Category Archives: Morning devotions

EASTER!

CHRIST HAS RISEN!

HE HAS RISEN INDEED!

ALLELUIA!

Enough said :)

Have a great Easter day celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Let us pray,
Loving God, through the resurrection of Jesus, you son, you destroyed death and gave hope to the world.  May the words, “He has risen”, speak life to those gathered for worship that they may go out and speak these same words.  Bless those who preach and lead worship.  Bless those who lead music.  Bless those who work behind the scenes.  May you be glorified, may faith be created and/or strengthened and may our worship be pleasing in your sight.  Thank you, O God, for your awesome grace and mercy.  Through Jesus Christ our RISEN Lord and Savior, Amen!

The pastor -|—

Sunday is coming

It’s Saturday.

It is the day between Good Friday and Easter.

A dark day.

A bitter-sweet day.

But for those first disciples this had to be a day of deep darkness and hopelessness.  Think about it:  Their teacher, Messiah, friend, hope had been killed and placed in a tomb.  All of their dreams of a new kingdom had been completely destroyed.  Now what?   Their fear of the Jews kept them locked inside but I can’t imagine they would even want to leave anyway.  I would want to stay curled up in bed…forever.

Jesus is dead.

But we are not living in those days.

We know something that they didn’t know then.

It is 2013 and we are living in the days after that first Easter morning.  We are living in the days when we know what happens next.  It is Saturday, but Sunday is coming.

EmptyTomb-50JESUS HAS RISEN!

Dark days come and go in our lives.  Hopelessness enters the scene from time to time.  There may be days when you feel like curling up in a ball and staying in bed.  But know this…

JESUS HAS RISEN!  HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

Ever since that day when Jesus defeated Satan and destroyed the grip of death, Satan has been trying to shoot arrows of hopelessness at God’s children.  But know this…remember this…boldly proclaim this…

JESUS HAS RISEN!  HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

Satan has been defeated.  His arrows are powerless.  His threats are empty.  Death still remains but death does not have the final word.  Why?  Because…

JESUS HAS RISEN!  HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

Have a blessed Saturday knowing that tomorrow is Sunday; that tomorrow is EASTER :)

The pastor -|—

Wave those branches loudly

Palm-Sunday

Wave those Palm branches to the glory of God and don’t be silent.

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
[Luke 19:38-40]

Let us pray…
Loving God, we enter another Holy Week.  We will hear the same story.  We will participate in the same worship services.  But your story is anything but business as usual. The Passion of Jesus is anything but old news.  I ask that you may make this story come alive for us so that we can see once again your amazing grace; not old news but Good News.  We are sinners, O God, with very short attention spans and therefore we need to hear this story over and over again.  Work faith where needed.  Strengthen faith where needed.  And in the end may we seek you with our whole lives.  May we cry out to you in praise so the rocks will have no reason to take our place. To you who is worthy of all worship, honor and praise…in Jesus name…Amen!

Blessings to you on this Palm Sunday and during your journey through Holy Week as we approach the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The pastor -|—

Let us rejoice!

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it :)

Let us pray…

Holy God, we come before you in awe of you awesome love and grace. Mere words do not adequately express what you mean to us.  But we still come here this morning with various concerns and needs.  We come here with anxiety or worry; with illnesses or doubts.  At times we feel caged in and surrounded by the enemy.  But through Jesus you have overcome the world; you have defeated the enemy.  Please give us an overwhelming sense of this promise and instill in our hearts a peace that goes beyond all understanding.  May we know your awesome love and may you show us your amazing grace once again.  Please destroy all selfishness that we bring this morning so we may give you our complete attention; worshiping and praising your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.

We indeed have a great God.  May you be blessed as you worship our holy and awesome God.  May your faith be strengthened through His holy Word.  And may your fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ serve to lift one another up.

May God bless your day.

The pastor -|—

Because you say so

Do we really need another reason?

Awesome and holy God, to look around is to see your awesome power and your holiness.  But too often we are blinded by our own short-sightedness.  We are distracted by our limited abilities and flawed wisdom.  If only we were to stop and listen and look would we see your faithfulness and strength and power.  You are holy.  You and you alone see the whole and complete picture.  May we respond to your voice; may we walk by faith and not by sight; may we marvel at the glory of your name.  Because you say so God, may we follow.  Because you say so may we listen.  Because you say so may we trust. Now may the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our Rock and Redeemer, Amen.

May God bless your day :)

The pastor -|—

Use us

A morning prayer as you prepare for your day.  May you know the blessings of God and wonders of his awesome love.  Let us pray…

Loving and gracious Father…you have given us a mighty task; to use our spiritual gifts for the common good.  But too often we are swayed by the world to promote ourselves therefore misusing those gifts.  Please grant us the faith to see what you have done for us so that we may do everything in our power to use what you have given us for the common good.  May we not be so selfish, conceited, arrogant or puffed up that we miss golden opportunities to advance the Gospel.  And…as we use our gifts, may you be glorified in all that we do and say.

Awesome God ~ I lift up to you this morning all who preach your Word.  May they be faithful to the Word and proclaim your promises through Jesus Christ with boldness and confidence. May those servants not conform to the world but be instruments that transform the world by the renewing of hearts and minds.

Faithful God ~ I also lift up to you all those who will hear your Word this morning.  Create faith where it is lacking; strengthen faith where it is weak; renew faith where it has grown stale.  May the power of your Word do its thing as it leads us out to advance the Gospel.

