Neither slumbers nor sleeps – April 22, 2018

Neither slumbers nor sleeps – April 22, 2018


Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
Psalm 121:4




Military Devotion – April 22, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 121:4

See series: Military Devotions

Sometimes it does not seem that way. Sometimes we aren’t so sure that he is watching over us.

Sometimes we want to join the sons of Korah who shouted: “Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever” (Psalm 44:23).

These were not the words of unbelief. The sons of Korah wrote the psalm that begins, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46). The famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress” is based upon their words.

These words flowed from confusion and stress—and a bit of doubt.

Their forefathers had flourished under the hand of God. Enemies had been pushed back. Victories had been gained.

“But now” they lament, “you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies.” The result? “You made us retreat before the enemy, and our adversaries have plundered us.” “I live in disgrace all day long…” (Psalm 44:10,15).

We might pass over this lament as just old words from the Old Testament, but the Apostle Paul repeats the thought for New Testament Christians. He writes: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

For many New Testament Christians, the meaning was literal. Many were killed because of their faith in the true and living God. Others faced hard-times, rejection, disappointment, and failure. Many wondered, “Why?”

So might we.

Those who have seen horrible sights in wars; those who have been unfairly judged and punished; those who have seen hopes die and evil triumph—those are the ones who sometimes wonder if God has fallen asleep.

It’s not as if we were expecting only good things in life. We know better. But we tend to set a limit to how much bad the good Lord will allow to come into the lives of his people. When bad gushes in like a flood over a dam, we fear all is lost.

We wonder if God is angry at us. We wonder if he is too busy, too careless, or just too tired to step in to help.

In short, we begin to view God as if he were only human.

He is not.

He is the Creator. He is the Judge who rules all things for our benefit. He is our Savior Lord. He does not lie. He does not treat us as we deserve. Again, and again he tells his sheep, “Fear not!” He has bought us with holy blood. Our doubts are foolish.

The sons of Korah knew that. That’s why they ended their lament with the confident plea: “Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 44:26).

That’s our petition, too. In a hymn we sing: “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” His love will never fail.

He who sent his Son to bleed for us—he is the One who neither slumbers nor sleeps.



Prayer: Heavenly Father, dangers, sorrows, and fears wash over our faith at times. We don’t often see what you are doing to protect us. We read the worst into the cause of trouble in life. We easily doubt your love and your care. Send the Holy Spirit into our lives that faith may replace doubt; courage replace fear; and joy replace worry. Watch over us always and everywhere. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




The new normal – April 15, 2018

The new normal – April 15, 2018


Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
John 16:16




Military Devotion – April 15, 2018

Devotion based on John 16:16

See series: Military Devotions

With hand raised and back straight, the recruit begins to: “solemnly swear I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies…”

That step not only granted the former civilian some new clothes to wear, it ushered in an entirely new way of life. Gone were the carefree days of high school—living under the roof of parents and wondering what fun thing to do next. Suddenly life was filled with shouts of commands, strange living arrangements, and wondering what stressful demand would come next.

What used to be normal was no more. The first blasting strains of reveille woke the person up to a new normal. The message was, “Get used to it!”

The wife who comes back from the ER with only her husband’s wallet; the child who is told, “Daddy went to heaven;” and the victim of post-traumatic stress whose mind keeps replaying a dreadful tape—these too will learn that life will never go back to normal.

They are facing a new normal—and they need to get used to it. But it will not be easy.

The post-Easter disciples suddenly found themselves in a new, spinning world with little to grab onto. For some three years they had lived alongside of Jesus. They had been taught by him, warned by him, and comforted by him. They had seen miracles. They could see his face most every day.

Now they could not. After he returned to heaven, they could see him no more.

They needed to get used to it. That would not be easy.

To prepare them for the new normal Jesus had told them what to expect. “In a little while you will see me no more…”

His death was not a failure, it was according to plan. So was his resurrection. They would see him later.

So will we.

Imagine waking up to pure beauty and glory. Envision what life would be like with nothing going wrong. Picture us joining those first disciples in visiting with Jesus.

Imagine living in heaven.

What a change! What an experience! What a joy!

“…and then after a little while you will see me.”

That is the new normal we are waiting for.



Prayer: Lord Jesus, our eyes have not seen you face-to-face as did your early disciples. Our eyes of faith look at you through their eyes as they tell us what they saw and heard. We look forward to seeing you as we join them with you in glory. Until then, keep us safe. Keep us faithful. Bring us home. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




No ghost – April 8, 2018

No ghost – April 8, 2018


They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
Luke 24:37




Military Devotion – April 8, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 24:37

See series: Military Devotions

Sometimes God frightens us with his presence. Sometimes we mistake him for something bad. We would run from him if we could.

Sometimes we make the same mistake his early disciples made.

This wasn’t the first time they mistook Jesus for something frightening. Once they were caught in a fierce storm in a small boat. They feared they would drown. They panicked when Jesus came to them by walking on the water. This they did not expect. They cried out in terror at what they thought was a ghost.

When Jesus showed himself transfigured in the brightness of glory, Peter stammered out some senseless words about building shelters. In the gospel of Mark, we are told: “He did not know what to say, they were so frightened” (Mark 9:6).

And now we are looking in at the disciples on Easter evening. They knew the grave of Jesus was empty. Angels had told them he was risen. They should have been excited and happy to see the one they called Master. Instead, they were startled and frightened.

We shouldn’t be too hard on those disciples. We are tempted to act in the same way in times of alarm and stress.

Jesus may not appear to us in bodily form, as he did back then. But he did promise that he will always be with us. We know that he comes to us in Word and sacrament. He also enters into our time and space with his loving care. Many times, we aren’t aware of his presence. Sometimes we mistake him for something bad.

Like those disciples, we have expectations of how and when he will show himself in our lives. We look for things like days of joy and success, or recovery from illness, things that lift up hope. We sense the hand of our Savior in such things—and we welcome them.

When dark days dawn, when pain strikes, when a dreadful future suddenly looms—we don’t like what we see. These look like nightmares. We think, “This cannot be God at work.” We become frightened.

Jesus knows that. That’s why he has told us in advance that scary things can happen to his people. His words are: “Fear not!” He is still our Savior God.

To the disciples huddled in fright he said: “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet” (Luke 24:38,39).

We may be a long way from Jerusalem on the first Easter, but we can still do what he says. We can look at his pierced hands and feet. In his Word he shows them to us.

Already in prophecy he had called out, “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16).

So they did. In the New Testament we receive the details of his anguish at Golgotha. Roman hands drove the nails. Jewish voices called for it.

By means of the Scriptures the Holy Spirit allows us to see this, too.

If Jesus did this for us; if he loved us this much; then we need not be frightened if he startles us by acting in a manner we do not expect or understand.

This is Jesus. He is not some scary ghost.



Prayer: Lord Jesus, our eyesight is dim and our understanding of what is happening to us is often limited and flawed. Teach us to never be afraid of your presence in our lives. With eyes of faith we have seen the nails piercing your flesh. Remind us that this is proof positive that you are on our side. Stay there! Abide with us as we walk the path of life. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




No fooling – April 1, 2018

No fooling – April 1, 2018


And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.
Job 19:26




Military Devotion – April 1, 2018

Devotion based on Job 19:26

See series: Military Devotions

There are those who believe that the idea of rising from the dead to live with God in glory is an April Fool’s joke.

The same ones may also believe that God is a joke.

