November 24 2014
TDP: November 24;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2008-11-24;
'And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." ... And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. (Revelation 21:3-6, ESV)
Wouldn't it be nice to have all things new? That old car, bald tires and all, new, pristine, with that fresh from the factory smell. And not the kind that comes from the "new car scent" air freshener. And even more important a new body, without aches and pains, surgery scares and arthritis. But, cars run down. Things and people wear out. Time marches on. People stop working and die. All things new? It's just a dream, right? Not according to "the one who sits on the throne." He says he is making all things new. He promises that death itself will be no more. That's exactly why God became a human being in Jesus. He came to deal with death. Jesus died on the cross, but he also came alive again. God says "It is done!" That new life is yours when you believe that Jesus did it all for you for the forgiveness of your sin. And it doesn't cost you anything.
Let us pray: Gracious Heavenly Father, make me new through the forgiveness of my sin. Amen.
Devo ID: 36
November 21 2014
TDP: November 21;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2008-11-21;
'Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king's matter." (Daniel 2:20-23, ESV)
This is Daniel's prayer in response to God saving his life by giving him an interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The king had lost sleep over the dream and asked for an interpretation. When none could be given he ordered the execution of all the wise men in the land, including Daniel. Daniel prayed for an answer and God gave him the dream's meaning. It is easy for us to feel things are out of control, and forget that God's hand guides all things. As Daniel confesses, God changes the seasons, sets up kings, and gives wisdom as he will. All things are in his hands. We remember God's sacrifice of Jesus for our forgiveness, and trust that all other things will work out for our good.
Let us pray: Thank you Lord, for caring for me in the world. Amen.
Devo ID: 35
November 20 2014
TDP: November 20;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2008-11-20;
'Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. (Matthew 28:1-6, ESV)
The task is done. Jesus is crucified, dead and buried. He is punished for the sins of the whole world. The earth shook and Jesus is alive again. The angel announces the Good News. Jesus is no longer dead but alive. He isn't here, in the grave, where dead people belong. He is with the living. The angel sat on the stone, the death door. It is rolled away so people can see the empty grave. That is the whole point. The grave is empty. Your grave is empty, too. Someday you will die and lay in a grave. If you sin you will die. But Jesus has taken forever out of death. God will open the door of your grave and you will live again. Your sin is forgiven because Jesus died for you. And he takes the permanent punishment out of it because he is risen.
Let us pray: When death comes near, Oh Lord, comfort me with your resurrection. Amen.
Devo ID: 34
November 19 2014
TDP: November 19;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2008-11-19;
'Then the officials said to the king, "Let this man be put to death... For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm." King Zedekiah said, "Behold, he is in your hands..." So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king's son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud. (Jeremiah 38:4-6, ESV)
Now this is a prophet we can relate to. He's down in the bottom of a well, stuck in the mud. Jeremiah, the king of the mud. His enemies have the upper hand. They have convinced the king, Jeremiah is nothing but trouble. Why do they want him dead? Jeremiah has called sin, sin. It is only natural; people hate to be told about their sin. They hate even more when they are told God doesn't sweep sin under the carpet. "Don't you judge me!" they say. They want to kill the messenger. But God doesn't ignore sin. Sin requires punishment. Our message of sin in the world is also our message of God's forgiveness in Jesus. Jesus brought God's message of sin and forgiveness. Jesus enemies wanted him dead too. Jesus gave his life on the cross for the forgiveness of sin. When punishment is necessary God sends Jesus to pay it through his suffering and death. Sin is forgiven we don't need to live in it anymore.
Let us pray: Gracious God, help me to live in forgiveness and not sin. Amen.
Devo ID: 33
November 18 2014
TDP: November 18;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2008-11-18;
'Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, "This man is calling Elijah." And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him." And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. (Matthew 27:45-50, ESV)
"My God, My God Why?" Why indeed? Jesus looks to heaven and shouts this question to God His Father. His agony is evident. Nails pierce through his wrists and ankles. Blood flows down his arms and drips on the ground. The thorny crown sticks to his forehead through blood matted hair. His skin is ripped from the whip. We see the pain and the suffering here. But, Jesus words are not only a cry of the pain we see, he has been left alone on the cross to die. God, his Father, has turned his back and looked the other way. Jesus is forsaken. See here the true, just full, punishment for sin. This is what hell is; God turning away and leaving only punishment. Sin is no mere moral failure it is deadly serious rejection of God. God's response is clear. Why have you forsaken me? If you are left in your sin, this rejection of God is yours. But Jesus lives and dies and suffers it instead. You are free.
Let us pray: My God, My God, you have forsaken Jesus in my place. Help me to forsake my sin. Amen.