Oh God, you are an awesome God.  You saved us.  You remade us.  You gave us hope through Jesus Christ.  May you be glorified for you are worthy.  All praise, worship and honor be to you, Oh God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!

The pastor -|—

The Feast

This morning the preaching text is John 2:1-11; Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana. This miracle is labeled the first of Jesus’ miraculous signs.  It also serves as a bookend to the Gospel of John.  In this miracle we see the promise and then at the end of John we see how Jesus is going to accomplish the promise.

The promise ~ The best is yet to come.
How? ~ The cross and the empty tomb.

The rest of the Gospel of John fills in the blanks with proclamations of forgiveness; more miracles (in case this one wasn’t enough to show you that Jesus is the one who is to come), awesome acts of mercy, instructions on how to carry on with this ministry and encouragement to endure to the end.  The Gospel of John is plump full of “good stuff” that carries us to the BEST of what is to come.  This life is not it so don’t cling to it as if it is.

Let’s pray together as we prepare to worship this morning:
Loving God, through Jesus you show us that you have prepared something much better for us.  Through Jesus you give us hope that this world is not our final reality.  Through Jesus you give us a foretaste of the feast to come; a great feast that will have no end.  May we not cling to this life as if it is the final course.  May we not try to build this life in such a way that it ends up being our final course.  But…may this life just be a teaser for the Great Banquet that has been prepared and where; through faith in Jesus, we have a seat reserved.  Tempt our “taste buds” to seek Jesus more and more. And may we also seek to share this feast with others.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen!

The table has been set, let us feast together :)

The pastor -|—

Sanitize and Repent

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
[Luke 3:7-8]

This influenza season has gotten me more nervous than any other I can remember.  The number of people being hospitalized and/or dying is alarming.  People young and healthy are succumbing to this illness…and quickly.  So I have started taking precautions:

~ I’m washing my hands more.
~ Using hand sanitizer more.
~ I am suspending hand shaking during worship.
~ We are wiping down and disinfecting commonly touched surface areas around the church building.
~ I am being very diligent…more so than any other year.

When I hear of a friend or someone I know getting sick my heart skips a beat or two.  Recently…someone I know was hospitalized with influenza A and pneumonia.  I am praying hard for healing.

And I know I am not the only one concerned about this flu season.
I know I am not the only one taking extra precautions.
I know I am not the only one changing my life and routines.

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance

And why doesn’t the epidemic of sin cause people to be just as diligent (or even more) about their lives.  I mean…sin is a lot more deadly than any influenza strain nature can devise.  Yet…we often take sin for granted.  We come to worship; confess our sins and then go home feeling some emotion or sense of satisfaction.

But…

is there any life change?
is there any repentance?
is there any running away from that confessed sin?

Or…

Do we continue in our illness, embracing the symptoms, and running to our death?  Sounds dramatic, I know, but sin needs to be taken seriously because God takes it seriously.

How seriously?

Look to the cross; that wooden instrument of death that Jesus was nailed to, suffered upon and died upon.  Jesus died on that cross; taking our sin with him and announcing forgiveness and giving us hope.  But more than that, God gave us the cure to this deadly disease.  God gave us life.

Through confession we expose our disease to God and receive the cure.  But what next?  Sanitize/Repent and produce fruit in keeping with repentance.

Why?  Because of fear of retaliation from God?

NO!

Because God has given us an amazing gift.
Because God has shown us amazing grace.
Because God has given us an amazing future.
Because God is worthy.

Be healthy and produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Sanitize your life.  Run away from sin.  Embrace the love of God.  AND…praise God always and forever. Sin is deadly, but Jesus is for us.

Have a great day :)

The pastor -|—

Morning preparations

Loving and gracious God, I come before you today ready to worship.  Not just during the “organized” time with others but right now and every minute after this.  And as I come ready to worship I come ready to hear a word from you.  May my heart be ready to receive so that you may be glorified in my life.

Lord God, I also lift up to you all those called to preach your word; those pastors and lay ministers preparing to lead worship.  May they be faithful in their task and bold to proclaim your word.  It is too often tempting to tame things down so we might appeal better to others, but may we not be swayed by man but be led by your Spirit.

Faithful God, I also lift up to you all others who are preparing for this day.  May they, through your Spirit, remember what you have done for them in Jesus and be led to worship; for you are worthy.  

O God, you are so worthy.

Thank you for your grace; for it is through your grace that we may have any hope beyond this life.  Thank you for your love; for it is through your love that you offer us forgiveness.  Thank you for your mercy; for it is through your mercy that we are saved.

O God, you are so worthy.  May your name be praised always and forever.  In Jesus name I pray…Amen!

May God bless your day :)

The pastor -|—

 

O God of grace

O God of grace, we praise you for the boundless love you have shown us; for the amazing forgiveness you give to us.  We thank you for your presence; for your guiding spirit in our lives.  We worship you for you are holy and great and wonderful and majestic.  O God, in what sometimes feels like the same old thing we ask that we may have inspired eyes to see you at work; ears to hear of your mercies.  And as we see and hear may we be so bold to live out loud to your glory.  O God, thank you for this new day; may you receive all praise, honor, glory and worship; forever and ever, Amen.

My friends…you were wonderfully created…may God bless your day that you may be a blessing to others.

The pastor -|—