December 1, 2018

By: Tom Hokanson

RENEWING GOD’S HOUSE THROUGH LEARNING AND GROWING:  Philippians 4:9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.


This passage immediately hits home and rings true with me.  As a child, my life was happier and more carefree than might be expected growing up in, essentially, a single parent family (my father died when I was a year and a half old).  My family consisted of my mother, brother, sister, and my aunt (whose husband passed away about the same time as my father). Although there was never an overabundance of things or excesses, we never lacked for any necessity.  As an adult, I came to realize that the reason for peaceful, comfortable home life was the place God and the church played in our lives. Faith was never dictated or pushed upon us — it just was. Church was a constant. No question that Sunday was church services and Sunday school – from pre-school age through high school.  Church activities during the week and summers were automatic, expected and enjoyed. My mother and aunt lived and practiced their faith in their daily lives. My sister, brother and I heard, saw and learned about Jesus’ love and grace growing up in this environment


As I grew older, began my own life and started a family, I strived to continue to do those things I saw, heard and learned during my formative years.  Like everyone else, I was not immune to various trials and tribulations. However, all of my life God has been with me and blessed me beyond anything I’ve deserved.  It has been his power and love that enabled me to deal with and overcome any rough patches and difficulties. His grace has given me the happiness, contentment and any successes that I have enjoyed during my life – a loving wife, great daughter, the best son-in-law, fantastic grandkids, a happy extended family, and an enjoyable career.  All of this is evidence that the God of peace is indeed with me, watching over me and protecting me. It is glorious to know that he is also doing the same for others as promised in Philippian’s 4:9.


Lord, thank you for being with me and caring for me.  Please help me and others in my Salem family to be diligent in working to enable children to see, hear, and learn about Jesus so that they may experience your magnificent love and grace.  Amen.

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Salem Lutheran Church affiliated with the E.L.C.A. Salem is a vibrant welcoming Lutheran community that, through the grace of Jesus Christ, is connected within by love and reaching out in hope to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with one another, the community and the world.

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