Mar 2, 2017
FLEE THE COMING WRATH

And he (John) went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3) Read Luke 3:1-9 Luke anchors John's ministry in human history by listing the Roman emperor, the governor of Judea, and the ruler of the northern province of Galilee where Jesus is living. John preaches in the region near the Jordan River. Huge crowds come out to him, but he is aware that some are here for the wrong reasons. Some are merely curious; others don't recognize any sins in themselves that need to be washed away. John boldly challenges them: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" These strong words challenge us to look deep within our hearts. John has come to prepare the way for God's mighty Son. He calls us to recognize our faults and failings and humble ourselves before our God. This baptism is not an empty, meaningless ceremony. It is God's solution to the deadly poison of our sin. Through water and the Word God washes away our sins, delivering us from death and hell, and saving us from His destructive wrath. On the Last Day, Jesus will return to earth to execute God's judgment. He will cast into the eternal fires of hell all that refuse to accept the forgiveness and salvation He came to win for them. Today is the day for you to escape God's wrath and find peace and eternal salvation in Jesus your Savior. THE PRAYER Almighty God, You sent John to prepare the people of Israel for the coming of Your Son Jesus. Through the powerful words spoken by John, prepare me for Jesus' second coming, that I may escape Your fiery wrath. I pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Mar 1, 2017
WHERE CAN HE BE?

... the Boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it (Luke 2:43b). Read Luke 2:41-52 If you were a 12-year-old, left alone in a huge capital city, where would you go? Mary and Joseph spent three frantic days trying to answer that question, as they searched for 12- year- old Jesus. Would they find Him roaming though the market place, staring up at one of Herod the Great's three spectacular towers, or would He be gazing at his opulent palace in the north end of town? Was He watching the Roman soldiers practicing their military formations and running their drills in the Antonia Fortress? Would He be cheering along with the chariot races in the Jerusalem hippodrome-that same horse track featured in the movie Ben Hur? The truth is none of these places held the biggest attraction for Jesus. He was in the last place most of us would ever expect a pre-teen to be. On the third day they found Him in the temple courts, asking questions of the religious leaders. His greatest thrill was to be at His Father's house fulfilling His great mission. When His mother asked why He had treated them that way, Jesus' answer confused both Mary and Joseph, "Did you not know that I must be in My Father's house?" Jesus had important work to do, and He knew it. Everything was riding on it: His great mission and our eternal future. To open heaven to us He had to live a perfect life, with absolute obedience and perfection. He had to learn, understand and memorize God's Word; He had to know it inside and out. He was a single-minded Savior on a single-minded mission. THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your single-minded dedication to our salvation. Give me a similar hunger for Your Word too. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Feb 28, 2017
OPEN OUR EYES

Verse [God] has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners ... Isaiah 61:1 Voice We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. William Faulkner Prayer God, open our eyes to see that the fruit of life comes when we plant seeds of hope among those whom the world rejects. adapted from Common Prayer (Sojourners, sojo.net)

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Feb 27, 2017
SING A NEW SONG

sing to the LORD, all the earth. — Psalm 96:1 Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again — and expecting different results. And yet, as human beings we tend to be creatures of habit even as we wish for different circumstances in our lives and in our world. As Einstein made clear, however, there is only one way to change the circumstances we see in our lives: If we don’t like the results, we need to change the equation. For far too long humanity has sung the same song. A song of war and sadness. A song of depravity and deception. We have sung dirges of hate and ballads of oppression. Yes, there have been high notes in history, and at times, even a great symphony. Yet by and large, our song has stayed the same with the same sorry chorus. History tends to repeat itself. But it doesn’t have to. Friends, it’s time for us to change our tune. It’s time to do something different so our world can be different. And the changes start with us. Do you dance to a song of worry all day long? Try to tune in to the wavelength of faith. Do you walk to the beat of an angry drum? Try to slow the rhythm and sing a tranquil tune instead. An amazing thing happens when even one person whistles a happy, catchy new tune. Everyone around them wants to join in! So “sing to the LORD a new song,” your new song, and soon others will be singing it, too. With prayers for shalom, peace, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

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WHAT CAN YOU DO

God wants you to be His partner today and every day in perfecting the world. What can you do today? What will be your contribution, this week, this year, this lifetime? Giving to God’s purposes is not a burdensome obligation; it’s a wonderful opportunity and a privilege.

Posted at 07:33 am by preacher314
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Feb 24, 2017
HIS CREATION

Verse But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Amos 5:24 Voice The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life. Wendell Berry Prayer May we honor your creation and your image in all things, O God.

Posted at 02:59 pm by preacher314
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Feb 22, 2017
LET THIS BE MY PRAYER

Holy God, I know that you are present with all of your beloved children and especially wherever there is struggle and suffering. I pray that you would be with me as well, and help me to be with and for those in need of support. Fill me with your strength, courage, and grace, and help me to incarnate my hope for a better world into action. Amen.

Posted at 06:40 pm by preacher314
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Feb 21, 2017
ABIDE

"Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." -John 15:4 We don't have this word in English, but the word in Greek is Menno. Our best translation for this to abide. Abide. Jesus says to do that in me -- abide in my love. Abide in me, find a home in me, and be safe in me, and when you feel safe in my love. Instead of turning inward and holding onto everything, you're going to learn to be like branches on a vine that open up, bloom, and reach out. You reaching out is you loving others as Jesus has loved you. That's what it's all about: being rooted in the vine, being safe in Jesus Christ, and finding the freedom to be messed up, broken, flawed individuals we are. We are safe in God's kingdom and can take off our masks and say, friends, family, this is me. I love you. I'm scared. I'm hurting. I'm a sinner. I'm broken. I'm angry. But it's good to be real. You can love others because you're safe. You can remain in his love. You don't have to prove anything to anybody. You do enough. You are enough. You don't have to prove anything to God. Just abide in him and love others and everything else will fall in its right place. That's the truth. PRAYER: Thank you, God, for allowing us to be real. If we abide in you, we are free to be our imperfect selves. REFLECTION: Are you abiding in Jesus? (Bobby Schuller)

Posted at 06:04 pm by preacher314
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Feb 20, 2017
A GENTLE WHISPER

“These are the laws you are to set before them.” Exodus 21:1 This passage is teaching us that, as great as moments of revelation and inspiration can be, they are not where we will find God. It’s wonderful to be moved by a beautiful sunset or to be awed by a powerful thunderstorm. They may make us feel more connected to God and inspire us to change. But that’s not where we encounter God in the deepest way. We truly encounter God where we are least expecting it – in the store, at a business meeting, sitting around the house with our family. It’s the quiet moments in life where we choose to follow God’s Word or set His laws aside; that’s where we truly encounter God. As you go through the day, keep an ear out for that “gentle whisper” guiding you and commanding you as you go through life. When you hear God’s voice and choose to obey His laws, you will have found Him, no matter where you may be. Nothing is more sensational than that! With prayers for shalom, peace, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

Posted at 07:07 am by preacher314
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Feb 17, 2017
GIVE US THE ABILITY

Verse Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23 Voice Once evil is individualized, becoming part of everyday life, the way of resisting it also becomes individual. How does the soul survive? is the essential question. And the response is: through love and imagination. Azar Nafisi Prayer Give us the ability, God, to see where trouble is rampant and justice is needed. Then give us, too, the conviction to act and the ability to establish peace. (Sojourners, sojo.net)

Posted at 06:52 am by preacher314
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