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Word from the Center: Devotion

Word from the Center: Devotion (16)

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, SEPTEMBER 20, 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 verses are Mark 9:30-32, where the Bible tells us,    30 From there they went out and began to go through Galilee, and [Jesus] did not want anyone to know about it. 31 For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” 32 But they] did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.   UNTIL THE JOB IS DONE! A few years ago, I was privileged to study at the Army War College in Carlisle, PA. Thanks again to National Guard Officer Ross Davis, a wonderful member of our Lutheran Church, who invited me to be involved in lectures and discussions about national security with the next generation of leaders of our Armed Forces. It was a humbling learning experience. It was at the end of their formal training, so I also got to celebrate with the whole group before their formal graduation. There is a tradition in the graduation ceremonies there. It involves the unveiling of a painting commemorating the students time at the college. Each class places a painting in one of the college’s corridors that expresses and defines the character and the commitment of their group in order to encourage future classes to follow their lead. This group’s painting was about the “Lost Battalion” of World War I, who, though surrounded on all sides by German soldiers, persevered through the gravest of conditions. They even helped the Allies break through the…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 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 verses are Mark 9:20-24, where the Bible recounts this encounter:    20 They brought the boy to Jesus. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. 21 And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” WHEN THINGS ARE IMPOSSIBLY POSSIBLE! Our lesson for today comes in the context of another healing event in the ministry of Jesus. It not only demonstrates Christ’s power over all things, but also faith’s power IN HIM amidst all the doubts and struggles that we may be facing. There so much to learn from the honest confession of the father in our lesson. The dad knew what his son needed and felt helpless in response. He also knew what he needed, stronger faith. When he meets Jesus, he expresses sentiments like this: “I’d like to have great faith, but I know that I’m inadequate now when I need it most. In fact, I’m overcome by circumstances and doubt. Lord Jesus, while I believe, help my unbelief.” Today many people don’t seem to struggle with their doubts; they tend to revel in them. Some even claim…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 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 verse is Mark 7:37, where the Bible reports this reaction to Jesus’ ministry:     They were utterly astonished, saying, “He has done all things well; He makes even the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”   DON’T JUST BE AMAZED BY JESUS, BELIEVE IN HIM! Have you ever had to deal with something that was locked up tight with no possibility of entry or release? I am beginning to travel again and one of my constant concerns is to have the keys to the townhouse in Washington, D.C. with me. There’s no worse feeling than getting off the plane, heading to the D.C. office, and then realizing that I may be “locked out.” Then it’s locksmith time. Being locked out with no possibility of entry when you really need to get in can even be terrifying in some circumstances. In life, being locked out, locked up, or locked in is not the life God intends for you. He wants you be free and open outwardly toward others. But a problem lies behind our text. There are diseases that debilitate eyes so they don’t see, ears so they cannot hear, and tongues so they are unable to speak. The Bible also talks of a greater disease, of hearts that are closed to the righteousness of God, lives that are shut off from the healing love of God, and minds that are closed to the moral wisdom of God. For things that are hopelessly closed, physically or spiritually, there is only one “locksmith,” the one “who has the key of David” (Revelation 3:7), our Savior,…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, AUGUST 30, 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 verses are Ephesians 6:10–12, where the Bible gives this encouragement and warning:     10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Put God’s Protecting, Empowering Armor to Use! Have you heard about the class action lawsuit aimed at a company called Second Chance Body Armor?[1] Second Chance manufactures bulletproof vests for police officers and security personnel. Their products are used by hundreds of police departments throughout the country. Apparently, several policemen have been killed recently even though they were wearing the vest. Following some independent field tests on several of their vests, a flaw was discovered in some of them so that they wouldn't actually stop a bullet that was fired at them. The company was sued for misrepresenting the quality of its product. The lawsuit alleged that the company withheld information about known defects in its “bulletproof” vests and sold them anyway. The company responded by participating in a voluntary replacement program for anyone who had purchased one of the potentially lethal vests at no cost to the end user. Along with its replacement program, the company has posted an apology on its website for any inconvenience that their faulty vests may have caused anyone. Inconvenience? Policemen were killed because of the ineptitude. They…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 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 verse is Mark 7:8, where Jesus tells the religious leaders of His day,     “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”   God’s “NO” and God’s “YES” – THEY BOTH MATTER FOR OUR LIFE!   G. K. Chesterton wrote the following: Take another case:….Charity is a paradox, like modesty and courage. Stated baldly, charity certainly means one of two things--pardoning unpardonable acts or loving unlovable people. But if we ask ourselves what a sensible pagan would feel about such a subject, we shall probably be beginning at the bottom of it. A sensible pagan would say that there were some people one could forgive, and some one couldn't….That again is rational, and even refreshing; but it is a dilution. It leaves no place for a pure horror of injustice, such as that which is a great beauty in the innocent. And it leaves no place for a mere tenderness for men as men, such as is the whole fascination of the charitable. Christianity came in here as before. It came in startlingly with a sword, and clove one thing from another. It divided the crime from the criminal. It was not enough that those who stole wine inspired partly anger and partly kindness. We must be much more angry with theft than before, and yet much kinder to thieves than before. There was room for wrath and love to run wild. And the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, AUGUST 16, 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 Bible verses are John 6:67-69.    