Sunday Morning Worship 9:00AM    Sunday School | Bible Study 10:15AM

May Devotions to date

Dear Sir,
It was my understanding that you took the devotions off of the Grace-Oskaloosa Facebook page. Is it easier for you if I email them to this address?
Here are all my devotions since the beginning of May.
In Christ, Pastor Neumann Grace Lutheran Church Oskaloosa, IA
Today’s Thought 5/18 Ascension Day On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. Acts 1:4
We note that our Lord commanded them to stay near Jerusalem. This was the place where Jesus was put on trial, convicted, and crucified. The place where Jesus’ enemies were still in control. A place where it’s quite possible that his disciples would rather have moved away from. No, they were to stay here because they would receive something that would change their lives forever. They would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift, which has been given to the church, is of enormous value. You wouldn’t be reading this today, neither would I be writing this if it weren’t for the work of the Holy Spirit in our own lives. The Holy Spirit connects us to Jesus and to all the blessings that are ours because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Be assured, whatever God promises he fulfills, and whatever he promises will always be for our benefit. Prayer: Gracious Lord, you commanded your disciples to wait. Wait in Jerusalem for a gift that would be given to them. There are many times that we have to wait for answers to our prayers, but we are confident that the waiting will always be accompanied with your blessing. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/17 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach, Acts 1:1
Here’s an interesting thought, imagine if the book of Acts wasn’t in the Bible. How would we understand the nature of the birth of the Christian church and ministry if we simply went from Jesus’ death and resurrection right into the letters of Paul? How did the church withstand the persecutions? What exactly is the work of the Holy Spirit? How could timid, somewhat uneducated followers of Jesus become such a force in the world at that time? Beginning with Jesus’ ascension, Luke takes us through the growth of the early church, answering those questions. He was convinced that those early Christians were absolutely certain of what they believed because they knew it was true. Their enthusiasm was real and contagious. The church grew by leaps and bounds, because the church was rooted in Christ. What a difference there is in our lives, and our witness, when we truly believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Prayer: We give thanks for all those faithful witnesses, throughout the history of the Lord’s church, who were convinced that what they believed and taught about Jesus was true. Grant to each of us that strength of faith. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/16 Never again will they hunger … Rev 7:16
We actually hunger after many things, and yes we are at times hungry due to the lack of food. But there are times that we also hunger after attention, when we feel the loneliness that accompanies the lack of companionship. We hunger for money when times are difficult and it’s hard to make ends meet. We hunger for knowledge in those situations where we need to make a decision that will, in large part, effect our futures. We hunger for advice on how to deal with a strained relationship. We hunger for relief from nagging problems that seem to rear their ugly heads at any moment. What a wonderful thought that there will be a time, for all eternity, when we will hunger for none of these, but be completely filled, physically and mentally. Prayer: Father I often carry my problems all by myself and try to deal with adversity on my own. How I long for that time when I will be freed from these burdens. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/15 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; Rev 7:17
How many times do we have to say it, “It’s always, and ever shall be, all about Jesus.” Not only does he shepherd us here on earth, he will also be our Shepherd eternally in heaven. But there’s a difference, when we are there in heaven our Shepherd will have our full attention. Here on earth to many things get in the way and we lose our focus. The cares and concerns of this life often cloud our vision of Jesus’ care and protection. Health issues and personal problems cause us to question our Shepherd’s love and guidance. What a difference it will be when there will be no more pain or sorrow, no more fears or doubts. Our Lord will have our undivided attention and we can enjoy the fullness of his love. Prayer: Father, we now do see through a glass, darkly. But when face to face we will know you fully. We will know the full extent of your love. Thank you for sending your Son to pay for our sins and prepare a place for us to be with you. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/14 These are they who have come out of the great tribulation, Rev 7:14
Who exactly are the, “they?” Who are they and why, or how, did they get there? Were these the “best of the best?” The privileged ones? I hardly think so, we’re told that, or I should say that John was told, “these have come out of the great tribulation.” They too were sinners, living among sinners, in a sinful generation. They too fought the good fight of faith. They washed their robes in the blood of the lamb, because that is the only way that they could be where they were. It gives such great hope knowing where these people, who John saw, were. It gives us hope and a certain expectation of what is yet to come. Prayer: Father you allowed John to get a glimpse of heaven. To see how the suffering of this present age is not worth comparing to the joys of heaven. By faith, we see this too and rejoice in our salvation. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/13 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. Rev. 7:9
I never get tired of reading this section of Scripture where John is shown a picture of the bliss of heaven. It has comforted countless numbers of people who have lost loved ones. It’s a picture of the those who put their sins on Jesus and believed he died to pay for them, in full. No longer are they wearing the filth and dirt of their sins, but are now wearing the white robes of Christ’ s righteousness. Believers from every nation, tribe, and people. A great multitude of people, not a small handful. How often don’t we feel as Elijah did, are we the only ones who believe? No, there are more than you know. Mission outreach and evangelism are never in vain but achieve more than we might at first suspect. Prayer: What a glorious sight that will be, seeing the multitudes wearing white robes gathered around the throne of the Lord. And to think that we will be a part of that crowd, thanks entirely to the work of our Lord. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/12 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. 1 Tim 6:20
