Tuesday June 18, 2019
Luke 8:30-32...38-39: Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion." for many demons had entered him. And they begged Him [Jesus] not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged Him to let them enter these. So He gave them permission. ... The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with Him [Jesus] but Jesus sent him away saying, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for You." And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
What Jesus Did:
Picture the scene for a moment. Jesus dares to travel to a "non-Jewish" region on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. There, Jesus and the disciples meet up with a man, demon possessed, chained up and going berserk.
Some how, and the man and Jesus had not previously met, knew Jesus and the power that He possesses. "Legion," pleaded with Jesus for mercy. And Jesus was merciful to the demons AND the man possessed. And a lot of bacon went over the cliff. :-)
What Jesus Does for You:
Have you ever struggled with life? Have you been plagued by doubts, insecurities, as well as personal "demons?" Have bad things happened to you? If you answered no to one of the questions, you're either very young and don't realize what's going on or you're not recognizing reality.
We all struggle with something. AND God never left us without relief, hope, and salvation. And the source of our relief, hope, and salvation is JESUS! Jesus went through struggles, especially those at the end of His life, that we will not face. Jesus endure them in order to spare us and save us. Jesus is our hope. Hope, that is built through sufferings, perseverance, and character building will never disappoint us because it is built on Jesus. And Jesus is our salvation. He removes those demons and casts them away. He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west. HIS yoke is easy and HIS burden is light.
The "Legion" possessed man wanted to leave the area and follow Jesus. Jesus gave him a different path. The man was to stay in his home town and tell the people there what Jesus did to him and for him. This was, for the man, his "bloom where you are planted." This was his call to "make disciples" where he was.
It's the Same for Us:
We are also placed in our community, congregation, school, and county in order to tell the world around us "what Jesus has done for us." We are in the opportunity of a lifetime that will walk the Disciple life where He wants us. We are in our community to live for Jesus, with Jesus, and powered by the Holy Spirit through the Word. We are equipped with faith and life, encouraged with the hope that does not disappoint to engage people with the love of God in Jesus.
What do you think? Ready to go and serve?
Monday, June 10, 2019
Acts 2:36: [Peter is saying,] "Let all the house if Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him [Jesus] both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
This sentence is Peter's last sentence of his sermon on the Day of Pentecost. What a way to wrap up a message. It was a great ending. Why do you ask? Look at the result. About 3000 people became believers in Christ.
And it all points to the work of the Father.
I would encourage you to read verses 22 - 35. I don't think that there is a better connection made to Jesus the Son and His work along with God the Father and His work.
God the Father Has a Plan:
The plan was previewed and prophesied about in the Old Testament, kind of like a movie preview at a theatre. God's plan came to a glorious conclusion in Jesus. Peter brings that out in his sermon.
For us today, let us concentrate on the ending.
Jesus, the Son of God, the Lord, the Christ, also known as the Messiah, was crucified to save sinners. God also raised His Son so that you and I will one day rise from death to life and live with our Father forever. What great joy these words bring. What great life these words bring. And God the Holy Spirit used those words to convict people of their sin and lead them to life and forgiveness with God.
Let us walk then with God. Let us dedicate our lives to Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Let us love Him, our Savior, our Christ, and our Lord, with all of our hearts, minds, and being. And let us love one another as well.
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Acts 2:1-4: When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it fillet the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Now That I Have Your Attention:
Shortly after the departure of Jesus back to heaven on the Day of Ascension, the promised Holy Spirit arrived. And there was no mistaking His arrival. The sound of the mighty wind and the sight of the tongues of fire. The Holy Spirit made Himself known.
It was like "Now that I have your attention..." And this is consistent with God. When He wants to make Himself known, He leaves no doubt. Whether it's the flood, the chariot of fire that scooped up Elijah, or the birth of God in baby Jesus, God makes Himself know in a dramatic way.
The Power to Tell:
Jesus told His apostles that this was going to happen. Just before Jesus went back to heaven, He told His apostles, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
After the sound and the tongues, the power of the Holy Spirit came to the apostles.
Some might say that the apostles began to talk about Jesus on their own because they summoned the courage to do so on their own.
Let's explore this a moment. Could you, who have been sitting in this house with a locked door for fear of the Jews who hated Jesus and you, suddenly with passion and power proclaim Jesus to a hostile crowd? It would be very unlikely, even impossible for you to do so. People do not overcome their fear it that radical of a way without a giant push.
And that push was the power of the Holy Spirit. It was as if the apostles were new men. And they were.
