Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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July 8, 2018 - John 15: 1

John 15: 1 “I AM the true vine.” Cut a branch off a tree, or a vine and in a few days that that severed branch changes. For the first couple of days the leaves on the severed branch remain green, but then a change begins. The leaves begin to curl and turn brown. The branch becomes brittle and dry. Soon all the life is cut off from the branch and it is fit for nothing other than to be fuel for the fire. That’s what happens to those who cut themselves off from Christ. They become dry, brittle, and lifeless. They lose the real meaning of their lives. Now instead of living, they are merely existing and when the end comes they are totally hopeless. It is easy to let work, golf, fishing, athletic events, etc. to cut us off from the grace of God. When our priority in life is no longer a relationship with God, soon we curl and dry up. Stay connected to the true vine and live. Amen.

July 1, 2018 - John 14:6

John 14:6 “I AM the way, the truth and the life.” Years ago I was paying my bill at the gas station when a lady came in and asked the attendant for directions. He began to explain to her but the directions he gave were not the most concise. I looked at her, introduced myself, and said, “I am going right by there on my way home. If you want to follow me, I will take you right there.” She followed me and she was at her destination in about ten minutes. I did not tell her the way, I became the way for her. That is what Jesus did. He became the way for us. He lived this earthly life. He went through everything everyone of us goes through and he never lost faith or trust in God, Jesus is our “way.” He didn’t just tell us how to live a life of faith. He lived it. And by living it he became the WAY. Amen.

June 24, 2018 - John 11: 25

John 11: 25 “I AM the resurrection and the life.” Three of Jesus’ earthly friends were Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. When Lazarus became deathly ill the sisters sent word to Jesus that he should come quickly for Lazarus was near death. By the time Jesus God there, Lazarus had died four days earlier. Martha, in her grief and frustration confronted Jesus and said, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Jesus replied, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said, “I know we will rise on the last day.” Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” What Jesus was telling her and us, is what Paul said in Romans some twenty years later, “If you die with Christ, you will rise with Christ.” Because Jesus was raised from the dead for paying for our sins, all of us who believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior will also be raised to new life. In living lives of faith we can be confident that our RESURRECTION IS COMING! Amen.

June 17, 2018 - John 10: 11

John 10: 11 “I AM the good shepherd.” Being a shepherd was indeed a calling. It was hard work. You tended the flock and provided them with grazing area, water, medical attention when wounded, and protection from lions, wolves, and bears. There have been many incidents reported where people have found the flock intact, with the lifeless body of a shepherd who had died while protecting the flock from predators. To those who discovered the deceased shepherd it was no surprise, for that is what a shepherd were expected to do. The shepherd would be tender and gentle when taking care of the flock, but ruthless when facing an enemy. When Jesus said, “I AM the good shepherd,” he was telling His sheep, you and me, that he would love and care for us, while at the same time he was willing die in defending the flock from sin, death, and the Evil One. On the cross Jesus proved that he is the Good Shepherd. Amen

June 10, 2018 - John 10: 7

John 10: 7 “I AM the door of the sheep.” In the spring shepherds woulf take their flocks out to the lush, green hillsides. They would travel many miles to get there and would stay out there for days at a time. At night the shepherd would have made a “do it yourself” corral. He would hack off large thorn bushes, place them in a circle, and at night would put the sheep inside the corral. This would keep the sheep from wondering off and would also

keep predators out. The shepherd would leave an opening, a door, for the sheep to enter at night and exit in the morning. In order to make sure that the sheep did not get out or predators get in, the shepherd would lie down and sleep in the opening. The sheep could not wander off past him and predators not gain access because the shepherd was the “door.” Jesus declares that he is the door to keep us from wandering off and getting lost and from the evil one to harm us. Amen.

June 3, 2018 - John 8: 12

John 8: 12 “I AM the light of the world.” Down through the ages many have said that the discovery of fire is the greatest discovery of all. With fire we can cook food. With fire we can warm ourselves. With fire we can overcome the darkness. When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world,” he is saying that he is God and that he is come to enlighten the world as to who and what God is and wants. Jesus enlightened us to see God not as a “hanging judge,” but as a loving father that we could trust, protect, and take care of us. Jesus enlightened us so that we might see what God expects from us. “To love our neighbor as ourselves.” He was saying that the fear of the “darkness” of death will be overcome by His death and resurrection. Jesus is the light of the world for he has shown us the true heart of God and how to live as God’s children.  “The light shines in the darkness.” Amen.

May 27, 2018 - John 6: 35

John 6: 35 “I AM the bread of life.” In the gospel of John there are the famous, “I am” statements. What does Jesus mean when he said, “I am the bread of life.” The first two words are critical. Go back to Exodus 3 when God is asked by Moses, “What is your name?” and God replied, “I AM.” With Jesus, “I am” statement, first and foremost he is saying that he IS GOD. No ifs, ands, or buts. HE IS GOD. Bread has been called the staff of life. It has long been called one of, if not the basic food source of life. What Jesus is saying here quite simply is that HE IS GOD and that HE IS THE BASIC SOURCE OF ALL LIFE. If you have Christ, you have God and if you have God you have life, sustenance, and hope. God is the basic foundation of life. Without God there is no life, no sustenance, no hope. Through Christ we have access to all that God has to offer. Amen.

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