March 28 “Willing”


If we had any idea of what the Lord is willing to do for us, we would be living different lives today.
Of course, he was a leper, an outcast. He knew had no rights to the right-of-way anywhere. He was expected to announce his approach by shouting, “Unclean! Unclean!”  If he was cynical and suspicious of those in power, it is understandable. His words to Jesus reveal all of this uncertainty,

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

Everything stopped. As one man, the multitude following Jesus retreated  to a safe distance. Lepers must never be touched. What did Jesus do? He put out His hand and touched the leper, saying.

“I am willing; be cleansed.”

Immediately the leprosy was gone but the rotting bandages remained. Feeling returned to extremities and toes of the man and fingers sprouted where only stumps had been. He stripped away the rags of his life and danced in the sun as whole as a new born baby. People around him gave praise to God and improvised clothes to the man as great rejoicing rose from the crowd. Finally, the former leper knelt at the feet of his Healer.  Jesus spoke to him tenderly, instructing him not report this to others before telling the priests and offering what the Law required.

Jesus was ministering in His home region of Galilee and entered the town of Capernaum when a Roman officer came to Him pleading with Him to heal his servant who was paralyzed and in great pain. When Jesus offered to come and heal him, the officer protested out of profound humility. He thought himself unworthy of a visit from Jesus but he understood the authority of Jesus over afflictions. How did he understand this? Because he was a man of authority over hardened soldiers who obeyed his commands without question. If this were true of him, surely it was also true of Jesus.

“But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.”

Jesus was impressed with the faith of this Roman officer, a man who was not a part of the covenant people of God, he was expressing more faith than those who were.

“Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.”
And his servant was healed that same hour.

Soon after this, Jesus and the Disciples visited the home of Peter and found his wife’s mother sick with a high fever. Jesus touched her and the fever left her. Her strength returned and she went about joyfully serving them all. That evening many people who were sick and others who were tormented by demons came to them and He had the touch each of them required whether a healing touch or a command to demon spirits to depart from them.

The Words of Isaiah
Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah that Messiah would bear or sicknesses and heal our infirmities. He fulfilled prophesy and it was more than that. He was answering the words of the leper—He was willing! The Bible makes it clear that Jesus is still the same today—He is still willing! We need to understand the power of His authority the way the Roman Centurion did. If we had any idea of what the Lord is willing to do for us, we would be living different lives today.

Matthew 8:1-17
When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him. And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them. When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
“He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.”
Isaiah 53:4-6
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Lord Jesus, You have all authority! You rule all of nature and stand ready and willing to do for me more than I can imagine, more than I can ask or think. Help me to depend on You more. When I am sick, You are my Healer. When I am in trouble You are my Deliverer. When I don’t know what to do You are my teacher. Help me to never forget that You are willing to help me and able to bring me through any test or trial. Amen and amen.

He Is Able to Deliver Thee
Words and Music: W. A. Ogden

1. ‘Tis the grandest theme thro’ the ages rung;
‘Tis the grandest theme for a mortal tongue;
‘Tis the grandest theme that the world e’er sung:
Our God is able to deliver thee.

He is able to deliver thee,
He is able to deliver thee;
Tho’ by sin opprest, Go to Him for rest;
Our God is able to deliver thee.

2. ‘Tis the grandest them in the earth or main;
‘Tis the grandest theme for a mortal strain;
‘Tis the grandest theme, tell the world again:
Our God is able to deliever thee.


3. ‘Tis the grandest theme, let the tidings roll
To the guilty heart, to the sinful soul;
Look to God in faith, He will make thee whole:
Our God is able to deliver thee.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at


Welcome to the Path of Life Daily Devotional–continuing for 2021–The Jesus Story!

The Pathsrp-experiment of Life daily devotions are designed to be an aid to daily prayer.  This year I am posting daily narratives from the Life of Christ, beginning with the Gospel of Mark.  Matthew’s Gospel was the source of devotions from March-May.  Dr. Luke’s account gives us June-August.  Next, we are wind up the Story with the Gospel of John from September-November.  December will feature the Christmas Story. As in all my devotions, I will use a single word title followed by a few selected verses on the subject, and concluding with  a prayer and a song.

Join me for a detailed walk through the Life of our Lord in this devotional form.  If you haven’t already “followed” these devotions, please select that button and register to receive email notification of each posting, including those at  Let’s draw closer to the Savior in 2021!

The Path of Life Daily Devotions work for morning or evening.
Start your day or end your day with an encouraging word.

Each devotion, in fact each article I write, ends with the same signature:
Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

Semper Reformanda!
Semper Reformanda! is my ministry motto. It means “Always Reforming.” The church must never stop progressing toward the Coming of the Lord. We must never cease to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. We must never stop seeking God’s Face. We must never restrain from testing all things to see if they are from the Lord. This ongoing process requires a growing knowledge of what God has said and a listening ear to what God is saying. If we are not constantly vigilant in these things, our lives will be tossed about by the unrelenting winds of culture. If we are constantly available to the Spirit for instruction in righteousness, we will build our lives on the Rock! To me, Semper Reformanda! is each day’s work as we walk the Path of Life.

