Devotions-Pastor May

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Jan. '23

Greetings!  

As we have entered into the season of Epiphany, let’s take this time to briefly examine what this season is all about.  “Epiphany” means “to shine light upon.”  And in Jesus, God reveals who He is.  Let’s just look at a few examples” 

Matt. 2:1-2 

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 

Jesus is the one worshipped by magi.  Gentiles are brought into the fold.  There may be times when we doubt our worthiness to be in the fold of Jesus.  And we are correct to acknowledge that our sin should keep us from God.  But all people who believe are grafted into God’s chosen people.  Even the most unworthy.  Being in God’s chosen people was never about bloodline anyway.  It was always about those who trust the promises of God.  And God, in bringing these magi to Jesus, gives another reminder that the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness in his Savior is for all who would believe. 

Matthew 3:13-17 

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” 

Jesus is the Son of God.  We know who his earthly parents are.  But now, God makes a bold statement of who his real Father is… and just what the qualifications of this Savior are.  We each deserve death for our own sins.  We certainly could not die for another… we’ve got our own sins to pay for.  When this Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world dies on our behalf, the sacrifice… is a sacrifice of God himself.  God the Son has come to offer himself. 

John 2:7-10  

7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 

Jesus is the Lord of Creation.  Here at a wedding, a fairly common occurrence, Jesus does something most uncommon: Changing of water into wine.  The water, the molecules, the atoms themselves all change at the direction of the one who put them all together in the first place.  He wills the water to become wine… and it can do nothing else but what the Lord of Creation wishes. 

Luke 4:17-21 

17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”  20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 

Jesus is the keeper of promises.  God has been promising a Savior from the beginning.  Jesus himself is now claiming to be that long-awaited promised one. 

Luke 4:33-36

 33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,34 “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm.36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” 

Jesus is the King over all Creatures.  Even the rebellious demons obey his every word.  There is nothing else for them to do when the Word of God become flesh speaks to them.  When the Word of God, who was present at the creation of the world… when the original creator even of these now rebellious creatures… commands them.  They must obey his authority.  And so he proves that no one can snatch us out of his hand. 

Luke 9:29-31 

29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 

Jesus is the one who fulfills the Law and the Prophets.  Even when mankind couldn’t keep the Law of the Lord.  Indeed, when humans were doing nothing but rebelling against God… in selfishness or in fear… God himself would keep these commandments on our behalf.  He fulfills the obligations of mankind… and he fulfills the promises of God. 

The story of Epiphany is how God Himself shows up in love… and how His love moves Him to save us… so that we would be with Him forever.  Amen.  

Pastor Jeremy May 

 

Dec. '22

From Ephesians 6: “10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, “   

Not too long ago, my dad took up shooting.  I’ve gone with him a few times (and with some others as well).  While we did have a lot of fun together, when I went shooting for the first time, I was struck by something critical.  After the shooting is done, each time you have to spend a lot of time cleaning everything.  Also, you have to spend a lot of time practicing in order to get really good. 

This passage in Ephesians reminds us where the real enemy comes from.  It also reminds us of what is at stake.  When a war is on, the prudent warrior keeps the weapons at the ready. 

We read here of weapons and armor, protective and supportive equipment.  And Paul compares each piece to a gift from God.  We hear words like truth, righteousness, faith, gospel, and salvation.  All true and definite gifts from God.  And what’s more, He gives them freely! 

But there is one gift that stands out as a little different: the Word of God.  The Word is a gift that is not automatically imparted (or spoken, or given) directly to us.  This gift lacks the ‘immediacy’ that perhaps some of the others do.  In other words, it takes some actual practice in order be able to use it really well.  And which part of the suit is it?  That’s right!  The weapon! 

While the battle is the Lord’s, and Jesus has won the victory, some worldly battles are fiercer than others!  Some are over quickly, but some drag on and on.  Jesus’ victory spurs us on.  His success gives us the strength to do his will.  And his Spirit spurs our souls to, “Wake up!  There’s a war on!  Don’t go into battle unarmed!” 