They may believe that only seeing is believing—and who has ever seen a person rise from the dead? Don’t all the graves covered with undisturbed grass testify that the dead stay dead?

Does that mean that Easter is a joke? Is a handful of jelly beans the best that the day offers?

Job knew better than that. So do we.

Easter announces that graves will be emptied. Easter tells us: “You will see God!”

Wonderful news for us! Frightening news for those who have been fooled.

The biggest joke played upon the human race is the fake news that the dead stay dead. This is often prefaced by the lie: “God is dead!”

Sad.

We must feel sad for those who believe Satan’s lies. We must feel sorry for those who think God is a joke and death has no end. We cannot wish them, “Happy Easter!” Easter will never be a happy day for them. Unless…

Unless a miracle occurs. Unless the living God brings the dead soul to life, even as he brought life to the dead body of Jesus.

Can he do that? He did that to us, did he not? How else can we explain that we who were dead in trespasses and sins now live in faith and forgiveness?

How else can we declare with Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”? How would we know proof-positive that we will live with him; that our soul will never die; that our lifeless body will return to us perfect and glorified? How else could we say without a doubt: “Yet in my flesh I will see God”?

Easter does not beg us to believe the message of the empty grave. Easter debunks unbelief. Easter shouts out to the believer, “Because he lives, you will live also!”

Some had spread the rumor that his disciples had stolen the body of Jesus from the grave. Angels were sent to set the record straight. “He is not here. He is risen. Come, see the place where he lay.”

By the working of the Holy Spirit our eyes of faith have done that. We accepted the invitation of the angels. We have seen the evidence. We know death cannot hold us.

We walk away from Easter happy.

No fooling!



We declare:
I know that my Redeemer lives; What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead; He lives my ever-living Head!

He lives and grants me daily breath; He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare; He lives to bring me safely there. Amen.
Christian Worship 152:1,7



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Hope to die – March 25, 2018

Hope to die – March 25, 2018


Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
2 Corinthians 3:12




Military Devotion – March 25, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 3:12

See series: Military Devotions

To convince his friend that he is telling the truth, the youngster declared, “Cross my heart, and hope to die!”

But he would not really hope to die. The words carried no weight. They were just decoration.

Far different are the words written by a German soldier fighting in the bloody snow around Stalingrad in the Second World War: “They were forever telling us at training camp how to service and use our weapons in order to kill our enemies, and we were trained, and proud to fight for Führer, Volk, and Vaterland, and if necessary, die. But no one told us what you might have to go through before you got killed. Nor that death might not be instantaneous—there are many forms.”

In the bloodbath at Stalingrad almost two million people were being killed. This soldier now wanted to be one of them. He was not the first warrior that hoped to die. He was not the last.

There was reason for his despair. German troops were under-equipped and ill-prepared to take on the Russians. The frozen bodies were piling up. But worse were the pitiful cries of the wounded. Snipers made it almost impossible to pull them to safety.

The soldier wanted the misery to stop. The ancient words were true, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” He wanted to be among them.

The Apostle Paul was also in desperate straits as he wrote his second letter to the Corinthians. He had been beaten, robbed, shipwrecked, and imprisoned. Soon he would face the executioner.

Danger and pain were there. But so was hope. He wrote: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

His boldness rested upon the powerful mercy of God. He confessed that he looked forward to death. But for as long as he was alive he would carry out his mission on earth. He could not lose. He wrote: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

We wonder if the soldier hoping to die at Stalingrad might have said the same. He had grown up in the Land of the Reformation. Had he been taught that salvation was a free gift of God? Had he sung the words, “A mighty fortress is our God, a trusty shield and weapon”?

Could he recite from memory the hymn that declared his Savior was always by his side? “And do what they will—hate steal, hurt, or kill—though all may be gone, our victory is won. The kingdom’s ours forever.”

Did he believe those words? We hope so.

If so, then when he hoped to die it was because he knew he would live where perfect peace reigns forever.

Then, we can expect to see him there.



We pray the words of the hymn:
Lord, be my consolation, My shield when I must die;
Remind me of your passion When my last hour draws nigh.
My eyes will then behold you, Upon your cross will dwell;
My heart will then enfold you—
Who dies in faith dies well! Amen.
Christian Worship 105:7



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Blood red – March 18, 2018

Blood red – March 18, 2018


When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red—like blood.
2 Kings 3:22




Military Devotion – March 18, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Kings 3:22

See series: Military Devotions

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is our God. The Savior God of Israel is our Savior. From the record of how he dealt with his people in the Old Testament we learn what we can expect from him today.

We can expect that he will control all things for our good. We should not be surprised if he does this in ways unexpected. The battle against Moab in the days of Elisha is a case in point.

Not surprisingly, tensions had erupted among Middle Eastern countries. Moab refused to pay tribute to the king of Israel’s Northern Tribes. In a rare display of solidarity, the king of Israel’s Southern Tribes (Judah) agreed to join in the effort to bring Moab back into line.

In an even more rare occurrence, the king of Edom joined the two Israelite kings in a march across the Desert of Edom to launch an allied attack.

It did not go well. After seven days in the desert, the allies ran out of water. Men and animals were about to perish. They began to wonder, “Is God against us?” They turned to the prophet Elisha for the answer. What they heard astounded them.
The Lord said, “You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink.” But that’s not all: “This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD; he will also deliver Moab into your hands.”

Almost unbelievable! But there is more. Every young and old Moabite who could bear arms was called up and stationed at the border. Blood was going to flow. But not as expected.

As promised, water began pouring in from an unknown source. But there is more. As the sun shone on the water it looked red to the Moabites. “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”

What a mistake! The Moabite army rushed in to be decimated. Even the sacrifice of the king’s son in the name of an idol was for nothing. All for nothing!

We remember the words: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

“If God be for us…”

But is he for us? Ancient Israel did not deserve to have him on its side. We don’t deserve that either. But listen: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31,32)

That’s right! God is for us. We have better proof than that he has allowed us to have some success in life—even some victories over some enemies.

This King sacrificed his Son for us! Along with that, he will give us everything we truly need.

All this undeserved! All this paid for by blood.

The receipt for our salvation is colored blood red.



Prayer: Almighty and eternal God, whose ways are beyond our understanding and whose love is beyond our grasp, we come before you in humble admission that we deserve none of your goodness in our lives. We further admit that we often fail to recognize or thank you for your blessings and protection. But now we see more clearly. We see the blood-red stain that marks our ticket to heaven. We know you are for us, not against us. Thank you! Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




God Bless America – March 11, 2018

God Bless America – March 11, 2018


For Israel and Judah have not been forsaken by their God, the LORD Almighty, though their land is full of guilt before the Holy One of Israel.
Jeremiah 51:5




Military Devotion – March 11, 2018

Devotion based on Jeremiah 51:5

See series: Military Devotions

It isn’t a wish! A least it should not be. It surely is not a command. Who are we to give orders to the holy God? The words are not merely a request for God to pile heaps of good things upon the nation called America. They are something else. They are something more.

“God Bless America” is a prayer. At least it should be. It needs to be a prayer for mercy.

America needs the overflowing, undeserved mercy of God.

If we could look in at America through the eyes of angels, we might wonder why it still stands. Forget a booming economy. Pay no attention to how many ships and planes and warheads we might have. The finger of God could toss all this away as easily as we might flick a piece of lint off of our jacket.

Jeremiah had been describing what was in store for the ancient nation of Babylon. Babylon had impressed the world with its wealth, its culture, and its military might. It walked into the stronghold of Jerusalem, swept away its defenses, destroyed its magnificent temple, and carried home the best of its treasures and people. Babylon was impressive.