 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11 NKJV)

To begin reading the devotions for this year go to the end of this article.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

Interested in Christian Worship and Spirituality?–That is my subject!  For an extensive of articles on Worship  and Worship Renewal Go To

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June 20 “Blessed”


A secular mindset would use the word “fortunate,” not “blessed.”
A synonym for “fortunate” would be “lucky.” Synonyms for “blessed” include, “happy” and “consecrated.” Luck assigns no guiding force to events and circumstances. Blessed insists there is One who does the blessing—a Divine source of happiness and holiness.

The Sermon on the Plain
Dr. Luke relates another instance where Jesus preaches a message similar to “The Sermon on the Mount.” This time, instead of preaching from an elevated, natural platform, Jesus selected “a level place” from which to speak. I see it as a sort of natural amphitheater with the people on the sloping hillside and Jesus on the flat “stage” below. As before, He told this multitude how their worlds will change when they commit to following Him. All the accepted rules of stimulus and response would be upended. A life of faith and optimism would replace their lives of doubt and despair.

Who Will be Blessed?
The list is most inclusive, gathering into one context the miseries of life and promising hope and health in their place.

  • The poor will be supported by the riches of the Kingdom of God.
  • The hungry will be well-supplied and nourished by this same Kingdom.
  • Those who weep with broken hearts will find a Savior who can bind up their broken hearts and give them the healing gift of laughter.
  • Following Christ excites hatred from those who do not believe. This will happen and when it does, those who are persecuted will rejoice, seeing this pain as a sign of greater joy to come.
  • Those whom the world casts out will be the ones included in heavenly things.

Jesus promises a blessed life to those who follow Him.

Turning Tables
In this version of the sermon, Jesus teaches about the other side—those who do not follow Him—what can they look for out of life? The answer is the antonym of “blessed,” “woe.” Dictionaries give definitions like this one:

“…grievous distress, affliction, or trouble…”

Jesus knew that many, if not most of the people in the multitude, would turn away from Him when the healings were done and the miracles were just a memory. He sounded a set of warnings that rejecting Him would bring, “grievous distress, affliction, and trouble.”

  • Those whose riches rule their hearts will have no security in their wealth for it is truly only poverty in glittering disguise.
  • Those whose bellies are full every night will still crave things they cannot define, let along possess. True riches are from above and are secure in heaven.
  • Those who live for mirth, entertainment, or constant stimulation will see their laughter dissolve into tears making of each of them a sobbing soul that finds no comfort.
  • Those who achieve celebrity will find their reign of approval short. People soon forget one idol and turn to another.

Jesus Is the Key
As Jesus began preaching this amazing sermon, the whole multitude grew quiet. Even children settled down as if they were listening, too. These people did not see Calvary coming. They only saw this young man with the rough hands of a carpenter, the clear and convincing word of a prophet, and the healing touch of—whom? Messiah?

Luke: 6:20-26

Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples and said: “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets.

Lord, it would be an insult to You if I called myself “fortunate.” I am not lucky; I am blessed. All my accounts are backed up by “Your riches in glory!” All my deepest hunger is supplied by Your bountiful Kingdom. You have taken my tears and turned them to dancing. When my heart is bruised or broken, Your loving hands caress it, the pain subsides, and the healing begins. Though this world may cast me out, You have taken me in. You have grafted my life into Your life, a ruined branch now healthy and fruitful in the True Vine! I am Blessed! Thank You, Jesus!

I Am Blessed

Words and Music: C. Jerry Goff

1. Thru the sunshine and rain
Even sorrow and pain
Jesus is still my comfort and guide
And His love comforts me
And His grace has set me free
And someday I shall stand by His side

I am blessed (I am blessed)
I am blessed (I am blessed)
Ev’ry day that I live
I am blessed (I am blessed)
When I wake up in the morning
Till I lay my head to rest
I am blessed I am blessed (I am blessed)

2. I have shoes for my feet
I have plenty to eat
And a home in heaven by and by
Brothers and sisters on this earth
They are mine by my new birth
And we shall share in that home beyond the sky


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at

June 19 “Apostles”


There is an important difference between disciples and apostles: A Disciple is a student; An Apostle is a messenger.
It was time for Jesus to select from among the multitudes that followed Him those who would be His primary representatives. To prepare for this crucial decision, He went to a solitary place and prayed through the night.

To the men whom He called with the words, “Follow Me!,” this was another camping trip. They did not know that Jesus was about to select 12 of them, lifting their calling above that of disciples—students and followers of Jesus—to apostles—commissioned messengers, sent into the world with a specific job to do. They slept somewhere on the beach or in leafy glades as was their custom when Jesus went into solitary confinement. As evening shadows crept over the Galilean hills, each of them wondered what the issue might be that took Jesus away from them for the night. Had they known, they would not have slept.

