The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. . . . However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17,18,20
How’s that for a thrill? Satan falls from the heights of power back to the abyss, as suddenly as lightning cracks from heaven to earth. Why? Because Jesus sent seventy-two workers into his harvest field to preach the good news of God’s forgiveness, and it renders Satan powerless.
The word Satan means accuser. Satan earned his name by accusing you of your sins before God. His power is destroyed because he has nothing to accuse you of. Jesus lived, died, and rose for you; therefore your sins are gone. The gospel tells you so.
And whenever people believe the gospel, the devil falls. Watch it. Every time a pastor’s hand dips into the font and pours a cleansing baptismal flood over someone, Satan falls like lightning. Every time you tell someone, “I forgive you, and God forgives you too,” Satan falls like lightning. Whenever you receive forgiveness in the Lord’s Supper, Satan falls like lightning. When you offer your money, your time, and your prayers to support God’s kingdom, Satan falls like lightning.
But as awesome as it is to know that Satan is falling, Jesus reminds you of what you should really be happy about: “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” That is cause for joy. The name of every believer in Jesus is written in heaven.
This is why the Father sent his Son into the world, and this is why the Son sends workers into his harvest field: to tell more and more people this good news.
Lord Jesus, thank you for removing my sins and writing my name in heaven. Amen.
[Jesus said] “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.” Luke 10:3-7
Imagine going on a long trip with no wallet, luggage, or supplies of any kind. People would call you crazy to travel so unprepared.
Likewise, it seems foolish for Jesus to send seventy-two disciples ahead of him with no earthly provisions. Jesus even warned them of the difficulty when he said that they would be like lambs among wolves.
But he also promised that their needs will be met. When they arrived at a town, they could trust that God would provide for them. People would respond to their message by welcoming them with a place to stay and something to eat and drink. In other words, the disciples could be content because all their physical needs would be met as they went about their work in the Lord’s harvest field.
Do you see how their actions reflect on Jesus? Their contentment showed how great their Savior is because he is the One who made them content. Their lack of concern about earthly things—even the most basic needs of food and shelter—showed that they had a message more important than food and drink.
Their message was peace – the same message Jesus shares with you this day. All is right between you and God. In Jesus, you have the unconditional pardon of everything that you’ve ever done wrong. You are forgiven. When you stand before God, he sees you as absolutely perfect. You have freedom from the condemnation that you deserve. And in its place, you get a free pass to eternal life.
That is how you can be content. You have peace. Your eternity is guaranteed. And your present is provided for. You can have confidence as you go about your work in the Lord’s harvest field.
Lord Jesus, make me confident that I have your peace now and forever. Amen.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:1,2
You plant your garden and spend all summer tending it. You eagerly watch the beans grow and the tomatoes ripen. But when the time comes, you’re too busy to pick them. It’s a shame when vegetables rot because they are not harvested.
It’s an even greater shame when souls are not harvested. Jesus says that the world is ripe for harvest. There are countless people who do not know that he is their Savior and they are waiting to be harvested with that good news.
Don’t miss the promise in Jesus’ words: “many will believe and go to heaven.” The harvest is plentiful. There’s only one problem: the workers are few. Today, there are more than seven billion people in the world and only two billion Christians. Taking the gospel to over five billion people is a daunting task.
So notice what Jesus does: he prepares harvest workers and sends seventy-two disciples into the field. But before they go, he tells them to pray for more help. This is a reminder that we are completely dependent on God’s power to carry out his work.
A successful harvest does not depend on our skills or resourcefulness; it depends on Jesus. He has already done all the hard work. He lived a perfect life for the harvest, he died and rose for the harvest. He has given us the tools to bring it in: his Word, his baptism, and his true body and blood in the Lord’s Supper.
The harvest is plentiful. So he calls us to pray for his help and work with the confidence that he will meet all our needs and bless our efforts.
Lord of the harvest, send workers into your harvest field and bless our labor. Amen.
