Nebraska/Winnebago

Spiritual Guidelines, Day 3 - Monday Morning Devotions

This devotion series is brought to you by Pastor Ricky Jacob, serving the Winnebago people at Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and Preschool. (Need to go back to week 1, click here.)


All this week I am addressing those who are the head of the family and their God-given calling and responsibility to instruct their household in spiritual matters. The basis for our reflection today is on one of the commands that Creator God inscribed in stone and first gave to Moses.

Today we will focus on these words: "Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy." The word 'Sabbath' is a Hebrew word for 'rest.' For the Jewish people, this day begins with the setting of the sun on Friday and lasts until the setting of the sun on Saturday.

  A songwriter once put this command to music, "Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy." here are the words:

"You shall observe the worship day  That peace may fill your home, and pray,
And put aside the work you do, So that God may work in you."
Have mercy, Lord!
[LSB #581 These Are the Holy Ten Commands ML]

As the head of the household, one is responsible for leading his or her family in spiritual matters and this command directly addresses this matter. Each and every day there should be times taken to offer words of thanks and praise to God. In some homes the day begins with a prayer of thanks for a new day, prayers are often said at meal times, as well as at the close of day.

Christian families are encouraged to read a portion of Scripture, to meditate on a devotion or Bible story. And then there is the opportunity to gather as the family of God on Sunday morning. Christians gather at the gracious invitation of God at His house and to receive His blessings, through both His Sacred Word and Mysterious gifts of grace received in God's Sacraments.

Dr. Martin Luther taught his flock this simple explanation of this command of God:

We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

Sadly many fail to receive God's blessings or take the opportunity to encourage others and to pray for the needs of those hurting as the family of God. In other words, they despise God's Sacred Word and His commands to gladly hear and learn from it. Those who fail to lead their family to God's house are not only neglecting their God-given responsibility, they are teaching their family that God is not really all that important. However, those who do take this responsibility seriously will reap the benefits in years to come.

This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of God: God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." [1st John 4:16b-18 NIV]

Spiritual Guidelines, Day 2 - Monday Morning Devotions

This devotion series is brought to you by Pastor Ricky Jacob, serving the Winnebago people at Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and Preschool. (Need to go back to week 1, click here.)

You can read the devotion below, or listen to it here.


Through this series, I am addressing those who are the head of the family and their God-given calling and responsibility to instruct their household in spiritual matters. The basis for our reflection today is on one of the commands that Creator God inscribed in stone and first gave to Moses.

Today we will focus on these words: "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God."

The name of God is spoken all the time, however, mostly it is used and abused in ways that in fact dishonor God. One such way is to use it flippantly, without any thought. I am sure that you have heard, maybe even used O.M.G. ~ oh, my God

!This is not a usage of God's name that honors Him. If you think otherwise, then simply insert your name in the place of God. Would you like everyone to utter your precious name in this manner?

 

A songwriter once put this command, "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God." to music.

"Do not My holy name disgrace, Do not My Word of truth debase.
Praise only that as good and true  Which I Myself say and do."
Have mercy, Lord!
[LSB #581 These Are the Holy Ten Commands ML]

We ask our preschool students what are some good ways to use God's name? They come up with various answers including: Praise the Lord! or Jesus loves you. We don't usually ask them for ways to misuse His name as we don't want to give them any ideas or encourage them in saying such things.

Dr. Martin Luther nearly 500 years ago taught his flock this simple explanation of this command of God: 

We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

Once again we realize that we have fallen short regarding this command and need to seek God's grace and mercy. That is what our Creator offers to those who call upon the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of God: God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." [1st John 4:16b-18 NIV]

Spiritual Guidelines, Day 1 - Monday Morning Devotions

This devotion series is brought to you by Pastor Ricky Jacob, serving the Winnebago people at Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and Preschool.

You can read the devotion below, or listen to it here.


Today I would like to talk with all of you who are the head of the household or someday plan to be the head of a household. I would like you to reflect on what you will teach your family when it comes to spiritual guidelines. God has placed parents in a position of authority and has entrusted you with responsibilities as parents of your children. One such responsibility is in spiritual matters, and yes spiritual matters really do matter! 

