crane_14408acThanksgiving Eve
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
November 22, 2017
Deuteronomy 8:1-10, Philippians 4:6-20, Luke 17:11-19

Sermons online:
Text:                            pastorjud.org
Audio:                         pastorjud.podbean.com
itunes:                         bit.ly/pastorjud
Full Service Audio:    bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship

A young mother holds her infant girl in her arms and looks into that sweet baby’s eyes.  The mother thinks about all the future holds for her little girl.  A future of great promise and a future of heartache and trouble.  Will my baby be happy; will she be loved and cared for by others as she grows and matures, or will she be picked on and bullied?  Will she be able to navigate adolescence and early adulthood wisely, or will she get caught up in the traps of drinking, drugs and promiscuity?  Will she find a fulfilling vocation which she will love going to work and be able to pour her heart and soul into her labor, or will she be trapped in a job where she will dread going to work in the morning.  Will my baby find a good husband who loves her and builds her up, or will she find someone who belittles and abuses her?  The mother holds her sweet little baby in her arms but in her heart she holds great anxiety and worry.

There is a lot to worry about in this life; money, health, family, politics, crime, safety.  It seems that every night on the evening news there is a report about something else that is going to hurt you or kill you.  People who have very little worry about not having enough.  People who have lots worry about maintaining and protecting all their stuff.  We have lots of worry in this life; lots of anxiety.  Holidays bring their own stress.  How many of you have your bodies sitting here tonight, but your minds are working out the game plan for how to get everything on the table on time tomorrow and feeling the stress of too much to do and not enough time to do it?

Into our lives of stress and worry and anxiety we get these words from St. Paul.  Philippians 4:6 (ESV)  6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [1]

Do not be anxious about anything.  Easy to say…hard to do.  But what does Paul give as the antidote for worry?  It is not some type of breathing exercise.  It is not to imagine your happy place.  It is not physical exercise.  It is not medication.  It is not counseling.  What is Paul’s remedy for anxiety?

Take it to the Lord in prayer.  Prayer and supplication.  Supplication is another word for prayer; to make humble and earnest petitions.  To bring your needs to someone who has the power to grant a request.

But what does Paul give as the antidote for worry?  It is not some type of breathing exercise.  It is not to imagine your happy place.  It is not physical exercise.  It is not medication.  It is not counseling.  What is Paul’s remedy for anxiety?

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.[1]

In the Large Catechism Martin Luther writes about prayer, “We have now heard what we must do and believe, in what things the best and happiest life consists.  Now follows the third part, how we ought to pray.  For we are in a situation where no person can perfectly keep the Ten Commandments, even though he has begun to believe.  The devil with all his power, together with the world and our own flesh, resists our efforts.  Therefore, nothing is more necessary than that we should continually turn towards God’s ear, call upon Him, and pray to Him.  We must pray that He would give, preserve, and increase faith in us and the fulfillment of the Ten Commandments.  We pray that He would remove everything that is in our way and that opposes us in these matters.”[2]

Pray.  Pray; it is what you do.  Because you are a baptized child of God covered by the blood of the Lord Jesus, you have a direct line to the creator of the universe.  You have a hotline to God.  You can bring your requests and concerns to the Lord of the Universe.  So pray.

It is nice to know someone in local government because if you need something to be discussed or accomplished at least you have someone who will listen to your requests and desires.  You have that very thing with God.  In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Take your requests and desires to God with thanksgiving for all that the Lord has done for you already.  Give thanks for all that Lord has given you physically and spiritually.

In this nation we are blessed with great abundance; we have so much to be thankful for with modern technology and conveniences.  Clean hot and cold running water coming out of pipes in the wall.  Indoor plumbing.  Electric lights.  Heat and air conditioning.  A great abundance of food.  Good dentists and doctors and medicine.  Good government.  We have so much to be thankful for in our families.  We have much to be thankful for as a congregation here as the Lord has blessed us for 121 years.

So bring everything to the Lord in prayer with thanksgiving.  Live with an attitude of gratitude.  Live life in prayer and supplication to the Lord.  Daily give your worries and concerns to the Lord.  Commend yourself, your loved ones and all people into the Lord’s care.  Pray continually.  And the Lord will give you peace.  And not just a fleeting peace, but the peace of God; the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.  A peace you cannot understand; an out of this world peace.  A peace that is incomprehensible.  This is the peace that the Lord offers to you.

In this world full of stress and anxiety it is a difficult, ongoing struggle to take everything to the Lord in prayer.  This spiritual discipline is not easy and it takes a lot of practice and you will experience many fits and starts.  You will never master it completely this side of paradise, but it is a spiritual discipline that will bring you peace.  “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  Focus on the Godly things of life as Paul writes:  Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV) 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.[3]

Keep your focus on the Lord Jesus and all He has done for you.  Keep your hope in the promises the Lord made to you.  Trust in the Lord Jesus and in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.

Amen.

 

[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

[2] Concordia, The Lutheran Confessions, 2006, pg. 408

[3]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001

 

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