Mount Hope Lutheran Church
From the Pastor: Devotional Thought

"`...and they will call Him Immanuel' - which means, `God with us.'" Matthew 1:23

Decisions, decisions, decisions. They are a part of life. We are always making decisions ranging from “will I sleep a few more minutes this morning?" to "is it time I bought a new car?" We cannot escape making decisions. Even when we decide not to make a decision, we have decided on a course of action.

As we move into the New Year as individuals, families, congregation, and Synod, there will be many decisions that need to be made; problems and opportunities need to be confronted in our personal lives and in the church itself. We always hope we will make the right decision in whatever we do. Always hoping we will make the right decision, we will find that sometimes we are right, and sometimes, regrettably, we are wrong. Whether we are right or wrong, we must recall the good news which we have remembered and celebrated during the Christmas season: GOD IS WITH US!

This promise of the Christ Child which we remember every year during Christmas does not fade away with the passing of time. Even though Christmas is past, the message of Matthew as cited above is not that God was with us, but that God is with us. He is with us still! "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various places, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son..., sustaining all things by His powerful Word." (Heb. 1:1-3)

All things are sustained by the Word of God, and that Word, even Jesus Himself, is with us to this very day. No matter what problems we face, no matter what decisions we must make, we can always turn to God in prayer and lay our problems before Him. Does this improve our decision-making? We cannot judge that. But we do know that God invites us to pray, to seek His counsel, and to take our burdens to Him and lay them at His feet. He is always willing to bear a load that is too heavy for us to carry.

The comfort of God's promise is centered in the presence of the Lord that is always there to guide and direct us as His children. As we head into the New Year, let us take comfort in the fact that He is truly present among His people. The Lord has promised this, and He will do it.

Pastor Thomas