A long time ago on the other side of the world, God handed down ten commands to Moses on Mount Sinai, [present day Saudi Arabia]. God actually engraved them on two stone tablets. These ten commands were meant to be followed by all people throughout history.

Today we will focus on these words: "You shall have no other gods before me." A songwriter once put this command to music. I will spare you of my attempt at singing it, here are the words:

"I am alone your God, the Lord; No other gods shall be adored.
But you shall fully trust in Me  And love Me wholeheartedly."
Have mercy, Lord!
[LSB #581 These Are the Holy Ten Commands ML]

There is one, only one true God. God has blessed you and me with life. God created the first man and the first woman in His image. He created Adam and Eve holy, without sin or shame. They were able to walk and talk with God. They lived surrounded by God's love and protection.

That all changed when they began to doubt His Word, His command and they stopped loving God. Their failure to trust in God above everything led them to suffer the consequences.

What does our heavenly Father expect from us today regarding this command? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things. This is the greatest command and tragically we all have broken this one and are need of a Savior.

Those of us who are led by God's Spirit strive to trust in God above everything else,  and yet we still fail. This does not mean that we should STOP trying. The Good News is that our heavenly Father sent Jesus who obeyed His heavenly Father all the way to the cross and the empty tomb. The goal of these ten commands is to lead us to plead for God's mercy and to trust in Jesus as our Savior.

This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of God: God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." [1st John 4:16b-18 NIV]

Live Like Job - Week 7 (Monday Morning Devotion)

monday morning devotion with lutheran indian ministries live like job pastor ricky jacob winnebago nebraska

This series, written by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who is serving the Winnebago people of Nebraska, looks at the story of Job and helps us discover how to live a life of faith like him.

Need to start at the beginning? Here's week 1


One of the biggest challenges for an outsider who enters the reservation is to not come across as a know-it-all. An outsider naturally comes from and with a completely different worldly perspective.

Even though I entered at the gracious invitation of the Winnebago Tribal Council, who asked the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod to provide a worker who would share his or her faith with their children, this did not make the task at hand any easier. What can a white man teach the Ho-Chunk [Winnebago] tribal members about faith in God? Surely, he would come across as a know-it-all.

At times, the more I share the stories of Mauna and His Sacred Word the more I come across as a know-it-all. I get excited when someone attends a church service or a Bible study and I get to tell them about Creator God and His beloved Son. Often times I play right into their understanding that the ‘white man’ Christian talks about God, as opposed to their talking to God. It is my humble calling to not merely talk about Creator God, nor to merely talk to Creator God, but for Creator God to talk to the hearer so that he or she would be blessed with knowing Creator God as their Redeemer.

Let me draw your attention to a man who did know a thing or two. His name was Job. Job knew something about human nature and he would sacrifice burnt offerings for his children, thinking “perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” More importantly, he knew God; that He is merciful.

God allowed Satan to afflict Job, but Satan must spare Job’s life. Job was afflicted with painful sores from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. It the midst of Job’s suffering he comes to utter the words: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth.”

Job was blessed by God to know His redeemer, Jesus, who years later would rise victorious from the grave! God’s Spirit instills faith in the hearts and minds as a blessed gift, to people of all ages, tribes, and languages. By the grace of God, Job knew all there is to know about one’s salvation by knowing Jesus as one’s Lord and Savior!

This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of Good News of Job: I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth" [Job 19:25 NIV]

Live Like Job - Week 6 (Monday Morning Devotion)

monday morning devotion with lutheran indian ministries live like job pastor ricky jacob winnebago nebraska

This series, written by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who is serving the Winnebago people of Nebraska, looks at the story of Job and helps us discover how to live a life of faith like him.

Need to start at the beginning? Here's week 1


For thirty-five chapters God is silent. For thirty-five chapters Job cries out. But God? He says nothing.

