Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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April 8, 2018 - Colossians 1:18

In Colossians 1: 18 we read, “Christ is the head of the body.”  The average person’s brain weighs three pounds.  Not much when compared to the rest of the body, but think of the work it does.  It controls 650 muscles in the human body and 100 billion nerve cells.  The brain controls just about every aspect of the human body.  When Paul says that Jesus is the head he is saying that Jesus is in control of the body.  For Paul, the body is all he faithful.  Jesus, as the head, makes the rest of the body function.  When we forgive, it is because Jesus enabled us to forgive.  When we love, it is because Jesus enabled us to love.  When we serve. it is Jesus enabled us to serve.  If the brain is blocked from sending transmissions to the rest of the body, the body will not function.  The problem is far too often we purposely block the transmissions from the head (Jesus) to the rest of the body, (the faithful people.)  When brain transmissions are blocked, the body cannot function the way it was created to do.   When we purposely absent ourselves from reading the Word of God, when we purposely absent ourselves from attending church weekly, we have stopped the brain from making the body function.   When that happens, the rest of the body dies.  We often wonder why things aren’t going quite right in our lives.  Maybe it’s because we have stopped letting the brain reach the rest of the body.

 

March 25, 2018 - Isaiah 53: 4

“Surely he has borne our infirmities  and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken,   struck down by God, and afflicted.” 
Today marks the beginning of Holy Week.  The week starts with Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday.  Palm Sunday refers to the glory of riding in as a conquering hero. Passion Sunday reminds us of the pain, the suffering and the death that Jesus must go through in order to win our freedom.  Most of us wonder, “Why does he have to die?  Why doesn’t he just wipe out all evil?”  Because if he did, he would have to wipe us out.  Yes, we too would be wiped out because we have been conceived in sin and have been sinful since the day of our births.  Yes, the price for evil must be paid.  But not with our suffering, not our blood, not our bodies.  But through the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  He has borne our infirmities, carried our diseases which manifest themselves in our sinful thoughts, words, and deeds.  You cannot get to the glory of the winner’s circle until you have gone through the suffering of the race.   

March 18, 2018 - Isaiah 52: 13

“See, my servant shall prosper;   he shall be exalted and lifted up,   and shall be very high.”  
There are two meanings in these words.  In John 12 Jesus said, “…when I am lifted up I will draw all men to myself.”  John tells us that this was to indicate what kind of death Jesus would endure.  He would be lifted up on the cross and people would come to him because of his sacrificial love.  It also refers to Jesus’ ascension into heaven.  Jesus’ ascension into heaven is important because he now sits at the right hand of God the Father.  In Romans, Paul says, that Jesus intercedes for us.  He is our defender, he pleads our case and asks God to forgive us, not because of who we are or what we have done, but because of who Jesus is and what he has done for us.  And the Father, in His mercy, pardon’s us for the sake of the Son.

March 11, 2018 - Isaiah 50

“The Lord God has given me   the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain   the weary with a word.  Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear  to listen as those who are taught.” 
Many years ago, while on a trip, I had car trouble.  I pulled off the road and the man who was riding with me was a mechanic.  We opened the hood, he looked it over and said.  “I see what the problem is.  If it happens again, do this, then do that, then do this, then do that, and it will start.”  I thanked him and said, “Ok, I can do that.”  He then said, “Ok, tell me what I told you to do.”  I shrugged and he continued, “You heard but you didn’t listen.”  To hear the Word of God is totally different than listening to the Word of God.  To hear means that we think what is being said is for everyone else but me.  To listen means, I know these words are for me, and if I live out those words then I have listened.  Listening requires your undivided attention and a willingness to live the words out. 

March 4, 2018 - Isaiah.49: 3

“And he said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” 
These words from Isaiah are the first of what are called “The servant songs.”  These passages of scripture inform us of what the Messiah will be.  The Messiah will be a servant.  He will, first and foremost, do the will of God.  Second, he will serve us.  In serving God, the Messiah is serving us.  God says to the Messiah, ‘”Go down, and tell Satan, ‘Let my people go!’”  When Satan says, “Not until some man pays the price with his body and blood,” you say, “Here am I, take me.”  In giving up your life you are serving both God and humanity.  In the Garden when Jesus knows his date with the cross will happen within hours he prays, “God, if possible let this cup pass from me.  But never the less, not my will, but your will be done.”  That is what being a servant is all about.  Doing the bidding of your Master no matter what is having a servant’s heart.  Christ has a servant’s heart, do you? 

Feb 25, 2018 - Galatians 5: 22

“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 
In our confession of faith we say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit…”  We know what God the Father does.  He creates and continues to bless life.  We know what God the Son does.  He paid for our sin with His life on the cross.  But what does the Spirit do.  First, the Spirit comes to us in and through God’s Word and the Sacraments.  And what the Spirit does is to enable us to live a Christ-like life.  On our own we resort to our sins in thought, word, and deed.  But in Christ we are able to love unselfishly; know the joy of God’s love; the peace that comes from knowing we no longer have to fear death; to be kind even when others are not; to share generously the blessings that we have receive from God with others; to trust God totally in both good and bad times; to be gentle and caring to people even when they act terribly and to control our own sinful thoughts, words, and deeds.  During this season of Lent, let your prayer be, “Come, Holy Spirit, come!” 

Feb 18, 2018 - Galatians 5: 1

“For freedom Christ has set us free.” 
In our confession of sin we declare, “we were born in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.”  We also arrogantly say, “We are not slaves to sin!”  Really?  Then quit sinning.  It will take you an hour or less to sin in thought, word, or deed.  We are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.  The cost, the price of our freedom is the life of one perfect, sinless being.  One who is blameless, yet willingly takes on the sins of all people from the beginning to the end of time.  As Christ suffers and dies on the cross the chains of our bondage are broken and we are free at last, free at last.  Thank God almighty we are free at last.  But freedom is not freedom from something but it is freedom too something.  Freedom to be the children of God and not the slaves to sin.  Freedom to love instead of hating.  Freedom to forgive instead of getting even.  Freedom to live a Christ-like life and not a life of evil selfishness.  You are free.  Now live as God’s free children.   

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