Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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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.

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.