March 5 2015
TDP: Thursday - Lent 3;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-03-19;
'And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God." (Mark 10:24-27, ESV)
Jesus isn't against being rich. He's just encountered a rich young man who wanted to buy his way into heaven by keeping the commandments. Jesus pushes him to the wall. "Sell everything and follow me!" He can't do it. It is too much to ask. Jesus tells him he has to be perfect. The disciples are amazed. The ridiculous picture of a camel trying to squeeze through a needle makes the point. It's not just hard to earn your way to heaven it's impossible. "Then who can be saved?" If that good rich guy can't do it who can? "No body!" is Jesus answer. You can't save yourself, God has to save you. That's why Jesus came. He came to do what you can't do for yourself. He earned your forgiveness by his life and death and resurrection.
Let us pray: Jesus Savior, help me to give up trying to save myself and trust in you alone. Amen.
Devo ID: 110
March 4 2015
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
March 3 2015
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
March 2 2015
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
February 27 2015
TDP: October 7;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2008-10-07;
'And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:35-36, ESV)
... like sheep without a shepherd. That's a good description of what's going on these days in some parts of the church. You can find any kind of teaching you want to find. Whatever life style you want to live, someone in some church will tell you it's ok. People who listen to this kind of false teaching are being lead astray. Jesus has compassion on people who are lost and alone, without guidance wondering where to turn, "harassed and helpless." God doesn't leave us without a shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He comes proclaiming the good news about himself. The good news isn't "live anyway you want to live." Jesus doesn't excuse sin, he dies for it. The Good News is that Jesus' death on the cross clears the way for you to have a relationship to God. In that relationship we put sin aside. St. Paul makes it clear, "consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. " Follow the Good Shepherd live in the new life he promises to you.
Let us pray: Thine forever! Shepherd, keep These Thy frail and trembling sheep; Safe alone beneath Thy care, Let us all Thy goodness share. Amen.
Devo ID: 2
February 26 2015
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
February 25 2015
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
February 24 2015
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
February 23 2015
TDP: October 6;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2008-10-06;
'And behold, some people brought to [Jesus] a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven." And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-he then said to the paralytic-"Rise, pick up your bed and go home." And he rose and went home. (Matthew 9:2-7, ESV)
I'm not sure about you but I think I might have been a bit disappointed. The friends of this paralytic made the effort to get him to Jesus. After all their trouble Jesus says, "Your sins are forgiven." Don't you think they had something else in mind? Jesus enemies didn't like Jesus' Words either. "He's blaspheming, playing God." Jesus responds with a question. "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or 'Rise and walk'?" The answer seems easy. Say "your sins are forgiven" and it doesn't mean anything because you can't see forgiveness. "Be healed" requires action. Jesus shows that he is God. He can heal and he does forgive. Now back to the question "Which is easier?" Think about it. Jesus heals with a word but what did he do to say, "Your sins are forgiven." For that he endured the wrath of God on the cross, paying the punishment for all your sin. What Jesus says happens. He says to you, "son, daughter, your sins are forgiven."
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus thank you for the forgiveness you won for me on the cross. Amen.
Devo ID: 1
February 20 2015
TDP: February 20;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2009-02-20;
'After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." (John 6:66-69, ESV)
Jesus had gone too far. At least that's what lots of folks thought. He told them they couldn't do anything on their own to be saved. Only God could save them. He told them that when they looked at him they were seeing God. Many of those who followed Jesus quit. St. Peter sees clearly. He knew of no place to go to hear of God's salvation for sinful people except Jesus. "You have the words of eternal life." Peter's confession is our confession about God's Word. Jesus, and only Jesus, saves us. He is God, in the flesh, come to bring us forgiveness of our sin.
Let us pray: Thy cross, not mine, O Christ, Has borne the crushing load Of sins that none could bear But the incarnate God. To whom save Thee, Who canst alone For sin atone, Lord, shall I flee? (LSB 565s) Amen.
Devo ID: 99