May we boast only the boldness of the Lord, Cross Encounters
The nature of our human being, with its intellect and reasoning, tends to think too largely of himself: failing to acknowledge the great majesty and mercy of God, as our only Saviour. It is only because we are so small and insignificant that He loved us so enormously to provide Redemption.
The weeping prophet and the weeping Messiah, Cross Encounters
Just as Jeremiah wept over the Jerusalem of his time, so does Jesus lament when people are unwilling to repent and abide by God’s Word. Jesus longs to save and protect us.
Death is defeated by Christ, our Saviour, Cross Encounters
This comparison between Psalm 93 with texts from Revelation offers enlightening similarities to help us see the great majesty of Jesus Christ as our King. Both identify His strength as a warrior to establish His reign - Everlasting. The greatest triumph is victory over death, which He grants in mercy to us.
How the Parables help our understanding of God's Word, Cross Encounters
Christ tells the disciples about the purpose of His parables: as a unique means of conveying the great mysteries of God’s Kingdom to those eager to learn His Word – at ALL levels of understanding. Likewise, we must listen and ponder these teachings, being keen to see the Truth revealed.
Follow the Shepherd, not the blind man, Cross Encounters
Just as Christ warned of the false teachings of the Pharisees, so also we must be aware of this as a risk amongst many religious leaders today. By seeking out the pastors and churches who clearly profess the truth from God’s Word, we can be certain to be led and enlightened on the straight path to Christ.
Jesus Christ: certified in God's Word, Cross Encounters
An opportunity to consider the coded language by which Jesus is confirmed as the Messiah who was prophesied to come and save His people. By use of extraordinary Biblical illusions which are clearly inscribed in the ancient text, Jesus verifies His identity in response to John the Baptist's enquiry.
A view of Christ as our central foundation, Cross Encounters
Consider what is most important about the Christmas tree. Certainly it seems impressive and stunning as it stands tall and glorious, with star and lights. Yet the most vital is the firm stand that keeps it centred and upright. Likewise, Christ is the solid rock upon which to build our faith.
Christ is with us through Word, Water, Bread and Blood, Cross Encounters
A worthy cause for meaningful meditation, as we prepare for Christ’s coming during Advent season: Note how prominent is Scriptural reference describing the lifeline of Christ in our Lutheran liturgy. This account pledges faithful reminder of how His presence is with us throughout the Divine Service.
Will God really dwell on earth?, Cross Encounters
As we enter the season of Advent the idea of God clothing Himself in human flesh seems illogical. Yet, Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary to save the world.
Rejoice!, Cross Encounters
This reflection on Psalm 13 provides a stunning contrast from a sense of despair, feeling forsaken by God (as we know in life circumstance) to uplifting praise, rejoicing that He has overcome our enemies! That is: over sin, death and the devil. A great prophecy pointing to Christ’s triumph, as a reminder of God’s enduring promise to deliver us from all challenges.
The Church of Christ born as new creation, Cross Encounters
Here is an interesting correlation describing a link between the origin of woman – formed as a new creation from Adam – and the birth of the Church – coming to life upon Christ’s death. It captivates the significance of the sacraments derived from the divine water and blood as it came from our Saviour.
Who is this man with divine authority? The Son of God!, Cross Encounters
The Gospel of Mark delivers a message that clearly affirms the identity of Jesus Christ. While his contemporaries were posing valid questions, such as how Christ can defy the traditions of the Jews, Mark concludes with the truth that Jesus is the Son of God and that He comes to serve. Jesus is our ransom from sin and our salvation.
We are called to listen to Christ, Cross Encounters
A review of various instances where specific declarations from Christ caused for the people to respond with offence, anger, or confusion: e.g. claiming to have divine authority and being the Son of God. Indeed, so that it led to His death. Yet we must listen alertly and properly consider Christ the Word of God.
Pray for others, Cross Encounters
Luther constructed a thoughtful and methodical ‘Simple Way to Pray’, reminding us that the focus of our prayer ought not to be solely in our own interests. By revisiting Scripture, the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles Creed and confessing our sins we can beseech God’s mercy as a gracious Father.
Expectations overturned, Cross Encounters
This reflection offers a double account of the supreme joy of being reunited with the Lord. As we honour Easter and the Resurrection of Christ, we can but try to fathom this extraordinary experience of the ladies meeting their Risen Lord while on the path to His tomb.
