December 01, 2019: 1st Sunday in Advent

Let us pray: Dear Lord Christ, as we begin a new church year, focus our attention on what awaits us—not only this coming Christmas and new year, but the larger issues having to do with the eternal future that awaits us.  Equip us to cast aside the deeds of darkness and its attendant temptations and walk into the Light of your grace and mercy.  Yes, sweep our hearts clean of sin so that we have room for your forgiving love.  Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR COMING CHRISTMAS KING!

TEXT:  Romans 13: 11-14

Dearly Beloved in Our Coming Lord Christ: 

          About 10 years ago our country’s Secretary of State was the point person for a new campaign to improve relations between Russia and America.  That official met with the Russian government in a televised press conference and spoke about a new “reset” of relations.  She even pulled out a giant “reset” button as a prop—kind of like you might see in a Staples ad.  Then she hit the button, expecting it to light up.  Nothing happened!  It was a dud.  It didn’t work.—And so we still find ourselves today at odds with Russia.

          Advent is a Godly time for us to hit a “reset” button in our own lives.  Hopefully, peace and harmony with God and ourselves will come out of it.  And today’s lesson gives us a blueprint to accomplish this, otherwise your life will turn into a dud….

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          Advent is our “present time.”  Advent 2019 foretells snow storms on the horizon, a cold winter, people spending far more than they can afford, superpowers squaring off against each other, superbugs which will lay many low, and basically more problems than we can count.  It will feature evil’s intrusion into our lives and cause us to question the meaning of life.  So what are any of us going to do about it?  Listen to Paul: “And do this, understanding the present time.  The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.”

          Most would say that the Christian Church is outmoded and time has passed it by.  Most would say it is comprised of stodgy, boring people who live in the past and cling to ancient ideas of right and wrong, along with a morality that doesn’t fit our fast-paced world.  Most would say that the Church is an anachronism, a concept that time has left behind.  Paul tells us to throw off your blanket of accepting this view, to rouse yourself from the slumber of complacency you often indulge in, and to get ready for big things, cosmic events leading up to Christ’s 2nd coming and the end of the world.  Can you imagine eating a big turkey dinner, engaging in self-congratulations around the table, shuffling off and going to sleep—right through the evening news—and missing out on the “breaking news headline” which announces the end of the world?! Christ is coming.  The future of God’s power and judgement is very close by.  And Christmas, in 24 days, will inaugurate His 1st coming in preparation for His 2nd coming.

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          It’s time to reset ourselves.  “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

          The word: holiday means “holy day.”  Anything holy is associated with God, isn’t it?  And yet the holidays, including Christmas, usually revolve around selfishness, greed, drunkenness, illicit sex, and generally almost anything that isn’t “holy.”  Because it is the modern American way, even Christians get caught up in this web of evil.  From now until Christ’s birthday the headlines will scream about how holiday sales are up.  It will reek of materialism.  The vast majority will spend most waking hours “thinking how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”  And then in the hard, cold light of January, the bills will come due with a thud.  Likewise, God’s bill will someday soon come due, too, concerning our life and the future of our soul.

          And so we are to ponder all these issues during Advent and hit our own reset button!  Elsewhere, Paul tells us this: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things, and the God of peace will be with you.”  If you do that, these days leading up to Christmas will be full of meaning, none of which will cause you a sleepless night.  And you can do that by focusing on the Baby Jesus Who is coming to win your freedom from the inroads of evil by triumphing over it on a cross and by handing you His victory—all wrapped up and lying in a simple manger.  Most would call that a quaint, delusional dream; but by His grace, we call it: a promise of God!  So hit your reset button starting today and see the beauty and timelessness of that promise fulfilled in your life this very year!  Amen

THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH…..

Pastor Thomas H. Fox

Dec. 1, 2019 

November 24, 2019: Christ The King Sunday

Let us pray: Dear Savior, You alone are the King of all creation.  You alone know everything and shape and mold everything so that Your name will be hallowed and Your kingdom of grace may flourish.  Today give us a glimpse into Your greater truth that surrounds and protects us.  Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM OUR LOVING KING!

