Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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Oct 14, 2018 - EXODUS 20: 12

EXODUS 20: 12 “Honor your father and mother and your days will be long in the land.”

From my father I learned the value of hard work and sacrificing for your family. From my mom I learned compassion and forgiveness. They are valuable lessons which I have tried to put into practice all the days of my life. As Mark Twain once said, “When I went to college at the age of seventeen I though my father was the dumbest person the face of the earth. When I came home four years later I was surprise at how much the old boy had learned.” Our parents are a valuable resource. They have faced everything you children face and they have the battle scars to prove it. They have something more valuable than mere knowledge, they have wisdom. The promise is, if we honor (listen, follow) our parents our days will be long in the land. So, when they tell you not to play in the street it would be a good idea to listen to them so your days are long in the land. Amen 

Oct 7, 2018 - EXODUS 20: 8

EXODUS 20: 8 “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy.”

The word “holy” means, “special, set apart, unique.” What makes the Sabbath holy is because that is the day that God has asked us to set aside for God. It is a day to rest and relax. It is a day for us to recharge our physical batteries and to recharge our spiritual batteries. God calls on us to set aside some time just for us and him alone. A time for us to be reassured that God does indeed forgive for you sins. A time for us to hear God’s Word and learn how to incorporate into our daily lives. A time for us to thank God for the many blessings that he showers down upon us each and every day. I have heard people say, “I don’t have to go to church, I can worship on the golf course or out fishing.” God said you need to worship at his house. I’ve heard people say, “I’m just too busy to go to church.” If you are too busy to go to church, then you are just too busy. The reality is, they are excuses that fool no one but the one making the excuse. See you in church. Amen.

Sept 30, 2018 - EXODUS 20: 7

EXODUS 20: 7 “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God,…”

Names are sacred. They define us, they identify us. Back in 2,000 b.c. it was a capital offense to misuse anyone’s name. Names were special and to misuse them was a crime. Here God forbids us to misuse his name. We have no right at all to use God’s name in condemning some other person, let alone asking God to condemn a golf ball because you missed that three foot putt. God wants us to use his name in prayer, in praises, and thanksgiving. God gives us his name not only so we can call upon him when we need him, but he gives us his name so we can use his name to bless other people. God told Abraham that he wanted Abraham to bless others. Let us make sure we use God’s name correctly. Amen 

Sept 23, 2018 - EXODUS 24: 4

EXODUS 24: 4. “You shall not make for yourself an idol.”

At the time his was written people were making idols out of stone, wood, and clay. They believed with their heart of hearts that these man made images, these idols were really the god (s) they worshipped. When Jacob sneaks off into the night to get away from his father-in-law, he takes all the man made idols off the mantle so that his father-n-law will have no gods to pray to or to bless him. If God can be put into some form fashioned out of wood, clay, or stone, he must not be much of a God. To think God can be limited to some kind of man made icon is to place limits on God. It also means that if I leave my God sitting on the mantle I can do anything I want out of his presence. The reality is that God is not limited by time, space, or matter. God is I AM, he is everywhere. Amen. 

Sept 16, 2018 - EXODUS 20: 3

EXODUS 20: 3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Martin Luther said, “A god is that to which we look for our highest good.” Some look to money, or work, or athletic events, or power as their god. The truth is those things give us temporary enjoyment, but what do they do for the long haul. November 2, 2016 was an amazing day for me. I got to celebrate with my wife and sons the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in one hundred-eight years. I was walking on air for the next few days. But what good will that do me when I finally “shuffle off this mortal coil?” What good will that do me when I face the big problems in life? The answer is none. While the gods of the 2016 Chicago Cubs gave me some pleasure it is the one, true God that will sustain me when I face the problems in life. He will be there to greet me when I move on. So, I don’t worry about death or where I will spend eternity, because God is the God who freed me from my slavery to sin and death and has given me new life. Amen.

Sept 9, 2018-EXODUS 20: 1–2 I AM the Lord your God

EXODUS 20: 1 – 2 “I AM the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of slavery;”

What is a covenant? A covenant is a sacred promise between two people with each vowing to keep the covenant they have made. Marriage is a covenant. Two people vow to love, honor, and cherish each other no mater what they face. Baptism is a covenant. God promises to forgive, save, and give eternal life to the child. The parents promise to worship with the child, teach the child the faith, and raise the child up in a Godly home. What we call the Ten Commandments is really a covenant. A marriage if you will between God and his people. God reminds Israel of what he has done and what he will do. Israel is called upon vowing to do certain things in return. God informs us how he expects us to live in return for all that he has done for us. Amen.

Sept 2, 2018-PSALM 23: 6 Surely goodness and mercy

PSALM 23: 6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Nothing worse than walking down a dark, lonely street at night. You hear noises. Are they footsteps? Is the one making those noises walking faster to catch up with me? Don’t look, just walk faster. We fear for our wellbeing. There is poem called, “The Hound of Heaven.” It is about a man who is fleeing a hound who follows him everywhere. The man fears for his life. Surely the dog will destroy him. He runs, he dodges here and there but finally the hound traps him in a dead end alley. No way out! He is positive he is doomed for sure. But when he turns to face the hound he discovers it is God. God has been chasing him, not to kill him but to fill his life with goodness and mercy. If we would just quit running from God, we would experience his grace and live eternally in his Kingdom. Amen.