Thursday, 19 May 2011
TEXT: John 14:1-14
TITLE: Making His Word Your Own
“Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father except through Me. John 14:6
There’s a tradition in many churches that when a person becomes confirmed, they receive a Confirmation verse. The above verse happens to be this writer’s own. Personally speaking, I believe God graced me with the words of John 14:6 in my Baptism. That Confirmation Day I received it was a day my fellow confirmands and I had the opportunity to publicly reaffirm our Baptismal vows (though God blesses us with opportunity to reaffirm them each and every day as we live in His Spirit!).
As a sinner, my way is not always His Way. Yet it is His Way to forgive me/us and assure us of His great love. We’re reminded of Pilate’s question-‘What is truth?” and The Truth we find in this verse. In a fallen world seeking answers in and of itself, we recognize a void and necessity for truth. We have that truth in Jesus. Also, His Word and promise provide us life now in His Spirit and a life that’s eternal as well. As redeemed Children of God through Jesus death and resurrection and His gift of faith, we have lives even now that are holy and blameless. (Saints!) The beauty of my Confirmation verse (and all of God’s Word) is that it truly is ours both collectively and personally. That is, we truly have The Way, The Truth, and The Life…Jesus; now and forever.
Jesus, thank you for being our Way, Truth and Life. We believe, help us in our unbelief, in Your Name, Amen.
Thursday, 19 May 2011
TEXT: 1 Pet.2:2-10
TITLE: Pure Spiritual Milk and Food
“Like new born babies crave pure spiritual milk,…now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 1 Pet.2:2-3
There’s nothing like a tall, cold, glass of refreshing milk! In contrast, there’s nothing worse than a tall, cold glass of milk that’s gone beyond its expiration date…spoiled! Yuck! You can get sick, gag, choke, and in some cases, even die from drinking sour milk. But the pure, fresh, spiritual milk of God, we can never get too much of; and nothing compares to it!
In Hebrews, we’re told more specifically what spiritual milk is; repentance, faith in God, Baptism, laying on of hands, the Resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. They’re all products which come from the same source for everything that’s pure; namely Jesus!
Having tasted the love of Jesus and all His goodness, it causes us to naturally crave more! And…the more we take in, the more spiritually stronger and healthier we become! Miraculously (in God’s own way), His Spirit moves us on from spiritual milk to ‘spiritual solid food’ which allows us to distinguish good from evil. We need such ‘food’ to be spiritually strong and equipped to wrestle the forces of evil and temptation. By God‘s grace, we recognize the importance of being in His Word. The ringing of Sunday morning church bells are like our dinner bell! It’s there, as well as any place or time we’re in God’s Word, we receive a scrumptious, Godly satisfying meal to His glory and to our blessing!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your spiritual food-Your Word, and all the blessings that go with it, in Jesus Name Amen.
Thursday, 19 May 2011
TEXT: Acts 6:1-9, 7:2a, 51-60
TITLE: “Be Prepared To Give An Answer”
“Then the High Priest asked him, “Are these charges true? To this Stephen replied…”
There’s a question asked all confirmands as part of the formal Lutheran Confirmation Service: “Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” I wonder if those who answer that question really understand its full weight. In a sense, it was the same question Stephen had before him. Stephen’s inspired answer included a beautiful and accurate history lesson of the Jewish people. It also included a stiff rebuff and a finger-point at the Jewish leadership calling them stiff necks and the murderers of The Christ.
Today’s Epistle reading from Peter calls us to “always be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have.” That’s exactly what Stephen did! I don’t believe any of us can say for certain how we’d respond under the same circumstances as Stephen. However, like Stephen, we can be certain God (Immanuel) is going to be there with us as well. The same can be said when any sin tempts, or disaster strikes, or when we may be simply feeling alone and like the entire world is either against or forgotten us. His Presence with us in this life is only part of the hope. The other part is the sure and certain hope of life eternal; even and especially in the face of death. Jesus is the answer!