St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church 313 East Montello St. Montello, WI 53949 Emmanuel Ev. Lutheran Church W1568 Evergreen Lane Montello, WI 53949
W E L C O M E T O O U R C H U R C H We extend a warm welcome to everyone today, especially our visitors. In the bulletin you’ll find an outline of today’s service, a calendar of events and other bits of information. In the red hymn book you’ll find the songs we sing and the order of service that we follow. If you would like a large print hymnal or bulletin please ask one of our ushers and they will gladly assist you. Restrooms and nursery area are located in the parish hall at Emmanuel and in the lower level and link-way at St. John’s. It’s nice to have you visit today. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more, as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). Welcome to God’s house! May God bless our worship together.
Pastor Peter Zietlow
G O D ’ S W O R D F O R T O D A Y Jesus Sends Out Seventy-two Men to Proclaim Peace – “Peace,” or “shalom” (Hebrew), is more than the absence of hostility between God and us. It is wholeness in every way, bought by the blood of Christ. Today’s lessons show the part we all have in proclaiming God’s peace near and far.
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X A S E R V I C E O F M
O R N I N G P R A I S E X
Morning Praise, composed by
Marty Haugen, is based on the historic service called “Matins.” Joined to
Christ, our risen Lord, we glorify God as we rise to the activities of this new
154 Alleluia, Alleluia, Give Thanks
L: Pastor C:
OH, COME, LET US SING TO THE LORD
An arrangement of Psalm
95, this song of praise reminds us of the many blessings that come to us from
the hands of our Creator God.
Pastor and congregation join in
singing the refrain and the verses.
OF THE DAY
Psalm 63: In the Morning I Will Sing
This morning psalm brings to mind the Lord’s abiding
presence and unending love through all of life’s ways.
Pastor and congregation sing in
T H E S E R V I C E O F
T H E W O R D
The Lord Jesus
speaks to us in Scripture reading, preaching and song.
XT H E W O R D X
The Lord Jesus speaks to us in Scripture
reading, preaching and song.
FIRST READING Isaiah 66:10-14
Summary: Isaiah prophesies the
glories of the New Testament Church
“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice greatly with her,
all you who mourn over her.
For you will nurse and be satisfied
at her comforting breasts;
you will drink deeply
and delight in her overflowing abundance.”
For this is what the Lord says:
“I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
and dandled on her knees.
As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”
When you see this, your heart will rejoice
and you will flourish like grass;
the hand of the Lord will be made known to his servants,
but his fury will be shown to his foes.
SECOND READING Galatians 6:1-10, 14-16
will be a harvest of Christ’s Kingdom as we reflect His gift of peace and do
Brothers and sisters, if someone
is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that
person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry
each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of
Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they
deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can
take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone
else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one
who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their
instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he
sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap
destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap
eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the
proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we
have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who
belong to the family of believers.
May I never boast except in the
cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whichthe world has
been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor
uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace
and mercy to all who follow this rule—tothe Israel of God.
VERSE OF THE DAY
Alleluia. Happy are they who hear
the Word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with
16-20 (sermon text underlined)
Summary: Jesus sends out the
After this the Lord appointed
seventy-twoothers and sent them two by two ahead of him
to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The
harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest,
therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending
you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals;
and do not greet anyone on the road.
“When you enter a house, first
say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your
peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating
and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do
not move around from house to house.
“When you enter a town and are
welcomed, eat what is offered to you.Heal the sick who are
there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not
welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the
dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure
of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more
bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
“Whoever listens to you listens
to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who
The seventy-two returned
with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
He replied, “I saw
Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to
trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the
enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits
submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all
that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of
God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God
from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father. Through him
all things were made. For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and became fully human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate. He suffered death and was
buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. He
ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will
come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have
no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who
proceeds from the Father and the Son, who in unity with the Father and the Son
is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in
one holy and apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness
of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to
HYMN OF THE DAY 235
Praise the Almighty; My Soul, Adore Him
10: 1-9, 16
“Be Sure To Leave Your Mark”
Let them see Christ’s peace in you, and…
Let them know about Christ’s peace for them
ARE GOD, WE PRAISE YOUTe Deum
Pastor and congregation join in singing the refrain and the verses.
X O F F E R I N G S O F G
I F T S & P R A
Y E R S X
During the offering, please greet one another and
sign the friendship register.
