<![CDATA[SAINTJOHNLUTHERAN EMPORIAVA.COM - Daily Devotion]]>Fri, 07 Aug 2020 19:23:39 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Our deepest hunger]]>Fri, 07 Aug 2020 13:33:41 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/our-deepest-hunger​August 7, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Jesus’ words as they are recorded in John 6:35. “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
We often think that we know what will satisfy us. In our quest to find peace and fulfillment on our own terms, we often chase after and consume things that end up leaving us empty and wanting. The depth of God’s love and commitment to us, however, is unfathomable. There is only one who can truly satisfy our deepest hunger. God provided what was needed. He sent Jesus, the bread of life. The offer is made for us to take and eat and drink of body and blood. In his body and blood, we find true peace and happiness now and forever.
 
Please pray with me the prayer for today:  Heavenly Father, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, we give you our thanks for the gift of your Son Jesus, the bread of life. In him, our deepest hunger is fulfilled. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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<![CDATA[Help is there]]>Thu, 06 Aug 2020 13:16:34 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/help-is-there​August 6, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 14:28-32, “Peter answered him (Jesus), “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.”
 
Peter asks Jesus to command him to come to Him; Jesus tells him to come to him. The storm is bad, the winds are howling, and the waves are dangerous. He lets Peter deal with it. But when Peter starts sinking and cries out for help, Jesus grabs him immediately. Jesus knows Peter is way pat what he can do on his own, so Jesus grabs hold of him, bringing him to safety.
 
I think that is the way Jesus deals with us in the turmoils of life. Most of the time, God lets us deal with the stress in our lives using the resources He has given us—prayer, good friends, proper nutrition and sleep, Holy Communion, and so forth. But there are some times when we are ready to break, and God knows that. He stretches out his hand and helps us in a more direct way than we are used to. Because our Lord is utterly faithful and loving, we can cry out to him in confidence, putting all our hope and trust in him.
 
Please pray with me the prayer for today:  Heavenly Father, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, you know the stress in my life. You know how I too often depend on my own strength and wisdom rather than yours.  Forgive me for Jesus’ sake. Please help me to be who you want me to be in this life. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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<![CDATA[When life looks bleak]]>Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:46:31 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/when-life-looks-bleak​August 5, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on 1 Kings 19:1-4, “Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
 
Just before this, he was involved in a dramatic and persuasive demonstration of God’s power. Confident in God and his power, he would have been feeling pretty good, wouldn’t you say? A few short verses later, we find him afraid and on the run himself. Full of despair, he pours his heart out to God, telling him he has had enough!
God responds with compassion and care as he assigns an angel to feed Elijah. This indicates that God was fully aware of Elijah’s physical and mental state of being. He knew his frailty and limitations and made sure that Elijah received what was needed.
There are times when the events surrounding us get the better of us. But perhaps it is in these times the bigger picture comes into focus. God loves us and has a strong desire to live in a constant relationship with us. Why not hand our emotions to the one who knows us most and loves us best, and rest in him? He can and will meet all our needs.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, you know us more completely than we know ourselves. Help us to remember this and rest in your arms of love. You are our faithful provider. In Jesus’ name we pray. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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<![CDATA[God is in control]]>Tue, 04 Aug 2020 16:01:46 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/god-is-in-control​August 4, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Ruth 2:11,12, where we hear Boaz tell Ruths, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”
Boaz is showing Ruth that God is in the bigger picture. Whether she initially realized it or not, Ruth came to discover that God was indeed a secure refuge and faithful provider for Naomi and herself. Food, protection, hope, and a future.
It doesn’t matter what our life looks like on paper, or even what chapter we think we are up to. God hasn’t changed. He is our refuge and provider, as much as he was for Ruth and Naomi
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, help us to continually look to you instead of our circumstances. Shelter us under your wings of protection. You are our strong refuge and provider. Thank you for your great love. We give you thanks and praise. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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<![CDATA[Trust]]>Mon, 03 Aug 2020 11:53:37 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/trust​August 3, 2020
Today's devotion is based on Exodus16, where we read of Moses telling the people that the Manna they saw on the ground for the first time came from the Lord. "It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat."
Interestingly, the whole deal with the Manna was that it was a daily thing. God's people were only to collect what was needed for the day. And God was there the next day with further provision. The same God who provided for the Israelites is our provider today. His track record has proven reliable. His heart is compassionate, and his hand is strong. He will provide for you.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, you know what I am going through. Thank you for looking after me day after day. Please help me to trust in you as I journey through the wilderness of life. When I doubt your goodness toward me, strengthen my faith through your Word. In and through Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
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<![CDATA[Little things]]>Sun, 02 Aug 2020 12:19:53 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/little-things​August 2, 2020
Today's devotion is based on Jesus' feeding of the 5000, as it is recorded in Matthew 14:13-21. If there were two words to describe the Bible accounts for this week, they would be 'God's provision.' This theme of God's provision is replayed time and again in the Bible, over the course of centuries. Today, as always, God's provision is offered to us for our open hearts and hands to receive.
I don't think we pay enough attention to the words of Jesus to his disciples when they approached him that evening. Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." When replying to Jesus, they came up with the perfect excuse, "We only have five fish and two loaves of bread." In other words, we can't because we don't have enough.  Jesus tells them to bring the food to him, and lo and behold everyone had plenty to eat. 
The lesson for us today is that Jesus will take whatever we bring him to do what needs to be done.  He increased the food, but without the food being brought forward, as little as it was, he did not have anything to work with to feed the people.  Jesus works in partnership with us in doing God's will.  We bring whatever we have to him to do what he does so well.  Then we take what he provides in abundance and give it to those who are in need.  That is the lesson for today, as it is found in this beautiful story of Jesus feeding the five thousand.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, help me to remember in my times of weakness and doubt that you will increase whatever I offer you for the work of Church.  In and through Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
 
