Tag 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 -|—

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 -|—

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 -|—

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 -|—

Formless…for now

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. [Genesis 1:1-2]

The New Year’s parties are done and many of you are back to work or school.  And with the work week resuming; 2012 seems to be a distant memory with 2013 in full swing.  Now we are left to wonder what this new year will bring.  A couple days ago we contemplated the ending of one year and dreamed dreams of what 2013 might bring.  Now it is here.

For some 2013 can’t be any worse than 2012.
For some 2013 can’t possibly be any better than 2012…can it?
For some 2013 brings with it new challenges.
For some 2013 brings with it tremendous changes.

But one thing we can all agree on:  Right now…2013 is formless and void.  There’s no shape.
There’s no light.
We are simply sitting in an empty page; one yet to be written.  A story is out there…somewhere.  A plot yet unknown.

But in the midst of this unknown our Creator is hoovering.  God is waiting to reveal the next pages in this new chapter.  God is waiting to reveal the beauty that is your life.  The Creator is over the surface of (and within) our lives.  The Creator is hard at work and this Creator is faithful.

I imagine that the early days of this formless creation was a scary looking place, but in the hands of the Creator…not so much.  It may seem scary looking into 2013 but God is a faithful and loving God. He has your hand; He has your future…secure.  Through Jesus Christ that which is unknown becomes known and certain.  2013 maybe unknown, formless and void but our ultimate destiny is indeed known, formed and filled…through faith in Jesus.

God is hovering over and within this formless new year but that which is formless will become a beauty to behold.  Such is your life in Jesus Christ.  Let’s enter this new year with confidence that the Creator of the universe is our loving and grace-filled God; one who sent Jesus to give us a future. Let’s walk by faith and not by sight.  Our Creator is hard at work.

Happy New Year!

The pastor -|—

Praise in 2013

Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
[Psalm 150]

Loving and gracious God, we give you thanks and praise as we begin another new year together.  As I look back there have been ups and downs; joys and sorrows; happiness and sadness; but through it all you have been there.  There is much to be thankful for and much to praise you for.  As we begin this new year together may we not stray from your commandments and may we not forget who’s we are.  May we make the most of every moment to glorify your name and take advantage of every opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus. Loving God, all that we have is from you.  May we use what you have given us to bless one another in this new year and beyond.  May you receive all glory, honor, praise and worship.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen!

Happy New Year everyone!

Praise be to God…always and forever!

The pastor -|—

Jumping off into 2013

…and just like that, life is returning to “normal”.

The hustle and bustle
The frantic gift searching
The multiple sermon writing sessions
The celebratory aroma in the air
The ugly Christmas sweaters
My wife’s delicious homemade fudge

…all seem to be gone with the wind.  The warmth of the Christmas season has seemly been replaced with a Wind Chill Advisory; reminding us of the cold tundra that we live in here in the upper Midwest. And even though we are technically still in the Christmas season, it seems a distant memory in the rear view mirror. The calendar has now crept up to the precipice of a new year where we are forced to jump off and see what 2013 will bring us.

And even though I enjoy Christmas, I am looking forward to jumping off this proverbial cliff (and not the fiscal one).  I am excited to see what this new year will bring.

I am looking forward to:
~ (God willing) Welcoming a new baby into our family.
~ Running some more 1/2 marathons.
~ Reading more books.

I am looking forward to seeing:
~ What God is going to do here through Salem and Belmont Lutheran Churches?
~ How God will continue to mold and shape and use me in the body of Christ?
~ What kind of father I will be?
~ How our lives will change with a baby in the mix?

I am looking forward to continuing:
~ My spiritual discipline of writing (here on this blog).
~ My spiritual discipline of scripture reading.
~ My spiritual discipline of prayer.
~ My spiritual discipline of worship.
~ Etc…

And if you need a New Year’s resolution allow me to suggest that you chose a spiritual discipline for yourself to focus on.
~ Start a Bible reading plan.  Maybe it’s not a one year through the Bible plan but commit to reading scripture everyday.
~ Pray daily.  When you wake up in the morning start your day conversing with God. Praise him for what He has done; thank Him for what He has done for you; offer up your petitions and listen.
~ Worship…daily. Worship God through how you live and respond to the needs of others…daily. Worship God with your whole life; everywhere and at every time. And of course, worship with the body of Christ on a weekly basis.
~ Write. Jot down your thoughts as you pray and/or read.  Record what you hear God speaking to you.

…and that is just the start :)

So…as you jump off this proverbial cliff into 2013 remember that we are never in control.  You never are as you free fall.  But as you do make that leap (or I guess I should say as you are pushed over because we are going over into 2013 whether we like it or not) place your trust in God’s grace.  Remember that his mercies are new everyday and that his love is never ending.  And remember that God is faithful (even when we are faithless).  In the end God will be glorified.

So here we go…ready or not.  God bless us as we “fall” into a new year.  See you in 2013 :)

All praise, glory and honor to God.  Amen.

The pastor -|—

Merry Christmas

Manger

This is such an exciting time of the year.  I love the worship services and the Christmas preaching.  I love the family gatherings and the yummy food.  I love the Christmas cheer and even the ugly Christmas sweaters. It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year.

This past week I have been feeling anything but 100%. A nasty head cold (with a 101.6 temp a week ago yesterday) made Christmas preparations difficult.  My wife got my yuck on Wednesday and is still recovering. But through it all sermons got written, worships got planned and God was glorified.  Satan did his best to try to derail me but as I wrote about earlier, it was a nice shot but not nearly good enough.  Christmas Eve worship was a blast and I can hardly wait to get out to Belmont to lead Christmas Day worship.

So from me and my wife to you and your family, we hope and pray you have a wonderful Christmas as we give thanks and praise to our great God for the gift of Jesus Christ.  May the Light of the world bring you peace not just today but throughout the whole year.  Let us set aside our differences and seek to forgive as we have been forgiven.  Let us re-prioritize our worship that God through Jesus Christ is the focus and not something/someone of this world.  Let us find strength and hope in the promise of Jesus’ return as we seek to take advantage of every opportunity to share the Good News with all.

God bless and have a very Merry Christmas!

The pastor -|—