December 19 2014
TDP: December 19;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2008-12-19;
'Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." (Isaiah 40:1-5, ESV)
We all need comfort. Our world is full of conflict, trouble, pain and sorrow. When these things trouble us we want comfort. God speaks tenderly to us. He says our conflict is over. We are no longer guilty. Our sin is forgiven. Get ready! God is coming to take care of it. God comes in Jesus Christ. He comes in a manger in Bethlehem. He comes in dusty sandals on a dusty road. He comes in preaching and teaching. He comes in living and dying. He comes in rising from the dead. Jesus Christ is coming again. When he does, all the dead will rise to new life. We will stand in perfect bodies on a perfect earth. There will be no more conflict, trouble, pain and sorrow. Get ready! God is coming again in Jesus. Prepare!
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, help me to be ready for the coming of Jesus, forgive my sin in Jesus name. Amen.
Devo ID: 55
December 18 2014
TDP: December 18;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2008-12-18;
'Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, "Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you." Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. (Isaiah 35:3-7, ESV)
God has plans for people. Blind people will see, lame people will dance and those unable to speak will sing for joy. God's plan is that what is wrong with the world is fixed. We can see God's plan for the world unfolding in the life of Jesus. Everywhere Jesus went people were changed. Blind people opened their eyes and saw him. Deaf people heard his voice and people who couldn't walk got up and followed him. They all danced and sang for joy because of what they saw. God was in the world in Jesus Christ. He had come to put the fix in the works. Sin is the problem. Jesus takes care of sin through his life, death and resurrection. When he comes again at the end of time everything will be just as Isaiah says whole and perfect again.
Let us pray: Gracious God, you did not leave us in sin but sent Jesus to fix it. Forgive my sin and make me whole. Amen.
Devo ID: 54
December 17 2014
TDP: December 17;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2008-12-17;
'And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne... And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you ... for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:6-10, ESV)
This picture of the Lamb of God isn't the cute little fluffy lamb you see in picture books. St. John has been given a vision of God's rule over all things in Jesus Christ. The Lamb has seven horns and seven eyes. That means he has all power and sees and knows everything. This Lamb is the one who previously hung on the cross shedding his blood for the sins of the world. He was dead but now is alive. This vision of Jesus is comforting for Christians because it tells us that Jesus, Our Savior, is in control of all things. He has destroyed the power of sin and death and hell. They have no power over us anymore.
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. (LSB 567:3)
Devo ID: 53
December 16 2014
TDP: December 16;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2008-12-16;
'After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. (Revelation 4:1-4, ESV)
The Apostle John was given a vision of God's heavenly glory. He explains un-explainable things in terms that we human beings can understand. God sits on the throne of heaven. He shines like the sun reflecting off of precious stones and he is surrounded by a rainbow. The rainbow is the sign of God's promises to save. He made it appear after the whole world was destroyed by a great flood, but he saved Noah and his family and the animals. It reminds us also of God's promises made to us in Holy Baptism. God cleaned the world of sin through the flood. He cleans you through His Word and water too. In baptism our sin is washed away and put on Jesus, who is punished instead. Every rainbow we see is a reminder of our forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
Let us pray: All glorious Father in Heaven, wash my sin away daily as I remember what you have done for me in Jesus. Amen.
Devo ID: 52
December 15 2014
TDP: December 15;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2008-12-15;
'" 'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. (Revelation 3:15-18, ESV)
God's law is harsh. It condemns. His Word is the sword that divides. The Angel of the Lord brings to his church at Laodicea just such a word of law. The church had been distracted from what God had called them to do. Instead of serving, they were self-centered, looking for earthy wealth and personal comfort. They imagined they didn't need God or his forgiveness found in the cross of Jesus. He calls them to repent and turn. "Receive what I have to give. Receive what you need more than earthly wealth. Bring your sin to me and I will forgive." That is always God's call to us. We are sinful people in need of forgiveness. He offers it freely in Jesus Christ.
Let us pray: Jesus Christ my Savior, show me my sin of apathy, show me my selfish heart, turn me to you for forgiveness. Amen.
Devo ID: 51
December 12 2014
TDP: December 12;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2008-12-12;
'Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3, ESV)
It is very common today to say that God is still speaking to His people. And it is true, God speaks to us every time we open His Word and read it, or hear it read or preached. God always speaks to us through His Word. This is what St. Jude means when he talks about the faith "once for all delivered to the saints." God has provided for us a certain means to know what He wants us to believe. The Bible is easy to understand when we keep Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins at the center of all that it says. Everything we need for salvation is found there. There is no need to look for God to speak anywhere else. Beware of those who say, "God told me this." Always compare what you hear with "faith that was once for all delivered." If it doesn't agree with God's Word, it isn't from God. "Contend for the faith" means, protect it from those who would twist it to justify their own actions or beliefs.
Let us pray: Dearest Heavenly Father, protect us from those who would twist your Word for their own ends. Amen.
Devo ID: 50
December 11 2014
TDP: December 11;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2008-12-11;
1 John 5:1-3;
'Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:1-3, ESV)
John, the Apostle of Love, tells us what it means to be a child of God. Those who believe that Jesus is the Christ are God's Children. He's talking about all that Jesus is and did. Jesus is God and man, come to earth to live and die and rise again for human beings. He is the perfect sacrifice for sin to bring us forgiveness of our sin. Jesus Christ restores our Father-son relationship with God, we are Children of God. Believing and loving go together. Belief shows the confession of faith. Love shows in action. What actions? The commandments of God show us how we are to treat each other. Jesus sums them up with the phrase, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Let us pray: Jesus, help me to love as you have loved me. Amen.
Devo ID: 49
December 10 2014
TDP: December 10;
Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2008-12-10;
1 John 4:9-11;
'In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 4:9-11, ESV)
Propitiation is a word we don't hear very often, but we do know what it means. A husband will give his wife flowers when he's done something to make her angry. That's propitiation. Our sin makes God angry, and rightly so. We should receive the full force of it. Jesus is our propitiation. On the cross Jesus takes God's anger. He suffers and dies in our place. We are free from fear, free to really live. That's God's love. We see it clearly in Jesus. He lives, dies and rises again for us.
Let us pray: I lay my sins on Jesus, The spotless Lamb of God; He bears them all and frees us From the accursed load. Amen.
Devo ID: 48
December 9 2014
TDP: December 9;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2008-12-09;
1 John 3:2-6;
'Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when [Jesus Christ] appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:2-6, ESV)
People say confession is good for the soul. The Apostle John might agree. He talks about "purifying ourselves." He means that as we have faith in Jesus, we constantly take our sin to him for forgiveness. Because of Jesus death on the cross, God takes away our sin. He gives us forgiveness. He declares us to be without sin. How do we react to forgiveness? We don't make a practice of sinning. That means we don't continue to sin and pretend we don't need forgiveness. Jesus' forgiveness changes people.
Let us pray: Jesus forgive my sin, help me to put it out of my life. Amen.
Devo ID: 47
December 8 2014
TDP: December 8;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2008-12-08;
'On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 25:6-8, ESV)
We have all been there, tears streaming down our faces as we mourn a death. Death swallows up our relationships, our accomplishments and our joy. Isaiah says death as a covering. All we hope to be and do is stolen away. God hates death even more than we do. He has something better in mind, a feast. Jesus Christ swallows up death in his death. He was crucified, dead and buried, covered up. But it can't hold him. He throws death off and lives. Your sins are forgiven by Jesus' death and resurrection. In faith, you too, will pass through death to life, and joy and no more tears.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, give me joy even in the face of death. Amen.
Devo ID: 46