"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.
Friday, December 2, 2022
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
A pastor from the West had entered the communist country in order to meet with members of the underground church. His goal was to provide them with encouragement and support.
As they sat around the fire the pastor assured these persecuted followers of Jesus that he was totally committed to them.
They were not convinced.
Finally, the pastor said, “What do I need to do to persuade you of my dedication to you?"
“Toss your passport into the fire,” was the response.
John 1:14 is one of the most dramatic verses in all of Scripture.
The eternal Word (Christ) became flesh, the man Jesus. The Living God “cast his passport into the fire” as He took on flesh in order to redeem sinful human beings.
The birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus show the glory of God, full of grace and truth.
Is not the coming of the Word into the world, the birth of Jesus, the greatest demonstration possible of God’s love for us?
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)
A few weeks ago I found myself waiting for a table at a restaurant.
As each person entered, inquired as to the wait-time, and had their name placed on the list, the hostess greeted them appropriately.
As people left, she wished them a good night.
Her words were well chosen. Her words were also exactly the same for each person that entered the restaurant. After all, she was a hostess. She had to greet dozens and dozens of people each evening.
The Apostle Paul tells us to welcome one another, not as a host speaking the same words over and over, but as Christ has welcomed us.
How has Christ welcomed us? Christ has welcomed us personally.
In Christ we do not have “customers,” or “guests,” or "patrons.”
In Christ we have friends.
The difference between welcoming someone appropriately and welcoming someone personally might be difficult to define, but is easy to discern.
In this Advent/Christmas season let us strive to keep on welcoming one another personally, as friends in Christ.
Perhaps how we greet one another an important first step in living “for the glory of God."
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
“I (John the Baptist) baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
Last week I went for my yearly eye exam.
As the technician put drops in my eyes she said, “This is going to sting a little."
She wasn’t lying.
John the Baptist declared that one more powerful than himself was coming after him. John spoke of Jesus. While John baptized with water, Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Jesus' baptism of fire “stings a little,” in fact is stings more than a little.
Just as those eye drops caused my eyes to dilate, open up, so that the optometrist could see what was actually happening inside my eyes, so Jesus’ baptism “dilates” our hearts, opens them up, so Jesus can transform the inside of our hearts.
Those of us who have had our eyes dilated know that the sting goes away…until our next appointment.
The “sting” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ also reoccurs. It happens whenever we allow our Lord to see what is really going on inside.
This is the sting that is the prelude to healing Jesus brings.
Do we have an appointment with Jesus we need to keep?
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
For in Jesus Christ all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:19-20)
When relationships fracture we ask, “Whose at fault?"
Our favorite answer is, “It’s the other person’s fault!” “The other person needs to change!"
The Apostle Paul tells us that our fractured relationship with God the Father is OUR fault. We have sinned. We have caused the problem, and we are the ones who need to change.
Notice the wording in the verses above, God has reconciled to himself all things.
Another way of saying that is, “God has brought back to Himself all things through the blood of the cross of Christ."
In this Advent season, this season of preparation, we will do well to ask ourselves, “What in me still needs to change, still needs to be reconciled to God?"
We dare to ask the question because in Christ Jesus we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (1:14).
Monday, November 28, 2022
Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” The angel replied, “I am Gabriel, I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news." (Luke 1:18-19)
God sent His angel Gabriel to the priest Zechariah.
Zechariah was a poor country priest who, in his old age, had been chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve in the Temple in Jerusalem.
While in the Temple, the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah with the “good news” that he and his wife Elizabeth would bear a son. This son of theirs would become John the Baptist. John the Baptist would prepare the way for the Messiah, Jesus.
Zechariah could not see how he and his wife could possibly bear a child at their advanced age. It was impossible! Zechariah expressed his doubts to Gabriel.
What we need to notice is that Zechariah’s doubts, while having real consequences (you can read the entire story in Luke chapter one), did not disqualify Zechariah and Elizabeth from participating in God’s plan.
Should we find ourselves doubting God’s plans (and who among us has no doubts?) we should remember Zechariah and Elizabeth. While Zechariah had doubts about how the Lord would bring about the future, he was a man of great faith.
We tend to place faith and doubt in opposition.
In reality, doubt is a part of faith. Doubt is the part of us faith has yet to conquer.
It is unbelief that is deadly, not doubt.
Honest doubt can become, when expressed to the Lord, the very occasion for a strengthening of our faith.
That certainly was the case with Zechariah and Elizabeth.
When we bring our doubts to the Lord, it will be the case with us as well…although maybe not quite so dramatically.