April 16 2014

Wednesday; 2014-04-16; Hebrews 4:14-16;

TDP: Wednesday of Holy Week;

Original Broadcast: Wednesday; 2009-04-08;

Hebrews 4:14-16;

'Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16, ESV)

There is no way to say, "God doesn't understand me." Through Jesus Christ, God and man together in one person, God knows exactly what you go through every day. He knows what it is to be weak and tempted to sin. And what's more he has sympathy. But it's not that he feels sorry for you. His sympathy actually leads him to action. Jesus dies on the cross to forgive your sin. He didn't fall to temptation. But he knows your weakness. He knows that you do fall. You need forgiveness. And he gives it to you. Faith in Jesus means that you look to him for forgiveness and rejoice that you have it, through Jesus life, death and resurrection.

Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, you know me, forgive my sin, help me to resist temptation. Amen.

Devo ID: 118

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April 15 2014

Tuesday; 2014-04-15; Hebrews 3:12-14;

TDP: Tuesday of Holy Week;

Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-04-07;

Hebrews 3:12-14;

'Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. (Hebrews 3:12-14, ESV)

It is easy to underestimate the danger of sin. Sin kills. Left unchecked it hardens us against God. Our sinful hearts are slippery. Sin pops up so easily. It seems right. It grows to become a part of our thinking and acting. Sin leads us away from God slowly, step by step, until wrong seems right. The real problem is that it comes from inside. Beware. Your sinful heart can be a dangerous enemy. Daily doses of God's Word are necessary to protect you from your sinful heart. It is the only defense. God's Word shows you your sin. It also shows you your Savior from sin. Jesus He died on the cross and put your sin to death. Through God's Word we are given the gift of repentance. That means we have confidence in Jesus to remove our sin. We turn to him in expectant faith.

Let us pray: Holy Spirit, fix my heart on Jesus in steadfast faith that sin may not have power over me. Amen.

Devo ID: 117

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April 14 2014

Monday; 2014-04-14; Hebrews 2:14-15,17-18;

TDP: Monday of Holy Week;

Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-04-06;

Hebrews 2:14-15,17-18;

'Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, [Jesus] himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery... Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:14-18, ESV)

Satan loves to threaten us. "You, sinner, when you die you'll go to hell. God can't love a sinner like you." He has a point. We are sinful. Nothing we can do will change that. It is a life long slavery. We sin. We die. We deserve to go to hell. So Satan threatens. But God has set us free from our slavery to sin. He takes away Satan's treat. Jesus is human in every way, God in human flesh. He makes propitiation for us. All that means is that on the cross he suffers the punishment of hell for us. He takes away hell from us. Satan's threat is empty. "You, sinner, you are going to hell." "Yes, I am a sinner." we reply, "But Jesus saves me through his life, death and resurrection. When I die I'll live with Him forever."

Let us pray: Should some lust or sharp temptation Fascinate my sinful mind, Draw me to Your cross and passion, And new courage I shall find. Or should Satan press me hard, Let me then be on my guard, Saying, "Christ for me was wounded," That the tempter flee confounded. (LSB 421:2)

Devo ID: 116

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April 11 2014

Friday; 2014-04-11; Mark 15:33-37;

TDP: Friday - Lent 5;

Original Broadcast: Friday; 2009-04-03;

Mark 15:33-37;

'And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And some of the bystanders hearing it said, "Behold, he is calling Elijah." And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down." And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. (Mark 15:33-37, ESV)

Jesus' question is a very important question. Why does God forsake Jesus on the cross? What is God in human flesh doing there nailed to a Roman cross? The answer is more even than meets the eye. Of course Jesus suffers from the thorns that the soldiers beat into his scalp, the whip that tore his skin and the nails that hold him to the cross. All of it is terrible. Jesus is forsaken by God. He is God own Son, left to die without help. God, the Father, actually turns away from Jesus and leaves him alone to die. It is hell for Jesus. It is hell for you and me. Our sin deserves just that. God should turn from us and leave us to hell for eternity. But we are not forsaken, instead we are forgiven. Jesus death on the cross is our punishment in hell. Now we have eternal life with God.

Let us pray: Jesus, you were forsaken in my place. Thank you for your forgiveness. Amen.

Devo ID: 115

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April 10 2014

Thursday; 2014-04-10; Mark 15:22-27;

TDP: Thursday - Lent 5;

Original Broadcast: Thursday; 2009-04-02;

Mark 15:22-27;

'And they brought [Jesus] to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews." And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. (Mark 15:22-27, ESV)

Crucifixion is a horrible form of execution. The Romans were exceedingly efficient. The main reason for nailing someone to a cross is deterrent. A naked person on a cross says, "If you do what he did this is what you get." Myrrh was given as a drug to make the victim easier to deal with. It dulled the senses and made them a bit more docile. Jesus refuses. He doesn't have to be convinced. He goes to the cross willingly. He doesn't want the pain dulled. He suffers the full brunt of it, and even more. This whole reason Jesus was born was for this crucifixion, this punishment. And Jesus death on the cross is a deterrent to. Jesus is God's sacrifice in place of you. His horrible death is punishment for your sin. Because of Jesus willing sacrifice your sins are forgiven.

