'congregations' Tagged Posts

'congregations' Tagged Posts

Daily Devotions

“When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’” vs. 23 Matthew 21:23-27 The chief priests and the elders were concerned about Jesus’ credentials, and they had a point. They had responsibility for what went on in the temple and it wasn’t appropriate for just any random teacher to come in and…

Daily Devotions

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” vss. 9, 12-13 Romans 12:9-15 Life in community is not complicated, and after showering the Romans with theological background, Paul outlines some basic principles for dealing with brothers and sisters in Christ and offers his readers guidance that has stood the test of time. Any…

Daily Devotions

for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.” vss. 7b-8 Isaiah 56:1, 6-8 As the prophet revisited God’s plans for Israel after the return from exile in Babylon, he realized that the old exclusive vision had to be revamped. Israel’s God had been too small. Now the prophet looked toward a new Israel that…

Daily Devotions

But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” vs. 23 Matthew 13:18-23 Even though Jesus used parables to describe the Kingdom of God, most people did not understand what he was talking about… and the parable of the sower, as he explained it to his disciples, was a way to…

Daily Devotions

When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.’” vss. 11-12 Matthew 9:9-13 All people have been made righteous in Christ! This is a basic tenet of Christianity 101. But an astounding number of people seem to believe their righteousness derives from their own acts and decisions.…

Daily Devotions

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood…” vss. 4-5a 1 Peter 2:2-6 Travelers to Israel and Palestine often find themselves being bussed from one ancient ruin to another. While some historic sites have been partially reconstructed, most remain destroyed, maybe just a pile of rocks at the bottom of an archeological dig. Leaders…

Daily Devotions

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” vs. 42 Acts 2:42-47 Luke writes that after Pentecost the followers of Jesus, remembering his teachings about the folly of riches and the accumulation of wealth, practiced communism in their faith community. They had all things in common, sold their possessions and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. Undergirding those practices was a community life that centered on the apostles’…

Daily Devotions

So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.” vs. 41                     Acts 2:14a, 36-41 According to Luke, Peter got quite a response to his Pentecost sermon in Jerusalem. While the number 3000 can be questioned, there’s no doubt that not long after Jesus’ crucifixion, many Jews joined the ranks of the believers. Some of them may have been in the crowd shouting for his death, but when they heard Peter’s words…

Daily Devotions

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.” vs. 23 Matthew 4:18-23 According to Matthew, John the Baptizer was like a one-trick pony. He preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins and people came to him at the Jordan River. Jesus, on the other hand, called ordinary people as disciples and then led them through Galilee as he preached,…

Daily Devotions

He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” vs. 31  Luke 16:26-31 There were plenty of warnings about the danger of riches in the laws of Israel, and especially in the writings of the prophets. But there was little inclination among the rich to take any of that seriously. They likely considered the different strata in society to be God’s intention. Of…

Daily Devotions

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous. Praise befits the upright. Praise the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.” vss. 1-3 Psalm 33:1-9 One of the consequences of these COVID years, paradoxically combined with our increasing mobility, has been the precipitous decline in worship attendance in most congregations. Oh, many have moved to live-streaming their services, but the…

Daily Devotions

Just as (the gospel) is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God.” vs. 6 Colossians 1:1-7 Things were happening in that little congregation in Colossae. The gospel was bearing fruit and growing and Paul was rejoicing. Life was good! We love to hear those kinds of reports in our congregations–they build enthusiasm and hope. But too often in…
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