Choosing the Twelve
Somehow in the Lord’s progress through a night of communion with His Father, Jesus settled on 12 men to receive this commission to go into the whole world to tell His story. He was impressed that each of them had abandoned a normal life to answer His call. He remembered how He never gave them the details of where they might go if they followed Him. It was not a blind faith, but a trusting one, like the faith of Abraham, a faith centered in God and therefore, a sure, if unrevealed, faith.

Disciples and Apostles
All the people in the multitude had chosen to follow Jesus. He knew this and it gave Him joy. Some followed Him because they were sick and needed healing, or were impaired in some way and needed deliverance. Others responded to the genuine truth of His preaching; His unprecedented authority made them want to follow Him. All had the opportunity to become His disciples—students of His teaching, practitioners of principles. After the wild events with lame men dancing and dumb people singing, and dead people walking around and demon-infested people at peace, they must go back to their everyday lives, just as miraculously transformed on the inside, to live exemplary lives. They could choose to be His disciples. The twelve He chose could not return to their homes and former lives. Each one had a new life before him, one of travel and adventure, faith and power, danger and risk, spiritual warfare and heavenly reward. He would send them into the world to tell His Story.

A Healing Service
He called the twelve by name and then descended to a level place from which He delivered a sermon similar to the Sermon on the Mount. Before He spoke, the multitudes from Judea and Jerusalem arrived, possibly as a large pilgrimage from the south as well as from the coast lands to the west. There were so many who needed His touch. Luke’s description is quite moving:

“And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.”

The Story to Tell
This is the story that has to be told—a God who is “God with Us!”—a Savior and a Healer and a Deliverer. Pain, impairment, addiction, disease, depression, and deceit all are remedied in Jesus. He has called disciples to live this story at home and He has chosen apostles to travel the world with this Good News.

Luke: 6:12-19

Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor. And He came down with them and stood on a level place with a crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented with unclean spirits. And they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.

Lord Jesus, Your divine calling rests upon each of us! We are all called to live holy lives for You and to tell Your story to all who will listen and even to those appear not to be listening. We are all Your disciples! Some of us have also been called to the vocational ministry—commissioned by You and ordained by the church to do a specific work for You. Help us all be faithful to Your call, “Follow Me!” Amen and Amen.

We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations

Words and Music: H. Ernest Nicol

1. We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
that shall turn their hearts to the right,
a story of truth and mercy,
a story of peace and light,
a story of peace and light.

For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
and the dawning to noonday bright,
and Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
the kingdom of love and light.

2. We’ve a song to be sung to the nations,
that shall lift their hearts to the Lord,
a song that shall conquer evil
and shatter the spear and sword,
and shatter the spear and sword.


3. We’ve a message to give to the nations,
that the Lord who reigneth above
has sent us His Son to save us,
and show us that God is love,
and show us that God is love.


4. We’ve a Savior to show to the nations,
who the path of sorrow has trod,
that all of the world’s great peoples
may come to the truth of God,
may come to the truth of God.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at

June 18, “Sabbath”


The most fundamental law of the Covenantal worship of Jehovah concerned honoring the Sabbath and keeping it holy.
The critics of Jesus, scorekeepers every one, watched for the slightest violation of Sabbath principles. It never occurred to them that Jesus might be Lord of the Sabbath but they were about to discover this.

First Offence
His men were hungry. Regular meals were not a feature of following Jesus. They passed through some fields of grain just when the wheat was right for the picking. It was the Sabbath and harvesting grain was forbidden on the Sabbath. Score one for the Pharisees.

“Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?”

Their frowns were deeper than rows plowed deep. The disciples stopped harvesting and rubbing out the wheat in their hands, but several of them had already filled their mouths. Trying not to chew, they waited to see how Jesus would respond. The smile on His face told them all they needed to know. When He started speaking they went back to munching. Jesus gave the guardians of the Law a Bible lesson.

“Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry…how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to those with him…?”

The Pharisees had no answer. Was that really in the Bible? They exchanged glances until the most informed among confirmed the story Jesus told. It was just a warmup for the thing Jesus really wanted them to know.

“The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”

The scorekeepers were stunned by this heresy. No one was Lord of the Sabbath, no one but God Himself! They could never have anticipated this statement and they had no answer for it except the noise of their ignorance.

Second Offence
Probably a week later, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. The Pharisees couldn’t stop Him but they could watch Him and take notes. A man with a withered hand was in attendance. It was his habit to hide his short arm within the sleeve of his robe. The last thing he wanted to do was attract attention. The scorekeepers saw their opportunity. They somehow drew the attention of the people to the unfortunate man. He tried to find a place to hide and tucked his mangled arm out of sight.

Jesus called the man out.

“Arise and stand here.”

He smiled at the man to assure him that He was not being cruel. He turned to the Pharisees with a question:

“Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?”

To the man He said,

“Stretch out your hand.”

Suddenly, accompanied by the snap of bones and the surprised cry of the man, the withered hand filled out to its proper length. The man flexed the fingers and stared at the one hand now made whole and began to clap both hands together. Worshipers joined in and the clapping became a beat and then the beat became a song.