God finally speaks. In the middle of the storm, God speaks. To the father who holds a rose taken from his son’s coffin, God speaks. To the wife who holds the flag taken from her husband’s casket, God speaks. To the couple with the barren womb and the fervent prayers, God speaks. Our God speaks in the storm and his voice thunders with majesty, power, and authority.

Job 38:1: “Then the Lord [Yahweh] answered Job out of the storm.” This storm has huge thunderclouds, replete with flashes of lightning going back and forth. It’s a massive show of force!

For thirty-five chapters Job is consumed with all kinds of questions. Where is God? Why is this happening? When will this end? How could God do this to me? But the most important question is not when, why, what, or how. It is who. Who is the God behind all of this? And who is the question that is answered in Job 38–41. Instead of an explanation from God, we receive a revelation of God.

“Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2). Job doesn’t respond. “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me” (Job 38:3). Job keeps quiet. The tables are turned. Instead of Job questioning God, now God questions Job.

“Then Job answered the Lord: ‘I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer— twice, but I will say no more’” (Job 40:3–5). Job surrenders. He stops pressing for an explanation from God and instead receives a revelation of God.

We don’t have a God who is distant, far off, or disconnected. We have a God who is with us, a God who speaks in the storm and becomes like us in Christ Jesus. Are you broken? He was broken. Are you hurting? He hurt. Do you cry? He cried.

How about us? Well, I can give up on God. Or I can receive the revelation and stop insisting on an explanation. Then I surrender, like Job. I declare my declaration of dependence. And what does that look like? Jesus gives us the words. “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I dare to pray these words because a revelation of this God beats any explanation, every time. Amen.

This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of Good News of Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth" [Job 19:25 NIV].

READ WEEK 7

Live Like Job - Week 5 (Monday Morning Devotion)

monday morning devotion with lutheran indian ministries live like job pastor ricky jacob winnebago nebraska

This series, written by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who is serving the Winnebago people of Nebraska, looks at the story of Job and helps us discover how to live a life of faith like him.

Need to start at the beginning? Here's week 1


Throughout most of his book, Job thinks that God is trying to kill him—literally. However, Job writes, “When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” God is after a golden character, a mature Christian faith, a life marked by depth and compassion. So God takes strange and distasteful events, works them together and creates lives of beauty. The secret is understanding how it all works together. There are five ingredients:

1st ingredient is Shock: No one is fully prepared for that time when you get a call that something tragic has happened to your loved one. Or when you’re at the doctor’s office and he says the “C” word—cancer. When those things happen, it’s like jumping into a bitterly cold lake. When you jump in, immediately the shock to your system takes your breath away.  After Job lost everything, he was in shock.

2nd ingredient is Sorrow: Whatever happened to the God who loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives? In chapter 23, when Job gives voice to his sorrow, he feels as though it’s falling on divine deaf ears. Job starts looking for God—but God is nowhere to be found. If Job is a true and worthy servant of God, why then is God evading him and ignoring him?

3rd ingredient is Struggle: Job says, “Even today my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning” (Job 23:2). Why do we struggle with God? There are two reasons: #1, we doubt his wisdom. And therefore, #2, we want to be in control. Life is tough. You can let it beat you down and you can get down and stay down the rest of your life. But if you keep struggling like Job, you learn from your losses, you profit from your pain, and you advance from your adversity.

4th ingredient is Sanctification: Sanctification is God’s process of making us more like Jesus. Too often we think that God’s plan is to make us happy. I’m sorry to have to break the news to you, but that’s not the plan. The plan is to make us holy, to make us more like Jesus. Every problem has a purpose. We are transformed by our troubles. God specializes in bringing good out of bad.

5th ingredient is Service: God wants to take our greatest pain and turn it into our life’s proclamation. He wants to use our mess for a message. He wants to use our tests for a testimony. There’s a plan, a divine plan, a plan where all things are working for our good and the Father’s glory. The secret is understanding how it all works together.

