May 22 2015
TDP: January 22;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-01-22;
'"Yet even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. (Joel 2:12-13, ESV)
This is repentance, turning to God with nothing to offer nothing but our sin. It seems backward. We would rather offer God the good things we've done. The trouble is, we don't do things good enough. The problem is in our hearts. They so quickly fail us even when we do good things. We can't keep the selfish away. We can't help wondering what credit we are going to get. We can't help comparing our works with others. The problem is that sin lives deep in our hearts, and we can't get it out. That's what's up with this very picture here. We turn to God with our hearts split open. We give to God our sin that is there. "God, I can't make it clean. Make it clean for me!" He is gracious and merciful. He sent Jesus to shed his blood on the cross for the sin in your heart. His sinless blood makes your sinful heart clean.
Let us pray: Mine is the sin, but Thine the righteousness; Mine is the guilt, but Thine the cleansing blood; Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace: Thy blood, Thy righteousness, O Lord my God. Amen. (LSB 631)
Devo ID: 79
May 21 2015
TDP: January 8;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-01-08;
'For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20, ESV)
It isn't popular to talk about God's wrath. But God says people are without excuse. People want to remain in their sin rather than admit that God holds them accountable. One way we do this is to pretend there is no God at all. But it isn't possible to look at the world and not see God's fingerprints all over it. God is real, he really does exist, and he is angry over our sin. If you want to see the full extent of God's anger over sin you simply have to look at the cross of Jesus. He is punished for all human sin. He suffers not just the physical pain of that terrible execution but he suffers the punishment of hell. God, the Father, pours out his anger for sin on Jesus. Jesus gladly takes it all so that we don't have to face God's anger.
Let us pray: Let us pray: Thank you Jesus for bearing God's anger over my sin for me. Amen.
Devo ID: 69
May 20 2015
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TDP: January 7;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-01-07;
'For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." (Romans 1:16-17, ESV)
The word "Gospel" means Good News. The "Good News" of Jesus is that it has the power to forgive sin and give eternal life. The "Good News" of Jesus is that he came into the world to live a perfect life, die on the cross for the punishment of all sinners, and rise again to new life. But it isn't just that he did these things, faith to live by, is to believe that he did these things for you. Jesus takes your sin and gives you his perfect life, so God looks at you and sees Jesus and the life he lived instead of your sin. Then God says you are forgiven. When you believe in Jesus you will live forever.
Let us pray: Thy work alone, O Christ, Can ease this weight of sin; Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God, Can give me peace within. Amen. (LSB: 567)
Devo ID: 68
May 19 2015
TDP: January 6;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-01-06;
'Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." (Luke 3:21-22, ESV)
This is one of the most commonly painted pictures from the bible. Jesus, just baptized, stands waist deep in the river; the Holy Spirit flutters overhead; and the voice of God, the Father, booms out of the sky. It is a picture of God. It seems clear enough, God shows himself in three separate persons; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is three persons but still just one God. Don't worry if you don't understand it. It isn't something we can understand. What's really important in the picture is what it tells us about Jesus. Jesus is God. His baptism starts his taking on himself the sins of the world. When we are baptized our sin is washed off of us. When Jesus is baptized our sin is washed on to him. He carries our sins to the cross to be put to death. When he rises from the dead our sins are left in the grave.
Let us pray: Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, thank you for carrying my sins to the cross. Amen.
Devo ID: 67
May 18 2015
TDP: January 5;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-01-05;
'[John the Baptizer] said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." (Luke 3:7-9, ESV)
John is preparing the way for Jesus. His preaching isn't politically correct. In fact, he says change or burn. I'm sure many people were offended. This isn't what we want to hear either. But the truth is; God judges sin harshly. Resolving to do better this year? Have you failed before? The axe is at the root of the trees. Produce results or burn. It's harsh but true. Well, it would be except for Jesus. That's just what John is doing. You are prepared for Jesus when you see that you are lost without him. You can't "do better" when perfect is required. Jesus doesn't do better, he does perfect for you. His life was perfect and without sin. Then Jesus burns for you. He suffered hell on the cross. He does it all for you.
Let us pray: Let us pray: Jesus Christ, My Savior, be my Savior from sin. Amen.
Devo ID: 66
May 8 2015
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
May 7 2015
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
May 6 2015
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
May 5 2015
TDP: October 8;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2008-10-08;
'"For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 7:6-8, ESV)
The people of Israel were God's chosen people. After spending 500 years in slavery, God rescued them. He did it with "a mighty hand." God sent plagues to convince the king of Egypt to free the slaves; water to blood, frogs, lice, flies, locust, sick cattle, boils, fiery hail and darkness and finally the first born sons of Egypt died. Pharaoh had enough, the slaves were free. God still rescues his people. Just like the people of Israel you and I aren't anything special. We don't deserve anything from God but punishment for our sin. Sin isn't just making mistakes; it is living our lives apart from God's will. We can't help it we are slaves it. We cannot change. But God rescues us from slavery with a mighty hand. He sends Jesus, his first born son to die. His death on the cross releases us from sin's slavery by taking our punishment. Now you are free from punishment. God doesn't save us because we are something special; we are something special because God saves us.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, thank you for giving your life for me and setting me free from sin and its punishment. Amen.
Devo ID: 3
May 4 2015
TDP: Monday after Easter 5;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-05-11;
'In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. (Luke 12:1-3, ESV)
The church is full of hypocrites! That is a common charge. The word means to hide behind a mask. In the ancient Greek world a hypocrite was an actor. They wore a mask to hide the real person, pretending to be someone else. It is not hypocritical to belong to the church and be a sinner. The church is the only place for sinners. Christians live daily in the knowledge of Jesus forgiveness. We see our sin and Christ's cross together. Jesus' death is forgiveness for all sin. A hypocrite is one who denies his own sin, and hides behind a mask of perfection. He thinks he doesn't need Jesus. That is what Jesus warns against. The Pharisees hid their own sin by pretending to be better than everyone else. In the church we confess our sins to Jesus because he forgives.
Let us pray: Gracious Jesus, show me my sin and my need for your forgiveness. Amen.
Devo ID: 139