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Friday, September 30, 2016 Devotion

1PrayingHands2

“If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.”  (1 John 5:16)

One who is in relationship with Jesus still has sin issues.  That is, in the journey of becoming like Christ, we are not yet like Him.  Becoming like Christ is the journey of the Christian.  We are to encourage one another and forgive one another as He has forgiven us.  Be led by our Lord as He leads and learn and grow and encourage those around you to be in Him as He is in you.

Lord, there is a line that some have crossed.  Help me to be neither anxious to ever see that line crossed, nor to trust in my ability to know where the line is, but to simply focus upon being faithful as You are faithful and to do what is right.  Guide me in wisdom to know and then to be willing to act upon what is known so I may help others as You have helped me in this gift of faith.

Lord Jesus, in You is the hope of the ages.  You have the words of eternal life and You have given them to all who believe.  You have also warned against the tares that grow alongside the wheat.  If necessary, grant me wisdom to see, but also in every circumstance, help me to love others enough to tell them the truth, especially the hard truth when they sin that all around me may be in You for eternity.  Amen.

Thursday, September 29, 2016 Devotion

1PrayingHands2

“And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”  (1 John 5:15)

The faith is not built upon a give and take exchange, but upon a relationship which knows things.  We know that the Lord hears us.  These are not tricky words but the simple truth that in the living relationship with our Lord, He lets us know that He knows what we are requesting, then we, trusting Him, trust the answer He gives to every request because He knows what we need even before we ask.

Lord, the devil comes along and I am tempted with things that I do not need.  He tempts me to not trust You and question You about why You do what You do.  Help me Lord to trust You alone and above all things so that I may live into the life into which You have called me.  Guide me, I pray, to see the truth of salvation You have purchased for me that I may grow in being like Christ.

Lord Jesus, You who know more than I can begin to imagine, guide me to trust Your Word of truth now and always and be led into the life into which You are leading me.  Help me to see that only in You will I find the fulfillment and truth that sustains.  Lead me today to be faithful to the calling You have given me, knowing that only in You is there a good future and the hope of the future.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 Devotion

1PrayingHands2

“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”  (1 John 5:14)

How can one know the will of the Father unless one is able to hear the Son as He speaks?  How can one understand the will of the Father unless he knows the Word of the Father?  The one who knows the Son, knows the Father and knows that all that is spoken is heard by the Father.  Have confidence in what the Lord has done for You through the grace He has given to those who believe.

Lord, I become confused and do not understand that Your promises are not something I claim, but what You give for those who are abiding in the grace You give from the cross.  Help me see that of course if I abide in You and listen to Your Word, You will hear all that I ask and will bring me to the completeness promised through faith.  Lead me into the truth You have revealed that I may have the confidence You give.

Lord Jesus, the One who has revealed God in the flesh, let me see You more clearly each day that I may hold fast to the eternal truth You have revealed.  Guide me in truth to be confident in this faith You have given me knowing that only in You is there true hope and an eternal future.  May I abide in You more richly with each passing day knowing that all I ask is already known by You.  Amen.

Champions: CORE-sponsored Hispanic ministries Encuentro (“Encounter”) in Chicago

  • September 27, 2016 - 5:31 pm
  • lutherancore
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On September 16 CORE board member Keith Forni and I attended the game where the Chicago Cubs defeated the Milwaukee Brewers with a home run in the tenth inning.  As soon as the winning run had been hit, the crowd in the stadium erupted into applause and the Chicago Cubs erupted into celebration.  Originally, because we thought the Cubs would be losing, Keith and I had been planning on leaving the game a little early in order to beat the crowd to the commuter train.  Instead we were among those who hung around the longest because we wanted to soak in the joy of the moment.  We watched images on the large screen of the team’s continuing celebration.

What was interesting about that game was that when the Chicago Cubs played that game, they were already National League Central Division Champs.  And they were champs even though they had lost to the Brewers the day before.  They were champs because the day before the San Francisco Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinals.

All of which got me thinking about our life as Christians.  As believers in Jesus we are victors even when we fall prey to temptation, doubt, disobedience, and disbelief.  We are victors not because of what we do or have done.  Rather we are victors because of what Jesus has done.  We are victors because on the cross and through the empty tomb Jesus won the victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil.