This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of Good News of Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth" [Job 19:25 NIV]

READ WEEK 6

Live Like Job - Week 4 (Monday Morning Devotion)

monday morning devotion with lutheran indian ministries live like job pastor ricky jacob winnebago nebraska

This series, written by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who is serving the Winnebago people of Nebraska, looks at the story of Job and helps us discover how to live a life of faith like him.

Need to start at the beginning? Here's week 1


The people in Job’s life—Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz—cut him down. They had the bedside manner of drill sergeants and the compassion of chainsaw killers. A revised version of their theology might read like this: “Boy, Job, you must have done something really bad! We know God is good, so if bad things are happening to you, then you’ve been really bad!” No wonder, (in Job 16:2), Job calls them “miserable comforters.” His head hurts. His eyes burn. His legs ache. And he can’t stomach any more hollow homilies. But there is hope for a tree!

A tree can overcome being left for dead. “Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant” (Job 14:8–9). Job was left for dead. First by the accuser—Satan—who thinks Job’s faith is but a farce; second, by his wife (“Curse God and die”); and third, by Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz. We all know the feeling of being left for dead. Life does that, sometimes, doesn’t it?

But even though a stump may be dormant for a long time, a good soaking rain often spurs new growth. A tree can overcome being left for dead! “There is hope for a tree” means that there is hope for me. Job 14:14, “I will wait for my renewal to come.” Job claims renewal in the midst of his darkness and death. And it all comes from a single, solitary, seemingly insignificant sprout on the stump of a tree. This one small part—this detail—is beautiful. And, for us, on this day, it is enough.

Jesus had been cut down and left for dead. But in the midst of history’s darkest and most deadly moment there was hope, hope because on the tree of the cross Jesus took away our sin and wretchedness. On the cross Jesus identifies with our loneliness, rejection, and pain. And then renewal came. Three days later the crucified One was risen, indeed!

That’s finally why Job can say, “There is hope for a tree.” And that’s why, no matter how tormented we are, no matter how broken we have become, no matter if death hovers on our doorstep—we can say, “There is hope for me!” That detail, a sprout on the stump of a tree, is beautiful and it is enough. It is always and forevermore—enough. Amen.

This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of Good News of Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth" [Job 19:25 NIV]

READ WEEK 5

Live Like Job - Week 3 (Monday Morning Devotion)

monday morning devotions with lutheran indian ministries live like jesus pastor ricky jacob winnebago nebraska

This series, written by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who is serving the Winnebago people of Nebraska, looks at the story of Job and helps us discover how to live a life of faith like him.

Need to start at the beginning? Here's week 1

 


There are portions of the Bible that are “fly-over” books. You probably know what I am talking about. These books or portions of Scripture include laments. We have more than enough problems of our own, we don't have to read about the problems of others. Maybe you have skipped past the book of Job because he simply goes on and on and on lamenting.

After chapters one and two, Job’s livelihood is in ruins. His family is dead and his health is broken and crushed. He has become an object of horror and a sickening sight. In chapter three Job lets it all hang out. He looked at all his hardship and refused to fly over. We have much to learn from Job.

1. We cope with sorrow by going through it. Notice that I’m not saying that we get past our sorrow. If the sorrow is deep enough, in this life we will never get past it. But we can get through it.

David prays in the 23rd Psalm (23:4), “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . .” Note the phrase, “Walk through.” We walk through it. Don’t go around it, tunnel underneath it or try and take a big jump over it. Walk through it. How?

First I Complain. Job complains, “Why should I have to go on living if living involves so much pain!”
A – (Appeal). The second thing I do is appeal to God’s nature, His compassionate merciful nature.
R –Next I remind God of his truth, remind God of what he said, remind God of his reputation.
E – Finally, I Express trust in God’s wisdom and the things I don’t understand. No matter who it is in the Bible when they are lamenting to God, they follow this pattern. Complaining, appealing, reminding, expressing. That’s how we care for ourselves.

2. We survive sorrow by looking past it. I’m not saying that we wallow in our weeping. We go through it but we also look past it. We look past our sorrow to see Jesus who knows what it is like to lament. Oh God, Jesus knows!

