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Psalm 46: A Prayer of Faith

July 22, 2021
By Paul Emmel
Psalms/Now Book
Although reprinted in 2003, this hugely popular book of paraphrased Psalms is no longer available. Its message encourages people to think anew about the psalms and realize the timeless meaning they hold for believers.

 

Our great God is still our Refuge and Strength.
He knows our problems and fears.
Thus we have no business doubting Him
even though the earth is convulsed in tragedy
by ethnic hatred, disease,
drugs, crime and abuse.
 
God continues to reign as all-wise
and as almighty as ever.
His eternal plan is not canceled out
by the whims of human leaders
or the freakish accidents of nature.
 
Nations will destroy each other.
Civilizations will perish.
The earth itself may one day become
a smoking cinder
but God will not leave us.
He is our sure Refuge and Strength.
 
Just look around you; read the pages of history.
Refresh your flagging spirit with the reminder
of His great feats throughout the ages.
And you will again hear Him speak and remember
that "I am still your God.
I still hold the reins of this world."
 
God is here among us.
He continues to be our Refuge and Strength.
Amen!
 
 

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My Commentary: "Faith in Today's World"

The role of faith is still a hot topic. On July 16, Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper readers wrote about "To keep going, keep the faith". One observed that "All the faith in the world doesn't give us immunity from sorrow, illness and being in the wrong place at the wrong time". True enough.

Another reader wrote: "Secularists replace religious faith with naturalism, rationalism and empiricism. I think if you ask any secularist, you will hear that they work quite well." 

Oh, really? That's not the world I live in.

Still another secular writer stated, "Faith does not play an enormous or any role in our lives for many of us. We prepare and plan and then can comfortably trust that we've increased the probabilities in our favor. But succeeding in life requires constant preparation and study to develop trust in your abilities and a keen understanding of the environment you have to deal with, not faith."

To which I respond, " How's that working for you?  Good luck with trusting in your abilities and research!"

 Life has taught me not to trust in my abilities but to trust in my God who continues to be my Refuge and Strength. I can relax because He holds ultimate control of this old world. Most convincingly, He has demonstrated His involvement in His world by sending His Son to live, suffer, die and rise again to defeat the worst that life can bring.

It's true that "faith soothes but doesn't protect." Any honest believer will tell you that. However, in our deepest suffering Christ enters even deeper with us to give us peace, power and purpose.

It is also true that every soul must trust in something whether it's our innate abilities or a power greater than us.  As for me and my house, I choose to trust in an unfathomable God who will always be my Refuge and Strength whatever happens. And, I have no doubt about that.

 
Paul Emmel

The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
July 18, 2021

Psalm 46 from Psalms/Now by Leslie F. Brandt (Concordia: Reprinted 2003).

 

Paul EmmelPaul Emmel is a retired pastor in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, having served as a parish pastor, a correctional chaplain for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and a hospital chaplain and a community counselor. As a retired pastor, Paul continues to serve the Lord and His people, including establishing the Minnesota South District’s “Pastors to Prisoners” ministry.  

 

Psalms Now: Psalm 19

June 29, 2021
By Paul Emmel
Scale weighing justice and mercy
The Blue Angels in flight over LaCrosse, Wisconsin, May 29, 2021
"Reflections of divine splendor... God's voice can be heard."

 

Where I am, wherever I go,
I can sense something of the power of God.
The grandeur of the mountains,
the vastness of the oceans,
the breathtaking wonder of interstellar space;
all this proclaims the glory and majesty of God.
 
Even amid the clutter of our cities,
built and abused by our hands,
there are reflections of divine splendor.
God's voice can be heard.
He makes His presence known throughout the world.
 
