. Fear, indecision and despondency may result. But never lose sight of God’s promises. He will stand between us and our adversaries. He has given His angels charge over us and said that He would always be with us.

But what if God is the rival – the one who is opposing us as He did with Jacob? Then it is all the more important to hold on to God and to shout with Jacob, “I will not let you go until your bless me.” And He will bless.

DEFINED FAITH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

A Christian should be able to express rational reasons why he or she believes the faith.  Yet, how many have taken the faith and the creeds to which the faith holds or the doctrines and the governance professed therein and in light of scripture sought the rational reasons? 

To believe out of testing rather than only from what is taught strengthens both – the individual person and the Church.  The faith of the Church has grown out of 2,000 years of searching – our personal faith should do no less. 

CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

In a world where Christians are increasingly being torn apart due to secularism and other religions, it is by God’s grace that we live, work and worship with other believers. To what end the effects of prayer have on us and to what blessing the results of fellowship are to us, we do not know. But this is sure, that an extraordinary emboldenment is had through our physically being one with another – in Jesus Christ Our Lord.

GOD IS JUST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

 A lot of people are concerned with whether other people are happy with them.  They ask questions like, “Is your father happy with you?” or “Is my mother happy with me?”  Most of it is aimed at assuring the self that others are granting their approval.  In other words, we find fulfillment and approval through the blessings of others.  This ultimately leads to the question whether God is happy with us?  But in truth we already know the answer before we ask.  It is not our job to make God happy but simply to obey.  If we follow God’s laws and walk humbly with Him, will He not be happy?  Yet, whether He is happy is a secondary point.  God created us, and He will do with us what He pleases.  God is just, and He will judge accordingly and do what is right. 

SILENCE IS GOLDEN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Negative utterances too easily influence – especially when other people are being talked about.  Character is called into question, friendships injured, and suspicions excited.  So easily do people believe such things that it is impossible to know to what end it will go – what may come of it, what ruin may fall before it.

Once a word is spoken it can never be taken back.  Therefore, it behooves the Christian to let no word of vilification or disparagement have flight.  In this regard silence is indeed golden. 

WE DON’T KNOW, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

There is no way for one person to know what scars there are on the soul of another person. What ordeals, what afflictions, what throes have touched us each throughout our life is hidden deep within us. Many smiling faces hide agonizing loss. Many cheerful words cover deeply wounded hearts. Many light steps speak nothing of the weight that is carried. Therefore, it is only through eyes of love and understanding that the Christian should gaze upon the faults of others. Even our best friends hide from us the deeps of their hearts.

LOOKING BACK, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Some imply that it is an indication of moral and spiritual weakness to rely on or refer to heritage when dealing with the issues of the present. Many persons would answer this with the witness of their lives. To refer to our heritage is not to journey into the past but to probe deeper into the present. The experiences of our forebears gives shape to our experiences; the richness of their wisdom provides foundation to our thinking.

Heritage is not a collection of dead people, dead ideas, and dead institutions. It is a vibrant, living presence in the world of today – but only if we are willing to know it, speak it, and live it out. This is what is meant by becoming a responsible participant in a vital religious tradition.

ENEMIES OF SELF, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

That human beings would be enemies to themselves, that they would cast aside their own souls is baffling to consider. But also, that God should stoop so low as to plead His case with people is even more a wonderment. Yet in spite of it all, humanity remains obstinate, refusing to acknowledge its own need.

Thank God for God. That even in our persistent stubbornness He knows us, created us for Himself, and continues to champion His case with us.

“Woe unto him that strives with his maker.”
“We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.”

A PERCEPTIVE HEART, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” goes the old saying.  Yet, this holds true with all perceptions of life.  Fear, reward, sadness, discontent – each is made stronger or weaker through our perceiving.  Thankfulness is most certainly dependent upon us.  To look upon one’s life, the experiences it produced, the friends it revealed, gives the opportunity to see with dejection or with joy.  It is our job to pray that we see God’s goodness in all and to find thankfulness in even the deepest of sorrows.  It requires the training of one’s heart to remember the abiding care of God.