TEXT:  John 18: 34-38

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          I watched a little bit of the spectacle in Washington over the past 2 weeks.  I watched various witnesses being sworn in, declaring they would recount: “The truth, the whole truth.”  And it brought to mind the question of Pilate to Christ: “What is truth?”  Let’s ponder it.

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          Is it the truth to declare “the sun is shining?”  Well, not today in Burlington, MA.  But somewhere in the world it is.  So, that truth is therefore dependent on where you live and what time of day it is.  Such truth is relative.  How about: “Today is November 24, 2019.”  Is that true?  Again, it depends on the calendar you’re following.  Here’s another one: “I love you.”  How?  In what way?  Does your love ever waver or fade?  Such truths are relative.  Some will say: What about the truths of science?  I answer: How do you know gravity exists throughout the universe in the exact same way we understand it?  Maybe there’s an alternate universe where it doesn’t exist?  By now you’re a bit exasperated.  Truth, human truth, is relative, dependent upon our understanding of something at that time and in that situation.  Is it any wonder Pilate was a cynic and mockingly asked Jesus: “What is truth?” 

          What precipitated this exchange between the Roman governor and Christ, the King of all creation?  It was Jesus saying: “You are right in saying I am a king.  In fact, for this reason I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

          This whole exchange brings up a reality-jarring problem all humans face.  That is the difference between subjective truth vs. objective truth.  Subjective truth is whatever is true for you.  So, color blind people see red whenever most others see green or blue.  What is “true” for one may not be “true for the other.”  Likewise, a sociopath may adopt a murderous lifestyle as “truth” whereas most others would say: “That’s horrible and wrong!”  If you boil it down, most of what is called: “truth” in this life, is utterly subjective.  That is, it’s right for me but not necessarily right for anyone else.  And of course, this breeds chaos, so we try to ignore the problem and sort of let the majority rule. 

          Then there’s objective truth, or “it’s true whether you believe it or not.”  Or, it’s true and correct even though you may not understand or grasp its correctness.  Let me ask you this: “What happens when you die?  Where do you go?  What do you do?  Do the same rules of earthly life apply in the hereafter?  And how and from what source do you know anything about this?”   By definition time isn’t timeless.  So, is truth timeless? 

          Pilate was what we’d call a modern man.  He was a cynic.  He questioned everything and believed only in what he had experienced: The power of might makes right and money buys anything.  His question: “What is truth?” stems from all that he could not quantify.

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          Jesus’ answer to Pilate is intriguing.  “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”  That’s a stunning statement.  It presupposes that Jesus knows real truth.  He presupposes that Jesus possesses knowledge far beyond mere human comprehension.  It presupposes that He possesses knowledge, wisdom and understanding which is timeless and infinite.  Pilate was a smart cynic and he grasped a portion of what Christ was saying.  No wonder he responds with: “What is truth?” 

          Jesus’ response is grounded in the truth that God exists, that He alone knows truth, and that Jesus is God in human flesh.  Recall Him saying: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  That would make Him the King of the universe, answerable to no one.  And because Jesus is God’s Son and there’s unity in the Trinity, all this is True! 

          Jesus tells us about Himself in the Bible.  Here’s another passage: “God Word is truth!”  So, whatever the Bible says is correct across all ages and stands the test of time and human relativity.  So, when Scripture tells us not to: cheat, steal, lie, murder, or commit adultery—those truths are always in force.  Thus, whoever breaks those rules sins against God and “the soul that sins it shall die.”  Such truth is black and white with no extenuating circumstances.  Otherwise God’s truth isn’t true.

          But there’s another great truth in the Bible.  It is this: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them anymore.”  That truth is the Gospel.  It is encapsulated in Jesus’ own words from the cross: “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  God is light and him dwells no darkness at all.  God is love.  Those truths show and tell us how He conquered the untruth of Satan’s lies.  They tell us that Godly truth won an eternal victory over sin and evil on the cross and confirmed it by rising from the dead.  So, even that commonly accepted truth: “When you die, you die” is false!  For Christ died but came back to life!  He did it for you and me.  And when we believe in Him, or as Jesus says here: “Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me” well, God’s truth trumps human relativity. 