 
Cascade Mountain, Banff, Canada, as viewed from our hotel room balcony in October 2008 "The grandeur of the mountains proclaims ...the glory and majesty of God"

 

God has made a path on which we are to walk.
In His will there is order and purpose.
He has proclaimed and demonstrated eternal truth
through the lips and lives of His children.
There are set before men and women precepts
and principles that direct God's creatures
in the way of peace and joy.
He has given meaning to life,
goals and objectives to this existence.
Therein is the answer to our inner need,
the fulfillment of our deepest longings.
These things are more precious and of greater
value than anything we could ever experience
or even dare to imagine.
 
 
"Love" sculpture at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Minneapolis

 

This is the course which I must travel.
It is not easy; I make so many mistakes.
Faults and obsessions plague me.
O God,forbid that these should destroy me.
Set me free from their tenacious hold.
Encompass me with Your love and grace
that these things may not stand
between You and me.
 
O God, these are the thoughts
that crowd my heart today.
Accept them and respond to them.
Enable me to realize anew
the security and serenity
of Your loving presence in my life.
Amen!


Psalm 19 paraphrased from Psalms Now by Leslie F. Brandt (Concordia: 1974)

Note on Psalm 19: It is much easier to see the hand of God in the works of nature than it is to see His handiwork among people. Still, in faith that He gives, we can see His rich diversity among others, even with all their human faults. People are purposed to reflect the security and loving presence of God among their fellow creatures. In Christ, that is our calling and identity. Despite our failings, this is our purpose possible only through His love and grace.

 
Paul Emmel

Rowleys Bay, Door County, Wisconsin
June 27, 2021
The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

 

Paul EmmelPaul Emmel is a retired pastor in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, having served as a parish pastor, a correctional chaplain for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and a hospital chaplain and a community counselor. As a retired pastor, Paul continues to serve the Lord and His people, including establishing the Minnesota South District’s “Pastors to Prisoners” ministry.  

 

Daily Prayer Prescribed for Better Mental Health

May 22, 2021
By Paul Emmel
Holy Spirit, light divine,
Dawn upon this soul of mine;
Let your word dispel the night,
Wake my spirit, clear my sight.
 
Holy Spirit, grace divine,
Cleanse this sinful heart of mine;
In your mercy look on me,
From sin's bondage set me free.
 
Holy Spirit, truth divine,
Shine upon these eyes of mine;
Send your radiance from above,
Let me know my Savior's love.
 
Holy Spirit, pow'r divine,
Fortify this will of mine;
Bend it to your own pure will,
All my life with graces fill.
 
Holy Spirit, peace divine,
Still this restless heart of mine;
Speak to calm the tossing sea,
Stayed in your tranquility.
 
Holy Spirit, all divine,
Dwell within this self of mine;
I your temple pure would be
Now and for eternity.
 
Amen.
 
Text: Andrew Reed, 1788-1862, and Samuel Longfellow, 1819-92
 


 
 
Paul Emmel

Pentecost 2021

 

Paul EmmelPaul Emmel is a retired pastor in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, having served as a parish pastor, a correctional chaplain for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and a hospital chaplain and a community counselor. As a retired pastor, Paul continues to serve the Lord and His people, including establishing the Minnesota South District’s “Pastors to Prisoners” ministry.  

 

Window People

April 08, 2021
By Paul Emmel
Scale weighing justice and mercy
Above is the new chancel window in the Chapel of St. Timothy & St. Titus, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, to be featured in a subsequent article.

 

"In your light do we see light." Psalm 36:9

 
People are windows.
The light they shine
is not from within
but from above.
 
The clearest window
lets in the most light.
He was from above,
the Source of Light.
 
We look not at a window
but through a window.
There we see the Light
 that lightens our lives.
 
Paul Emmel

The First Week of Easter
2021

 

Paul EmmelPaul Emmel is a retired pastor in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, having served as a parish pastor, a correctional chaplain for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and a hospital chaplain and a community counselor. As a retired pastor, Paul continues to serve the Lord and His people, including establishing the Minnesota South District’s “Pastors to Prisoners” ministry.  

 

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