Psalm 30:5: “Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Refuse to fly over your pain. But also affirm that joy will come in the morning; because of the first Easter morning when our Lord’s own lament was turned into a song of everlasting deliverance. Amen.

This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of Good News of Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth" [Job 19:25 NIV].

READ WEEK 4

Live Like Job - Week 2 (Monday Morning Devotion)

monday morning devotions with lutheran indian ministries live like job series

This series, written by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who is serving the Winnebago people of Nebraska, looks at the story of Job and helps us discover how to live a life of faith like him.

Need to start at the beginning? Here's week 1

 


This week we are reflecting on the life of a God-fearing and upright man named Job. You know  Murphy’s Law, right? Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Job’s Extension of Murphy’s Law is: Nothing is ever so bad that it can’t get worse.

One moment all is calm, the next moment everything is chaos. First, Job loses his wealth to marauding bandits. Gone are his oxen needed for farming, gone are his donkeys and camels needed for transport, and gone are his sheep and all his workers are massacred.

While still reeling from the shock waves of economic catastrophe, news of an even greater personal tragedy comes, a storm has taken the lives of his dear children. All ten of them.

In all of this, Job does not curse God, nor does he flippantly say 'Oh, My God.' This is bad but it gets worse. God once again brags Job up and Satan responds with 'Skin for skin!' "A man will give all he has for his own life.' Creator God says to Satan, "Very well, then, he is your hands, but you must spare his life."

Job is afflicted with painful sores from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. To add insult to injury his wife says to him. "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not    trouble?" In all of this, Job did not sin in what he said.

Today his response would probably be labeled as being 'sexist.' However, Job was merely stating reality. Due to man's rebellion against God, pain, stealing, suffering and death entered the world. Things go wrong. There is no doubt about that!

Job does not follow the advice of his wife or go the way that Satan was leading him to do. Instead, by the grace of God, Job accepts God's will for his life, come what may. Jesus accepted the will of His heavenly Father that took Him to suffer on the cross. Jesus did die that is true. And then on the third day, He rose so that each and every man, woman and child who trusts in Him has the hope of life everlasting.

This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of Good News of Job: I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end, he will stand upon the earth" [Job 19:25 NIV]

READ WEEK 3

Live Like Job - Week 1 (Monday Morning Devotion)

monday morning devotions with lutheran indian ministries live like job devotion title.jpg

This series, written by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who is serving the Winnebago people of Nebraska, looks at the story of Job and helps us discover how to live a life of faith like him.


Today we reflect on a story about Job from God's Sacred Word. Creator God bragged to Satan about this God-fearing and upright man. “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” [Job 1:8–11 (NIV84)]

Job had no warning of what was about to happen. In one day he would lose his wealth, seven thousand sheep, five hundred oxen, as well as his three thousand camels and five hundred donkeys. Not to mention countless servants.

If Satan had his way he would not stop there. Satan did have his way and through a wind storm, Job and his wife, lost their seven sons and three daughters. Disasters happens!

Like Job, we have three choices when something devastating happens. We can let it destroy us. We can let it define us. Or we can allow it develop us. “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” [Job 1:20-21]

Satan is your enemy He would take everything from you if he could. God allows him to go so far and no farther. Satan tempts people in order to trap them into all types of addictions. Addictions to drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality, greed, pride, arrogance, murder, gossip, slander, ridicule - all items that Satan uses in order to destroy your relationship with God.

Unlike Job, Jesus knew exactly what was coming. Following His baptism Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where He was tempted by Satan to no avail. Satan then left Jesus until an opportune time.

That opportune time would come on Good Friday when Satan would apparently destroy Jesus,. Satan was limited to what he could do to Job, Satan could not take his life. In the case of Jesus this was not so. But the story does not end there. Nor does it end with Jesus' burial. Jesus rose victorious, on the third day! Jesus offers you victory as you surrender to the will of His Heavenly Father by trusting in Jesus as your Savior.

This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words of Good News of Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth" [Job 19:25 NIV]

READ WEEK 2