The Pharisees didn’t feel like singing. What were they supposed to do with a man with this kind of power who claimed to be the Lord of the Sabbath?

Luke: 6:1-11

Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands. And some of the Pharisees said to them, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” But Jesus answering them said, “Have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he went into the house of God, took and ate the showbread, and also gave some to those with him, which is not lawful for any but the priests to eat?” And He said to them, “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” Now it happened on another Sabbath, also, that He entered the synagogue and taught. And a man was there whose right hand was withered. So the scribes and Pharisees watched Him closely, whether He would heal on the Sabbath, that they might find an accusation against Him. But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man who had the withered hand, “Arise and stand here.” And he arose and stood. Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?” And when He had looked around at them all, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he did so, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. But they were filled with rage, and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Lord Jesus, I love Your holy day! This is the central organizational point of the week. It is Yours, not ours. It is a gift from You. I repent of the times when I felt like it was my day, to spend or waste or use as I pleased. Not true. It is Your day for all its 24 hours. I will join Your church to minister unto You giving You the glory due to Your name! I will worship and I will rest, for this, too, is the Sabbath. You are indeed the Lord of the Sabbath! Thank, You, Lord!

This Is the Day

Words: Isaac Watts; Music: Thomas Augustine Arne

1. This is the day the Lord has made;
He calls the hours His own;
let heav’n rejoice, let earth be glad,
and praise surround the throne.

2. Today he rose and left the dead,
and Satan’s empire fell;
today the saints His triumphs spread,
and all His wonders tell.

3. Hosanna to th’anointed King,
to David’s holy Son.
help us, O LORD, descend and bring
salvation from Your throne.

4. Blest be the Lord, who comes to us
with messages of grace;
who comes, in God His Father’s name,
to save our sinful race.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at

June 17 “Wineskins”


Wine and wineskins, new and old: there are life lessons to be learned in these common things.
The critics, scribes, and Pharisees, were determined to find some fault in Jesus and His men that would discredit them in the eyes of the people. It was a difficult job. Discrediting the One who gave a blind person back his/her sight was not easy. Former demon-possessed people, now in their right minds, had little time for theories about their deliverer being in league with the devil. Jesus had done so much profound good for so many people, that only His critics would entertain such nonsense.

What about John and his disciples?
Someone got the bright idea of comparing Jesus and His disciples with John the Baptist and his followers. There was a marked difference. John’s ministry was one of preparation for Messiah. This involved harsh warnings, profound condemnation of evil leaders, strict spiritual disciplines, and soul-stirring repentance. Jesus and His men seemed immersed in joy. They laughed often and rejoiced at all the miracles and deliverances at Jesus’ hand. They even enjoyed parties and celebrations, eating their fill and tasting the fine new wine of life. Critics pointed this out.

“Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?”

Jesus tried to explain the difference to them, but explaining such fine points to those whose minds were closed to any explanation was pointless.

The Difference
The difference between Jesus and His men and John and his followers was one of mission.

  • John’s followers fasted to see a nation fall to its knees in repentance. They disciplined themselves toward a specific end—a revival of true spirituality in preparation for the coming of Messiah.
  • Jesus brought the revival for which John and his disciples fasted and prayed. Jesus knew what no one else knew—the time of rejoicing would be short, lasting as long as He was with them.

Hard times would come and then His men would fast and pray. They would also have the help of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, something John’s disciples did not have.

New Wine and Old
Some of the most famous sayings of Jesus followed:

  • Sewing new cloth onto an old one will tear the garment, and
  • Putting new wine into old wineskins will burst them.

What did He mean? A New Covenant was coming.

  • There will be new garments of praise—prayer and worship in the Spirit—making the old methods themselves fresh and new again.
  • There will be New Wine of a fresh move of God like nothing ever seen. Both the Old and the New Wine will freely flow from heaven to refresh the saints of God.

This New Covenant move of the Spirit of God will require new thinking and new methods while at the same time making the old wine even more precious.

“But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.'”

Wine and wineskins, new and old: there are life lessons to be learned in these common things.

Luke: 5:33-39

Then they said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?” And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.” Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved. And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.'”

Lord Jesus, save me from the fear of the new. You are constantly doing new things. The work of Creation continues today. Your new creations require new garments. The fresh move of Your Spirit requires new wineskins. We do not discard the old but maintain it. You said that both the new and the old wine must be preserved. The New Wine and wineskins compliment and carry forward the work of the old. Give me a taste for it all, Lord Jesus! Amen.

New Wine

Words and Music: Brook Legertwood

In the crushing, In the pressing, You are making new wine
In the soil, I now surrender You are breaking new ground
So I yield to You and to Your careful hand
When I trust You I don’t need to understand.

Make me Your vessel. Make me an offering
Make me whatever You want me to be.
I came here with nothing But all You have given me.
Jesus bring new wine out of me

In the crushing, In the pressing, You are making new wine
In the soil, I now surrender You are breaking new ground
So I yield to You and to Your careful hand
When I trust You I don’t need to understand.

