Devotions-Pastor May

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Quarantine Devotions Part VI

From Pastor May:

 Matthew 16: 1-12

                 I went to an ice cream place in a town where I previously lived.  I went there once, and only once.  It was really popular where I was living (though, like with Imo’s pizza, a few people had some strong feelings the other way…).  To be fair, I probably asked for the wrong thing… or I simply ordered it wrong.  But I asked for mint ice cream.  I also wanted crushed Oreos.  And I wanted some chocolate syrup.  To my horror, I witnessed the undeserved beating of a perfectly good dessert.  The rubber-looking ice cream was (literally) slapped onto the counter.  The perfectly-crushed cookies were shoved into the ice cream and pummeled into black dust.  Then, the syrup was added.  It was not drizzled into the cup, on top of everything.  No, it was deep-tissue-massaged into the rest of the mixture.  The whole mess was flopped into a bowl and I was cheerfully handed a slimy, cold blob.

                 Mint ice cream: my hands-down favorite.  Oreo cookies: great!  Chocolate syrup: one of God’s reminders that heaven is coming.  Mushed and blended all together into a uniform ball: not so very appetizing. 

                 In these verses, Jesus reminds his followers that evil influences are kind of like that.  Like yeast, the false teachings of the Pharisees threatened to work their way into everything that God’s people believed.  As the dough was kneaded and the baking process continued, their evil would become worked into the whole.  And we too, if we’re not careful, find ourselves under the sway of rejecting influences.  Some are subtle… a comment here and there.  Some are more overt… actual verbal (or physical) attacks against people who talk about a faith in Jesus.  But all are capable working their way into our hearts and minds, changing the way we think, until we’ve stumbled into doubting Jesus and what he has done.

 When Christ came into this world, he directly defeated everything separating us from God.  Because of his blood, his Spirit takes hold of us, cleans us up, and removes even the smallest contamination.  And, of course, God’s Word can help as well.  The more we read His Word, the more we hear His promises.  When we spend time with Him, we remember constantly all that Jesus’ death and resurrection did for us!

 Dear Jesus, forgive me.  Wash me and make me clean, for the stain is too much for me.  Keep me firm in my trust in you.  And help me share my hope with others.  In your name I pray.  Amen.

Quarantine Devotions Part V

From, Pastor May:

 1 Kings 18:16-40

                Elijah’s question in verse 21 gets right to the heart of the matter, “How long will you waver between two opinions?  If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”  First there’s the simple logic of the question.  After all, why try to ride two horses at once?  But then there’s the underlying problem.  The people weren’t really trying to ride two horses… they had rejected God.  After all, God did say, “No other gods.”  But the people wanted a god they could understand… a god who was more like them.

                 The people eventually accept his logic and Elijah even gives Baal the advantage: four hundred and fifty… to one.  And what zeal those “prophets” throw into their worship and praise!  What energy they pour into their request.  Verses 26-29 describes calling and shouting, dancing and leaping, and even cutting and slashing.  These people were willing to shed their blood in order to get their god’s attention.  By the end of the day, the prophets of Baal were a frantic, bloody, delirious mess.  And “ there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.” 

                 The people of Israel had long ago rejected a God Who was not like them.  Elijah highlights it in his taunting, “Shout louder.”  He just can’t hear you, he’s lost in thought, he’s gone on a trip, in the other room, he’s sleeping, he’s busy with someone who really got his attention… so they even go so far as to have their own blood pouring down their bodies.  Zeal and energy do not change the nature of what we are pursuing.  If it’s not God, no amount of dedication will make it any less… an idol.

                 Fortunately for us, God is not like we are.  His love is so much better than ours.  We have His complete and total attention at all times.  We don’t have to shout, we don’t have to dance.  He never leaves (for even a moment).  His only recorded trip is when God the Son entered this world as one of us.  And you don’t have to shed your blood to win over his heart, though he certainly wasn’t above shedding his blood to win yours.  The God who was rejected never… rejects us.  That’s a love worth shouting and dancing about!

                 Dear Jesus, help me battle the temptation to look for what I need anywhere besides you.  Thank you for your faithfulness to me.  May I proclaim that faithfulness to others.  Amen.

Quarantine Devotions Part IV

From Pastor May:

 Read Numbers 22:21-33

                As the Israelites drew ever closer to the Promised Land, King Balak of Moab grew increasingly nervous at the size of Israel.  He wanted them gone, but did not think his nation of Moab was strong enough to defeat them.  He sent for a famous pagan “seer” to put a curse on the nation of Israel.  This seer, Balaam eventually set out to perform his service to King Balak.  On the way, this “spiritual advisor” proves just how blind he is in spiritual matters.  He is surprised at the strange behavior of his donkey, a beast of burden who proves himself to be far wiser than his human master.

                The disciples who had been traveling with Jesus could claim much spiritual insight, especially in comparison to the Pharisees they had encountered.  But even Peter took offense to some of Jesus’ talk.  And their Teacher, on one occasion, told them to get out of the way, to make room for the simple children to get closer to him… trust like a child.

                And so we too can find ourselves blindly moving right past the truth.  We assume we have it all figured out, that God fits neatly into the box we place Him in… that He exists to take care of those problems we have… that we know how He operates.  This leads to anger at God, whenever He seems to be doing something we don’t understand.

