Devotions from Pastor Mike

April 15th, 2020

Good morning people for whom Christ died and rose again. Psalm 81 starts with praise to God in verses 1-5 then God Himself speaks and reminds them of His care for them. Then He warns them, “Hear, O my people, and I will warn you—if you would but listen to me, O Israel! You shall have no foreign god among you…” Then He says in verse 11. “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.” Whenever people say “Why would a loving God let bad things happen.”Here is the answer just like in Romans 1. God warns but He does not force you to love Him. Ezekiel’s call is to this same stubborn people in Ezekiel 3 we have God’s call to Ezekiel. God says, “The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, “This is what the sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them.” Will we listen? In Matthew 4 we have the temptation of Jesus by Satan. Satan attacks our weak points and manipulates our perceived strengths. He attacks Christ’s physical hunger in an almost caring manner. Feigned concern. When Jesus uses scripture to counter Satan the the Devil uses scripture to try and manipulate Jesus and God the Father. Jesus uses scripture properly to refute him. Finally Satan blatantly asks for worship and Jesus uses scripture again to counter. Let’s be aware of Satan’s methods. God bless you all.

April 14th, 2020

Praise the Lord for the sunshine this morning. We start in Psalm 80. A Psalm asking God to cease His punishment of Israel and to restore His people to their former state. “Restore us, O God; make your face shine upon us that we may be saved.” This is repeated two more times like a chorus (These are Psalms after all). The purpose of the judgment was to cause repentance and a return to the Lord. In Ezekiel we come across his fantastic vision of the throne of God coming to earth. Compare this with John’s vision of the throne in heaven in Revelation 1. Israel’s promises are earth bound, a Christians hope is in heaven. Ezekiel is an exile in Babylon taken there after the second invasion of Israel by the Babylonians. He falls before the throne of God that stands before him. In Matthew 3 John the Baptist preaches the gospel of repentance. Turn from your sin and follow Jesus who comes to inaugurate His earthly ministry by ritual baptism. Jesus had nothing to repent of and that is revealed with God the Father’s declaration that He is “well pleased with His Son.” Have a blessed day everyone.

April 13th, 2020

Good Monday morning dear people. We are in Psalm 79 and Lamentations 5 today. Both are mourning the total destruction of Jerusalem and ask that they not continue to suffer for the sins of their fathers. It reminds us of the commandment that the sins of the fathers are felt to “third and fourth generation.” A society that abandons God will suffer oppression, violence and tyranny for years at times. Then in Matthew 2 we come to the visit of the Magi. Matthew records this in order to show that even the gentiles worshiped Jesus as king of the Jews. Herod pretended to want to worship Jesus as well but an angel warned the Magi to go a different way. Joseph was awakened as well that night and he and Mary fled to Egypt in fulfillment of the prophecy of “Out of Egypt I have called my Son.” They returned to Nazareth for practical reasons but it was also in fulfillment of the prophecy that a Jesus would be called a Nazarene. There is a Nazareth vow in the Old Testament but the village was not established until much latter. God bless you all.

April 12th, 2020

Good morning! Happy resurrection Sunday. Today we look at Mary Magdalene as she returns to the tomb crying. One of the two angels asked “Why are you crying?” She turns and Jesus is standing behind her. She thinks He is the gardener until He speaks her name. Her grief blinded her to the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. He asks her to stop clinging to Him as He is going to the Father. The relationship has changed. Jesus is done with His earthly ministry and is sending the Holy Spirit who will in dwell every believer soon (Pentecost). Then Jesus appears to the disciples without Thomas being present. Thomas says he won’t believe until he sees the marks of crucifixion on Jesus’ hands and side. A week latter Jesus returns and tells Thomas to put his finger in His hand and put his hand in Jesus’ side. Thomas exclaims “My Lord and my God.” Jesus accepts Thomas’ worship and points out how blessed we are to believe without having seen what Thomas did. I pray all who read this will have believed and therefore be blessed. God bless all of you.

April 11th, 2020

Good morning dear people. Let’s look at the 7 recorded sayings of Jesus on the cross. “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Unlike Pilate and the Jewish leaders these soldiers did not know the enormity of their sin of crucifying the Lord of glory. “Today you will be with Me in paradise.” Jesus’ promise to the repentant thief on the cross. Hope in the midst of sorrow. “Dear woman here is your son, and to the disciple (John), here is your mother.” Jesus turning care of His mother to the “beloved disciple.” “My God my God why have you forsaken me.” Jesus had to be forsaken because He had become sin for us. “I am thirsty.” His humanity emphasized. “It is finished.” The price of redemption had been paid in full. “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” We will all say that at some point, best to know the person who said that upon the cross. God bless all of you. Thanks for reading and watching.