All Members Winter Residents, Family and Friends,

          Greetings on this Tuesday morning of Holy Week!  I trust all is well with you and yours!  I want to encourage you if you have a prayer request please send them to me.  Just simply hit reply and I will add your request to me personal prayer list.  I have not been naming names in the “live stream” for people who are ill, because I do not want to violate any HIPPA laws.  But I will pray for you and yours in my daily prayer time each morning. 

          One more things of housecleaning!  I have to admit that I have some people on my email list that I simply do not know or cannot remember.  If you are an individual who no longer have any affiliation with Trinity Lutheran Church, Lake Placid, and desire to be removed for my email list please reply to this email and I will remove you from the list.  I do not want to be an annoyance to anyone with our regular emails.  Thank you! 

          Below is a brief devotional that I wrote for the Florida Georgia District Lenten Devotions.  I also included as I should have yesterday Luther’s Morning Prayer from the Small Catechism. 

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen. (423) Small Catechism

In the name of the Father and of the T Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Hebrews 13:15-16 (ESV)

15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

The Christian Church struggles with a memory loss issue.  The book of Hebrews speaks of this collective memory loss, telling the Church not to succumb to a spiritual loss of memory.  Paul spends the first fourteen verses of this chapter of Hebrews reminding us of things we shouldn’t need to be reminded.  Why?  Memory loss has afflicted the Church for centuries. We’ve forgotten much of what we’re supposed to remember. When the Church loses her spiritual memory, she has lost a large part of herself.  Here “the Church” is people of God, believers, people who make up the local church, such as Trinity Lutheran Church, Lake Placid, or your local church.  Paul in vs. 7 reminds us all to Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.” Heb. 13:7 (ESV) Paul here is reemphasizing the fact that we need to remember what we have been taught so that we might not be led astray by false teachings.  One of the greatest fears of most Pastors in this time of “Social Distancing” and the closing of churches is who will return when this is all over.  Who will remember what Hebrews 10: 23-25 states, Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Not giving up meeting together here means a willful, personal choice to stay away from Church when it reopens. 

One of the most repeated instructions in Scripture is for us to praise and worship God.  You would not think that we would need to be reminded to praise and worship God.  This is what we were created to do in this world.  Not only is God worthy of our praise, but we benefit from it. When we worship him, we are fulfilling our created purpose and aligning ourselves with heaven's heartbeat.  Hebrews 13:15 refers to praise as a sacrifice because it pleases God as an offering and because at times it isn't easy for us. When we choose to praise God even when life is hard or we cannot meet together with our family and friends we are making a sacrifice that honors and pleases God.  Christians are to provide a continual sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit offered to God through speaking praises to him.  The phrase "fruit of the lips." is a Hebraism, meaning what the lips produce; that is, words.  "Praise" is the appropriate response to what God has accomplished for us through the blood of Jesus.

During this Holy Week we cannot compare our sacrifices to those of the innocent, bitter suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The believers' sacrifices are seen in not neglecting to do good as noted in vs. 16 are seen in our doing good and sharing resources.  God is pleased with our genuine praise and receives it as a sacrifice. A "sacrifice of praise" today would include thanking Christ for his sacrifice on the cross and telling others about it. Acts of kindness and sharing are particularly pleasing to God, even when they go unnoticed by others.  Let our praises be clear and true so that others might see who is truly worthy to be praised is God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for You and watch.  Psalm 5:3 My mouth is filled with Your praise, and with Your glory all the day.  Psalm 71:8 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.  Psalm 51:15 Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Please remember that all “Steps of Faith” folders can be turned into the church at any time now.  We are open every day from 9AM until about 5 PM.  Stop in say hello from the proper Social Distancing when you are out and about going to the store or pharmacy.  Both Susan and I may be here. 

Have a great day! 

Pastor Norris