<![CDATA[SAINTJOHNLUTHERAN EMPORIAVA.COM - Daily Devotion]]>Thu, 02 Apr 2020 12:13:08 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[You are not alone]]>Thu, 02 Apr 2020 11:24:02 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/you-are-not-aloneApril 2, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on God’s word to us in 1 Peter 5:8, “Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion,"
There’s a lot of fear going around at the moment. And into that turmoil, the devil comes, sowing even more discord with suggestions like: ‘I’m going to be next,’ ‘If I get sick, I will die.’ Or, ‘I’m all alone.’ Every one of them lies.

Recognize them for what they are. Get back to the source of your life and hope. Draw the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Protect your mind with the helmet of salvation. Feed from Jesus, the Bread of Life. Read up on everything that God promises to do for you. And stand firm, for even though it might seem like it the present circumstances of life, the battle has already been won! Satan has lost. You are not alone. And if God is for me, who can stand against me? No one, that is for sure.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, thank you that the battle with Satan is won. Fill my mind with the promises of your goodness. Feed me daily from Jesus, who is the Bread of Life. Thank you that I am your child. I cling to you in this crisis, knowing that you are immovable and eternal. Surround us, your people with your love. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[Freedom in God]]>Wed, 01 Apr 2020 13:32:09 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/freedom-in-godApril 1, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on God’s word to us in Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

Jesus isn’t advocating for us to ignore our responsibilities, but I believe that he is inviting us to let go a bit. Some things aren’t all that important, after all. And others are, but they are beyond our ability to control.

The landscape is changing. As we stare into the unknown, it is easy to worry while we each start to consider the road ahead. These troubles in our present-day are real and sobering, but they are not beyond our Father’s attention or his ability to reconcile. Has he not already given us Jesus? Why would he not be with us during the trials of this season?

We need to cling to the truth that God loves us. He promises to be with us and he cannot lie; otherwise, he could not be God. If we can keep that in the forefront of our minds, the other things, things that worry us, that we have no control over will start to slip away. Do what you need to. Let go of the rest.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me with an everlasting love while the world is changing you are not. Help me to embrace the security that your goodness and mercy will follow me all my days. Thank you for giving me, Jesus. In his name, I pray. Amen.
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<![CDATA[Keep praying]]>Tue, 31 Mar 2020 12:25:01 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/keep-prayingMarch 31, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Luke 18:1 where we hear Jesus saying to his disciples who were discouraged. You might want to read the parable verses 2-8.“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
I firmly believe that during these testing times, God is calling us to humble ourselves, surrender ourselves, and rely on his strength and power instead of anything or anybody else, especially our own self. This pandemic is bigger than anything, many of us have ever faced, and regardless of the intelligence and expertise of human beings, our only hope lies in the love that God the Father has for us.

The most potent weapon we humans have at this time is prayer. None of you reading this devotion may possess the scientific expertise and skill to create a vaccine or organize medical or quarantine procedures. Still, each of us praying as one with Christians all over our planet can change the course of this pandemic. God listens to and responds to earnest prayer. That is his promise.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Father, Lord of all creation, seen and unseen, we are your children and you are our God. You are our hope, our strength, and our rock during this time, and you have given us authority through your Son to cry boldly for healing and renewal in your people and your creation. We come before you acknowledging our dependence on you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
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<![CDATA[God's promises to you cannot be broken]]>Mon, 30 Mar 2020 12:33:12 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/gods-promises-to-you-cannot-be-brokenMarch 30, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on John 11:1-4, “Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Those words were tough to believe for those following him given the circumstances they faced. The disciples didn’t believe him. They believed that if they went with Jesus, they would all die with him. But they did not die. Just as Jesus stated, the illness ended with life for Lazarus and glory for Jesus.
I believe that is a good lesson for us today as our country, as we, whatever it might be we are going through? For circumstances in the world and personally can lead us to question the words of Jesus?. If so, remember what Jesus said, as it is recorded for us in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.” That is God’s promise, a promise that cannot be broken.

Illness from a virus, loss of wealth, job insecurity, fear for the family will not negate those words and lead to destruction. Jesus’ words are true and will remain true. His death and resurrection conquered sin and eternal death and ushered in for his people an age of life; true life, abundant life, life in relationship with him—and all that brings! After all, Jesus is alive!

Please pray with me the prayer for today: My blessed Jesus, You came that I might have life and have it abundantly. Send your Spirit to help me to look beyond my circumstances of today so that I can fully experience today the life you have earned for me. Then help me to care for my neighbors by pointing them to you in all your glory. In your name, I pray. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[Live in the today.]]>Sun, 29 Mar 2020 11:55:36 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/live-in-the-todayMarch 29, 2020

Today's devotion is based on Matthew 6:34, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own"

We like to be in control, don't we? I sure do. The problem that we are dealing with today is that the COVID-19 pandemic has robbed us of control. It has robbed us of confidence and certainty. And depending on how much hoarding is going on in your area, it has robbed us of the abundance of certain products, like toilet paper. It has robbed us of the freedom of planned vacations. It seems like it is taking away from us our ability to prepare for our future.

