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5-20-19
Today’s devotion is based on Paul’s letter to the congregation at Corinth. 2 Corinthians 7:2-4, “Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one; we have ruined no one, nor tried to take advantage of anyone. I do not say this to condemn you; for, as I have said before, you are so dear to us that we are always together, whether we live or die. I am so sure of you; I take such pride in you! In all our troubles, I am still full of courage; I am running over with joy.”
Because we are human, there will be times when people will act without love when people are hurt, and so on. And, because we are human, there is likely to be an initial feeling of ‘righteous indignation’: ‘How dare he or she speak to me like that?’ People may tell others in no uncertain terms about the grievance they feel. But, on cooling down, and probably after some more discussion and praying together, people accept that they have been wrong. They are sorry for it, and they receive the healing and joy – bringing peace of forgiveness to the congregation. That my dear brothers and sisters in Christ is the Christian congregation that God desires.
 
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, forgive me for the times I let my human nature control me. Help me to accept the necessary correction from those who care enough to speak to me. Help me to accept forgiveness, and to forgive. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 
 
 
5-17-19
Today’s devotion is based on Paul’s letter to the congregation at Corinth as it is written down for us in 2 Corinthians 5:14,15. “We are ruled by the love of Christ, now that we recognize that one man died for everyone, which means that they all share in his death. He died for all, so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but only for him who died and was raised to life for their sake."
We Christians still have work to do in the tasks Jesus has given us. For we have been appointed as Christ’s ambassadors, appointed to make people God’s friends again. We can do this only because we have been made God’s friends. We cannot be choosey or exclusive regarding the people we reach out to; as Paul writes, ‘He died for all.’ Our motivating force is the love of Christ – firstly his love for us, and then our love for him.
And so, reconciled and empowered by God, we stand in for Jesus, the reconciler, as we take the good news to those who are still God’s enemies. Our task is to love as God loves us.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for loving me sacrificially through the saving work of Jesus. Help me be what I am, to the glory of your name. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen
 
5-16-19
Today’s devotion is based on Paul’s letter to the congregation at Corinth as it is written down for us in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16. “Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers, for it cannot be done. How can right and wrong be partners? How can light and darkness live together? How can Christ and the Devil agree? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? How can God’s temple come to terms with pagan idols? For we are the temple of the living God!”
 
Paul, in these passages, is talking about Christian outreach. He tells his readers not to work with unbelievers (which includes people who aren’t Christian but follow other religions) as if they were equals, that is, as though their beliefs were just as good as those of Christians.
This teaching is one of many places where Paul would upset trendy moderns who see all religions as having their own way of reaching the same truth. Saying that Jesus is the only way to God is very unpopular these days.
Even so, we are to care for unbelieving people, befriend them, and gently but uncompromisingly share with them the truth of the gospel. We are to turn their darkness into light.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for the truth and comfort of the gospel. Please don’t let me cheapen it by watering it down or compromising it when dealing with people who need to hear that you are the only way and truth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
 
5-15-19
Today’s devotion is based on Paul’s letter to the congregation at Corinth. 2 Corinthians 5:4-5, “While we live in this earthly tent, we groan with a feeling of oppression; it is not that we want to get rid of our earthly body, but that we want to have the heavenly one put over us, so that what is mortal will be transformed by life. God is the one who has prepared us for this change, and he gave us his Spirit as the guarantee of all that he has in store for us.”
It’s easy to ask, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come.’ It seems human to want to shake off this earthly life for eternal life with God, which we know is ours. Since we all want this, why doesn’t God let it happen? God waits for us to finish the task of taking the gospel to all so that all have the opportunity ‘to turn away from their sins.’ This is an important part of the task Jesus gave us when he told us to be his witnesses. There are still so many, right where we live, who need to hear this good news. If it takes a thousand years to do this – well, in God’s terms, what’s another day? But, in human terms, it’s much more urgent than that. We need to reach out to people now as if there is no tomorrow, for there might not be a tomorrow for them and they will be lost forever.
So, when we feel like crying out, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come,’ we need to remember what it is that will bring him. And we need to get on with the job.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, I long to be with you in eternal life. Give me a sense of urgency to share the gospel with people who so desperately need to hear the truth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
 
