Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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April 14, 2019 - Luke 8: 23

Luke 8: 23 A gale swept down the lake and the boat was filling with water.

Someone once said, “There are times when God puts a Goliath in front of you to bring out the David that is within you” Today there are way too many churches preaching messages that if you believe in Jesus and truly give you heart to him you will never face difficulties in your life. That is an out and out LIE. No where in all of Scripture does it say anything lie that. Then those same FALSE PROPHETS justify something bad happening to someone by saying, “Well, they just didn’t have real faith.” We face the storms of life daily: a faltering marriage, an illness, the loss of a job, the death of a loved one. All these storms hit he faithful and unfaithful alike. The difference is that when we face the storms of life, the Christ is there to help get us through. It is faith and trust in Christ that brings us safely through the storms of life.     Amen.

April 7, 2019 - Luke 8: 2

LUKE 8: 2 “…as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities”

 In Jesus time is was quite customary for a rabbi to have disciples (students) who would learn from the rabbi’s wisdom. Of course all those students were men. Theology, philosophy were the domain of men. And while there is one major religion today that says women have no place when it comes to theology, Jesus was a pioneer in the women’s movement. He had women disciples. He spent time teaching women as well as men about humanity’s relationship with God. Jesus never treated women as second class citizens, never treated them as inferior beings, never said they we not equal to men. It was a woman to whom the resurrected Christ first revealed himself. It was women who brought word that the tomb was empty. Jesus came to call all people into discipleship.   Amen.

March 31, 2019 - Luke 7: 9

Luke 7: 9 …I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such a faith.”

What is faith? The brilliant theologian/philosopher Soren Kirdegaard, talked about the “leap of faith.” Someone else said, “Faith is standing on the edge of a thousand foot cliff and jumping; knowing that before you hit the ground God will give you wings to fly or catch you in the palm of his hand.” Paul talks about those things we can’t see and yet believe in. The word creed comes from the Latin, “Credo.” “Credo” means, “I believe.” If faced with choice of continuing this earthly life by recanting your faith or continuing to have faith and be put to death, “Credo” means “I believe in God, even if it costs me my life. I believe that God will either give me wings to fly or catch my in the palm of his hand.” Like the priest in Germany who preached against Hitler and the Nazi party. One day, after mass, the SS came and took him away. “Continue to preach this and you will be arrested.” The priest replied, “Then what will you do to me?” “We will torture you,” said the SS. “Then what will you do to me?” asked the priest. “We will kill you,” said the SS. “And then, what will you do to me?” asked the priest. That is a faith that Jesus has not found in all of Israel. May we pray for such faith.    Amen.

March 24, 2019 - Luke 7: 6 – 7

Luke 7: 6 – 7   I am not worthy to have you come under my roof…But only speak the word and my slave will be healed.

These words tell us two things about the centurion. First, that he knew Jewish law. If a Jew entered the house of a gentile, the Jew would be unclean for a month, which meant he could not worship for a month. Second, it showed that this man knew the authority and power of “the word.” An old professor told me, “God’s word creates what it declares.” “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God said, “Let the sea part,” and it did. God said, “Let the walls come down and they did.” And God said, “This is my body…this is my blood.,” and it was so. The centurion knew the authority of the word. The command comes and “Ours not to reason why. Ours but to do or die.” It takes total faith to believe in the word. That faith in the word is the difference between life and death.   Amen. 

March 17, 2019 - Luke 7: 1 - 2

Luke 7: 1 - 2 …A centurion who had a slave who was close to death…the centurion sent Jewish elders to Jesus to ask for healing.

 If there was anyone who was hated more than a tax collector by the Jews it was the Roman Soldier. But this centurion (one who commanded one hundred men) was different. He was loved and respected by the Jewish elders and when his slave became ill to the point of death, the elders went to Jesus to have him heal the centurion’s slave. Once again we see the importance of faithful people acting on behalf of others. It was the elders’ love for the centurion and their faith in Jesus that prompted them to act. Love motivates us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Faith in God motivates us to do things we would never ordinarily think of doing on behalf of others. The elders were motivated by love and faith. Our love and faith should motivate and lead us to intercede with God on behalf of others. Amen.

March 10, 2019 - Luke 6: 48 & 49

Luke 6: 48 & 49 …One is like a man who building a house laid a foundation of rock…One is like a man who built a house without a foundation.

When adversity hits, when the crisis comes, when your life is shattered by the storms of life what is it that keeps everything in tact. Is it money? But what happens if we lose every dime we have? Is it power? But what happens if we lose power? Is it fame? But what happens when we lose fame? Like the man who gained the whole world but lost his soul. I knew two brothers. When the mother died, the brother who had no faith threw himself on mom’s casket. He wept, his beat his breast., and he cursed the God he didn’t believe in. The other brother took his young son’s hand and said, “We will see grandma again. It is only a matter of time.” The man who wept and cursed had no foundation, but the man who assured his son that they would see grandma again had a foundation built on faith. The second man built his house on the “sure and certain hope of the resurrection.”   Amen

March 3, 2019 - Luke 6: 43 – 44

Luke 6: 43 – 44  ”No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does as bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is know by its own fruit.” 

We talked earlier about the word “repentance.” Repentance is a process. It is not a one time event. We need to repent every time we sin. To repent means we not only have faith but that we put that faith to work. We are called not only to believe but to live it out. Repentance means our thoughts, words, and deeds are totally different. We are no longer filled with hate, but now we are filled with love. We no longer seek revenge but we now forgive. We are kind, gentle, generous, and caring. We show love and respect to everyone we in come in contact with. Repentance, turning from sin is as much an outward expression as it is an inward one. Faith in God shows that is alive and well by practicing a Christ - like life.   Amen.

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