Romans 8:1-4 - There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the Law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
There are wildfires in the far West and high-record temperatures are being swept to the side by new and bigger numbers. Here in Dallas, last week became notable because the thermometer inched over that 100-degree mark more than seven days in a row.
Listening to the local news and weathermen became an exercise in futility. They sounded like broken records where the only thing hotter than the outside temperatures were the road-rage tempers of folks who had no use for other drivers on the road.
Looking for a story for this week's devotions, I recalled one I had been told a long time ago.
The story takes place in Texas during the first decade of the last century. It was a Sunday morning, an unseasonably hot Sunday. You know, it was the kind of day when worshippers were so hot and sweaty they actually stuck to the back of the church pew. Well, on this particular Sunday, the preacher, who was robed and wearing a black shirt with a starched clerical collar, did something different.
He stood at the altar and began the service with an invocation. Then he stopped the organist from playing the first hymn. Instead, he went to the pulpit and began to preach. He said, "I want all y'all to remember there's one place hotter than Texas in August, and you don't want to go there. Amen."
The congregation was stunned as their preacher stepped out of the pulpit, returned to the altar, and ended the shortest service on record with the benediction.
Now I can't tell you if the story is true or not. If it isn't, it ought to be. I am pretty sure the preacher wasn't Lutheran. I can say that because the pastor's sermon didn't have a good balance of Law and Gospel.
If the preacher had been Lutheran he would have said, "I want all y'all to remember there's one place hotter than Texas in August and because you have faith in Jesus who has done all that was necessary to forgive and save you, you will never have to go there. Amen!"
Now I don't tell you that story so, next time you go to church on a hot Sunday morning, you can give a copy of it to your pastor and say, "Rev. Klaus thinks you ought to shorten your sermon."
No, this story is told because I wanted you to realize that while a desire to avoid hell is a good thing, rejoicing in the Christ who gave His life so you might have life is a better thing.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, truly I rejoice that because of the Savior's sacrifice and the faith which has been given to me I will never have to go to that hot place which is hotter than Texas in the summer. For the forgiveness and salvation I enjoy, I praise You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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