March 7 2014
TDP: February 19;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-02-19;
'No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me- (John 6:44-45, ESV)
Martin Luther, a pastor who lived about 500 years ago wrote, "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him." He's saying what Jesus says. No one can come to Jesus unless the Father, drags them. The picture is a fisherman dragging a net to a boat and lifting it in. The fish don't do anything but struggle. If we are not "taught by God" we would only swim away. Thank God, he drags us. This is what God's Word is all about. God shows us who we really are. Our lives are ruled by sinful thoughts and desires. We may not show on the outside, but sin is in our hearts. We cannot change and don't even want to. But God "teaches us." He shows us our sin and then he shows us our Savior. Jesus gives us forgiveness through his death on the cross and resurrection.
Let us pray: Lord, 'tis not that I did choose Thee; That, I know, could never be; For this heart would still refuse Thee Had Thy grace not chosen me. Thou hast from the sin that stained me Washed and cleansed and set me free And unto this end ordained me, That I ever live to Thee. (LSB 573) Amen.
Devo ID: 98
March 6 2014
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
March 5 2014
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
March 4 2014
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
March 3 2014
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
February 28 2014
TDP: August 31;
Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2010-08-31;
1 Kings 17:18-22,24;
'And [the widow] said to Elijah, "What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!" And he said to her, "Give me your son." And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. And he cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?" Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this child's life come into him again." And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again... And the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth." " (1 Kings 17:18-"22,24 ESV)
"We were doing quite well until you came along. Because of you God remembered my sin, and killed my son!" It's not the attention she wanted. But through Elijah to God gave his life back again. God shows his power over death. It happens again when Jesus is raised from death. He was crucified, dead and buried, thee days in the tomb, but walked out fully restored to life. What Jesus did in his life, death on the cross, and resurrection is God's promise to us. When we believe what Jesus did, our sins are forgiven. Our life will "come into" us again. We will live forever free of sin and death.
Let us pray: Lord of life and death, comfort us in our time of death with the promise of resurrection in you. Amen.
Devo ID: 177
February 27 2014
TDP: August 30;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2010-08-30;
2 Corinthians 8:9;
'For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9, ESV)
... for your sake he became poor. That's what Jesus did for you. He is God himself, immeasurably wealthy before he became a man, poorest of the poor as a human being. Born to a poor family, in a poor country. Mistreated, killed naked on the cross he suffered and died. Nothing is a poor as a naked dying man. That's Jesus for you. He is poor so you are rich. It's not money, it's forgiveness. We are the poor ones when it comes to living according to God's perfect law. Every action, every breath, is done in sin. What we deserve is God just anger and punishment. Jesus takes our place there. God pours out all his anger and punishment on the poor one on the cross. We receive instead the wealth of forgiveness. With that we are restored to God, forgiven, children of the Heavenly Father. It is a wonderful mysterious exchange. My sin for Jesus life. My poverty for his riches.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, you became poor with my sin, so that I could become rich with your forgiveness. Help me to live as God's forgiven child. Amen.
Devo ID: 176
February 26 2014
TDP: June 7;
Original Broadcast: Monday; 2010-06-07;
'When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. " (John 12:9-11, ESV)
Satan seeks to stop the work of Jesus in any way possible. Here Jesus' enemies foolishly think that killing Lazarus will prevent more people from believing in Jesus. They should rejoice in the work of God in their presence instead they are envious. They can think of no better solution than death. This is clearly Satan's work. His solution is always death. Unborn children, old men, feeble women, who ever is inconvenient is threatened. Whatever it takes to take the focus off of Jesus. The chief priests are foolish because they don't stop to think that if Jesus raised Lazarus once he can surely do it again. That is exactly what Jesus teaches. Lazarus was first, Jesus would also raise himself from death. His enemies were dead set to kill him. They do. Jesus is crucified, dead and buried. But on the third day, just like Lazarus Jesus raises himself from death. Jesus resurrection is a promise to you that you too will rise.
Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, Savior, Friend. Help me to not fear death but look forward to the resurrection you promise. Amen.
Devo ID: 175
February 25 2014
TDP: June 4;
Original Broadcast: Friday; 2010-06-04;
'Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. " After saying these things, he said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him." The disciples said to him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, "Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him." " (John 11:5-6,11-15, ESV)
Now that doesn't seem right. Jesus says he's glad his friend Lazarus has died. How can that be? In fact, he waits until he is dead to even go. Jesus is glad, not because of death, his whole life is lived to destroy death. He's glad because the disciples are going to see first hand God's power over death. Lazarus is just first. Jesus himself will die and rise again. In a matter of days, the crowds will demand Jesus' death on the cross. He'll hang there bleeding and die for the sins of the whole world. Crucified, dead and buried. But just as Jesus calls Lazarus out of the grave, Jesus will come out of his own grave. But there is a difference. Jesus raises himself from death. He is master over it. He can raise the dead. He will raise you from your grave.
Let us pray: Savior, let Your agony Ever help and comfort me; When I die be my protection, Light and life and resurrection. (LSB 421:5b) Amen.
Devo ID: 174
February 24 2014
TDP: June 3;
Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2010-06-03;
'Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. " (John 10:23-28, ESV)
Jesus enemies gather around him, they want him to speak plainly. He's already said it but they won't listen. Besides his actions speak louder than his words. They are not heard either. Those who hate Jesus don't listen or see. Where do you find Jesus? St. Augustine says this: What is the voice of the Shepherd? "That repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached to all nations beginning at Jerusalem." That is the voice of the shepherd. Recognize it and follow if you are a sheep. Whenever you hear about Jesus on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins you are hearing the voice of the Shepherd.
Let us pray: Thine forever! Shepherd, keep These Thy frail and trembling sheep; Safe alone beneath Thy care, Let us all Thy goodness share. (LSB 687:4) Amen.
Devo ID: 173