Christ is our place for refuge, Cross Encounters
The Book of Joshua describes the Cities of Refuge as a gracious resource for protection and strength, to sustain those in need. The elements attributed to these shelters demonstrate a striking parallel to the security Christ offers to us. He is open and available to all as fortress for freedom and peace.
Don't pass Me by, Cross Encounters
Here is example of the statue of Christ with His arms outstretched and welcoming us during the course of our travels through life. We are summoned to pause at his feet and duly respect both his authority and embrace, although too many passers-by offer no regard - even reject Him. We are to recognise this Cornerstone on which God has built the plan of redemption.
Rely upon the strength of Christ, Cross Encounters
This episode narrates an incident describing how we, as Christians, are called to lend a hand of support to those whom we see heedlessly falling. Yet to maintain our balance while offering assistance, we can rely upon the strength of Christ as a Rock of Salvation who serves as a stable foundation – for all.
God’s greatest gift, Cross Encounters
This poetic homily reminds us the prime reason for celebrating this Christmas season. Special reference to Luke’s narrative of the birth of Christ reminds us of the great choral tradition of praise in the Bible (such as Mary’s Magnificat). In the same we continue to celebrate with songs of joy the uplifting hope granted us in God’s greatest gift.
The son of promise and the Son of God, Cross Encounters
Here is a reflection upon the birth of John the Baptist: himself being a miracle conceived, and elected to prepare the way of the Lord. John deemed as ‘Son of Promise’, we see many related prophesies from the Old Testament come to be, which is culminated in Zechariah’s hymn of praise, the Benedictus. Still the ultimate fulfillment of God’s mercy, of course, is manifest in the birth of Christ – for which now is apt occasion for us to give thanks.
500 years of Reformation. Where do we go from here?, Cross Encounters
How do we translate the recent flurry of activities into long term opportunities to get the Word of God out to our communities? Real Reformation begins with confession, followed by reading, marking and inwardly digesting God’s Word, praying and confessing the saving name of Christ.
Call a spade a spade, Cross Encounters
The love of God does not overlook our whims and inclinations. Take sin and its consequences seriously. Don’t replace the Holy Spirit with the spirit of the age. Truth and right are embodied in Jesus Christ.
Reformation: Worth remembering, Cross Encounters
Here is a helpful review reminding us the enduring creed of Lutheran theology. ‘The Four Solas’ are central, founded on Luther’s prime principle that we are saved by faith alone. Focus on Scripture recounts the mission of Christ in all He did, all He served us, and how He reigns actively in our lives now. It is this enormous gift which inspires us to live in accord with God’s Will.
An amazing path, Cross Encounters
The true and proper worship of God should be as natural to his people as birds following their migratory paths.
From death to life, Cross Encounters
The ill state of our human condition is the product of sin in our lives, and though we tend to deny it, death is our fate. Yet everlasting hope is in Christ, who triumphed over our fate to deliver us new life.
From sorrow to joy, Cross Encounters
Jesus says in John 16:20: Truly, truly, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.
The Shepherd who carries His people, Cross Encounters
False idols are like burdens that people carry around. But these idols will never carry people through the tough times of life. The people of God are encouraged to place their trust in Him who seeks, saves and carries us upon His own shoulders.
The landmarks of faith, Cross Encounters
Church celebrations such as Christmas and Easter are signs that God worked mightily in history to fulfil His promise and save His people. They remind us of God’s trustworthiness and serve as tools to teach future generations that God is with us and has reconciled sinners to Himself.
Does it matter what God we pray to?, Cross Encounters
Only Jesus forgives sins. Only Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
Jacob's ladder, Cross Encounters
We, sinful humans, are incapable of climbing up to God through our own works or merits. Instead, we gather at the foot of the ladder and wait for God to come down to us and God did exactly that when He sent His own incarnate Son into the world.
The old has passed away, the new has come, Cross Encounters
Humans want to be happy but they are unwilling to do what they know will bring them happiness. This is true even of those who long to do God’s will. Trapped in a hell of our own making we often aren’t “living the dream” but the nightmare. However, Christ’s forgiveness for our sins and His clothing us with His righteousness gives us newness of life.
Triumphant defeat, Cross Encounters
In the darkness and stillness of His death Jesus turned apparent defeat into glorious victory overs sin, death and the devil.
Where is the glory of God?, Cross Encounters
The glory of God was fully revealed when His Son was lifted up on the cross to draw all people unto Himself. He took all your sins into His body and was forsaken by His Holy Father so that you would never experience the eternal forsakenness of Almighty God.
