Weekly Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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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.

May 26, 2019 - Luke 10: 29 - 30

Luke 10: 29 - 30 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”   Jesus replied, “A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho…”

We western thinking people are “bottom line,” thinkers.  Don’t bore be with the details just cut to the bottom line.  Eastern thinkers, on the other hand are all about the “way” you get to the bottom line.  Tell me an answer and I will forget it shortly.  Teach me the way to find the answer and I will remember it forever.  Jesus is not a western thinker, he is eastern all the way.  “Who is my neighbor?”  Jesus could have said, “Every one.”  And in a short time the man asking the question would have forgotten the answer.  Jesus tells a story and lets the man figure out who is neighbor is.  That way he will never forget.  Jesus tells us parables so that we figure out who and what God and his Kingdom are like.  Amen.

May 19, 2019 - Luke 9: 48

Luke 9: 48 …Whoever welcomes this child in my name, welcomes me.

 In Jesus time, children were seen as property. Owned by their parents and they could be disposed of by their parents without any legal recourse. Here Jesus uplifts children and says they are as valuable as any adult. Statistics tell us that 88% of those who believe in Jesus Christ came to faith between the ages of 1 to 19. I have never met a child, who once having heard about Jesus, doesn’t love Jesus. The brilliant theologian Karl Barth was asked, in the last interview he gave before his death, what one message would you want to share with the world. Barth replied, “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.” It is a great hymn and a great testament of faith. Bring up your children in the faith and as the writer of proverbs said, “If you bring a child up in faith when he is an adult he will seldom depart from it.” The greatest inheritance you can give your children is faith in Jesus Christ.   Amen

May 12, 2019 - Luke 9: 30

Luke 9: 30 Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah talking to him.

The transfiguration is one of those pivatol events in the Gospels. This event takes place shortly before Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem and his appointment with the cross. Jesus never made a move without the guidance of the Father. He always sought the guidance of the Father and here Jesus comes to the Father asking if it is time  to go. Suddenly both Moses (the representative of the Law) and Elijah (the representative of the Prophets) appear to give guidance to Jesus. In the moment that Jesus is advised that it is time to go to die, in that moment when Moses and Elijah affirm what Jesus was going to do, Jesus is glorified. If you remember back in time Moses said he wanted to see God. God replied, “If you see me in all my glory you will drop over dead.” Here Jesus is glorified, affirmation from the Law and the Prophets that Jesus death was the right thing to save all humanity from sin and death. Hopefully this picture of the glorified Christ would get the disciples through those three days in the tomb. When we hit tough sledding, remember the Transfiguration for it is a promise that Christ will return in glory.     Amen.

May 5, 2019 - Luke 8: 22

Luke 8: 22 The Son of man must undergo suffering, and be rejected,…and be killed, and on the third day raised.

 Go to many of the mega churches across the country today and they seldom mention sin or talk about the cross. They affirm that we are all good people and that God loves us just the way we are. This is right out of the “church growth playbook.” We don’t want to offend people because then they won’t come back. So, if we are all good people and God loves us just the way we are, why in the world did Jesus die on the cross? His death then must be pointless and God, the Father must be some kind of a sadist. Peter didn’t want to hear about the suffering and death of Jesus but Jesus scolded Peter for his not wanting to hear about sacrifice and death. None of us likes to think about that, but we must because it was our sin that sent Jesus to the cross. A debt was incurred, the bill had to be paid, and our big brother Jesus stepped up and paid the bill. The Bible does not gloss over sin and the sacrificial death of Christ and neither should we.    Amen.

April 28, 2019 - Luke 9: 20

Luke 9: 20 But who do you say that I am?

What college will you attend? Will you marry me? Is it time to buy a house? It is time to have children? These are all important questions that we all ask or must answer at some moment in our lives. While these questions are important they only pertain to the 70 plus years we have on this earth. But Jesus asks the disciples and he asks us, “Who do you say that I am?” This is the most important question of all because it does not affect the next forty or fifty years of our lives, but it affects our eternal lives. The disciples had heard his teachings, they witnessed all the miracles, and now they had to answer the most important question of all. And in our life times each one of us must answer that question for ourselves. Who do you believe that Jesus is? He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Amen. 

April 21, 2019 - Luke 8: 42 & 43

Luke 8: 42 & 43 he had an only daughter…who was dying…there was a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage.

As we said in an earlier devotion that it was believed that only God could heal the sick, raise the dead, control nature, and control the demonic. In this eighth chapter of Luke we see Jesus doing all four. He calms the storm, casts out demons, heals a sick woman, and raises a dead girl back to life. These miracles say a couple of things. First, that Jesus the Christ is God. No question, no doubt, no debate. He is God. Second, these miracles are given to us a sign of hope. A sign of what things will be like when Christ returns. Evil will have no power over us, the storms of life will cease, illness will never happen, and death is a thing of the past. When Christ returns all things will be put right. These miracles point to that certainty. Amen.