The hymn, “Lift High the Cross,” says it so well.   

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim

Till all the world adore his sacred name.

Led on their way by this triumphant sign

The hosts of God in conqu’ring ranks combine.

So shall our song of triumph ever be;

Praise to the Crucified for victory!

That is a hymn that we sang – both in English and in Spanish – at the CORE-sponsored Hispanic ministries Encuentro (“Encounter”) in Chicago September 13-15, and at the worship services at First/Santa Cruz Lutheran Church in Joliet, Illinois, on the following Sunday as we observed and celebrated Holy Cross Day.

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Pastor Keith Forni, a member of the board of Lutheran CORE and pastor in Joliet, had put together an outstanding program which lifted high the cross and which featured gifted speakers addressing relevant topics that would support, enable, and encourage congregations who are doing or seeking to do bi-lingual ministry.  Dr. Leopoldo Sanchez, professor at Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, spoke on “Reading Scripture through a Global South Lens.”  Robert Batasini, retired vice president and senior editor for GIA Publications, introduced a new bi-lingual hymnal.  Pastor Keith Forni spoke about the possibilities for engaging people spiritually through the Las Posadas tradition.  The Rev. Dr. Frank Senn told of the history of Holy Cross Day, the observance of that day in the Latino culture, and about the relevance of a theology of the cross in our lives and our world today.  And the director and co-founder of a local program called “The Healing Corner” told of their work to bring hope, empowerment, healing, and love back into neighborhoods that have suffered gun violence.

This event was not only a tremendous resource for the forty-five different people who participated, it was also a great encouragement to the host congregation and an effective outreach into the community.  One of the sons of the former, long-term pastor of the host congregation enthusiastically said on several occasions, “This is the best thing this church has ever done.”  We also invited to join us for lunch a group of people who were waiting at a nearby corner for a food truck.  Not only did they join us for lunch.  Several of them attended both of the evening sessions.  This event showed the host congregation that they have a future and that they have a real and needed ministry in their neighborhood.

It was a great joy and honor to be able to represent Lutheran CORE at the Encuentro as well as to be able to preach in a bilingual ministry setting on the following Sunday.  One of Lutheran CORE’s goals is to further develop our ability to support ethnic ministry.  We want to “lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim till all the world adore his sacred name.”

Dennis D. Nelson

President of the Board and Director of Lutheran CORE

Tuesday, September 27, 2016 Devotion

1PrayingHands2

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”  (1 John 5:13)

All you or I can do is simply tell another of the truth of Christ.  If they believe, then they hear the voice of the Master.  If they will not believe, then they do not hear the voice of the Master.  Either way, these things are in the hands of Jesus.  Rejoice that You have heard the Master’s voice and live in the truth He has revealed and know life, liberty and eternity.

Lord, You have come to rescue those who are lost because of the separation sin has caused in the world.  Guide me into the everlasting life that comes through the grace You have purchased that I may know more fully each day the promises You have given to all who are in You.  May I live in such a way that You in me is an evident thing that others would see that they too may join in the gift You give to all who believe.

Lord Jesus, You are the way truth and life and have come that we might have more than we can imagine.  Help me to simply abide in You knowing that all things are in Your hands and will unfold according to the purposes the Father has designed from the beginning.  Guide me now and always in the truth of Your Word that I may live this life You have given knowing that only in You is there a hope that is more than I can even begin to imagine.  Amen.

Monday, September 26, 2016 Devotion

1PrayingHands2

“He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  (1 John 5:12 )

In a living relationship, with the life lost through sin restored by grace, what Christ has come to accomplish is accomplished in the power of His work through the one who is in Him.  It is not something earned, but something lived.  The one who lives in Christ lives and the one who does not is dead in their sins.  This is the truth of the Gospel and the need we all have for the One who saves.

Lord, the world around me makes all kinds of conditions of Your Gospel.  They say I must do this or that.  Help me live simply in the design of the Gospel You have revealed and abide in You, proving nothing to anyone and simply living in the truth You have given by grace which I claim through faith.  Lead me where You will, for You are Lord and Savior of all who are in You.

Lord Jesus, over and over again, You came up to the people and spoke the simple words of command that those who heard would leave what they were doing and follow You.  Help me each day abandon the way of the world and simply follow You.  Through all that may come, may I hold fast to the truth that life is found only in and through You and in no other place.  Amen.