The Offering Prayer,Prayer
for a Spiritual Harvest of Souls and Intercessory Prayers are spoken by pastor.
P: Almighty God and Father, dwelling in majesty
and mystery, filling and renewing all creation by your eternal Spirit, and
manifesting your saving grace through our Lord Jesus Christ: in mercy cleanse
our hearts and lips that, free from doubt and fear, we may ever worship you,
one true immortal God, with your Son and the Holy Spirit, living and reigning,
now and forever, C:Amen.
HAVE MERCY Kyrie
L: Pastor C:
C: Our Father, who art in Heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory
forever and ever.
SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
At St. John’s and Emmanuel Ev. Lutheran Church we
practice closed Communion. If you are a guest at worship today and interested
in receiving the Lord’s Supper, please speak with the pastor prior to the
Please be seated
DISTRIBUTION HYMNS 315 Here, O My Lord, I See You Face to Face
559:1-2 Lord of the Living Harvest
L: ♫ O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and
everlasting God, you have
brought us safely to this
new day. Defend us with your mighty power, and
grant that this day we
neither fall into sin nor run into any kind of danger;
and in all we do, direct us
to what is right in your sight, through Jesus Christ,
your Son, our Lord.
CLOSING HYMN 559:3 Lord of the Living Harvest
As you leave today’s
service, please give your completed Friendship Register sheet to an usher or
Activities for the week of July 28-August 4
St. John’s Worship with
Bible Information Class at St. John’s
WELS Convention at MLC-New Ulm, MN
WELS Convention at MLC-New Ulm, MN
WELS Convention at MLC-New Ulm, MN
St. John’s Worship with
WELS Convention at MLC-New Ulm, MN
WELS Convention at MLC-New Ulm, MN
Theme for Next Sunday August 4 , 2019
Pentecost 8: “Love
Is the Fulfillment of the Law”
Emmanuel Worship with communion
Emmanuel Congregational meeting
St. John’s Worship
For those hospitalized, ill, shut-in and facing trials: Evie & Ron Blada,
David Broderick, Sandy Buchholz, Liola Crown & son Terry, Agnes Dassow,
Marjorie Fabian, Chris Krause (Gordy & Lin’s son), Pete Laun, Robert
Lederer (Jackie & Jeanne Buchholz’ father), Delvin Mittelsteadt, Elsa
Russell, Mark & Peggy Russell (Elsa’s son & daughter in-law), Carol
Schumann, Jody Steigerwald (DuWayne & Pat Sommerfeld’s daughter), Karl
Whitrock – (added this week: Evie Blada)
For the family of our former St. John’s member, Lucille Henning, called to her
heavenly home on 7/20
For Pastor William Runke who is retiring today (7/28) as pastor of St.
For our communicants at St. John’s
– For WELS Convention
this week – Paul Van Treeck, our St. John’s church president, is serving as our
CARD/GIFTCARD SHOWER Throughout the month
of July, we will be having a Card/Gift Card Shower! This will be for all
of our three new teachers here at St. John’s :
Shelley Myers : Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade teacher
Lynn Sellnow : Little Lambs Director/Teacher
Larry Sellnow : Principal and 6th, 7th & 8th grade teacher
Two card/gift card
boxes will be located in St. John’s linkway. Please help us welcome and show
our appreciation for our new teachers!
FATHER MARQUETTE DAYS AUGUST 17!
Show your St. John’s
pride as we walk in the Father Marquette Days Parade! This year’s theme is
“Salute to the Military: Red, White and Blue.” We are looking for members who
would want to walk with our float and hand out waters with koozies to help spread
the word about St. John’s. Stay tuned for time and meeting place!
St. John’s is also
getting a men’s softball team in for Father Marquette Days. Come and support
our team! Interested in playing? Contact the office 297-2866.
on the Ball Diamond: September
7 at 6:30p.m. at St. John’s
John’s Church Picnic: September
8 at 10:00a.m. at Montello City Park
FRIENDSHIP REGISTERS Please complete the friendship
register page each week. This helps your pastor and other church leaders stay
in touch and keep contact information up to date. Thanks!
