DEVOTIONS

We all gotta eat, but man does not live on bread alone

Posts tagged Scripture

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Morning Devotion: Put A Historian Next To Jesus

Remember this: Jesus stood on the strength of the Scriptures. JESUS believed the books of Moses. JESUS trusted that God, as the God of truth, created the world in JUST THE WAY HE SAYS HE CREATED IT. And we will roll with Jesus, and believe what he gives authority. You take any scientist in the world; any historian; any skeptic; any agnostic…

…and put them next to Jesus Christ, and I will believe Jesus EVERY SINGLE TIME. Of course I will! He is my God.

-Aj Neugebauer LCMS pastor

Filed under Christianity faith scripture the bible Jesus God lcms Lutheran agnostic skeptic historian science

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Evening Devotion: What Inspiration Actually Means

First, just a word about what I want to be clear that I am NOT saying. It is very true that there are Christians who speak as though the Bible’s composition, and even further, its preservation, occurred by something that is almost “magic”. While this is a very common belief among American Evangelical churches, it should not be the straw man that academia seeks to pick apart, if it wishes to pick apart the process used by the Council of Nicea.

While it is true that we believe that the Holy Spirit has “inspired” the writings of the Scriptures, this teaching is not synonymous with this “magical” and “mistake free” view held by many fundamentalist American denominations. While I will not take the time here to get into what an actual orthodox theology of Biblical inspiration is, (in fact, I am sure you will find it as a relief that my argument has almost nothing to do with the “inspiration” of the Bible whatsoever,) still, I will take a moment to say that it very greatly differs from the fundamentalist view.

Simply: it is not the historical Christian faith to believe that God “faxed down” the writings of the Scriptures into the heads of the authors who wrote them. That is, instead, more like the beliefs of Islam and the Qur’an, (as Muslims hold to the belief that Mohammed received the words of the Qur’an from Allah “as water flowing through a pipe”.) That varying (and differing!) manuscripts were and are used to compile the texts of the New Testament is something that the Christians of Nicea, the Christians of antiquity, the Christians of the Reformation and all other Christians throughout the ages have not only known and acknowledged, but it is also something, (it should be noted,) that did not seem to bother them at all, and that certainly did not take away from the validity of their faith. So too were they aware of the process of the Council of Nicea, and so too did it not cause them to leave Christianity.

-Aj Neugebauer LCMS pastor

Filed under Christianity Jesus God The Bible Council of Nicea Lutheran lcms Bible Scripture Holy Spirit

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Evening Devotion: The Holy Spirit Is Our Helper!

In the Gospel of John, Jesus calls the Spirit a “Helper”, and even further, Jesus calls him OUR helper. He also calls the Holy Spirit the Spirit of TRUTH; and says that he is also our TEACHER. In fact, not ONLY is he our teacher, but Jesus says that he will help us to REMEMBER the truths that he gives to us. Finally, Jesus also calls him the COMFORTER. This, TOO, is something we’ll come back to in just a moment.

First, let’s keep moving through the Scriptures. In the book of Romans, St. Paul says that if anyone doesn’t HAVE the Holy Spirit, then they don’t belong to Christ. In fact, all of Romans chapter 8 essentially speaks of the Holy Spirit. And the message is clear: those who have received it belong to God. Those who have not, do not.

Now, of course, the BENEFITS of receiving the Holy Spirit are what Paul then maps out, and it is what we’ve heard from the Augsburg Confessions and from Jesus too. But it begs the bigger question, which is: Well, how can WE receive the Holy Spirit?

To be continued to the Morning Devotion…

-Aj Neugebauer LCMS pastor

Filed under Holy Spirit Trinity Jesus God faith Christianity lcms Lutheran comfort St. Paul Romans scripture

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Lunch Time Devotion: Predestination

Before we get to what “predestination” really is, we should point out the way many people use it. You see, when some people say “predestination”, they mean that God “predestines” us to do everything. In other words, we’re robots; puppets on a string, and God’s the puppet master. And so the shirt that you picked out, and the sports team you like, and even the person you married was all a one to one choice made by God. He has forced your hand; and all creation merely plays out its route God has selected to its bitter end.