Where there is new wine, There is new power.
There is new freedom. The Kingdom is here.
I lay down my old flames To carry Your new fire today.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at

June 16 “Matthew”


It may be that in those days a tax collector would be a man of few words.
Jesus only used two words to call Levi, also called Matthew, to be a disciple.

“Follow Me.”

Matthew’s quick mind for sums added up the offer and the tax collector saw a way out of the wretched life he had been living. He could leave the crooked dealings, the hatred of the people he robbed, and the company of crooks to live a life that made a difference.

“So he left all, rose up, and followed Him.”

Before the news of his conversion was publicly known, Levi threw a party for all his old, crooked government collaborators and his new friend with His band of 12.

Why did the tax collector choose to follow Jesus?
Money used to mean everything to him; he had sold his soul to the procurement of wealth by any means. He had a great house but no true friends. He had riches concealed throughout the house but his heart was an empty grave waiting for him to occupy it. No doubt Matthew discovered what Jesus would later teach: “Life consists not of the abundance of things a man possesses.” He had “things” everywhere but there was no life in them, no life at all. Perhaps he grew up poor and set his heart on riches at an early age. Somewhere in his quest for wealth, the joy went out of it. All the money and the things it bought were useless to him. He wondered if there were an alternative, some other pursuit that would not rot in his hands like old figs.

While he plied his hated trade, Jesus came by. Their eyes met and Matthew felt the searchlight of the Holy Spirit penetrate his very soul. There was nothing there! His house was full of treasures but his heart was vacant. In that lingering examination, eye to eye and heart to heart with Jesus, Matthew saw new and exciting possibilities for life. Jesus wordlessly communicated promises to him of a different kind of abundance, one with no shame and with a full night’s sleep every night. It was enough and the tax collector became a disciple.

Back to the Feast
At some point in the feast, Matthew told the other collectors of his decision. Immediately they started calculating the benefits for them as they divided up his responsibilities among themselves. They could not understand their friend’s sudden affection for poverty but they were happy to profit from it. I imagine Jesus watched this festival of true repentance with a satisfied smile on His face. Here was a disciple indeed.

Scribes and Pharisees
Servants came and summoned several of the disciples out of the despised house of Matthew. They had a message for Jesus. As if He were an unsophisticated bumpkin, they explained that Jesus should not be seen with such evil men. Tax collectors were the sickest of the sick. They reported to Jesus and He sent back a reply.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

The dinner continued. Matthew rejoiced in his newfound freedom, and the other tax collectors exulted in their potential profits, as the Lord and His disciples enjoyed a good meal.

Luke: 5:27-32

After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he left all, rose up, and followed Him. Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, “Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Luke 12:15
And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Lord Jesus, as You said, life does not consist in the abundance of things a person might possess. Life is found in You, the Giver of Life. Your will is the plan for life. Your power is the force of life. Your love is the context of life. Your presence is the reward of life. Protect me from the deceitfulness of the riches of this world. They may be pretty but they can also be poison. They may promise lasting joy and then deliver only loss. I will lay up treasures in heaven where they are safe for all eternity. Thank You, Lord!

I’d Rather Have Jesus

Words: Rhea F. Miller; Music: George Beverly Shea

1. I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands.
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

Than to be the king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway.
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

2. I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame.
I’d rather be true to His holy name


3. He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs.
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at

June 15 “Forgiven”


In a simple house in Galilee, the powers to heal diseases and to forgive sins were finally seen as one power.
The official teachers of the Law and leaders of the people had to investigate this unofficial rabbi traveling in Galilee. They and the hosts of needy and curious people filled the Galilean house beyond capacity.

Something in the Air
As Jesus taught His unique vision of the Law and the prophets and the details of the Covenant with God, the keepers of the flame were busy trying to keep up. They had a vague sense that Jesus spelled trouble for them. They listened carefully to His every word, hoping to find some blasphemy with which to charge Him.

There was also the problem of the miracles. The people were convinced that whoever Jesus might be, He was at the very least a prophet. The power of the Lord flowed through Him, of this they were sure. The signs and wonders could not be questioned; this was no magic show. As Jesus continued to teach, the air took on an almost electric charge. Dr. Luke describes it thusly:

“…the power of the Lord was present to heal…”

Everyone felt this, even the critics and powerbrokers whose lives and livelihoods were threatened by this carpenter from Nazareth.

From the Outside to the Inside
Evidently, the charge radiated outside of the house. A group of men carried their paralyzed friend to the door and were turned away. There was no way to enter. They tried all the doors and windows with the same result. Exhausted, they put down the liter and sat around their friend, discouraged. One of them noticed the thatched roof on the house. It kept out the rain well enough, but it could also be easily dismantled. Somehow they gained the rooftop with their friend intact and began to un-thatch the thatch. Soon there was an opening large enough to lower their friend into the crowded room below. All of this commotion interrupted the Lord and He and the crowd watched as the faithful friends completed their compassionate demolition. The faith of these men boosted the charged in the air. When Jesus saw their faith, shining like a beacon against the darkness of the Pharisees’ doubt, He spoke:

“Man, your sins are forgiven you.”