Paul’s encouragement to Timothy are words that we take to heart. Each of us have been given a sacred trust to guard with every fiber of our being. We have been entrusted with the gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord. By God’s grace, we must be diligent, so as to pass on to the next generation the teaching and preaching of God’s Word in its truth and purity. What a blessed privilege it is to have these truths, and what a solemn obligation we have to be stewards of all the riches of God’s grace and mercy. So that future generations may know the Lord as we do. Prayer: Thank you heavenly Father for counting us worthy to guard the precious truths of your salvation that is for all people. But we can’t do this without your Spirit working in us. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/11 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 1 Tim 6:18
If you truly want to find joy in life, give of yourself. Be rich in good deeds and generous and you will find great satisfaction and contentment. There are many things that one can do with his or her wealth, and the majority of those things aren’t helpful or beneficial. But when we give, out of love for our Lord, to help others, our gifts will reap a bountiful harvest. I realize that the world around us thinks that’s naive, but those who think that way probably never have been rich in good deeds. The truth of the matter is, when one is rich in good deeds they will have a better appreciation of God’s grace for them. They will also understand better our Lord’s love for us. Our Lord was rich but became poor for you and I. Our Lord gave up his heavenly home to live among us, all for our salvation. What a blessing it is for us to discover the joy in doing good deeds. Prayer: Heavenly Father create in us a heart that is ready and willing to be rich in good deeds. To be generous and willing to share, for in so doing we will find true happiness. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/10 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Tim 6:17
There’s always uncertainty when it comes to worldly wealth, but there’s nothing more certain than the riches we have in Christ. It’s a common misconception today that people value themselves according to how much, or how little, material wealth they have. They suppose that successful people are those who have achieved an advanced financial state. Some, who have abundant wealth, even suppose that they are better than those who aren’t financially well off. What’s forgotten is that all we possess, by whatever means we attain it, are simply gifts from God. Riches should not make us proud, rather they should encourage us to be wise stewards of God’s blessings. Poor Lazarus lay at the rich man’s gate daily, think of the opportunities that rich man squandered. What true riches he lost out on. Prayer: Father, for those whom you have blessed with abundant financial means, help them to use your gifts to serve your people and to learn how to give as you have given to them. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/9 God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 1 Tim 6:15
Our faith isn’t simply an ideal. It’s not a belief in a superstition or a fairy tale. It’s not a product of some ancient culture. Our faith is based wholly on the one true God. The God of creation, who preserves and provides. The God who is the all powerful One, to whom all rulers and principalities are subject to. Who is the benevolent King of all things on this earth, above this earth, and below it. A God who deigns to condescend into our daily lives with his personal presence to provide comfort and peace. There is no god like our God and we are privileged to call Him, “our God.” Do take time daily to ponder the greatness, the majesty, and the glory of our God. Prayer: Heavenly Father we worship you and we praise your holy Name. Into your care and keeping we commit our hearts, minds, and souls. When we rest in your love, mercy, and grace, we truly rest secure. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/8 I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Tim 6:13,14
As Paul’s ministry was coming an end, Timothy’s service was just beginning. Paul’s words of encouragement are brief, but to the point. Timothy should keep on teaching and preaching the gospel message of salvation in Jesus Christ. He wasn’t to be deterred by those who longed for new teachings and new doctrines, neither was he to relent under criticism, nor the accusations that the church was out of step with the times. No, he should be laser focused on preaching the Word and faithfully administering the sacraments in accordance with the Lord’s command. Has anything, with regard to Paul’s encouragement to Timothy, changed for us today? People still long for new things, they question doctrines, there still is criticism that we need to do things different. By God’s grace we continue to heed Paul’s advice to keep this command, “Preach the Gospel.” Prayer: Father, you continue to preserve your church here on earth through the faithful preaching and teaching of your Word and the administering of your sacraments according to your will. Keep your church faithful to this charge. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/7 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1 Tim 6:11
Paul’s words of encouragement for Timothy are certainly words we can take to heart and emulate. His simple message is, “set your affections on the things of God, not on the things of this world.” There is a vast difference between the two. The things of this world will, at some point, come to a dead end, while the things of God have blessings that last for eternity. So Paul urges Timothy to flee from the one and pursue the other. It’s worth noting, Paul doesn’t urge the one, fleeing, without emphasizing the other, pursuing. It’s not enough to simply set ourselves apart from the temptations of the world, we must be active in pursuing God’s righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. We do so by holding on to what Jesus has done for us. Jesus loves you, and by faith you already are his righteousness. Prayer: Thank you heavenly Father for inspiring us through the Apostle Paul to pursue your righteousness and holiness which have been been won us by your Son. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/6 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 1 Thes 3:7
