Devotions by Pastor Joseph

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March 17, 2019 - Luke 7: 1 - 2

Luke 7: 1 - 2 …A centurion who had a slave who was close to death…the centurion sent Jewish elders to Jesus to ask for healing.

 If there was anyone who was hated more than a tax collector by the Jews it was the Roman Soldier. But this centurion (one who commanded one hundred men) was different. He was loved and respected by the Jewish elders and when his slave became ill to the point of death, the elders went to Jesus to have him heal the centurion’s slave. Once again we see the importance of faithful people acting on behalf of others. It was the elders’ love for the centurion and their faith in Jesus that prompted them to act. Love motivates us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Faith in God motivates us to do things we would never ordinarily think of doing on behalf of others. The elders were motivated by love and faith. Our love and faith should motivate and lead us to intercede with God on behalf of others. Amen.

March 10, 2019 - Luke 6: 48 & 49

Luke 6: 48 & 49 …One is like a man who building a house laid a foundation of rock…One is like a man who built a house without a foundation.

When adversity hits, when the crisis comes, when your life is shattered by the storms of life what is it that keeps everything in tact. Is it money? But what happens if we lose every dime we have? Is it power? But what happens if we lose power? Is it fame? But what happens when we lose fame? Like the man who gained the whole world but lost his soul. I knew two brothers. When the mother died, the brother who had no faith threw himself on mom’s casket. He wept, his beat his breast., and he cursed the God he didn’t believe in. The other brother took his young son’s hand and said, “We will see grandma again. It is only a matter of time.” The man who wept and cursed had no foundation, but the man who assured his son that they would see grandma again had a foundation built on faith. The second man built his house on the “sure and certain hope of the resurrection.”   Amen

March 3, 2019 - Luke 6: 43 – 44

Luke 6: 43 – 44  ”No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does as bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is know by its own fruit.” 

We talked earlier about the word “repentance.” Repentance is a process. It is not a one time event. We need to repent every time we sin. To repent means we not only have faith but that we put that faith to work. We are called not only to believe but to live it out. Repentance means our thoughts, words, and deeds are totally different. We are no longer filled with hate, but now we are filled with love. We no longer seek revenge but we now forgive. We are kind, gentle, generous, and caring. We show love and respect to everyone we in come in contact with. Repentance, turning from sin is as much an outward expression as it is an inward one. Faith in God shows that is alive and well by practicing a Christ - like life.   Amen.

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.