Archive for April, 2017

Matthew 7:24-27

April 28, 2017

Today’s devotion was written by Sally Hargrove, a member of Faith Lutheran Church.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because  it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not  act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell– and great was its fall!” Matthew 7:24-27

When I read these verses, I’m always reminded of the Sunday School song we all learned as children, especially the hand motions and the big finale when the walls of our house came crashing down with a big bang! Even as children we knew how we would build our house.

Later on in life I realized the “rock” was a symbol for how we should build our life with God as our rock and foundation.

I’m sorry to say I sometimes find myself making people I care about my rocks and foundations. As I grow older I find they can’t be an eternal rock – that can only be our faith in God.

Your own strength, health, intelligence, youth, talents, loved ones, parents, and friends cannot be the foundation stone for life. They all can be easily carried away like the shifting sand and you can be left floundering for a footing. It’s also too big a job for anyone but God.

God wants to be the foundation and meaning of our lives.

I’ve lost some important people in my life as well as things I used to feel secure, and in a fast-changing world the ground beneath my feet feels “sandier” each day.

This year I’m making a commitment to myself and God to put God at the center of my life by increased reading of scripture, communal Bible study, and increased devotional life.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, thank you for always being there waiting for me to call on you and for forgiving my attempts to go it alone too often. Help me to remember that when I thought I was doing everything myself, you were really carrying me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Advertisements

Proverbs 21:5

April 27, 2017

Today’s devotion was written by Stacy Williams, the Director of Operations and a member of Faith Lutheran Church.

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.” Proverbs 21:5

This passage takes me back to everything we were taught as a child. Taking the time to make a plan and working hard to achieve the plan will fill our life with the abundance that God has promised.

In a society that has become accustomed to getting things immediately, we often think we can take shortcuts to get there faster.  It has been proven many times that short cuts do not work and often leaves us wanting more.

God has given us the plan, the roadmap to all that God has in store for us. All we have to do is slow down, walk the path, allowing God to lead us, and we will want for nothing.

Let us pray, my Heavenly Father, you give us all we need and sometimes we forget the plan you have laid out for us. I ask that you continue to guide us, leading us not into temptation, but in the direction of your everlasting love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

1 Timothy 5:8

April 26, 2017

Today’s devotion was written by Jowan Freeman, a member of Faith Lutheran Church.

“And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8

I have always read these passages and thought there was a deeper hidden message for everyone to interpret and recreate in their own lives. Yet this passage is pretty clear.

This is a passage we can all take personally in one way or another. Maybe some of us will linger to be an older adult. Perhaps nobody will speak harshly to us or give us disrespect. But as believers, our duty is to care for our elderly.

What I’m speaking of is secondhand; it is nothing new. These values were instilled upon us at a young age. For some of us, we were raised to see caring for the elderly as our religious duties. We played with other kids because we respected our parents when they told us too. Do you remember being told, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all!” These were part of the virtues that we were taught while growing up.

And before we grew up too fast we had a responsibility to make some repayments back to our parents for some of the things that they had done for us. Not because children troubled our parents, but because we were taught to respect our elders and do as they said. This is pleasant in God’s sight as a child.

At the end of the day we have a responsibility as believers. As believers we are family through God.  So whoever does not provide for their relatives and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse then an unbeliever.

So share your gifts. Turn the other cheek. In the body of Christ there is respect and honor for all.

Let us pray: Lord, allow us to feel your presence when our day-to-day lives sometimes come with lower levels of respect for elders. As God fearing believers we trust that you will continue to instill these values in us for generations to come. We pray for the youth and elderly in our church, that all would be seen not as a burden, but a blessing. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Deuteronomy 30:19

April 25, 2017

Throughout the Easter Season the daily devotions have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church. Today’s devotion was written by Pastor Mary Browne.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19

Recently I have been thinking about and playing with the idea of opposites: dark and light, inside and outside, life and death, blessings and curses. When I think in polarities I feel like I have to make a choice between the two because I judge that one pole is good and the other is bad. If I choose light, then darkness is undesirable. If I choose to obey what is on the outside, then I learn to devalue what’s inside. When I only want to receive blessings then I am at odds when something bad, a “curse” happens. And life versus death…um that seems like a no brainer.

What I’ve been pondering over is how to hold these opposites in tension so that both may be accepted as of equal value. For example, when I face the darkness, fear, and sadness inside of me instead of deciding that it is wrong or bad, and then ignoring or pushing it away, I am learning to accept those difficult feelings. When I’ve been able to stay with the “bad” feelings or to allow darkness or death or curses, I’ve learned from those experiences. Paradoxically, my relationship with and my faith in God grew.

God sets before us life and death, blessings and curses. Choosing life may indeed mean that I am accepting of all that life has to bring my way…both the darkness and the light, both blessings and curses, and both life and death.

Prayer: Holy God, In the tension of choosing between what seems like good and what seems like bad, you are there. I trust and believe that there is nothing that can separate me from You. Help me to see all of the experiences of my life through eyes of faith. Amen.

Proverbs 22:7

April 24, 2017

Throughout the Easter Season the daily devotions have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church. Today’s devotion is from Pastor Junfeng Tan.

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

This Bible verse did not attract much of my attention until five years ago when I attended a class of Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University.” In a Sunday School classroom at a small country church in South Dakota, my wife, I, and ten other people watched and listened with great interest to Dave Ramsey’s lecture on the harms that debts have inflicted on struggling families. “When it comes to personal finance, getting into debt is a dumb and dangerous idea. When we borrow money to buy the stuff we cannot afford, we dig a deep hole for ourselves and it is awfully hard to get out it.” That is the impression I got after listening to Dave Ramsey and I think he is right.

We are to take our own financial responsibility seriously and be wise and diligent in managing money. We are to learn to live within our means. We are to believe that hard and honest work and frugality will eventually lead us to financial peace.

We are to resist the temptation of our materialistic, consumerist culture. We are not to “buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like” (Dave Ramsey). It is important to remind ourselves constantly that, “Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil. A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.” (Proverbs 15:16-17, New Living Translation)

We Christians believe that money and material possessions are gifts from God. The skills that we have to make money and to earn a decent living are also God’s blessings. Everything we have is placed into our hands by God. As stewards of God’s gifts, we are called to share, to give, and to serve. Our Lord Jesus says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

Let us pray: Lord, there are many financial potholes in our lives. Teach us to be wise and faithful stewards of your gifts and talents. Help us to live with open hearts and open hands so that we may experience the joy of your blessing flowing through us. Amen.