Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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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

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.

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