August 1 2014
TDP: Wednesday - Lent 3;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-03-18;
'And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away." And Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and 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." (Mark 10:2-9, ESV)
Well pastor, if you want to stir up trouble just talk about divorce. But it is hard to avoid what Jesus says here. Divorce is against God's will. And yet, God had Moses allow it because of "hardness of heart." That's just another way of saying "sin." God hates divorce. He made marriage between a man and a woman to be permanent. They "cleave" together, in sickness and, health, rich and poor, better and worse. Sin destroys everything even the wonderful gift of marriage. We participate in that sin when we don't do everything to prevent it. Where do we start? With the forgiveness Jesus won for us on the cross. His forgiveness applied to hurting people starts the process of reconciliation.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, help us to do what we can to prevent divorce. Amen.
Devo ID: 109
July 31 2014
TDP: Tuesday - Lent 3;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-03-17;
'And they came to Capernaum. And when [Jesus] was in the house he asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?" But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me." (Mark 9:33-37, ESV)
Can't you see yourself arguing about your worth? "At least I'm better than those hypocrites who go to church on Sunday, and sit in the bar all Saturday night!" We are always about comparing ourselves to others. The idea is to make ourselves first. Jesus says the way to be first is to serve. He uses a child as an example. Children are helpless. They have to be fed, clothed and cleaned. To serve a child is to be a true servant and to truly put another person's needs above your own. This is what our Savior did. He served us when we were helpless. Our sin makes us that way. We can't make ourselves clean. Instead, Jesus dies on the cross to give us forgiveness. Jesus became last and least to serve us helpless sinners. When we serve others, we show what Jesus did for us.
Let us pray: Gracious Jesus, help me to serve others as you have served me. Amen.
Devo ID: 108
July 30 2014
TDP: Monday-Lent 3;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-03-16;
'They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And [Jesus] did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise." But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. (Mark 9:30-32, ESV)
You can't blame the disciples for misunderstanding. After all we do the same thing. We read God's Word looking for "10 things that will make my marriage better" Or "Seven biblical principals for financial management." We want to look for everything in scripture except what Jesus says is there. The bible is about the death of Jesus for the forgiveness of human sin. The disciples who walked and lived with Jesus couldn't understand the cross because they were sinful people like you and me. When they looked at Jesus they had hopes and dreams of power and glory. They couldn't see that Jesus' purpose wasn't to reform earthly kingdoms. He came to die. It is only in Jesus death that we truly see who God is. He gives forgiveness through Jesus.
Let us pray: Gracious heavenly Father, You sent Jesus to bring me forgiveness. Help me to see Him in your Word. Amen.
Devo ID: 107
July 29 2014
TDP: Friday-Lent 2;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2009-03-13;
Mark 8:14-17, 19, 21;
'Now [Jesus' disciples] had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And [Jesus] cautioned them, saying, "Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?" They said to him, "Twelve." And he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?" (Mark 8:14-17, 19, 21 ESV)
Jesus isn't talking about moldy bread. He fed 5000 people by making food from practically nothing. The disciples had no need to worry about bread. He's talking about false belief. This is no gentle reminder this is a harsh rebuke. You can almost see the sternness in Jesus face. "Watch out! Beware! Be careful of what the Pharisees believe and teach and do." These enemies of Jesus didn't come to him to learn faith. They didn't come to learn what God's was doing in Jesus. They came to try to destroy him. They didn't want to find forgiveness in Jesus. They wanted to earn their own way by doing their own thing. Jesus is the only way to life forever with God. He wins forgiveness for us by his life, death on the cross and resurrection to new life.
Let us pray: O bread of heav'n, my soul's delight, For full and free remission I come with prayer before Your sight In sorrow and contrition. Your righteousness, Lord, cover me That I receive You worthily, Assured of Your full pardon. (LSB 625.3) Amen.
Devo ID: 106
July 28 2014
TDP: Thursday-Lent 2;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-03-12;
'But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." And he said to her, "For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter." And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone. (Mark 7:25-30, ESV)
Jesus actually called this woman a "dog." She comes asking for help and Jesus calls her a "dog." "Let the children eat first. You don't give the dogs the children's food, but only what is leftover." "Yes, Lord," she answers, "but God is so gracious even the leftovers will be enough for me. Even 'dogs' get leftovers." The woman shows a very humble faith. She deserves nothing at all from God. She knows he is gracious. 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: 105
July 25 2014
TDP: Wednesday-Lent 2;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-03-11;
'After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you." (Genesis 22:1-5, ESV)
God telling Abraham to kill his son makes us uncomfortable. We don't want God to require human sacrifice. And yet, God says. "Take him and make him an offering for sin." This is a test. God pushes Abraham to the edge of reason. God's promise that "the whole world will be blessed through your children" is only true in a living Isaac. We see Abraham's faith clearly, "we will return to you." He believed that God could and would raise Isaac from the dead. When Abraham was about to sacrifice his son God stopped him and provided a replacement. A ram was killed instead. But there's more here than Abraham's faith. Your sin requires you to sacrifice your life. You deserve eternal punishment in hell. But God is faithful. He provides a replacement. Jesus sacrifice on the cross is for the forgiveness of your sin. Through faith in God's promise you will live forever with God.