God had blessed these people. They took the blessings but rejected the Giver. Consequences would come. Babylon would be cursed.

Located in present-day Iraq, only the hot sand is left of that empire. Babylon was damned. Like a piece of lint, it was flicked off the world stage.

Israel survived. With the fall of Babylon, the survivors were free to return home. Jerusalem was restored. The temple was rebuilt. Some 700 years later Jesus walked within its magnificent walls.

The Holy One of Israel did not abandon these people, though they deserved to be. Only after Israel as a nation rejected and murdered the Son of God was it turned over to its enemies. Roman legions left nothing standing.

And America? The land of pornography and perversion? The place where God is laughed at and his kingdom attacked? Where money is worshiped, and law is dismissed? The land with enemies shouting out: “God damn America!”?

How long will we stand? What hope do we have? Where can we turn for help?

We can beg the Lord God to deal with our nation as he dealt with Israel in the days of Jeremiah. We can ask him to forgive our sin; save our nation.

We can point back to words he once spoke to his people of old: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

This is the blessing we seek.

We will pray for our country.



We will pray: God bless America! Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Sweet evil – March 4, 2018

Sweet evil – March 4, 2018


Though evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue…
Job 20:12




Military Devotion – March 4, 2018

Devotion based on Job 20:12

See series: Military Devotions

The problem with sin is that we instinctively like it. Our sinful nature loves it. As if it were mouth-watering candy, we want to savor the flavor.

The Savior God tells us, “Spit it out!”

Ever try telling a three-year-old to “Look, but don’t touch!” the chocolate bunny in an Easter basket? If the tyke obeys that command, what are the chances he will continue to do so as soon as we leave the room?

Does the little one love his mommy and daddy? Yes! Does that guarantee he will not pop that morsel into his mouth, even hide it under his tongue, and shake his head “No!” when we return to ask him about the half-empty basket saying, “Did you eat that candy?”

The smear of chocolate on the face gives the honest answer. Busted!

The friend of Job was describing a godless person. He pointed out, “The mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.” Then, as if thinking of our little candy eater, he states that though he cannot bear to let the evil go, he will end up with a bellyache—or worse!

“Yet, his food will turn sour in his stomach; it will become the venom of serpents within him (Job 20:14).

From the flavor of sweet candy to the vile venom of a snake—that’s quite a change! When that stage is reached, the person will not just spit out the bad, he will vomit it out.

That’s a scary picture! That should be reason enough for a person to refuse evil. That should tell the person living in denial of God, “Wake up! Stop kidding yourself! Sin is poisonous.”

So, what’s the alternative to sin? Are we supposed to live a life of denial, a life without pleasure? Where’s the joy in that? Are the only words from God: “No! No! No!”?

Is there never a “Yes!”? Do we ever have permission to eat the candy in life?

Satan would say, “No!” He maintains that, just as he reported to Adam and Eve, God doesn’t tell the whole truth. “Sin isn’t so bad!” he asserts. “Taste it and see how good it is!”

But he lies. He always lies. His words carry the venom of a snake.

The child of God learns that apart from God there is nothing good—no joy that lasts. The words of warning flow from love. They point towards words of blessing. That is good!

We know that. In our worship of the holy, loving God we sing: “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed are they who take refuge in him.”

And we mean it.

We agree with the psalmist who wrote: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)

We will reach for the sweetness in life that the Savior God offers to us. We will hold it in our mouth. We will hide it under our tongue. We will savor it for time and eternity.

We will never spit it out.



Prayer: God in heaven, you alone are the source of true and lasting joy. Continue to warn us against the poison of sin. Create in us an appetite for your sweet words. Fill us with your goodness. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Watch my mouth – February 25, 2018

Watch my mouth – February 25, 2018


Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Psalm 141:3




Military Devotion – February 25, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 141:3

See series: Military Devotions

We must have heard the warning: “Watch your mouth!” So, we must blush in shame at how often we did not.

We know all the excuses. We have used many of them: “I was angry.” “Everyone does it.” “Those are only words. They don’t mean anything.” And worse, “It helps me fit in.”

Yet, deep down we know such words should never come out of our mouth.

It isn’t just the cussing and the cursing; not just the filthy talk, and the frightened talk to make us seem tough; but also, the thoughtless talk; the hurtful talk; and the lying talk that make us sound like agents of Satan instead of what we are: ambassadors of the holy God.

Many will point out that bad language is found not only in military circles—and they are right. But it seems that it is hard to find military settings where this language is not found.

This doesn’t mean that Christian warriors never regret the words, or never fight against the temptation to use them. But many admit it is a hard fight—and often a losing one.

David, the warrior-king, would understand. He waged the same war and knew about that struggle.

Probably, many a time he told himself, “I have to try harder!” “I have to watch my mouth!” But in this psalm, he changes the wording. He asks the Lord God to man the ECP, to control his mouth’s flow of traffic. His prayer is, “Lord, please watch my mouth!”

It’s David’s way of saying, “Savior God, send some help! The enemy keeps swarming by. I can’t maintain control. Please step in!”

That’s a wise warrior. He knows when he is outmatched and overwhelmed. He knows that his weapons are inferior, his line of sight minimal, and breaches in his defense perimeter are many.

This is a warrior’s call for reinforcements. It’s a request sent up the chain-of-command for firepower to pour down from on high. “Send in the angels, Lord!” “As angels once guarded your tomb, Jesus, send some now to guard my mouth.”

Ironically, the guards are not to keep evil from coming in, but to keep evil from coming out. It’s an admission that our very nature fights against the holy God and everything that is good.

The enemy is inside the wire! An ally of Satan lives within us. It wants to turn us into a martyr for the cause of Evil. It wants to use us to hurt others and destroy ourselves in the process.

It’s like a terrorist in a sleeper cell. It wants to use our mouth as its weapon.

We can fight against our sinful nature. We must fight against it. But only the holy God can give us the victory over it.



Prayer: Holy, powerful, and merciful God, you know how weak we are and how easy it is for the forces of evil to control us. Break the satanic grip on our lives. Give us the power and the freedom to live for you and with you. Guard our mouths that they may only be used in the honor of your name and in faithful service for your kingdom. Please, Lord, watch my mouth! Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Game face – February 18, 2018

Game face – February 18, 2018


And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem…
Luke 9:51 KJV




Military Devotion – February 18, 2018

Devotion based on Luke 9:51

See series: Military Devotions

Determination shows itself on the face. We have seen it on the faces of athletes. That’s why we call it a game face. But it also shows up when games are not part of the picture. Warriors show that face when heading off into danger.

So did Jesus.

He had just finished busy days. He had fed thousands with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread. He had allowed three of the disciples catch a greater glimpse of his glory when he talked with Moses and Elijah on that high hill. His face had changed then, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.

Afterwards, he again showed his power and glory by driving a demon from a helpless boy. About the nearby people, we hear: “They were all amazed at the greatness of God” (Luke 9:43).

After all this, most expected good times and easy victories lay ahead.

Not Jesus.

The disciples did not understand his warning: “The Son of man must suffer many things and be rejected…and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Luke 9:22).

They felt it could not be. He knew it must be.

It would not be easy for Jesus. He would beg his Father to find a different way to rescue us. His sweat would become as drops of blood falling to the ground. Later, blood would flow from his thorn-cut head, his whip-torn back, his nail-pierced hands, and finally his spear-stabbed body.

