Mar 5, 2017
WE MUST

If we want to experience the peace of God, we have to make peace with each other. And if we want to be able to build His Temple, we must start by building better relationships with all His children.

Posted at 08:21 am by preacher314
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Mar 4, 2017
HOW DARE HE

But Herod the tetrarch who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison (Luke 3:19-20). Read Luke 3:19-20 "How dare he challenge me like that? Doesn't he know who I am?" Like most wealthy, powerful people, Herod didn't want anyone telling him he was wrong, especially not a young wilderness wanderer, who went around wearing camel's hair and eating locusts and wild honey. The Baptist didn't like Herod's choice in women, but wasn't that Herod's own business? True, he had married his half-brother Philip's wife, the ambitious Herodias. But what was that to John? It was fine when John was laying into the Jewish religious leaders, but Herod thought his family should be off-limits. But God had sent John to confront sinners, so they would acknowledge their sin and find forgiveness in the promised Messiah. It didn't matter how high and important you were. John knew it was better to face up to your sins now, so God could take them away. The alternative was to wait until life was over, and you were standing before God's judgment seat. Herod should have listened to John's words and repented; instead, he seized and arrested John. He added this to his many other sins. Not only had he refused to heed John's timely warning and escape the wrath of God, he cut John off from the people who desperately needed to hear God's warning. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, Your Word confronts my pride and my sin. For Jesus' sake, move me to repent of my sin and seek Your forgiveness. In the Name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, I ask this. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

Posted at 06:48 pm by preacher314
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A NEW BEGINNING

...and when Jesus had also been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form, like a dove... (Luke 3:21b-22a). Read Luke 3:21-23 For 30 years Jesus had grown and lived in obscurity in the northern region of Galilee, working as a carpenter, alongside His father Joseph. None of His neighbors knew His true identity. But now it was time to set aside those carpentry tools and reveal Himself to the people of Israel. The great Son of God made His way to the Jordan River to be baptized by His prophet John. As He steps out of the water two amazing things happen. Something in the form of a dove comes down from above and lands on Jesus, while a voice from heaven thunders, "You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased." The "dove" was the Holy Spirit who came down from heaven to set Jesus apart from all other Jews. It singled Him out as the "promised Messiah" (Hebrew) or the "Christ" or "anointed one" (Greek). The booming voice was that of God the Father; He declared His approval of Jesus' life from childhood to this point. Winning God's approval is no small feat, for God is far stricter than any human father. He demands complete and perfect obedience in all our thoughts, words, deeds and desires. And that is exactly what Jesus accomplished. Every day of His life He completely obeyed God's will. Now He goes to work completing His great mission to save all people from sin, death and God's fiery judgment. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, when the time was right, Jesus began revealing Himself to His people. Through this season of Lent reveal Him to me as well. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

Posted at 09:27 am by preacher314
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Mar 2, 2017
IS THIS THE MESSIAH

Read Luke 3:15-18 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ (Luke 3:15). If John were here today, he would have a lot to say about our fear to confront those who live contrary to God's Word. He was a bold and powerful preacher; he was unafraid to stand up to the self- absorbed religious leaders or expose the errors of powerful political rulers. It's not difficult for the crowds to see the power of God at work in his ministry. So we should not be surprised to hear them asking if John might be the great prophet that Moses predicted long ago. Is this the Messiah God had promised to send? But John immediately set the crowds straight. However powerful he might be as a prophet, he is nothing compared to the One who is coming. Compared to Him, John is like the lowest house slave, unworthy even to stoop down and lay his fingers upon the sandals of the great Messiah. Even now, this mighty Son of God is living in Galilee. Soon He will come to John to begin His ministry, by which He will accomplish His great rescue mission. John baptizes with water, but the Christ will pour out the Holy Spirit and His cleansing fire upon those who hear and believe. What thoughts must have rushed through those crowds, hearing the long-awaited Messiah is near? What thoughts cross your mind when thinking of Jesus, who not long ago was that tiny Baby laying in Bethlehem's manger? How amazing is it that He will soon stride forward in humility and poverty to save the world? THE PRAYER: Almighty God, thank You for sending Your great Son to save us from death and hell. Accept our thanksgiving and praise for Jesus' sake. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

Posted at 07:39 pm by preacher314
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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

Posted at 07:35 am by preacher314
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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

Posted at 08:18 am by preacher314
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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)

Posted at 10:29 am by preacher314
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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

Posted at 07:27 pm by preacher314
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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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