                Jesus brings us to a different place.  He takes some (not all) of the mystery out of who God is.  If we want to know if God loves us, we look to the Savior who would die for us.  Is God on our side?  Hear Jesus’ promises of the Spirit in our lives.  Like His little children… trusting their Father… we know we can trust Him because of Who He is.  And we know He will bring us safely home to Him.

                Dear Father, thank You for showing Your love… in Your Son, and all he did for me.  May I rest in the knowledge of Your unfailing faithfulness.  Amen.

Quarantine Devotions Part III

From Pastor May:


Hebrews 2


I was a fairly new driver.  I felt something  roll against my foot.  I glanced down, grabbed the water bottle, glanced up… AND SLAMMED THE BREAKS!  Too late.  I struck the car in front of me, which then struck the car in front of them.  I had my first accident.  I got out, hands shaking.  A woman got out of her car and, visibly angered, said, “Well, should we call the police?”


An older gentlemen got out of his car.  After checking to see if we were all alright, and seeing that the damage was quite minor, he said, “Since everybody’s okay, let’s just exchange information.”  Looking at me, he smiled sympathetically and asked, “First accident?”  When I burst out into the most sincere apology of my life, he held up a hand and said, “Hey, don’t worry.  I know you didn’t do it on purpose, that’s why they’re called accidents, right?”  He winked, “And this isn’t a bad first one…”  That man remembered being in my place… and I never forgot it.


This chapter reminds us that Jesus became one of us, literally standing in our place.  And his time on earth was not complete until he suffered… in fact, the author of Hebrews talks about his time being perfected through suffering.  Humankind had lost the image of God, and Jesus came to restore it… to intercede with the Father on our behalf.  To do that, he had to become one of us… right down to the pain and death.  Jesus identified with us on the deepest level of what it means to struggle – to suffer – through this life.  And in doing so, he paid the price for our sins.  But his work didn’t end there; Hebrews reminds us that he became our sympathetic high priest.


That means that the one who is talking to the Father on our behalf is someone who has been there… and still walks with us.  As we go through our own trials and sufferings here in this life, we remember the one who walks with us.  When the Son of God became incarnate, it was our flesh he took on.  It’s our humanity which he still carries with him… so that humanity would be redeemed.  Our Savior loved us enough to join us… that we might join him, forever.


Gracious Heavenly Father, we know how easy it is to get focused on our own lives, on our own experiences.  We thank You for sending Your Son into this world… into our lives.  By the power of Your Spirit turn our hearts and minds outward to the situations of others.  May we never be afraid to suffer with one another, as that is what You would have us do.  It is what Your Son did for us.  I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Quarantine Devotions Part II

Ephesians 6:10-18

                A couple of years ago, my dad took up shooting.  I’ve gone with him a few times.  While we did have a lot of fun together, I’m not sure I will ever be the enthusiast that he is.  And the main reason is very basic: laziness.  I simply do not want to spend all of the required 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 who the real enemy is.  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 about 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 does not automatically impart itself to our brains.  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 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 promise of God.  Jesus’ gave his own life for the final victory.  And he goes with us until the final celebration.

Heavenly Father, Your Word brings life… and Your Word become flesh brought salvation to all.  Strengthen us by that Word.  Make us Your soldiers in every situation.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Greetings Trinity Lutheran

Blessings to you today and every day.  Wherever you happen to be this afternoon, this is the day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it!  Know that Vicar David, Terri, Becky, and I are praying for you all during this time. And we can’t wait to see your smiling faces!  And, for those of you who are still keeping yourselves distant socially, we hope we WILL get to see your face in the parking lot this coming Sunday.  You’ll be able to see and wave to each other.  And, so long as you’re in the lot, you’ll be able to hear the church service LIVE with your sisters and brothers (by simply tuning your car radio to 97.1 fm), with some additional assistance from your ever helpful Vicar!  If you feel safe enough to roll down your windows (no pressure at all) you’ll even be able to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood.

Regardless, every so often, we’ll be sending out a brief devotion (including one below), so you will have one more chance to be in God’s powerful Word.  Many blessings to you and yours!

Pastor Jeremy May


Read 1 Samuel 17:4-11, 37-50

                The giant of Israel’s enemies had Saul’s armies shaking where they stood.  He was too big, too powerful, too much for anyone to handle.  The Israelites had fallen into the sleep of the world: there is only one way to see things.  It might as well have been the slumbering slavery of Egypt all over again.

                But then again, what had happened to Egypt?  Their armies had been destroyed, hadn’t they? God had brought His people out of the land of slavery, with His mighty hand and outstretched arm… and He had promised He would continue to be with them.  God had awakened them, given them an identity, and brought them the new life that came with being in His people.

                David did nothing more than recall God’s promises. Goliath put his trust in his strength and size and weapons.  What did David trust in?  God’s promises.  “I come at you in the name of the LORD Almighty.”

                James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  Realize we are not on our own.  That the battle has, in fact, already been fought.  And it has been won!  Jesus wakes us up!  Not only to our own sinfulness, but to his salvation.  We trust in his victory… and a powerful victory it is!

God has brought His people out of slavery to sin and death, with His mighty hand and outstretched arm… and He has promised He would continue to be with you.  God has awakened you, given you an identity, and brought you the new life that comes with being in His people.

                Jesus, thank you for the victory won for me.  By the strength of your Spirit, may I fight against the temptations of the world, rather than passively giving in.  Forgive me when I fall, and strengthen me to continue until I see you face to face. Amen.