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Students sitting outside Bockman
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Friday, August 29, 2014

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My move to the Twin Cities in late 2010 involved many different steps. The most important in my mind was the sale of our home. We listed it on the market in mid-fall, which is a horrible time of year to sell a house in rural Iowa. Yet it was imperative to get it sold, and so I focused every waking moment's worth of mental energy into making the house sell because I was willing it to happen.

Needless to say, I couldn't will the sale into existence any more than we can will our lives into the "saved" category. Jesus tells us that simply wanting to save our lives will result in the loss of it. This is because salvation from sin is not something we can simply will into existence. It is only by the grace of God that we are offered salvation from sin and death. Praise God that something this important is not up to us.

Father in Heaven, we praise you for the gift of your Son, whose sacrifice made it possible for us to come back into relationship with you unhindered by the presence of sin that haunts our lives. We pray for the Holy Spirit to spread throughout the world so that all may come to a saving faith in you. Amen.

Scott Dalen
Pastor, Underwood Lutheran Church, Underwood, Iowa
Master of Divinity , 2013

Matthew 16:21-28 (NRSV)

21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you."
23 But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things."
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
27 "For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.
28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.