Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Mark 8:23-25: And He [Jesus] took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when He had spit on his eyes and laid His hands on him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?" And he look up and said, "I see people, but they look like trees, walking." Then Jesus laid His hands on his eyes again and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
A Resistant "Strain:"
I have overheard doctors and I have seen news segments about viruses that people get that are more resistant to antibiotics than others. Medicine companies have then had to design antibiotics that are stronger and that will cure these resistant viruses.
Now did Jesus try to heal a resistant man? It seems likely. The blind man wanted his sight. Yet, he could have been resistant because his life revolved around being blind. He wouldn't know what to do to next. The fear of what would happen next could have easily kept him from receiving the full gift of God.
And what about you?
Is there something in your life that you want changed? Do you feel powerless to change it? Have you asked God to send His "healing touch" to you and bring you healing and it was partially healed? Are you afraid of the what may happen next if you were "healed?" Are you afraid of what your life may be if you let God fully make the change?
The Healing Touch of Jesus:
The blind man saw the possibility from the first "attempt." The blind man saw what his life could be once he had the partial sight. It is very probable the blind man "saw" light and life. So he was no longer resistant to the power Jesus had to heal.
Jesus laid His hands on the blind man again. The blind man experienced the total healing that Jesus gave.
What about you?
Jesus' touch will heal your life starting with your forgiveness of your sins. Jesus has cleansed your life by means of His body and blood. When we touch the bread with our hands and the wine with our mouths, we are receiving the touch of Jesus' body and blood. We are receiving the healing power of Holy Communion for our lives.
Do you want the healing touch of Jesus? Then drop all the fears that are keeping you from fully receiving God's grace through Jesus. Jesus' touch will heal what ever is ailing you. Jesus' touch of grace and love and mercy and peace does transform you.
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
John 5:24: [Jesus is saying,] "Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life. He does does not come into judgement, bu has passed from death to life."
Are You Listening?
I love what Jesus saying here. He is telling us that life with God is extremely simple. All it takes to have life with God, both in this world as well as in eternity, is belief based listening. Believe in God the Father, who sent into your time and space Jesus Christ, His Son and our Savior and Lord. And when we listen to Jesus, we will not be judged, we will be given life.
Do you hear that? Or, for whatever reason, it's going in one ear and out the other? Are you listening to the words that are coming out of Jesus' mouth? So when Jesus talks, are you hearing, "Blah blah blah blah?"
What is prohibiting you from hearing Jesus? Ultimately, it is the sinful nature, the nature into which we were born, that doesn't want to hear. It is afraid to ask the question, "Is Jesus right?" and thereby come to the conclusion that He is.
Listen to Jesus:
Listen to what Jesus is saying. Listen to Jesus as He has words of life. Listen to the words of Jesus, when He tells you that He was betrayed and turned over to sinful men who brutalized Him and killed Him by hanging Him on a cross. Jesus is telling you that after three days He will, AND DID, rise to life. Listen to Jesus as He speaks of life with the Father through Him.
We Will Live:
And when we listen and believe, we will live. We will live as forgiven people, washed clean by the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. That includes you.
We will live as new creations because of Jesus' resurrection. We will not be lead by the sinful nature and influenced by Satan. That was all washed away. It has no more influence on you. You, because you heard Jesus, will leave the sin behind. There is no judgment. There is only life through Jesus.
And when you pass from this life, you will live the next with the Father, and the Son. That is what will happen when you listen and live.
Do you have any thoughts or questions about what you heard? Please comment.
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
John 2:9-11: When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from, thought the servants who had drawn the water knew, the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now." This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him.
What Do You Think?
If you were the bridegroom, what would you say to the master of the feast? Thank you? After all, you had no idea what was happening. You didn't know that one of your guests had performed a miracle. You had no idea that plain water was turned into wine. And since God the Son made the wine, it was the best of the best.
Connection to Holy Communion:
The bridegroom, and all the guests, received a taste of the wine that was yet to come. When we celebrate Holy Communion, we receive "a foretaste of the feast to come." "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." (Psalm 34:8)
So when we receive Holy Communion, we are, as Jesus said, we are receiving His body, as it is contained in the bread, and His blood, as it is contained in the wine. For when we read Jesus speaking,
Now as they were eating [the Passover meal], Jesus took bread and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat. This is my body." And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them saying, "Drink of it all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26:26-29)
The guest, Jesus, performed another miracle. In Holy Communion, we believe based upon Jesus' own words, that His body is contained in the bread. Let's think about this a minute. Jesus' body, both mortal and immortal, is contained in a lowly human earthly thing called bread. It doesn't makes sense? How can this be? How can the divine, Jesus, be contained in the mundane unleaven bread? Easy. Jesus said so. When we trust Jesus and His words, it is easy to grasp, not understand. Trust Jesus. Take it.
It is the same with the blood of Jesus contained in the wine. The best of the best is in the wine we drink. And Jesus shed His blood to forgive. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the sacrifices, especially the ones that forgave sin. And God said that forgiveness of sins has to happen with the shedding of blood.
