Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Mark 10:13-16: And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.
Why are children great? Does anybody know why? Is it because they're "cute" and they do things that make adults go, "Aww?" Is it because there is no distrust in children? Supposedly, that is ingrained in them by adults. Is it because children are innocent and that there is a freedom about them?
What makes children, as well as adults, great is this.
The Kingdom of God:
What is the Kingdom of God? It is simply people who trust God who are saved by Jesus' blood shed for them, and who are disciples, ones who walk the walk and talk the talk of following Jesus. The Kingdom of God is made up of people who have God as their King BOTH on earth AND in heaven. The Kingdom of God is people of ALL races, ALL genders, and ALL ages, children included. And the Kingdom of God is built upon Jesus and what He did for people. He is what makes the Kingdom of God great and the people who are in it, great.
Then this begs the question. How does one get into the Kingdom of God? That answer is simple, too. You are to believe in Jesus and what He did for you. That is the blessing of Jesus.
The Blessing of Jesus
Why do you think Jesus blessed the children? Was it because of the reasons mentioned above? Why did Jesus tell the adults that they would not get into the Kingdom of God "like a child?"
So, in order to enter the Kingdom of God, do we need to be innocent and trusting? Yes. Can we just start trusting and be innocent and "cute?" No.
Here is a reality check for us. Children are not always "cute." They are not always innocent. The are not always trusting. Children are sinners. Children have temper tantrums. Children are selfish. If you're a parent, you know this.
So why did Jesus bless them? Because they NEED His blessing. They need His salvation. They need His forgiveness and life. And so do you.
Jesus blessed you, too. You are a child of God, just older. You need the forgiveness of Jesus. Jesus gave His life as a ransom for you, to buy you back from sin and death. And that is His blessing. And His blessing makes you great.
Dear God, continue to remind us of Your blessing of life through Jesus, Amen.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Deuteronomy 4:6-8: [Moses is sharing with the Nation of Israel,] "Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon Him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this las that I set before you today?"
What makes a nation great? What makes people great. Is it fame? Is it power? Is it wealth? These can be by-products of greatness. Yet these are not the things that make people great. What makes people great is:
Moses is sharing God's Word, laws, and rules with the nation of Israel just before they were to enter the land promised to them by God. For God's Word, His Law, His rules, His grace, and His mercy make the people great...
When they put them into practice. So we have to ask the question. What makes us a great people? From where does our greatness come? What will cause the people around us comment, "There is a great people."
Our greatness comes from the wisdom and knowledge that God gives to us through the Word. God's Word is the source. His Law clearly shows how off the mark we really are. God's Law causes us to fall to our knees in fear, exclaiming to God, "I have sinned against You in my thoughts, through my words, and by my actions. I don't deserve to be called Your son (daughter). I cannot lift my eyes up to You because I am unworthy. Please forgive me. I rely on the work of Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection. I am repentant and contrite."
And God through His Word tells us, "My child, because of Jesus, you are forgiven. Rise and walk and live according to My ways; My grace, My mercy, and My forgiveness. Forgive as I have forgiven you. Walk the path of life I am laying out in front of you. Life the new life that I gave you." THIS IS the knowledge and wisdom of God that makes you a great people.
Jesus says, "Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am with them" What makes us a great people is that we KNOW and BELIEVE that Jesus is with us. We are a great people because of Jesus. So, I have to ask. Do you know it and believe it?
Is your day consumed by decisions that you make, acting and reacting to the situations at hand? Are you doing things without the awareness that Jesus is with you? Are you going through life without realizing that God is wanting to walk with you?
Is this helping you to realize that greatness is defined by God being with you? Are you more fully realizing that Jesus is in your life? I hope so. Because know this: Jesus is with you. His body and blood, broken and shed, was given to you and forgave you of all your sins. Believe and use that belief in Jesus to be the source of your life, your decisions, and your acting and reacting. It is His righteousness that also makes you a great people.
