Weekly Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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Feb 24, 2019 - Luke 5: 27 – 28

Luke 5: 27 – 28 …and Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up, left everything, and followed him.

Jews who became tax collectors for Rome were hated by their fellow Jews. The tax collectors were seen as traitors to the nation, traitors to the Jewish faith, and to God. They were the lowest of the low. Tax collectors were treated like lepers. So, why does Jesus call Levi (Matthew) to follow him? Jesus never did anything by accident or on a whim. What he did and said he did and said with a purpose. So, why call a traitor, why call the scum of the earth to follow him. To show, to display, to make everyone certain that no one is beyond the Grace of God. That anyone and everyone is redeemable. I knew a man once who never went to church. He was not a nice man, he was among other things a racist. One evening a friend came to visit and said, “Bill you need to give your life to Christ and come to church.” Bill replied, “I not good enough yet.” The friend replied, “That’s the point Bill, none of us are good enough, but God wants us anyway.” Bill gave his life to Christ, and he became a different man, a better man. Christ calls all of us and if we follow, he will do the rest.   Amen   

Feb 17, 2019 - Luke 5: 20

Luke 5: 20   When Jesus saw their faith, he said, Friend your sins are forgiven.”

What is a friend? Someone who will move a mountain or tear off a roof for you. You know the story: a man is paralyzed and his friends have such faith in Jesus, that they bring the man to Jesus and he heals them. Jesus does not heal the man because of the faith of the paralytic, for all we know the man had no faith at all. But Jesus healed the man because of the faith of the friends. This event tells the believers how important is it for us to pray for, to support a friend who has no faith. Jesus said, never quit praying for someone. He also said where two or three agree on something God will hear their prayer. Our faith, our belief, our prayers can and do change the lives of those who have little to no faith. Praying, believing for someone one is not a one time event. But it is sometimes a long process. It may even take years, but the rewards are great. So, if you have faith and you are a friend, you don’t have to move a mountain or tear off a roof, but you can believe and pray for someone to be uplifted by God.    Amen

Feb 10, 2019 - Luke 5: 10

Luke 5: 10.  Then Jesus said to Simon (Peter), “Do not be afraid; I will make you fishers of men.”

That last thing that Jesus tells his church is to: “Go and make disciples of all nations baptizing…and teaching them all I have commanded you.” One of the dirtiest words in the church vocabulary is “evangelism” To us it means knocking on doors, quoting scripture, and telling people if they don’t repent they are going to hell. That is not at all what evangelism is or what Jesus wanted us to do. Knocking on doors and simply inviting people to come and worship is evangelism. Praying for someone in need is evangelism. Helping a person in a crisis is evangelism. Inviting a friend to attend worship with you is evangelism. Evangelism is not about scaring people, but it is about exposing people to the love of God in our thoughts, words and deeds. Pray for someone, knock on a door, invite a friend or neighbor to church, get involved in catching people for Jesus.     Amen.

Feb 3, 2019 - Luke 4: 16

Luke 4: 16.  And Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the Sabbath day.

We all have customs, habits, rituals that we follow. Some are not good and are harmful to our well being. Others are helpful and enrich our lives. I often hear people say, “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. I can worship God on the golf course on Sunday morning or while I’m out fishing.” I’ve been passed golf courses on a Sunday morning and the only time I hear God or Jesus Christ mentioned is when they miss that three foot putt. Worship, not just on Christmas and Easter, but regular, every Sunday worship fills our hearts with hope and promise. It informs us that God has forgiven us and gives us direction for our lives. If the Son of God felt that it was important to make every Sabbath a day for worship, why do you think it’s not important to you?    Amen. 

Jan 27, 2019 - Luke 5: 8

Luke 5: 8 Peter said, “Go away, from me, Lord for I am a sinful man.”

How often has the pastor or church council representative stood up and said, “We need more volunteers”? And the first thought that runs through our minds is a list of excuses why you can’t serve. “I’m too you,” “too old,” “not smart enough,” “too busy,” and the list goes on and on and on. Noah was too drunk, Abraham was too old, Moses stuttered, David was a ladies’ man, Isaiah swore too much, Jeremiah was too young, Peter was a sinner, and Paul was an adversary of the faith. It’s mot what skill you have, not your age, not anything else that God wants. He simply wants a willing heart and He will do the rest. The old saying reminds us, “God will not lead you where is grace will not keep you.” When God calls just say, “Yes,” and God will do the rest. Amen.

Jan 20, 2019 - Luke 4: 1 – 2

Luke 4: 1 – 2 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.

One of the major doctrines of the church is the Jesus was both Divine and Human. In order to be the perfect sacrifice to pay for sin, Jesus has to be human to endure what all humans endure, temptation being one of those. Here we have Eden II: man is again tempted by Satan in three ways: food, power, and self-aggrandizement. As Jesus said later He came not to be served but to serve. Jesus never uses his heavenly authority for his own good. He uses his heavenly authority for the betterment of mankind. How does Jesus overcome the temptations? He does not use his own authority to resist but rather uses what all of us have, The Bible. According to Paul we are to put on the whole armor of God and the Word of God is our Sword. It is only the Word of God that can withstand temptation. If we are going to defeat the Satan we too need to immerse ourselves in the Word of God. Amen.

Jan 13, 2019 - Luke 3: 22

Luke 3: 22 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

1,800 years before, God spoke to a man named Abraham. Abraham was in his seventies and his wife Sarah in her fifties when they got the news from God that they would have a child. Sure enough after about fifteen years a boy named Isaac was born. And then one day, about twelve years later, God spoke again and said, “Take your son, your beloved son and take him to a mountain that I will show you and there offer him as a sacrifice to me.” Those words must have crushed Abraham. But he took his “beloved son” to the mountain. Fortunately God stopped Abraham. If you read through out the rest of the Bible you will find the only other time “beloved son” is used is with Jesus. Here his Jesus, thirty years old, and he hears those words, “the beloved son.” “Beloved sons” are marked for death. At thirty years of age the “Beloved Son of God” knew he came to die. Amen