<![CDATA[SAINTJOHNLUTHERAN EMPORIAVA.COM - Daily Devotion]]>Thu, 18 Jul 2019 21:28:52 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[We live in the realm of the Spirt]]>Thu, 18 Jul 2019 15:25:55 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/we-live-in-the-realm-of-the-spirt7-18-19
Today’s devotion is based on Romans 8:9-10, “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.”

Paul’s words are a great comfort to those who struggle with sin. He is telling us all that we, as Christians no longer live under the control of the flesh even though we struggle with the sinful flesh. We are, even while living in the flesh and all its sinful desires have Christ living in us. Thus we have the guarantee of eternal life even though we will die an earthly death. This guarantee comes through our faith in Christ and his righteousness.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for the wonderful gift of Jesus who made us righteous before assuring us that we will live eternally with you. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. ​]]>
<![CDATA[Eternal death is living without Christ]]>Wed, 17 Jul 2019 12:32:21 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/eternal-death-is-living-without-christ7-17-19
Today’s devotion is based on Romans8:9-11, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

While Paul’s words, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are speaking to Christians, reassuring them that their physical death is not the end of life. There is another truth being spoken of here. That is if a person does not trust in Jesus as their Savior; they will not only die an earthly death but eternal death. Eternal death does not mean that they will be physically dead for all eternity. It means that they will be physically brought back to life where they will live eternally separated from the presence of God with no hope of ever being in God's presence. This life, after being raised from the dead is the eternal death that the Bible speaks of so pointedly.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for the wonderful gift of Jesus who made us righteous before assuring us that we will live eternally with you. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[Without Christ I am doomed]]>Tue, 16 Jul 2019 15:14:29 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/without-christ-i-am-doomed7-16-19
Today’s devotion is based on Romans 7:18, where we hear Saint Paul exclaim, “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”

Our sinful nature, like Paul’s, is our great misfortune. It is this nature that makes it impossible for us to reach God in the way we consider the most natural; altering ourselves, so we stop doing what’s wrong and start doing God’s will. Paul is not saying that we are incapable of doing good. The good we do is not good enough to make us acceptable before God
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God demands perfection, for he is perfect. Since we are not perfect, we cannot meet his demands, which leads to eternal separation from God. No amount of good can change that fact. Paul, while speaking of our powerlessness to change on our own points us to Jesus the only way to righteousness. We only have to believe and accept him as our Savior.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for the wonderful gift of Jesus who made us righteous before you. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. ​]]>
<![CDATA[God's grace is not free.  It cost Jesus his life]]>Mon, 15 Jul 2019 14:02:37 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/gods-grace-is-not-free-it-cost-jesus-his-life7-15-19
Today’s devotion is based on Romans 6:15-18, “Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey-- whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”

I am afraid that too many people who know of God’s grace toward them on behalf of Jesus’ death believe that they don’t have to try not to sin, for, after all, they are forgiven. Paul, in these verses, sets that straight. He tells us that that is wrongheaded. He tells us that how we live is extremely important. In other words, purposeful sinning because of God’s grace toward us is proof that we don’t have Jesus as our Savior.

The way we live shows what we believe. To receive forgiveness is to be changed. We have become part of God’s body, for he dwells in us. Indeed, we will still struggle with sin. That is who we are, but in our struggle, we will find forgiveness, comfort, and joy in God’s grace.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, I know that it is only because of you that I am a Christian. I know that if you were to look away from me that I would fall back into darkness. Thank you for your Light as I have come to know it through your holy Word. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. ​]]>
<![CDATA[Jesus, the new Adam]]>Fri, 12 Jul 2019 15:20:06 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/jesus-the-new-adam7-12-19
Today’s devotion is based on Romans 5:18-21, “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man, the many will be made righteous. The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Paul is not implying that Adam is the only sinner held responsible before God; after all, Eve sinned too. He is showing that all humans are now sinners. It is just who we are as human beings. Sin did not come from God, for it would be impossible for God to create sin. Sin came pride, humans must know more than God, or at the very least want to know as much as God.
God is perfect in all ways. Therefore we are separated from God. And in being separated, we have lost the image of God in which Adam and Eve were created. Enters Jesus, the new Adam, who lived his life in perfect obedience and trust in God. He willingly and freely took God’s punishment upon himself so that on Judgment Day, we can stand before God declared innocent. Everything is forgiven. There is no condemnation.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for not turning your back on your human creation even though we have in so many ways turned our back on you. We thank you for that wonderful gift we do not in any way deserve, for before you we are indeed poor miserable creatures. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. ​]]>
<![CDATA[Jesus fulfills God's promises]]>Thu, 11 Jul 2019 14:01:08 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/jesus-fulfills-gods-promises7-11-19
Today’s devotion is based on Romans 4:25-5:2, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.”

