"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. To read more of Pastor Karl's daily devotionals, visit our Facebook page.
Friday, February 26, 2021
“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” (James 1:17, 18)
In Scripture the first fruits were the first produce of the vineyard, orchard, or garden. These first fruits were to be offered to the Lord as an offering. The offering of the first fruits to the Lord was an act of faith. It was an act of faith because when an individual offered the first fruits he/she was saying, “I have confidence that the Lord will provide additional fruit to meet my own need.
James speaks of our very lives as being first fruits to be offered to the Lord. We are to be dedicated to the Lord’s service. We are to be about pursuing our Lord’s purposes. And, we are to be confident that the Lord will indeed meet our needs as we serve Him.
I was told the story of the farm couple who lived many, many years ago. One Sunday morning found they had exactly one, single dime to their name. Later that morning they placed that dime in the offering plate at church. It was a decision they never regretted.
Thursday, February 25, 2021
They (the Jewish officials) set up false witnesses who said, ‘This man (Stephen) never stops saying things against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place (the Temple) and will change the customs that Moses handed on to us.’” (Acts 6:13, 14)
Stephen was bold in his proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He spoke with wisdom and with the Spirit. Stephen’s testimony so angered the religious authorities that they conspired to bring false witnesses against him in order to convict him of blasphemy, kill him, and therefore eliminate him.
Stephen is exactly the kind of person we would expect our Lord to protect. We would expect that at the last moment our Lord would whisk Stephen away from the clutches of the Temple authorities and so save him from death.
That is not what happened. Stephen was given an opportunity to give witness to Jesus Christ (Acts 7). His witness further angered the authorities that they took up stones and killed him on the spot.
Luke, the author of the book of Acts, records two dying statements from Stephen...
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them."
Following Jesus is costly.
One of the first of these costly payments is the giving up of our desire for retribution and revenge…no matter the circumstances.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
“You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.” (John 15:16, 17)
Over the centuries more than a few of Jesus’ followers have found themselves mightily disappointed at not having received from the Lord what they asked for. Disappointment at not receiving can lead to discouragement, resentment, and anger. How do we reconcile the promise of Jesus, that the Father will give us whatever we ask for in Jesus’ name, with the reality of not receiving what we request.
The key is the word, request. Requests are personal. When we present a request to the Father we are making a personal appeal. Since it is a personal appeal, it may be granted or it may be denied. We trust that the Father will personally respond to our personal request according to His wisdom, mercy, and love.
To make a request of the Father “in the name of Jesus” does not mean simply tacking Jesus’ name onto the end of our prayer of petition. Asking “in the name of Jesus” means something like asking according to the will and the purposes of our Lord. It is this type of personal request that will always be granted.
Although, to be honest, it will often be granted in puzzling and challenging ways.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
“See, I am sending you out like sheep in to the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves."
Have you stopped to think of how strange these words of Jesus are? Jesus is speaking to His disciples of coming persecutions. He tells them that their calling is not to avoid persecutions. Their task is to remain faithful through persecutions.
The disciples of Jesus are to be wise as they live in the midst of wolves. Jesus’ disciples are also to be innocent as they live in the midst of wolves.
Although we live in the midst of wolves, we are to take care that we do not come to believe that it is acceptable to howl with them.
Monday, February 22, 2021
“So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” (John 13:14-17)
In Jesus’ day, it was the lowest of the servants who washed someone else’s feet.
Jesus spoke the words quoted above right after He Himself had washed the feet of his disciples. Jesus taught His disciples that they were to be servants of one another, not simply by telling them so, but by demonstrating that such servanthood was in keeping with His own way.
Taking the lowest place of servanthood does not result in being stigmatized. Rather, taking the lowest place results in serving in the same way that Jesus served.
Once again Jesus says, “You are blessed if you do these things."
Might we be blessed, in part, because when we serve we put ourselves in the lower places, the exact places where Jesus is most likely to be found?