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<![CDATA[I can't]]>Sat, 01 Aug 2020 10:58:43 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/i-cant​August 1, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 145:14, “The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.”
The great thing about life is that our wise and ever-present God sticks close by us each day. God knows that we will struggle, that we will doubt, and that we will be weak, and he is right there to give us strength. It doesn’t matter that I can’t. God can!
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, my mouth will speak in praise of you. You are my mentor, my redeemer and my force. Let every creature praise your holy name forever and ever. In and through Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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<![CDATA[The way we are]]>Fri, 31 Jul 2020 13:09:15 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/the-way-we-areJuly 31, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on 1 Timothy 6:11, “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”

We, as all people since the first sin, are fallen, so it’s only natural that we are going to keep messing it up every day and crave an avenue to make it all go away. Will it be hard? Will we get it wrong? Will we fail? The struggle is real, and it’s the way we are, so, yes it will be hard. But as we have learned from Saint Paul we are to fight the good fight of the faith. Each of us has the same assurance that God comes to us, embraces us, forgives us, and loves us unconditionally. This fresh start each day allows us to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.

​Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, you are the blessed and only ruler, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who alone is immortal and lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see – to you be honor and might forever and ever. Amen.
 
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<![CDATA[There is more]]>Thu, 30 Jul 2020 12:04:01 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/there-is-more​July 20, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Colossians 2:6-7, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
Our broken humanity means that, even with the best of intentions, we keep getting sucked into stuff we don’t need. Our self-doubt, desire to accumulate, and drive to succeed gets in the way as we shift our focus away from the gift of unending love-filled grace, and we convince ourselves that doing and buying stuff makes us better. That’s not new for people; it’s been like that since sin entered the garden, and it will keep being like that. Our sinful nature means that it just won’t change.
Responding to the unconditional love of God, we receive freely through Christ. We can continue to live our lives, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as we were taught, and we can overflow with thankfulness. Despite the weaknesses of our commitment to the relationship, our gracious and living Lord comes to each of us again today in his Word to say, “I love you.”
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for being at work in my life. Thank you for coming to me again today to forgive me, fill me through your boundless grace, and refresh me to live a life of worship in service to your world. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 
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<![CDATA[Jesus' glory]]>Wed, 29 Jul 2020 11:43:29 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/jesus-gloryJuly 29, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on 2 Corinthians 4:7-10, But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

Paul writes that even though we suffer in this life, as Christians, our suffering will show to others the love of Jesus in our lives. You might ask, How that can be?”  The answer is how we respond to suffering.  Our response to God’s love is to worship, repent, serve, pray, honor, respect, give, and forgive all in response to what God has already done for us.  

​Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for being at work in my life. Thank you for coming to me again today to forgive me, fill me through your boundless grace, and refresh me to live a life of worship in service to your world. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 
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