January 26 2015

Monday; 2015-01-26; Romans 15:1-4;

TDP: January 26;

Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-01-26;

Romans 15:1-4;

'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

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January 23 2015

Friday; 2015-01-23; Romans 12:1-2;

TDP: January 23;

Original Broadcast: Friday; 2009-01-23;

Romans 12:1-2;

'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

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January 22 2015

Thursday; 2015-01-22; Joel 2:12-13;

TDP: January 22;

Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-01-22;

Joel 2:12-13;

'"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

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January 21 2015

Wednesday; 2015-01-21; Romans 10:14-17;

TDP: January 21;

Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-01-21;

Romans 10:14-17;

'How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:14-17, ESV)

Actually feet are rarely beautiful. Toe fungus, dry skin, broken nails, and the like. It's because they spend all day inside a shoe. But God calls the feet of those who bring the good news of Jesus beautiful. They are beautiful because of the message that is carried by them. The message is so good, in fact, that even ugly feet are beautiful. They are because God has chosen to send them, in spite of their looks, to carry the message. People hear the message and believe it. People who hear it and believe it call out to God in faith. So what is this message that makes ugly feet beautiful? The world is full of death and suffering. It is our fault. In all we think, do and say we reject God by not living perfectly. We deserve God's punishment. God came in Jesus Christ and lived a perfect human life. He suffers our punishment on the cross, dies and comes alive again. His death is for our punishment. God says we are no longer guilty. We live forever with God because of Jesus. This is God's beautiful feet message to you. Heavenly Father, send beautiful feet everywhere. Amen.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, send beautiful feet everywhere. Amen.

Devo ID: 78

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January 20 2015

Tuesday; 2015-01-20; Romans 9:30-33;

TDP: January 20;

Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-01-20;

Romans 9:30-33;

'What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame." (Romans 9:30-33, ESV)

Here we are again hearing about the difference between works and faith. St. Paul tells us that those who try to achieve righteousness by working at doing good fail. He says those who did not go after righteousness have gotten it but those who try to work it out have missed it. He is simply telling us about ourselves. We cannot work our way into God's favor. We can't do enough good works to make up for our sin. Instead, he says that righteousness comes by faith. "Whoever believes in him will not be put to shame." He's talking about Jesus. Jesus is the stumbling stone. This is so because we can't have righteousness any other way. He gives to us his perfectly lived life as a completely free gift. When we reject this gift by trying to earn righteousness ourselves we sin greatly. We received forgiveness, that is, we are made righteous, only through faith in what Jesus does for us.

Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, keep me focused on your life, death and resurrection for my salvation. Amen.

Devo ID: 77

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January 19 2015

Monday; 2015-01-19; Romans 9:6-8;

TDP: January 19;

Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-01-19;

Romans 9:6-8;

'They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 9:4-5, ESV)

This passage points out a very important thing about Jesus. He was born, an ethnic human being. And yet is called "God over all." Here in this very short passage we see a truth about Jesus that is difficult to understand. Jesus is man and yet Jesus is God. You can't divide him up. He isn't part man part God but completely and totally both. This is important because we need a human being and God to save us. Only a human keeping God's law perfectly can keep it perfectly for other human beings. And only a perfect human being can substitute for sinful human beings on the cross. But also, only God can be enough of a substitute to pay for the sins of the whole world. And only God, himself, can live life without breaking the law. This is Jesus for you, God and man together in one person. This is Jesus for you, dying on the cross for your sin and rising again for new life.

Let us pray: Jesus, God over all, thank you for becoming human, for me. Amen.

Devo ID: 76

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January 16 2015

Friday; 2015-01-16; Romans 7:15-25a;

TDP: January 16;

Original Broadcast: Friday; 2009-01-16;

Romans 7:15-25a;

'For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. ... Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:15-25a, ESV)

These are the words of Saint Paul describing what his life is like. He struggles with sin. He does things he doesn't want to do. He doesn't do things he knows he should do. He hates the struggle. He wants to live life according to God's Word. The thing is he is talking about every Christian. We all struggle against sin. We all fail, over and over again. Yet, we want to do better. We try to do better. It is a wretched state of affairs. Paul asks the important question: Who will save me? It is Jesus. I am forgiven but I struggle because sin is still present in me. God is at work. Through his law he shows me my sin. Through the Good News of Jesus he gives me forgiveness. In this struggle I see more clearly every day, the great gift I have in Jesus.

Let us pray: Forgiving Father, in my struggle against sin help me to see your forgiveness. Amen.

Devo ID: 75

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January 15 2015

Thursday; 2015-01-15; Romans 6:1-6;

TDP: January 15;

Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-01-15;

Romans 6:1-6;

'What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (Romans 6:1-6, ESV)

Holy Baptism is a wonderful thing. It ties us directly to Jesus. His death is our death. What that means is that when he died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, through your baptism, he died for your sins. It also means that because Jesus rose from the dead, through your baptism, you'll rise from the dead too. That's why we are dead to sin. Our sin has been taken care of by Jesus. We are forgiven. Our sin has been washed away. Now, if this is true, why in the world would we want to keep sinning? It doesn't have any power over us any more. It doesn't have to control our thoughts and ways. Instead we can live in the new life that is ours through Baptism.

Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, I don't want to sin anymore. Help me to live my life as you would have me live. Amen.

Devo ID: 74

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January 14 2015

Wednesday; 2015-01-14; Romans 5:1-6;

TDP: January 14;

Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-01-14;

Romans 5:1-6;

'Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:1-6, ESV)

Nobody wants to suffer. But Saint Paul says we rejoice in our sufferings. How can that be? How can suffering ever be good? Well, he starts by telling us that we have been justified. He's talking about the forgiveness of sins we have because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. To be justified is to be forgiven. To be forgiven is to have a good relationship with God again, that is to have peace with God. What all this means is that when suffering comes God isn't punishing us. Instead God is using it to build our endurance to character and our character to hope. It is through suffering when we are at our weakest that we see our great need for a Savior.

Let us pray: Gracious God, help me to see you at work even in my suffering. Amen.

Devo ID: 73

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January 13 2015

Tuesday; 2015-01-13; Romans 4:1-5, 9b;

TDP: January 13;

Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-01-13;

Romans 4:1-5, 9b;

'What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, ... We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. (Romans 4:1-5, 9b, ESV)

God's Word makes a very important distinction between doing good stuff and having faith. You can't be saved by faith if you are trying to be saved by doing good things. The problem with people is that we want to do the work ourselves. If we try to give God the good stuff we do as a way to save ourselves it only makes him angry. God already did all that was necessary to save you. Jesus, his beloved son, was crucified, dead and buried for you. When you try to work your way into God's heart you are telling God that Jesus died for nothing and that you don't want the gift God wants to give you. God doesn't want you to do good things for him. You don't need to make God love you. He wants you to do good things for your neighbor.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, help me to serve my neighbor as you have served me. Amen.

Devo ID: 72

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