Pastor's Notebook


Dear Friends in Christ,

The New Year is finally here! It doesn't mean that the New Year will be better than the old. It will be different. Good and bad will happen, as life continues here on earth. Yet, each and every day of the New Year can be, and is, blessed as we live in it AND in the Name of our Lord!


The Church celebrates the Naming of Jesus at the beginning of the New Year. This is not just about Jesus receiving His Name, but also about us. We call upon His name, because we have been baptized in the Name of The Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


The Lord's name is full of blessings. It is to be called upon. His people do so. The Lord cannot desert His Name and become some other sort of God than His Name says and promises.


God's Name He has given us, put on us, and that makes us His. Sin is the opposite of this. Crassly it says, " I am not His! I belong to me!" Or, we try to tell God who He is and what He should be for us.


Now, certainly, there are times when everything seems to contradict that God is here for us. What we go through seems the opposite of His Name (that is, for blessing). In those times we have ONLY his Name to cling to, and in that Name this promise: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13). The Lord is committed to His name and its promise. He has put His name on us, and in that name we call on Him: Our help is in the name of the Lord (Psalm 124:8). In that name is blessing, everything that He would give us for our good. He promises, "In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you andyou." (Exodus 20:24) And in every Divine Service we have the Name of the LORD placed on us, given to us, in the Benediction. We are His. Our identity, who we are, derives from Him.


Jesus' Name means He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). As I taught in the Psalm's bible study, whenever you see the word "salvation" in the Psalms try substituting "Jesus." In Hebrew "salvation" is the word that sounds just like Jesus' name "Yeshua." See how that impacts the psalm! Jesus will save from all  that has gone wrong and from all that puts us wrong with God.

To save us from our sins, He bore them "in His own body on the tree." (1 Peter 2:24)


He suffered the forsakenness of God that was ours, for our desertion of the name of God. Yet in that forsakenness, He called on the name of God His Father. He held to that name and to the name given Him: Jesus. He did what was His to do--to save us. He gave His life in place of ours.


We have been given another year to live in our Lord's Name. You have His Name! That means you have His life. And truly a life is blessed when His name flows into ours. Let us never make a name for ourselves (as was the cry of the people at the Tower of Babel), but find our blessing in the Name given us by God: His own Name.


And Jesus has this promise for us spoken in Revelation 3 (8,12):"I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.... I will write on him the name of my God, andname of the city of my God,new Jerusalem,comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own name."

Let that Name He has named you with be carried forth into the New Year. The Strong and Saving and blessing Name of Jesus.


Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Engler



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