Connection to Us:
Jesus' disciples believed in Jesus after they watched, saw, heard, and participated in this miracle. They didn't know it all. They believed based upon their connection and experience with Jesus.
And so do we. We connect to Jesus. We see His action according to the Scriptures. We hear His words according to the Scriptures. We taste Him in the bread and wine, according to the Scriptures. We believe in Him and trust in Him.
And for those of you who do not yet know Jesus, come and experience Jesus. If you're in the Huntsville, Walker County area, stop by. If not, you can experience Jesus through our conversation. Come and say hi.
Monday, July 8, 2019
Luke 10:23-24: Then turning to the disciples, He [Jesus] said privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."
How Blessed Are They:
Jesus is revealing to those around Him the blessing they have. They are seeing with their own eyes the ONE who is the fulfillment of all the prophecies spoken. Kings and prophets believed in the promise of the Messiah. And Jesus' disciples are seeing Him.
Jesus, is the Messiah, the Son of God, and the one who will deliver His people from their sins and sinful lives. Jesus is pointing out how blessed are His disciples that are seeing who they are seeing.
How Blessed are You:
Do you know how blessed are you? Do you realize what a joy it is to see what you see?
"What am I seeing?" you may ask. Well, Jesus of course! You are seeing Jesus, too. He is in the room with you and all others who gather with you in His name. Jesus describes in Matthew 18, "Where two or more gather in my, there I am in the midst of them.
So when you come together in worship, study, and even in casual conversation with people, Jesus is right there with you. That is His promise. How blessed are you when you believe.
Do you See What I See?
Do you see Jesus? Do you see Jesus in your life? You may say, "Well, if I can't see Him, touch Him, or hear Him, then He isn't here."
Is that the limit of your scope? Is your senses the limit that you have placed upon yourself? If that is, then you're blind to Jesus.
Yet when you go beyond your senses and trust the reality of God, then you will truly see and be blessed by God. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5) See Jesus as He speaks to you through the Word. See Jesus in the gift of His body and blood in Holy Communion for the forgiveness of your sins.
Let's talk about Jesus and seeing Him in your life.
Monday, July 1, 2019
On this coming Thursday, our nation will celebrate her 243rd birthday. "We hold these truths to be self evident." is one line from the Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self evident:
God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, to bring freedom to people from Satan, self, and all of our sins. God the Son sent God the Holy Spirit to power the Church through His Word to bring life and immortality to light.
And we live in a country where we can express our belief and not experience any blow back from the government. We have the freedom to walk and talk about Jesus in an environment of safety.
In our passage from God's Word from the Gospel of Luke, we see Jesus sending out 72, 36 pairs of people, into the communities.
Luke 10:1-3: After this the Lord appointed seventy two others and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to go. And He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers in His harvest. Go your way; Behold I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves."
We may have the freedom to walk and talk about Jesus, but it won't be easy. People will not like to hear the truth of Jesus Christ. They may slam doors in our faces. They may ignore us after we shared the message. They may even "fight back" with words that don't belong to God.
Why would they do this? In my humble opinion, they are scared that we could be right and true and that we challenge their lives. They get defensive and they get bitter. And you know what? Not everyone will receive the message with the joy that we do.
Luke 10:4-7: Jesus continues to say, "Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace by to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house."
And when you find someone, some household that is receptive to the message of Jesus Christ, stay put. Their home is your home. Their family is your family. It is from where you really walk and talk.
You have a "home away from home" from where you can base your service to people for God. It is Faith Lutheran Church and School. Your peace, God's peace, is found here. Your extended family is here. We eat together, we worship together, and we work together. You can hang your hat with us and you walk and talk the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Luke 10:8-11, 16: Jesus is continuing to say, "Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The Kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its' streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, the the Kingdom of God has come near.'" ... "The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects Him who sent me."
As you make your way through this world, you will have many challenges. People will reject you as a person of Christ. They will not hear what you have to say. They will not be kind to you.
From my point of view, I never want to give up on anyone. I don't want to stop trying. At the same time, I have to begin to realize that I may be "banging my head against the wall." I will be, and have been, rejected, my words misunderstood and misinterpreted. No matter what I may do, some people will not listen. I just have to dust off my feet and move on. They are not rejecting me. They are rejecting God the Father.
And the ones who get it? What about the people who receive you and receive the Lord who sent you? Well are receiving with joy the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ. They too will be written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Luke 10:17-20: The seventy two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!" And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that you names are written in heaven."
It is amazing when the Word of God works. It is amazing when people respond to the message that you shared with them. It is amazing that just the freedom from sin does in the lives of people. It is amazing that grace, mercy, and life overflow to people and they take hold of it.
When you take advantage of the freedom to walk and talk your life as a servant of Jesus, things in people's lives change.
At the same time, Jesus has a warning for you. "Don't get cocky. Focus your joy on the reality that YOU will be headed to heaven."
It is great that God brings people to salvation through us. And that's it. GOD works THROUGH US.
But don't stop celebrating either.
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.