Principal’s Pen: Dear Problem…

“Dear God – my problem is so great that…” You fill in the rest.

The prophet Elijah faced such a problem. After witnessing the Lord’s power on Mount Carmel, and as the people’s cry – “The Lord – he is God!” (1 Kings 18:39) – rung in his ears, he may have assumed that his problems with idolatry had ended.

Then came Jezebel’s words: “May the gods deal with me…if…I do not make your life like that of one of [my dead prophets]” (19:2). Elijah fled. To him, his problem was bigger than God. He saw escape as the only solution.

It is here that the Lord provided Elijah with a valuable lesson. God sent powerful displays – wind, earthquake, and fire. But he was not in them.

Finally, Elijah heard a whisper: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (19:13). God was in that whisper. After Elijah explained himself, the Lord explained his plan. Elijah still had work to do. He would anoint two kings and he would also anoint his successor. Energized by the word of the Lord, Elijah carried out the plan. He learned that even his greatest problem was under the Lord’s control.

1cr1013cWe have been like Elijah many times. When we face seemingly impossible situations, we often despair and search for solutions anywhere else but with God.

At times like these, we need the Lord’s assurance. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you…. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned” (Isaiah 43:2). And again, “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

God repeatedly assures us that he manages even our greatest problems.

Instead of praying, “Dear God – my problem is so great that…,” we may confidently pray, “Dear problem – my God is so great that….” You fill in the rest!

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

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Principal’s Pen: Oh so relevant

Some say, “Christianity is irrelevant!”

They believe that the Church’s primary mission is to solve humankind’s ills. So, when it does not address and resolve hunger, disease, war, and other earthly problems, they label Christianity as “irrelevant.”

Sin is the root of life’s problems. Evil forces—including our flesh—continually foster sin. James writes, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1). Moses directly states that the “inclination of the thoughts of the human heart [is] only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). We are naturally selfish. Our interests lie within. We place ourselves first thinking we are always correct. After all, it’s easy to point out life’s problems until we realize that we are the cause.

Some assume that Christianity will solve every earthly trouble. They think that God should destroy sin at their whim. When he doesn’t, they declare that he is uncaring, unknowing, and irrelevant.

We know that God does great things. He fed 5,000. He brought two million Israelites safely through the Red Sea. He raised Lazarus. He saves you, me, and all believers. Still, he did (and does) these things in his own way at his own time to glorify his name.

heart_1705cThroughout Scripture, God instructs us to wait patiently. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Eccl. 3:1). “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand” (John 13:7).

God has a plan for everything, including life’s problems. His solutions are timely and relevant. After all, they “transcend all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Really, Christianity is relevant!

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran High.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: Stop squirming

“Stop squirming!” How many times have you said that, witnessed someone saying it, or wished someone would say it—perhaps to a restless child or two? Some may even recall hearing those words directed at them.

sky_12239cGod also says, “Stop squirming!” The psalmist writes, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Although our circumstances may differ from those of a fidgeting child, the message has a similar intent.

Life often distracts us from our true purpose to “love the Lord [our] God with all [our] heart and with all [our] soul and with all [our] strength and with all [our] mind” (Luke 10:27). We frequently live life, not considering the consequences of our actions. When we focus only on the here-and-now, it is only a matter of time before we begin “squirming” after the world’s allurements. Soon we find ourselves completely drawn away from our true purpose, only to follow an ungodly course.

At these times, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” His power, his wisdom, his goodness, and his righteousness are all we need. Furthermore, he makes them ours by grace through faith in Christ. When we are tempted to focus more on the present than on the hereafter, God’s voice calls us back to the reality of making him our highest treasure.

“Stop squirming!” God gives us all we need for this life and the life to come.

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran High.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: Are you sure?

Do we know — for sure?

Job may well be one of the oldest Bible books. It raises an age-old question:
Do we know — for sure?

Throughout Job, he made pointed statements. “But a man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more.” [Job 14:10]. He also asked tough questions. “If a man die, shall he live again?” [Job 14:14].

redeemer_16912cHis thoughts came from a heart that suffered great personal loss. Yet, by faith, he also exclaimed, “I know that my redeemer lives” [Job 19:25]. Job knew this — for sure. With these words, he stood on solid ground. In spite of his troubles, the Holy Spirit led him to speak comfort and assurance to all believers.