And even FURTHER, they would say, GOD is ALSO the one who has selected your faith for you. And if he has selected you be one of HIS people, well, goodie for you, because that’s the right answer. But if not; if God has chosen that you NOT believe in him; than GOD HAS CHOSEN YOU FOR THE FIRES OF HELL. And THAT, my friends, is UTTERLY WRONG.

You see, in this line of thinking, “predestination” means that God is the one who chooses to save, redeem, and forgive. But since he IS the one that does this, it only makes SENSE that he is the one who makes people do evil; who allows bad things to happen; and who withholds his mercy and grace from some people, and CHOOSES for them hell and damnation. He has plotted their path, and it ends with destruction, and they do nothing but run their plotted course into oblivion.

BUT THAT’S NOT TRUE!

I don’t believe that is what the Scriptures say. And if you’re a member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, then you don’t either. But then if THAT isn’t what predestination is, then WHAT exactly, is it?

To be continued in tonight’s evening devotion.

-Aj Neugebauer LCMS pastor

Filed under religion church Christianity predestination lcms Lutheran Jesus God faith scripture bible

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Morning Devotion: Predestination part III

So if, for example, Jesus says that the bread and the wine are his body and blood, then they think to themselves, “Well, I know Jesus is saying this. But THAT can’t be right. It doesn’t make any sense! And after all, if we can’t understand something, than God do it that way. So it isn’t REALLY his body and blood. We’ll make it mean something else.”

And when we do this, we might as well be saying “blah blah blah blah blah,” just like my little girl; trying to speak about something that we can’t understand.

Do you see why this is so dangerous? People CHANGE the meaning of the Scriptures, in order that it makes more sense to THEM. They CHANGE it, because even though God says it is this way, and says that CLEARLY, (I mean, you can’t get more clear than “THIS IS MY BODY. THIS IS MY BLOOD. IT FORGIVES SINS;) still people will move it around, and leave stuff out, in order that it fits what we can understand; into our neat little box of understanding. “God! You had better work your will in ways that are within our abilities of comprehension!” the world says. “Or we won’t believe it!”

But do you see how silly this is? How could we ever even EXPECT all the things of God to be understood by us? What kind of a simplistic God would that be? You know, my example wasn’t even close. Forget trying to explain to a 2 year old why you shouldn’t touch something that’s hot. Try explaining to a two year old quantum physics; or the theory of relativity; or the BCS college football system; or the plot to Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie Inception. Forget it, right? It’s absurd! Well, of COURSE it is! They’re TWO!

-Aj Neugebauer LCMS pastor

Filed under religion church Christianity pre predestination Jesus God scripture faith lcms Lutheran

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Morning Devotion: I Will Believe God

I don’t know if you’ve heard this one. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believed in him might not perish, but have eternal life.”

Hmmm… Does that match up with my own personal theology?

No. Wrong question. THAT IS A PROMISE. And it comes from God. I will hear it, and ALL Scripture, AND I WILL BELIEVE GOD AND NOT MEN; GOD AND NOT MYSELF.

-Aj Neugebauer LCMS pastor

Filed under religion church Christianity Christ Jesus God faith prayer inspirational promise theology scripture

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Morning Devotion: Open Ears

Seek the Lord in his Word. And when you seek him here, do so with your ears open. You know the phrase; “He who has ears, let him hear.” It doesn’t mean that it is always going to be easy to see what God is saying in his Word. But it DOES mean that THAT is what we should be trying to figure out:

“What do the Scriptures say?” THAT should be our question.

NOT

“Do I agree with what the Scriptures say?” For the answer to that HAS to be YES.

-Aj Neugebauer LCMS pastor

Filed under religion church Christianity bible Jesus listening God faith devotional scripture devotional Christ prayer Lord lcms Lutheran inspirational

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Evening Devotion: We Are Redeemed By Grace Alone!

WE are ground zero of the truth; because we do not bend to the whims and wills of the world; nor even to the pinings of our own mind. Instead, we hold to the pillars of our Confessions:

That we are redeemed by GRACE alone; through FAITH alone; and we can know these things through SCRIPTURE… and scripture alone.

We do not compromise. We do not boast. EXCEPT… in Christ.

-Aj Neugebauer LCMS pastor

Filed under religion grace scripture church christianity bible Jesus God devotional Christ prayer lord lcms lutheran inspirational