"Give us each day our daily bread." ~ Luke 11:3
Read Pastor Karl's daily devotionals!
New devotionals will be posted Monday through Friday, and will remain here on the website for a week's time.
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
“A dispute arose (among Jesus’ disciples) as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest.” (Luke 22:24)
Some topics are always inappropriate. And, they more inappropriate at certain moments, than they are at other moments.
Jesus’ disciples argued about which one of them was the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) among the disciples. Not surprisingly, each disciple ended up with exactly one vote! Apparently, they had not grasped Jesus’ teachings concerning humility and service.
What made this argument so egregious, and sad, was the timing.
Jesus had just celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples. He had told them (again) that He would suffer and die. Jesus’ proclaimed that His suffering would establish a New Covenant.
And how did Jesus’ disciples respond?
They responded with an argument concerning which of them was the greatest.
This episode shows us how easily we turn the focus to ourselves, even in the most inappropriate of moments.
We must always strive to always place the focus on Jesus, and His sacrifice for our salvation.
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
“Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)
Jesus appointed seventy disciples to travel to from town-to-town preaching the good news. These seventy disciples, who went out timid and insecure, came back bold and confident.
It was “high-fives” all around as they shared stories of success and victory. Even the demons submitted to them!
The taste of success and victory has a certain intoxicating flavor.
Jesus redirects their joy.
“Success is great,” says Jesus. “But more joyful than any success is the knowledge that your names are written in heaven, in the Book of Life."
It’s great to be successful in proclaiming the Gospel message. However, we will encounter times when that success is fleeting.
What is not fleeting is how our names, yours and mine, are written in the Book of Life.
In this we rejoice!
Our names are written in heaven in the blood of Jesus, an “ink" that can never fade away.
Monday, August 8, 2022
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to make this freewill offering? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.” (1 Chronicles 29:14)
Not long ago I ended up in a classic, “I’ll pay for dinner,” argument.
Even before we ordered our food, we engaged in some good-hearted combat over who would foot the bill. (Since I can be rather “tenacious," I won the argument.)
Why do we do such things?
We seem to have these arguments because we feel both honored, and also blessed, to be able to provide for others, others we care about.
At times this attitude spills over into our offerings to God.
When our church solicits funds for backpacks filled with school supplies, or Christmas gifts for needy children, people come to me, check in hand, hoping they are not too late to contribute.
The Lord told King David that he would not be the one to build the Temple in Jerusalem. David’s son, Solomon, would build the Temple.
However, David could contribute to the building of the Temple. He, along with all of Israel, could donate funds for the project.
David is filled with awe and wonder that he is allowed to make such a contribution.
Our goal should be to view all of our contributions to the Lord in this way. How might we develop such an attitude?
Maybe we can begin by acknowledging, along with King David, that, “all things come from (the Lord), and (from the Lord's gifts) we (are able) to give to (Him)."
Friday, August 5, 2022
“Then Peter came to himself and said, ‘Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hands of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.’” (Acts 12:11)
The verse above is the climax of the story of the Lord freeing Peter from prison. It's well worth taking time to read this story in its entirety (Acts 12:1-19).
King Herod (a Jewish king) had the Apostle James executed. When Herod saw how popular this made him with the Jewish people, he decided to execute Peter as well. Peter was penciled in to be executed at the Passover festival.
The night before this was to happen, the Lord sent an angel to miraculously deliver Peter from his heavily guarded prison cell. When the angel arrived, Peter’s chains fell off and the two of them walked out of the prison.
During his rescue, Peter thought he was dreaming. Only after he was free, and the angel had left him, did Peter realize that he had truly been delivered from the prison (and from certain death) by a messenger from the Lord.
Later, Peter told the other disciples how the Lord has rescued him.
I wonder what the others thought!
Some of us have experiences of “deliverance” that, in our modern world, sound rather “nuts.” “No one is going to believe that!” Our challenge is to figure out a way of truthfully telling our stories, even in the face of skepticism.
Others of us have the challenge of honoring the stories of others that are very, very different from our own. Our Lord’s deliverance comes to people in many different ways.
Our challenge is to remain open to the “miraculous” testimonies offered by others.
Of course, every instance of our Lord reaching out to sinful human beings is truly “miraculous."
Thursday, August 4, 2022
“Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1)
I can remember only one time when I had “the wind knocked out of me.” Once was enough!
It was a terrible feeling to struggle to inhale, and have no air enter my lungs.
I’m told that when we inhale we are not so much sucking air in, as we are simply creating space for the atmosphere to push air into our lungs. The air around us just needs is a little room, and in it comes.
The Apostle Peter speaks of the faith we have received. He does not speak of faith as something we muster up on our own, but rather as that which has been given to us as a gift.
Sometimes our world can be so difficult and severe that it can “knock the faith out of us.” What a terrible experience!
Should that happen to us, we would do well to relax (as much as we can) and remember that, just as the atmosphere is ready and willing to fill our lungs to capacity, our Lord is ready and willing to fill us with faith. We only need to provide a little room.
The faith our Lord gives to us is, indeed, precious. He is not stingy, but is extravagantly generous in providing us with this precious gift.