          My friends, Christ is our King!  He knows the truth, gives it to us through faith, and it sets us free!  It sets us free from the silliness of human understanding about all the great issues of this life and the one beyond.  It provides us a paradigm for living: “If you continue in My words, then you are my disciples; and then you shall know the truth and that truth shall set you free!” 

          Truth is a beautiful thing in that it is never wrong and never goes out of style. So  listen to Christ the Purveyor of real truth and no matter what occurs in this life you WILL live happily ever after!  Our King has made it so and nothing and no one can change that fact!

THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH…..       

Welcome to Pinewood!

IMG_0231Sharing the joyous news of forgiveness in Jesus Christ is our chief purpose. To that end, we seek to nurture everyone we meet.

Join Us For Worship

Sunday Worship

10:45 a.m.

10:00 a.m. Summer Services

Starting June 1, 2019, we will begin our summer schedule with Sunday service beginning at 10:00 a.m. 

Note from the Pastor About Pinewood:

People often say: “The devil is in the details.”  We at Pinewood like to say: “God is in the details!”  It’s true!  God cares about our lives down to the smallest of details.  He never overlooks any of us.  He shows kindness, compassion, forgiveness and love to all from the smallest infant to the most seasoned member.  And along the way He breeds happiness, joy, and inner peace among all His children.  That’s why we’re a contented congregation.  He gives such blessings to each of us—and we share them.  We laugh together, we cry together, we praise God together, and we give thanks together.  We invite you to be  part of such togetherness.   Pastor Thomas H. Fox

July 11, 2021: 7th Sunday after Pentecost

Let us pray: Dear Savior, it’s hard for us to always convey love,  compassion and empathy for others.  Our selfishness always seems to get in the way.  So instead we sometimes give off negative emotions towards them and pull them down to our level, or at least try to.  Lord, it’s so ingrained in us that we’re not even aware we do it.  Forgive us such sin and give us Your good cheer.  Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE SAVIOR WHO CARES FOR YOU!

TEXT:  Mark 6: 1-6

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          When something is toxic it means that it is detrimental to our health.  Toxic substances should be avoided because they mean death to the body.  The same is true for the soul.  Can people be toxic?  Yes.  Most don’t mean to be, but we’ve all met such people.  You meet them and immediately you don’t feel right.  They are critical, condescending sometimes, complain about their problems, and generally try to pull you down to their level.  When stressed they give off gamma rays of intense negativity.  You leave feeling depressed.  So it was  for Christ when He went back to His hometown of Nazareth.

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          Those closest to us are usually the worst offenders.  Why do they do it?  Probably because they feel they can get away with it. “Jesus left there and went to his home town, accompanied by his disciples.   When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.  ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked.  ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him,  that he even does miracles!  Isn’t this the carpenter (referring to his previous occupation among them)?  Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon?  Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.”

          What a sad story.  It should have been a time to great joy for all!  It should have been: local boy makes good.  But instead it was fraught with jealousy on their part.  They rejected His help, his teachings, his ministry.   They even admitted to His amazing insight in God’s truths, wisdom, but couldn’t fathom or accept Who Jesus was: the Son of God.  Basically they transferred their sinful status to Christ in order to pull Him down by trying to raise themselves up.

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          Christ got hit by their gamma rays and responds this way: ”Only in his hometown    , among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’  He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.  And he was amazed at their lack of faith.”

          Any mere human would have just walked away in disgust.  We call it self-preservation.  But Jesus wasn’t only human, He was also the Son of God.  Now He knew even more clearly just what He was up against in redeeming the world.  We’re told “He was amazed” at it all. It reminds me of when He carried the cross to Golgotha and said: “Daughters of Jerusalem, how I longed to gather you, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” 

          But even here, His compassion showed through.  It might have been depleted, but it wasn’t gone.  For Jesus did heal some folks by touching them.  Jesus’ love for hurting sinners can never be destroyed.