Jesus tells us not to worry about the future. He did not say, "I suggest you do this." It is a command. We are to live in the today because when we do, we are living as God intended us to live. When we worry about tomorrow, something we have little or no control over, we carry a burden God does not want us to carry, for as God tells us, "Today has enough troubles.
That's not to say we shouldn't consider our future. When God made us in his image, he gifted us with an intellect that we should use in our lives and to his glory. So we can plan for tomorrow and so on. However, there's no need to commit emotional energy, that is to worry about the future. God gives us everything we need for today, and we can live in peace, knowing he will do so again tomorrow.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Father, you know how easily we become burdened with the worries of the future. Lord, we can do a lot on our own. Help us to remember that when we trust in your power, we can do even more. We commit tomorrow to you, knowing you will give us what we need when tomorrow arrives, just as you promised. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[Jesus said, "Do not be afraid."]]>Sat, 28 Mar 2020 11:24:15 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/jesus-said-do-not-be-afraidMarch 28, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Luke 5:10 where we hear Jesus’ words to Simon after calling him to follow Jesus, “Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people!’”

In this time of uncertainty and isolation, ‘Afraid’ is just one word to describe how you might be feeling right now, although names like, dismayed, perplexed, and anxious also might express your feelings at this time. At one level, that’s okay, especially when we acknowledge the emotion, know that Jesus sees it, and invite Jesus to calm us.

In our world today, many people are afraid, They are looking for hope. Some will look to us. Jesus is calling us today in this time to be a light, His Light to others. As a Christian, you cannot be hidden. You are on a lampstand. What a great opportunity! Jesus is in you! And through you, he shines his light to the world. Now is the time to follow him, trusting in him, so others will know the hope and peace found only in Jesus.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: God, when the whole world changes around us, we are so often afraid. Give us the courage to embrace the challenge of following Jesus in this time of fear. Send us your Holy Spirit, that we may understand that you have opened up new opportunities for us to be your light of love, peace, and certainty in a dark world. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[God knows no distance]]>Fri, 27 Mar 2020 12:06:45 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/god-knows-no-distanceMarch 27, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 23, particularly verse 4. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid. You are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff comfort me.”

As I was thinking about the term ‘social distancing’ yesterday, I think a better name might ‘physical distancing.’ Whatever you call it, this time can be a time of loneliness. If you are feeling lonely, separated from those you love, or your friends and business acquaintances, God’s Word can give you comfort. Here are two these two favorites of mine:
‘And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age‘ (Matthew 28:20b)
‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you‘ (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Our God is a God of peace, comfort, faithfulness, and love. His name Immanuel means “God with us.” Thus, he knows no distance!

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Jesus, help us to remember that your name, Immanuel, means that you are always with us, even though we cannot physically see you. As we go through this new normal for a time, help us to remember that even though we are presently physically apart from friends, colleagues, and even family, you are with us right now. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen
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<![CDATA[God drives out fear]]>Thu, 26 Mar 2020 10:52:16 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/god-drives-out-fearMarch 26, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 94:16-19, “1Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers? If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, "My foot slips," your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul."
God doesn’t condemn us for our anxiety. He knows us, and he knows us well. But this is an opportunity to ask how can we put that anxiety to rest? Are we going to turn back in on ourselves and try to find the answers within ourselves? Or is this a call for us? God is saying, ‘No, don’t look to your own answers. Look outside of yourself. Turn yourself over to me. Trust me.’

Many generations before us have endured terrible hardships, and God has brought them through. He’ll bring us through as well. Instead of living with fear, selfishness, and hoarding, we could get on the phone or use Facetime, Zoom, or Skype to call someone who is in self-isolation. Or reconnect with people we’ve lost touch with. Let’s use these challenging days to show the love that God gives us through Jesus Christ.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and care, even when I am afraid and anxious. Help me to trust in your loving presence and share your love with others. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[Loved to love]]>Wed, 25 Mar 2020 10:46:53 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/loved-to-loveMarch 25, 2020
Today's devotion is based on John 12:2-3, "So they gave a dinner for Jesus there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with Him at the table. Mary, therefore, took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume."

I am sure that Martha did what she did best; she showed her love for Jesus by getting dinner ready. Mary, on the other hand, showed her love for Jesus in another way. It was scandalous, to not only do what she did but to waste, in other's opinion the oil she used to anoint Jesus' feet.

Jesus still inspires this sort of love in the people who know Him. We have even more to be grateful for than Mary did; only a few days later, Jesus willingly went to the cross to rescue us all from God's just wrath. That sets us free to love Him in return. Since he is not physically here, we can still show our love for Him by loving others. I know this to be true for Jesus said, as it is recorded in Matthew 25:40, "As you did it to one of the least of these My brothers, you did it to Me."

Please join me in prayer: Lord, give me a heart that responds to Your love so that I will love others as you love me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[What do you love the most?]]>Tue, 24 Mar 2020 14:29:58 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/what-do-you-love-the-mostMarch 24, 2020
Today's devotion is based on John 12:42-43, "Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in Him (Jesus), but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God."

They didn't want to lose their power and honor in the eyes of the community. To put it plainly, "they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God." They heard Jesus calling—and they walked away.
Their attitude made me search my own heart. Do I have any idols I love more than the truth, more than Jesus? Is there anything that would make me walk away from Him when He calls?

I certainly don't want there to be anything like that. But, I also recognize my sinfulness, my natural desire to put my desires and needs first. Choosing anything over Jesus is a kind of spiritual insanity. Jesus is my Savior and my Life and my Hope and my Redeemer. How terrible it would be to lose Him! He died on the cross to give me life. How could I leave Him? May God protect us all from having anything else that takes us away from Jesus.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Dear Father, keep us always close to Your Son Jesus in trust and love. Amen]]>