Job 6:1, 7:1–21; Acts 10:1–16; John 7:1–13
Have you ever been surrounded by people who just do not have your back? It seems that they do not even understand what is really important to you and even who you really are? Well, you are not alone.
In our reading today, we hear how Jesus’ own brothers are not all convinced that he is the Messiah. It is as if they are saying, “If you’re so important, then you should really go to this annual festival where you can do great and wonderful things to further convince people of who you are.” They were making fun of Jesus, not caring that such a public appearance would endanger Jesus’ life or that this was not the right time for such events to unfold.
We learn from Jesus that we should keep our eyes on God and his purpose for us. We learn from Jesus not to be influenced or manipulated by those around us, but to stay focused in the Lord.
Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, that you lead and direct our ways. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Heidi Punt, Pastor of Christ United Lutheran Church in Granite Falls, NC.
Job 6:1–4, 8–15, 21; Acts 9:32–43; John 6:60–71
Peter and the disciples of the early church did many miracles (deeds of power) as a part of their witnessing to the fact that Jesus is Lord. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, God’s enemy (1 John 3:8). Anything that takes away our hope, our joy, our peace is an enemy of God. Yet, we know God does use our suffering to discipline us (Heb 12:5-11). However, many times the only reason we find ourselves in circumstances “less then perfect” is because we sin or someone sins against us. So where does disease and death fit into this picture?
According to this passage in Acts, God is willing to free us from illness and death. Faith is exercised by the disciples in proclaiming the healing and raising from the dead. The final purpose is to show that the God who raised Jesus from the dead is more powerful than any power which makes us “not whole.” When we have a need, we go to God in prayer with faith and wait for him to do as he pleases. Then we say, “thank you.” As others see the power of God at work, they will believe with us, and we can rejoice together.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may your healing touch bring us to wholeness in mind, body, and spirit, according to your will and in your time. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by David Hefner, Pastor of Shiloh Lutheran Church in Hickory, NC.
Job 4:1; 5:1–11; 17–21; 26–27; Acts 9:19b–31; John 6:52–59
How many of us own storage cases housing sentimental pieces of our past? How many of us linger over photographs of ancestors? How many of us long for particular foods simply because they restore memories of someone we loved? While there is value in appreciating the things of the past, we often fail at living in the present because we focus so much on what has been.
Jesus is forward thinking. Some form of the word “live” appears six times in these seven verses. His instruction, his focus, and his very sacrifice are for our gain. Life continues in and through him, and for all eternity. Our resurrected Lord continually offers us Living Bread.
We stare for hours at photographs of loved ones, hold on to treasures, and eat particular foods to trigger responses to things of the past. Yet, Jesus willingly meets us in the here and now, with the promise of eternal life. How much more should we eagerly partake of the life-giving food offered by our living Savior?
Prayer: Lord of life, we praise you for your sacrifice and invitation to join you at the table, and pray that we would live wholly unto you. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Tonya Brittain, Pastor of First English Lutheran Church, Marysville, OH.
Summer Sermon Series – Sacrament of Holy Baptism
Titus 3 and Matthew 28:19-20
Pastor Dieter Punt
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church – Troutman, NC
Friend, Move Up Higher
Luke 14:1-14, Hebrews 13:1-17, Proverbs 25:2-7
Pastor David Nuottila
Union Lutheran Church – Salisbury, NC
A Lesson on Humility – Luke 14:1,7-14
Pastor Stéphane Kalonji
Reformation Lutheran Church – New Bern, NC
Sermon for Pentecost 15C
Proverbs 25:2–10; Psalm 131:1–3; Hebrews 13:1–17; Luke 14:1–14
Pastor Mark Ryman
Grace Lutheran Church, Advance, NC
Revelation 4:1–11; Mark 6:1–6a
My dad was known for his colorful language, which he passed on to my brother, Lloyd. When I told my family I was going to seminary, Lloyd asked me if my becoming a pastor meant he could not “cuss” in front of me anymore. I told him it might be a good idea for him to clean up his language anyway—but I am not sure he took it to heart! As Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.”
When Jesus returned home and taught in the synagogue, his reception was lukewarm at best. After all, this was the hometown boy they all knew as a child and youth; how could he have any relevant wisdom to pass on to those who knew him when?
Jesus marveled at their unbelief, yet God often sends to us signs and messages from the least likely sources. The better part of faith is learning to hear and see God’s presence in the unexpected, the too-familiar, the taken-for-granted. So God came to us in human form, the Word made flesh in a hometown boy who embodied God’s supreme message of forgiveness, reconciliation, and salvation.
Prayer: Lord God, keep our hearts open to receive your Word as he comes to us in ways we may not expect, that we may be blessed by your holy presence in every aspect of our lives. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Marty Ramey, interim Pastor of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Monroe, NC.
Job 3:1–36; Acts 9:10–19a; John 6:41–51
At the 2014 NALC Convocation in Charleston, SC, The Voice of the Martyrs witnessed to the transformation of souls, regardless of the cost, to witness and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Nearly two dozen years earlier, 1991 brought the release of the movie “Terminator 2.” All the characters from the original, sci-fi, run-for-your-life movie were there, but with one important difference. The “terminator” had been transformed. The Schwarzenegger-droid had threateningly vowed, “I’ll be back,” at the conclusion of the first “terminator” movie. His promise was fulfilled in this movie, but in a totally unexpected manner. He returned as a “good guy.”
