First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @


June 2019

Jesus, Briefly Speaking

John 1:1-14

Commentary:  This passage amounts to a review…This “Word” (v. 1) equates to the Greek word “Logos” which means an idea or concept not simply letters bunched together that form an article of a language…Thinking of Jesus like this differs from thinking of Him as one normally does…This “concept” created all that exists, including light (vv. 2-5)…John the Baptist was the installed witness to this “Word” (vv. 6-8) apparently representing the OT prophets (cp. 1:29-45, 3:27-30)…The world rejects this “idea” (vv. 9-13), despite the gifts (vv. 12-13) it bares…The phrase “power to become children of God” (v. 12) is indicative of a definite relationship…Parents are positively related to their kids, despite lawyerly disputes over them in our court system…Some kids are better than others (cp. 1 John 2:28-3)…This Word “dwelt among us” harkens to the OT tabernacle where YHWH, through Moses, was consulted (Ex. 33:7-11, Num. 8, 17:8-13)…What we have is a choice, a decision on which side of this “idea” or “concept” we’re on…This choice is made by each of us on a moment by moment basis.

All People Are Welcome

Acts 10:34-46 (NRSV)

34 Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all.

God shows “no favoritism,” “no partiality,” and is “no respecter of persons” (depending on your translation of the Bible) when it comes to loving people and accepting anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Here the story is told of Peter sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with Cornelius and his family and friends.  They are Gentiles. Here we see Gentiles, non Jews, accepting Jesus Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit.  That was a social barrier, which was crossed with the Good News of Jesus Christ.  This is huge.

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people” (I Timothy 2:3-6, NIV).  

Christianity, the Good News of Jesus Christ is a universal religion and faith.  Christianity more than any other religion has welcomed people of all nations, races, and geography into the Church and a relationship with the one true God of all.

Jesus Christ, is indeed Lord and Savior for all the world, for all who call upon him for eternal life and abundant life here on earth.  Celebrate the Lord Jesus and share him with everyone you know.


A God who Rewards Those Who Earnestly Seek Him

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and the He rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Hebrews 11:6

In our culture, when we hear the word “reward” we instantly think of something extra–a bonus. Wouldn’t you agree? You were rewarded for your good behavior in class with a star sticker, you were rewarded for you diligence at work with a bonus, or you reward your dog for being a good boy with a treat.

As a young believer, I am always cautious when the idea of a “reward” comes up in Biblical text. I walk cautiously on the idea of the Prosperity Gospel because there is nothing in the Bible that says Christians are going to have it on Easy Street. In fact, the Gospel’s speak of Christ’s suffering and the letters warn the Early Church about coming persecution and suffering.

So, what does Paul mean by “rewarded” in Hebrews 11:6?

I did a little digging. This term means more of paying what is due. Which, when we look to John 19:30 when Jesus says, “It is finished,” he is also talking about fulfilling a debt--paying what is due. He is paying for the wrath of God with himself rather than us. He is paying our debt.

Brothers and Sisters, this post is not to make you think that the abundant life promised in John 10:10 is not true. This post is not to make you think the land of milk and honey is not an oasis in these dark times.

This is simply a reminder that when we earnestly seek God our will begin to align with His. When our will aligns with His then you will be amazed at how God gives (rewards if you will) you your heart’s desires.

Keep seeking God, my friends, earnestly. Allow your mind to be renewed and transformed. You’ll be amazed at what He reveals about Himself and how He provides for you in abundant ways that you had never dreamed of before.


Watching for God’s Word

Jeremiah 1:12

It is easy to watch the birds to return, the flowers bloom and the tree buds become leaves.  What is really hard is to watch for God’s word.  What are we looking for?  What does it look like?  Who is doing it?  Our first reaction is that we don’t know, we don’t know and it sure is not us.  But are you sure?

Being a Night Deacon I have answers very quickly:  Saturday morning pancake breakfast, school lunch program, homeless shelter ministry.  You do not have to be a church officer to be seeking and carrying our God’s word.  Opening a door with a smile, giving a word of encouragement, really asking how someone is doing,  wishing a person well.  It does not have to be a big event but a small gesture filled with God’s love can share the love of God.  That is why I end my blog with Shalom.  I want you to have peace, contentment, wholeness, well being, just plain feeling good. So watch for and carry out God’s word.

Shalom Mark.

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