JUST JUDGMENT, Rev. Stephen Rehrig

 There are many who would have the Christian believe that judgment is contrary to our calling in this world.  The argument is that we are all sinners; therefore, none of us is able to tell others that they are wrong.  Or that if Jesus is able to forgive then we should be able to forgive and let others live out their lives according to their conscience.

 Jesus could be non-judgmental because He had behind Him the power of God.  Jesus could be forgiving, loving, and tolerant because He held the power of salvation.  It is precisely because we do not hold that power that we need to follow the law and not be tolerant of its transgressions.  Jesus could do what He did because He was God, and as God He could do with us as He pleased.  We have no such luxury or choice.  The best that we can do is to adhere to the laws as they have been handed down to us and enable others to trust in the grace of those same laws. 

LEGITIMATE REACTION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

As the Christian responds to the world, there will be times when legitimate reactions are resulted from illegitimate activities.  When this happens, much pressure is brought to bear upon the Christian.  Often we avoid telling the truth to people out of fear of hurting their feelings.  The result becomes that hurtful behavior is tolerated in the name of unhurt feelings.  Hurt feelings become the criterion by which right and wrong are judged and addressed. 

Jesus did not worry himself with hurting people’s feelings.  His concern was for their salvation.  A legitimate reaction is what leads people toward salvation not acceptability. 

LASTING WORK, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Everything that is built by the hands of people will one day be gone.  The greatest structures, the most magnificent compositions of music or art or literature will become lost or destroyed eventually.  To leave something eternal, that which is immortal must be touched. 

To place beauty and truth into a life; to bring a vision of heaven into a heart; to shine the light of Joy on the soul of another – these works will never perish, for the soul they touch will be immortal. 

GOD’S WORD IN US, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

God says that we must lay up His Word in our heart. His Word alone must take possession of and fill our heart. Therefore, the heart becomes a temple containing the Word of God. It is a temple not for the world – the beliefs, mores, and ideologies of society, but rather for God – His thoughts and His holy ways.

Everyday the Christian is to faithfully open his or her heart to receive God’s voice in order that it may be heard what God would say. Then throughout the day the Christian is to keep and carry about that same word. Only in so doing will it be known how faithfully God also shall open His heart to our voice in order that He might hear what we would say to Him.

DILIGENCE TO LIFE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

There is tremendous strength to be found in the monotonous, humdrum of life. Granted, we go through it wanting to be done, wishing to move on, desiring to escape the merry-go-round of appointments, errands, tasks, and relationships. But the truth is that in the leisure and ease of life is not where growth is found. God’s blessing of a strong and noble character is in the diligence and dedication to the life He gives.

CHRIST’S IMAGE INSIDE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

If a person is a true believer of Christ, then there is a concept deep inside of what that means – a picture, so to speak, of the character that makes up a follower of Christ. Some call it an ideal, but it is carried around in the heart none-the-less. So strong is the commitment to this ideal that it is guarded and lived by at all cost. Bright, radiant, and unsoiled, the image of Christ is preserved in the soul; and from there it transforms a colorless, error-filled life into a heavenly vision of beauty.

GOD’S PRESENCE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

We have seen Him in the past. We have known Him to be with us. We have witnessed the might and the wisdom of His guiding hand all along the history of life. He has confirmed to us the grace of His presence through the quiet recesses of our heart. Yet we want more. We want Him to come down in a way indisputable. We want confirmation on our terms that He does indeed hold in His hand the nations of the earth and that all things will act according to His providence.
In other words we desire to live by sight rather than by faith. We know Him to be with us; yet our soul cries out to see Him more, to feel Him more, and to hear Him more. But such is His love for us that faith in His presence is the true securing gift of life.