          What does this mean to and for us?  When He says: “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” He’s thinking about you and me.  When we give off gamma rays of selfishness, He will find a way to deflect them.  That way is called the cross and the empty tomb.  His power to do this has been transferred to each of you through the Spirit’s gift of faith. 

          So the next time you’re feeling toxic, even if you’re not aware of it on a conscious level, pray for compassion and empathy for the person you’re interacting with.  Ask Jesus to block your toxicity towards them and let only goodness and mercy flow forth.   For didn’t Christ also say: “Whatever you do to the least of  these my brothers you  also do unto me”?  Amen

THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH SURPASSES…..

Pastor Thomas H. Fox     

July 4th, 2021: 6th Sunday of Pentecost, Patriotic

Dear Lord, thank You for putting us into a country where our voices matter.  Thank You for giving us insight and wisdom into what makes our country blest by You.  Today inspire us to use our freedoms to enrich our land, our people, and our nation by standing up for the truth that sets us free.  Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO HAS FREED OUR SOULS ETERNALLY!

Text: Proverbs 14: 34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

Dearly Beloved Fellow Americans:

          It’s obvious to me that we are in the end of the 4th turning.  I’ve mentioned before about the “turning” view of American history.  As a  nation we’ve gone through cycles of upheaval about every 70-80 years.  These “turnings” match up with the God-made cycle of the seasons—Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. The Revolution beginning in 1776 was our Spring—new, fresh, and full of energy.  The Summer started before the Civil War, marked by cleaning up the various messes that had sprouted.  Fall was a time of booming plenty—WWI, the roaring 20’s after  our appearance on the world stage followed by the bust of the Great Depression and then a new rise to plenty right after WWII.  With the tumultuous 60’s followed by a new millennium we have now entered a winter phase of decline, infighting,  and a fracturing of the social contract between government, business, and “we the people.”

Just as winter is marked by introspection due to the weather, so the last 25 years have been marked by economic hardship amid plenty, technological achievements which have diminished a sense of individual freedoms, and also a sense of unease over the future.  When you’re at the top you just know the rest of the world wants to knock you off your perch!  Hence the unease over the “climate change”, and so-called progressive agenda.  Polls reflect this.  Americans approach the future with trepidation.  Long time social norms—family and community—are being discarded and attacked as outmoded in this “global economy.”  Increasingly, celebrating the genius and strength of the individual citizen is being overtaken by group think led by governmental and educational elites.  So, here we are in winter even though the calendar says: summer!

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          Solomon, the wisest man to ever live (that’s what Almighty God said about him) wrote this little text from Proverbs.  He tried to govern Israel on its basic truth, but alas, after he died and his progeny ascended the throne they failed.  Such is the nature of sin which always focuses on amassing power and wealth without any moral fiber (think the 10 commandments) to give it backbone and staying power.  Listen to what Solomon says: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

          Rightness with God is the most vital tenet of any nation.  Acknowledging God as our Creator Who has given human beings certain inalienable rights such as: “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is spelled out in The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.  Those aren’t just pretty words, they are facts.  Likewise, those concepts take shape in laws protecting the individual from the masses, laws which are founded in the 10 commandments.   If a nation upholds right vs. wrong and equal justice under the law—after all God treats all people the same under His justice; well, adhering to God’s truths as found in the Bible exalts and lifts up a nation. 

          During the Spring and Summer and even into the Fall season of our nation, most citizens did what was just and right for the common good of all.  It wasn’t about: “What’s in it for me?”  It was about doing what was right and good and people knew what was right and good because they went to a Christian Church.  They acted in a way which would honor God, thus benefitting everyone.  They acted for the greater good—our greater God.

