How wonderful last Sunday was! Such a great example of Christian fellowship! I want to thank everyone once again for all their help in making this special day happen.
Now that one celebration is over, there is an even bigger one on the horizon. While King of Kings is celebrating its 50 years of God’s grace, the Lutheran Church is celebrating 500 years of grace. October 31, 1517, is commonly thought of as the birthday of the Lutheran Reformation. We will celebrate this event as well. October 28, there will be a special community event at our sister congregation, Risen Savior Lutheran Church, at 2 pm. Sunday, 10/29, the Sundayschool will present a special Luther play. We will have a special 500th Anniversary service. After the service, we will have a special “Lunch and Luther” event. Lunch will be provided and we’ll watch the 2003 Luther movie.
Tomorrow, 10/14, there our fall LWMS rally at Risen Savior in Orlando. The keynote speaker will be Pastor Paul Prange, WELS Administrator for Ministerial Education. He will speak on the topic of “Hosting International Students” which “Leads to Mission Opportunities Abroad.” It is a very timely topic for us at King of Kings. Perhaps our German connection will open such doors? Registration begins at 9:15; the rally at 10 am.
Sunday, Mr. Craig Korth will lead us in worship. Mr. Korth used to be a WELS pastor until his family moved down to Florida for the sunshine. We are thankful for his willingness to fill in.
That’s this week’s news. Now here’s today’s devotion:
Don’t Give Up. Don’t Ever Give Up.
Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.… Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."
Genesis 32:24, 26-28
James Thomas Anthony Valvano (nicknamed Jimmy V) coached his North Carolina State University basketball team to the 1983 NCAA basketball tournament championship. Jimmy V is best remembered for running up and down the court after winning that championship… seemingly in disbelief… looking for someone to hug. Jimmy V spoke at the inaugural ESPY Awards, presented by ESPN in 1993 and announced the creation of the “V Foundation”—an organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. He announced that the foundation's motto would be: “Don't give up. Don't ever give up.”
The V Foundation’s motto fits the Bible’s account of Jacob wrestling with the Lord on the banks of the Jabbok River. It is not particularly hard to understand why Jacob felt the need to wrestle with the Lord throughout the night. Years earlier he pulled a scam and bamboozled his brother, Esau, out of Isaac’s blessing to his firstborn son. Now, in the morning Jacob was going to see his brother for the first time since he “heisted” him all those years before. It is easy to imagine the emotional rollercoaster Jacob was on.
How about for you? What is it like to lay before the Lord your most difficult moments…and seem to receive no response? What do you do? What do you do when you knock and knock and knock on heaven’s door and get nothing? When that happens, do you turn away in disgust? Does the thought percolate in your mind, “See…I assumed he is detached from what is happening in my life”? Then…do you give up?
Reflect on the prayers of Jesus Christ as he suffered on the cross. Imagine how excruciating his Father’s silence was to Jesus. But, did he give up? Did he say, “What does it matter?! God isn’t listening to me anyway!” Oh no. He endured and trusted in his Father to deliver him and rescue him. And God’s silence was actually the answer to Jesus’ prayers…a great benefit for us. The Father’s forgiveness came to us when his Son paid for all our sins, including when we question his judgment and his character as our eternally good and caring God.
Learn from both Jesus and Jacob. Just as Jacob wrestled with the Lord, so your Father invites you to wrestle with him in prayer. Be determined to hold your heavenly Father to his promises. This is the privilege won for you by Jesus. He is the one who struggled and overcome the gates of hell itself. Grab the Lord’s promises with the vise grips of faith…like Jacob’s hold on the Lord…and don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.
Dear Lord, you lived for me, died for me, rose for me to give me the privilege of wrestling with you in prayer. Help me to not give up and to always trust in you and your eternally good answers. Amen.