TROUBLED TIMES, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Many of the problems in today’s society are due to the church not adhering to the word of God but rather attempting to please people. Who should we be pleasing, God or our neighbor? Is pleasing our neighbor, accepting our neighbor, not pronouncing judgment upon our neighbor when we see he or she is wrong pleasing to God? Not when it is at the expense of our neighbor’s soul!
If we believe that the word of God lasts forever and is unchangeable, then how can we advocate modifying it or negotiating it according to the mores of our time?

PRINCIPLES ENDURE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The principles of our faith are enduring, and the charge to each succeeding generation is to apply those principles as is necessary for the problems of the day.  For one generation to say that they have outgrown or evolved past that which their forbears believed is to say that God changes His laws according to our wants. 

THE LIGHT OF GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

As the sun is the most universal benefactor of nature, just so does God give unto us.  However, with the sun there are variables: Due to the earth’s rotation, we say it rises and it sets affording us times of brightness and periods of dark; from one season to the next it provides degrees of warmth, and periods of light and dark are in constant flux.  A film that covers the earth by smog or clouds affects the sun’s luster.  Through all of this the sun never changes; it is always the earth that is in motion.

Thus it is with God.  His nature is influenced by nothing, His duration is dependent upon nothing and is unaffected by time, and His very existence has no cause.  Like the sun, He is always there and it is we who turn from Him, pull back from the light and cover our eyes against the brightness.

O that we would allow ourselves to be bathed in His light.

“Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  –James 1:17

SHALLOW FAITH, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

For many people their Christianity has become nothing more than esteem for the man Jesus, and often not even that.  These people want nothing to do with the church or with what the church believes, but they profess to admire Jesus – His character, His nature, His disposition.  That is the full extent of their Christianity.

Look around and it quickly becomes evident that this is not enough.  Christ is the most confrontative person we shall ever meet.  Either we live His life and chance upsetting our own, or we live our lives and turn our backs on Him.  A Christian cannot live for himself or herself and for Christ at the same time.

Peter was right when he said: “Lord leave me; I am a sinful man.”  Christ is not simply a figure to be admired.  He is God to be feared – and we run from that. 

EASY IS NOT BEST, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The idea is a false one that God bestows His blessings most richly amid the ease and beauty of life.  But the deep, rich blessings of life are most truly found among work, hardship and disappointment.

A human being is, by nature, not fond of self-denial, difficult talks or the bearing of heavy burdens.  Just as water seeks its own level, so too does our nature seek the easy way.  Our preference runs toward inactivity if given a choice.  Yet in shrinking from self-denial, refusing difficult talks, and avoiding heavy burdens, we are missing some of the best things God has to give – His lessons, His presence, and His love. 

SUSTAINING LIFE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The Christian life can only be withstood and sustained by the Word of God, and how we live out our life will depend on whether we learn to use God’s Word wisely and well.  More trouble is wrought on the Christian when we seek to understand and use God’s Word for our own desires.  We must dedicate ourselves to the service of God’s Word until what He wants becomes what we want.  Only then will true sustenance be found to see us through this world. 

THE WICKED DON’T SEEK HEAVEN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

It is right to ask why the wicked do not seek heaven.  The answer is quite simple really.  Heaven is the state of perfect holiness, of continual love and praise to God.  This is something quite unappealing to the corrupt, the maleficent, and the diabolic.  The perfect love and praise and holiness of which heaven consists is something they have no desire to be a part of.  Even when the truth is that they must seek it or die, they would rather continue as they are then change.

 “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…”  –Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

THE SUPREME IRRESISTIBLE RULER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Our times are not in our own hands; they are in the hand of God as a Supreme and Irresistible Ruler. Just as our continuance in life depends not on ourselves, so, too, the events which are to happen while we have life are unknown to us and are not under our direction. What portion of all that has happened to us could be foreseen or foretold? How many things have occurred of which we had no expectation, either having far exceeded our hopes or befallen us contrary to our wish? How often have each of us been admonished that there are forces unseen by us that bring with them rebellions against our own desired ends and that while we were devising our own way, Providence was directing the event. All that is to happen to us, through this day and the succeeding length of life, to whatever end we are permitted to see, is known to God – the Supreme Irresistible Ruler.

“Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” Acts 15:18

WHOM DO WE WORSHIP? – by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Any religion which puts a primary emphasis on “being good” or “making the most of one’s self” is nothing more than a self-centered religion. Whom do we actually worship? Is God first or is God second in our life? Do we allow God to be God or de we subordinate Him in our pursuit of happiness and personal fulfillment? Does the quest to be our best make the purpose of our religion one of personal growth? Do we follow the faith so that we can be a better person? Do we make God a source of personal improvement?

It is very easy for a Christian to find an idol to worship – just look in the mirror. 

YIELD TO THE SPIRIT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Full benefits of the faith are only known by the Christian who yields to the Spirit.  Our maturation, our enhancement, our moving forward is God’s doing – not our own.  We must have faith that the Spirit which God gives to us does guide our life wisely and lovingly.

Therefore, know this – that the Spirit of God dwells in you, and “He will guide you into all truth.” 

FAITH HONORS GOD, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Every day a Christian must choose between living by feeling or by faith.  Feeling does little more than to keep self at the center of everything and attempt to justify self before others.  But faith keeps God at the center.  It focuses on His Word and maintains the presence of Christ and the work of the Spirit.  It is faith that receives from God the witness of his Word. 

Happy is the person who does not seek for how he or she feels but walks each day according to faith, listening for the will of God.  It is faith that honors God and, in turn, shall be honored by Him. 

CHRIST, THE EXAMPLE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

A common quest is to find and live the truest and noblest life.  But the frustration is that no portion of our original beauty and perfection as first bestowed from the Creator’s hand still exists.  The purity, the wholeness, the beauty, even the truth as we were created to be, are utterly foreign.  Therefore, how do we know where to look and what pattern to follow?

Become like Christ.  This is the pattern of true life.  He is the ideal and He will draw us unto Himself.  Never lose sight of Him. 

THE CENTER OF RELIGION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The center of religion is prayer. The essence of the faith is found in communion with God. What then does it mean if the Christian does not pray? It proves a failure to take advantage of speaking to the One who is the founder of religion. Failure to pray is to have a God in theory only, for how can He be alive and real if He is never spoken with?

Failure to pray is to lose faith, and thus religion. A theoretical God cannot save. A God in theory can offer no joy to the heart nor fill a life with the majesty of the Divine. Therefore, the Christian must pray constantly lest the faith that has been bestowed by God becomes lost – and with it a soul.

YOU MUST CROSS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

God’s truest and deepest rewards of life always lie beyond a gulf that must be bridged. The darkness of the depth, the turbulence of the water, the enormity of the width serve to test the sincerity of those who would journey beyond. The abyss must be crossed – there is no other way.

But the Christian must also know this: Every bit as much as God is in the reward, He is in the journey and the chasm as well. His are the joys, the rewards, the bright sunny days of our lives; and His also are the nights and the fearsome depths.

Not to step out in faith and begin the journey across is to always view the promised land from a distant shore.

LIVE IT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

We are not here to argue for God — we are here to live for God. Any intelligent person, or fool, can point out flaws in the Christians logic. But who can refute a glad and obedient life lived with Christ?

Don’t just say it — live it.

SPIRITUAL HUNGER, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

We are not as good as we might be. We are not as good a Christian, as faithful a disciple, as deep in character, nor are we as responsible to life as we should be. Why is this? Why do we not hunger and thirst for righteousness so deeply that we shutter against the world’s winds? Why is our striving for holiness not able to push aside the mores of society? Why do we allow our souls to starve by eating worldly foods when God, who feeds in abundance, stands near?

Pray for spiritual hunger, for only then can you turn your back on what the world calls good and receive what truly nourishes from God.

GOD CANNOT BE CHANNELED, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Some teach that God is a source of power which people can channel into self if the correct means is applied or the right technique taught. Prayer, for instance, becomes a conduit for tapping into and receiving this power. God is a vast reserve of compliant energy which is controlled at our command. Such a use of prayer is to assume that God can be manipulated or subjugated no differently than we master nature for our own personal betterment.