Don’t wall yourself off, Cross Encounters
Christians are founded on Christ. They are living stones being built up as a spiritual house to proclaim God’s light and mercy.
Drink from the stream rather than the brook, Cross Encounters
Don’t just read books about the Bible and spirituality. Don’t settle for the polluted and contaminated water that the world offers. Instead, read the Bible, the source of fresh and living water that wells up to eternal life.
Written that you may believe, Cross Encounters
Repent and believe in the gospel. Jesus is the source and the object of faith and salvation.
Can Jesus really forgive my sins?, Cross Encounters
The Holy Scriptures teach that Jesus actually, physically and historically took our sins into his body that we might die to sin with him and live to righteousness.
The “onlys” of salvation, Cross Encounters
Only Jesus, only Scripture, only grace, only through faith to the glory of God alone and so that no one may boast in their own works. We don’t have to do good works. We get to.
The blood that neutralizes the serpent’s venom, Cross Encounters
Rebellion and disobedience have infected and poisoned all humanity with sin and the sure consequence is death. But Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us and his blood was shed to bring us forgiveness and life.
The snare of sin, Cross Encounters
Sin has you tied up in knots? Are you fighting to free yourself only to find sin’s grip tighter around you? Stop struggling and start confessing. Allow the Saviour who has conquered sin to come to you, to rescue you and to set you free.
The illusion of pleasure, wisdom, power and wealth, Cross Encounters
They promise so much but deliver so little. Jesus delivers us from sin and assures us of eternal life.
Taken by the horns, Cross Encounters
Under trampled by sin? Jesus’ righteousness is proclaimed to you: your debt has been paid in full.
Keep away from idols!, Cross Encounters
"A god means that from which we are to expect all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress, so that to have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe Him from the heart" [Explanation to the First Commandment in Martin Luther’s Large Catechism]
Beware of false prophets!, Cross Encounters
False prophets mistake their own thoughts for the word of God. They may deceive and lead many people away from the truth. They are often full of grandiose promises of blessings and riches but say almost nothing about the disastrous effects sin has upon us. They cause people to doubt the Holy Scriptures and fail to provide people with God’s comfort.
From tragedy to glory, Cross Encounters
God's children through Christ. God's anointed King Jesus transforms crippled and lame sinners into the glory of His image.
Is Christianity relevant or counter-cultural?, Cross Encounters
This week Pastor Jon tells us that when we are one with Christ we can stand united and before God.
Seek the Lord “where” He may be found!, Cross Encounters
We cannot find God by our reason or strength. God’s Word leads us to Jesus. In Him our faith finds salvation.
Praise the Lord, O my soul!, Cross Encounters
God doesn’t need us to massage His ego. Rather, we give Him praise and honour for what He has done for us.
Don’t hide in the darkness!, Cross Encounters
Pastor Jon reminds us that in the New Year temptations are bound to come and advises us to seek security and shelter from the attacks of the evil one in God who is our fortress.
Jesus Christ: the Christmas present that really matters, Cross Encounters
Didn’t get what you wanted this Christmas? God gave us what we really need: salvation through His Son Jesus.
Sing “Glory to God in the highest”, Cross Encounters
Sing because God has come to us. Sing because God is with us and for us.
Let it be according to Your Word, Cross Encounters
The Holy Spirit works God’s will among humanity through the proclamation of His Word.
Jesus the Greatest, Cross Encounters
If you are looking for the greatest, look no further than Jesus
The voice of God’s mercy, Cross Encounters
Lift up your voice in praise; in the coming of Jesus Christ God came to save you.
How Long, O Lord?, Cross Encounters
Are you under attack? Consumed by sorrow? Have these things gone overtime? Remember, God is the ultimate time keeper and He will deal bountifully with those who trust in Him. Listen to Pastor Jon Ehlers’ devotion on Psalm 13 in Cross Encounters.
The heavy yoke and the light burden, Cross Encounters
Humans to often live their life as oxen of old – toiling and dying – but isn’t there more to it?
The Fall, Cross Encounters
We do not need an improved self. We need a new self through Christ.
Lost, sought, found!, Cross Encounters
Pastor Ehlers reflects on God’s joy over the repentant sinner.
The hammer of God, Cross Encounters
The voice that breaks hearts of stone and creates new life.
Wait on The Lord, Cross Encounters
Are we to wait passively or actively for His coming? Pastor Ehlers reflects on what it means to wait on The Lord