Friday Easter 3


#DailyDevotion What Should Really Comfort Christians At Christian Funerals-Eating Fish

 

Friday Easter 3

Luke 24:39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them,  “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.

 

If only Christians focused on passages like this I think Christian funerals would be so much better. There is so much half-cocked, bad theology, out there particularly at funerals, it really isn’t comforting at all. It may be for people who aren’t Christians. But it’s just stuff you read on the headlines of the National Enquirer or from spiritual gurus like Ophrah. But several things we can just strike from our Christian conversations is stuff like, they’re an angel now looking out for you, they’re a spirit forever now no longer shackled by this flesh, they’re in heaven forever now, and other things that completely ignore this passage.

 

What does this passage tell us that is should be so comforting at funerals for Christians. Jesus is risen bodily from the dead. Yes Jesus died and he was buried, but on the third day he rose from the dead. He didn’t rise a spirit. He rose bodily. He woke up Sunday morning and picked up his bag of bones and walked out of the tomb.

 

Jesus shows himself to the disciples. Touch and see him. He isn’t a spirit. He is flesh and bones. Just to prove the point he ask for something to eat to show it doesn’t just fall out. He can eat like a real human being because that is what he is.

 

While in the resurrection our bodies may be spiritual, that doesn’t mean spirit bodies. It means our real flesh and bone bodies are no longer controlled and run over by sin as they are now. The Spirit of God will run our flesh at the resurrection, that is to say, our wills and God’s will, will be one. We will no longer be sinful. Death will no longer run our lives. The love of God will be the premier thought in our minds and living out in our bodies.

 

While we may not know exactly what our bodies will be like, they will be material like Jesus’ risen body. They will also be like Jesus’ glorified body. Our body will me immortal, imperishable, and glorious like Jesus’ risen body. And we will live with God in these bodies here in the new heavens and new earth. The world to come will be a very material existence. We may not know what all we will be doing there, but we will be doing it better than are doing life now in these bodies broken by death. So if you really want to comfort Christian families at funerals, remind them how Jesus rose from the dead, bodily and ate fish. Remind them that Jesus is going to raise their loved one from the dead in similar fashion to live with Christ forever in a new world and that that is their faith, they will join them.

 

Heavenly Father, grant us such faith in Jesus that at the resurrection of all flesh, we may be raised like Jesus to eternal life to live and dwell with you, Christ and the Holy Spirit the new world you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Thursday Easter 3


#DailyDevotion Jesus Brings The Peace, The Shalom Of The Father To Us

Thursday Easter 3

Luke 24:36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them,  “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

 

Shalom! Peace to you Jesus says to his apostles that late Easter evening as he appears to them behind a locked door. Peace, a word they need to hear. They have been locked up over the weekend for fear of what happened to Jesus was going to happen to them. The need peace because they one they abandoned stood among them. What was he going to tell them or do to them? He tells them Shalom! Peace!

 

Yet they do not receive his peace. They doubt instead in their hearts that it is really Jesus. They think it is a spirit, a ghost. Remember how they acted when they saw Jesus waking on the water. If someone just appeared out of nowhere I imagine we would probably act in similar fashion. But Jesus’ peace they needed to hear. Startled and frightened was their reaction. Only the peace which Jesus gives could calm their trouble hearts. Consequently, his peace is what calms our troubled hearts as well.

 

The disciples were very troubled at his appearance and we deliberating if what they were seeing was real. Jesus asked why were they that way. He had appeared to the women at the tomb. They had heard that message. Jesus had appeared with two disciples from Emmaus and they had heard their message. They still did not believe the word Jesus had sent with them. Why did they no believe? Why were they still troubled? We must remember that they did not have the Holy Spirit like you and I have received it. He was not yet operating among them like he operates in the world today.

 

But blessed are you. You have heard the message of peace from the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit has been operating on you and you believed the good news. Great joy is now ours. We may have our doubts on occasion. The devil, the world and our own flesh never give up on us. In similar fashion, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit do not give up on us either. His word of peace still stands for us. We should cast those doubts aside look at the cross and know there peace with God and peace with our fellow man was won for us there. Jesus died there but more than that rose from the dead as the witnesses testify. He is alive. He is no ghost. He is risen. If Jesus is risen, and he is, then the work he performed for us has God’s seal of approval. The Father is reconciled with you and the whole world. Death has its notice. It has no claim on you. Eternal life is now yours in Christ Jesus. Satan cannot accuse you. The accusations of the law have been nailed to the cross. Peace to you. Shalom.

