Romans 4:9 "Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness."
Have you ever said or thought while watching a situation: "boy this child does not have a chance" as you watched their parent(s) do something? Maybe because the parents are fighting in public or their use of language. Whatever the case, we look at the parents and wonder what the child must be thinking. Then fast forward 15 years and we are not surprised that the child is modeling what he/she learned.
In the passage above, in Romans, Paul is saying that our family history does not guarantee God's grace; only our faith will be credited as righteous. Abraham was a universal example here. But on the reverse side of this, Paul is saying something just as crucial: the absence of family history or poor parenting does not , in any way, deny our access to God's grace, love and forgiveness.
In the example above Paul is saying the child does not have to follow the same course as the parents. He does not need to conform to the pattern of his/her ancestors no matter what the pattern may have been. (Drug abuse, disrespect, alcohol or anything else.) Paul will say later in 2 Corinthians that anyone can become a new creation in Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!") This is a gift to all who believe, some may call it a rebirth.
As Christians we play a vital role in the situations above (The do as I say not as I do thought process is not of God). Our actions, our encounters, our words with others, both in the church and outside, play a significant role. We are called to be examples of grace and giving, examples of love and forgiveness to the people around us. Yes, Christ is the answer, not us, but we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ. Aren't we? I hope to see you later this morning as we celebrate Consecration Sunday together.
Almighty God, Paul tells us that it is in Your Son that all can find new life. Help me, oh Lord, to be a better example and show the changes that You have blessed my life with. Help me live my life continuously in Jesus with thought and action. May I not be persuaded by greed, power, ego and self and instead rely on Your teachings. Father, forgive me of my sins as I grow closer to who You are calling me to be. I pray for this help in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Morning Devotional - Happy Easter!
He is Risen!!! What piercing words that must have been to the disciples hearts, He is risen. Those same words still ring with power and hope today. Come join us as we celebrate in the Word this morning at 7am sunrise service and 9AM EASTER SERVICE. We would love to have you.
Special thanks to all those who participated at the Maundy Thursday service and those that shared their time with us. It was a very uplifting and beautiful service. Please accept our apologies as the service online did not have sound. We are not sure why at this time.
Next week is our consecration Sunday. Please pray what God is asking of you this coming year financially for this church. You will be receiving a mailing this week please read it, pray about it, and then join us in supporting the life of this church on the hill. See you later this morning!!! God bless.
25 Jesus’ mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood near the cross. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
There are no words that can express our gratitude for Jesus going to the cross. How could words sum up the most life changing world event that ever happened. Most of the time we spend our time looking at Jesus and the love He spilled out to us all going to the cross. A love that is beyond all of our capabilities and understanding. But in John's gospel there are also those who went with Jesus to the cross.
We know we can never live up to the the perfection of Christ but what about the others like Mary? I wonder what price did Mary have to pay in order to “be there” as Jesus was crucified? I often hear people say I will be there for you but is it as Mary teaches? ." As we celebrate the Risen savior today can we also the remember the love shown by the others as a lesson for us.
Happy Easter and may we all exclaim, He is Risen Our Lord has risen!!! See you later this morning.
39 One of the criminals hanging next to Jesus insulted him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
40 Responding, the other criminal spoke harshly to him, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’ve also been sentenced to die? 41 We are rightly condemned, for we are receiving the appropriate sentence for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.”
In the most horrifying moment, a 24 hour period where he sat with his friends, shared a meal with the one who would betray Him, realized how weak those whom He loved were as He watched them flee and deny Him. Then being dragged away as a common thief, was beaten, flogged, spat upon, mocked and humiliated finds Himself on the cross between two criminals, rebels.
The cross, the meaning of the cross then was no place a person would find grace. A man that went through what Jesus went through would need no defense if He said nothing. But even there Jesus was willing to share the good news of love, grace and forgiveness. In the most loneliness time I could ever imagine a sinner reached out in faith and Jesus offered Him grace and promised Him eternal life.
