Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Numbers 11:28-30: And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.
What is a prophet? What does a prophet do? What are the qualifications?
A prophet is a person who tells other people about God. A prophet tells others about God's judgment regarding sin and God's judgment of mercy and grace. A prophet's qualifications are simple. A prophet is filled with the Holy Spirit, who knows he/she is loved by God and saved by the blood of Jesus, God's Son and God Himself. A prophet has the power from the Holy Spirit, the third person of God, that drives out fear and worry and jealousy.
Joshua, Moses' right hand man and eventual successor to the role of leader, thought that someone else speaking for God would diminish the role of Moses. At the same time, Moses knew that it would be wonderful if all of God's people experienced the power of the Spirit. In that way more and more people would hear of the wonderful works of God.
And here is the Good News! All God's people have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. Through Holy Baptism we have received the washing of rebirth and renewal. Through the power of the Word of God, our lives are changed by grace. We have had the Spirit poured onto us and in us.
And now is the time to stop resisting His power and let Him do what He does through us. Let Him take away your fear and worry. Grab hold of His strength that will give you confidence and boldness. Holy Spirit, remove the influence of Satan and our own sinful flesh that resists Your power, lead us more fully to be moved to serve, to speak, and to be more fully Your prophets. And all God's children say...
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Acts 2:5-6: Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.
We know what happened. The Holy Spirit arrived in the world with a great rush of sound, like a violent wind storm that was happening. He filled those in the room with Himself. Now that Peter, the rest of the Apostles, along with every one else in the room were filled with a power previously unknown to them. They were no longer timid and hiding as a result of fear. They were bold and fearless, ready to proclaim to the world the saving grace and love of God through Jesus.
However, the world wasn't yet at their doorstep. The sound of the rushing and violent wind pulled the world to them. God the Holy Spirit brought the world to the doorstep of the Church. And the Church was about to speak words that were going to be heard around the world.
Isn't that what God is doing today? Right now? Of course He is. God the Holy Spirit is bringing people to our doorstep so that they will hear us tell them about the grace and love of God through Jesus. They will hear how, because of their sins and sinfulness, they crucified Jesus. They will hear how Jesus, by means of His crucifixion and resurrection, gave them forgiveness and new life. They will hear, "Repent and believe the Good news" of Jesus' life and righteousness.
The world is here right now. The "rushing wind" is Christian education through the school. It is the women's Bible study, quilting group, men's fellowship, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School Ratio Christi, Youth, Evangelism events, and of course, Worship. These are ways that the Holy Spirit is using to draw people in. It's time to tell the words to be heard round the world. Father God, lead us to express our faith to the world at our doorstep.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
2nd Corinthians 9:13: Through the evidence of this service they will glorify God because of your obedience to your confession in the gospel of Christ and the generosity of your sharing with them and with everyone.
The Corinthian congregation had its' share of problems. At the same time, they were very good about their generosity and service for the sake of others. St. Paul commends them for this. God through St. Paul also concludes that service for the sake of others is seen, especially when people are served through the grace of God that Jesus gave.
Through faith, by means of faith, and as a result of faith in what Jesus did for us, we serve as well. We give of ourselves for the sake of others. Some people gave "the full measure of devotion." This upcoming weekend is Memorial Day weekend. We honor the men and women who "gave it all" for the sake of others and their country. We too give the "full measure of devotion" as well. We "die to self and live Christ." We give it all because Jesus gave it all. It's not about me. It's about HE. It's about them.
We serve so that the love and grace and mercy of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are seen by all those whom we serve. We serve because we were, we are being, and we will always be served by God. We serve so that people are built up and lifted up and brought up to the grace and love of God. God, lead us to sacrifice our self, to serve You and all people, and to show You to those who need You. We pray in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Mark 16:20: And they [the remaining Eleven] went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.
This coming Sunday, two young people of Faith Lutheran Church and School will confirm their faith. They will make their proclamation of faith known to God as well as to the Church, they will profess their faith in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and they will promise to dedicate their lives to the service of God. The Lord has, currently is, and will continue to work in the lives of these two. He will continue to confirm their lives and their faith through the power of the Holy Spirit. They will believe and trust in Him, they will be filled with grace and strength, and their life in Jesus will be confirmed by God by His work in them and through them.
And they are not alone. The rest of us will confirm our faith in the promises of God. We too will proclaim our faith in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We too will promise to dedicate our lives to the service of God. And God has, currently is, and will continue to work in our lives and confirm our lives through the Holy Spirit working through us.
So we pray for the two young people and their continuing walk of faith with God. We pray for our faith filled walks with God as well. We pray that we will look back to the Eleven and their faith walks with God and that God worked through them. And we also pray that our lives
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Psalm 119:37: Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
If you remember yesterday's story on my "hiking" trip, you know that I panicked when I didn't see "the turn." It was there all the time. It didn't move. The change in light, the time of day, and the sense of impending doom, blocked my being able to see it.