The righteousness from God is none other than Jesus himself. We can never achieve this righteousness on our own. To be considered righteous before God, a person has to live a perfect life in obedience to God. And it will not happen, for even the good we do is contaminated by sin.

We are now at peace with God, for Jesus fulfilled what the angels said at his birth, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." We no longer have to fear death and Judgment Day. All praise to God for his wonderful grace toward us.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, praise to you, that we can celebrate your victory as our victory and rejoice in it. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. ​]]>
<![CDATA[Jesus' righteousness is your righteousness]]>Wed, 10 Jul 2019 12:35:23 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/jesus-righteousness-is-your-righteousness7-10-19
Today’s devotion is based on Romans 4:13-16, “It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law, there is no transgression. Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring-- not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham.”

I would say that most Christians today believe that God’s grace calls them. Unfortunately, many believe once God calls them, they have to focus on obedience. They believe that if they do this, they are ‘real’ Christians. Paul tells us that this way of thinking is wrong. Abraham was made righteous not because of his good works but because of his faith in God.
The law, while guiding Christians still condemns, for no one can obey it perfectly, so it cannot save a person. We cannot create a new life in our hearts. We cannot bring forth love where there is none. All we can do is trust in God’s promises, just as Abraham did. God promises that all that believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for letting me know that my belonging to you is not dependent on my deeds, as good as I might think they are, but on your promise of everlasting life for all that believe in Jesus’ saving work. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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<![CDATA[Righteousness can only be found in Jesus.]]>Tue, 09 Jul 2019 11:35:59 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/righteousness-can-only-be-found-in-jesus7-9-19
Today’s devotion is based on Romans 3:22-24, “Righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

These verses summarize the gospel message. There is not a single person, even though they might think themselves righteous enough, that can stand before God on Judgment Day and be accepted by God. The reason they cannot is that since God is perfect in all things, nothing less than perfect, and no one on earth is, can be with him, for if he allowed anything less than perfect to be in his presence, he could not be God.

Because God cannot allow anything less than perfect into his presence we are doomed, this is where Jesus enterers the picture. God became a man fully capable of sinning yet did not sin, for Jesus perfectly kept God’s Law. But who being innocent of any sin willingly and out of love for us stood in our place taking the wrath of God that we deserve. We, who believe in his gift of salvation can know that on Judgement Day, we will be able to stand before God declared innocent for his sake.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you, Lord, for your gospel, for without it we would not know of you and your wonderful free gift of salvation. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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<![CDATA[What is your motivation to do good?]]>Fri, 05 Jul 2019 12:45:04 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/what-is-your-motivation-to-do-good7-5-19
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 25:31-40. In these verses, Jesus is talking about that time when he comes back in judgment of all humankind. "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger, and you invited me in, I needed clothes, and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'”

What amazes me most about today’s Bible text is the surprise expressed by the righteous people. Most of us like to keep score of all the good deeds they have ever done. They want to give themselves a good report card. But the people in this passage don’t pride themselves on all their good deeds. They don’t point out to Jesus all the ways they helped other people. It’s as if these good deeds came naturally because of their character – in fact, they probably did. Righteous people have received the heart of Jesus, which means they cannot help but feed the hungry, heal the sick, and accept outcasts. This ought to give us pause as we each look for the motivation in our lives.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, shape my heart, Lord, to make me more like you. Teach my mind to see you. Take my hands and let me serve you with them. Use my mouth to tell of your forgiveness. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. ​]]>
<![CDATA[True peace can only be found in God's grace.]]>Tue, 02 Jul 2019 14:52:11 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/true-peace-can-only-be-found-in-gods-grace7-2-19
Today’s devotion is based on Psalm 16:7,8:

I praise the Lord because he guides me,
and in the night my conscience warns me.
I am always aware of the Lord’s presence;
he is near, and nothing can shake me.

I love this Psalm, particularly verses 7 and 8. What a wonderful statement of faith they are. The writer knows that without God, he has nothing, is nothing. But he knows that because he is always in God’s presence, he has everything he needs, and nothing can harm him.

True peace can only come from the knowledge that sin is forgiven for Jesus’ sake and that God is ultimately in control. It is my prayer that you will always know and live in this peace; the peace that truly is beyond our understanding for it is from God.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you, Father, that you love me enough to confront me with my sin, and that in your grace you forgive me and give me your peace. All praise and glory to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. ​]]>