2014 WELS International Youth Rally
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Theme: No Fear
Focus: Psalm 27
Registration runs February 18-May 15
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my tansgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Psalm 1:1-3, a Psalm of David
Amanda was walking down the hall at school when she noticed her friend Laura had some dirt on her forehead. Trying to be polite, Amanda approached Laura and quietly said, “Laura, just so you know, you’ve got a smudge on your forehead.” Laura replied, “It’s not a smudge, it’s ashes. Today is Ash Wednesday.”
Maybe you didn’t see anyone with ashes on their forehead on Ash Wednesday. In the past, Christians would often mark the start of Lent, Ash Wednesday, by placing the sign of the cross on their forehead using ashes. It reminded them of their sinfulness (ashes) and their forgiveness in Jesus (cross). This practice is not a command from God, and many people don’t do it anymore. But Ash Wednesday and Lent are still very important.
We sin every day. Ash Wednesday is a day when we especially remember that we are sinners. Lent is a season when we are reminded, more often than usual perhaps, what our sin cost our Savior. It’s a time when we refocus on God’s precious promise that: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9.
When King David sinned, he confessed, and by grace through faith, he was forgiven. The same is true for us. We may not put ashes on our forehead on Ash Wednesday, but just like every other day, we will sin. And just like every other day, we are forgiven in Jesus!
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, please give us the faith to bring our sinfulness to you, trusting your promise to forgive. Thank you for special days that remind us of your love for us. Amen
The Millard School District is flying a Stranger Danger warning flag in the wake of two middle school students reporting that they were approached by people driving minivans. Here is the announcement that was sent out to parents >
“If I were to die tonight I know that I would spend eternity
with God in heaven without question.”
Some years ago there was a fierce manhunt in California. A thief had stolen a VW Bug. The authorities were so determined to get him that they unleashed all kinds of resources to find that one car and the thief who was driving it. They even resorted to broadcasting their message over local radio stations in order to find the thief and stop him.
Why such hot pursuit over this VW Bug? Here’s why. On the front seat of the stolen car was a box of crackers. But, unknown to the thief, the crackers were laced with poison. The car owner had intended to use the crackers to kill rats. The authorities, therefore, were in hot pursuit of this thief because they wanted to save his life.
Jesus has been in pursuit of your soul. Many times in our sinful, confused thinking, we assume he’s after us because he wants us to pull over and behave better, to give up our freedom, to give up our fun.
When you and I think that way, we’ve got it all wrong. Jesus pursues us because he wants to save us. He pursues us because, if he doesn’t, the poison of our sin will consume us. He pursues us because he wants to give us life, peace, joy, and forgiveness. He died to purchase that forgiveness. And now he lives to pursue us through his gospel.
Believe in the One who has pursued you. Trust his promises. Savor his rescue of your soul. And let him continue his pursuit of others through you.
Isn’t it amazing how long our memories of rejection persist? Last to be chosen for sports . . . no one to dance with at the prom . . . years of struggle to get hired . . . 40 years old and still single. What’s even worse than not having anyone close, is to be rejected by the one person you thought you could count on.
When memories of rejection dominate our thoughts, it’s because we are putting human relationships in first place. The way out of that gloom is to let God take his throne back in our lives. Sometimes God allows us to be rejected and burned by other people so that his steadfast love will shine all the brighter. “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalm 27:10).
When you read the stories of the books of Joshua and Judges, you get the sense that God will do absolutely anything-even breaking the very laws of the universe he created-to make the lives of his people better. If God’s faithful love and promises are the first thing we trust in and depend on, everything else will fall into place in its time. When you know that you can absolutely depend on the Lord’s affection for you, you can face anything. “In the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5). TimeOfGrace.org
Teen dating. Making the RIGHT choices.