ENCOURAGE FELLOWSHIP following today’s worship service, the ushers will
not be dismissing pew by pew from front to back as in the past. Instead,
all are encouraged to stay and visit and encourage one another. Please
give an usher or pastor your completed friendship register.
ST. JOHN’S SCHOOL & LITTLE
LAMBS REGISTRATION School
Registration is Sunday, August 25 at 11:00a.m. in St. John’s gym. If you were
enrolled last school year and/or have enrolled for this coming school year,
look for your summer registration packets coming to you via mail. In them, you
will find everything you need to know about registration and this upcoming
school year. Are you new and/or need to enroll?Call the office (608-297-2866),
email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or stop by the office today
WELS daily devotional booklets are available in the church entry (many thanks
to our generous members for donating!)
USHER AND GREETER
you are signed up to be a St. John’s usher and/or greeter, please pick up your
hard copy of Aug/Sept in St. John’s Information Room.
Schedules will be available for pick up every 2 months.
OUT OUR UPDATED INFORMATION ROOM This room is located at the top
of St. John’s link way stairs and the church entry way. Here you will find
bulletin boards labeled “Home Missions” and “LWMS”. Home Missions will provide information on what’s going on at St.
John’s church and school, events, educational and youth group updates. You will
also find informational brochures and magazines, usher and greeter schedules,
the church newsletter, children’s coloring sheets and crayons and other
miscellaneous information related to our church and school. Please help
CHURCH BAGS Check out our new Children’s
Church Bags that are located in the Information Room at St. John’s. Children:
use during the service as you please and please return them to the tree at the
end of each service! A big thank you to St. John’s Hand In Prayer group for
donating towards the bags and another big thank you to Gene Crook, a St. John’s
member, who handmade the Children’s Church Bags tree.
ONE-LINERS (from a WELS pastor): “God
Himself doesn’t propose to judge a man until he is dead. So why should
ACH What is ACH?Automated Clearing House is an
electronic payments network use by individuals, businesses, financial
institutions and government organizations. The network functions as an
efficient, electronic alternative to paper checks. It allows funds to be
electronically debited or credited to a checking account, savings account,
financial institution general ledger account or credited to a loan account.Please pick your form
up in the Information Room or the office and get started today!
THE RETIREMENT OF PASTOR RODNEY DIETSCHE OF PEACE LUTHERAN CHURCH,
GREEN LAKE, WI Your presence is welcome at Peace Lutheran Church in Green Lake on
August 4th, 2019 for the retirement service of Pastor Rodney Dietsche. Pastor
Dietsche has served his Lord and Savior at Peace Lutheran Church for the last
37 years. The members of Peace also invite you to a meal following the service
for a time of fellowship and thanksgiving. The meal will be served in the
Parish Hall at Peace Lutheran Church. The service will begin at 9:00am followed
by the meal at 11:00am. If you plan on attending the meal please RSVP
to David Kummerow at 920-295-7008 (call or text) by TODAY, July 28th.
FORWARD IN CHRIST Please do not turn in any past Forward in Christ magazines as we no
longer accept them due to the personal information that is provided inside.
GRIEFSHARE The next 13-week session of Griefshare will start September 5 at
6:00p.m. in the lower level at St. John’s. If you have any questions or
concerns, please call Mark Emond (608) 697-1600.
St. John’s Altar Committee
SUMMER OFFICE HOURS
Monday: 8:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.
Tuesday: 8:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.
Wednesday: 8:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.
Thursday: 8:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.
Welcome To Our Visitors!Please Sign Our Guest RegisterFind & Like us on FacebookVisit our website link:www.stjohnsmontello.orgPastor Peter Zietlow: (608) 408-7830
E-mail:zietlowPL6@hotmail.comLittle Lambs Director & Teacher Mrs.
