October 22 2014
TDP: October 22;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2008-10-22;
'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
October 21 2014
TDP: October 21;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2008-10-21;
'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
October 20 2014
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
October 17 2014
TDP: October 17;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2008-10-17;
'"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-46, ESV)
There is something odd about these stories. That's one of the problems with listening to Jesus' parables. We try to make ourselves into the hero. It's only natural for us because in our sinful nature we want to be the center of the universe. We hear about the treasure and pearl and we are sure Jesus is telling us how much we should be willing to give up to get it. We think forgiveness is the treasure and we have to do our part to get it. That's what's odd about the parable. No merchant or worker would do what these guys do. Notice it doesn't say they give up the business holdings, but instead it says they give up everything. It's impossible for them. It's impossible for us to do enough to earn what Jesus won for us on the cross. He gives it to us freely as a gift. We are forgiven our sins freely by Jesus willing suffering and death on the cross. The truth is Jesus' parables make much more sense if we make Jesus the hero, and put him at the center. He's the guy who gives up everything to have the treasure. He gives his holy and precious blood, and his innocent suffering and death. So what is the treasure? What is the thing God, himself, in Jesus gives all that he has to get? It's you.
Let us pray: In perfect love he dies; For me He dies, for me. O all atoning sacrifice, I cling in faith to thee. Amen.
Devo ID: 10
October 16 2014
TDP: October 16;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2008-10-16;
'[Jesus] put another parable before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches." (Matthew 13:31-32, ESV)
Place a mustard seed in your hand and you might loose it. It is very small. A dozen are hardly worth noticing. Plant it in the ground and it becomes something very noticeable. Some varieties grow up to ten feet tall, and birds really do use them for shelter. It is amazing that something so insignificant becomes something so large. Jesus tells this parable to show us that things aren't always the way they seem. The tiny seed grows to a large plant. The kingdom of heaven starts small too. We should understand that when Jesus says "the Kingdom of Heaven" he's usually talking about his work of saving the world. The kingdom isn't as it seems. Jesus begins small; a tiny baby born in a backwoods town of no account. A dozen babies born there would hardly be worth noticing. In fact, most of Jesus life is unknown to us. Not until "suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried" do we begin to see the kingdom grow. That's Jesus' work. His life, lived perfectly, his death and burial in the ground, and his resurrection are the Kingdom of Heaven come to us. His work brings us the forgiveness of sin. It is that work that brings us forgiveness of sin. And through forgiveness we are brought into the kingdom. No one would ever think it to hold that tiny baby in their hands.
Let us pray: Jesus, Our Savior and King, thank you for bringing your Kingdom to us. Amen.
Devo ID: 9
October 15 2014
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TDP: October 15;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2008-10-15;
'And [Jesus] told them many things in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear." (Matthew 13:3-9, ESV)
The first thing any farmer will recognize about Jesus' parable here is that the sower is rather a bad farmer. He throws expensive seed everywhere. He doesn't care where it lands; on the path; among rocks or even where the birds can eat it up. I think Jesus tells this story with a smile on his face. It's the farmers in the crowd who "get" the joke. Jesus loves to use humor to make a point. The farmer just scatters seed without a care. How it grows depends on where it lands. Jesus isn't talking about farming. He's talking about his word. In fact, Jesus is doing exactly what he is talking about in the parable. He scatters his word into the crowds that gather around him. There are all kinds of people there. In some it will take root and grow. Jesus does the same for you. He scatters the Good News of salvation though His life, death and resurrection. He promises forgiveness of sins. He plants the seed, when it lands in good soil it grows.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me to hold fast the comfort of your Holy Word. Amen.