Wait, thought the Pharisees. He did not speak to the paralysis but to the man’s sins. This was out of bounds. Miracles were wonderful and we can always praise God for them, but to forgive sins is only for God and not for any man. They had the blasphemy for which they were looking. Jesus knew their thoughts.

“Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?”

This was the question. The Pharisees felt that Jesus had taken the bait. Scheming smiles passed among these leaders of the People of God who could not see past their theological noses.

“But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”

He said to the man who was paralyzed,

“I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

The man did exactly that, rejoicing all the way home! Gleefully, his faithful friends were joined by other men in the house to repair the damage to the roof.

The ecclesiastical rooftop of the powerhouse occupied by the Pharisees, would itself never be repaired.

Luke: 5:17-26

Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” — He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”

Lord Jesus, Your power is Your power! It flows from You in power to heal and to forgive. All is within Your authority. The doubt of those who do not believe in You hinders You not! The unbelief of others never holds me back from believing in You, Your Word, Your Presence, and Your unbreakable promises. Oh, sometimes, I encounter hindrances like the men who brought their friend to You but, like them, I will demolish those hindrances with my faithfulness to Your commands. You are the one with the Power! Amen and Amen.

Rise and Be Healed

Words and Music: Milton Bourgeois

1. Have fear and doubt come against your mind
Has your faith been sorely tried
Lift up your eyes here cometh your help
It is Jesus for you He has died

Rise and be healed
In the name of Jesus
Let faith arise in your soul
Rise and be healed
In the name of Jesus
He will cleanse and make you whole

2. If by faith you reach out to Him
He will meet your ev’ry need
He will respond to the cry of your heart
He will touch you and set you free


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at

June 14 “Willing”


To be willing to do good is one thing. To be able to do good is quite another.
Jesus, of course, was both. He did not withhold His blessings until some price was paid—He was the price to be paid. He did not make those seeking His touch jump through hoops to earn His attention—He walked among them freely, available to all who would reach out to Him in faith. Believing was the catalyst. Those who approached Him in cynicism went away unchanged. Others, threatened by His authority, who came to Him to discredit Him, went away with all their clever constructs crumbling before His simple message and powerful presence.

A Leper in the Crowd
While the willingness of Jesus to heal and deliver was obvious to most, His availability to social outcasts had yet to be seen. The poor man is described as “full of leprosy.” This was no minor case. According to the customs and cautions of the time, lepers had to announce their approach in the streets by yelling, “Unclean! Unclean,” providing ample warning and opportunity for people to find safety until the damaged and dangerous one passed.

The crowd pressing Jesus gave way at the sound of this leper’s cry. He came and fell on his ruined face at the feet of Jesus. His question was the same question on everyone’s mind. Did the mercy and authority of Jesus extend all the way to people like him?

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

This was not a challenge to Jesus. It was not the cry of a cynic or an enemy. It was the sincere statement of one who had nowhere else to turn.

The Healing Touch
As he often did, Jesus let the man’s words hang in the air. The crowd pulsed with silent anticipation. What would Jesus do? What would He say? Jesus raised His hand to the sky and left it there, heightening the wondering expectation of the people. Would He strike such an unworthy one?

No. He touched the man! Unprecedented. Unheard of. Unwise by all contemporary thinking.

“I am willing; be cleansed.”

Immediately the disease departed. The stunned crowd watched as fresh new flesh grew where unsightly horrors had been just seconds before. The man, still wearing the rotting rags of an outcast, obeyed the Lord and headed for the Temple to fulfill the law’s requirements for one healed of leprosy. Silently the crowd watched him until he was out of sight, swallowed by the streets and alleyways of the town.

The Lord Jesus is willing!
There are no “ifs” to be considered. When we come to Jesus in faith believing, He will meet us. When we call on Him in faith, He hears us! His Word gives us the details of His willingness, its qualities and conditions, in covenantal form. When we ask according to His benevolent will, He hears us and is willing and able to supply our needs.

To be willing to do good is one thing. To be able to do good is quite another.

Luke: 5:12-16

And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him. And He charged him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded.” However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

Lord Jesus, thank for Your touch! Thank You for Your willingness to touch me, time and time again when I called on You in faith. I am sure there are other times when You touched me and I didn’t call on You! Your mercy extended, just as promised in the Word, to me and to my generation! I need another touch today. I know You are willing and I know You are able. The Word makes it clear: “The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever!” Thank You, Lord Jesus! Amen.

He Touched Me

Words and Music: Bill and Gloria Gaither

1. Shackled by a heavy burden,
‘Neath a load of guilt and shame.
Then the hand of Jesus touched me,
And now I am no longer the same.