Almost two millennia ago, in Saul of Tarsus’ conversion, we see a transformation of a really bad guy into an extraordinarily good guy. But his transformation was not brought about by computers. It took place under the power of The Holy Spirit and the words of Jesus Christ! The Lord transformed Saul of Tarsus into Paul the great missionary and author of more than a third of the New Testament. God is still in the transforming business!
Prayer: Lord, transform us to radiate the glory of Jesus. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Thomas W. Corbell, Pastor of Mt. Hermon Lutheran Church in Statesville, NC.
Job 2:1–13; Acts 9:1–9; John 6:27–40
Within months, Tom’s wife died of cancer and his son-in-law from a lightning strike. Suffering from debilitating lung disease himself, and laboring to speak, he demanded, “Why is all of this happening to me?”
Tom was a decent and kind man who was in worship each week and, even attached to a portable oxygen tank, looked to the needs of family and church. Yet, tragedy was no stranger to his life. Why? The Book of Common Prayer states: “In the midst of life we are in death.” Death is not usually personal. Lightning strikes where it will; it does not take aim. Life and therefore, death, happen to us all.
Still, it was important for Tom to find some meaning in all this death, so he asked, “Why?” Sitting with him day after day, I reminded him that death is always with us and asked: “What are you going to do with your life now, when death is all around you?”
Believing in the Son who came to bring life in a world filled with death is the only good response. It is the will of God that even when all seems hopeless, we look to the Son and believe. In this is eternal life.
Today’s devotion was written by Mark Ryman, Communications Coordinator for the NALC.
Job 1:1–22; Acts 8:26–40; John 6:16–27
After being miraculously fed, the crowd looked for Jesus to see what else he could do for them (maybe provide more free meals?). But they did not realize what the miracle actually revealed to them. Jesus refused to encourage them by providing more material satisfaction. Jesus wanted them to understand that he could supply their deeper needs of forgiveness and salvation. This is why he told them: “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”
Lots of people come to Jesus today for the material things he can give them. As he told the people back then, so he tells us today: come to me for your spiritual needs. Your heavenly Father knows your earthly needs; seek first the Kingdom of God, and the rest will be taken care of (Matt 6:33). Jesus desires that we should follow him not for the material benefits, but for the spiritual benefits. He alone can provide the food that endures to eternal life. He is that food. As we receive him by faith we partake of the Bread of Life and live forever.
Prayer: God, grant us faith to receive Christ always, to be nourished by him, the true Bread of Life, and enable us to share him with others so that we might all live forever. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Carl Haynes, Pastor of Christiana Lutheran Church in Salisbury, NC.
Judges 18:16–31; Acts 8:14–25; John 6:1–15
My dad caught a twelve pound large-mouth bass in Orlando. He had it mounted and it hung on the wall of our Florida Room for many years. He was proud of his catch and because it meant a lot to him, he would say, “There’s no amount of money I’d take for that fish.”
Peter told the magician, Simon, that there was no amount of money that could buy the power he wanted. The Holy Spirit’s value is in the faith of those who receive it. God’s grace and will infuse the believer with the Spirit. If your heart is not right before God, then no matter what you have or what you have achieved can earn it.
We are but vessels to carry this great gift of grace. We are not in this relationship with God at our bidding, but at God’s. He has called us through the gospel, enlightened us with his gifts, and brought us to true faith. The operative word is “brought.” We did not search it out and obtain it. It is always God’s choice and always God’s action that allows us to participate in his plan of salvation.
Prayer: Lord, strengthen my faith. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Randy Conley, Pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Hubbard Lake, MI.
Judges 18:1–15; Acts 8:1–13; John 5:30–47
Following the martyrdom of Stephen, Scripture tells us persecution arose against the Church. A great number of Christians were thrown into prison for their alleged blasphemy, while others, including Saul the Pharisee, stood by in approval. He too went from house to house and dragged believers away because of their faith.
In the far reaches of our present world, brutal persecutions against Christians still exist in terms that are all too real. Across the globe, Christians are imprisoned, tortured, and even killed because they confess Christ crucified and risen. Yet, just as it was in for the earliest Christians, the gospel of Christ Jesus has the power to overcome the powers of evil and the Church continues to grow.
Wherever the gospel travels, there are challenges to faith which give rise to unexpected joy. Following the stoning of Stephen, many Christians escaped similar fates by fleeing to neighboring lands. Those who fled did not remain silent. Philip traveled to Samaria, preaching the gospel with boldness and passion, leading a great number of people to be baptized. And lest we forget, along the Damascus Road, the power of the risen Christ overcame the greatest persecutor of all.
Prayer: Almighty God, by the power of your Holy Spirit, let us speak your Word boldly so that all may come to know your grace. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by David Nuottila, Pastor of Union Lutheran Church in Salisbury, NC.