 

Heavenly Father, you sent your only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross and rise from the dead that we may know your peace. Grant us this peace always that we may spread it to our fellow man and live in it with you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Wednesday Easter 3


#DailyDevotion The Hope Of The Gospel Purifies Us From All Sin

Wednesday Easter 3

1 John 3:3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

 

Whoa! Katie hold the horses! Well that’s what I think when I read verses five and six particularly verse six. But we have to remember there are lot of verses before verse six and a couple of chapters. But let’s start at verse three.

 

It is the hope of the resurrection, being like Jesus when he appears and being children of the Father that purifies us as he is pure. It is the good news of Jesus Christ that grants us faith. The Holy Spirit takes us residence in us, makes us born from above, gives new desires, affections, motions and actions. He does not permit us to sin but engages us in good works. Jesus appeared to take away sins. He took our sins from us on the cross; nailed them to it right along with the law that curse us.

 

So if we are abiding in Jesus why does it appear we keep on sinning and don’t know Jesus? Well it depends on who or what is actually sinning.  Now in the first chapter John told us, “if we say we have no sin, the truth is not in us.” He also said he was telling us this good news so we would not sin. If we did sin, we have an advocate with the Father. So John is clearly anticipating that we will sin because we are sinful. St. Paul is also helpful to us in Romans chapters seven and eight. Paul recognizes there are two things waging war in us: Sin, which adheres to our fallen flesh and the Spirit, who has taken possession of our mind. He writes, Rom 7:20 “Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” You see, we Christians often do what we do not want to do. Our flesh is willing, but our spirit (small case s, our spirit) is weak. He also says, Rom 7:25 “… So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” Our minds cannot practice sin and keeps on sinning when we abide in Jesus. Mortal sin is to sin when you know it is wrong, you intend with your mind to commit the sin and knowing it sinful you don’t care and you commit the sin anyway. The Holy Spirit will not remain in such a one. We who know Christ, while knowing Christ cannot sin in this way. Instead we struggle and fight against the thought of sinning, we don’t want to commit the sin we commit it. Sometimes we might sin so quickly we didn’t even have a chance to fight against it. That is sin that dwells in me doing what this decaying body wants. But inwardly, we are being renewed day by day.

 

While it is good to know the law, what God wants us to do and not do, the law can only compel us with it threats. They Holy Spirit, through the gospel, the forgiveness of sins, a new life, rules our inner being and compels the flesh to submit to his thoughts and desires. Jesus promises us he will do this. He will present us pure, holy and blameless on the day of his revelation. Should we commit mortal sin, he will intercede for us that God grant us repentance and faith again.

 

Heavenly Father, may your Holy Spirit, keep us from all sins, but especially from mortal sin, and so move us to always know Christ, abide in his knowledge and to the good he want us to do. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Tuesday Easter 3


#DailyDevotion As Children of God We Know Him As Our Father

Tuesday Easter 3

1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

 

Well you can see God’s great love for us if you understand what we were before God called us to faith. Before we were weak, sinners, enemies of God and ungodly but now we are called the children of God. Our Father called us out of darkness into his light and has given us birth from above. So now we are his children. Through baptism into Jesus’ name we have been joined to his Son and now we are sons. We have been granted this gift of faith and life in Jesus and now we know God. We know God as our Father. We know our Father is merciful, kind, loving, and patient with us not wanting any to perish but for all to have everlasting life.

 

The world does not know us though and it doesn’t know the Father. If it know of our God in any fashion, it only knows him as a judgmental, wrathful God who only wants to knock us on the head. Perhaps deep down, everyone who does not know him as we know him, knows him this way.

 

But we know him differently because we are his children. We are his heirs and co-heirs with Christ. We have been born from above by the will of the Father. While we were once not his children we have been washed, justified and sanctified by the Spirit through the water and the word. We can cry out to God, “Abba, Father” with all our wants, needs and desires and know he hears us and answers our prayers.

 

We know him as a loving Father who would sacrifice his only begotten son so we may have the redemption of sons. His great love sent Jesus to die for us. Some see this as cruel. But it is a cruelty that we deserve because of our sinfulness. Jesus did not stay dead. He is alive. Those who reject the love he has for us by going to the cross will receive in themselves what they want, i.e. what they deserve. We do believe what he has done for us and this faith gives us a true knowledge of him and the Father’s love.