He touched me, Oh He touched me,
And oh the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened and now I know,
He touched me and made me whole.

2. Since I met this blessed Savior,
Since He cleansed and made me whole,
I will never cease to praise Him,
I’ll shout it while eternity rolls.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at

June 13 “Fishermen”


When the sun comes up each day we are relatively sure it will go down again in the world that saw it rise.
That would be the normal expectation of a normal day. If that sunrise was the start of a day when Jesus walked by, the world could change before sundown. So it was for two sets of brothers in the fishing business in the region of Galilee. Andrew and Peter were one set; James and John were their partners.

Business was good.
The water was clean and the fish were plentiful. Sometimes they were not easy to find, but they were there for the eventual finding and taking. The four fishermen were impressed with Jesus. Perhaps they had witnessed the deliverance of the demon-possessed man in the synagogue. Simon Peter’s wife’s mother had been healed of a high fever at His command. They had witnessed the healing service late in the day. On this day Jesus would ask for their help teaching His authoritative message. Who knew what miracles the rising sun might witness on such a day?

The four partners had fished through the night, never locating the fish they sought and were cleaning their nets before finally getting some rest. Their two boats were safely ashore as a growing crowd followed Jesus to the water’s edge.

Simon Peter’s Boat
Jesus knew that He could use one of the boats as a sort of speaking platform. The water around the boat would reflect and amplify His voice. He asked Simon Peter if he could cast out a little way from the shore. The fisherman was glad to help and felt honored that his boat was to be of use to this man who had healed his wife’s mother.

Just offshore, Jesus continued His teaching sitting in the boat. At first, the other three fishermen tried to continue working on their nets while Jesus spoke but this proved impossible. The authority of Jesus’ teaching, the depth of His insight, and the practicality of His instruction commanded their complete attention. The nets were forgotten.

“Launch out into the deep.”
When Jesus finished teaching, He asked Simon Peter and his partners to go out into the deep waters and use those nets, repaired or not. Simon protested that they had worked at it all night and there were no fish to be found in that area. As he spoke, Peter must have realized that with Jesus around things could change for the better in a hurry for he quickly agreed to give it a try.

Like they had done so many times before, the partners prepared their equipment and set out for deep waters. When Peter put down his net, a multitude of fish rushed to be captured! The hastily prepared net began to break and the boat was filled to overflowing with fish! Simon and Andrew called for their partners in the other boat. Soon both boats were filled and safely delivered back to port.

Simon fell to his knees confessing his sinfulness. We can be sure the other three did as well. Jesus seized the moment.

“Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”

It was more than a miraculous catch; it was a calling. That day on the Sea of Galilee, the sun did not set on the same world upon which it rose that morning. Two sets of brothers forsook all to answer the call of Jesus.

Luke: 5:1-11

So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

Lord Jesus, long ago I sensed Your call and I decided to follow You. Though I have sometimes failed to follow You, You have never failed to bring me back. Give me the proper spiritual vision to see what is really important. It isn’t the “business” life put me in—it is the ministry You have called me to. You will use my stuff, just as You used Peter’s boat and nets, but You are the One who does the work,  the One who has the reward. “The world behind me, the Cross before me!” Thank You, Jesus!

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus


1. I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
no turning back, no turning back.

2. Though none go with me, I still will follow;
though none go with me, I still will follow;
though none go with me, I still will follow;
no turning back, no turning back.

3. The world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before me;
the world behind me, the cross before me;
no turning back, no turning back.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at

June 12 “Galilee”


Before Jesus came preaching and healing in Galilee, everybody was simply dying.
Life was miserable, stressful, and short. When one got sick, death was the most likely outcome. There was no sanitation and not even any knowledge beyond the commands of the Law of Moses that being clean had anything to do with being sick. All that could be done with blind, deaf, lame or impaired folk was to be kind to them, give them alms, and help them get around without hurting themselves.

Then Came Jesus
Jesus came into that painful, depressing world with words of hope and a healing touch. Irreversible situations were reversed at His command. Blind eyes started seeing. Those with no powers of speech started singing psalms as those who had no hearing listened. Lame children started dancing to the music. No only had pain departed but joy had come to town. The only tears watering the dusty pathways through Galilee were tears of gratitude and joy.

Peter’s House
After the amazing deliverance of the demoniac in the synagogue in Capernaum, Jesus went to the home of one of the Galilean fisherman who was following Him, Simon Peter. His wife’s mother was down with a dangerously high fever, one of those fevers that only cools when the body dies. This woman did not want to be sick for that meant she was out of action. She took great joy in serving others so she was sick in her spirit as well as in her body.

Perhaps Jesus saw that Simon Peter was not taking part in the celebration that spilled over from the synagogue to the streets. The family asked Jesus to do something. When He learned that the mother-in-law of one of His men was desperately ill, He went into the house, stood over her and rebuked the fever. The disease obeyed and her body instantly cooled. Her head was clear and her limbs were strong and well-practiced. Immediately she went to work serving those who were in her home.

