September 18 2015
TDP: June 1;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2010-06-01;
'It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. " (Ecclesiastes 9:2-3, ESV)
Death makes the playing field level. Rich or poor, intelligent or ignorant, this continent or another, now, the past or in the future it comes to everyone. It can ruin your whole day. We can spend thousands to look younger but sooner or later we will rot in the grave. This is the "wages of sin" as St Paul says. And whats worse death in sin leads to hell. There sinners pay an eternal, for ever and ever price for sin. That's because sin, simply put, is a rejection of God. It seems pretty hopeless, and yet this is the condition Jesus Christ came to correct. He is also God who became a living breathing human being "under the sun." He is God who lives a life free from sin but dies anyway. His death, a super-sized death, is payment for all human sin and gives us the promise of a life forever with God. Jesus changes death from an end to a beginning, from hopeless to hope full.
Let us pray: Savior Friend of sinners, forgive my sin that I may live with you forever. Amen.
Devo ID: 171
September 17 2015
TDP: September 18;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2009-09-18;
1 Timothy 1:8-11;
'Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. (1 Timothy 1:8-11, ESV)
What does Paul mean when he talks about using the law? Well, the law can be used to prevent sinful behavior. That's what the government does. Speed limits protect us from ourselves. Paul gives us a list of things the law should prevent. But some misuse the law by using it for their own benefit. "Look how I keep the law and you don't." One ancient pastor compared it to a fancy bridle on a horse that isn't really used to guide the horse but only there to make the horse look good. There is another use of God's law for those who would try to keep it. It shows us our sin. Compared to God's perfect law we are lawless. We all deserve God's punishment. Our sin, clearly shown, shows us our need for a Savior. Jesus protects us from ourselves. Even though he kept God's law perfectly in every detail, he was punished on the cross. He is punished for the sins of the whole world. Jesus is your Savior from sin. He lived and died to save you from God's punishment.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, when the law show me my sin, remind me of your death on the cross for me. Amen.
Devo ID: 165
September 16 2015
TDP: September 16;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-09-16;
'If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. (Colossians 3:1-6, ESV)
Saint Paul lifts us up to a new standard. It is a standard of life over death, things above over the sinful thoughts and desires that fill our earthly life. He's not saying we get life by living right, even though he says we deserve God's anger for doing wrong. He is saying, live right because you are alive. You have been raised from the death of sin, to new life in Christ. Those evil thoughts and desires in you are dead, as dead as Jesus on the cross. There your sin is forgiven. There those sinful desires were put to death. So, treat dead things as dead things. Don't do them any more. Instead live in the new life you have been given. Live in the forgiveness of your sins that is yours in Jesus Christ.
Let us pray: O grant that nothing in my soul May dwell, but Thy pure love alone; Oh, may Thy love possess me whole, My joy, my treasure, and my crown! All coldness from my heart remove; My ev'ry act, word, thought be love. Amen. (LSB 683:2)
Devo ID: 164
September 15 2015
TDP: September 15;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-09-15;
'See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, ... And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:8-9,13-14, ESV)
What a mystery, that God could dwell completely in Jesus Christ. This means that Jesus is nothing other than God himself. Jesus is, walking, talking, breathing, living, dying God in human flesh. There is no other way to think about it. God was born in barn, fed and taught by human parents, loved and hated, feared and trusted, and finally crucified dead and buried but raised again and alive. And all this for a purpose. In sin, you and I were as dead as Jesus in the grave. But God made us alive with Jesus. He forgives all our sin. He pays the debt we owe God, because we fail to live up to his perfect law. That's what God is doing, living and talking, and eating and breathing and dying in Jesus. Our sin is nailed to the cross. Our punishment is paid in full by God, himself.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, you became human to pay for my sin, help me to live every day as your forgiven child. Amen.
Devo ID: 163
September 14 2015
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TDP: September 14;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-09-14;
'Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7, ESV)
There are two things St. Paul is always talking about: Jesus and forgiveness. That's because above all things we need forgiveness of our sins. We are sinful people born, blind, dead, enemies of God. And without Jesus there is no forgiveness. To receive Jesus is to receive forgiveness. Paul is talking about faith. Faith in Jesus means to know that what Jesus did he did for me, for the forgiveness of my sin. So when Paul talks about walking in the Jesus we've received, he's talking about walking in the forgiveness of our sins. And what a difference that makes every day. The forgiveness we receive from Jesus flows out to everyone around us. We forgive because we are forgiven.