And he knew in advance all this was going to happen! When the time came that he should leave for Jerusalem with its waiting pain and death, he did not flinch. He put on his game face.

Good for us that he did! Good for our loved ones who call him Lord! Good for everyone who loves him.

He knew what was waiting for him beyond the pain and the grave. He had told his disciples about first death, then resurrection. He looked forward eagerly to “be received up.”

After death, the next stop would be heaven.

Thus it is for all who follow him. Thus it was for Elijah and Moses who had followed him in days of old. Thus it was for all who have died in the saving faith.

So it will be for us.

So, when the trouble and the pain and even the shadow of death show up on our life’s path, we will do as Jesus did.

We will meet them with our game face on—and walk on to glory.



Prayer: Lord Jesus, you were determined to rescue us from sin, death, and the devil, even though you knew you would have to go through agony and death to do it. We thank you for that. We are ashamed of the times that we flinched and failed to follow you in our lives. Keep us strong. Make us holy. Take us home. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Never again – February 11, 2018

Never again – February 11, 2018


We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion.
Hosea 14:3




Military Devotion – February 11, 2018

Devotion based on Hosea 14:3

See series: Military Devotions

Few words are said with more conviction than the vow: “Never again!” Few regrets are as painful as those when we realize we did again what we said we would never again do.

Through the prophet Hosea, the Lord God put words into the mouths of his people. Never again does he want to see his loved ones making the lethal mistake of trading him in for a fake god.

It makes us wonder. Does he also want to hear those words from us?

To be sure, there’s no statue in the backyard that we bow down to. No hand-carved idol sits in our family room. But idolatry is not a sin we can check off our list of “Never Did Do—Never Will Do.”

If we look closely at our lives, if we examine them under God’s microscope, we will find many a would-be idol hidden in the cracks and creases.

Whatever comes first in our life, that’s our god. If anything is more important than the Lord of heaven and earth; if we trust anything more than him; if we love anything more; if we fear anything more—mark that down as an idol.

And every idol is a fake. Every hope placed in an idol is empty. Every act of idolatry is a shame.

Some of those in Israel did bow down to wood and stone. But many simply made up a god in their own mind—as we are tempted to do.

Wealth has often been put forward as a candidate for Most Important in Life. So, we are tempted to make money, expecting it will solve our problems. But the field is crowded with rivals for God. Popularity, career-advancement, and the easy life raise their hands to be recognized. So, we “make friends” and “build careers”, as if they were all-important. But maybe, the greatest rival to the only true God is Self. We prefer a life that is self-made.

Simply put, we want to be God. Yet, never can that be. We can create nothing. We cannot control the wind. We cannot control the stars. We cannot map out the future. We cannot stop loved ones from eventually dying.

As gods—we are failures.

By contrast, the Lord God is everything we are not. Life, death, nature, and history are in his hands. He meets every need—even those we may not think of.

Hosea could have pointed to the Lord’s control of sunrises and sunsets. He might have pointed back to the miracles that stunned the Egyptians. Instead, he points his finger at children—to fatherless children.

Fatherless children are a sad sight even today. But in ancient times there were no government programs, no adoption agencies, no job market for mothers without husbands. Overlooked and overwhelmed, the widows and the fatherless were often the helpless.

But not by their Savior God. He opens his heart to those with little hope. He is their Father.

Do we really want to compete with him? Do we want to continue making our own god?

The answer is: “No!” Once again, we vow, “Never again!”

This time we add, “So help me God!”



Prayer: Holy triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, sometimes without thinking, we try to stand in your shoes and sit on your throne. We try to replace you with our own ideas, or with idols in this world that we have chosen to serve. Slap us across the head, if necessary. Wake us up. Show us again that we are but strangers here, and everything we see around us will pass away. You have told us, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Give us the strength, then, to remain faithful. Empower us to mean it when we tell all idols, “Never again!”  Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




When heroes fall – February 4, 2018

When heroes fall – February 4, 2018


Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad….
2 Samuel 1:20




Military Devotion – February 4, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Samuel 1:20

See series: Military Devotions

We remember the sight of US soldiers dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, with a downed Black Hawk in the background. We remember the smiles of Osama bin Laden following 9-11. Those scenes pain us. It hurts when our heroes fall.

It hurts worse when our enemies celebrate their fall.

King David would understand how we feel. He had tasted the bitterness of war. He knew the agony of losing a friend, losing a leader, and losing a hero.

Word was received that the Philistines had killed Saul, king of Israel, and his son, Jonathan. David had loved Jonathan as a brother. Each would have died to protect the other. Saul was a different story. Saul, jealous for his throne, had tried more than once to kill David.

We might have expected David to praise his battle buddy and denounce his avowed enemy. He did not. He sang the praises of both. While he wrote, “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother.” he also penned, “O daughters of Israel, weep for Saul.” He lamented, “How the mighty have fallen in battle.”

In David’s eyes, both were heroes. Both fought against the enemies of Israel. Both risked their lives to protect their nation.

It went deeper than that. Saul was David’s commander. He had been appointed to that position by God. That position demanded respect. David was not at the battlefield on which these men fell. When a foreigner brought news of the deaths, he thought David would be happy to hear of it. He even falsely claimed credit for the death of Saul. He thought he would be rewarded.

Instead, he was executed. David told him, “Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the Lord’s anointed’” (2 Samuel 1:16).

We can learn much from the warrior, David. We marvel at his trust in the Lord God. We admire his courage and fighting ability. We appreciate the way he commanded his troops and later ruled his nation.

But we dare not neglect to notice the way he regarded those who fought against his nation’s enemies. He saw them as God’s gifts to the nation.

David did not agree with Saul’s sinful ways. He did not join in the wrong. But he did not use that as an excuse to dishonor him in death.

From the line of David would come one greater than a Saul, a king greater than David. He, too, would die for his people. He would be the King of kings, and Savior of nations.

His spokesman, the Apostle Paul, would be led to write, “Give to everyone what you owe them: …if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (Romans 13:7).

So, today we say, “Tell it not in Kabul, proclaim it not in Islamabad, when American warriors are struck down.” Let our enemies not gloat over our losses.

Let this be known: We give honor when heroes fall.



Prayer: Eternal Father, strong to save, we are sinful people of a sinful nation. We deserve none of your favors. Yet, you have favored our nation by providing those who are willing to risk their lives to protect our people. We praise you for freedoms passed down to us. Greatest is the freedom to proclaim and to hear the message of your Son’s victory over the forces of darkness. Permit us to honor you by honoring those you have provided to protect us. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Stand and wait – January 28, 2018

Stand and wait – January 28, 2018


On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.”
Acts 1:4




Military Devotion – January 28, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 1:4

See series: Military Devotions

He was brilliant. He was famous. He was relatively young. And then he became blind.

John Milton, the British poet and statesman of centuries ago, spent the last ten years of his life waiting to see what use he would be without eyesight. He found out. In a poem he had to dictate, he revealed he had come to understand: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

That’s a hard lesson to learn.

The one who said, “If the Army has taught me one thing, it’s how to wait.” probably has people from all branches of service nodding in agreement—but not in joy. Waiting is not fun.

When the Lord once asked, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” Isaiah jumped at the chance to say, “Here am I. Send me!” We can relate to the eagerness.

Since the United States is not using the draft to call up troops, everyone currently in uniform has said to America, “Send me!” They wanted to serve their country. They did not say, “I want a chance to stand around and wait.”

