Several times a month, Zion sends a devotion to Zion members via email. Here are recent devotions.
Devotion for August 15, 2018
“And he asked that he might die, saying, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.’ And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’” (1 Kings 19:4b-5)
Elijah had good reason to prefer death to life. Hated, hunted, and doubtful, he figured that he was the last prophet of God in Israel. He felt as you and I may sometimes feel: alone, dispirited, and failed.
Yet then God granted him sleep, as God grants to all His beloved (Psalm 127:2), and the good angel came with good words: “Arise and eat.” God cared for His own, as a shepherd cares for His sheep. He comforted Elijah not only with physical nourishment but also with His own, merciful and divine fellowship.
Here is the God who greets you in Jesus Christ. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). “Take, eat. Take, drink.” With such tender words He nourishes and raises us up, too. Though we may feel sorry for ourselves, He has a journey for us to walk. Though we may mark ourselves for dead, He marks us for life. Come to Him; rest in His arms; eat and drink His Supper; then rise, and be on your way.
LET US PRAY: Lord, feed me. I’m hungry, and I’m not smart enough to know what food is best. Nourish me with Your bread of life, and send me on the way of life. Amen
Pastor Steven K. Gjerde
Devotion for August 8, 2018
“Then they said to (Jesus), ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.'” (St. John 6:28-29)
“‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ At the front and center of this church, you do not find the chairs of the pastors; you do not find the organ or the choir; you do not find the people; you find the altar, where Jesus comes to you, risen from the dead, in the very body that has overcome the grave. At the front and center of this church you find the altar, where the new creation comes to you in the flesh of Christ; where the way of life comes to you in the words and promises of Christ; where God breathes his peace on you , his forgiveness on you, in the eternal presence of His Son whom He has sent. Faith in Christ must always be the center.”
“And here especially is what we mean by faith in Christ–to trust Jesus is to trust the promises that he gives you as divine promises coming from God Himself, stamped with God’s approval. If Jesus gives you a pastor forgiving you your sins, then trust that those sins are forgiven by God–He wants you forgiven! If Jesus gives you a supper, than you trust that supper more than you trust a high-protein, low-fat diet–He wants you to have the resurrection and the life! If Jesus gives you His name by which to pray, then pray in the confidence that you are heard–God is your Father! Trust that it’s all for you, and not only for you, but for the whole world.”
(Taken from a sermon preached by Pr. Steve Gjerde on August 5, 2018 at Zion Lutheran Church, Wausau, WI)
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, may your Church always keep your Son at the center of all she does: her worship, her study, her praying, her caring and service, and her speaking. May she always seek to receive and to give all the blessings and gifts that the Son has to give to his people; in his Holy Name we pray. Amen
Rev. Ted Gulhaugen
Devotion for August 1, 2018
“Wake up, my spirit; awake, lute and harp; I myself will waken the dawn. I will confess you among the peoples, O Lord; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your lovingkindness is greater than the heavens, and you faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” Psalm 108:2-4
“What a racket!” Such enthusiastic worship and praise would likely receive a noise complaint in the city. That is, if the rules of this world still applied to the good news of God.
Jesus Christ shows us that in fact they don’t! He heals the sick, raises the dead, feeds the hungry, and has the power to control even the forces of nature. What can our God not do to a world, a creation, that is firmly in his grasp?
But this is not an expression of raw power that seeks its own. What God does in his Son reveals to us a power that is made perfect in weakness; a wisdom that seems foolish and a victory that looks a lot like defeat. This is what makes his lovingkindness so great and faithfulness so expansive. That he would seek to even be know in the worst life has to offer, so that wherever you go, you’ll be sure to meet him.
In Jesus Christ, God calls you and all of creation into a new existence with him. It knows no bounds! And so we who have this promise can be so bold as to waken the dawn. For whenever we have Christ on our lips; wherever his word reaches longing ears, there we find a new creation.
LET US PRAY: God of all creation, awaken me this day to sing your praises to a world still struggling in the darkness of the devils lies. Kindle within me that fire of faith, that your Spirit might find its way into the hearts of many, bringing them the dawn of a new life in the Risen Christ. Grant all your servants the freedom of obedience in you, that we may rest from our labors, closing each day as it began: in humble and simple praise. We ask this all in the name of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Vicar Joe Pinzl
Devotion for July 25, 2018
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all he does he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
Course beams stretch up to the heavens and out into all the earth. They are bound crudely together not as a sign of fine craftsmanship or to create a piece of elegant furniture, but as a single implement of death. It bears those criminals, miscreants, sinners of the highest order challenging by threat of death all who would fail to conform to a world order.
We don’t often want to go that way. Such a ghastly sight could not possibly yield life. Never! And yet there is one…When this cursed tree looms over you, there is He. There is the one who dies in agony and isolation bearing away all that would accuse you. There is the one who though his mouth is parched and dry speaks the word of life into your hearts. There is the one who takes away death, that from Him streams of living water may flow.
Blessed is the man, this Jesus. For by his cross he has brought to death all that was in you, so that with Him you might drink from the stream of life and grow ripe as good fruit, taking shelter in the leaves that do not wither.
LET US PRAY: Merciful Lord, you chose what was low and despised in this world—your Son on the cross—to bring to nothing the power of sin and death in us. Grant by your Holy Spirit that we may ever die to whatever seeks to pull us away from you, and by faith, cling to this tree that reveals death to the world, but in you, yields only eternal life. Amen.
Vicar Joe Pinzl
Devotion for July 18, 2018
“And [King Herod] vowed to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.’” (Mark 6:23)
Half a kingdom: that’s all that Herod was willing to offer. And even for that half-kingdom, his wife’s daughter had to please him with a dance. Do you see how different your Lord is?
Your Lord doesn’t give you a half-kingdom but a whole kingdom, and for this great gift he doesn’t even require a song and dance. Your Lord gives you His kingdom for His own sake.
The resurrection of the body, the hope everlasting, the daily joy, the forgiveness and mercy, the favor of the Father, the fellowship of the Church, the life to live, the death that is but a sleep, the new creation that comes with Jesus—all these things are yours, not because you pleased your king, but because your King died for you.
Now there’s a reason to dance!
LET US PRAY: Almighty Lord and King, Your gifts so far exceed all that I can imagine that I tend to forget them, or at least, to forget their magnitude. Help me to remember the great mercy that You have shown me, and to be awed by it, that I may ever praise and delight in You; for Jesus’ sake. Amen
Pastor Steven K. Gjerde