Are you right in all that you do? Of course not. Are you right in more than half of what you do? Maybe. Are you right is less than half of what you do? Maybe. Are you right none of the time? No, you're not never right. So are you considered great because of the right things that you do?
According to the world and its' standards, maybe. According to God, NO. What makes you great is not your right-ness. It is God's righteousness in you.
God is righteous. He is perfect. You are not. Through Jesus, and what He did for you, God bestows His righteousness to you. He gives it freely because of Jesus, His life, His death, and His resurrection. God's righteousness is a gift that leads you into forgiveness, mercy, peace, comfort, and joy. What makes you a great people is His righteousness being lived out through you.
Dear God, lead us to live in Your Word, know You are with us, and live in Your righteousness. Let the people around us see You through us, Amen.
Monday, July 16, 2018
Romans 10:11-13: For the Scripture says, "Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
We love God's Word in Action. It is THE ONE medium that communicates the work of God in you. The Word simple tells us:
God through the Holy Spirit reaches out to you in order to give to you a gift. I'll tell you what the gift is later. For now, know this: God calls out to you through His Word. It doesn't matter what you ethnicity is, or your gender, or your age. God calls out to you for one MOST IMPORTANT THING.
The gift that God wants you to have is salvation. Salvation from what? Salvation from yourself and your sins. You may, or may not, realize this. YOU ARE STUCK IN A RUT. The rut is sin. Sin simply means to miss the mark of obeying the Law of God perfectly. You and I will never do the Law of God perfectly. It is impossible. Human nature cannot please God, will not know God, and will not be like God. It cannot happen. That is sin. Without Jesus, you are stuck in the rut of sin. And you will be forever in hell without God.
So what gift does God give? God gives salvation from sin through what Jesus Christ for you, on you behalf. Jesus Christ, Son of Man and Son of God, is the ONLY perfect man capable for fulfilling God's Word perfectly. Jesus did to bestow His perfect obedience to you. Jesus is also the perfect sacrifice of body and blood that was broken and shed so that you would be forgiven and saved. Through Jesus you now have a new life. So God called you so that you would know and receive the salvation that God gave to you through Jesus and what He did. SO...
It's a simple action, really. Believing is an act of trust, faith, and acceptance. God has laid out salvation. Jesus is the perfect obedience. Jesus is your salvation from your sin. He is the way out of your rut. Jesus died in order to lift you up out of darkness into His marvelous light. Jesus rose to give to you the promise of new life both now and forever. This is what happens when you believe.
God, You are awesome and great, mighty to save abounding with steadfast love. We sin a lot. It's the rut that we're born into. It's the rut in which we're stuck. We confess that we are sinful and that we need your salvation. And thank You, for give it us. We are eternally grateful for all You have done for us. Lead us to believe in Your salvation more fully and to what in Your ways. We pray in the name of Jesus, Amen!
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
The Word of God:
John 1:1-2, 9-14: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. ... The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know HIm. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
From the Beginning
The Word of God formed the world and caused it to come into being. The Word of God didn't start the world with "pond scum" which then became a frog which then became a lizard which then became... The Word of God spoke and IT HAPPENED. The sun, the moon, the stars, our earth and everything in it started with "a word." The Word of God is THAT POWERFUL. And we are the crown jewel of The Word's Creation.
The Light of God
At the same time, he's also known as "The Light of the World." The Light of the World shines over all people and the whole creation. We can't hide from the Light no matter what. We can try. Why would we hide from the Light? It's simple. We are sinful people. Sinful people try to stay outside of the Light's view. Why? Because we know, deep down, that the Light does not approve and condone what we think, do, and say. So for those of us who believe in the Word of God and live in the Light of God, we stand before God and humbly confess our sins. We ask God, "Will you please forgive me?" And the Word of God and the Light of God says, "I will. I died so that you will live. I was crucified and took upon myself the Father's punishment for sin so that you won't have to. And I rose to life to give you life both now and forever to live with me in the Light and the Word.
He's Jesus: Who Else?
