Pastor's Pen for 12/19/2017An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and  said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to  Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is  about to search for the child, to destroy him. (Matthew 2) 

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Happy New Year. What does 2018 hold for you? New Year's resolutions? Gym membership? New diet? A budget? 2018 will bring suffering. Well, that seems rather negative.

But true. For Christians suffer. In every age of this sin filled world. In the world you will have tribulation.  (John 16) 

After Jesus is born, Herod wants Jesus dead. The shadow of the Cross is already looming before Jesus. The  Angel is sent to Joseph to announce that they are to flee to Egypt. Christ’s time for his death is not now. It will  wait until the Good Friday Tree of Calvary. When I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to  myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die...The light is among you for a little  while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. (John 12) 

Herod is in a rage that he has been fooled. He will not allow another king to threaten his little kingdom. So the  soldiers are given the order to swing the sword. (Herod was) furious, and he sent and killed all the male  children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old. (Matthew 2) 

The Herods of this world still are filled with rage against Christ. They continue to make war against the  Church. The soldiers are sent out marching to bring death. It looks much like a (Planned Parenthood) clinic  down the road that brings death to little babies. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10) 

Little Herods today run around bringing death to those who oppose them. A culture of death in America. Many  see death as a solution rather than sin. There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination  to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans  feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among  brothers. (Proverbs 6) 

The Church will suffer for confessing the Truth of Jesus Christ. You will suffer for standing for life. But the  church will not be silent or the stones would cry out. Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who  are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31) The  little baby in the womb cannot speak. There is a silent cry for help. 

What does 2018 bring to the Christian? Confession of the Truth! Confession of Life in Jesus Christ. Everyone  who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever  denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10) 

Christians confessing Jesus Christ as Lord. Confessing Jesus who is the Light of the world. Christians standing  for life. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10) 

In Jesus there is life – life everlasting. What will 2018 bring? God's Word preached into your ears and hearts  bringing life everlasting. 2018 lived in and from the Waters of Life poured over you in Holy Baptism. This  year come and feast on Christ our Lord in the Lord's Supper. Dining on Life lived in the Body and Blood of  Jesus given to you. 2018 – the Lord has gifts that have no end living in Jesus by faith. 

Prepare your hearts and minds for the Lord's love for you each day as a gift from God. Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 

This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John  17)  

Rev. Lance D. Berndt is a pastor of Zion Lutheran Church ( in Omaha, NE.