"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, February 23, 2024
For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. (John 18:37)
We usually understand “truth” as something we possess.
Jesus declared “truth” to be something in which we live.
Jesus declared that those who are “of the truth” hear His voice. In other words, those who “belong to the truth,” or “live in the truth,” hear His voice.
The Roman official Pontius Pilate, the one to whom Jesus was speaking, was not “living in the truth.” While he could physically hear Jesus’ voice, Pilate could not truly listen to what Jesus was saying.
Just as we must:
go outside on a dark, clear night in order to see the stars,
turn off the television in order to hear the rain on the roof, and
lower the lid of our laptop in order to converse with our loved one,
so also we must live in the truth in order to truly listen to Jesus.
When we find it difficult to hear Jesus speaking to us, could it be a sign that we have wandered away from living in the truth?
Thursday, February 22, 2024
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13)
Has anyone ever said to you, “You’re going to love this movie,” or, “You’re going to love this restaurant,” or, “You’re going to love this YouTuber?”
Then you see the movie, or eat at the restaurant, or watch the YouTuber and you’re not terribly impressed. You don’t have the same response as your friend.
We all know, no one can tell us what to love and appreciate.
Except Jesus. Jesus commands us to love.
Jesus command to "love on another” makes sense only if we accept a very different definition of love. Fortunately, Jesus provides us with that very thing, a renewed definition of love.
Jesus tells us to love “as I have loved you.” How has Jesus loved us?
First, Jesus has loved us at the precise moment we were totally un-lovable. Jesus loves us in spite of ourselves.
Second, Jesus has loved us with a self-giving, self-sacrificing love. Jesus’ love goes far beyond feelings and emotions. Jesus gave His life for us.
Is our life of faith therefore a never-ending gritting of our teeth in order to “love” people we really don’t care for?
You see, the love of which Jesus speaks transforms both the one who loves, and also the one who is loved. As we love others, they will be transformed, albeit at times much more slowly than we like.
As we love others, we ourselves will be transformed. Eventually, we will come to the place where the “un-lovableness” of others becomes the heartfelt reason for loving them.
This makes sense only if Jesus is at the center of it all.
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7)
Jesus spoke these words as he washed His disciples’ feet.
In doing so, Jesus was giving them an example of how they were to serve one another, and the world.
Jesus spoke these words specifically to Peter. “Trust me,” Jesus was saying to Peter, “you will eventually understand."
Peter did not trust Jesus. Peter declared that Jesus would “never” wash his feet.
After a bit of “discussion,” Peter did allow Jesus to go ahead and wash his feet as Jesus had intended.
We can empathize with Peter. It’s very frustrating to be told, “Someday you will understand."
We want to understand now! We need to understand now!
Actually, it would appear that the opposite is true.
It's necessary that we do not understand now. It’s only when we do not understand, when we are puzzled, that we live by faith.
It's faith, and faith alone, that allows us to remain loyal to Jesus when we throw up our hands in frustration at the twist and turns of life.
It is faith, and faith alone, that keeps us, at those moments, from throwing up our hands in dis-belief.
Someday, whenever that day arrives, we will understand.
Tuesday, February 20, 2024
“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Some years ago a young missionary spoke to our congregation. After getting a degree in electrical engineering, he felt the Lord’s call to the mission field.
As he told his story, he told of how embarrassing it was having an electrical engineering degree. He knew how to solve the complex equations necessary to design new electronics.
However, when friends would ask him if he could help install some electrical sockets in his garage, he had to plead ignorance. He did not know how to do something so practical.
The saying, “The truth will make you free,” is often cast about as a free-floating truism. People think that if they know the “truth” in their heads, they will be free.
Jesus yokes truth, and knowing the truth, with “continuing in His word.”
We will know the truth, not simply in our heads, but more importantly in our lives, as we live out the Way of Jesus Christ. “Truth” is not abstract, consisting merely of what we think.
Rather, “truth” is concrete, consisting of a living relationship with Jesus, as we live our daily lives.
Electrical engineers design wonderful new products.
Electricians wire our houses so the wiring will not short-out, catch fire, and burn our house down. Electricians make truth practical.
We certainly need to study our Bibles and memorize Scripture.
However, most of all we need to put into practice the Word, and the words, of Jesus Christ.
As we do so, we will know the truth.
Monday, February 19, 2024
”No one can come to me (Jesus) unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day." (John 6:44)
"…no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.” (John 6:65)
Faith itself is a gift from God.
Since this is the case, we can take no credit for our faith.
Sometimes Christians will speak of the moment they made a decision to follow Jesus. Indeed, the Gospel message is all about making the decision to become a disciple, a follower of Jesus.
However, and this is a deep mystery, we are empowered to decide to follow Jesus only because of the grace of God that draws us to Him. Our decision for Jesus is a response to the grace we have already received.
It is the Father who both wills and enables us to come to Christ.
We don’t take pride in our faith in Christ.
Rather, we give thanks for the blessing we have received as we have been drawn to Him by the Father.