Devotions based on upcoming Sunday scripture readings

EASTER 5-First Lesson                                                        

TEXT: Acts 6:1-9, 7:2a, 51-60

TITLE: “Be Prepared To Give An Answer”

 

Then the High Priest asked him, “Are these charges true? To this Stephan replied…”

                                                                                                                 Acts 7:1-2a

 

There’s a question asked all confirmands as part of the formal Lutheran Confirmation Service. It asks: “Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?” I wonder if those who answer that question really understand its full weight. In a sense, it was the same question Stephan had before him. Stephan’s inspired answer included a beautiful and accurate history lesson of the Jewish people. It also included a stiff rebuff and a finger-point at the Jewish leadership calling them stiff necks and the murderers of The Christ. These words were equally inspired and accurate. On the one hand the charges against us is that we are all sinners and worthy of eternal death. But on the other hand, Jesus, our Lawyer (interceder) before God says, “Put all those charges on Me!” As a result we were cleared of our sins and set free!

 

 Our suggested reading from Peter calls us to “always be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have.” That’s exactly what Stephan did! I don’t believe any of us can say for certain how we’d respond under the same circumstances as Stephan. However, like Stephan, we can be certain God (Immanuel) is going to be there with us as well. The same can be said when any sin tempts, or disaster strikes, or when we may be simply feeling alone, like the entire world is either against us or forgotten us. His Presence with us in this life is only part of the hope. The other part is the sure and certain hope of life eternal, even and especially in the face of death. Jesus is the answer! 

 

Dear Heavenly Father thank you for preparing my heart to always give an answer for the hope You’ve given me through Jesus. Help me share this with unbelievers too so they can be free! In His Name, Amen.

 

EASTER 5-Epistle

TEXT: 1 Pet.2:2-10

TITLE: Pure (Spiritual) Milk

 

“Like new born babies crave pure spiritual milk,…now that you have tasted  that the Lord is good.” 1 Pet.2:2-3

 

There’s nothing like a tall, cold, glass of refreshing milk! In contrast, there’s nothing worse than a tall, cold glass of milk that’s gone beyond its expiration date-spoiled! Yuck! On the one hand, what Jesus did for us on the cross is like that good milk! Not only does it taste good but it made us good within and without! On the other hand, because of our sins we are all like the sour milk. Worthy enough only to be thrown out…in hell! You can get sick, gag, choke and die from drinking only sour milk. But the pure, fresh, spiritual milk of God, we can never get too much and nothing compares to it!

 

In Hebrews, we’re told more specifically what spiritual milk is; repentance, faith in God, Baptism, laying on of hands, the Resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. They’re all products which come from the same source for everything that’s pure; namely Jesus!

Having tasted the love of Jesus and all His goodness causes us to naturally crave more! The more we take in, the more spiritually stronger and healthier we become! We need to be spiritually strong to wrestle with the forces of evil with their temptations. Our goal is to distinguish good from evil. Distinguishing good from evil is like we’re gobbling down a big plate of steak and potatoes! Church bells ringing are like our dinner bell! Family or personal devotions or anytime we’re in God’s Word, we’re in for a scrumptious spiritual meal! It’s sssoooo good wherever and whenever we have opportunity to taste and feast on God’s Word!  

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessings of Your pure and truly satisfying, spiritual food. Help me be the same for others, in Jesus Name, Amen.

 

EASTER 5-Gospel                                                     

TEXT: John 14:1-14

TITLE: Making His Word Your Own

 

Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father except through Me.  John 14:6

 

There’s a tradition in many churches that when a person becomes confirmed, they receive a Confirmation verse. Though God’s Word is all our Word, the above verse happens to be this writer’s ‘own.’ Personally speaking, I believe God graced me with the words of John 14:6 in my Baptism. 8th Grade (Confirmation), was a time I had opportunity to reaffirm all those words, including and especially the ones of my Baptism. On the one hand, because we are sinners, we can be baptized and confirmed a thousand times and it won’t cleanse us of our sins. On the other hand, one baptism and faith in Jesus who is the Way the Truth, and the Life cleanses us all from all unrighteousness!

 

 Though my way sometimes is certainly not His Way (I’m a sinner), He and His Way continues to forgive and grant me assurance of His love. I’m always reminded of Pilate’s question-‘What is truth?” and The Truth we find in this verse. In our daily lives in a world seeking answers and of itself is void of truth, we have the truth in Jesus. And, Jesus His Word and truth is constant and forever! His Word and promise provide us life now in His Spirit and a life that’s eternal as well. As redeemed Children of God through Jesus death and resurrection and His gift of faith, we have lives even now that are holy and blameless. (Saints!) The beauty of my Confirmation verse is that it is all of ours!

 

Jesus, thank you for being our Way, Truth and Life. We believe, help us in our unbelief, in Your Name, Amen.