Devotions based on this coming Sunday’s scripture readings
EASTER 4-First Lesson
TEXT: Acts 2:42-47
TITLE: Christian Communism Church
“All the believers were together and had everything in common.” Acts 2 44
Communism, as defined by Wikipedia Encyclopedia, “is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless, social organization based on common ownership of the means of production.” Interestingly, a definition of Christian Communism today is known as “a form of religious Communism centered on Christianity and share theological and political views of the teachings of Jesus that compels Christians to support Communism.” This definition with its mention of political views is not the type of ‘Christian Communism’ witnessed in our text. Nor is the Wikipedia definition with its non-mention of believers who follow Jesus Christ. The text above represents a definition of pure Christian Communism.
On the one hand we are all Communists who don’t believe in God like Yuri Gagarian who said from deep outer space, “I am up higher than any man has ever gone and I haven’t seen God!” On the other hand, God dwells in us and all around us as His Word says! The common bond of the first Century Church was Jesus Christ and His love. It was faith in Jesus that motivated this church to sell all they had and share it with one another trusting in God’s provision; a Christian Communism. Today, the twenty-first Century Christian Church’s devotion is not to an Ideology but rather to God and His Word. Every true Christian of the Church of God shares the same faith in Jesus as that of the first century Church. We come together in fellowship of the Word, the breaking of bread in His Sacrament of the Altar, and to pray. Praise God, we His Church!
Dear Heavenly Father, may Your Spirit move us to share with fellow Christians and those You call us to help, in Jesus Name, Amen.
TEXT: 1 Peter 2:19-25
TITLE: The Good of Unjust Suffering
“For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.” 1 Peter 2:19
Little children who have cancer, a teenager paralyzed in an auto accident, thousands killed from plane crashing into a building; most people would say this is unjust suffering. The thought of unjust suffering is not a pleasant one. For me, Job immediately comes to mind. Certainly Job wanted answers as to why his suffering was given or allowed by God. Job says, “Though I cry, ‘I’ve been wronged!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there’s no justice.” In other words, Job thought his suffering was unjust. On the one hand, because of our sin our suffering is just. Only Jesus suffered unjustly! On the other hand, because we believe in Jesus and inside us, we thus, suffer unjustly through Christ!
Like Job, it can happen in our lives we can feel our suffering is unjust. When we’re going through a valley of suffering, and that suffering seems greater than the sins we believe we’re being punished for, we too can cry-“Unjust!” The fact is it takes only one sin to land us in the eternal fires of hell according to a perfectly just God. Jesus is our example of One who truly did suffer unjustly. He did so that we would never have to know the eternal suffering of hell. Now He’s there to help us through our suffering. In our suffering, like Job, we become conscious of God. And, whenever we’re conscious of God, it is good!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for having Jesus take my suffering. Help me to understand my suffering, just or otherwise and share the Good News how Jesus took our suffering for us! in Jesus Name, Amen.
TEXT: John 10:1-10
TITLE: The Gate to Heaven
“I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.” John 10:9
The television show-American Idol has been very popular for many years. To become ‘The American Idol,’ there are many doors a contestant must go through. First, they must go through 2 of 3 doors which include the program’s judges. Once they have passed their doorway and numerous doorways leading to the final 12, public opinion then becomes the door. Finally, only one will be allowed to walk through that final door to become ‘The American Idol.’ Past American Idols have possessed such qualities as stage presence, personality, poise, genuineness, ability to pick a song that suits his/her voice as well as a good voice. Good looks didn’t hurt either.
On the one hand, God will judge us and because of our sin will find us all ‘guilty!’ On the other hand, the Supreme Judge of the World, because of Jesus, will pound His gavel for the last time and declare…’Not Guilty! One needs none of these attributes mentioned above, to enter through Jesus door. Not personality, or appearance, or our talent, or how nice a person we’ve been, or how few of sins we chalked up. In fact, it has nothing to do with our performance. But rather Jesus performance! On a stage where instead of cheers, excitement, and fame, it was mockery, suffering, and shame. In a sense, Jesus is the antithesis of an American Idol or any other idol. He is in reality-God. Jesus performed a sinless life; bore our sins on His stage-the cross. In Jesus, we have our doorway to heaven!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Your Spirit showing me The Door-Jesus! Help me in showing Him to others, in His Name, Amen.