They Were New Men:
They were no longer timid. They did not act upon fear or worry about what someone might think of them. Even some in the crowd thought that this "display" was a result of too much alcohol.
Their confidence to speak of Jesus did not come from a bottle. It came from God. They were living new lives! They were inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit to speak of what they knew of Jesus. The Holy Spirit made them different. They no longer were timid, shy, and fearful of themselves and others. God the Holy Spirit gave to them the power to set all that aside and trust Him.
We are New People:
The same Holy Spirit changes us and inspires us to be bold and strong in our disciple life. When we come to grips with that reality, when we trust the Holy Spirit and His guidance, we then let go of the fear, timidity, and reservations. When we trust the Holy Spirit and the truth He speaks of Jesus, it is the power of God that leads to move forward with confidence and boldness in what and in whom we believe.
It's like this, when we begin to more fully realize what God has done for us in Jesus, we will more fully worship, pray, and serve Him.
Any thoughts? Please share.
Friday, May 31, 2019
Revelation 22:13-15: [Jesus is saying,] "Behold I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me to repay each one for what He has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood."
This is It:
In this part of Revelation, John sees and hears what will happen at the end of time. In chapter 21, John sees the city of God arrive from heaven. In the first part of chapter 22, John sees the river of the water of life and the twelve trees of life on the river's shores.
This is it. This is the final resting place for the people of God, for those who believe in Jesus, His life, death, resurrection, and ascension.
How We Get In:
It's simple, really. We are cleansed, washed, and made new. All that has to be done is to wash; to be clean.
Yet it is not Tide in which we are washed. The blood of the Lamb who was slain washes us clean. These same people are described in Revelation 7:9-13. Go take a look. I wait.
Good, You're Back:
Now we get to the reason why people get into heaven and some don't.
Simply put, being human. We live, and have lived, in societies where "freedom" was to indulge in self gratification. "I can do anything I want with any one I want and no one can tell me otherwise." Do you know what this sounds like? "You can be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:4)
Contrary to some thoughts, we will never be good enough to enter heaven.
The blood of Lamb and its' sin cleansing properties is the means of entrance. When we believe that Jesus humiliated and sacrificed Himself in order to remove our sins from us and to make us clean before God the Father, sitting on the throne, we will enter through the front gate of heaven, our eternal home with God.
Let us live our lives, our disciple lives, trusting that God the Father sent God the Son, also known as Jesus, to forgive our sins and cleansed us from all sin and unrighteousness. Let us obey everything that Jesus taught us as we live for Him, with Him, and in Him. Let us listen to and follow the guidance and direction of God the Holy Spirit through His Word.
Do you have thoughts and questions? Let's talk.
Monday, May 20, 2019
John 16:28-33: [Jesus is saying,] " I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father. His disciples said, "Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech. Now we know that You know all things and do not need anyone to question You. This is why we believe that you came from God."
Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming. Indeed it has come when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am ot alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart. I have overcome the world."
Jesus' Plan is Revealed:
Jesus is heading back to the Father. Jesus is heading back to heaven. At this moment in time, Jesus is not revealing that between now and when He goes back to the Father, He will be arrested, beaten, tried, nailed to a cross, crucified, die, be buried and rise to life. At this moment in time, the disciples, I don't think, could have handle that brutal part of the truth.
At the same time, Jesus is revealing that they, the disciples, will go through their own torment and struggles. Out of fear, the disciples will run away from Jesus. One will betray Him. One will deny knowing Him. The rest of them will scatter, fearing for their own lives.
Then Jesus finally reveals His encouragement to His disciples. Jesus has overcome the world. Jesus has done it through what He went through. It seems backwards.
Yet it is as straightforward as possible. Because Jesus was the victim of the sins of the entire world, He was the Victor over sin, death, and the influence of Satan. Jesus defeated death. Jesus gives life through His death and resurrection. "Stop being afraid." Jesus told them. "The world has not and will not defeat me."
The Plan is for US:
We are just like the disciples, the hand picked twelve. We deny knowing Jesus because it is easier than facing obstacles and possible rejection by friends and family. When tough things in life happen, we run away from the ONE who will guide through the tough stuff. Then we stand alone in our grief, sadness, and confusion without a guide who helps us through.
Then Jesus tells us not to worry. The hardships of life are hard. That is a given. So live by means of your faith. "Trust me." Jesus says to us. "The world did not defeat me. So I will not let it defeat you."
So believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. You will be saved.
Got questions? Got thoughts? Let's talk about them together.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Revelation 7:9-10: After this I [John the Apostle] looked, and behold a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
We Will Be There!