67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” WHY LEAVE WHEN YOUR SAVIOR ASKS YOU TO STAY? I tried to come to grips with the depth of the questions and the issues that are at hand in our text for today. Think about it. There is Jesus in the flesh, the Savior of the world, teaching a group of followers and disciples. Just when Jesus starts to lay things on the line, calling people not just to some generic faith, but faith IN HIM, many who had followed began to leave. This prompts His question to His disciples, “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Wow! That’s almost too hard to imagine. I’ve been in Washington, D.C., for four years now and there have been exciting times in the presence of some very powerful people. If one of them were to say to me, “Don’t you wish to stay a little longer? I very much want to talk with you, Greg,” I can’t even imagine the thought of leaving. Stay? Absolutely! Why would I go? Think of people who are important to you. Maybe they include a leader, politician, celebrity, world-class athlete, or successful entrepreneur. If one of them said, “Stay a while longer because I would really like to talk with you,” would you? Most of us would…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, AUGUST 09, 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 verse is John 6:40, where Jesus says,    40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.   CAN YOU SEE WHAT YOU REALLY NEED? In our verse for today, Jesus says very bold things. He says that it is the Father’s will that you, me, and everyone who believes in Him as Savior receive eternal life. And if you had any doubts as to the validity of what He is offering, Jesus then says that He even has the power and authority to raise us from the dead on the last day. (Later, His power and authority to say such things is laid out for all to see in the events of the Cross and resurrection). Wow! He soon hears the religious leaders scoff at such promises, and His authority to offer them. They ask, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”(John 6:42). The question for them then, and for us now, is, “Can you see Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” Our very lives depend on it. There’s a harrowing story in the book, “Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster,” by Jon Krakauer. He recounts an unsuccessful climb of Mt. Everest that endangered and even cost the lives of several climbers. In trying to describe why things went so wrong, he speaks about one of the leaders, Andy Harris. He…
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 John 6:26-27, where the Bible says,    26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Don’t be Fooled by Things that Don’t last! One of my favorite TV docu-dramas was a series called “Shaka Zulu.” It told the story of an African “general” named Shaka who ascended to the leadership throne of the Zulus in 1816. He then created one of the mightiest empires the African continent has ever known. He was a powerful, ruthless warrior against all enemies of the Zulus, but he was also bloodthirsty among his own people. The series demonstrates our fallen human condition in all of its folly. Even the powerful of the world have “feet of clay.” No one escapes the destructive effects of sin, pride, greed, and other such things by their own efforts. That point is made toward the end of the series in a dialogue between Shaka and Great Britain’s emissary to the Zulus, Lieutenant Francis Farewell. The dialogue of their final meeting before Shaka's return to his capital where he will be assassinated by his own aunt went like this: Shaka: Tell me, how do you catch a monkey? Lt. Francis Farewell: Well, a gourd is used...with a narrow neck. Bait is dropped into the gourd, a piece of fruit, or - or something…
WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JULY 26, 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 verses are portions of Romans 8:31-37 where the Bible says,   31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?....... 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?....37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.          faith faces the future with boldness Throughout my travels last year, I was faced with a recurring question, “Dr. Seltz, what should we do when the future seems so unsure?” Great question. What should we do and how should we feel when something like COVID 19 threatened the lives and the livelihoods of virtually everyone on the planet? What should be done when many were faced with the realty of not being able to see loved ones, of not being able to work or pay one’s bills, or of not being able to worship and pray with other believers due to the threat of punishment of law? Or what about people today who are still facing the reality of sickness, of hunger, or even of war? What then? Well, the first thing that believers know, no matter how extreme the chaos of this world, is the biblical truth that “God is for us!” (Romans 8:31). Why? Because of what Jesus Christ has done for us by living perfectly…
 WORD FROM THE CENTER: MONDAY, JULY 19, 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 verses are Romans 8:24-25 where the Bible says,   24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.     HOPE IN CHRIST – ENDURING POWER TO OVERCOME LIFE’S OBSTACLES! Would you agree that hopeful people tend to be more positive about facing the challenges of the day than others? Hope has a way of helping us through difficult moments in our lives. You might say that there’s real power in hope. But there’s a danger in false hopes too. In fact, one of the growing temptations today is the unbridled hope in our technology, in our money, and in our government to solve our “big” problems. In our lesson for today, the Apostle Paul talks about the power of hope, but it is the power of hope rooted in the person and the work of Jesus alone. In that hope there is great blessing for humanity. In John Maxwell’s book, Think on These Things, he talks about the basic power of hope. He says:[1] Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest. Hope motivates when discouragement comes. Hope energizes when the body is tired. Hope sweetens while bitterness bites. Hope sings when all melodies are gone. Hope listens for answers when no one is talking. Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping. Hope endures hardship when no one is caring. Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing. Hope presses toward victory…
  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 Galatians 6:9-10 where the Bible says,   Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.   FREEDOM YEARNS TO BE SHARED!   In our country today, freedom has devolved into libertinism. We regularly hear thoughts like this: “I’m free to do whatever I want, whenever I want, with whomever I want, and no one can tell me ‘no’ but me.” Does that attitude sound familiar? It should, because many believe that’s what freedom entails. Sadly, they don’t realize such a view of freedom is actually a biblical definition of sin! The idolatry of self is the greatest rebellion against the God who created and redeemed us all. Bondage to our lusts and desires, even our emotions and faulty reason, stems from our brokenness before God. In the chapter before today’s reading, Galatians 5 reminds us that Jesus came to set us free to live freely and faithfully toward God and toward each other (see especially verses 1 and 13). The sacrificial actions of Christ Jesus, namely, His life, death, and resurrection, brings a freedom of faith into a believer’s life that changes everything. It creates a heart of gratitude that yearns not to selfishly indulge or hoard such freedom, but to share it on Christ’s terms with anyone and everyone. The July 4th weekend reminded us that, even in this sinful world, “freedom is never free.” In a world that is captive…
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