October 31 2014

Friday; 2014-10-31; Matthew 20:20-23;

TDP: October 31;

Original Broadcast: Friday; 2008-10-31;

Matthew 20:20-23;

'Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to [Jesus] with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. ... "Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom." Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." (Matthew 20:20-23, ESV)

It's a mother wanting the best for her sons. But she's mistaken about what following Jesus, being on his right and left in his kingdom means. Jesus calls it a cup to drink. He's talking about drinking all of God's anger over sin. That cup is given to Jesus to drink on the cross. All of God's anger and punishment over our sin is poured out of the cup into Jesus. He suffers and dies under God's anger. Jesus is willing to do that for us. He drinks God's anger and punishment instead of us. Our punishment is taken by Jesus we don't have to drink the cup that he drinks. Jesus tells these boys that the places at his right and left are already reserved, and they really don't want them. Saint Matthew tells us about that too. And when they had crucified [Jesus]... two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. (Matthew 27:35,38, ESV)

Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, thank you for taking the punishment of my sin to the cross. Help me to trust in you more. Amen.

Devo ID: 20

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October 30 2014

Thursday; 2014-10-30; Matthew 20:1-16;

TDP: October 30;

Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2008-10-30;

Matthew 20:1-16;

'Jesus said, "For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers...After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour... the sixth hour... the ninth hour, ... the eleventh hour he ... found others standing. ... He said to them, 'You go into the vineyard too.' And when evening came, [he] said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages...' Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them ... received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, 'These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us ... he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. ... So the last will be first, and the first last." (Matthew 20:1-16, ESV)

We are very much like the disgruntled workers. We think we've earned something from God because we think we've done the best we can at keeping God's law. We look askance at the person in church who has lived a less than perfect life. We think we've earned what they cannot. Jesus tells us God gives forgiveness equally to all. We don't like it. It doesn't seem fair. And yet, thank God he isn't fair. For none of us deserves to be paid anything from God except his anger and punishment. We can see it is true in our attitudes and unwillingness to accept those who are different. If God were fair we would all spend eternity in hell. God isn't fair. He sent Jesus to suffer and die for us and bring us forgiveness. We need it, just the same as any "sinner" in the pew.

Let us pray: Gracious God, thank you for not being fair and giving me forgiveness. Amen.

Devo ID: 19

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October 29 2014

Wednesday; 2014-10-29; Matthew 19:16-22;

TDP: October 29;

Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2008-10-29;

Matthew 19:16-22;

'And behold, a man came up to [Jesus], saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?" And [Jesus] said to him, "...If you would enter life, keep the commandments." ... The young man said to him, "All these I have kept. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:16-22, ESV)

Jesus pushes this man to the wall. He thinks he can earn salvation by doing good stuff. "I've kept all the commandments!" he says. "What else is there?" Jesus opens up the man's heart and shows him his sin. "Sell everything and follow me." He can't. He loves his wealth too much. That's what God's law does. We might be good on the outside but in our hearts we are often selfish. Only perfect people can earn salvation. We are not. There is only one person who is. Jesus does everything perfectly. He loves God and people completely. He even dies selflessly on the cross. He is the perfect sacrifice for the sin of all people. When we believe that Jesus life, death and resurrection are for us, God gives us Jesus' perfect life as a free gift. God counts us perfect because of Jesus. Don't try to earn it, trust Jesus instead.

Let us pray: Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness My beauty are, my glorious dress; Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, With joy shall I lift up my head.

Devo ID: 18

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October 28 2014

Tuesday; 2014-10-28; Matthew 19:4-6;

TDP: October 28;

Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2008-10-28;

Matthew 19:4-6;

'[Jesus] answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." (Matthew 19:4-6, ESV)

It is a wonderful picture. A bride and groom stuck together for life. It is the way that God made human beings; a man, a woman; together; a family. God doesn't sanction other kinds of marriage relationships. This one is under attack. Satan works day and night to remove this picture from our view. Culture tells us that we shouldn't care what is done in privacy of a home. We want to be free from the constraints of how God tells us to live. Why does Satan work so hard? Why does the world hate this picture? Why do our hearts look for other means of satisfying ourselves? This picture isn't just a picture of how God has defines a family; it is a picture of Jesus and his church. Jesus is the bridegroom. The church is his bride. He lays down his life for her. He suffered and died on the cross to bring her forgiveness. St. Paul tells husbands "Love your wives as Christ loved the church." Marriage, the relationship between a man and his wife is the foundation of life. Forgiveness and self sacrifice are seen first in the home as husband and wife love and forgive each other.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, help us to honor you and your plan for our families. Amen.

Devo ID: 17

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October 27 2014

Monday; 2014-10-27; Deuteronomy 29:29;

TDP: October 27;

Original Broadcast: Monday; 2008-10-27;

Deuteronomy 29:29;

'"The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29, ESV)

The world can be a confusing place. We don't understand how things work. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. World events careen out of control, economies crash and nations crumble. Yet we know God is in control. He operates outside of our understanding. His reasons are the "secret things" this passage is talking about. In faith we believe that God knows best. And yet, we often fret and worry about things we can't control or change. Our worry won't add a single day to our life. This passage offers a better way. Leave the secret things to God. Let him take care of what you can't control or understand. Lean on the things that he has told us about. That's what the passage calls the things that are revealed. God has especially revealed to us our Savior Jesus. In his word he promises forgiveness of sin, life and salvation to all who believe in Jesus. His word is clear. Here is something we can hold on to with both hands. It belongs to us forever.

Let us pray: God of the universe. Be with me as I struggle to understand the world. Help me to cling to my Savior. Amen.