We don’t want our careers to stall out. We don’t want to waste time. We don’t want to be bored. We surely do not want our return date from deployment to be delayed. We grumble at those responsible for making us wait.

That means, sometimes we are tempted to grumble at God. If truth be told, doesn’t he have the final say about what happens in our life?

The disciples of Jesus were eager to carry out the mission to bring the gospel to all nations as soon as he returned to heaven. That was not to happen. Jesus told them: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised…”

Something needed to happen first. They needed pre-deployment training. They needed special armament. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit would give them power from on high. They would see the power of the gospel in action as 3,000 became Christians before their eyes on one day.

The waiting was necessary. The waiting was worth it. It was part of God’s plan.

Only then were they ready to move forward with the gospel. And move they did! Christianity began to spread like wildfire. Thousands and thousands more came to faith.

When plans for our life do not unfold as quickly as we like; when God steps in to change those plans; when it appears that we are just killing time, remember Milton. Remember those early disciples.

When the time comes that we have no more work to do for God, we will know it. On that day, we will find ourselves standing in glory.

Until then, if he wants us to stand and wait once in a while, we will do that—knowing that by waiting we are still serving—and a divine plan is unfolding.



Prayer: Heavenly Father, we easily grow impatient. We come up with our own plans and expectations. We become frustrated when they do not work out. Remind us that your plans for us are good plans. Your plan to send your Son into the world to be the Savior is the best plan of all. Your Old Testament people grew weary of waiting for him. But now we can see how perfect your timing was. You still control the times and the plans for us in the New Testament. Use us even when we think we are useless. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




The friend of my friend – January 21, 2018

The friend of my friend – January 21, 2018


I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.
Psalm 119:63




Military Devotion – January 21, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 119:63

See series: Military Devotions

The common term is “Christian fellowship.” But those words are hard to grab hold of and stick into the picture of our life.

On the other hand, the phrase “The friend of my friend is my friend” captures our imagination. It has a mathematical quality to it. It is a way of stating, “Equals equal equals.”

There is another way to express the same thought: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Both phrases point out that if a certain relationship exists, another relationship must follow. The writer of Psalm 119 agrees.

“I am a friend to all who fear you,” the psalmist writes. There is no question about whom he is addressing. The first verse of the psalm states: “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.” A little later he calls out, “Praise be to you, LORD; teach me your decrees.”

It is the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, that is to be praised, obeyed—and feared. But he is not—not by most to whom he has granted life. Instead, his commands are regularly ignored; his will scorned; and his name abused. It reminds us of the fabled three little pigs that chanted, “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?”

From the human race comes the taunt, “Who’s afraid of the big bad God?”

The psalmist raised his hand to say, “I am.” Then he looked around to see if any others said the same. To those he then announced, “You are my friends.”

This is not a dreadful, paralyzing fear. The writer of Psalm 130 puts it this way, “But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.”

We agree. This is what we know and believe. This is the God we love and serve. We raise our hand with the psalmist. We say, “Me, too!”

Sometimes we call out, “Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good—and his mercy endures forever.”

We listen for others who echo that sentiment. We watch for others who also try to carry out his precepts, that is, his teachings.

We are astounded to learn that the Savior God tells us he is our friend—the Friend of sinners.

We rejoice to learn of others who share this same friendship. We are tied to those people by a common faith. We are united with them in common service. With them we enjoy a common state of holiness granted by the sacrifice of Jesus for us.

We have a common union with them. It is a type of communion. It is called the communion of saints. It is also known as the holy Christian church.

The friend of my Friend is my friend.

In a common hymn, we lift up our voices to declare the fellowship we have with him. We sing out: “What a friend we have in Jesus!”

And from around the world and the vault of heaven, our friends call back: “Amen.”






Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Rise and shine – January 14, 2018

Rise and shine – January 14, 2018


Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
Isaiah 60:1




Military Devotion – January 14, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 60:1

See series: Military Devotions

The wakeup call originated in the logging camps. It spread from there. I have been told of drill instructors shouting the words out to recruits: “Rise and shine! It’s daylight in the swamp.”

City folks may not catch the urgency contained in the word, “swamp.” But those from woods and fields know that the lowland of the swamp is the last place the morning sun will strike. If there is daylight in the swamp, the sun has been up for some time already. The cowboy would have said, “We’re burning daylight!” The call to rise and shine is a call to action.

But that call is not always met with delight. A song popular with the doughboys of WWI carried the title: “Oh! How I hate to get up in the morning!” In that ditty, the life of the bugler blasting out reveille was hypothetically threatened.

Isaiah’s call to rise and shine tends to receive a similar reaction by the troops called Christian Soldiers.

By the time Epiphany comes, we have already been marching from Thanksgiving, all the way through Advent, and then we took on the 12 Days of Christmas. We have gotten our fill of food and carols and celebrations. We’re ready for a break, not another call to action.

Unless.

Unless we spent Christmas away from home, bobbing on some ocean somewhere, or watching the blowing sand, instead of drifting snow. Unless we barely had time to chow down something that was supposed to be turkey, before we grabbed some sleep ahead of the next trip outside the wire.

Then, we may feel even less motivated to rise and shine.

But if we think the enthusiasm to answer the call will come from ourselves, we are dead wrong. The ability to shine forth comes from outside and beyond us. The glory of the Lord must first rise upon us before we can rise to glorious action.

We remember that phrase, “The glory of the Lord.” That’s what shone around the Christmas angels. That’s what led Israel to the Promised Land. It is a demonstration of the presence of the God of grace and glory!

The Savior God comes to us, calls us by the gospel, enlightens us with his gifts, and keeps us in the true faith.

We are like the moon. No light of ourselves, but when the Sun of Righteousness shines upon us we are able to shine forth like a full moon over snow-covered fields.

The call has come to us. It is meant for us. There is no time to waste. Jesus told us, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

So, rise and shine!



Prayer: Lord of light, in whom is no darkness at all, lift up sagging spirits. Fill us with your Spirit. Enable us to throw away the works of darkness. Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Use us to show this to the world. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Best laid plans – January 7, 2018

Best laid plans – January 7, 2018


Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21




Military Devotion – January 7, 2018

Devotion based on Proverbs 19:21

See series: Military Devotions

Someone once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Others repeated the words. Now they are considered as fact.

What was not said is, “Sometimes plans fail.” Some might say, “Most times.”

There appears to be a difference between plans that are made, and plans that are laid. Perhaps made plans are arrived at casually. Serious, well-thought-out plans are laid—as a person might lay out the foundation for a new house. Historically, it appears that most plans are laid at the beginning of a calendar year.

Sometimes they are called resolutions.

We know what usually happens to those resolutions. That’s why some of us are tempted to give up making them. But that would mean we have given up planning. And we know what that means.

It isn’t only lack of willpower that can foul our plans. It isn’t only a sketchy plan that may come to a bad end. The problem is we cannot control what might happen to our plans—and that can be frustrating. Sometimes frightening.

A Scottish poet once directed famous words to a field mouse whose plans failed when a ploughshare cut through the nest the mouse had made. Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley.” Those last words mean, “go to pieces.”

Of course, the words weren’t meant for the mouse, but for us, his readers.

It may disturb us to think that the plans of humans and the plans of rodents are similarly apt to fail. But history has shown us, if our own experiences have not already driven the point home, that even the best of human plans, put into place with great effort and will, many times do “gang aft a-gley.”