 

Heavenly Father, always grant us this faith that knows you as a merciful, king and loving God in your Son Jesus Christ, that we might always have a right knowledge of you and be your children. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Monday Easter 3


#DailyDevotion God Is Offering You A Chance To Change Your Mind And Your Direction

Monday Easter 3

Acts 3:17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,…”

 

Jesus said from the cross, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” And so Peter reminds them of this. They acted in ignorance as well as their rulers. Jesus had to be crucified, buried and resurrected. The Law and the Prophets foretold it. God had planned it. It had to fulfilled. God would use their evil hearts and intentions to accomplish their salvation and our salvation. Now Peter could just bang their heads over this fact and leave them in a lurch of despair but he doesn’t.

 

He offers to them Christ crucified for them and for us. Repent, that is change your minds and turn back to God. They needed and we need to have our minds corrected and reoriented from our sinful selves and desires to God’s mind and desires. The cross makes that happen. It shows us the love God has for them and for us. It shows us the selflessness of God and how God is dedicated to us. If the Lord our God acts in such a way in Christ Jesus then we can turn to him and have our minds changed and conformed to his mind and ways.

 

When that happens we can receive the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. It is a great relief to know God is on our side. Even in the very midst of our sins, even smack dab when we think God is against us and hates us, we can look to Jesus and know God’s mind and will towards us. That mind and will is love and forgiveness. If we believe this it is our present possession. The World, Satan and even your own Flesh may try to convince you otherwise. They will tell you God hates you. If God loves you why does he let all this terrible stuff happen. You must have done something wrong.

 

Well yes you have done something wrong. The fact is you’ve done a whole lot of something wrong. But all these things are calling us to have faith in Jesus. These things are there from God to purify and strengthen our faith. Not because he hates us but because he loves us. We can be certain of that. All we need to do is look to Jesus and see that. In Jesus, God does not reject us. At the appointed time, the Father will once again send Jesus Christ who was appointed for you to raise you from the dead or change your mortal bodies into immortal ones. Then you will see and experience with your own eyes and flesh the love the Father has for you. In the meantime, continually look to Jesus on the cross and there have your mind changed and have your direction turned from yourself to the love of God and love of your neighbor.

 

Heavenly Father, grant unto us repentance and a change of mind so we may see your great love for us in your Son Jesus Christ so we may experience your refreshment now and in the world to come. In  Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

3rd Sunday In Easter


#DailyDevotion What Happens When You Kill The Author Of Life?

3rd Sunday in Easter

Acts 3:14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

 

Want to have some fun? Get your concordance out or your bible computer program and do a search on Holy One and Righteous One. Now substitute the name of Jesus of Nazareth in all those places. That is who those references refer to. Peter is bringing this witness to the fore. They know who Peter is talking about. In some places it refers to God. In other places it refers to God’s servant. But when we are talking about Jesus, he is both God and Servant. As a servant Jesus allowed himself to be killed.

 

And just who does Peter say they killed? The Author of Life.  Jesus is the Author of Life. He is life itself. He breathed the breath of life into Adam and Eve. He is the one who puts the breath of life into every human born. Yet they killed him. They exchanged a murderer for Jesus. Like the Israelites of old, they rebelled against their maker. Paul would remind us, “they crucified the Lord of Glory.”

 

Now Jesus of course didn’t stay dead. God raised Jesus from the dead, on the third day just as Jesus said he would. Jesus was made our ransom from death. As the one who is both God and Man, the Author of Life, the Lord of Glory, the Lord of heaven and earth in the flesh, his death has reversed the death of Adam. His resurrection has brought life and immortality to life. His resurrection guarantees us a better future, a future with God in the new heavens and new earth.

 

Peter and the apostles are a witness to Jesus death and resurrection. Many who were there were witnesses of his death. They could witness the empty tomb if they wanted to do so. The place was sealed and guarded with Pilate’s Roman soldiers. If Jesus isn’t there and those soldiers are alive then Jesus is alive. He is risen. Peter is a witness to this truth.

 

Now Peter also witnesses this to us, in Jesus is life everlasting. This ransom from death and promise of eternal life in Christ is yours for the taking. He is offering it to you today. Believe the good news. The Jews who heard Peter believed. They repented and put their faith in the one, the Holy and Righteous One they murdered but who is now alive and who offered them life. They could go to the tomb. They could see the evidence. Jesus is alive and his power of life was in his disciples. You too believe the good news.

 

Gracious God and Father, grant unto us faith to see in Jesus as the Author of our life, the promise resurrection from the dead, so we may be partakers of his life and of his glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Saturday Easter 2


#DailyDevotion Do You Want To Live Forever?