This example He gave to us kind of eliminates our excuses, our bad days from doing Good and spreading the great news of Jesus Christ. Today is Good Friday; in Mark's gospel chapter 15 starting with verse 34 we hear that at 3pm Jesus cries out with a loud voice and breathed His last breath. We as Americans remember our history moments; 9/11, D-day, The Founding papers of this Country to name a few. But on a day that changed our lives forever what do you do. Today set your alarm for 3 pm. When it goes off take a deep breath in and out and give thanks. Let us not simply pass through this day as if it is just another day for it is not. It is the day that love poured out on that horrific cross, a blood offering so we might go free and death would pass over us.
Psalm 27:1: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”
There are times in my life that I catch myself living in the darkness of this world. In reality it is not that hard to do. Things may go in a different direction than I expect despite my best efforts; I lose a loved one; I am attacked without knowing why; health issues weigh me down; I see the anger and hatred on the news and in our community and the scenarios go on and on. As I read the Psalms I see that I am not alone in my feelings of being overwhelmed by this world. David writes about his journey and fears. In Psalm 27, David was pointing to the fact that, in those times of being overwhelmed by this world, God strengthened him. Even more importantly, he was pointing out that God was the constant, main source for everything he did in life. Paul tells us this as well in a different way when he wrote to the Philippians: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). These writings remind me that my faith must be in God alone. The Lord must be my light and strength for nothing else can fully eliminate the fear and burdens of this world.
Where do you put your faith? Do you come before God in awe every time you walk in to His sanctuary? I hope to see you this morning as we celebrate our Lord's triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
Almighty God may all honor and glory be yours this day and everyday. Lord, I know you are my light and my only salvation and yet I am weak; often relying on myself to bring about peace and progress. While I say the Lord's prayer daily, "thy will be done", I find myself living my will be done. Forgive me, Lord. Father, I ask you to bless the upcoming services here at EOCC and in every church. May they bring a deeper meaning to those whose ears are open and hearts ready. Lord Jesus, thank you. As we draw nearer to the cross my heart aches and at the same time is overjoyed for the love you have brought into my life. Lord I thank you for allowing me to hear a man witness yesterday to the power of Your love and Your Word. What a gift. Lord, as I journey may your teachings, love, and fellowship carry me to new places.
I ask this in your Son's name,
I love the Easter season as it is a time of hope. Oh certainly in Lent there is the awareness of pain and our sinfulness but there is also a glimmer of what can be. A hope covered in forgiveness and love that changes your existence. We can still have sadness, hurt, and loneliness, but in and amongst it all we have a steady stream of God's presence that moves within our souls.
For me, Easter always brings God's presence in a deeper way. Maybe it is because of Lent and a more intense focus into God's Word. Maybe the Holy Spirit feels my seeking and therefore is more active in my life. Whatever the reason, I find a peace and a truth that God has overcome all evil and is active in the world today. The journey to Easter helps me to move aside the small things that occupy my time and instead focus on a Lord who walks with me on my road to Jerusalem invoking deeper questions and better clarity to scripture. Easter brings hope eternal when the world shouts there is no hope.
I pray your Lenten journey has been as fruitful as mine. May our God bless each of us as we agree to walk together in His spirit allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth and lead us home. See you later this morning!!!
Father, thank you for the blessings in my life. For my health, my families, my friends and the challenges you lay before me each day. Lord, open my ears and mind so that the Holy Spirit can teach me in Your ways. Open my eyes to the lessons you send to me through Your people. Father, as Easter approaches may I come to a better understanding as to what you have done for me and the world. Help this understanding to mold my life so I may better serve you and those you have put in my path. Lord jesus come! Forgive me my sins; forgive my selfishness and my other weaknesses. I pray this and all things in the name of Your Son Jesus. Amen
Meet the pastor
Rev. Pastor Carl Schreiber has been serving East Orrington Congregational Church (EOCC) since March 12, 2006