Wise King Solomon was used by his Creator and Savior to explain this to us, lest we become either over-confident or discouraged.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart…” he tells us. And we nod in agreement. “But it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” And we nod in comforting appreciation.

Sad we would be if we were condemned to have all of our plans come to fulfillment. We know so little. Understand even less. What we think is best, sometimes turns out to be the worst.

Thank God, an all-wise, loving Guardian has the power and the love to override even the best of our plans. Only in the rearview mirror are we able to catch a glimpse of the potholes we missed, and the dead ends we avoided when he grabbed hold of the steering wheel of our life. Left to ourselves, our lives would be as much of a wreck as the nest of that field mouse.

Whoever first said, “I do not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” was a wise person. Those words are worth repeating. Blessed are those who know them as fact.

The best laid plans—they are the ones that the Lord plans.



Prayer: Heavenly Father, Prince of Peace, and Guardian of our bodies and souls, we thank you that you have a plan for each of us. We praise you that you allow us to share in your plans for the whole world. Keep us from making bad plans. Permit our flawed plans to fail. Bless us with your best laid plans—plans made from eternity into eternity. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Old news for a new year – December 31, 2017

Old news for a new year – December 31, 2017


You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”
Isaiah 40:9




Military Devotion – December 31, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 40:9

See series: Military Devotions

News, by its very name, draws attention to what is new. We expect each day to reveal new things—so we believe a new year will be filled with things new.

We get bored with the old. Old clothes hold no fascination for us. We prefer the new. We may throw away the old even though it is still good. We hunger for what’s new.

How strange then, when we turn to the One who holds time in his hands, he keeps pointing us back to what is old.

His message for us in 2018 will be the very same as the news he shared with people living 700 years before Jesus was born.

It was wonderful news then. It is good news yet today.

“Here is your God!” The almighty Creator and Ruler is not far away in time or space. Good news! He is here!

There may have been times in years past that we wondered if God was nearby. Maybe we felt he didn’t pay close enough attention to the trouble we were in. Maybe we felt abandoned.

The people of Jerusalem and the rest of Judah may have felt that way when they were warned about the coming invasion and captivity. The report frightened them. This was not good news. But good news was issued along with it.

“Lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid.”

Do not be afraid? Who is not going to be afraid, with the enemy about to attack and disaster looming? Who would not be terrified at that news?

Those who put their trust in the Savior God should not be. They need not tremble in fear.

Does this mean they will not be harmed? Is God promising to rescue his people every time they face danger? No.

When David wrote that he would walk unafraid through the valley of the shadow of death, he was not certain he would survive that trip. He was convinced that he would not be alone. “I will fear no evil,” he said to the Lord God, “for thou art with me!”

If God is with us, everything will have to work out for our good.

The God of grace and glory will continue to walk with his people as they step into this latest new year. The message that once came to Judah should now be shouted out to us. “Here is your God!” He will never leave you. “Do not be afraid.”

It may be old news, but it remains wonderful news. There will be enough that will be new in the coming year. How comforting to know that some things will stay the same.

When it comes to our God, old news is good news for the new year.



Prayer:
O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.

A thousand ages in your sight are like an evening gone,
Short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun.

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
Still be our guard while troubles last, and our eternal home. Amen.
(Christian Worship 441:1,4,6)



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




When peace stands guard – December 24, 2017

When peace stands guard – December 24, 2017


And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7




Military Devotion – December 24, 2017

Devotion based on Philippians 4:7

See series: Military Devotions

“Keeping watch over their flock by night.” Those who have “stood a watch” or manned an ECP (Entry Control Point) can relate in a special way to those Bethlehem shepherds.

It’s not like watching TV. It’s standing guard. It is protecting. It’s an assignment. It’s a duty. Some who were found asleep while on guard duty have been shot. This is serious business.

We understand the need to guard a nation. We even have a group known as the National Guard. We know the value of peace and the cost of guarding it. We are not as familiar with the idea of peace doing the guarding. We wonder how peace can guard hearts and minds.

Christmas shows us.

He was called the Prince of Peace. With his arrival, angels announced that the holy God had declared unilateral peace with the citizens of earth. Some did not even realize they had been at war with him.

They should have.

Consciences had raised the alarm. They knew something was wrong. Someone would answer for the wrong. Messages from heaven had been recorded and read. They pointed accusing fingers at human hearts. They revealed that human minds were in a state of rebellion against the Creator. People would die.

And they did.

The Prince of Peace had been sent to change that. As the Son of God, he had the power to rescind the death notice. He would die instead. He would be separated from the love of God in place of the rebels.

Peace would reign. His peace. God’s peace. Over all his kingdom.

Mere mortals can hear the words of peace, but they cannot understand its breadth and depth. Humans always work within limits. Only so much strength, only so much wisdom, only so long of life.

God has no limits.

He gives unlimited protection to the command center of our being. If our hearts and minds are kept safe from the attacks the evil foe, we need fear no evil. We can scoff at worry. The old phrase is true: “No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.”

If we had been there to watch over the Babe of Bethlehem in that stable, we might have told him, “Sleep in peace.”

Instead, he is the one who watches over us. He stood by our baby bed. He stood by our sick bed. He will stand over our death bed.

And he will tell us to “Sleep in peace.”

He will keep watch all through our angel’s flight, and greet us when we touch down.

Until then, God’s peace stands guard.



No matter what our age, we delight to be called his child, and we can pray:
Be near me Lord Jesus; I ask you to stay
Close by me forever and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in your tender care.
And take us to heaven to live with you there. Amen.
(Christian Worship 68:3)



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Death climbed in – December 17, 2017

Death climbed in – December 17, 2017


Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses.
Jeremiah 9:21




Military Devotion – December 17, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 9:21

See series: Military Devotions

Plywood carolers stood on the front lawn. The doormat showed Frosty the Snowman. Inside was a tree, decorated with care. Homemade cookies lay on the counter. It was a wonderful sight at a wonderful time of the year.

Except, death had climbed in through the window. That’s why the hearse was in the driveway.

It wasn’t actually a window that allowed death to enter this lovely house. It needed no opening. It first slithered into a garden far away and long ago. Ever since, death kept finding its victims no matter where they lived, no matter how wealthy, and no matter how old they were. Christmas trees and cookies will not keep death at bay.

Nor will the date of December 25th. A sergeant in the 10th Armored Division takes us back to 1944: “We had planted explosives but the detonator froze when they hit us on Christmas Day. Their infantry rode on the tanks and we were picking them off. I got myself a bazooka and hit one in the motor. The crew came out fighting. They did not surrender. We had to shoot them.”

For these Wehrmacht troops, death climbed in a through a hole in their tank. The American soldier saw it, and never forgot it. This was not a Christmas he wanted to remember.

One might expect that once in a while; death would take a holiday. It does not seem to. But not everything is what it seems.

We can report that Death began to die the day that the Christ was born. As soon as the Lord of life invaded Death’s domain, its fate was sealed. The flag of total victory was raised on Easter morning.

However, like the Japanese survivors on Iwo Jima who committed suicide rather than accepting surrender, many humans refuse to acknowledge the victory of the Son of God, and still reject his offer of life.

But Death has been crushed. No one need die. Death (with a capital D) has been turned into death (small d). It is no longer a threat to God’s people. For them, the separation of the soul from the body is now the door to life in glory.

Life came into our world, not through a window, but in a stable. Christmas is a celebration of the landing of the Son of God upon the earth. Instead of radio and newspaper reports, angels announced the invasion into Death’s territory. Shepherds ran with the story. The news spread. It is spreading still.

