Weekly Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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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.

Dec 29, 2019 - Matthew 1:19

“Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.”  Imagine you are engaged to be married and you discover that your wife is pregnant and it is not your baby.  I am sure Joseph was crushed, yet being a righteous man he was not going to put Mary through any public humiliation.   The word righteous does not mean sinless.  It means being what God intended you to be.  What does God intend, want us to be?  In Micah 6:8 we are told that God wants us to be “just, loving, and humble.”  Joseph was a man who lived his life according to the word of God. He was not going to hurt or defame Mary by having a big public divorce.  No, he was going to be fair, just with her.  He was going to treat her in a loving way and he was going to be humble in how he handled this whole tragic affair.  Do we live “righteous lives’?  Do we even try to live “righteous lives”?  Amen.

Dec 22, 2019 - Matthew 1:18

“…she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.”  Several Old Testament prophecies tell us that the Messiah was not only a human being, but that he was also divine, God.  In some miraculous way that we will never understand, this side of the Kingdom, the child that is conceived within Mary, is conceived by the Holy Spirit.   This child is both God and man.  Over the years false teachings have crept into church declaring that Jesus was not divine, not God.  Others have said he was some angelic being who just looked like a man.  By the time the fourth century rolled around these false teachings were running rampant in the church.  Church leaders met at Nicea and developed a statement of faith, a creed, the Nicene Creed.  The Creed declares, “the only Son of God, begotten not made, of one being with the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God...”  Jesus is indeed man and God.  Do you believe Jesus is God?  Amen.

Dec 15, 2019 - Matthew 1: 1-17

 An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”  23 and Me, Acnestry.com; everyone wants to know where they came from and who their ancestors were.  I did my own a year ago and there were a few surprises.  It was fun to see and imagine things about my ancestors.  Matthew spends the beginning of his gospel giving us the pedigree of Jesus.  His lineage is traced all the way back to Abraham.  Matthew does this for a couple of reasons.  First, to show that Jesus was indeed a Jew.  The prophecies all talked of the Messiah being of Jewish lineage.  Second, we are told in the prophecies and history that the Messiah would be a “son (descendant) of David.”  Matthew shares this historical and prophetic information to show that Jesus’ lineage is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.   Jesus is the Messiah.   But Matthew also tells us that both Boaz and Obed were married to gentile women.  Therefore, Jesus is the Messiah of all people.  Is he your Messiah?  Amen.

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