February 5 2016
TDP: February 5;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-02-05;
'The next day [John the Baptizer] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.' (John 1:29-30, ESV)
The lamb isn't just an image of a cute fluffy animal. In those days a lamb had a very specific purpose, especially one that has come to take on sin. You see, lambs were used for sacrifice. It was a bloody business. They were taken to the temple and slaughtered on the altar. Every Jewish family understood what it was all about. The lamb was selected from the stock, because it was the best of the best. It had no spots or blemishes. It was young and fresh. At Passover time, it even lived in the house as a pet. When the time came, the lamb was carried to the temple on dad's shoulders, and given to the priest. It was killed for the sake of the family. The family said prayers of thanksgiving that God would accept a substitute for their sin. All of this comes to mind when John calls Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus, too, is handed over to the priests. He is slaughtered on the cross. He bears the sin of the whole world. John's message of forgiveness is for you. Jesus Christ was your sacrifice for sin. You can be thankful that God accepted his sacrifice for you.
Let us pray: Just as I am and waiting not To rid my soul of one dark blot, To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come. (LSB 570)
Devo ID: 89
February 4 2016
TDP: February 4;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-02-04;
John 1:1-5, 14;
'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 14, ESV)
God's Word is about Jesus and the forgiveness of sins he brought to us through his life, death on the cross and resurrection to life again. This reading is about Jesus, too. It calls Jesus the Word of God that created everything. What it means is that Jesus is God. That's because God created everything from nothing by speaking his Word. "Let there be light and there was light." The bible tells us. Then is says that God, Jesus Christ, became flesh and lived among us. This is the most amazing thing and so difficult to understand. Why would he ever do such a thing? God loves what he created. When we were lost because of our sin; when we deserved nothing but punishment and hell; God came in Jesus Christ to save us.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, you became flesh to save me. Thank you for your forgiveness. Amen.
Devo ID: 88
February 3 2016
TDP: February 3;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-02-03;
'But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy. (Titus 3:4-8a, ESV)
God saves us. He has to for we are helpless to save ourselves. One pastor said it this way: I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him. (Martin Luther, 1438-1546) Instead of my own effort, it is the work of God, the Holy Spirit. St. Paul here uses water words. "by washing and regeneration" and "pouring out." He's pointing us to God's work in Holy Baptism. The Holy Spirit works along with the water and God's Word of promise to give us faith. Faith isn't some quality in us but trust that what Jesus has done is mine. Paul says through this work of God we are justified. That means having our sins forgiven and forgotten. When that happens we have the hope of eternal life.
Let us pray: With one accord, O God, we pray: Grant us Your Holy Spirit. Help us in our infirmity Through Jesus' blood and merit. Grant us to grow in grace each day That by this sacrament we may Eternal life inherit. Amen. (LSB 601:2)
Devo ID: 87
February 2 2016
TDP: February 2;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-02-02;
'And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. (Mark 1:23-26, ESV)
"Shut up!" that's what Jesus says to the demon possessed man. The demon in him was speaking the truth, but Jesus won't hear it. And he won't have us hear it either. That's because this devil is using the truth for his own advantage, trying to manipulate Jesus. It happens today. Many preachers say things in Jesus' name, and some of what they say is the truth. They say things like "Listen to me and Jesus will tell you how to be wealthy." When what they really mean is "Listen to ME and I'll become wealthy." They use Jesus to line their pockets. Jesus says "Shut up!" The truth about Jesus is always directed to the cross and our forgiveness. Jesus is the Holy One of God, come to destroy the power of sin, and death and hell. He shed his blood on cross for the forgiveness of your sin.
Let us pray: Oh, what blessing to be near You And to listen to Your voice; Let me ever love and hear You, Let Your Word be now my choice! Amen.
Devo ID: 86
February 1 2016
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TDP: January 30;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2009-01-30;
2 Timothy 2:8-13;
'Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful- for he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:8-13, ESV)
There is a part of today's reading that is probably a very old hymn. The words are simple and beautiful. They speak of death and resurrection. They speak of living in faith and God's faithfulness in Jesus Christ. Saint Paul, who wrote these words to a young pastor, wants him to remember the importance of his connection to Jesus. Christians are connected to Jesus through death and resurrection. Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of human sin. He came alive again after three days in the grave. We die with Jesus and come alive again when we believe that Jesus did these things for us. We die and rise with Jesus, too when we are Baptized. We still suffer many things life is full of trouble, but we hold on and endure. We do it because we know that Jesus is faithful to all he promises to do. Through the forgiveness of our sins we will life forever with him.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, make me bold to proclaim your death and resurrection to all who will hear. Amen.
