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Word from the Center: Devotion

Word from the Center: Devotion (8)

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word.

WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JANUARY 18, 2021 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s passage is John 1:43-46, where the Bible says,   43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.   COME AND SEE! Someone once remarked that the medicine of modern life is experiencing the joy of not knowing where you’re going and the confidence of not knowing how to get there so that you can have the peace of not worrying about when you’ll arrive! Well, the God who became man in the Babe who was laid in a manger seeks to shake us from such doldrums in order to give us the gift of forgiveness, life, and salvation on His terms alone. That’s why the call to “come and see” in our text today is so powerful. To put one’s faith in Jesus is to believe in what He tells you, to go where He says to go, and to trust that where He takes you is where you need to be. That’s why Jesus is not merely a prophet. He’s not merely a teacher. He’s the world’s Savior. And it’s Him or no one else. He’s the antidote for ancient man and modern man. He’s all that and more. So, come and see for yourself! That’s the message that Philip gave to his friend Nathaniel in our…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JANUARY 11, 2021 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s passage is Mark 1:9–11, where the Bible says,    9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” A SAVIOR WITH HIS HANDS IN THE DIRT!   The baptism of Jesus is one of those events in the Bible that will help you come to grips with who Jesus is, who you are without him, and who you are by grace through faith in Him alone. Baptisms, as a rule, are for people who are dirty and need to get clean. Yet religious washings tend to be about more than outward personal hygiene. They are often about people getting right with God in some form or fashion. Religious washings in general are about people with “dirt” on their hands and with “dirt” in their hearts, people like us who need to get clean before God. That’s why the baptism of Jesus is so strange and yet so wonderful! Jesus’ baptism was not one of those times when something got washed away. This was not a time when someone with “dirt” on His hands or in His heart came to be cleansed. No, this was a time when the One who cleanses hearts put His hands into the dirt of our lives. Wow! John the Baptizer was floored by this fact…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JANUARY 04, 2021 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s passage is Luke 2:41-50, where the Bible says,   Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions…. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.     WHAT ASTONISHES YOU? Mary and Joseph, though faithful to all that God had told them about Jesus, they still had a hard time processing what it all meant. And who could blame this. There was no one in the world like Jesus. How could this “boy” be more than just their son? How could He be the one who was…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2020 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s Scripture verses are these portions of Luke 1:26-38, where the Bible says,    26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”…30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus….38 And Mary said, “Behold, the Lord’s bond-servant; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. WHEN SURPRISED BY GOD’S GRACE, TRUST LIKE MARY   In 2009, when Gabriel Hurles turned six, he received a surprise that he would never forget. At first he didn’t notice it. He was so focused on eating his birthday cake that he hardly noticed the giant package in the corner of the room. When another child pointed out the large gift, Gabriel ran over and began to tear off the wrapping. What could it be? It wasn’t a bicycle or any of the other items a six-year-old might want. Surprise! It was his dad, Army Specialist Casey Hurles, home on leave from the war in Iraq. Gabriel and his father had been apart for seven months, so when Casey learned his leave would coincide with his son’s birthday, he hatched a…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2020 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s Scripture verses are these portions of Luke 1:26-38, where the Bible says,    26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”…30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus….38 And Mary said, “Behold, the Lord’s bond-servant; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. WHEN SURPRISED BY GOD’S GRACE, TRUST LIKE MARY   In 2009, when Gabriel Hurles turned six, he received a surprise that he would never forget. At first he didn’t notice it. He was so focused on eating his birthday cake that he hardly noticed the giant package in the corner of the room. When another child pointed out the large gift, Gabriel ran over and began to tear off the wrapping. What could it be? It wasn’t a bicycle or any of the other items a six-year-old might want. Surprise! It was his dad, Army Specialist Casey Hurles, home on leave from the war in Iraq. Gabriel and his father had been apart for seven months, so when Casey learned his leave would coincide with his son’s birthday, he hatched a…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2020 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s passage is from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, where the Bible says,    16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. A BATTLE OF WILLS! The amazing proclamation of the Bible is that the person and work of Jesus in history stand as the concrete expression of the will of God the Father. Out of His love for us, He sent His Son into this sinful world to save it. Amazingly too, Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, submitted His will to that of the Father so that the world might be saved, even though his life would be sacrificed on a cross in our place. These amazing facts are proclaimed each year beginning in the seasons of Advent and Christmas where we hear of that one night long ago in a small nowhere town called Bethlehem where Christ is born of Mary who “gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger” (Luke 2:7). So, what is the enduring message of this Christmas event? Is it merely some gentle notion of a mythological, fictitious, or idealistic goodwill toward men? Or, is it rather the Good News of God enacting His will on the world, albeit a will of service, sacrifice, unconditional love and salvation? For we who believe, it is the latter. We believe that it is God’s enacted and embodied will in Jesus Christ which calls our will to unconditional repentance before Him; it is a message which claims…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, DECEMBER 07, 2020 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verse is Mark 1:4, where the Bible says,    John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. DOES ANYONE REPENT ANYMORE? In many Lutheran services, the congregation confesses words like these together on Sundays: O almighty God, merciful Father, I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess unto Thee all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended Thee, and justly deserved Thy temporal and eternal punishment. But I am heartily sorry for them, and sincerely repent of them, and I pray Thee, of Thy boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be gracious and merciful to me, a poor, sinful being.[1]   This a prayer of repentance to God for His gracious forgiveness. It sounds like something that John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, might say. Repentance, the God-induced sorrow for our sins revealed by His Law, also causes us to fall at the feet of Jesus seeking forgiveness for our sins, forgiveness only He can grant. Again, that sounds very much like something John the Baptist would plead for us to experience because he cares. But there is a problem today with this simple, straightforward, and powerful truth. No one thinks that they sin anymore! One reason that many people don’t take comfort in God’s forgiveness is that they don’t think they actually need it. They take comfort in their sin instead, as if God is unconcerned at worst or tolerant at best with whatever one desires to do.…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2020 Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are 1st Corinthians 1:26-31, where St. Paul writes,   For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” PREPARED AND READIED FOR A TIME LIKE THIS! Those who attend churches that follow a commonly used series of Sunday readings probably heard 1st Corinthians 1:3-9 in worship yesterday. Today, I jumped ahead a bit. Why? Because the end of the First Chapter of Paul’s letter to the people living in Corinth long ago also applies specifically to today. Paul reminded those people who they were without God, who they were with God, and then what they were to do in this life until the day they would see their Creator and Redeemer face to face for all eternity. I thought that was worth jumping forward to, especially because of the uncertain times in which we live. What’s my point? When life reduces you to virtually nothing, whether physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually, and yet you…