When family and friends remain faithful to our Lord, it brings a person a lot of encouragement and joy. As a matter of fact, when we are struggling in our lives the spiritual encouragement from others lifts our spirits and helps make the bad days less difficult to endure. Paul was often persecuted, physically assaulted, and even imprisoned. During those times he took such comfort in the faith life of others. Often times we fail to appreciate how much other people are helped by our witness of faith in Jesus. People do notice your way of life, your values, and your firm trust in Jesus, and it helps them. Remember the words of a song you learned in Sunday school, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” You let your light shine because it very well might be a guiding light for others. Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for the people of faith you have brought into my life. They are a continuous source of strength for me. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/5 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 1 Thes 2:19
You’ve heard the expression, “Christians never have to say goodbye, rather, until we meet again.” The reason for this is, we have every confidence that because Jesus’ died for our sins we will all be together in heaven one day. Did Paul think that he might never see these Christians again on this earth when he wrote this verse? Perhaps, but see them again he would, due to their faith in Jesus. This is the joy that we have as well. Life often takes us to different places and there are separations between family members and friends. But because of Jesus’ suffering and death we are certain that whether we see each other again on this earth or not, we will be together again one day in heaven. What a blessed reunion that will be. Prayer: Heavenly Father what joy we have in the congregation of believers here on earth. The greatest joy is knowing that though our paths may part in this life, they will not in the life to come. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/4 In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. 1 Thes 2:16
It’s one thing for someone to reject the gospel outright, it’s quite another for that person to make roadblocks for others to hear the life saving message of Jesus. Paul, Silas, and Timothy were ordered not to preach anymore about Jesus. The people of the world need Jesus, each individual desperately needs Jesus and if someone hinders the gospel ministry, God’s wrath is rightly kindled against that person or persons. It’s a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God. We must be on guard as well to never allow prejudices, or personal feelings cloud our judgments or dictate to whom and when the gospel is proclaimed. Are we always welcoming to newcomers? Do we give up on people who have made serious mistakes in their lives? Do we avoid those who have been traveling the road of wickedness and rebellion? Or, do we welcome them into the body of believers as we should? Let’s not put obstacles in their way, but praise God for bringing them to repentance. Prayer: Father, forgive me for those times when I have not been welcoming to those who are seeking peace and forgiveness in their lives. Instead help me to rejoice with the angels in heaven over every sinner who repents. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/3 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews. 1 Thes 2:14
Sad to say, all too often those most critical of our faith and belief in Jesus and his Word are our extended families. It’s not uncommon that family relationships are strained over matters of faith. For this reason, our joy in Christ can be tempered, and on many occasions silenced. Paul recognized that these Thessalonian believers were experiencing similar things. Here again our Lord strengthens his people and imparts his Spirit into our hearts and lives convincing us that those who believe in Jesus will never be put to shame. So, we endure the criticism, the hostility, and the loneliness that comes from being left out by family and friends over what we believe. But better to suffer for a time with Christ than to spend an eternity without him. Prayer: Opposition and criticism often comes from unlikely sources, even from those who are close to us. Bear us up, gracious Lord, lest we fall into temptation to depart from you. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/2 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God … 1 Thes 2:13
People have a lot of thoughts and opinions, there’s no argument to that. Some things people say have timeless value, others not so much. There are books written containing axioms of notable people. There are platitudes, maxims, adages, and the like, that are credited to various people. But one thing that is true about all of these is that they are either accepted, or not accepted, according to one’s own reasoning. The Word of God is quite different in this regard, it is received by faith not by reason. Faith convinces and assures us that God’s Word is truth. That it’s just, and it’s truly the only guide and rule for one’s life. Even more important, faith receives God’s Word as the only source of knowledge that leads to eternal life. This is why our hope is founded on God’s word, not pithy sayings of man. Prayer: We thank you gracious Father for your holy Word that makes us wise unto salvation. And for the faith that enables us to accept your Word as truth. AMEN
Today’s Thought 5/1 You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 1 Thes 2:10
Paul would never had made a claim to be a sinless man, perfect in all his ways. No, more than once Paul would refer to himself as, chief of sinners. So his words to the Thessalonians might catch us a bit off guard. But not when you pause to think about what he is saying. All of us remember a favorite Sunday school teacher or Youth Group Leader. It wasn’t so much what they taught us, but the example and way of life that they showed us. They lived their faith and we were convinced that they believed in their hearts what they were teaching us. The same can be said of members of the church who set an example for others by their lives of faith, that are clearly shown in their actions. Their witness has become an encouragement for us and we are thankful for the example they set for us. Thus we give thanks to our Lord for the faith he gave to our leaders who lived the faith that they confessed. Prayer: Thank you Lord for those who teach and preach the gospel message of salvation and for laypeople who support the gospel ministry. And for men and women who show their faith by their daily actions. AMEN
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