5-14-19
Today’s devotion is based on Paul’s letter to the congregation at Corinth. 2 Corinthians 4:3-5, “For if the gospel we preach is hidden, it is hidden only from those who are being lost. They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world. He keeps them from seeing the light shining on them, the light that comes from the Good News about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. For it is not ourselves that we preach; we preach Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”
 
“For if the gospel we preach is hidden, it is hidden only from those who are being lost.” we might think this means that these people have to be lost, that they are beyond saving. Here, however, Paul makes it clear that this is not so. He shows that the word ‘lost’ is a description of the way they are, not a condemnation or a statement of how they always have to be.
The light of God’s grace is shining on these people too; they just can’t see it. The only way their minds will be opened is to hear Jesus speak to them through his words in the Bible. That is why our message is Jesus only, and never ourselves.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, help me to see those who are lost and to feel compassion for them so that I will share the news of Jesus so that their minds will be opened and they will see the truth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 
 
 
5-13-19
Today’s devotion is based on Paul’s letter to the congregation at Corinth. 2 Corinthians 3:4-6, “We say this because we have confidence in God through Christ. There is nothing in us that allows us to claim that we are capable of doing this work. The capacity we have comes from God; it is he who made us capable of serving the new covenant, which consists not of a written law but of the Spirit. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life.”
Being used by God to proclaim his Word or helping those in need has nothing to do with what we are or what we bring to the deal. If it did, none of us would ever serve God in even the smallest way. Like John the Baptist, we wouldn’t even be worthy to tie Jesus’ sandals. Rather, it is God who makes us his workers. He makes us capable of being his workers. In Christ, God makes us into everything we need to be to do his work.
Christ’s death on the cross, thus reconciling us with God is what enables us to serve God, for we are inadequate when relying on our own power, but through the work of the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to serve those in need, spiritually and physically.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, I thank you that, in Jesus, that my sin is forgiven and I am set free to be your servant. Let me be what you have made me to be. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 

 

5-10-19

Today’s devotion is based on Paul’s letter to the congregation at Cornith. There seems to have trouble in the congregation by someone giving offense. 2 Corinthians 12:5-8. “Now, if anyone has made somebody sad, he has not done it to me but to all of you—in part, at least. (I say this because I do not want to be too hard on him.) It is enough that this person has been punished in this way by most of you. Now, however, you should forgive him and encourage him, in order to keep him from becoming so sad as to give up completely. And so I beg you to let him know that you really do love him.”

Sometimes we have to do something we don’t want to do. We know it will cause us considerable distress, that it will hurt us, and that the people we are dealing with are going to be hurt too. We want to avoid the pain, both for ourselves and also for those we know we will hurt.

