Posts

Showing posts from August, 2014

Jesus' power and grace

Image
In this short, well-known account we see a tremendous combination in Jesus: amazing power and amazing grace. The power is easy to find. He is the Son of God who was present at creation and whose power over nature cannot be denied. He demonstrates his control over the laws of chemistry and physics as he walks on water without getting wet. He tells the winds and waves to cease, and the sea is instantly calm. He transports a boat to shore in a heartbeat without sails, oars or a motor (John 6:21). His power is undeniable.
And so is his grace. When the disciples are afraid of drowning, Jesus comes near to them. When they are afraid he is a ghost, Jesus calms them by identifying himself. When Peter makes a bold request, Jesus grants it.
Now let’s zoom in to look a little closer. Stop and think for a minute. Do you suppose that Jesus was surprised by what happened next? Or did he know full well how this episode would play out? Was he playing a cruel joke on Peter, letting him think he could wa…

Worship Helps for Pentecost 12

Image
Title: Thou Shalt Break Them Artist: Jonathan Mayer www.scapegoatstudio.com
Worship Theme: The Christian answers doubt with faith. Doubt is the unfortunate companion of faith. Wherever faith clings to the promises of God, doubt is always right there lingering in the back of our mind, constantly asking the serpent’s Garden question, “Did God really say?” How striking to think that we must have faith in God before we can doubt him! Today’s lessons show us believers who had faith in God and his abilities to save them, but yet doubted when his plans or purpose failed to match theirs. In each case, it is adversity that fights against faith and allows its unfortunate companion to rear its ugly head. And in each case, the true answer to doubt is not found in the great miracle that removes adversity, but in the still small voice of our Savior God whispering in his Word. Today we hear our Savior God ask us, “Why did you doubt?”, and we see that the Christian answers doubt with faith.
Old Testament…

God is for us in every need

Image
Chapel Devotion at Shoreland Lutheran High School It was around the year 320 A.D. the Roman Emperor Licinius was persecuting Christians. In Armenia, his 12th Legion, nicknamed the “Thundering Legion,” had 40 men who had been converted and now were openly proclaiming Jesus as their Lord. To force a renunciation of the Savior, those 40 were sentenced to spend the night, naked, upon a frozen lake. A warm house, food and a hot bath were available to anyone who renounced the Savior. If you had been there that night, during the descending darkness, you could have heard their song to the Savior. The 40 sang, “O Lord, 40 wrestlers have come forth to fight for Thee. Grant that 40 wrestlers may gain the victory!” The song became softer as, during the night, one by one, they fell asleep, and died. Only one of the soldiers gave in. He left his comrades and went to the house where the centurion, with the execution squad, kept watch. In spite of the single desertion, the Holy Spirit used the song and f…

God is good ... all the time

Image
Matthew 14:13-21 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food." 16 Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." 17 "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered. 18 "Bring them here to me," he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked u…

Jesus meets our every need

Image
It is school time once again. Children are heading off to begin another year of learning. They are taking backpacks filled with new items: notebooks, pens, pencils, calculators. Their teachers sent to parents a list of items their children would need for school. Sadly, some families are not financially able to purchase all the items needed. Imagine the heartache—knowing what your child needs but being unable to provide it!
Thankfully, our Jesus is never in that position. Jesus is able to meet our every need. The Gospel of Matthew gives us an example of Jesus’ ability to meet the needs of people. Jesus had been preaching on a hillside to a great crowd of people—more than five thousand. It was late in the day and the crowd had nothing to eat. So, Jesus took five loaves of bread and two fish and miraculously multiplied them to feed the entire crowd. There were even twelve baskets of food left over after everyone had eaten—more food than there was to begin with!

Many of God’s people are fac…

Worship Helps for Pentecost 11

Image
Title: The Feeding of the Five Thousand Artist: Melanie Schuette
Worship Theme: The Christian trusts God to provide. God reveals his mighty power chiefly in showing mercy and kindness. God feeds hungry mouths and hungry souls with his gifts of grace. When we bring our problems to Jesus, he will richly supply all we need.
Old Testament:Genesis 41:41-49 So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt." 42 Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph's finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. 43 He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, "Make way!" Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. 44 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt." 45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On…

God's Treasures

Image
Matthew 13:44-46 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Social media was filled this past week with two very different and distinct stories. The first was the news that Robin Williams had taken his own life. Many of us knew him from his famous roles in “Mork and Mindy,” “Dead Poets Society,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” and “Good Will Hunting.” Our children knew him as the cross-dressing Mrs. Doubtfire and the voice for the multi-dimensional Genie in “Aladdin.” Many of us, also, probably knew about Williams’ battles with alcohol, drugs and depression. What we do not know much about was Williams’ faith. He was raised as a child in the EpiscopalianChurch. But he seemed to separate himself from his …