<![CDATA[SAINTJOHNLUTHERAN EMPORIAVA.COM - Daily Devotion]]>Fri, 24 Jan 2020 11:17:52 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Guide us, O Lord]]>Fri, 24 Jan 2020 12:39:03 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/guide-us-o-lord
January 24, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”

The Lord’s words will guide you through the good and bad times of your life.  He knows you more than you know yourself, for he, as the Bible tells you, from your mother’s womb.  He knows your future. 

Yet too often we fail to listen to him as he speaks to us in the Bible.  Even so, he still loves us and calls us to listen to him all our lives.  May we as his children listen to him as he guides us through our lives. 

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, forgive us for Jesus’ sake when we fail to heed your words to us.  Turn us back to you so that we receive your perfect counsel.  In His Name, we pray. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[There is only way to leave the darkness]]>Thu, 23 Jan 2020 13:13:26 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/there-is-only-way-to-leave-the-darkness
January 23, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 4:15-16: "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them, a light has dawned."

The one thing we all hate the most is the darkness. And yet the Bible tells us that darkness is our natural spiritual state. Ever since humanity fell into sin, we have been "dwelling in darkness" and "in the shadow of death." Into this darkness, Jesus came as the Light of the world. Evil can't live in his presence. When Jesus arrives, all the evils that used to run freely scuttle away as fast as they can, looking for dark corners to hide.

And when Jesus the Light died on the cross at Calvary, he broke the power of death and darkness over everyone who believes in him. And when he rose from the dead three days later, he guaranteed that you and I would never have to walk in the darkness again. Jesus is alive forever, and because of Him, we will live, too. We will live in his light.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, your Son, has come to free us from the darkness. You know that, for the strangest of reasons, we want to step back into spiritual darkness.  Please keep us in your Light so that we may daily reflect the Light of Jesus.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[speak Plain Truth]]>Wed, 22 Jan 2020 13:20:51 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/speak-plain-truthJanuary 22, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on 1 Corinthians 1:17-18. “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ is emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”
Rather than overcomplicate the Gospel message, "lest the cross of Christ is emptied of its power." Paul knew that he must speak in a way that people understood what he was saying. His message had the core truths that he had heard and understood as God's Gospel: "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). May we also speak in clear and understandable words about the saving power of Jesus.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, may our words be plain-spoken and sincere when we tell others about Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. In His Name. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[Lest We Forget]]>Tue, 21 Jan 2020 12:26:59 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/lest-we-forget
January 21, 2020
Isaiah 9:2-4. “The people (Israel) who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; You have increased its joy; they rejoice before You as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil.”
Sadly, the children of Israel were fond of chasing after foreign gods, giving their allegiance to evil cultic practices and wrongdoing on a grand scale. God, being a just God, could not let them get by with it so he allowed other countries to take them into captivity. But he did not forget them.  He restored them when they turned back to him.
We too are undeserving people, seeking what we believe to be in our best interest.  It could be said of us, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all."
Isaiah tells us in 53:4-5 that Jesus, is the “him” who "has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows," who was "smitten by God," "pierced," "crushed," and chastised for our sins, and it is Jesus—and him alone—by whose "wounds we are healed."
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, You have brought light and forgiveness to us, a people living in darkness and sin through your Son. Thank You for this wonderful gift.  We give you all praise and glory. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[Love as I have Loved You]]>Mon, 20 Jan 2020 14:38:12 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/love-as-i-have-loved-you​January 20, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on 1 John 4:20,21: “If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
I believe this verse is appropriate for today as the nation honors Martin Luther King Jr. today.  While he had his faults, as we all do, he was instrumental in the Civil Rights movement.  In his “I have a dream” speech, he quoted this verse.  His dream, as all of God’s people should dream, is that as a people loved by God, we love others regardless of race, creed, political position, or for that matter, any other form of prejudice.
Please pray with me the prayer for today:  Heavenly Father, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen I come to you today, acknowledging my sinfulness in looking down on those who are not like me.  I beg you to forgive me for the sake of Jesus.  Help me to see all people as your people whom you died for so that I might be a better reflection of your love toward all people.  Amen 
<![CDATA[Clear Signs]]>Sat, 18 Jan 2020 11:28:53 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/clear-signs
January 18, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on God’s words as they are written down for us in John 4:51-54: "Now Jesus did many other signs (miracles)in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name."
Jesus did many miracles during his time on earth.  He calmed storms, made wine out of water, healed people, brought back people to life, drove out demons, died on a cross, and rose from the dead so that people in his day and our day would know him as their Savior. 