Devo ID: 16

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October 24 2014

Friday; 2014-10-24; Matthew 17:1-8;

TDP: October 24;

Original Broadcast: Friday; 2008-10-24;

Matthew 17:1-8;

'And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. (Matthew 17:1-8, ESV)

When the voice spoke on the mountain Peter, James and John were terrified. They were afraid in the presence of God. Jesus standing before them isn't Jesus their buddy. He is God, himself. Glowing like the sun; God in all of his perfection. They have every right to be afraid. When they see God, they also see who they are. Their sin separates them from God. Their sin deserves nothing from God but punishment. They lay flat on their faces ready to die. But Jesus touches them. He lays a gentle hand on their shoulder and tells them not to be afraid. Jesus went to the mountain to talk to Moses and Elijah and to prepare for his final journey to the cross. The disciples should die in their sin, and worse yet suffer eternal separation from God in hell. But Jesus changes everything. He carries their sin and yours sin and mine to the cross. He suffers the punishment all people deserve. With that in mind Jesus touches us. "Rise, don't be afraid. You are free from your punishment."

Let us pray: Jesus, Savior, God and Man. You have set me free from sin. Guide and guard me every day, while I live and work and play. Amen.

Devo ID: 15

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October 23 2014

Thursday; 2014-10-23; Matthew 16:21-23;

TDP: October 23;

Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2008-10-23;

Matthew 16:21-23;

'From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you." But [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." (Matthew 16:21-23, ESV)

Peter can't seem to get it right. Jesus tells him that he will soon suffer and die at the hands of his enemies. Peter disagrees. "Not while I'm alive. I'll never let anything like that happen to you. If that's how all this ends, everything you've done will be for nothing. Jesus I won't let you mess it up by dying." Peter misses the point. He wants Jesus to be about something else. He is thinking about the glory. Jesus hits him with the reality of the cross. God's way isn't our way. When we are in the middle of trouble and suffering we think God has messed up. We don't think we should ever have to suffer. We think life should be all glory. Jesus hits us with the reality of the cross. Our suffering reminds us of our helplessness. When we are in trouble we are dependant. When we are dependant we see God for who he is. He saves us because we need to be saved. The cross of Jesus is God's way of saving us. Through the suffering and death of Jesus our sin is removed and we have a relationship with God.

Let us pray: O God, help me to see your ways in my suffering. Amen.

Devo ID: 14

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October 22 2014

Wednesday; 2014-10-22; Matthew 16:5-9;

TDP: October 22;

Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2008-10-22;

Matthew 16:5-9;

'When the disciples reached the other side [of the lake], they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, "Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, "We brought no bread." But Jesus, aware of this, said, "O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? (Matthew 16:5-9, ESV)

The disciples are talking about food. It's typical. Jesus has important things to say and we think about food. Sitting in church on Sunday morning our thoughts are drawn to what's in the oven at home. We wonder what we're going to have for "tailgating" in front of the big screen for the big game. The disciples had fallen into a trap of "little faith." Jesus provides food for thousands and they are worried about lunch. Jesus shows us all we need to know. Jesus feeds us with his word. There he tells us of our greatest need, the forgiveness of our sin. There he tells us of God's solution to our problem, His perfect life, and sacrificial death on the cross. Because of Jesus we have forgiveness. God will take care of all our other needs too.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, think on me, By anxious thoughts oppressed; Let me Your loving servant be And taste your promised rest. Amen. (Lutheran Service Book, 610, Text: Public Domain)

Devo ID: 13

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October 21 2014

Tuesday; 2014-10-21; Matthew 15:21-28;

TDP: October 21;

Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2008-10-21;

Matthew 15:21-28;

'And Jesus ... went to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly. (Matthew 15:21-28, ESV)

Jesus calls this woman a little dog. She comes to him seeking help and this is what he says. She won't take no for an answer. "Help me, Jesus! You are the only one who can." Jesus answers. "It's not right to give the children's food to little dogs under the table." "Yes, Lord," she answers, "but God is so gracious even the leftovers will be enough for me. Even little dogs get leftovers." The woman shows a very humble faith. She deserves nothing at all from God. She knows he is gracious. Her faith is great because she knows where to go for what she needs. We go to our gracious God in times of need, too. We ask for help when we are in trouble and when we are sick, and when we need forgiveness of our sin. When sin troubles us we go to Jesus. His love overflows to us. He gives us more than leftovers. Jesus death and resurrection provides more than enough forgiveness for us.

Let us pray: God of grace you provide us all that we need, thank you for your forgiveness in Jesus. Amen.

Devo ID: 12

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October 20 2014

Monday; 2014-10-20; Matthew 15:1-2, 16-20;

TDP: October 20;

Original Broadcast: Monday; 2008-10-20;

Matthew 15:1-2, 16-20;

'Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat." [Jesus said,] Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone." (Matthew 15:1-2, 16-20, ESV)

The Pharisees thought that you had to be clean on the outside to be clean in your heart. If you did certain things, like washing your hands on the outside before eating, you could remove your sin on the inside. Jesus makes it very clear that sin can't be dealt with in that way. Food goes into your mouth and stomach and then out of your body. It does nothing for you spiritually. You can't change your heart by washing on the outside. Jesus condemns us all with his list of sins. What a person really is, in his heart, affects what he does and says. Like the Pharisees we try to make ourselves clean by changing our behavior, but that doesn't change the heart. Only God can change the heart. He does it with forgiveness. Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins of the heart. He offers that forgiveness freely to you without you changing anything on the outside. God's forgiveness washes you clean from the inside out.

Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, thank you for washing me clean on the inside. Amen.

Devo ID: 11

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