Saturday Easter 2

John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

 

So we like to pile on to Thomas because he did not believe the other apostles’ word. But the other apostles did not believe the women’s word or the disciples from Emmaus until they saw Jesus risen in their midst. Thomas did not doubt. He didn’t believe. Who could blame him? Dead people, people who have been put in the grave just don’t rise from the dead. Well except for Lazarus. Well Jesus raised Lazarus. Who would raise Jesus?

 

Now Thomas wanted some real definite proof. He wanted more than just see Jesus. He wanted to put his fingers and hand into the scars of Jesus’ crucified body. So when Jesus does appear, he quotes Thomas. It’s almost as if Jesus were in the room listening. Well he was. Just as Jesus saw Nathanael under the fig tree and he said, “You are the Son of God, the King of Israel” now Thomas cries out, “My Lord and my God!”

 

For indeed that is who Jesus is. Jesus is the Lord of Israel. All those places in the Old Testament where Lord is in small capital letters, hiding the divine name of Israel’s God, Jesus is that Lord. For Jesus is God, the creator of all that is seen and unseen. Everything that exist came into being through him. Now here is the Creator God, the Lord God, in the flesh. He became one of us to die for us so that we might have eternal life. He is risen from the dead because he is the Author of Life, the Lord of Glory. Death could not hold him.

 

Now Jesus has come to you to bless you. He comes to you as those he sends in his name bring you this word of good news. Death has been defeated. The power of sin has been taken away. The devil no longer has a hold on you. Jesus is risen from the dead. All who believe this have passed on from death to life. Jesus is offering you eternal life this day. Will you believe it? Those who believe in Jesus possess eternal life. They do not experience death like unbelievers. Death is but a portal to the resurrection of the flesh and our entrance into eternal life with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Do you want to live forever? You can. Yes your body may temporarily die like Jesus’ body did. But on the Last Day Jesus shall raise it from the dead. You will inherit a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness reigns. You will have a resurrected body like Jesus’ resurrected body. Blessed are you if you believe.

 

Heavenly Father, grant us faith to believe this good news of Jesus risen from the dead, so we may possess eternal life now and the joy of the resurrection on the day of Jesus’ revelation to the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Friday Easter 2


#DailyDevotion Don’t Let Satan Steal Your Peace. You Pastor Has Authority To Forgive Your Sins.

Friday Easter 2

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again,  “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,  “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld.”

 

Once Jesus told a paralytic man  his sins were forgiven. The Pharisees and Scribes had a fit because only God can forgive sins.  Jesus said, so that you may know the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, he told the man to pick up his mat and walk. The man picked up his mat and walked.

 

Many Christians, shooting themselves in the foot and denying the very words of Jesus here will say they don’t have to confess their sins to a pastor and/or the pastor doesn’t have authority to forgive sins. Well they are right on one account and wrong on another. True, you don’t ‘have’ to confess your sins to a pastor but you do ‘get’ to confess your sins to him and have you absolve you. Yes, the pastor does have authority to forgive sins. Satan just loves it when you don’t believe this.

 

Some may say only the apostles were able to do this. Do you thinks since Thomas wasn’t there he wasn’t included? Did only the baptisms of the apostles’ work? Did only the Lord’s Supper with the apostles work? Were only the apostles sent out into the world with the gospel? No indeed! Just as the word of blessing Jesus made upon creation and man in Genesis continue to this day Jesus’ word of authority to forgive sins continues to this day. Just as Jesus sends out missionaries through the Church to proclaim the Gospel, so too he gives us pastors through the Church to absolve the sins of penitent sinners and retain the sins of those who do not repent of their sins.

 

This is a wonder gift of peace Jesus left with the Church through the apostles. The peace he gave to them through the office of the keys is to be used, generously, so we may always have that comfort of the gospel. To hear, individually, our sins are forgiven with the full authority of the one who died for those sins and rose for our justification, brings peace to our hearts. Those words of forgiveness assure us the Father is at peace with us and we with him. They bring reconciliation between individuals and God.

 

Because Jesus has spoken these words we have the full assurance these words are true and are spoken with his authority. We need not doubt. Instead we should believe with all our hearts and rejoice in this gift of God and make use of it. Satan will deter you at every angles and point to keep you from this gift. He’ll use reason and doubt. He’ll use fellow Christians who doubt Jesus’ words. But you, Christian, doubt Satan instead and believe Jesus’ word and the word spoken by his authority of this forgiveness.

 

Blessed Jesus, you brought us peace through the forgiveness of sins and given us the gift of pastors through whom these words of peace are spoken. Grant us faith to believe your word of peace and help us to seek to hear your word of forgiveness through their mouths. In your blessed name we pray. Amen.