I was looking for the road to the car in all the wrong places. It was worthless to try to walk back up the mountain, to the place from whence I came. I realized that after about twenty five feet. I could see the goal of my journey. I saw the SUV in the parking lot through the trees. I knew where I had to go. I didn't know... Until
The couple coming down the mountain helped me to see. I felt a great weight come off of my shoulders and I made it to the vehicle.
How does this work with our text? We get "lost" chasing after things, achievements, status, prestige, money, and the like. What does it get us? To where does it lead us? Ultimately, no where. Or let me rephrase. It leads us to hell.
This is why this verse is so wonderful for us. We NEED God's direction and focus for life. We NEED Him to cut through the distractions and re-directions of life away from the goal of life with God and heaven. We Christians know the goal, the endgame, the final destination. It is life with Jesus now and forever. Dear God, turn our eyes to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith and life so that we see Your ways. In Jesus name... And all God's children say...
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
2nd Peter 1:19: Moreover, we possess the prophetic word as an altogether reliable thing. You do well if you pay attention to this as you would to a light shining in a murky place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
I went on a day "hike" with members of a former congregation I served. The hike was walking up to a mountain peak about 15,000 feet in elevation. We left the trail head at about 6:30 in the morning, just as dawn was breaking. It was very murky. I could see where I was going, yet barely. I didn't make it to the top. I got to the tree line, saw the sharp drop offs away from the trail, and froze. I sat for a while as the day progressed. Other hikers went up past me. After a while, I decided to head back down and wait for my friends at the SUV. It's about three in the afternoon. I went down the trail and got the spot where the trail turned 90 degrees. I went past that spot while it was still dawn on the way up. I didn't recognize the spot in the full day light. I panicked. I thought that I was lost on this mountain. In my panic, I chose to go back up to where I was. It was a bad idea. Then some hikers who passed me going up were coming down. I asked, "Am I going the right way?" They said, "Yes, you are." Then they passed me and I watch where they were going. They made the turn I didn't see. Relief! I followed them, made the turn, and headed to the SUV.
The moral of the story? We think we can "see" where we're going in life. We think we have it figured out. We're really seeing things dimly. We aren't seeing life fully. That is what sin does to us. And when the Gospel of Jesus lights up our lives, we see life to the full. We know this for certain because we have the Word of God who lights our way and illumines our path with His love. So pay attention to God's Word, read it, learn from it, and make it a full part of your life. Let's pray.
Father, through Your Word lead us through life and light our paths with Your love and grace. Lead us to Jesus through Your Word who gave Himself for us. Lead us to life with You because of Jesus. We pray this in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
2nd Corinthians 9:10-11: He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
God through St. Paul is telling us about receiving and giving and receiving. God blesses us with all that we need to live in this world and lifetime. In many and various ways, He over blesses, or "uber" blesses us. Why? So that we share those blessings with those who are in need of it. And through that blessing we are encouraged, strengthened, and blessed to continue our giving blessings to others so that thanksgiving and praise is given back to God. It is a wonderful circle of life.
At the same time, God is not only referring to the physical blessings of house, home, food, clothing, and the like. God is also referring to the uber blessings of grace and mercy, love, and compassion, and most of all, forgiveness of sins and new life that is given to us through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. All of this is summarized in one word; GRACE. God's Riches Are Given to us at Christ's Expense. When we believe in the GRACE of God we "pay it forward" to those in need of God's GRACE. It is joyous to pay it forward and we are uber blessed with gratitude and thanksgiving to God when we lead and see other receive the GRACE of God. Let's pray.
Father God, Your blessings overflow. You daily and richly provide for us all that we need to live as well as to give away. Lead us by the Holy Spirit to live and give away the uber blessings You bestow. We pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.
Did this devotion help you today? Please share the blessings and forward the link to someone that you know.
Thursday, May 4, 2017
Acts 4:31: Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.
Dear God and Father, lead us by means of the Holy Spirit to be of one heart and soul as Your children. Lead us to receive Your love and love one another. We pray this in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
It's the beginning of the Christian Church. She is weeks old. And already there are thousands of people who believe in Jesus and His saving act of love. And what is awesome is that large of a group were "of one heart and soul." The Holy Spirit was knitting this group of people from Jews in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, along with people from all over the world. What held them together? What caused them to leave and sell their homes and give it to the ministry? What caused them to live communally? It was, "One Lord, One faith, One baptism." (See Ephesians 4:1 - 8).
Pastor James and I just returned yesterday from the Texas District Theological Convocation. The theme for the gathering was "True Concord." The lectures and discussions were based upon our Concord, which is our unity as pastors and congregations, in the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. Like the very early Church, we are "of one heart and soul" in our belief and trust in God through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins and new life now and forever.
And it is the Scriptures, the stories that lead up to Jesus and proceed from Jesus that is the source of our Concord, unity, and being of "one heart and soul." That is why we set aside what divides us and bind ourselves to what unites us. Let us bind ourselves to Jesus.
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.