Let us pray: Dearest Heavenly Father, thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus for me. Amen.
Devo ID: 104
July 24 2014
TDP: Tuesday-Lent 2;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-03-10;
'When [Jesus and his disciples] had crossed over [the lake], they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. (Mark 6:53-56, ESV)
Wherever Jesus goes a little bubble of clean goes with him. We see the effects of what Jesus came to do starting. People are healed from their sickness. All it takes is to be near Jesus and touch his robe. Sickness shows us the result of our sin. It isn't that we are punished for certain sins. Although some things we do, do cause us to get sick. When we are sick we know what sin has done to the world. That's because sickness is just a step toward death. We get sick and die because the world is full of sinful people. When Jesus heals sick people he's undoing sin. What he does by touching them is only the beginning. Jesus completely undoes sin with his death on the cross. "It is finished!" Jesus said when he died. Sin and its effects are put to death. We are forgiven. Jesus went to be with God the Father, but he is coming back, soon. And when he does that little bubble of clean is going to explode over the whole earth. And what Jesus did is going to be everywhere.
Let us pray: Come Lord Jesus, soon so we can see the full results of our forgiveness. Amen.
Devo ID: 103
July 23 2014
TDP: Thursday after Ash Wednesday;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-02-26;
'Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:26-28, ESV)
God created human beings "in his image." That doesn't mean we look like God. He has no visible body. We are in his image in that we were given all the earth as a home. Through creation, God provides all that we need. We are male and female, in his image, related to each other. So, to be in God's image is to have a relationship with God, with creation, and with each other. But sin enters the picture. Sin is selfishness. Sin is living in broken relationships. Now we use the earth and others selfishly. We are not in God's image anymore. So God became man in Jesus Christ. He took on our image, so to speak. He restores it by living perfectly for God and for other people. He even freely sacrifices his innocent life on the cross as a payment to restore our relationship to God. After three days in death, he raises perfectly in God's image. This is what Jesus gives to you. This is what Jesus has done for you.
Let us pray: Jesus, forgive my selfishness, give me new life with you. Amen.
Devo ID: 102
July 22 2014
TDP: Ash Wednesday;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-02-25;
'In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5, ESV)
"In the beginning God..." Those are words full of meaning. Before the beginning God was there. He is the creator. He forms the heavens and earth by the speaking of his Word. The Spirit hovers over the water. There is no life yet and no light. God speaks and light comes into being. He speaks again and life begins. Arguments about the how long it took are useless here. The God who creates life and light with his voice does it instantly and completely. The only real question about six days is; "Why did God take so long?" The God who speaks into nothingness and creates matter and light and life is the only God there is. He is God. We are his creation. We are accountable to our Creator.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, in our sin we deny you as creator. Forgive us for the sake of Jesus' death on the cross. Amen.
Devo ID: 101
July 21 2014
TDP: February 24;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-02-24;
'The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to [Jesus], "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?" This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:3-7, ESV)
It isn't wrong to point out sin, in fact, it is at times necessary. Jesus isn't ignoring this woman's sin. Adultery, that is sex outside of marriage, is indeed against God's desire for people. She certainly deserves to be punished under the law. But after this Jesus says to her, "Go and sin no more." She is guilty. She is condemned to death. She is helpless. She has no where to turn. Jesus forgives. He doesn't say, "Go back to doing what you were doing." It's different for the guys that bring her to Jesus. He confronts their sin, too. They are pretending that aren't guilty. Jesus knows different. He's not just pointing to any sin; he's accusing them of her sin. He says "If you're not guilty of sin, go ahead, start killing her." He waits patiently, scribbling in the dirt. Slowly, one by one her accusers leave. They don't hear Jesus' words of forgiveness but she woman does. Jesus' death on the cross means forgiveness for her. She will never be the same again.
Let us pray: Gracious Jesus, give us repentant hearts to receive forgiveness as she did. Amen.
Devo ID: 100