When we believe in the salvation of Jesus and the truth of His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, we will be in front of God as He sits upon the throne. We will be a part of a number of people so numerous that no one will be able to count it.
There will be people from all over the world standing in the presence of God. When people from every race, every nation, every country, and space believe in the salvation of Jesus, that Jesus gave to them a one way ticket to heaven. Jesus gave them the ticket because of WHAT HE DID.
Our Entry Ticket:
People, including you and me, will not enter heaven because we're "good people." No matter how "good" we are, we will not get into heaven. Why? Doesn't entry into heaven depend on us following the Ten Commandments?
No it doesn't. If it did, then we would have to obey all the commandments all the time. And we all know, that we cannot obey all the commandments all of the time. Why is that? It's because we're sinners. Heaven is for saints, not sinners.
Who is a saint? A saint believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He did for him. A saint knows and believes that Jesus' blood and righteousness saves her from all of her sins. Saints believe that Jesus gave them a new life through His resurrection.
So a saint is a believer is the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Through faith in Jesus and what He did, you are converted from a sinner to a saint. And the saints homes in heaven are built and ready to go because Jesus went back to heaven and prepared them Himself.
Are You Ready?
It's easy to be ready. Believe in God the Father, the one who created you and keeps you. Believe in God the Son, Jesus, who saved you from yourself, your sins, the sinful world, and Satan's influence. Believe in God the Holy Spirit, who sustains you and your faith and trust Him to guide you to your future.
And the future is eternal life with God. Are you ready
Monday, May 6, 2019
Revelation 9:17: For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
What John is Seeing:
It is like John is in a great room where a throng of people too numerous to count is before the Lord God who is on His throne. People from every age and every race are in this room. Men and women standing in the presence of God, the Almighty. It is an amazing sight.
And there, in front of the throne, is the Lamb who was slain. They are all gathered in the name and presence of Jesus, who died to remove their sins from them and who rose to give them life.
It has to be an amazing sight.
Who are these people? They are believers who lived, died, and are living forever. They are the people who believe in Jesus their Savior. They are the ones who were lead, are being lead, and forever will they be lead to the place where living water is, where fear, grief, sadness, and hardship are no more. These are the people who received, are receiving, and will forever receive their peace and strength. Tears shed are dried. Joy of living with God forever replaces sadness and grief.
To Where are the Going:
The people are headed to heaven. They are going to their eternal life with God in the center of their lives and Jesus as their leader. The people are going to live forever in the eternal place where being with God is the ultimate. No more sorrows and grief. No more sin and death. No more have to deal with consequences of a world that is broken because of the sin of humanity. All is connected to God.
What are YOU Seeing?
When you believe in Jesus and His Salvation and life, you will see this throng, too. You will be a part of a group so large you will never be able to know how many are there. People from all over. Men and women of every tribe, race, and tongue united in the presence of the throne of God with Jesus in front. The cares and the worries of our lives are DONE. The sorrows and griefs are DONE. Sin and death ARE DONE!
Do you want to be a part of that? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
AND you can be in a small part of that mega group right now. When you come to worship, you are in the presence of God. His Word went it is proclaimed and preached on, will bring peace and comfort to you. You will enter a Sanctuary where Jesus is present, especially when we celebrate the Lord's Supper.
And when you believe, you know that you will be a part of the great throng in heaven with God.
If you're in the Huntsville area, come and be a part of the body of Christ here at Faith.
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Acts 9:3-6, 10-12, 17-18, 22 Now as he [Saul] went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And He said, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." ... Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he he said, "Here I am, Lord." And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold he is praying and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." ... So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. The he rose and was baptized. ... But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who live in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
The Confrontation of Saul:
Saul, who was trying to destroy the new Christian Church, called "The Way" at that time, had permission from the Sanhedrin to persecute and arrest the disciples in Damascus. On his way there, Saul was "knocked to his knees" by the presence of Jesus. In that confrontation, Saul was blinded.
Why did Jesus do this? It's simple. Jesus needed Saul "see" a different path to God and life with God. So blind and helpless, Saul heads to Damascus being helped by his traveling companions.
Have you had a "Confrontation Experience" with God? Has God knocked you to your knees? Has God interrupted your path in order to show you a new one? I hope so. We all need it. We need God to knock some sense into our thick heads tainted by sin. We need to know that we are helpless and in need of our Savior Jesus Christ.
The Conversion of Saul:
Saul had time to sit and ponder his life. Saul had time to reflect on the actions of God in his life while waiting for an Ananias to arrive.