Devo ID: 32
November 17 2014
TDP: November 17;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2008-11-17;
'Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him. (Matthew 27:27-31, ESV)
The soldiers have made up a game. They are far from home. They take out their frustrations on Jesus. The game is called "king for a day." But this king doesn't get a real crown or robe or scepter. The ones they give are made to humiliate. They want to show that Jesus is no king at all. They use the words "King of the Jews" in dark humor. But what they say is actually true. Jesus is king. In fact, Jesus is The King. The bloody man is King of all Kings, Creator of the Universe, God in human flesh. He makes a kingdom through the forgiveness of sin. In pain and death, in courtyard and cross King Jesus does what no other king would do. He saves his people by giving himself. In his resurrection to life again he does when no other king can do. He makes a forever kingdom for you and me. Our sin is forgiven in Jesus life, death and resurrection. He is our King, and Savior.
Let us pray: Jesus, Savior, King, rule in my heart through your love. Amen.
Devo ID: 31
November 14 2014
TDP: November 14;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2008-11-14;
'Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go over there and pray." And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me." And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. (Matthew 26:36-40a, ESV)
The disciples of Jesus can't watch and pray with him. You might find it difficult, too. After a large meal, several glasses of Passover wine, and the blanket of late night, sleep comes easy. Jesus can't sleep. He is deeply troubled. He still has a "cup" to drink, death and punishment. While his disciples sleep, Jesus prays. He is sorrowful and troubled, afraid of the pain that is going to come to him. Death for all human beings is a fearful thing. We fear it for good reason. We suffer pain and separation, loss and doubt. Death is permanent punishment. Jesus places his death in the hands of God, "not as I will, but as you will." If only we could do that. Remember, dear Christians, Jesus changes death. He drinks your cup of hell. Death doesn't mean permanent punishment anymore. It is the gate to eternal life with Jesus instead. When the fear of death fills you, think about Jesus' death on the cross and his resurrection to new life.
Let us pray: When I fear death, Dearest Jesus, remind me of your death and resurrection. Amen.
Devo ID: 30
November 13 2014
TDP: November 13;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2008-11-13;
'Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26:26-29, ESV)
Jesus is always concerned about forgiveness. On the night before he was crucified he gave us a meal to seal his promise of forgiveness. It was a simple meal of bread and wine. It isn't complicated to understand. The bread is broken just as Jesus body is broken on the cross. He is pierced by nails and bruised by rods. The thorns from the crown he wears imbed his scalp. The cup of wine is poured out just as his blood is spilt from the wounds in his hands and feet and side. All this, Jesus says, is for your forgiveness. When you see this simple meal you are seeing your forgiveness. It is so easy to doubt God's love and forgiveness. Every day we see the effects of sin; broken lives, broken people, broken promises. The problem is anything but simple. But Jesus erases your doubt. "Take, eat; this is my body... Drink of it ... this is my blood..." You open your mouth and receive what you need. Here is my body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins. It is simplicity in action. God gives good gifts and we receive them.
Let us pray: I come, O Savior, to Thy table, for weak and weary is my soul; Thou bread of Life, alone art able To satisfy and make me whole: Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good. Amen. (LSB 618:1)
Devo ID: 29
November 12 2014
TDP: November 12;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2008-11-12;
'Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor." But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. (Matthew 26:6-12, ESV)
Jesus is prepared for burial. What does this woman see that no one else sees? The disciples, who have been with Jesus, look down on the woman and what she has done. "What a waste of money? Isn't there a better use for that kind of cash? People are starving in China, after all." Jesus answers in a curious way. "You will always have the poor. I'm going to leave you. She's getting me ready for my death." This unidentified woman knows Jesus is going to die. She gives him a gift because Jesus will give her a gift through his death. Her gift is a gift of worship. She sees who Jesus is and why he has come. In action, she shows her faith in Jesus as God's way of bringing her forgiveness. Jesus gift of forgiveness is ours, too. We show our faith, too when we acknowledge Jesus as our forgiveness. It is the highest form of worship to go to Jesus for the forgiveness he offers in his life, death and resurrection.
Let us pray: Savior Jesus, forgive us our sins. Amen.
Devo ID: 28
November 11 2014
TDP: November 11;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2008-11-11;
'"Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:23-24, ESV)
God is a God who is nearby. That's good. When we need him, he is easily found. But I wonder is it always good that God is nearby. If God is always near, he's near when we repeat the latest gossip about our neighbor. If God is always near, he's near when we fill our eyes with pornographic images. If God is always near, he's near when jealousy leads us to hate people because of what they have and we don't. You see, if God is near, he sees what is in our hearts, not what people see. We can't hide from a nearby God. He knows our sinful heart. He threatens us with punishment we deserve. And there is no arguing with a God who knows the truth of our lives. He is near. But this nearby God also offers forgiveness for our hidden sins. Jesus Christ is God, nearby. He is God in the flesh who has come to take our threatened punishment. Jesus dies on the cross in our place. This is not pretend punishment. Jesus is God nearby, in human flesh. The pain he suffers is real human pain. He dies a real human death. That is a nearby God. And that's good because when we need most him he is easily found. We need him most when we look in our hearts and see our sin and our need for forgiveness. Our God, nearby gives us forgiveness in Jesus.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, come near to me and forgive my sin. Amen.
Devo ID: 27