In this passage we see Paul struggling with the same situation, the same emotions. Much as he is uncomfortable with what he must do, he knows he has to do it. But in his struggling, he teaches us a lot. He teaches us that such an action must be done in love, not in hurt or anger. It must also be done in a spirit of forgiveness. And it must be done with a real determination that there will be reconciliation.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, you loved me so much that you sent your Son to reconcile me with you. Help me to love my brothers and sisters so much that, when they hurt me, I too may seek reconciliation, in love. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 
5-9-19
Today’s devotion is based on Paul’s words to the congregations in Cornith. 2 Corinthians 1:21,22. “It is God himself who makes us, together with you, sure of our life in union with Christ; it is God himself who has set us apart, who has placed his mark of ownership upon us, and who has given us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the guarantee of all that he has in store for us.”
It is frustrating to deal with people that promise you something and then don’t deliver on it. Quite often they have a reputation for being people who will do anything for you, but it would be unwise to hold your breath waiting for it to happen.
How different it is with God. If he promises, he delivers. So when Jesus says that we have eternal life if we hear his word and believe the one who sent him, we can be certain it is so. When he tells us he is going to prepare a place for us, then we know we have an address in heaven. We can be sure that, when God inspires Paul to write that nothing can separate us from God’s love, then nothing ever will. Those are promises you can take to the bank, as the old saying goes. Simply put God cannot lie for if he did he could not be God.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you that, in an age where it is difficult to trust anybody, you are totally reliable in all you say. Help me to trust you totally and live in the security of your promises. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
5-8-19
Today’s devotion is based on Paul’s words to the congregations in Cornith. “We want to remind you, friends, of the trouble we had in the province of Asia. The burdens laid upon us were so great and so heavy that we gave up all hope of staying alive. We felt that the death sentence had been passed on us. But this happened so that we should rely, not on ourselves, but only on God, who raises the dead.”
Paul and his fellow disciples had the right to complain, for they were under almost constant attack for spreading the good news of Jesus’ resurrection.
I am not sure if you are like me, when I find myself under all kinds of burdens, with so many things to do that sometimes I can’t cope. So I work longer and longer hours to try to get them done, making myself more and more tired in the process. The hours I work may be long, but they’re inefficient.
And because I’m still no closer to getting on top of things, I get depressed, and things go from bad to worse. When will I learn? How many times I have heard St Peter say to me, ‘Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you’ (I Peter 5:7)? But I don’t do it!
St Paul again reminds me of where the best help comes from. How much better to ‘let go and let God help.’ I know this. But yet I continue to carry the burden of life by myself instead of letting God take over. Thank goodness that God still loves me, giving a chance after chance to repent and accept his help.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, I hear your invitation through your Word to give you my burdens. I know that you will always keep your promises, yet I continue to carry life’s burdens by myself. Please help me to take you seriously. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

5-7-19

Today’s devotion is based on Titus 2:6-8. “In the same way urge the young men to be self­-controlled. In all things you yourself must be an example of good behavior. Be sincere and serious in your teaching. Use sound words that cannot be criticized, so that your enemies may be put to shame by not having anything bad to say about us.”

God wants you to use sound words. He wants you to speak the truth in love so that you may build people up with your words and so that no-one may have anything bad to say about you that would reflect badly on God’s people.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for giving me your sound words, especially those concerning Jesus. Please give me the courage and strength to speak those sound words, so that the people you place in my life may share in your blessing In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 
 
5-6-19
Today’s devotion is based on John 21:4-6, “As the sun was rising, Jesus stood at the water’s edge, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then he asked them, ‘Young men, haven’t you caught anything?’ ‘Not a thing,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘Throw your net out on the right side of the boat, and you will catch some.’ So they threw the net out and could not pull it back in, because they had caught so many fish.”
Jesus’ disciples must have been tired and dirty and very frustrated. All their efforts to make a catch had been useless. But then, at Jesus’ word, they lowered their nets again, and they could not pull their nets back in for all the fish they had caught!
Your Lord gives you his word so that you may not spend your life working and worrying and struggling in vain. Your sins are forgiven. You have eternal life. You are God’s child. Receive his word, and he will give you what you could never have by your own effort. He will give you his light and love and life.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for giving me your promise of forgiveness, eternal life and peace with God. Please keep giving me your word, so that I may not work in vain but may receive everything I need from you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
 
4-25-19
Today’s devotion is based on 1 Peter 2:1-10, specifically verses 9-10. “You are the chosen race, the King’s priests, the holy nation, God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light. At one time you were not God’s people, but now you are his people; at one time you did not know God’s mercy, but now you have received his mercy.”
 
God has chosen you for a reason. He has chosen you so that you can tell the whole of his creation about the wonderful things that he has done. God fulfills this task in you in a very simple way: he leads you to trust in him. And he leads you to trust in him by giving you his word. Listen to what God tells you about yourself: in Christ, you are a member of a chosen race, you are one of the King’s priests, you are one of God’s own people. If God himself says this about you, then no-one can take your chosen, royal, priestly status away from you.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for choosing me to be your own. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, so that all my thoughts, words and actions may blend together into a song of praise to you. Amen.

