Weekly Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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Jan 6, 2019 - Luke 3: 10

Luke 3: 10 “And the crowds asked John, ‘What then should we do?’”

When John the Baptist arrived it was like a clean wind swept across the land. His message, God’s message, was one of repentance and action. Repentance means to turn and go an opposite direction. If you are traveling North and “repent” you are turning 180 degrees and going South. John said, the repentant person needs to turn from the world’s way and walk God’s way. Asking for forgiveness without turning your life around is not the message of the Word of God. I knew a man who wanted to hear nothing but grace. Then he would turn right around and continue to sin. He did not want repentance he wanted a free pass to go on sinning. John said we need a life change. Give love instead of hatred, forgiveness instead of revenge, kindness instead of cruelty. “What then should we do?” Repent and live a new life according to the Word of God. Amen

Nov 18, 2018 - EXODUS 20: 17

EXODUS 20: 17  "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

My neighbor gets a new car. My friend gets a new house. Another friend gets the latest I-Phone. I have two ways to deal with that. I can celebrate and be happy for my friends and neighbor or I can be so demoralized that they have something I don’t have that I no longer talk to them and I work hard at trying to figure out how I can get what they have. “Life isn’t fair,” I complain. I hate life, I hate my neighbor, I hate my friends, and I hate God because I never get anything. If this is the way God treats his friends, I’d rather be God’s enemy. Coveting is like a cancer that eats away at us and destroys everything including our relationship with God. Perhaps I need to focus on all that God has given me. Amen

Nov 11, 2018 - EXODUS 20: 16

EXODUS 20: 16 “You shall not bear false witness.”

I lived in a very small town for about six years and if you wanted to catch up on what was going on in town you went to the local café. There was always someone there who was sharing some gossip. As they used to say, “I don’t say anything about my neighbor unless it is good. And boy of boy is this good.” We would then be treated to some juicy story which was never verified. “Bearing false witness,” lying, fibbing, a white lie, the truth is that these are just other ways to break commandment eight. I don’t like gossip. I don’t like lying. I knew a man who said he never told lies. And he was right he never did, he just got other people to lie for him. He was a married man and was seeing another woman. But he got a friend to tell other people she was just a friend. Later he admitted they were in love. He never lied. He just got others to do it for him.   Amen.

Nov 4, 2018 - EXODUS 20: 15

EXODUS 20: 15 “YOU SHALL NOT STEAL.”

Quite simply “stealing” is taking anything that does not belong to you without the consent of the owner. That which does not belong to you could be a person, place of thing. You might “steal” another man’s wife. Of course that is also breaking the “adultery commandment.” You might steal a “place in line,” or a piece of property. You might “steal” an answer off a test or “steal” an idea and pass it off as your own. Refusing to work and figuring someone else will give you money is “stealing.” A person can cheat, embezzle, pick pocket, shop lift, plunder, abscond, swindle. Call it what you will, it is still stealing. You have no right take something that is not yours. In fact Mart Luther said, “We should help our neighbors protect their property.” Most stealing is caused by coveting, which we will cover a little later in these devotions.   Amen.

Oct 28, 2018 - EXODUS 20: 14

EXODUS 20: 14 “You shall not commit adultery.”

Several years ago I over heard a young child ask his VBS teacher, “What’s adultery?” There was a long pause. I waited to see what the teacher would say and how deep she was going to go in her explanation. After a long pause she gave a great answer. “It means, don’t kiss your neighbor.” Adultery is quite simply violating the marriage covenant. Jesus said, “If a man thinks about being with (kissing) another woman he has committed adultery. In our confession of sin we confess that we have sinned in thought, word, and deed. According to the Word of God there is no closer bond than that of husband and wife. We can commit adultery in our thoughts, by verbally betraying your spouse, by trusting others more than you trust your spouse, and by letting some earthly thing become more important in your life than your spouse. Amen

Oct 21, 2018 - EXODUS 20: 13

EXODUS 20: 13 “You shall not murder.”

The commandment does not say, “You shall not kill.”

Murdering and killing are two different things, neither one is good but one is justifiable. Murder is the cold blooded, heartless act of taking another person’s life for no reasons at all, except to take their lives. Killing on the other had is justifiable. We have the right to protect ourselves our family, our property. If someone is attempting to take our lives, we can use as much for as much force as necessary to quell the threat. God calls on us to bring justice and sometimes that calls for war to end oppression, slavery, murder, and injustice. In Romans 13 we are told that the government does not bear the sword in vain. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life, is replaced by the government taking the life of the murderer. We are called upon not to murder, but we are allowed to defend ourselves. Amen.

Oct 14, 2018 - EXODUS 20: 12

EXODUS 20: 12 “Honor your father and mother and your days will be long in the land.”

From my father I learned the value of hard work and sacrificing for your family. From my mom I learned compassion and forgiveness. They are valuable lessons which I have tried to put into practice all the days of my life. As Mark Twain once said, “When I went to college at the age of seventeen I though my father was the dumbest person the face of the earth. When I came home four years later I was surprise at how much the old boy had learned.” Our parents are a valuable resource. They have faced everything you children face and they have the battle scars to prove it. They have something more valuable than mere knowledge, they have wisdom. The promise is, if we honor (listen, follow) our parents our days will be long in the land. So, when they tell you not to play in the street it would be a good idea to listen to them so your days are long in the land. Amen 

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