Hard Hearts and Miracles

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on April 04, 2020

Our Old Testament reading for today (Deuteronomy 24-25) is referenced in the New Testament a number of times. This is one of those subtle ways that the Holy Spirit reminds me that the book that we are reading was recognized as God’s inspired word by the Jews of the first century—and most importantly by the One who died and rose again.
 
Marriage – Jesus knew Deuteronomy 24:1-4. God gave this law, not because he wanted divorce, but to regulate it because God knew people’s hearts were hard and would rebel against God’s life-long design for marriage. Read Jesus' explanation in Matthew 19:1-12.
 
Poor – I am not aware of a specific reference these passages about caring for the poor, but Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you" (Matthew 26:11) What a great reminder as we step into a time when many people around us will be facing great financial need.
 
40 Lashes– Paul mentions that “five times I received… 40 lashes minus one.” (2 Corinthians 11:24).

Don't muzzle an ox - Check out the New Testament application (click here).
 
Levirate Law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10 – “Levir” is the Latin word for “husband’s brother.”  The Sadducees challenged Jesus about this law in Matthew 22:23-33 during the Holy Week confrontations in the temple.
 
A Miracle
 
Was anyone’s heart as hard as Saul (who would become the Apostle Paul)? Yet the Spirit worked the miracle of faith in him and changed his hard heart (read about it in Acts 9:1-35). If you believe that Jesus rode into Jerusalem to die on Palm Sunday and walked out of the tomb one week later, it is because the Spirit worked that same miracle in you. And he can work that miracle in those you are inviting to join your “Journey to the Empty Tomb.” During this time of online worship, it is easy to invite your friend, neighbor or co-worker. Share the online worship link (click here). Start a “watch party” on Facebook (find our page here). May the Holy Spirit change hearts today as he changed Saul’s heart.
 
Worship with Us
 
Our Traditional Palm Sunday service will be available by 5 pm (click here).
 
The Bridge will be live streamed (click here) on Sunday at 10:15 am or join us on Facebook and start a “watch party.”
 
Holy Week
 
We plan to live stream a short Maundy Thursday devotion, remembering the Passover meal that Jesus ate and its symbolism for his approaching sacrifice for us.
 
We will have Good Friday and Easter services online and livestream the Bridge Easter service.
 
Need Help
 
As our “Safer at Home” time continues, you may need some help  or may want to help others. Sally Wallner is coordinating this. Click here to send her a message.
 
Generous Gifts
 
Yesterday I was working in the office and several people stopped by to drop off their offerings. Thank you for remembering to support the Lord’s work even when you cannot be worshiping in the church building. You can make a one-time or recurring gift from checking, savings or credit card by clicking here.
 
Thanks for walking together on this daily “Journey to the Empty Tomb”!
 
Pastor Pete

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