Devo ID: 85
January 29 2016
TDP: January 29;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-01-29;
2 Timothy 1:8-11;
'Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, (2 Timothy 1:8-11, ESV)
These words were written by St. Paul to a young pastor named Timothy. He tells him not to be ashamed of the testimony about Jesus. These days there are many preachers who never speak about Jesus. Instead they talk about things and ways that people become right with God by doing good things. That isn't the "holy calling" Paul is talking about. Preachers are to preach about Jesus. Paul suffered for preaching Jesus Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sinful men. He wanted Timothy to preach the same good news. No message is more important. No other message is worth suffering for. Jesus Christ abolishes death for you. He died on the cross to bring you forgiveness of sin and rose again to give you the promise of eternal life. There is never a time in your life when you don't need to hear this message.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, give us faithful preachers who preach Jesus Christ. Amen.
Devo ID: 84
January 28 2016
TDP: January 28;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-01-28;
'I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. (Romans 16:17-19, ESV)
Doctrine divides. That's what you hear these days. The thought is that if we don't insist on a common set of beliefs and teachings we can get along. God's Word doesn't agree. The only source of unity in the church is based on what we believe, teach and confess. Paul insists that those who refuse to acknowledge what the bible teaches are only out for their own benefit. They are the ones who are causing division, not those who are faithful to what the bible teaches. The news is full of examples of so-called Christian leaders who publically deny what scripture says is true. Paul warns us to avoid them. We are to be innocent of what is evil. He means to say that we are not to participate with those who deny God's Word openly. Instead we are to be wise to what is good. We serve God when we keep our lives inline with God's Word.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, keep us faithful to all you have taught us. Amen.
Devo ID: 83
January 27 2016
TDP: January 27;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-01-27;
'Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. (Romans 12:9-16a, ESV)
It's a laundry list of good things. God's Word not only tells us what to do but it says "be genuine!" That means we are to do these things with our whole heart. According to God, doing good on the outside isn't enough. We have to have our heart in it, too. It's hard to do... no, actually it is impossible. Our own self interest gets in the way. We pretend to be genuine when we look to impress others, or hope for some favor in return. We do to others so that they do to us. If only we could be genuine! If only we could serve completely for the sake of others. Our sinful hearts betray us to sin. Sin is death. Jesus is life. His blood shed on the cross cleanses the sin from the things we do. So we serve... in spite of our sin. We serve when our hearts are in it... and when they are not. We serve for the benefit of our neighbor. We serve and trust Jesus to forgive the sin that is always present.
Let us pray: Savior, when I serve, forgive my sin that my neighbor may receive the full benefit. Amen.
Devo ID: 82
January 26 2016
TDP: January 26;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-01-26;
'We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, "The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me." For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:1-4, ESV)
St. Paul tells us that our Lord Jesus Christ suffered "reproach." The word reproach means to be the cause of a problem, or to be blamed for one. Jesus took our reproach, our blame. He became sin, that is he suffered as the cause and the problem of sin. He didn't do this for his own advantage, he did it first to do God's will, to please God, and then he did it for us. This is what the cross of Jesus is all about; Jesus suffering for us, taking our sin, our punishment, our blame. We are now free to live God's way, instead of ours. What Jesus did is a pattern for our Christian life. In all we do we are to do God's will first, then we are to serve the needs of those God has set around us. We don't do this to earn anything from God, but in response to God's love for us in Jesus.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, keep us mindful of your will for our lives. Amen.
Devo ID: 81
January 25 2016
TDP: January 23;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2009-01-23;
'I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2, ESV)
Do not be conformed to this world, St. Paul tells us. There is much to avoid. The world is deformed. Sin abounds everywhere. We are to test and test again to see what inline with God's will. But we don't test by what is in our hearts, they are sin-sick. We test by comparing things to God's Word. Our hearts deceive us. That's why St. Paul says to be transformed by a renewal. God's Word does just that. It shows us our sin of thought, word and deed. It shows us what is good and acceptable and perfect. It shows us our Savior Jesus. Jesus is all that for us. We are all too often conformed to the sinful world. God transforms us through the message of Jesus. His life, death and resurrection are for the forgiveness of our sinful hearts. That good news transforms us.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, transform my sinful heart with your Word. Amen.
Devo ID: 80