Daily Devotions with Pastor 04/22/2020

Good morning to all of you.  I pray you slept well.  I just love the season we are in, don’t you?  It’s a season of joy and celebration like no other.  Christ is Risen.  He is Risen Indeed.  Alleluia!  My question for you this morning is this: Are you still living your Easter joy?  Is the Christ who died on Good Friday still alive in your life a few days after Easter?  You will recall the Emmaus disciples, even after hearing the good news from the women, were still moping around.

“They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him [Jesus], “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” … We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.  In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive” (Luke 24:17b, 21-23).

We believe that Jesus Christ rose from the grave, but often we don’t act that way. For all practical purposes he is dead in our life.  We mope around, like the disciples, moaning about all the evils and troubles and problems in the world.  We moan about the coronavirus, we are tired of just sitting around at home, we cry out to the Lord for it to end.  Selfishness dominates our thoughts and actions.  We wonder how this will affect me and my family in the long term.  But I ask the question, how can we point others to a living Christ when we are downcast and acting as though he were dead?

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Daily Devotions with Pastor 04/21/2020

Good morning everyone. The text for our brief meditation today is from Psalm 23.  You’ll have to forgive me for the translation, but some texts of scripture are just more beautiful and poetic in the King James Version. 

So, here you go:  “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to minister to the family of Harriet Moore at her graveside service in York, NE.  But prior to that I had the opportunity to minister to Harriet in the days leading up to her death. 

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Daily Devotions with Pastor 04/20/2020

Good morning on this glorious Monday.  This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.  I want to continue where we ended last week.  That is, I want to keep us in the boat with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee.  If you remember Friday’s devotion Jesus was walking on the water, appearing almost like a ghost to the disciples.  This time Jesus isn’t walking on the water, he is in the boat asleep and our  text from Mark 4:39 says, “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still! And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

I once heard a pastor say, “There are three kinds of storms: The storm you are in, the storm you just got out of and the storm you are heading into.”  Storms can stir up quickly on the Sea of Galilee.  I have never been there, but I have been told by those who have, that the sea sits below sea level and is surrounded by cliffs.  And so what happens is the winds funnel through the hills and whip up sudden and violent storms.

Many times our storms hit us quickly, seeming to come out of nowhere.  None of us could have imagined just two months ago that our world, as we know it, would be turned upside down because of the coronavirus. Like the disciples we cry out to the Lord, “Don’t you care about us?” 

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Daily Devotions with Pastor 04/17/2020

Good morning on this glorious Friday.  I wish you God’s abundant blessings as you seek to serve him today.  Our text for our brief meditation today is from the Gospel of Matthew. “But Jesus immediately said to them: Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid” (14:27).

Feeding 5000 – a heady miracle for the disciples who distributed the food and saw the loaves multiply – surely a faith strengthener.  But what happens?  Immediately after this account they experience paralyzing fear in a boat. They were asked by Jesus to travel; alone at night by boat to the other side of the lake. They do so, but then it happens, they run into strong winds and high waves.  Though seasoned fisherman, the rough conditions and eerie night spook them and grip them with fear.  To top it off there is a ghostlike figure walking on the water, and they cry out in terror.  Their faith is certainly being tested. 

Could a lesson of faith be in order for us?  We witness daily God’s miracles.  We see prayers answered.  We see lives liberated from bondage through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We see wonder drugs of yesteryear, like hydroxychloroquine, having a dramatic effect in many people’s lives today.  But then we start to doubt.  Could what I am witnessing really be a miracle?  Are people really being liberated from their demons and coming to faith, or is it just what I am hoping for them.  Could it really be that a miracle drug from long ago is working.  Yes, just like the disciples, we fear and doubt.  And fear paralyzes us, doesn’t it?  It paralyzes us to believe and prevents us from taking action.

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Daily Devotions with Pastor 04/16/2020

Good morning to all of you. I hope you slept well and are starting your Easter Thursday off with the Lord. Christ is Risen.  He is Risen Indeed.  Alleluia!  I thought I would share with you a poem I ran across on the Nebraska District Pastors Facebook page.  As President Snow commented, it’s a rather “clever and inspiring look at Easter 2020.”

The Grinch Who Tried to Steal Easter
Rev. Pres. Tim Yeadon
New England District LCMS

All the folks on the planet the great and the small
Were struggling to find any meaning at all
To what they were suffering, their loved ones included
They asked if their minds were confused or deluded.

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