“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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
This month we traditionally set aside a day of thanksgiving in our nation. We do indeed live in a blessed land – God has been so good to us and it is our privilege to thank Him for His bounty. In this letter let me point out that we are not just citizens of a truly bountiful land. Above and beyond this we have been called by name by the Holy Spirit of God to be citizens of heaven temporarily living in this beautiful country.
As sons and daughters of God, redeemed by the blood of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we are called to live by higher standards than those who do not follow Jesus. We are to walk by faith – not by sight. We are to see things differently than those who do not have a faith perspective. The greatest difference, of course, is that believing children of God will spend eternity in a vastly different place than those who choose not to put their trust in Jesus.
In this temporal realm, however, the difference between us is in how we think, how we speak, and how we act toward others. When it comes to standards to live by, the worldly view is “whatever.” This usually means whatever is good for me, whatever I feel like doing, whatever I want. When it comes to our dealings with those who disagree with us, we do whatever we want because our opinion matters the most.
Walking by faith gives us a much different “whatever” to live by. It is based on whatever God provides, whatever God instills within us, whatever God grants us by His grace. Anyone can see the obvious. Anyone can be annoyed by what goes against our grain. Anyone can become angered by a difference of opinion. We are called by the Holy Spirit to look beyond the obvious and the outward.
The Holy Spirit is our teacher who equips us to see whatever is honorable. Putting our faith into action trains us to look past what is our point of view to see whatever is based on God’s just standards. It also enables us to see whatever is pure – not stained by a self-centered preference. Let’s face it, even in church there are occasional flashes of our “ugly self,” but when the emotions subside, let’s look instead to whatever is lovely about those who beg to differ with us. This gives us the grace to focus on whatever is commendable in others.
All these traits are part of what it means to put Christian love into action. When the apostle Paul discussed the various gifts people are given within the church he recognized how good gifts can become divisive. Our gifts tend to give us a primary vantage point to see how things should be done. An equally valid, but different view, should not cause strife, but should complement the other. For all the possible misunderstandings that arise because we have differing gifts, Paul sums it up by saying, “Let me show you a still more excellent way” (I Cor. 12:31). Then he writes an entire chapter about love. We are to think about what this more excellent way is and take note of the qualities in others that are worthy of praise and generously dole out our thanksgivings to those who are worthy of our praise and thanks.
The reward for thinking about whatever is good is that the God of peace is with us. We are very used to hearing about the peace of God which passes understanding. That peace helps us to concentrate on Christ Jesus rather than the “what if’s” in life. This reward surpasses even the peace of God. The promise is that God, who is peace, is with us and dwelling in us.
Have a very good Thanksgiving Day, but even better, have a thankful life. Thank God for who He is. Thank Him for calling us to be His very own children. Thank Him for your brothers and sisters in Christ that you have the privilege of worshipping with regularly. THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS.
Pastor Bill Zeige has been in the ministry for 45 years since being called out of the St. Louis
Seminary to serve at Our Redeemer in Cohasset and Trinity Lutheran in Hill City in 1973. He
and his wife Sue grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they met in college.
After moving to Grand Rapids they raised five children: Lynne, Lisa, Laurie, Sarah, and Mark
and cared for a foster daughter for several years. Sue has been involved as a director of
Independent School District 318 for several terms and is seeking re-election currently. She also
served on the Grand Rapids City Council for seven years – five of those years as mayor.
Pastor Bill served Trinity for 13 ½ years before becoming full time pastor at Redeemer where he
served for 38 years before retiring in 2011. Since retiring he has served interim ministries at
Detroit Lakes, MN., Nevis, MN., Our Redeemer in Cohasset, and at First Lutheran since
February, 2018. He also served the Minnesota North District as the Iron Range Circuit
Counselor for 16 years. He also currently serves as City Councilor for the City of Grand
Pastor Bill, although being not so successful at being retired, is grateful to be able to use the gifts
God has given him to be a spiritual leader for the members of First Lutheran congregation and
the people we can reach out to to be part of the family of God.
12/8/19 Family Worship 6:10 Scripture readings 13:00 Sermon- Pastor Bill Zeige
11/24/19 Family Worship Service,
3:35 Scripture readings
11:30 Sermon by Pastor Bill Zeige
11/17/19 Family Service
5:35 Scripture readings
15:45 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige
11/3/19 Divine Service-10:30, Youth Sunday
6:10 Childrens' message
19:55 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige
Chase Sampson's baptism along with the full service.
October 13, 2019 Family Elder Led Service
10/6/2019 LWML Sunday
9/15/19 Divine Service
4:45 Scripture readings
14:45 Sermon by Pastor Bill Zeige
9/1/19 Divine Service- Salutation through sermon--conducted by the Bd. of Elders
8/25/19 Divine Service (abridged)
00:28 Scripture readings
10:13 Sermon by Pastor Bill Zeige
8/18/19 Divine Service
5:45 Scripture readings
15:00 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige
8/11/19 Divine Service (abridged)
4:05 Gospel reading
8:15 Sermon by Pastor Bill Zeige
8/4/19 Divine Service
06:00 Scripture readings
13:20 Apostle's Creed ...
17:10 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige. ...