Dear Heavenly Father, prepare my heart to always give an answer for the hope You’ve given me through Jesus, In His Name, Amen.
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
EASTER 4-First Lesson
TEXT: Acts 2:42-47
TITLE: Christian Communism Church
“All the believers were together and had everything in common.” Acts 2 44
Communism, as defined by Wikipedia Encyclopedia, “is an ideology that seeks
to establish a classless, stateless, social organization based on common
ownership of the means of production.” Interestingly, a definition of
Christian Communism today is known as “a form of religious Communism
centered on Christianity and share theological and political views of the
teachings of Jesus that compels Christians to support Communism.” This
definition with its mention of political views is not the type of ‘Christian
Communism’ witnessed in our text. Nor is the Wikipedia definition with its
non-mention of believers who follow Jesus Christ. The text above represents
a definition of pure Christian Communism.
The common bond of the first Century Church was Jesus Christ and His love.
It was faith in Jesus that motivated this church to sell all they had and
share it with one another trusting in God’s provision; a Christian
Communism. Today, the twenty-first Century Christian Church’s devotion is
not to an Ideology but rather to God and His Word. Every true Christian of
the Church of God shares the same faith in Jesus as that of the first
Century Church. We come together in fellowship of the Word, the breaking of
bread in His Sacrament of the Altar, and to pray. Praise God, we His Church!
Father, may Your Spirit move us to share with fellow Christians and those
You call us to help, in Jesus Name, Amen.
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
TEXT: 1Peter 2:19-25
TITLE: The Good of Unjust Suffering
“For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering
because he is conscious of God.” 1 Peter 2:19
Little children who have cancer, a teenager paralyzed in an auto accident,
thousands killed from plane crashing into a building; most people would say
this is unjust suffering. The thought of unjust suffering is not a pleasant
one. For me, Job immediately comes to mind. Certainly Job wanted answers as
to why his suffering was given or allowed by God. Job says, “Though I cry,
‘I’ve been wronged!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there’s no
justice.” In other words, Job thought his suffering was unjust.
Like Job, it can happen in our lives we can feel our suffering is unjust.
When we’re going through a valley of suffering, and that suffering seems
greater than the sins we believe we’re being punished for, we too can
The fact is, it takes only one sin to land us in the eternal fires of hell
according to a perfectly just God. Jesus is our example of One who truly did
suffer unjustly. He did so that we would never have to know the eternal
suffering of hell. Now He’s there to help us through our suffering. In our
suffering (like Job), we become conscious of God. And, whenever we’re
conscious of God, it is good!
Father, help me to understand my suffering, just or otherwise, in Jesus
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
TEXT: John 10:1-10
TITLE: The Gate to Heaven
“I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.” John
The television show-American Idol has been very popular for quite some years
now. To become ‘The American Idol,’ there are 3 doors a contestant must go
through. First, they must go through the door of being accepted by producers
for an audition. The second door: they must pass be accepted by the program’s
3 judges; Randy, Jennifer, and Stephen who judge their performances and make
cuts till there is a final 24. Once they have passed their doorway, it’s the
doorway of the American public opinion. The final 12 male and 12 females
then compete against one another until they pass through that final door of
becoming ‘The American Idol.’ Past American Idols have possessed such
qualities as stage presence, personality, poise, genuineness, ability to
pick a song that suits his/her voice as well as a good voice. Good looks
didn’t hurt either.
One needs none of these attributes to enter through Jesus door. Not
personality, or appearance, or our talent, or how nice a person we’ve been,
or how few of sins we chalked up. In fact, it has nothing to do with our
performance. But rather Jesus performance! On a stage where instead of
cheers, excitement, and fame, it was mockery, suffering, and shame. In a
sense, Jesus is the antithesis of an American Idol or any other man-made
idol. He is in reality-God. Jesus performed a sinless life; bore our sins on
His stage-the cross. In Jesus, we have our doorway to heaven!
Father, thank you for Your Spirit showing me The Door, in Jesus Name, Amen.