And Jesus is BOTH the Word AND the Light. Jesus is the one who became flesh like you and me and lived as one of us yet without sin. That happens because He is God. So when we see Jesus, we see the Father in all His glory.
So, instead of hiding from Jesus, come to Him when He calls you out of the darkness into His marvelous light. Jesus, You are awesome because You are the Word and the Light, Amen!
Monday, July 9, 2018
Ephesians 4:17 & 24: Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. ... and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
The Radical Change
What does God want from us? Does He want us to continue the way we are going? Does God want us to continue to walk away from Him? Of course not. God wants us to walk with Him. In order for that to happen, a radical change in our lives needs to happen. We need to stop walking in the ways of the world. We need to let go of the sinful pleasures that people think are "okay" where God says, "NO!" There is a phrase that was once shared with me. It goes, "Bobbing along on the cosmic sea of life." I interpret that to mean, 'Do what ever feels good for you. All is good." God's point is this: if you want life and to live it fully, set aside the things of the world and live the that I have set up for you. Live a life of grace, mercy, peace, love, and service."
How That Takes Place
ONLY God can make that change in you. God creates in us a tension. We first know that the ways of the world may lead to pleasure and "fun." Yet they don't lead to life. We begin to see that there is something more in life. We also begin to realize that God's life for us is the life that we're missing. That leads us to repentance and confession. We declare to God that the life we were living is missing the mark. We ask God to forgive us and point us in His direction.
The Life Change
And when we believe that Jesus' death forgave our sins, that Jesus took away our sins and started us on the new path, we then put on the new person. This person is connected to God. Because of Jesus, we now have a life previously unavailable. We now have the life that God originally intended for us. And it is all because of Jesus and what He did.
Is This What You Want?
Do you want this radical change in your life? Do you sense that something is missing? Then try this. Begin with prayer, asking God to redirect your life toward His. Tell God that you want the forgiveness of sins and new life given to you by Jesus. Ask God the Holy Spirit to renew your life and start you on God's road. Then contact me. We can talk about where you can go from there.
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Luke 17:15:19: Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving Him thanks. Now was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? And He said to him. "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."
The Healing Power of Jesus:
Ten men were wandering around Judea. They were homeless because of their disease. They had leprosy. They had to isolate themselves from the families AND their communities. They had to wander around picking up scraps on which to live, crying out, "Unclean" so that no one would come near them.
Then Jesus walked by them. How and where they knew about Jesus, no one knows. What we do know is, Jesus healed them. All ten men ran to the Temple in Jerusalem to show themselves to the the Priests to be declared, "Clean" so that they could finally go home.
Faith that Noticed:
One of the ten, noticed that he was healed. He stopped. He observed. He believed. He returned. He praised. He was sent off.
How often do we notice? How often do we "take stock" of the situation? How do we respond by means of faith? These are questions that you and I have to wrestle with.
And when you notice, what is the next step?
We come to the feet of Jesus, the "author and perfecter of our faith." We come and praise Jesus for all that He has done. I think it would be good for all Christians, you and I included, to spend more time on our knees in humble praise because of the salvation we received by means of Jesus' body broken and blood shed. I think that it is good for us, you and I included, to spend time faithfully thanking God for Jesus. It's time to see the healing and restoration of our lives that God has done and come to worship Jesus.
Come and See:
If you're in the Huntsville/Walker County area, come and see. Come and thank Jesus in humble praise. Come this Sunday. We have Sunday School at 9:15am. We have worship at 10:30am.
Monday, July 2, 2016
Revelation 19:6-8: Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with line linen, bright and pure"
In our loving Jesus, we express our faith through praise and adoration. On what is it based? It is because of God, pure and simple. We praise and adore God because of His reign in our lives that is based upon the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Let's say the same thing this way. What did Jesus do? He, like the sacrificial Lamb of the Passover, was killed and His blood was shed and His body broken so that our sins are forgiven. Every sin, the original sin into which we were born and the sins we commit, were, and are, forgiven by Jesus. When we believe this, it is our privilege and honor to worship Him and give to God the Father the glory He is due. God the Father set this up. He made it happen.