Then Ananias arrived and removed the blindness that Saul had. And it wasn't just the blindness of his eyes. It the was blindness of his life. First the physical sight returned then the spiritual sight began. Saul was baptized and washed clean. He received the Holy Spirit and a new person began. This new person, eventually to be renamed Paul, received the grace and mercy of Jesus. Saul's life turned 180 degrees away from where he was headed. Saul was headed now to life with God.
Have you, after being confronted by God, taken the time to ponder and meditate on your life? I hope so. Because this meditation leads to repentance. Through Confession of your sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteous.
God the Holy Spirit, comes to you and removes the barriers and the sin that keep you from seeing God. Through Holy Baptism, God washes you. Through confession, God absolves you of your sins and declares you righteous, forgiven, and free. Have you been baptized? If you haven't contact me.
Saul's New Life in Action:
Saul was a changed man. No longer did he work against God. Saul began to work for God. Empowered by the Spirit, Saul lived out his new life in Christ through preaching and teaching.
He baffled people. He caused confrontation. He addressed sin and death in people's lives. And through the words and actions, God converted people to "The Way" of Jesus Christ. People's lives were transformed. God turned their lives around. Instead of running from God, people were running to God.
Your New Life in Action:
God the Holy Spirit has changed your life. He has turned you 180 degrees in the opposite direction. You have a new life when you believe and are baptized.
And the new life has a purpose and focus. You, along with hundreds and thousands of believers work in concert in order to confront and convert people.
Do You Want to Know More?
Send me a note. We can talk.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
John 20:26-29: Eight days later [after Easter Sunday], His disciples were inside again and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." The He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and plance it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." Thomas answered Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not see and yet have believed."
He seems to be labeled all the time. For centuries Thomas was labeled, "Doubting Thomas." The reason? It's simply, really. Thomas was using reason and rationalism to determine whether or not he was going to believe that Jesus was alive. Did Thomas trust the words of his fellow disciples? He didn't. Thomas had to "see for himself." Then he would believe.
Seeing is Not Faith:
Seeing, touching, and hearing are our senses that we use in order to experience reality. For example, someone tells me that the steaks at Lone Star Steak House are great, I will want to try for myself before I would agree. I would have to experience it.
Faith is trusting the words of your friend without you having to taste them yourself.
I think Thomas believed. At the same time, his human nature took over. Still in grief and sorrow, and even some guilt, Thomas had an extremely difficult time trusting his friends who said that Jesus was alive. So that is why I think that Thomas said, "Unless I see..."
The conflict did not resolve itself until he saw Jesus, in the flesh.
Then Jesus then tells Thomas that faith is not about what he experienced through his senses.
Faith goes beyond seeing. Faith is about trusting what you don't see. Faith is trusting your gut. Faith is trusting what someone else says and accepting the truth of it.
Jesus is talking about our faith. Jesus is talking about the reality that we believe the words and experiences of others, including Jesus, and accepting them as true and right without having to have experienced them ourselves. Faith in who Jesus is and what He did goes beyond our own frame of reference.
Does that make us conflicted? You bet. We believe. We also have questions. And who will lead us beyond our conflict and questions to a simple faith and trust in the truth of Jesus and what He did? God the Holy Spirit will through the eye witness accounts of the reality of Jesus.
What do you think? Let's share a few words about faith.
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
This is the most wonderful expression of love, EVER!
Why? It’s because of God’s great love to raise Christ Jesus from death. St. Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 15: 20-28:
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
God's Love for Us:
God loved us to send Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man into our world to be our Savior. Jesus died and thereby forgave our sins. Jesus rose to complete the work God the Father sent Him to do. The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our resurrection.
Our Need for Salvation:
God knows that we can’t fulfill all of His Law perfectly. We are hopelessly lost in sin, which leads to death. That is why Jesus is the one AND ONLY human who obeyed the law of the Father perfectly. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s Law on our behalf.
God also knows that we need to be saved from our sins. We are stained with sin. The only way that stain will ever be removed is by means of the blood of the innocent sacrifice of Jesus. That is why Good Friday is called “Good.” Jesus died. He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” We are cleaned of all sinned.
The Gift of Life:
And the “TADA” of God’s work is Jesus’ resurrection. His resurrection is the promise that we too will rise from sin and death into His new life for us now as well as forever. This is God’s ultimate act of love. He brought life to sinners. He brought hope to the hopeless. God brought mercy to those who need it.
And we express of that love in our Easter greeting:
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Come and join us this Holy Week for all of our services. Check out our website, www.faithhuntsville.org for service days and times. See you at one or all of our services.
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.