Weekly Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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Feb 16, 2020 - MATTHEW 7:1

“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged.”  If I had a nickel for every time I heard some sanctimonious person utter those words I’d be a rich man.  Now if that is the case what do you do with Matthew 18 where Jesus tells us to correct a person who is sinning?  Isn’t that making a judgment?  Of course it is.  What Jesus is saying here is do not condemn others or you will be condemned.  It is our duty, our obligation to lead people to God by telling them how much God loves them and that the things they are doing are wrong.  We do not have the duty to CONDEMN someone.  That is beyond our pay grade.  .Condemnation is God’s business, not ours.  Jesus is telling us not to condemn someone to hell for what they are doing or have done, but simply to guide them back to God.  Amen.

Feb 9, 2020 - Matthew 6: 25

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what  you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.”  In a study done years ago it was discovered that 93% of the things we worry about NEVER HAPPEN.  Of the remaining 7%, that will happen, 5% are done to us and are beyond our control.  2% of the things that will happen are in our control.  So, why worry.  That is exactly what Jesus is saying.  Worry contributes to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and more.  When we worry we are actually killing ourselves.  So, then what is the difference between worry and concern.  Concern leads me to prayer and to God.  Worry leads me to rely on myself.  Concern leads me to understand that everything is on God’s shoulders, while worry leads me to believe everything is on my shoulders.  Concern leads to positive steps, worry leads to handwringing and an early grave.  Are you concerned or worried?  Amen

Feb 2, 2020 - MATTHEW 6: 24

“You cannot serve God and wealth.”  We often hear the expression, “Money is the root of all evil,” but the reality is in 1 Tim 6: 10, Paul says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”  Money is a “thing.”  It is neither good nor evil.  What we do with it is good or evil.  Luther said, “God is that to which we look for our highest good.”  Sadly, many people think that money will give them their highest good.  They work and slave to amass fortunes but the reality is that when the end comes you can’t take it with you.  Money will not forgive your sins.  Money will not save you from physical or spiritual death.  Money cannot give you eternal life.  Rich people, poor people, and those in between die every day.  The person who is truly rich is the one who believes that the heavenly Father is the one true God and that in God there is light and life?  Who or what do you look to for you highest good?  Amen.

Jan 26, 2020 - MATTHEW 6: 9

Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”  Years ago I was asked to do a pre-game prayer for the local high school football team.  I prayed that no one would get injured, that the players would be good sportsmen, that all players would play to their best ability.  I finished the prayer and the team ran out on the field but the coached asked, “How come you didn’t pray for us to win.”  I replied, “God doesn’t care if you win, he only cares that no gets hurt and everyone plays to the best of their ability.”  I was never asked to pray for the team again.  Jesus’ disciples come asking Jesus to then how to pray.  The emphasis in Jesus’ prayer deals mostly with our spiritual lives.   Sadly, most of our prayers deal with earthly concerns.  There are seven petitions in the Lord’s prayer and only one of them has to do with earthly needs.  That should give us some idea of what we should really be praying for.  What do you pray for?  Amen.

Jan 19, 2020 - Matthew 2: 1-6

“For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”  They were not kings, they weren’t necessarily from the orient, and there weren’t necessarily three of them.  Other than that, the song is correct.  Wise men were philosophers, scholars, and astrologers.  Through the study the Old Testament, they knew of a promised Messiah, a king of the Jews.  One who would bring peace, justice, and love to all the world.   These wise men believed that certain heavenly signs were prophetic signs of things to come.  Science tells us that around 6 b.c. the planets Saturn and Jupiter converged and made a brilliant light in the heavens.  Not knowing about our solar system the wise men believed the planets were stars.  Saturn was recognized as the Star of David and Jupiter as the star of Kings.  The wise men believe that the convergence of these two stars indicated that the King of the Jews, the Messiah was to be born.  They followed the star in order to come and pay homage to the one who would bring peace, justice, and love to the world.  As the old saying goes, “Wise men still follow His star!  Do you follow His star?  Amen.

Jan 12, 2020 - Matthew 1: 22-25

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel…”  In convincing Joseph that he should not divorce Mary, the angel takes Joseph back to the writings of the prophet Isaiah, some seven hundred years earlier.  “A virgin shall conceive…”  Joseph is reassured that Mary has been with no other man.  The second thing the angel tells Joseph is “Emmanuel,” (Immanuel.)  Emmanuel is a Greek and Hebrew word.  It means “God becoming one with men; God becoming a human being.”  We wonder why, does God do that, why does God lower Himself to become human.  First, God does it to understand the human condition.  God wants to know what human life is all about with its joys and sorrows, failures and achievements, frustration and satisfaction.  How can God judge us if he does not know what we go through?  Second, God becomes human to show us that humans were not created evil and what humans could be if they followed the word of God.  Third, God became human so he could die in our place.  The Son of God’s death on the cross was indeed the payment for our sins.  Through Christ’s death our debt has been paid and we are now free to be the children of God.  Amen.

Jan 5, 2020 - Matthew 1: 20-21

As Joseph decides to sleep on it before deciding how he will go about the divorce from Mary he is visited by an angel.   The angel tells Joseph two very important things.  First, that the child that Mary is carrying is not the child of a man, but the son in her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  In other words Joseph, Mary was not running around with another man, but she has become the willing servant of God.  Second, the son she is carrying will save all people from their sins.  God in Genesis two tells Adam and Eve if they sin, they will surely die.  Paul tells us the “wages of sin is death.”  The son that Mary is carrying will pay for the sins of all humanity and will save them from eternal death.  The son that Marry carried would save us from eternal death.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.