The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, so let’s get well-practiced!  Let’s remember that our sure and certain defense is the promises of God.  Jesus’ gave his own life for the final victory.  And he goes with us until the final celebration.  And the more we hear and study His promises, the more quickly we remember how to use them, when it matters most!  

Amen. 

 Pastor Jeremy May 

Nov. '22

The following devotion can also be found in the Nov. '22 Trinity Times Newsletter

1 Corinthians 1:27-29  “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”  

Matthew 13:31-32 “31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”  

As we prepared for a little trip, we were trying to decide what clothes to pack. It seems that they can’t predict the weather around here any further out than tomorrow… and sometime they have some trouble with that one! 

But it got me thinking about the coldness and the snow that starts heading our way this time of year (sometimes…).  And it led me to a story I read in an old copy of a Lutheran magazine.  It went something like this: 

“The tiny snowflake flutters as it falls.  It seems so insignificant and helpless; it cannot defy even a child.”  And this called to mind how we used to try to catch them on our tongues as the snowflakes would fall.  Snowflakes are so small that they can’t even resist the smallest of us.  And I would also picture those first flakes, that seemed to vanish the moment they hit the ground… before piling up. 

The story continued: “But it is a different matter when it unites with countless millions of other snowflakes.  First, they cover the ground with a beautiful mantle of white.  Then they pile higher and higher.  The wind gathers them into huge drifts.  Man stands helpless on the highway as the little flakes call out in unison, "You shall not pass!"  The mighty railroad engine speeds along, but again the small, white messengers say, "You, too, must stop!" 

The author of the story then goes on to describe a time when they were stranded in Minneapolis, because there were no vehicles leaving town.  Thirty hours later, they did catch a train to Sioux Falls.  And when they arrived, and asked when the train left for Madison… “There will be no trains, all the roads and tracks  are closed.”  Eventually, the family finally did work their way home.  But why all the delay?  As he put it: “Simply because the tiny snowflake had become the mighty snowflake.” 

And we’ve all experienced that one.  Sometimes it doesn’t seem to take much to keep us from getting to the store down the street, much less to a family member’s house some distance away. 

But fortunately, the opposite is also true.  Small things… and small numbers of people can add up to great things… especially when God is behind it.  

It’s how God works, using each of us in ways we can’t even imagine… and often in ways we probably will not even see until we arrive in heaven and have opportunity to see the bigger picture.  Snowflake after snowflake.  Snowdrift after drift.  Bank after bank. 

After all… Just look at what God did with one little child… born to a carpenter… in one little town of Bethlehem… and placed in a little manger.  One life touched so many others… one life who carried the power of His Word and Spirit to others… who carried it to others… who came to Europe… who came to America, who came to Missouri… who meet in Park Hills… who still welcome people and teach them all about a Savior… a Savior who took a cross… and left an empty tomb… for us all.  Amen.  

Pastor May 

Home Bible Study IV

Blessings to you all!

 Pastor May

Home Bible Study IV

Home Bible Study III

 Greetings Trinity!  My apologies again.  Here we go.

 (Pastor May.)

Home Bible Study III

 

Home Bible Study II

My apologies to everyone for the lateness of this Study!  Blessings in Christ this week.

 Pastor May

Home Bible Study Download II

Home Bible Study

Greetings, People of Trinity Lutheran Church!

 We're going to try something a little different going forward, while keeping us in the Word.

 This is sort of a week-long Bible Study.  Each day has a reading or two, and a couple of questions to think about.  You might go through it yourself (as another daily taste of God's Word, in addition to Portals of Prayer and Lutheran Hour Devotions, etc.).  You might also group-call each other, Zoom each other, shout to each other at the park, email one another or otherwise creatively discuss things together!

 Also, if you want, there's nothing stopping you from doing them all at once!

 Hang in there for (hopefully) just a little bit longer!  Cling to our glorious, loving, risen Savior!  He is with you ALWAYS!  And remember that His death and resurrection covers THIS time as well!

 Blessings in Christ,

 Pastor Jeremy May

Home Bible Study Download

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