Lynn Sellnow: 616-826-0816
K, 1st & 2nd
Grade Teacher Ms. Shelley Myers: 920-285-7554
Teacher Ms. Rachel Naumann: (847)
Principal & 6th – 8th
Grade Teacher Mr. Larry Sellnow:616-822-6689
Church & School Secretary Ciara
Neuhauser: (608) 297-2866
Altar Ladies: Elaine Kelm: (920) 344-0025&Carolyn Rosenthal: 589-5036
Church & School Address/Mail: 313 E Montello St, Montello, WI 53949
Church & School E-mail:email@example.com
“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her . . . you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.” For this is what the LORD says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream . . . As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem. When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass . . .” Isaiah 66:10-14 (selected portions)
What Makes You Rich
Daily Devotion – July 28, 2019
Devotion based on Isaiah 66:10-14 (selected portions)
When I was young, I believed that if you had a cabin “up north,” that you had “made it.” You were rich. As I grew older, I began to realize things that challenged my youthful perceptions. I learned that those who did have cabins “up north” spent much of their time there cleaning, maintaining, and repairing. They hardly had made it!
More importantly, I realized that riches had very little to do with things—including cabins “up north” and everything to do with the spiritual blessings that come from a loving and personal God.
In flowing poetic language, Isaiah the prophet speaks of some of those blessings.
He records the word of the LORD about peace flowing to us like a river. Think of the peace of forgiveness through Jesus who removed the guilt of sin and the punishment that comes with it, by his death on the cross.
The prophet tells of eternal blessings which the LORD describes as “overflowing abundance.” Think of the indescribable glory of heaven—riches beyond compare and beyond counting.
Isaiah gives us the LORD’s promise of comfort. Think of the comfort of God’s daily, personal presence with each one of his people.
Am I rich yet? Yes, extremely and incomparably rich! I may not own a cabin “up north,” but my God has blessed me through Jesus is calling me up, up to the glory of heaven.
Heavenly Father, I thank and praise you for sharing the abundance of your riches with me. Through the proclamation of your Word, I pray that many other lives will be eternally enriched by your grace. Amen.
In June of 1865, Major General Gordon Granger landed with his soldiers at Galveston, Texas to announce that the American Civil War had ended and that all slaves were now free. Note that this happened more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. By the declaration of the President, all slaves were free in 1863. However, it took more than two years for all the slaves throughout the United States to hear about it. For more than two years, countless people were living in a slavery from which they had already been set free.
Sadly, the same type of thing still happens. The United States no longer condones slavery. But people feel enslaved every day. Enslaved to alcohol or pornography. Enslaved to the high that comes from drugs or prescription medication. Enslaved to feelings of bitterness, anger, or jealousy. To be enslaved means that you no longer feel in control. You do not do what you want to. Someone or something else has control of you. When what controls you is sin, and you feel chained to the same sinful choices again and again; the discouragement and deep guilt that result can make you feel like you are living in slavery.
But sin’s slavery is one from which you have already been set free. Not by your ability to finally overcome the addiction or to stay away from the temptation. Not by your newfound faithfulness to God’s laws. But by the declaration of Jesus, who died on the cross to take the punishment for your sin, so that you could live every day knowing that you are forgiven. Your sin does not determine your status in God’s family. Jesus does. He declares that you are free from the power and punishment of sin.
“Stand firm, then,” the Bible says, “and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Remember that you have been set free–the next time temptation comes creeping in, when you are overwhelmed with guilt, or you feel weak. Remember “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
Dear Jesus, thank you for the precious gift of freedom from sin. Help me to stand firm against Satan and his wicked temptations by remembering your declaration that I am free. Amen.
Would you want a surgeon to operate on you if he was only half-hearted about medicine? Would you want an attorney to represent you if she was half-hearted about practicing law? Would you want teachers in your children’s classrooms if they were only half-hearted about teaching children?
Neither would it be worth following a Savior who is only half-hearted about saving you.
Thankfully, Jesus wasn’t.
When this verse says that “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem,” it could literally be translated, “he fixed his face for Jerusalem.” In other words, he was absolutely determined to get there. And why? What was going to happen in Jerusalem?
He was going to die, and your sins were going to be paid for.
He was going to suffer, and you were going to be given a place in heaven.
He was going to be punished for your sins, and you were going to be given the right to walk through life knowing each day your Father in heaven is smiling in your direction.
Jesus wasn’t half-hearted about being your Savior. He was all in.
That is a leader worth following.
Lord Jesus, let me never fail to see your wholehearted devotion to me so that I find abundant strength to follow you. Amen.