Let us pray: Forgive our sins, Lord, we implore, That they may trouble us no more; We, too, will gladly those forgive Who hurt us by the way they live Help us in our community To serve each other willingly. Amen. (LSB 766:6)
Devo ID: 162
September 11 2015
TDP: September 11;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2009-09-11;
'But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith?" (Philippians 3:7-9, ESV)
St. Paul is talking about God's law. Before he became a Christian he worked hard to gain God's approval. He was sure that he could attain salvation by working for it. Now, he says, I see the utter foolishness of that idea. All of his good works that he used to impress God only dug his grave deeper. It was rubbish. He sees it clearly. A person cannot earn salvation by keeping the law, because we can't keep the law. It is only gained by faith in Jesus Christ. It is only gained by seeing our own sinfulness and clinging to the forgiveness found only in Jesus Christ. In faith we receive the perfect life Jesus lived as a gift from God.
Let us pray: Nothing in my hand I bring; Simply to Thy cross I cling. Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die. Amen (LSB 761:3)
Devo ID: 161
September 10 2015
TDP: September 10;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-09-10;
'Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13, ESV)
What exactly does St. Paul mean by "fear and trembling!" I thought we Christians didn't have to be "afraid" of God. Well, the fear he is addressing here is the fear of falling into sin. Sin is always dangerous, always poison to our faith. That's why he says "work out your salvation." He means to work to avoid doing anything that would offend God, anything that would turn him away from us and endanger our salvation. We are forgiven. We need forgiveness because we daily sin much. Christ gave his life on the cross for that. But when we live in our sin instead of confessing it, we are in danger of pushing out faith. Another way of saying it, "Don't be careless in your faith. Watch out for sin."
Let us pray: Remove the pow'r of sin from me And cleanse all my impurity That I may have the strength and will Temptations of the flesh to still. Amen. (LSB 704:2)
Devo ID: 160
September 9 2015
TDP: September 9;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-09-09;
'For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again. (Philippians 1:21-26, ESV)
St. Paul saw things more clearly than we usually do. He was looking for his hard life on earth to end. He knew that death would only bring him to his Savior Jesus. But faith leaves it to Jesus. That's the basics of it. God knows best even if we disagree. Faith places everything, including our very life in God's hands. After all you can trust him with your life. Jesus Christ, God and man together, lived his life, died his death, and rose again from the dead. All this he did for the you, and your forgiveness. There is no better place to put your trust.
Let us pray: For me to live is Jesus, To die is gain for me; So when my Savior pleases, I meet death willingly. And so to Thee still cleaving When death shall come to me, I fall asleep believing And wake in heav'n with Thee! Amen. (LSB 742:1,6)
Devo ID: 159
September 8 2015
TDP: September 8;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-09-08;
2 Kings 5:1a,9-11,13-14;
'Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master ... but he was a leper. So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha's house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean." But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, "Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. But his servants came near and said to him, "My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?" So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. (2 Kings 5:1a,9-11,13-14, ESV)
Naaman was angry... he didn't want to be healed the way God had given. That's just like us. We want God to work in big ways, not like simple washing... like Holy Baptism. And yet, this gift of God is wrought with the promises of God. The secret sins of men are washed out. Our misdeeds are cleansed. Through this simple act God's gift of forgiveness, won by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, is given. Through this washing and rebirth we have the hope of eternal life.
Let us pray: Lord, You have raised me up To joy and exultation And clearly shown the way That leads me to salvation. My sins are washed away; For this I thank You, Lord. Now with my heart and soul All evil I abhor. Amen. (LSB 703:3)
Devo ID: 158
September 7 2015
TDP: September 7;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-09-07;
'Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. ...having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (Ephesians 6:10-20, ESV)
It is easy to underestimate an enemy, especially one that you can't see. But you don't have to look far to see our enemy, Satan at work, even in the church. You can see him active in churches that set aside God's Word and make decisions to please the culture instead of God. And the fiery darts come to you and me, when we confess what God's Word says is true. But Christians have no where else to stand, except in faith founded on God's Word alone. After all as St. Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life." Forgiveness is found in no one else but Jesus Christ, crucified, dead and buried and raised to life again. This is the armor of God, knowing that we are forgiven and living in the truth of God's Word alone.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, bring repentance to those who twist your word to suit their own feelings. Forgive me my sin when I do the same. Amen.
Devo ID: 156