Sunday, September 25, 2016 Devotion

1PrayingHands2

“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”  (1 John 5:11)

God is the source of all life.  In Him is life and apart from Him, there is no life.  He has given us His Son to lead the way that we may walk in life.  This is the testimony God gives that all who believe may walk in life now and forever.  To live is not the experience of life, but to live in the God who made you is.  This is a logical conclusion for all who consider that God alone is Sovereign.

Lord, I get confused in this world of so many options that I do not think about the simple truth that You are the creator and all things are in Your hands.  Help me now and always to see that in You alone is there life.  Of course I should live according to the purposes that You have created to be the basis of existence.  Help me now and always to live in Your will knowing there is no other way to life eternal.

Lord Jesus, God in the flesh who has come to lead the way, lead me in the purpose revealed from the beginning that I may live life as life has always been intended to be lived.  According to Your will, guide me daily to make those choices that are right and fit within Your will.  Help me now and always to follow You in all things knowing that only in You will I discover life as it has always been meant to be lived.  Amen.

Saturday, September 24, 2016 Devotion

1PrayingHands2

“The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.”  (1 John 5:10)

God reveals Himself in Jesus and all who are able through the power of the Holy Spirit to see, see that God is.  The ones who see have in them the testimony that God has come in the flesh and hold fast to the truth and the truth sets them free.  The mystery of this is great, but the simple truth is that either you believe, or else you do not.  Draw closer to God and He will draw closer to you.

Lord, amidst the doubts and foolishness of this age, there is the simple truth that You have given testimony to the reality of the creation You have made.  Help me to see more clearly Your hand in all things that I would not be unbelieving, but believing and see that in You and You alone is all hope and truth.  Guide me through the revelation You have given that I may abide richly in You.

Lord Jesus, the revelation of God come in the flesh, lead me through Your Spirit to understand more fully the mysteries of the faith amidst the mystery of this world.  Help me to see, knowing that I cannot fully know all things, but I can understand that You are Lord and Master and that You are drawing all men to Yourself for the Father’s sake.  Guide me in the way of truth now and always.  Amen.

Friday, September 23, 2016 Devotion

1PrayingHands2

“If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son.”  (1 John 5:9)

In whom do we trust?  We are to fear, love and trust God above all things.  The testimony of God has been given through His Word and we are to trust what He has said concerning His Son.  Yes, listen to those who give testimony of the Son, but the weight of God’s testimony is greater than all the prognostications of men.  Know that in Him is truth and that truth leads to life eternal.

Lord, help me to love Your testimony because it is from You.  Lead me to see in Your Word Your message not only for the world, but for me.  Guide me in the truth You have spoken that I may abide in the everlasting truth of the revelation of Your Son.  Help me, I pray, to understand more fully and follow more clearly the truth You have spoken.  In all things, guide me in the way of truth.

Lord Jesus, God in the flesh who has revealed the God whom we cannot see, lead me in Your truth that I may now and always live according to the Word You have spoken.  Help me, I pray, to receive and believe Your testimony above all things, ignoring the constant white noise of opinions that are spouted off by those around me and in the world.  Guide me in Your way now and always.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Devotion

1PrayingHands2

“For there are three that testify:”  (1 John 5:7)

The Trinity is revealed in Scripture, in nature, and in life.  The Lord does what He does and He has purpose in all that He does.  Sometimes we can be tempted to meditate and come to our own conclusions, but seek first the Lord and what He says and then see as the Lord reveals what He would have you know.  Your faith is given to you as a testimony that you may in turn testify to others that the Lord is God.

Lord, I want to know everything before I do anything, but owning knowledge alone is not faith.  Faith accepts what You have given and walks by doing what You give us to do.  Help me to walk by faith, not by my sight, that I may journey in the upward call of this mystery which You have revealed through Christ.  Guide me O Lord to walk in Your ways and by the leading of Your Spirit.

Lord, You have come that I may have life and have it abundantly.  Guide me in the truth You have revealed, trusting that You are taking me to the place You have always intended.  Through all things and in all things, help me to walk by faith knowing that all things are in Your hands.  Lead me to be faithful to the faith into which You have called me this day that I may trust You above all things.  Amen.