Contrary to all of this, the Bible teaches that peace, power and victory over life flow from the acceptance of our limitations and out of our confessing that our wants and wishes are, at best, self-absorbed, misdirected, and blind. Prayer is the pouring out of our smallness before the greatness of God. A humble heart is required by God, not techniques or mechanics.

CHRISTIANS ALONE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

To look at history is to see Christians dispersed among the world; because, like salt, to be piled in one place is of no use and can result in death. So God spreads Christians across society and the world; He mixes them in with non-believers and secularists. Only then does God’s Word diffuse like enriched flavor in the mouth. Fellowship with other Christians, to share God’s Word and partake of the Sacraments together is necessary. But the curse of Christianity is that each believer must return to the work for which he or she was called in the world – alone.

“I will sow them among the people: and they shall remember me in far countries.” –Zechariah 10:9

PRAY CHRIST’S PROMISES, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The Christian must call upon Jesus in every time of trouble – whenever confusion of pain vex the body and the soul. Do not be hesitant to ask for what is needed, for what will deliver the body or the spirit.

Yet, the Christian must know this, that Christ may pretend not to hear. He may scold, even chide on account of unworthiness, and our own conscience may confirm the truth of it. But know this also: Do not leave and quit praying. Our faith and Christ’s grace are not based on our being worthy but upon His promises.

So this be your prayer – the promises of Christ. And continue in that prayer. Christ cannot contradict Himself. He will give you what you need.

SEEK THE DIFFICULT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The Christian life meets many difficult obligations and responsibilities. Often what is asked will cost much labor and anguish. Yet The Almighty has His reasons. All burdens that we are called to bear declare to us the strength of God. Every bit of path filled with rocks and holes and along whose side await bandits and thieves, bids us to place our feet where Christ trod. Each conflict or struggle where we must stand for what is right against what is wrong contains within a blessing through victory.

To avoid the arduous, to seek a way of escape rather than work, to look for an easier way is to miss the richest of blessings God has in store.

PAIN, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Pain and suffering can be very excellent teachers. Many a soul that cannot be touched through a human voice will heed the wordless message brought by pain. And what if such throes should be brought by God? Then the Christian is to take heart and know that God intends no harm and desires no hurt. All God does is designed for good, and a faithful response is one of trust. The will of God is what drives the course of the world, so whatever he should please to do is all within His Providence. He has given the world Christ, so of what is there to complain?

Part of the shear mystery of the faith is the blessed mercy contained in the simple fact that God would take the occasion to even touch us at all.

“Thou dost beset me behind and before, and layest thy hand upon me.” –Psalm 139:5

CHRIST’S COMMISSION, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

We are always under commission from Christ to work the task of the day that we are given to do. It does not matter where we hear His call or to what service he bids us come. Any duty given us by Christ is noble, because it is what God Himself allots us.

If God were to send two angels to earth, one to govern a mighty nation and the other to sweep streets, they would each regard their employment as being equally distinguished. Do the work which this day brings, and Christ will be made manifest.

BLESSINGS IN ADVERSITY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

When all of our physical needs are met and life is one of ease, we tend not to seek God. Given a choice, people are not fond of burdens, labors, and decisions that cause them to do with less. We choose inactivity so long as we are comfortable. Yet, while it is true that God’s blessings may be found in the repose of life, it is truer still that His richest blessings are bestowed through adversity, fatigue, and want. Therefore, greet these as the gifts they are and look in them for God’s presence amongst your life and his blessings upon you.

DIVORCING RELIGION FROM LIFE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

In truth, Jesus was quite practical. His teachings were very down to earth without much “religious romanticism” about them. Where humans tend to make religious experiences something sentimental, Jesus made them quite realistic and useful in everyday life. Many of the people who disagreed with Jesus were those who had divorced religion from life. Many of His teachings and sayings were directed toward those who had forgotten the common sense values of life – preferring instead to hide behind the veil of religious mystery.

