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Life in the Spirit
Romans 8:1-11 ESV
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Thought for Today
Do you know or have you ever met someone who cannot forgive themselves? Often times they have, because of drugs, alcohol or other addictions of 'fleshly desires', caused immeasurable damage to the relationships with their loved ones: kids, spouse, and parents. More often than not, they have lost the ability to keep steady employment and often have ruined their reputation. They more than likely have huge indebtedness and often times are in jail or prison because of their addiction and the behaviors they exhibited. Often they see themselves as the dead bones from yesterday's devotion.
In Roman's chapter 7, Paul writes about our human depravity and the resulting death, the eternal death that we deserve. Chapter 8 begins with a 'There is therefore', indicating a new chapter and beginning that hinges on a significant item. What do you think this is? More appropriately it's a He, Jesus. Because I believe in Him; that He came to earth to fulfill the Law, that by taking on God's wrath (the wrath that I was due because of my sin), and that He rose from the dead, I have the assurance of eternal life. Therefore there is NO condemnation from God towards me. Hosanna and Hallelujah!
Because of what Jesus did for us, we are a NEW PERSON in CHRIST! All because there is a new spirit living in us, we have His Ruah, the Holy Spirit living in us. With this understanding we can begin our new life in Jesus. We leave behind the old self and begin a transformational journey toward becoming more like Jesus each and every day. We are forgiven people!
Dear Holy Spirit, Thank You for softening my heart by guiding me in discerning my wretchedness and the harm that either I've done or could do(my thoughts) to You and others. Thank You, Jesus for giving me the gift of hope as a new person, one becoming more like You. I love You Jesus.
We shall, as we ripen in grace, have greater sweetness towards our fellow Christians.
― Charles H. Spurgeon
Quote of the Day
God will not let any violence go unpunished, but He Himself will take vengeance on our enemies and will send home to them what they have deserved by the way they have treated us. As He Himself says (Deut. 23:55): “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.”
― Martin Luther
Dem Dry Bones
Ezekiel 37:1-14 ESV
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live." So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”
Thought for Today
Do you remember singing the gospel tune Dem Bones, Dem Bones? It's based on this text. It was written 500+ years before Jesus was born. Ezekiel was a prophet in Babylon. In the earlier chapters of this book, he tells of God's judgment of Israel because they reject God. They have forgotten His many miracles to protect and provide for them in His leading them out of Egypt and His Law (given to Moses for their protection and eternal well being). More than likely, they rejected Him because they wanted to 'do life their way'. In essence, they've taken God for granted. It's an all too frequent human condition or state of mind. Arrogant self-determination is a reality all around us each day.
There is a major twist to the story of Israel and for us too. Ezekiel is visited by the Lord and taken to a valley of dead bones. The Spirit asks Ezekiel if these bones can ever live again? His reply is 'O Lord God, You know.', meaning that only God has the power and authority to give life. Ezekiel is then commanded to give directions to the bones to reconnect and to add the elements of tissue that a body needs in order to function and live. But these bodies are not yet alive. What was missing? Ruah, the Hebrew word for breath or the essence of life was needed from God for these bodies to come to life. Ezekiel experienced the prophesy of Israel coming back to life, the eschatology, end of human life as we know it, of Israel when the Messiah returns.
It's important to understand this text because as we began our Lenten journey on Ash Wednesday, what did Pastor Eric place on your forehead or hand? What were the words he spoke over you? This is our earthly beginning and destiny but, just like Israel, our story isn't over.
Dem Bones, Dem Bones; at the end of each verse, there's a refrain. It is 'O Hear the words of the Lord.' Are you listening carefully? He's trying to speak to each of us.
Dear Lord, Lent is a very somber time of remembering our sinful humanness and Your justification for giving us what we deserve, death. By the virus of sin that we inherited from Adam, this is our reality. But our story, just like You shared with Ezekiel, is not over. We pray for Your Ruah in our daily lives. We long to hear You speak to us. Amen
There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service.
― Charles Spurgeon
Quote of the Day
For the slave, however, without a song, life would be destroyed by death because through the spiritual, a musical sermon, the enslaved “chants new life.” This is the heart of preaching—chanting new life in the midst of death.
― Luke A. Powery
- Kristi Farnum published a bulletinReadImmanuel Lutheran ChurchContemporary 03.26.23
Let the Little Children Come
Luke 18: 17
But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Thought for Today
How hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus has been hammering this theme all the way to Jerusalem. It is hard of the rich, the self-righteous, and the busy to enter the Kingdom. It is hard because we want it to be about us at least a little bit. We want to be able to enter the Kingdom saying, “See what I did? Sure, Jesus did most of it, but I added this to it!” Jesus points to the little children as the model of the faith that is required to enter the Kingdom of God. Children belong to the Kingdom of God because they believe Jesus when He says they are part of His family. When you were growing up did you ever question why you belong to your family? No, we are born into a family and we accept that as our heritage. It simply is who we are and the family history is our history. Jesus says we need to receive the Kingdom of God like that. He said in your baptism you became a part of His family. That means His Father is your Father. His history is your history. You don’t earn your right to be a part of the family. It is yours by right. Why do we work so hard to earn the right to be in God’s family when it is ours by right? Receive the Kingdom of God like a child. Accept that it is simply true and rejoice that you are a part of God’s family!