A Sundown Healing Service
The news of the deliverance of the man in the synagogue and the healing of Peter’s wife’s mother spread throughout Galilee. As the sun was setting, a multitude of people came seeking a different result from the usual countdown to a painful death. They were not disappointed. The combination of the love of Jesus with the power of Jesus and the faith of the people made for a high, holy, and hilarious time as evening shadows fell. That grace group was tuned up and on fire:

  • Dumb people singing while
  • Lame people danced while
  • Deaf people listening to music for the first time ever, while
  • Lepers shopped for new clothes while,
  • Sore people didn’t hurt anymore and stiff people moved without pain and
  • People who had hosted demons rested in the peace of God.

All because Jesus came by where they lived. They didn’t argue with Him they just believed what He said. They didn’t strike out at Him, they reached out to Him and He touched them.

Before Jesus came preaching and healing in Galilee, everybody was simply dying. When, over their protests, He left them to take His ministry elsewhere, they were no longer dying; they were living!

Luke: 4:38-44

Now He arose from the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. But Simon’s wife’s mother was sick with a high fever, and they made request of Him concerning her. So He stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. And immediately she arose and served them. When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ. Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.

Lord Jesus, there is no one like You. I am so glad You came my way! Your presence is my delight and my destiny. My walk with You here is a foretaste of the eternity we will walk together. There will be no sorrow there, no pain, no stress, and no strain. These things happen here, but Your power is here with me, giving me relief. Thank You for Your healing, sustaining touch. May I always express my joy in You which is my strength. Amen.

Reach Out and Touch the Lord

Reach out and touch the Lord as He goes by.
You’ll find He’s not too busy to answer your cry.
He’s passing by this moment your need to supply.
Reach out and touch the Lord as He goes by.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at

June 11 “Authority”


In stark contrast to the riot at the synagogue in Nazareth, worshipers in the synagogue in Capernaum welcomed Jesus and His message. 
Dr. Luke emphasizes the teaching of Jesus.  The faithful in Capernaum recognized an authority in the teaching of Jesus they had never before witnessed.  This authority was about to be demonstrated in a powerful way.

A Demonic among the Faithful
We don’t know how long this had gone on, or what family connections made it possible, but a regular attendee in that synagogue was infested with demon spirits. Judging from other demonic encounters in the Jesus Story, this man was most likely a disrupter of worship. He did not come to services to worship, but to keep others from worshiping. Demon spirits hate the worship of God! Perhaps they were envious because they wanted worship for themselves; this was their downfall ages ago. There must have been some reason why the people tolerated this unpredictable, random embarrassment. Perhaps an influential leader interceded for the poor man. The same authority in the words of Jesus that impressed the worshipers, aggravated the demons. They cried out against Him.

“Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth?”

No! thought the leaders of the synagogue. Not now! Not for this nice boy from Nazareth? If there were prominent family members influential enough to override the will of the leaders, they must have lowered their eyes in shame. They knew better than to try and restrain him; the demons gave him supernatural strength. Jesus paused in His teaching. The demons in the man jumped into the silence.

“Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are — the Holy One of God!”

All semblance of worship was gone; this was now outright spiritual warfare. Jesus fixed his eyes on the unfortunate man and spoke past the man’s face to the corrupted spirit within him where the demons had taken up residence.

“Be quiet, and come out of him!”

As a parting gesture, the demons threw the man to the floor of the synagogue, shaken but uninjured, and left him there as they fled.

It may be that the one who defended the demonized man lifted him from the floor and looked deep into his eyes. For the first time in memory, his eyes, and therefore his mind, were clear, clean from the shadows of evil. The delivered man knew what to do next—he worshiped God. Someone pointed out Jesus as the man who commanded the demons to leave. The man’s worship quickly focused on Jesus. It is likely that he, like so many others, fell at Jesus’ feet, weeping with thanksgiving.

Authority and Power
The congregation buzzed with excitement. The smartest among them began to calculate the implications of this authority and power for the People of God. Surely the Romans had met their match in Jesus. News of this spread throughout Galilee, even back to Nazareth where people did not want to hear about it.

Somewhere in the nether regions where demons go to sulk, these soldiers of Satan’s legions were ashamed to report their defeat at the hands of Jesus of Nazareth. Satan was not surprised. His corrupted angel soul still smarted from the beating he had taken in the wilderness.

Luke: 4:31-37

Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbaths. And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority. Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are — the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And the report about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region.

Lord Jesus, it simply is no contest! The devil is a defeated foe and You are the one who defeated him. He is a liar and the father of it. He hates You and he hates worship. He fears prayer in the Spirit so that’s what I am going to do. Help me to never fear the emissaries of the enemy. I will run into Your name as my strong tower and I will be safe there because You are the Victor! Amen and amen.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Words and Music: Martin Luther

1. A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
does seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

2. Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right Man on our side,
the Man of God’s own choosing.
You ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same;
and he must win the battle.

3. And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God has willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

4. That Word above all earthly powers
no thanks to them abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever!

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at