Do you have a question about your faith or our church? How about your life? Do you want to know how your faith applies to your daily life?
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Answer provided by Pastor Jacob Eichers of Faith Lutheran Church and Student Center, La Crosse: God has a sense of humor. Just as I finished my daily Bible reading from Luke 11, Martha Keeffe called to see if I could contribute to the Shepherd of the Hills newsletter. In Luke 11:1–13, Jesus gives us an excellent reason as to why we pray. The picture He paints is of a friend going to ask a friend for bread in an emergency (verses 5–10). Jesus then shifts the focus to a father knowing to give good gifts to his children (verse 11–13). Jesus concludes the section saying, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
I am the father of three children. I’m by no means all-knowing, but I’m not clueless. I know that when 11 o’clock rolls around and my kids start getting cranky, it’s probably because they’re hungry for lunch. The same could be said of many other needs or wants of my children. They don’t need to ask, and I can get them what they need. Nonetheless, I love to hear things like, “Dad, I’m hungry, may we have lunch, please?” Am I completely clueless that I need to go off of my children’s cues? Maybe, sometimes, but certainly not our Heavenly Father!
To be a Christian doesn’t only mean to be promised a pie in the sky when you die. Certainly, the eternal rewards of heaven are the prize to which all Christians strive. But to be a Christian means to be placed into a family. In my family we have conversations. Prayer is a conversation with your Heavenly Father. He loves to hear from you. Admittedly, it’s a different kind of conversation. I’ve never heard the disembodied voice of God. But He speaks to me through His Word. For example, as I prayerfully read Luke 11 this morning, God was speaking to me to prepare me for the newsletter article I am writing to you now.
Thus, three reasons why we pray, 1. God wants to hear from His sons and daughters. 2. Prayer cultivates a trusting attitude toward our God. 3. God uses our prayers to open our eyes to how He is already fulfilling the prayers. As in, it gives us the reflex to seek out God to be the answer to our worries, trials, and needs.
Prayer is an example of the journey is just as important as the destination. Yes, God knows the outcome of that for which you pray, but you don’t! Therefore, pray just as you would ask an earthly father. Pray trusting God is listening. Pray trusting that no matter how He answers the prayer, that fathers know how to give good gifts to their children. Pray, knowing that as you get in the habit of prayer, the Holy Spirit is working to open your eyes and your heart to see how God takes care of you every day!
Anwer: Pastor Stein gave the following response: This question has a two-part answer. First, God breathed life into man, creating a being in His image - with an eternal soul - which will reside with Him in heaven until the creation of the New Earth. However, since our pets do not have eternal souls, they will not be with us in heaven. Heaven is the presence of God who is spirit, so only spirits are in heaven. However, God will create a New Earth where our bodies will be physically - and gloriously - restored. And, the Bible indicates that animals will reside with us on the New Earth. (Isaiah 65:25) It is often discussed that since God created animals to enhance our lives - and gave us the capacity to bond with them - that He just might restore their bodies as well. Recently a church member passed along an article that gives some more insight into this topic. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2020/05/animals-in-the-afterlife/?utm_source=Newsletter