Tuesday, April 11, 2017
John 13:34-35: [Jesus is saying,] "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Dear God and Father, lead us to love each other. Lead us to speak love, live love, and share love. Lead us to bear the love of Jesus, who sacrificed Himself for us. Lead us to show love through our service. We pray this in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
Jesus and His disciples are in the Upper Room. Jesus has just finished washing their feet. They are soon to head toward Gethsemane. Before they go, Jesus gives to them one final command. "Love one another."
What does love look like? How are we to "love one another?" What does love mean? These are all great questions.
What does love look like? Look to Jesus. Jesus taught the truth. He did it in a way that rebuked, corrected, and saved. Jesus served with love, caring and sharing with people. Love looks like Jesus.
How do we love each other? Again, look to Jesus. Jesus healed bodies and lives. Jesus raised people out of death. Jesus gave Himself up to those who hated Him and wanted Him dead. Jesus died for them and us. Jesus rose to offer new life to them and us. Live life like Jesus and give up self for the sake of others.
What does love mean? Finally, you guessed it. Look to Jesus. Love means all of the above. Love is action. Love is caring. Love embraces truth. Love serves. Love sacrifices. Love proclaims. Love is Jesus.
Monday, April 10, 2017
1st Corinthians 11:23-26: For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Please pray with me. Father God, thank You for sending Jesus into our lives. Send Your Holy Spirit to inspire and motivate our actions so that we proclaim Jesus. We pray this in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
This is Holy Week. It is the celebration of the final week of Jesus' life prior to Easter. The first of the celebrations is Maundy, or Mandate, Thursday. It is based upon the "New Covenant" that Jesus established in His body and blood. Jesus reoriented the Old Covenant, the sacrifices and the Passover Meal, and centered it directly on Jesus. And these are the words of Jesus that St. Paul is quoting. And St. Paul also shares that when we partake of the body/bread and blood/wine of Holy Communion, we proclaim, or tell boldly, of Jesus' death. And it is through the shedding of His blood and the giving up of His body that we have the forgiveness of our sins.
And owe do it until Jesus returns. We, when we receive His body and blood, tell the world what Jesus did and that we believe and know in what He did. And our actions tell about Him until the end of the world. And that is when Jesus will return. His return is the beginning of eternity.
So come and join us. Come and proclaim Jesus by means of your reception of the body and blood of Jesus that is in and with the bread and wine until He comes again.
Wednesday, March 5, 2017
Matthew 7:4-5: [Jesus is saying,] "Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye."
Dear God and Father, lead us to be more slow to anger and more abounding in steadfast love for people. Lead us to be truly helpful, repenting of our own transgressions so that we will have clear eyesight in order to help someone through their issues and challenges. We pray this in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
Clarity, in order to help, comes from a clear mind and heart. For we Christians, clarity starts as a fruit of repentance. For example, you see a couple at a restaurant who are talking "strongly." You can see they are not having a good time. You think to yourself, "If only they would just forgive each other and they would be able to 'start over.'" Then you look at your wife and say, "They need to practice more forgiveness." Then her eyes role and you know you're not "practicing what you're preaching."
This is when God's forgiveness of your own sins comes into play. Ask God to forgive you, allow God's grace to fill you so that when you want to help, you can do so without judging, anger, and fear. In that way, you can bring the Grace of God to the other who is in need.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Romans 16:17-18: I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
There are many people today who are "health conscious." Being health conscious is good. We need to be aware of what we eat and drink and to be good stewards of the bodies we were given. And there are extreme health conscious people. Extreme health conscious people are perceived as "health nuts." They are perceived as "meat haters," "radical vegans," and the like. Then there are the responders to the extreme health conscious people. They are people perceived as "veggie haters" and "radical meat eaters." And now a controversy is over food. And "everybody loves a controversy."
The problem with controversies is what happens as a result. Nothing happens as a result. No discussion over truly healthy eating habits. No activity regarding truly beneficial ways to live better. Only arguing ensues.
The same thing happens in God's Church. There are times we get embroiled in some theological controversy. Sides are taken. People are called names. Accusations fly. And you know what happens when this takes place? Nothing. No souls are saved. No disciples are being formed and equipped. The light of the Gospel is covered over with controversy. And Satan is laughing.
God calls us to avoid the controversies. God leads us to "make disciples." God directs us to "seek and to save that which is lost." Engaging in dialogue regarding theology and practice is great. We need the dialogue because it helps us to better know what and in whom we believe. It helps us to better practice our faith and life. Let us use the dialogue to strengthen our faith in God and in the work of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. Let us BOTH learn and grow from God AND connect people to Jesus. Let's pray.
Father God, lead away from controversial stuff that leads us away from the calling and life at hand. Let us love and forgive and empower us to learn and serve You with all of our hearts and minds. We pray this in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
Monday, April 3, 2017
Genesis 3:2-3: And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
There were two trees in the center of the Garden. They were side by side. The first is, "The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil." The second is, "The Tree of the Life." God gave to Adam and Eve only one command. You shall not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of God and Evil. The consequence of said eating was death.
So what was the sin? Was it the eating? No it wasn't. Eating the fruit was the result of sin. The sin was, they disobeyed God. The sin had nothing to do with the fruit nor the tree. The sin was the conscious choice to rebel against what God said. Satan created a diversion. Satan tempted them. They chose to follow the temptation.
And God chose to save the rebellious couple. God promised to send salvation and love to them. Jesus, the enmity between Satan and his seed and Eve and her seed, was to come and save the children of Adam and Eve through His life and death. Jesus was the perfect obedience on behalf of all people of the commands of God. Jesus was THE sacrifice for sin for all people of all time.
We will be learning about sin and grace this week. Sin is our disobedience to the Will of God. Grace is God's salvation of disobedient people like you and I because of what Jesus did. Let's pray.
Dear God and Father, thank You for the grace that You gave to rebellious sinners like us. Lead us by Your Holy Spirit to believe in Your saving grace along with following Your will and commands. We pray this in the name of Jesus. And all God's children say...
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.