Let us pray: Thou hast suffered great affliction And hast borne it patiently, Even death by crucifixion, Fully to atone for me; Thou didst choose to be tormented That my doom should be prevented. Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, Dearest Jesus, unto Thee. Amen. (LSB 420:6) Public domain

Devo ID: 114

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April 9 2014

Wednesday; 2014-04-09; Colossians 2:8-9,13-14;

TDP: September 15;

Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-09-15;

Colossians 2:8-9,13-14;

'See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, ... And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:8-9,13-14, ESV)

What a mystery, that God could dwell completely in Jesus Christ. This means that Jesus is nothing other than God himself. Jesus is, walking, talking, breathing, living, dying God in human flesh. There is no other way to think about it. God was born in barn, fed and taught by human parents, loved and hated, feared and trusted, and finally crucified dead and buried but raised again and alive. And all this for a purpose. In sin, you and I were as dead as Jesus in the grave. But God made us alive with Jesus. He forgives all our sin. He pays the debt we owe God, because we fail to live up to his perfect law. That's what God is doing, living and talking, and eating and breathing and dying in Jesus. Our sin is nailed to the cross. Our punishment is paid in full by God, himself.

Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, you became human to pay for my sin, help me to live every day as your forgiven child. Amen.

Devo ID: 163

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April 8 2014

Tuesday; 2014-04-08; Mark 14:60-64;

p>TDP: Tuesday - Lent 5;

Original Broadcast: Tuesday; 2009-03-31;

Mark 14:60-64;

'And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, "Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?" But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." And the high priest tore his garments and said, "What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?" And they all condemned him as deserving death. (Mark 14:60-64, ESV)

Make no mistake about it. The church killed Jesus because he said he was God. You can almost see the hopeful look in Jesus eyes as the Chief Priest asks him, "Are you God, in the flesh?" "Yes! I AM!" Jesus says it clearly using words that they can't miss. They should rejoice, and fall at his feet and beg forgiveness. Instead, they condemn him to death for "blasphemy" that is, "claiming to be God." There is no middle ground to stand on. Either Jesus is God as he said, or he is crazy as a loon. The proof of what Jesus says stands clearly on his resurrection. He was killed. Crucified dead and buried and after three days dead, He came alive again a fully human, living breathing person. Everything Jesus said and did hinges on his walking out of his tomb alive. If he did that, than everything else he said and did is true. Jesus did rise from the dead. He did suffer and die on the cross. And your sins are forgiven.

Let us pray: Dearest Jesus, thank you for the forgiveness of sins you have won for me on the cross. Amen.

Devo ID: 113

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April 7 2014

Monday; 2014-04-07; Mark 14:32-36;

TDP: Monday - Lent 5;

Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-03-30;

Mark 14:32-36;

'And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch." And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14:32-36, ESV)

When Jesus prays in the Garden, he is fully aware of what is about to happen. He is facing unspeakable pain. The betrayal of his friends. The cruel undeserved beating from the Roman guards. The nails piercing his flesh. The naked public display of his beaten, bloody, dead body. While the disciples sleep, Jesus does what any person would do... he prays. "God! Please take this cup from me." But he also does what you and I cannot do. "I leave this in your hands completely." Jesus has complete trust in God, the Father. Jesus is focused on something more important to him than the suffering he is about to face. You. He willingly goes to the cross, suffering and death, so that you can have forgiveness. Only the life, death and resurrection of Jesus can do that.

Let us pray: Thou hast suffered great affliction And hast borne it patiently, Even death by crucifixion, Fully to atone for me; Thou didst choose to be tormented That my doom should be prevented. Thousand, thousand thanks shall be, Dearest Jesus, unto Thee. (LSB 420:6) Amen.

Devo ID: 112

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April 4 2014

Friday; 2014-04-04; Colossians 2:6-7;

TDP: September 14;

Original Broadcast: Monday; 2009-09-14;

Colossians 2:6-7;

'Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7, ESV)

There are two things St. Paul is always talking about: Jesus and forgiveness. That's because above all things we need forgiveness of our sins. We are sinful people born, blind, dead, enemies of God. And without Jesus there is no forgiveness. To receive Jesus is to receive forgiveness. Paul is talking about faith. Faith in Jesus means to know that what Jesus did he did for me, for the forgiveness of my sin. So when Paul talks about walking in the Jesus we've received, he's talking about walking in the forgiveness of our sins. And what a difference that makes every day. The forgiveness we receive from Jesus flows out to everyone around us. We forgive because we are forgiven.

Let us pray: Forgive our sins, Lord, we implore, That they may trouble us no more; We, too, will gladly those forgive Who hurt us by the way they live Help us in our community To serve each other willingly. Amen. (LSB 766:6)

Devo ID: 162

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April 3 2014

Thursday; 2014-04-03; Philippians 3:7-9;

TDP: September 11;

Original Broadcast: Friday; 2009-09-11;

Philippians 3:7-9;

'But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith?" (Philippians 3:7-9, ESV)

St. Paul is talking about God's law. Before he became a Christian he worked hard to gain God's approval. He was sure that he could attain salvation by working for it. Now, he says, I see the utter foolishness of that idea. All of his good works that he used to impress God only dug his grave deeper. It was rubbish. He sees it clearly. A person cannot earn salvation by keeping the law, because we can't keep the law. It is only gained by faith in Jesus Christ. It is only gained by seeing our own sinfulness and clinging to the forgiveness found only in Jesus Christ. In faith we receive the perfect life Jesus lived as a gift from God.

Let us pray: Nothing in my hand I bring; Simply to Thy cross I cling. Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Savior, or I die. Amen (LSB 761:3)

Devo ID: 161

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