"There is no peace..." & Mission Partner Updates

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on October 01, 2020

“There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22; 57:21). This is the refrain that separates the three major sections of the second half of Isaiah. (See the attached Isaiah Chapter Divisions document.)
 
Why “no peace”? The most important verse of the second half of Isaiah, the very center verse, proclaims, “The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him” (Isaiah 53:5).
 
Why is there “no peace” for the wicked? Because we reject the One who brings peace.
 
Notice the pronoun “we” in that sentence? Are we wicked, we who are spending hours this year reading through God’s Word?
 
I can only confess my own sin, not yours, but I see so many times when I don’t have “peace,” that confidence that “everything is all right,” that my God is at peace with me and that is simply all that I need.
 
If you join me in that confession, I invite you to read our Old Testament lesson (find Isaiah 57-59 here) with a contrite heart. What evidence of idolatry would Isaiah see in my life? Where is it evident that I do not fear the LORD above all things (Isaiah 57:11)? Where am I going through the motions of worship like the Old Testament fasting (Isaiah 58), but God can see that nothing in my life has really changed?
 
There is no peace for the wicked, but this is what the LORD says to the contrite: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15).
 
This is also the promise in our New Testament lesson (find Philippians 1:27-2:18 here). Here too we see that Jesus was taking our place, suffering death for us. As we recognize the power of our sinful nature to rob us of the peace that Jesus won for us, take comfort in this promise: “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (2:13).

Mission Partner News

There is peace in Christ. See the attached newsletter from Costa Maya Ministries in Mexico to learn how God used our mission partner to share that peace with a troubled young man. You will also see progress on their building that our Cool Million tithe helped make possible. Finally, you will see that our friends at Stoney Creek raised funds for this effort. Click here to provide additional support. 

There is peace in the midst of the pandemic. The ministry of Friends of China was dramatically affected by the pandemic, but God has brought blessings. The ministry has expanded to new countries so that the ministry will now be called "Friends Network." Learn more in the attached Friends Network Update letter. For security reasons, please do not post this letter on any website or social media. 

In the midst of the pandemic our synod is continuing to proclaim the gospel of peace. Watch a six minute special WELS Connection video here. The generosity of God's people has enabled us to give an additional "Thank Offering" of $11,850 which brings St. Paul's yearly support of our synod mission work to $248,850. 

Praise God that He has put this mission spirit in the hearts of His people here at St. Paul's!

May the Holy Spirit fill your heart with that peace that surpasses all understanding. 

Pastor Pete

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