We don’t need to start worrying that Death is creeping up on us. Death will not ambush us in Afghanistan, or Somalia, or Korea. It does not lurk in the clouds of the sky or the water of oceans. Old age is not its sure-fire weapon. Its hands are tied. We can laugh in its face.

“Death of death, and hell’s destruction.” That’s who the Christ Child is.

He slammed shut the window that would have let Death climb in.



Prayer: Lord Jesus, we must celebrate the day of your birth. You came to destroy enemies that would have robbed us of life—life eternal. We join your holy angels in singing, “Glory to God in the highest.” We shall live forevermore because of Christmas Day! Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Remembering – December 10, 2017

Remembering – December 10, 2017


I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
Psalm 77:10,11




Military Devotion – December 10, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 77:10,11

See series: Military Devotions

We are entering the season of remembering. Our thoughts will fly back to earlier days and Christmas seasons now gone by. We will recall sights that thrilled us in our youth. In our mind’s ear, we will hear again the friendly voices and the special music. Somehow, what we remember from the past often seems better than what we have now.

Remembering the good is good. Remembering the bad and the sad is not. Some people refer to the holidays as the horrid days. Following the death of a loved one, the empty chair at the family gathering, or the missing voice, brings pain to what should be a happy event.

Sometimes just the sight of others being happy can bring sorrow. For a person who is struggling with PTSD or some other emotional strain, the happiness of others just underscores the lack of joy in the victim’s life. No wonder it is hard to join in on the festivities! Not surprising that the hurting one concludes, “I don’t belong here.”

The psalmist who lived long before the first Christmas gives the answer to painful remembering. If we dwell upon people and human events, we will always find something sad lying there. Instead, he said: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord.” The deeds of the Lord are always good.

“I will remember your miracles of long ago.” Isn’t that what the celebration of Christmas is all about? Are not the best customs of Christmas, the decorations of Christmas, and the religious music of Christmas there to point us back to the miracles of Christmas?

It wasn’t just the virgin birth that was miraculous. It wasn’t only the miracle of God taking on human flesh. Think of all the miraculous acts that led up to Christmas. Remember all the marvelous deeds recorded in the Old Testament that show the eternal God directing the flow of world events to the climax of Christmas.

Then remember everything the Lord has done since then. The events of Good Friday stand out. We dare not forget Easter.

We can track the marvelous works of God down through the ages until we come to the point in time when he brought us into his Kingdom.

Those wondrous deeds followed us to today.

“Lest we forget.” A century ago, the poet Kipling warned his countrymen against forgetting the “God of our Fathers” who had done mighty things for England.

Those are words we need to hear, too.

So, let us look forward to the season of remembering. Let us do so without remorse, without pain, and without fear of what we might find there.

When we focus on what God has done, we are bound to have a merry Christmas.

We are remembering that.



Prayer: Lord Jesus, who came to this earth as our brother and died as our Savior, help us to remember the joys you have given us in the Advent and Christmas seasons past. But keep our eyes and hearts focused upon what you have done for us. Lest we forget. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Peace in our time – December 3, 2017

Peace in our time – December 3, 2017


“Peace, peace” they say, when there is no peace.
Jeremiah 6:14




Military Devotion – December 3, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 6:14

See series: Military Devotions

To cheering crowds the British Prime Minister announced after a visit with Hitler, “We have peace in our time!” It was September 1938.

On September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland, and WWII began.

Some peace.

This was not the first or last time that empty hopes for peace were raised and praised. Sometimes the proclamations were pure deception. At other times, they were only wishful thinking. At all times the false hope added to the misery of those who accepted the words.

It took courage to announce to the people of England that their hope for peace with Germany in 1938 was groundless. But not to do so would have been shameful. The British needed to prepare for war. If they did not, they would face death and destruction.

The Lord had provided a similar message for his people, Israel. He warned of coming attacks by Assyria and then Babylon. It was not a welcome message. His faithful prophet, Jeremiah, was rejected and arrested for relaying that message. The false prophets, who assured the people of peace, were warmly welcomed.

So it goes today. Who wants to hear about a God angry over sin? Who wants to believe that God will punish sin? Who wants to listen to warnings about hell and damnation? Not many.

Instead, picture the Almighty as a half-senile grandfather who pats us on the head and tells us to, “Just try to do better.” Do that, and you will be welcomed and rewarded.

But the statement of Scripture still stands: “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). The announcement of Jesus yet rings out: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34).

How dare we then announce to the world: “Peace, peace” when we know there is no peace between the holy God and those who reject his rule?

If the lie does not become obvious during one’s lifetime, it surely will when the dead eyes open before the face of the Judge.

Peace only can come when the enemy is defeated. Satan, with his raised and clenched fist of defiance, will never know that peace. It is too late for him. Angels who have followed him and humans who have died in his service have also forfeited peace with God.

But those who recognize Jesus as the promised the Prince of Peace, they know that because of him, their war against God is over.

Before he returned to heaven, Jesus told his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

We are no longer troubled. We will not be afraid. We have heard the announcement from on high. Our Savior God has told us that we have peace in our time—for all time and eternity.



Prayer: Lord of the nations and the only hope for mankind, we do not want to be at war with you. We pray that you will overlook our foolish words and shameful actions for the sake of your Son who covers our guilt with his holy blood. Keep us from believing the lies of your enemies. Remind us that peace can only be found in you. And with you, our peace is perfect. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




God is good – November 23, 2017

God is good – November 23, 2017


O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endures forever.
1 Chronicles 16:34




Military Devotion – November 23, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Chronicles 16:34

See series: Military Devotions

It takes a miracle worked by the Holy Spirit for us to say that God is good—and mean it from the depths of our heart. Without that change of heart, any thanks we give to him is conditional.

If we say that we have a good car or a good job, we mean that it is usually good. We admit that these things are not always, nor completely, good. After all, we say: “Nothing is perfect.”

We will still call it a good car even if its mileage is not so good, and we will label it as a good job even if there are parts to it that irritate us. After all, “Nothing is perfect.”

Most are willing to say that God is good, with that same stipulation.

Honesty demands that we sometimes question how good God is. When we get a raise, when we gain success, when things are going our way—then we see God is good.

We are not as sure when our plans hit the skids, when success slips through our fingers, when a loved one dies, or when we wake up on a bed of pain.

We admit that God is powerful. After all, who is going to stop him from what he plans to do? We will agree that God is holy. Our conscience and his Word testify to that. But if he is so good, why does he allow bad things to happen? Why doesn’t he step in to pull his child out of harm’s way? Why does he apparently allow evil to prevail?

More than one warrior has asked, “Where is God?” when he saw unspeakable calamity strike. “Was God MIA when my brothers were ambushed?” “Did he not care when my battle buddy was captured and tortured?” “Are words written on the wall at COP Restrepo true? Does God hate us all forever?”

Is God always and completely good? Is he the one exception to “Nothing is perfect”?

He is. Whether we believe it or not, see it or not, or understand it or not.

We look at life as through eyes with cataracts. Our view is dim. It is distorted. It is partial. We often cannot see God’s goodness even when we are staring at it.

We do not deserve his goodness. We must beg him not to treat us as we deserve. We do not want to limit him to our understanding of what might be good.

He is goodness personified. That means there is nothing wrong with him. That means he is holy.

And we are not.

What we deserve is worse than we could imagine in our worst nightmare.

But our God does not give us what we deserve. He gives us what is good for us. He deals with us in mercy.