Heavenly Father, I praise You that I am a part of Your family! Help me to live like I belong to You today. Amen.
The kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom. It beckons us to gamble all, to trust radically, to come and die so that we might live--to give our lives away. Giving life away is a paradox. It's losing so we can win. It's giving so we can receive. It's risking for security. It's faith. The kingdom of God means living that tension. ― Ken Wytsma
Quote of the Day
Who has a harder fight than he who is striving to overcome himself. — Thomas a Kempis
- Jesus Brings New VisionAlthough we do not learn his name, Jesus said of the man born blind that the works of God were displayed in him. As the One brightening our lives with the light of salvation, Jesus brings a new vision to our lives—an eternal vision of life with God that never ends. God knows our names. He directs the cross currents of our daily lives. In His light we see light—and that is what matters!sermons.faithlife.com
Lazarus House Meal DonationsLazarus House provides services to the homeless. On the third Friday of every month Immanuel provides meals to support this cause. Terry Rueffer has set up a worksheet at volunteersignup.org to help coordinate donations. Shortly the address to be used for April signup will be published. In the meantime, contact Terry by emailing him at email@example.com. Fri, Apr 21, 5:30 PM
Wednesday Women's Bible Study - WaitingWe wait. And...wait. In traffic, at the doctor’s office, at the restaurant. For the right guy. For a baby. For the test results. For prayers to be heard. Waiting can be agony. In our culture where almost everything is instant, we are accustomed to getting what we want now. So when our lives are put in a holding pattern, we squirm. But what if the waiting rooms of life are God’s best classrooms? What if the Holy Spirit changes us through the uncomfortable delays of life? Throughout history, God has called on His people to wait for His timing and His will. This study focuses on the lives of 8 biblical women who waited and yearned and ached. Women like us. Waiting highlights principles that make these times more bearable, and maybe more meaningful, even if it feels like God isn’t present or there’s nothing we can do. Learn how to surrender your worries to God, handle the daily-ness of waiting, and draw closer to Jesus. Questions? Contact Laura Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wednesdays starting Apr 12, 9:00-10:30 AM @Fellowship Hall
Blood DriveOur next blood drive is coming up soon! Schedule your appointment today at immanuelbatavia.org/blooddrive. Each donation impacts and saves up to 3 lives. Contact Laura Klein with questions email@example.com. Tue, Apr 25, 3:00-6:30 PM @Mobile Coach in Parking Lot
Faith Like a Child
Luke 18: 15-16
Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
Thought for Today
It was not unusual for mothers to bring their children to famous rabbis to have them blessed. With the stir that Jesus was creating I’m sure the ladies who traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover were hoping for a chance to meet Jesus and have Him bless their children. The disciples are understandably annoyed. There are very important people who want to meet Jesus, too. These important people should be the priority for Jesus. After all, little children will not increase their standing in Jerusalem. Jesus, on the other hand, takes this opportunity to drive home the point he had been trying to make about the Pharisee and the tax collector. He rebukes them for trying to send the mothers and children away. He points to the children and says it is exactly because they cannot do anything for themselves or anything to increase His standing that makes them so precious to Him. He is not looking for people who think they are important, He is looking for humble souls of simple faith. For by their simple faith in Him they are already a part of the Kingdom of God.
Lord Jesus, Thank You for pointing to the children and reminding me that it is not what I can bring to You that You value, but that I simply trust. Amen.
The devil can quote Scripture for his purpose; and the text of Scripture which he now most commonly quotes is, “The Kingdom of heaven is within you.” That text has been the stay and support of more Pharisees and prigs and self-righteous spiritual bullies than all the dogmas in creation; it has served to identify self-satisfaction with the peace that passes all understanding. And the text to be quoted in answer to it is that which declares that no man can receive the kingdom except as a little child. What we are to have inside is a childlike spirit; but the childlike spirit is not entirely concerned about what is inside. It is the first mark of possessing it that one is interested in what is outside. The most childlike thing about a child is his curiosity and his appetite and his power of wonder at the world. We might almost say that the whole advantage of having the kingdom within is that we look for it somewhere else. ― G.K. Chesterton
Quote of the Day
It is a great consolation for me to remember that the Lord, to whom I had drawn near in humble and child-like faith, has suffered and died for me, and that He will look on me in love and compassion. — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
God, be merciful to me, THE sinner.
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Thought for Today
While the Pharisee was filled with pride over his assumed holiness, the tax collector was devastated by his life. He literally says, “God, be merciful to me, THE sinner.” As he looks around the temple everyone appears holier than he is. Like Paul, he declares himself chief of sinners. There is no reason for God to have mercy on him. If God polled the other children of Israel he would be nearly unanimously voted out of the nation. The only reason god would have mercy on him is because he humbly asked. He acknowledged that he had nothing to offer God and placed himself solely in God’s mercy. According to Jesus, that was enough. He was justified, made right, with God simply because he asked. For whoever humbles himself will be exalted and whoever exalts himself will be humbled.
Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, the sinner. For Your mercy is my only hope. Amen.
As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on thing and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you. ― C.S. Lewis
Quote of the Day
My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I'm right. ― Ashleigh Brilliant (This made me laugh)