Other than the value of going into a closet from time to time to pray, Jesus did not allow for withdrawal from the world in order to contemplate God. With firm and consistent teaching he asserted that our relationship with God was interconnected in our relationship with others – we are tethered to God in our bond with people.

“As you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.” –Matthew 25:45

GOD IS WITH US, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

If God gives us the task, He will share in its being carried out. We may be an instrument of the Lord, but it is God who is using the instrument. We are a channel, but He is the One who opens the gates so that whatever is desired may flow through us. We are builders, but He is the Architect of our design. Therefore, whatever task we have, whatever opportunity or work is ours, we should know that God is in it. How supportive and exciting this is for the Christian, yet how humbling as well.

The Great God Almighty is with us, and He does not fail.

PRAYER AND DESIRE, Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Many people believe that the only answer to prayer is found in the reception of that which is prayed for. But what if that being prayed for is not in line with what God wants? Should He grant us our petition in violation of His own order? If God were to do that, then He would be guilty of breaking His own laws. The purpose of prayer is to bring about our submission to a stronger power, not God’s submission to our desires.

“Seek the Lord and his strength.” I Chronicles 16:11

LIGHT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Scripture teaches us to nurture and to take care of ourselves. It tells us that we are to let God’s light shine in us. But if that light remains only in ourselves, what good comes of it? To open the doors and to un-shutter the windows of our lives in order to allow the light to escape does not make it any less light within – it merely serves to enlighten the world around. In such a way let us open ourselves that our light may so shine and illumine the path for others around the place where we are.

APPRECIATE THE PRESENT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

It is said that we never know what we have until it is gone. What is meant is that the true value of something is not realized while it is available to us. It should not be this way. We should not experience pain to appreciate joy. We should not first become sick to be grateful for health. We should not want before enjoying plenty. Too often an absence points out the fullness of love and friendship.

Christians learn to appreciate these things while they have them. It is true that such blessings may be taken away and the darker, emptier side of life come in their place; but in the meantime, much joy would be brought to our friends, our family and ourselves. Is not such sharing of joy what God intends?

THE GOOD FIGHT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

To live is to know struggle; therefore, to grow is to contend. Most days bring with them, to a greater of a lesser degree, conflicts, temptations, and grappling that we would rather avoid if given a choice. The easy path is to avoid the more disagreeable aspects of life, but then little is gained that is of merit. If we are to grow into the stature of Our Lord, then we must contend with life as it comes upon us.

Infants and children are allowed to go home without conflict; the rest of us must struggle our way there.

“Fight the good fight with all thy might;
Christ is thy Strength, and Christ thy Right
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.” John S. B. Monsell, 1863

SEEK GOD ALWAYS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

We humans do not hesitate going to God when we are in trouble or have a problem. We speak with Him about our pains and wants, our trials and confusions. We lay before Him the state of our soul and the discouragement of our spirit. But do we speak to Him of our day-to-day life? Do we open the door of our being and invite Him to enter the commonness of routine – the tasks we embark upon each day without thought?

The Christian is to remember God in all aspects of life – from rising in the morning well into the depths of sleep at night. Only then can he or she fully draw from the deep wells of wisdom and grace.

DEALING WITH BURDENS, Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Burdens and problems await every person in this world. That is one common element known by all of humanity. The natural desire and impulse is to get rid of the weight and be shed of the problem. Changing jobs, buying a new car, going on a trip, even leaving a marriage are but a few remedies often counseled in contemporary society.

The Christian way is not through such actions. The Christian learns that the pains of life cannot be cast aside but must be given to the Lord. Will God remove the burden when asked? Not necessarily. Paul asked that his thorn be removed, to which God replied, “My grace is sufficient for you.” However, Paul did receive the strength to carry it.

“Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain you.” –Psalm 55:22

NOURISH THOSE CLOSE BY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Life is long and arduous, filled with rewards and disappointments, laughter and sorrow, vitality and sickness. Each soul needs to be nourished as he or she goes through life. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of each Christian to everyday touch those souls who are close at hand. The Christian is to let others know that they are loved, thus nourishing the spirit within them.

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain asked the Lord. Then centuries later the Lord answered by saying, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”

“Love one another; even as I have loved you.” –John 13:34

GOD’S WILL THROUGH WORK, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

“Thy will be done” is a philosophy that we are often too anxious to profess and believe. Then having repeated the words, we sit back in a resigned manner and wait for God to take over. While it is true that there may be many situations in life that call for our full surrender, it should not come until we have thoroughly sought the will of God. We are charged to do God’s will; and that means to act, to seek, to strive, to attempt and to work. Our prayer is that in our ventures and through our endeavors God’s will is done.

DO WHAT IS RIGHT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The forces which drive the secular world should find no place amidst the motives that structure a Christian. Yet, in the church much worldly policy, mundane caution and temporal wisdom exist. Attitudes and perspectives are shaped according to what works in society or in business.

The only influence to find a home in the church is that which God desires. To do what is right, to follow duty, to love what is just is God’s way of life.

“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” –Micah 6:8

DIVERSE CURRENTS, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The stream of life has many currents upon which the soul is carried. Friendship, love, social interaction, career, and entertainment are but to mention a few. Some currents carry the soul on placid ripples, while other waves beat against it with intent on turning it toward submission. The Christian is to realize that either can lead to salvation or condemnation. Gentleness can result in destruction as surely as adversity can restrain from harm. Therefore, with prayerful watching live each day and pray for the wisdom to discern.

“Pray constantly.” –I Thessalonians 5:17

A THANKFUL SPIRIT, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

The Christian is to be thankful to God for all of life – whatever its lot or circumstances. Being thankful turns the soul from self-centered to God centered; from covetousness and envy to appreciation; from complaining to grateful receptiveness and joy. Being thankful instills a sense of peace and success in the Christian, and in response it causes the heart to sing of what God has done. Happy is the thankful spirit.

THE LORD WILL PROVIDE, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Most lives are called to go through one great sorrow, one great trial, testing their faith and their character. The particular purpose of the trial may not be evident, but every trial through which a Christian is called to pass holds a purpose designed by God; and God must be trusted. When we deny self and obey the voice of God, not only do we discover our own life to be a blessing but also we influence the lives of others around us.

So persevere, hold on, for it is not until we have arrived at the end and seen the destruction of our hopes and the death of loves that the purpose of God will come into view. Yet through all one promise will sustain, “The Lord will provide.”

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son…He considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead.” –Hebrews 11:17-19

LIFE IS A MYSTERY, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

People have forgotten the mysterious character of life. We moderns have come to expect an answer or explanation for everything – including God. But the Bible does not shine a spotlight upon the world and make everything clear and distinct. Rather, it is a mystery, wonderful and bewildering, but still a mystery where a small light shines and a still voice is heard out of the shadows and the dark. What the Christian learns is that this is enough. Though the light is not seen and the voice not heard, that does not mean they are absent. The light, however small, is sufficient to illuminate the path; and the voice, however still, is clear enough to direct the way.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” –John 1:5

BE NOT AFRAID, by Rev. Stephen Rehrig

Our faith teaches us that before the foundations of the earth were laid, God knew our going out and our coming in. From the dawn of creation He beheld each face and laid up the measure of our days. The world has waited billions of years for us to get here. But God brought us forth in His good time, for His ends; and He will return us to the same cradle of eternity upon completion of His providence. Though we wrestle with the anxieties of the where and when and how’s of our lives, the God of Eternity speaks through the din of apprehension; and what He says is to be calm, be still, be not afraid, for if His care has been for so long will it now cease?

“…When I was being made in secret,
intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.
Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance;
In thy book were written, every one of them,
The days that were formed for me,
When as yet there was none of them.”
–Psalm 139:15-16

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