Mercy washes over our scabs and infections. Mercy washes us clean.

Mercy makes us forgiven, restored, renewed. Mercy makes us good.

Surely, we will thank him for being who he is and doing what he has done for us.

He is good! And thank goodness, his mercy endures forever.



Prayer: Hear our prayer of thanksgiving, God of goodness and mercy. Flood us with your goodness. Cover us with your mercy. Fill us with joyful faith. Permit us to have a happy Thanksgiving. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Battle cry – November 19, 2017

Battle cry – November 19, 2017


Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry.
Jeremiah 4:19




Military Devotion – November 19, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 4:19

See series: Military Devotions

Sometimes a sound can trigger an inner alarm. The smash of the car wreck; the beeping of the heart monitor showing a flat line; the blast of an IED: any of these can panic us.

For the prophet Jeremiah, it was the sound of a trumpet with the cry of battle.

Modern warriors can relate to this. During the firefight, sounds may be scarcely noted. It is afterward; when things have quieted down; when the danger is past, that one’s mind replays the event in memories or dreams. Even years later, the sounds of an old battle might suddenly return to rattle us while walking through Walmart.

Scary sounds can echo in our minds.

But Jeremiah’s case is different. He heard sounds not of present or past battles. His heart pounded because he heard the battle cry from the future.

“Tell this to the nations, proclaim concerning Jerusalem ‘A besieging army is coming from a distant land, raising a war cry against the cities of Judah’” (Jeremiah 4:16).

This was God’s warning. He reinforced the words by providing a vision of the future complete with sound effects. The threatened disaster was as certain as if it had already happened.

Anguish, pain, and agony now welled up within Jeremiah. Bad enough if this had been a memory. Much worse to know this was yet to come.

The besieging army would be the Assyrians. Fortress walls would be breached, defenses overrun. Many would die. The rest of the ten northern tribes of Israel would be taken captive. Jeremiah would also write a book called, “Lamentations.” He had much to lament.

We might ask, “Since this disaster was certainly going to take place, why did Jeremiah need to know about it in advance? Didn’t this add to his misery?”

It surely did. But it also added to his faith and trust in the Lord his God. How so?

Jeremiah would live to see the threats of God take place before his own eyes. He would learn, When the Lord speaks, it is so. When he warns, people should fear. The Assyrian invasion would prove that.

When the Lord speaks, it is so. His promise is as certain as his threat. The unfolding of history would prove that.

When we look to the past, we see his promises fulfilled in amazing and wonderful ways. Two tribes of Israel would survive. The Savior would come. We have the testimony of Scripture. We can see the past through its words.

But that’s only part of the wonder. Like a Jeremiah, we can actually see into the future. We know how the world will end. We can already hear the cry of victory in heaven.

Though at times we may fear and worry, the bottom line is that we can say with Jeremiah: “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17:7).



Prayer: Lord of time and space, whose hands hold the future and the past, open our ears to hear your voice as you call out to us in your Word. We tremble before your fist of justice, but we smile at your assurance of forgiveness and peace. We wait for the battle cries to cease, and the songs of victory to sound forth. Give us your peace. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Only an armistice – November 11, 2017

Only an armistice – November 11, 2017


When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
Mark 13:7




Military Devotion – November 11, 2017

Devotion based on Mark 13:7

See series: Military Devotions

They poked their heads out of the trenches, half-expecting to hear the rattle of machine guns. Only silence. They began to walk onto no-mans-land standing up. Still nothing. They saw enemy uniforms appear. No weapons threatened.

The report was true. On this 11th hour of the 11th day of this 11th month the Great War ended. Former enemies shook hands. Comrades hugged. America’s doughboys would soon be headed home. An armistice had been signed.

Waves of relief flowed over hearts and minds. Millions wept with joy. The “war to end all wars” had come to an end.

But it was only an armistice.

The terms of the agreement to stop fighting would sow the seeds of another round of fighting. This would be a worse war. The killings would triple.

Then another round of war would come into the world after that. And another one. And still another.

War does not end. It just pauses for a while. The best we can hope for is an armistice.

Those who have heard the words of Jesus are not surprised. He described our times. He warned that wars and rumors of wars would happen up to the day he would return.

We believe him.

That’s why we support those who train for war on behalf of our nation. That’s why we pray for those in harm’s way. That’s why we tend to the needs of those who have returned from war.

We renamed Armistice Day to become Veterans Day. We learned that an armistice does not last. Veterans, however, we will always have.

A veteran of WWI once said something about this special day that those who have never seen the face of war need to know. He wrote that for people like him, it is: “Not a day of solemn commemoration, but a day of agonized remembrance.”

Civilians may commemorate, they may show respect for those who waged war on behalf of them. They should.

Combat veterans do the same. But alongside the respect, lies the agony of remembrance.

What do we tell them? We point them to the One who knew agony beyond measure so that we might be free from it forever.

Concerning wars, “Such things must happen” Jesus assures us. He is still in control.

But the day is coming when all painful remembrances and every other agony will stop in an awesome moment.

Jesus tells us now, “The end is still to come.” It is not here yet.

But it will come. All war will end. He will make it so.

And that ending will not be only an armistice.



Prayer:
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look on you with favor and give you peace. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.




Changing time – November 5, 2017

Changing time – November 5, 2017


God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:17,18




Military Devotion – November 5, 2017

Devotion based on Genesis 1:17,18

See series: Military Devotions

Twice a year we pretend to change time in much of the United Sates. Deep down, we realize that this does not actually happen. We are merely agreeing to adjust our markers of time. Time itself does not jump an hour ahead in the spring, nor will it go backwards in the fall. Time is a constant that ignores human efforts to manipulate.

Neither do the sun, moon, or stars adjust time, but they certainly do affect our nights and days.

When humans learned how use electricity to provide light, they staked a claim as Light Rulers, as if to say: “Let the sun go down! We’ll flip a switch and make our own sunshine!”

Well, that is not quite true.

As it turns out, when God said that the two great lights were to govern day and night, more was involved than just providing light to see with. Yes, we can fire up the furnace and turn down the air conditioning in our house, but we cannot control the temperature of a planet or regulate the ocean tides. Sun, moon, stars—they are needed. It turns out, our control of such things is rather puny.

There is more. Ask our friends in Alaska if the reduction of sunlight affects more than their body temperature. How about emotions? What about Vitamin D? What about the migration of birds, animals, and fish? No wonder God called these heavenly bodies “great”!

Considering the great distances of space, we wonder how we would survive if God had placed the sun a mere 1,000 miles closer to earth? What if 1,000 miles further away? Why is earth at the precise distance that keeps this from being either a frozen planet or a melting one?

And then there is the question: “How many sunrises will be allotted to the span of our life?” What if we changed our calendars like we change our watches? If we had next year’s calendars carry the label “1957,” would we get to live 60 years longer? Would it change our life at all?

Foolish questions. We have no power over time.

The sun, moon, and stars are God’s timekeepers. We cannot change them. But God will.

Jesus tells us that the time will come when, “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29).

Then time will stop. The timekeepers will not be needed. But we will not be left in the darkness. Heaven will be a place of wonderful light. We are told, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Revelation 21:23).

Who wants to change that?



Prayer: We pray: Lord Jesus, Light from Light and true God from true God, we thank you for the time on earth you have allotted to us. We thank you for the heavenly bodies that govern our days and nights. But most of all we thank you for being the Light of the World, and opening the door to that place where we will need no sun. Show us the way to our home of light. Amen.



Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.