So through faith, we express our gratitude, love, and honor to God for binding us to Jesus. We are "bought and paid for." We are the Father's children as well as the "Bride of Christ." In worship we are declared "forgiven" by God through what Jesus did. The "Bridal dress" covers over the sins and we are declared pure and clean by the Father. The "Bridal dress" is the blood of Jesus.
So let us shout, "Hallelujah! The Lord our God the Almighty reigns." Father, lead our worship and praise of You. You are a great and awesome God. Thank You, for Jesus, Amen.
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
1st John 2:1-2: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Jesus is the reason why we come together to worship. Jesus is the reason why we live and have purpose and meaning of life. Jesus is the reason why we have life and have it to the full. Jesus gave us forgiveness and peace and love. Our lives are built upon the foundation of Jesus, His life, death, resurrection, and ascension.
I remember when I was in St. Louis, going to the Seminary. After record snow fall and record spring rains, the Missouri and Mississippi rivers flooded. There was a news helicopter flying over a dike that breached. And on the formerly dry side of the dike was a farmhouse. The rush of the water swept the house right off of its' foundation.
John is writing his letter so that we will not get swept off the foundation of Jesus because we are sinning through thought, word, and deed. John is writing to us to forsake the sinful nature and build our lives on Jesus, the rock of our salvation. Jesus is the propitiation, source of our forgiveness and life with God the Father.
Jesus is IT. Dear Father, lead us by the Spirit to recognize more fully our sins that knock us off the foundation of Jesus as well as to the forgiveness of those sins by Jesus who puts us back on the foundation, Amen.
Monday, June 25, 2018
John 1:47:51 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him and said of him, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there in no deceit." Nathanael said to Him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." Nathanael answered Him "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these." And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
This is another Jesus miracle. Nathanael is not nearby. He is definitely out of the "normal" sight line of Jesus. At the same time, Jesus sees Nathanael. Nathanael realizes this and concludes, "Rabbi [Teacher], you are the Son of God!" Done. End of story, right?
Wrong. Jesus takes it one step further. "You think you've seen it all. I'm here to tell you, 'You ain't seen nothin' yet.'" Angels ascending and descending on Jesus. That is a picture connected to Jacob and the ladder.Yet what does Jesus mean by that?
In order to answer that question, we need to ask another question. Through whom do all people, including angels, go through to get to heaven? Jesus. Jesus is the ONE through whom we go to get to heaven. Through Jesus, we have life and have it to the full. Through Jesus, His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, we have access to heaven. Through faith in Jesus and His promises, we live a new life now and we will live forever. We have been saved. The means is the cross, like the ladder is in Jacob's dream. The rock on which the ladder sets, is Jesus' cross.
So... what's next? "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." That's it. Now, we're done. Dear God, lead us to believe or lead us to believe more fully, Amen.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Nehemiah 9:5-6: The Levites - Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Serebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah - said, "Stand up and bless the Lord Your God! May You be blessed, O Lord our God, from age to age. May Your glorious name be blessed; may it be lifted up above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, along with all their multitude of stars, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You impart life to them all, and the multitudes of heaven worship you."
Now, try to say all those names three times fast. :-)
However, what's important is not who said it, it is what they said. The Levites are directing the people to worship and bless God. They are being encouraged to stand up, show honor, respect, and glory to God and bless Him for who He is and what He did.
So we are encouraged to stand up before God and bless who He is and what He has done. We therefore stand before God and bless Him. And how do we do that? Our passage gives us a hint as to one way. That is prayer. The Levites are praying to God a blessing for all that God has done. It is a prayer of adoration and praise for God's creative work on our behalf.
So in our prayers, let us bless the Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, bless the Lord who saved us from our sins and cleansed us from all unrighteousness, and bless the Lord who reminds us of all the wonderful things that He has done in all of our lives. 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.