Devo ID: 8
October 14 2014
TDP: October 14;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2008-10-14;
'Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered [Jesus], saying, "Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you." But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. (Matthew 12:38-41, ESV)
After all that these men had seen Jesus do they want another sign from him. But he won't give one. Everything necessary has been done and shown. Jesus points them back to God's Word. "Remember Jonah?" he says. "That's all the sign that's needed. Just as Jonah really spent three days in the darkness of a fish's belly, the Son of Man (that's me) will spend three days and nights in the darkness of the earth." What exactly is the sign of Jonah that Jesus is talking about? Well it isn't only that Jonah was three days good as dead swallowed by a giant fish and given life again, but that the Ninevehites heard God's Word, repented of their sins and were saved. Jonah was forsaken by God and rescued; people had faith in God's Word and were saved. Jesus says something greater than Jonah is here. Everywhere he goes people repent of their sin, have faith in God's forgiveness are saved. Jesus was crucified, dead and buried, he rose again on the third day. He has done all this for you. Your sins are forgiven. Remember Jesus.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, you have forgiven my sin by your life, death and resurrection. Thank you for your gift. Amen.
Devo ID: 7
October 13 2014
TDP: October 13;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2008-10-13;
Deuteronomy 11:26-28, 31-32;
'"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known. For you are to cross over the Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you. And when you possess it and live in it, you shall be careful to do all the statutes and the rules that I am setting before you today. (Deuteronomy 11:26-28, 31-32, ESV)
Curses and blessings. Obey God's commands and have his blessing disobey and receive his curse. This is what God told the people of Israel as they waited to cross the Jordan River into the land God promised them. It was a matter of identity. He was their God and they were his people, for no other reason than what he had done for them. He rescued them from slavery and brought them to a new land. He was their God. They were to act according to their identity. As Christians we have our identity in Jesus Christ, for no other reason than what he has done for us. Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection give to us the promise forgiveness of sin, a new home eternal life with God. We are rescued from our slavery to sin. It no longer need hold us captive. We have been forgiven through Jesus. We are heading to the promise of eternal life. God is our God, because of his promises to us in Jesus. We are to act according to our identity.
Let us pray: Gracious Savior, help me to live according to my identity as your forgiven child. Amen.
Devo ID: 6
October 10 2014
TDP: October 10;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2008-10-10;
'Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?" And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me." (Matthew 11:2-6, ESV)
Are you kidding? Offended by Jesus! Everybody likes Jesus don't they? Jesus makes deaf people hear, blind people see, lame people walk, cleanses lepers, and raises the dead. What's not to like? Well, John the Baptizer was having some second thoughts. He was in prison. He was facing death. He wasn't living his best life now. Something was different from what he expected. Things should look a bit different if God was really walking around in Jesus' sandals. Shouldn't they? Jesus gently tells him differently. God is going to work in God's way, not ours. That's important for us to remember, especially when life is difficult. Like John, we face death, we are prisoners to our sin, and very often life isn't always at its best. We wonder if Jesus is doing what he promises. Don't be offended by Jesus. God sent Jesus to forgive your sin. He was willing to die a criminal's death just for you. When things look bad, do just what John did, turn to Jesus and remember what he did for you.
Let us pray: Precious Savior, help me to see my struggles through your eyes. Amen.
Devo ID: 5
October 9 2014
TDP: October 9;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2008-10-09;
'Jesus said. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:28-31, ESV)
Jesus is talking about a snack. Two sparrows were sold for a penny in the market for a quick bite to eat. Two sparrows are nothing more than a mouthful. Yet God, the Father's care for his creation even extends to sparrows. He knows when they live and when they die, when they sleep and when they fly. He knows what they need to eat and gives it to them. God knows you too. He says the hairs on your head are all numbered. He knows everything about you. He knows what you did yesterday and what you'll do today. Jesus says we don't need to fear people, instead we should fear God. God sees us when we are alone. He sees into our hearts. He sees the secret sins there. He sees our selfishness. We should indeed fear God's anger. Sin, even secret sin, deserves punishment. But Jesus says "Fear not." Not because God overlooks sin, but because He loves you more than many sparrow snacks. He knows about your sin and just as he provides for sparrows, he provides what you need. Jesus life on earth was a life lived perfectly. He had no secret sin. He wasn't ever selfish. He always did right. God gives you the perfect life you need. Jesus gives his perfect life to you and he takes your sin to death on the cross. You don't have to be afraid of God's punishment. God himself has taken care of it in Jesus. God gives you exactly what you need.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, watch over me today and every day. Amen.
Devo ID: 4