Job begins, “I know.” He pointed with certainty to a central truth of Scripture: his “redeemer lives.” Christ is true God. He controls everything. He lives and has conquered death. Paul echoed the same thought: Christ “was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ [is] our Lord” [Romans 1:4].

Like Job, we, too, may know and believe that our Redeemer lives in spite of our troubles and doubts. This is God’s plan for us. This is why the Bible was written. The Apostle John agrees. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” [1 John 5:13].

Through God’s Word, we know — for sure!

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran High.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: God uses government

pray74This month, we celebrate the births of two acclaimed presidents: Washington and Lincoln. As such, we should briefly consider the necessity and blessing of government, and how God uses it to advance his plan.

Throughout history, government has not always been highly respected. The Church father Augustine stated, “Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies?” The philosopher Thomas Paine concurred. “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil.” Even Thomas Jefferson said, “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so [it] will not become a legalized version of the first.” Today, many echo similar sentiments, perhaps more colorfully.

In light of such attitudes about government, what should Christians think?
First, we know that God establishes all governments—even corrupt ones. “No authority exists except by God” [Romans 13:1]. As such, we owe our government respect and allegiance because “the one who rebels against the authority is opposing God’s institution” [v. 2].

At the same time, government can be a blessing. It provides peace and stability to society. It is God’s “agent…to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” and his “servant for our benefit” [v. 4] to ensure that freedoms—including worship—are maintained.
It is sad that today Church and state are no longer on the same field as they once were. Long ago, both understood that they answered to God. However, society has separated them, and today government acts as if it were answerable to no one—not even God!
Christians must remember that God establishes government. He causes nations and leaders to rise for his purpose, and then he allows them to fall.

In spite of the boasts of rulers and the sometimes reckless actions of government, take comfort that “the One enthroned in heaven laughs” [Psalm 2:4]. He controls everything and “works for the good of those who love him” [Romans 8:28].

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran High School.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: Never, never, never alone

The New Year often brings a mixed bag of emotions and memories.

For some, 2017 was their best year ever. They look forward to an even greater 2018.

Others experienced one struggle after another last year. For them, 2018 brings hope that things will improve.

Whether you have just had the greatest year of your life or you are incredibly glad to see 2017 pass, the truth remains: you are not alone — ever! Our God is “with us” and he is “for us.”

alphaomega_1772cChristmas is the season of God with us. Our Savior — Immanuel — is literally “God with us.” Though this world continually changes, God does not. He comforts us in his Word by proclaiming, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (NIV 11, Revelation 22:12). He has always been with us, is always with us, and will always be with us.

Not only is our God with us at all times, but he is for us. Christ is our brother who redeemed us from sin’s curse. His holy life, innocent suffering and death, and glorious resurrection confirm Paul’s assertion, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (NIV 11, Romans 8:31).

Begin 2018 trusting that God knows what is best. After all, he is with you and he is for you. “[Christ] said to me, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’ He also said, ‘Write, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” (EHV, Revelation 21:5).

God bless your New Year!

Jim Grasby is Principal of Lakeside Lutheran High School.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: I’ve had it.

By now, you may have had it!

Soon after school begins, Christmas decorations appear in stores. Then, sales start. Finally, it —Christmas music with messages of family, good times, presents, and Santa—commences. Although many love the season, just as many find it overwhelming or depressing.

christmas_12425CIn a world that does not know the true reason for Christmas, Christians must continually remind themselves, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

By nature, we are not upright and godly. Sin so corrupts our nature that the psalmist’s words fit everyone perfectly: “All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (14:3). In short, we have no hope.

In his grace and mercy, God sent One to pay sin’s price. His Son became human, lived spotlessly, died innocently, and rose victoriously to pay humankind’s debt for sin. No human effort, man-made strategy, or mortal plan could accomplish our salvation. It is full and free divine grace to all who hold the Savior by faith.

The angel’s proclamation that first Christmas was “music” to the shepherds’ ears. Imagine their joy when the angels announced, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Their joy compelled them to find him. It led them to “[glorify and praise] God for all the things they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:20). The shepherd’s jubilation may well be called the world’s first Christmas “song.”

Don’t despair. Soon, the Christmas decorations will be stored. The unsold merchandise will disappear. The sappy, commercialized music will end.

But, our joy and hope in the Savior will not. It lives because Jesus truly is “the Messiah, the Lord.” God bless your Christmas celebration!

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org