Devotion of the Day

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Genesis 1.2

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

–Devotion–

As I mentioned, we have a story to tell.  This is the story of the Genesis, the beginning, of the Earth and the waters.  But, as I would ask any student of the Christian faith, how do we know this is THE STORY, the TRUE STORY, of the Genesis of the Earth and waters?

There are times in the Old Testament that we can reference that point out that this story of a Creating God from Genesis 1 is the True Story.  At one point this creating God revealed his might by drowning the world and making it over.  At another time He showed by mighty deeds in Egypt that He was God.  Then again He sent down fire and burned up the prophets of baal in front of Elijah.  But it is not until this same creating God, this God of the Flood, this God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, this God of mighty and terrible deeds in Egypt sends his Son named Jesus into the earth.  Up until then God had remained rather aloof, but now he was on the Earth again.  He was not in plague, or pillar of fire or smoke, or sending angels anymore.  He was present in his Son.  And his Son revealed in his authority over the earth and the waters that He was acting and speaking in the stead of this God.  But, the world responded in self defense.  They killed Jesus, but God raised him from the dead.  This is how we know this story is true.  This creating God raised Jesus from the dead.  

Pastor Beltz

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Devotion of the Day

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Genesis 1.1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 

–Devotion–

This is it.  This is the beginning.  We Christians have a story to tell.  Not only a story about how Jesus of Nazareth redeemed the world, that is an important part of the story–but it is a part.  We have a big story.  A story of, “the beginning.”  That beginning is rooted in the Word, just like the heavens and the earth, the animals and us human creatures.  This is the beginning of our story, the story.  This is our story to know, our story to tell, our story that explains.  It is important because there are rival stories of the beginning.  There are other stories that explain.  So we must know our story.  The story.  And how we finally know it is the true story–because the God who created gave authority to his Son, Jesus, and raised him from the dead.  But, this story presents us Christians with other challenges.

In recent conversations, both with members and non-members of our congregation, I see again how it is a constant temptation to try and look beyond the boarders of this story to something beyond.  But all that is beyond is void and darkness.  “What was God doing before the beginning?”  That is void and darkness for us, because we came after the beginning and not before.  “What if Jesus did this and not that?”  Void and darkness.  Looking past the story, looking beyond, looking through, or underneath is not what we are to do.  That is the temptation, though, for us sinners.  A temptation we will become familiar with in a few  verses.  We are to hear this story, the story of the beginning, and say, “This is it, this is what we know, this is what we go by.”

Pastor Beltz

Devotion of the Day

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Galatians 6.1-10

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.

Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

–Devotion–

Paul continues concluding his letter with an extended discussion on the Life Together that these Galatian Christians are called to have.  Remember, they are many congregations in the region of Galatia, and just like today there can be bad blood between Church congregations just as within congregations.  So Paul gives clear rules to follow.

Paul then moves on to giving instruction with regards to compensating the teacher of the Word.  Share all good things with that one.  Thank you.

As far as the next few lines, I am not sure what Paul is commenting on.  Is it on a particular congregations lack of support for the teacher of the word?  Is it a general warning regarding much of what has been taking place in the Galatian congregations?  I am just not sure. 

This section concludes with Paul’s exortaion for these Galatians Christians to continue doing good TO EVERYONE, especially to those within the “household of faith.”  Notice especially the language Paul uses concerning the images of sowing and reaping.  This is the image that is painted for us of the final judgment.  The question then is for us these days, “What am I sowing, what might I reap?”

Pastor Beltz

Devotion of the Day

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Galatians 5.16-26

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

 

–Devotion–

I am not going to add anything.  Listen to the Apostle.  Do what he says. 

Pastor Beltz