A pastor received a phone call from one of his parishioners early in the week. “Pastor,” the woman said, “I need you to stop by the house as soon as possible. It’s very urgent.”
“What’s wrong?” the pastor asked, sensing the urgency in the woman’s voice.
“I need you to stop by so I can give you my church offering for this coming weekend,” the woman replied.
“Why don’t you simply bring your offering with you to worship on Sunday?” the pastor asked.
“Because if I don’t give it to you now,” she said, “I’m going to spend it on alcohol tonight.”
This woman had struggled mightily with alcoholism for many years. This temptation exposed her spiritual weakness over and over, again and again. Yet that day, she found the strength to keep fighting against it; a strength that came from knowing that Jesus didn’t die to save the people who prove they’re strong enough to follow him. He died to save a world full of sinners who regularly prove that they are not.
Maybe you feel weak against this same temptation. Maybe the temptation that makes you feel weak is entirely different. But whatever the temptation is that exposes your weakness most often, Jesus already died to forgive that weakness. God loves you. He’s still here for you. He has already prepared a place in heaven just for you.
That’s a special gift that will always provide the strength you need to keep fighting against your weakness.
This is why the Apostle Paul wrote, “I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” His weaknesses and the truth that they are forgiven in Jesus provide powerful encouragement and strength to anyone who has ever felt weak against temptation.
Lord Jesus, I am sorry for my spiritual weakness, and for how often it shows itself in my battles with temptation. I am so grateful for the gift of forgiveness. May it always give me sufficient strength to keep fighting. Amen.
[Jesus] said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59-62
John Hart is one of the 56 men who signed the United States’ Declaration of Independence. There were many who tried to stop him from signing this historic document. At one point, John had to make a choice between supporting his patriotic beliefs or being by the side of his dying wife and their 13 children. He forsook his family and put his signature on the document.
While his love for his nation is an admirable thing, it’s doubtful that everyone would forsake their family the way he did.
Yet, if we ever have to make a choice between following our family or following Jesus, Jesus clearly expects that we will follow him. In Jesus’ eyes, not even saying goodbye to a father was sufficient cause to delay in following Jesus.
Why? Because he knows that our families cannot save us from hell. Our families cannot pay our debt to God. Our parents cannot earn forgiveness for our sins.
But Jesus did. Jesus, in fact, is the one who keeps our families together even beyond death. His sacrificial death assures us that, though death on earth might temporarily separate us, we will be reunited with our fellow believers in heaven where we will be together forever.
Use your time with family and friends to celebrate this great gift given to us by Jesus. Gather around his Word and encourage one another with his promises so that heartfelt devotion to the Jesus who saves might be the one thing your entire family has in common.
Lord Jesus, you loved me with your whole heart. Help me to each day offer my entire life in heartfelt devotion to you. Amen.
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Luke 9:57,58
One of the latest trends in some places of the world is to live in what are called “tiny homes.” These homes are exactly what the name suggests—tiny. Some are only slightly larger than a backyard shed. Though the living space is small, these homes are skillfully constructed to include most anything its residents might find in a larger house: a bed, kitchen, electricity, plumbing, and even room to store a few things. They have become the home of choice for many people who are glad to live with less compared to their neighbors.
But anyone living in a tiny home owns more property than Jesus did as he was looking for disciples. “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head,” he said to one man who promised to follow him. With that phrase, Jesus was really asking him a question—Would you be willing to follow Jesus even if it would mean losing all your earthly possessions, including your home?
There are many Christians in the world today who are forced to answer that question. And there are many who choose to lose their homes rather than forsake Jesus. Why?
Because in the Word of God, they’ve found a cross on which Jesus clearly shows his determination to love and forgive us, no matter the cost.
Because Jesus’ empty tomb on Easter morning gives us a better home to look forward to in heaven than even the largest and most extravagant home on earth.
Maybe you will never have to give up your earthly home to follow Jesus. But it would be worth it to follow the one who gave up his life for you.
Dear Jesus, you gave up so much, even your own life, to build a home of perfection for me in heaven. May I be willing to suffer any loss for the sake of following you. Amen.