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          “But sin is a disgrace to any people.”  I read this week about the tent cities in San Francisco.  Currently 262 people are housed in them (I saw pictures) at a yearly cost of: $60,000 per person—paid for by taxpayers.  It would actually be cheaper to put them up in apartments.   What a disgrace.   Entitlement programs account for more than ½ of all government spending.  What every happened to the nobility of having your own job and living within your means?  When helping the needy changes to helping the majority something is wrong. Folks we’re killing ourselves and destroying our nation through lethargy, indecision, and self-interest.  Winter is here.  And baby it’s cold outside….

          America needs a religious revival.  We need a great big dose of God Who “humbles the proud yet exalts the truly humble.”  It begins with recognizing the problem in our own lives and then seeking solutions based on personal responsibility.  In the church we call that repentance.  It continues with seeking God’s ultimate answer to human sinfulness which is recognizing His goodness and will.  He treats us all equally.  “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  But the real power to get America to change is: Jesus Christ.  He died for everyone.—Total equality there.  And His love, borne of forgiveness for our sins, gives us a new spirit of doing whatever is right, noble, just, true and praiseworthy  because it honors Him since He first honored us with a Savior. 

          History teaches us that after winter comes spring once more.  Since we live in New England, we also know that the last blizzards are usually the most intense.  We’re starting to endure them right now.  But Spring is about rebirth.  It always comes.  It  will for America, too.  The question is: will you be ready to re-plant that seed of the Gospel which God has  placed into your heart via faith?  Amen

          THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH….

Pastor Thomas H. Fox

June 20, 2021: 4th Sunday after Pentecost

Let us pray: Dear Savior, send forth the Spirit to give us the necessary gifts to bring forth joy in our lives! Open our hearts to His outpouring and open our minds to better understand and show just how joy enlarges and enriches Your kingdom. Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST WHO GIVES US EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME!

TEXT: Galatians 5: 22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is…joy.”

Dearly Beloved By Christ:

Recently a friend my mine told me I needed more joy in my life. They were right. In fact after the last couple of years, we’re all lacking in joy, aren’t we? I’ve preached on the fruits of the Spirit before, but never on joy directly. So, it’s time to rectify that.

The gifts of the Spirit are recorded in I Cor. 12 at length. They include: wisdom, knowledge, faith, miraculous powers, and healing. They are direct blessings of the Spirit. These gifts are what give birth to various fruits of the Spirit—joy being one of them. In this, the Spirit’s gifts work in tandem with our bodies and minds to bear the wondrous fruits of: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” How do I know that? Recall Christ in John 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches, if a man remains in me and I in him, he can bear much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” So, joy is a fruit, born in and through us with the Spirit’s power.

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What is joy? How does it manifest itself in our lives? Well, there are many aspects of joy. Can you be joyless when you’re filled with gratitude? It’s pretty hard, isn’t it? When God Almighty gives you gifts—the chief one being the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ—you’re amazed that God would love and care for you that much! You didn’t earn it. You don’t really deserve it. Yet, God showers you with a cleansed conscience. Joy and thankfulness erupt within!

Joy also has elements of a carefree, light-hearted demeanor. When joy takes over you don’t let gloom and doom thoughts predominate. Joy puts those fires out. Joyful Christians take the 8th commandment seriously and as Luther says: “they put the best construction on the words and actions of others. They “speak the truth in love” because they know that: “there but by the grace of God go I.”

Joy puts everything in life into a proper, Godly perspective. It celebrates whatever is: ”noble, pure, excellent, and praiseworthy” and also “thinks about such things” as Paul says. This has been especially difficult for everyone over the past months. Our sinful nature naturally dwells on the negative and ignores the positive. Think back to all the times dark thoughts and bad news pulled you away from Godly joy and/or diminished it? We all blamed it on the virus, but joylessness is something we do to ourselves. As God’s vine we let those bad branches suck joy right out of the whole plant. That’s why recognizing our situation and engaging in some self-pruning is a good thing. When God decides to prune you a little, don’t fight Him—He knows best.

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I suppose this is why watching children play is so satisfying. Unlike us they don’t fret over the future. They live in the moment. They have fun. They have a zest for being care-free. They laugh a lot—far more than adults. Such laughter is medicine for both the body and the soul. Worries recede and inner peace takes hold. Stress be gone!

