Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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July 14, 2019 - Luke 11: 39

Luke 11: 39  Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup…but on the inside are full of greed and wickedness.

The Pharisees were generally well to do businessmen who, after making lots of money, dedicated themselves to the study of the Word of God.  But their false piety did not fool Jesus.  He saw that inside they were corrupt and sinful.  Today we have all kinds of “Pharisees” who are holy and pious on the outside, who tell you that if you believe as they do, you too will become rich and famous.  They hold out for more money from the board of directors of their churches, they live in their million dollar mansions, they fly off in their private jets and tell you it can all be yours if you believe in Jesus and buy their latest book, coffee mug, or an actual sliver from the cross of Jesus.  “Hallelujah, brothers and sisters!  Fill the coffers and it can all be yours.”  The result of that kind of false teaching and lifestyle is to lead others away from God and to eternal death.  God help us see through the hypocrites.  Amen.

July 7, 2019 - Luke 11: 9

Luke 11: 9  Ask, and it will be given to you; search and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.

The old saying is, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  That is exactly what Jesus is saying here.  He begins with a story about man who goes to his neighbor at midnight to get some bread to feed a visitor.  The neighbor tell him to go away  But the persists and finally out of his persistence the neighbor gives him the bread.  The point here is that we must be persistent in our prayers to God.  We have a friend in need and we pray for that friend and nothing happens we give up.  Prayer should be continuous, never ceasing.  When you were a kid and asked your parents for something, and they said, “No,” did you turn and walk away?  Of course not.  You kept asking.  So, our heavenly Father likes to hear from us.  He likes on us to call on him regularly, not because he needs to hear from us, but because we need to come to him, we need to trust him in all things.  Prayer in a continuing conversation between you and God.  Keep talking.  Amen.

June 30, 2019 - Luke 10: 41

Luke 10: 41  Martha, Martha you are worried and distracted by many things.

Will Rogers once said, “You could stop the U-boat menace of World War 1 by boiling the ocean.  When the U-boats came to the surface, you could just blow them out of the water.”  When asked how he would boil the ocean, Rogers replied, “I just get the big ideas and leave the little details to someone else.”  Martha was bogged down in the details.  Were the table settings correct?  Would the meal be appetizing?   Would he like the lamb or would he have preferred chicken?  How often in life are distracted from God by the little things in life?  We lose sleep, we worry over the most petty things.  Turn it over to God.  Listen to his word, get a good night’s sleep and you will be amazed at how differently things look the next day.  Keep your focus on Jesus and everything else will work out just fine.  Amen.

June 23, 2019 - Luke 10: 33-34

Luke 10: 33-34  He went to him and bandaged is wounds,… put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn and took care of him.

Is this a story about being compassionate or is there a deeper meaning here?  Do we need to look between the verses to see if there is anything else?  Let’s take a leap here and let us think for one moment that the wounded man, near death, is Jesus, the Messiah.  What sets the Samaritan apart from every one else is that he embraces the wounded, dying man.  Jesus is our neighbor.   He is the wounded, dying Messiah and if we would tend to his wounds and take care of him, then we would experience the saving grace of God.  The Jews in Jesus time were looking for a David;  tall, handsome, suave, and a great military champion.  When they say him beaten and dying on the cross they passed by on the other side.  But to those who embraced the wounded dying Messiah, they would experience God’s saving grace.  And on that last day, those who took the wounded Messiah to themselves, would hear the King say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

June 16, 2019 - Luke 10: 36

Luke 10: 36  Which of these three, was a neighbor…

Ok my friend you have heard the story.  I ask you to weigh the evidence and the merits of the story and use your wisdom and knowledge to determine who is neighbor.  “The one who showed mercy,” came the reply.  Jesus replied, “Go and do likewise.”  Don’t just talk about your faith.  Don’t think that going to church and dropping a Hamilton in the collection plate is going to do it.  No, put it to work.  Put it into action.  Show your faith to the world.  Jesus is saying if it’s a choice of being strictly adherent to some teaching or showing loving compassion, always come down on the side of loving compassion.  “Talking the talk” is no where near as important as “walking the walk.”  Amen. 

June 9, 2019 - Luke 10: 33

Luke 10: 33 “But a Samaritan…was moved with pity.”

Samaritans were half-castes.   Half Jewish and half gentile.  Samaritans were despised by both races.  So, it is the most despised man, a man who is not driven by Law or self-importance who shows mercy and compassion.   He is not concerned that the wounded man might be a Jew, not concerned that robbers might still be around.  He sees a need and he fills it immediately.  He binds the man’s wounds and puts him on his donkey.  Here is faith, not just in word, but in action.  He sees a fellow human being in need and he fills the need.  He embraces the wounded man and risks it all on this man.  May we reach out to those in need.  Amen.

June 2, 2019 - Luke 10: 30 - 32

Luke 10: 30 - 32  “…leaving him half dead…a priest and a levite passed by on the other side.”

The road from Jerusalem was a hazardous way to travel in Jesus’ time.  It was illed with robbers, so the story that Jesus tells is right off the front pages.  Here is a man in desperate need of help.  Along came a priest and a levite, leaders in the Jewish faith.  One would expect them to show compassion, but they don’t.  According to the Law, if you touch a dead body you can’t lead worship.  Adherence to the law, wanting to lead worship so the folks could see them, their own arrogance made them overlook a man in need.  There are times when our self-invoked importance must give way to compassion for others.  The Son of God tells us that we dare not overlook the needs of others.  Our faith is not a “show piece.”  It means a compassionate, practical service.  Amen.