"Life in His Name"—that's what can be yours through faith in the Savior. Jesus Christ came into the world to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. He rose on Easter morning as Victor over the powers of sin, death, and devil, and to grant us life forevermore.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, by Your Holy Spirit, open our eyes to the signs You give us that point to Your Son, our Lord, and Savior. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[From God's Word to our heart and life]]>Fri, 17 Jan 2020 11:41:54 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/from-gods-word-to-our-heart-and-life
January 17, 2020
The devotion for today is based on Proverbs 23:12: “Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.”
God has graciously provided for us in His life-giving Word. The Scriptures give us meaningful direction for our lives and generous help in times of trouble. The Bible is full of encouragement for God's people to devote themselves to His Word, to His vital truths, and to the things that bless the lives of others.
Aa God's Word works within us; it shapes us, conforming us daily to the image of Jesus, His beloved Son. Our lives will change as the Holy Spirit works through us. For instance, as we grow in our understanding of God’s Word, we will find the Spirit bringing God's Word to our minds when we are faced with difficult questions or problems. This is why a growing knowledge of the Scriptures is essential. They act as a safeguard against an enemy who is bent on our destruction.  In other words, as we live out God's Word in our lives, we take His Word to heart and become changed because of it.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, may Your Word dwell richly in our hearts so that in all we do we reflect your love to all we meet. Amen.

<![CDATA[Knowing Jesus]]>Thu, 16 Jan 2020 11:44:55 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/knowing-jesus
January 16, 2020
John 1:29-34 - The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who ranks before me because He was before me.' I myself did not know Him, but for this purpose, I came baptizing with water, that He might be revealed to Israel." And John bore witness: "I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."

What is strange about John’s remarks is that he is Jesus’ earthly cousin.  How could he say he did not know him.  The answer is fairly simple.  John and Jesus grew up in different areas.  John, who we know as John the Baptist at some time, moved into the desert while Jesus seems to have lived in more populated areas.  It is quite possible that after each was born, they never met.

John who we know as John the Baptist began preaching, telling people the Lord was coming soon, and they needed to get ready. Months passed. Thousands are baptized. John still waits for the promised Messiah. Then one day it happened. John saw an ordinary Man in dusty clothes coming through the crowd. He was no one special. But John, by the Holy Spirit, recognized Jesus as the One he was waiting for, the son of God. God had kept His promise.
Through our human eyes, Jesus does not look like anyone special. But with the help of God's Holy Spirit, we can see who Jesus is. We can recognize that He is our Savior.  Because of the Holy Spirit's help, we never need to ask Jesus, "Do I know You?" We do know Him, and He is our Savior.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, thank you for your Holy Spirit, for without him giving us faith we would not recognize Jesus as our Savior. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[Staying Connected]]>Wed, 15 Jan 2020 13:25:44 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/staying-connected
January 15, 2020
Today's devotion is based on 1 Corinthians 1:4-9: “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in Him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
This morning when I read Paul's introductory prayer for the church at Corinth, I'm impressed with the apostle's concern for the believers' wellbeing. He knows Jesus will sustain them through whatever trials they face, even as they stand firm in the faith, waiting eagerly for His revelation, abiding in fellowship.

We can learn from Paul’s writings. It's difficult at times to have a focused prayer. Life offers so many distractions.  What seems critical and urgent is often all but forgotten in a few short hours. Perhaps the thing to remember when it comes to prayer is to just "pray without ceasing," as Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:17—to keep our prayers constant, frequently speaking with God regardless of where we're at and what we're doing. He knows we are weak and often focused on our own needs first, but He tells us to pray at all times anyway. Simply put God wants to hear from us! That's the kind of God we have; that's the kind of God who loves us.

Please join me in praying the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, may our prayers be pleasing to You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

<![CDATA[God's Word still speaks today]]>Tue, 14 Jan 2020 11:50:41 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/gods-word-still-speaks-today
January 14, 2020
Today’s devotion is based on Isaiah 49:7. “Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: "Kings and princes shall see and arise. They shall prostrate themselves; because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."
Isaiah did not think he could do what God asked.  He was tasked with declaring some of the Old Testament's most potent words. With messages of divine vengeance and wrath (see Isaiah 34), terrifying forecasts of foreign nations' invasions and wars (see Isaiah 10:5-6), and the general devastation that would follow, Isaiah was the kind of guy you didn't want to see coming in your direction.
But along the way, Isaiah also offered some of the Bible's most wonderful words concerning God's love and forgiveness (see Isaiah 1:18). He spoke of God's future plan of redemption (see Isaiah 25:1-9). And he gave the poignant description of the "Suffering Servant," the One through whom our salvation will be carried out and accomplished (see Isaiah 52-53).
Isaiah’s message is just as important today, for people are still people. Just like ancient Israel, we too have gone our own way and heaped up our sins. But the Lord calls us home—to Jesus—the One who would carry our sins to the cross and triumph over the grave forever. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
 Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, make us into people who hear Your voice, turn from our sinful ways, and follow you. In Jesus' name. Amen.]]>