Scripture says “there is a season for every activity under heaven.” And then it categorizes the tough times of life and juxtaposes positive opposites to them. (Ecc. 3: 1-8) In other words, since the Gospel predominates in the Christian’s life, joy over it all should and must always win out in the end.

God’s prescription for a joyous heart is actually very simple. It starts with:”Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” It then follows “feeding your faith” via Word and sacraments. Asking Him in prayer to take dark, yucky thoughts away is also vital. Hanging out with disease-free vines is important, too, as joyless people can engage in super-spreader activities. “Let’s not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is.” But, in the end, joy stems from a thankful heart. So, let’s begin building an even more joyful life by constantly: “Praising God from whom all blessings flow!” Amen

THE PEACE OF GOD…..

Pastor Thomas H. Fox

June 27, 2021: 6th Sunday after Pentecost

Let us pray: Dear Lord, we humans are trapped in our bodies and limited by our mortality. But You are not! You are limitless! So, when we get down on life and start moaning about how our bodies have let us down, remind us that You created us, know every aspect of our being, and because You love us in Christ, You’ll make sure that all things will eventually work out for our good. Lord, fill us with that good cheer and confidence. Amen

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM OUR GREAT AND LOVING LORD!

TEXT: Job 38: 1-11

Dearly Beloved By Christ:

The entire Bible is God’s Word. Through it He speaks directly to us. That being said, certain sections are “direct” quotes from God’s lips. Job contains probably the longest sections of such quotes, including today’s text. So, listen and learn.

All of us get down on ourselves. We’re burdened with guilt over our sins. We lose loved ones and hit emotional lows. We get sick or a chronic condition grinds us down. The list is endless. And every time that occurs we ask: Why? Why me, Lord? Don’t You love me? The problem is: we’re trapped in mortality. We see only a small slice of existence, our current existence. But, God sees the entire canvas of life and He’s adding brush strokes on a daily basis.

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“Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said, ‘Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched out a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone–while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?’”

God’s being rhetorical here, but He puts all of us in our place. Who are we to question God’s goodness? He’s the Creator of all—including us. He knows every intimate detail of our lives. He knows every synapse in our brain and how it fires. He has the hairs of our head all numbered. He gave us life. And yet we question His judgment and His goodness? Right here we get an insight into how much our original sin blinds us to God.

The rest of our lesson and the next couple of chapters go into even more detail. God discusses the intimate details of all creation and how He governs them and knows them. Not

one thing escapes Him. And because He is good and gracious, His intent behind ordering all creation is also good and gracious. I especially like these verses which address our morose attitude: “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it? The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment. The wicked are denied their light, and their upraised arm is broken.”

Sin causes people to question God’s goodness and wisdom. Sin causes people to ask God in an accusatory fashion: Why? Sin causes unbelief and brings the attendant emotional and physical pain.

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But, as Malachi says elsewhere: “The Sun of righteousness has arisen, with healing in its (His) wings!” Yes, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life!” God had a plan to alleviate our suffering—eternally. It was and is Jesus Christ. Our suffering and our rage against mortality was fixed by Christ as He died to and for all sin and then arose in all rightness with God! He did this for you and me. It’s ours through His gift of faith—to us.

From faith comes acceptance as to Who God really is. Through faith comes acceptance that we may be mortal right now, but His resurrection conveys to us immortality. Through faith comes resistance to avoid beating ourselves down with “Why me?” and to revel instead in: “Yes, me!” Yes, You love me. Yes, You have a grace filled purpose in mind for my life! Yes, I can rejoice and be glad over Your goodness—if I but open my eyes to see it! My mother used to say: “With God in the heavens, all is right with the world.” Since Christ, the Conqueror of all evil has ascended to heaven as your Forerunner, all will be right for you, too. So every time you start feeling down and asking: “Why?” think back on this sermon and banish such thoughts…..Amen

THE peace of God which….

Pastor Thomas H. Fox