 
4-24-19
Today’s devotion is based on 1 Peter:18-20 where we read of Peter’s warning not to backslide in one’s faith. “For you know what was paid to set you free from the worthless manner of life handed down by your ancestors. It was not something that can be destroyed, such as silver or gold; it was the costly sacrifice of Christ, who was like a lamb without defect or flaw. He had been chosen by God before the creation of the world and was revealed in these last days for your sake,"
In today’s reading St Peter goes on to reason this way: The way you live matters to God. The way you live matters to God because you matter to God. You are his valuable possession. Because God values you, it doesn’t make any sense to live as if you and other believers are worthless. Instead, live out your life as God’s dearly bought child by loving God’s people with all your heart.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, gracious God, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for making me your possession. Give me your Holy Spirit, so that I may love your people as you love me. Amen.
 
4-23-19
Today’s devotion is based on 1 Peter 1:6,7. “Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
Have you ever wondered why God lets you suffer trials and times of sadness even though you know that you are dearly loved child of God? As our Bible verses, today show that your suffering is not without meaning. God lets you face trials so that your faith may endure and so that you may receive the gift of eternal life from God. As strange as it might sound we can and should praise God in our times of suffering and sadness.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for giving me the precious gift of faith. Strengthen my trust in you, so that I may be faithful to you throughout my life. Amen.
 
 
4-22-19
Today’s devotion is based on the road to Emmaus account found in Luke 24:13-35 which tells of Jesus appearing on the day of his resurrection to a couple of disciples on their way home. It is known as the road to Emmaus story.
It is a great story, for Jesus, unknown to the two men returning home after Jesus had died, appeared to them and then taught them what the Torah taught about him. It was late in the afternoon, and so they invited him to eat with them. In the breaking of bread, their hearts were opened. They knew without a doubt that as they proclaimed, “The Lord has risen indeed!”
In this story, Luke captures what makes Jesus come to life for doubting and distressed disciple throughout the ages. The risen Christ comes and walks with us again. He does not come in some vague or abstract way. He comes to us in the living Word, Scripture. He also comes to us in the Lord’s Supper, where he breaks bread and is recognized even today. He is living and present among us.
Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, you know how easy it is for me to be slow at heart in believing your words of truth. Help us to know you in your Supper so that we will truly know your presence. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

Resurrection Sunday

We are told in God’s Word that when Mary went to the tomb that she thought Jesus’ body had been removed. Saint John records for us in John 20:14 what happened next. “Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.”

Mary did not recognize him, for she was expecting to see a dead Jesus, one that she could bestow her love on as she finished the embalming process. What a joyful surprise when Jesus called her name!

Mary is not the only one that gets it wrong, for every one of us is a sinner; we all do wrong, and we all naturally expect judgment from God. After all, wrongdoing and punishment go together. How wonderful, and still surprising it is to have God say to us in God’s Word, “On account of Jesus’ suffering and death, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Unless Jesus returns first, we will all face death—a time of loss, pain, grief, and fear. These feelings are natural. Death is the enemy. But for those of us who trust in Jesus, physical death is a conquered enemy, because Jesus has risen from the dead and promises to raise us also. We know now that for just as God raised Jesus up from his physical death, Jesus will raise us, body and soul, and we will be forever with the Lord. Our fear and grief will be turned into joy, just as Mary's was. Thanks be to God.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things seen and unseen we give you thanks for giving us the joy of Your Son rising from the dead. In his name, we pray. Amen.

April 20, 2019

Today’s devotion is based on a Lent devotion by LHM.

John 19:40 - So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.

Today is Holy Saturday, the day Jesus lay in the tomb. It is a sad day, but in the whole terrible story of the Passion, a good thing took place. Joseph, not Jesus’ earthly father, and Nicodemus come to take Jesus' body off the cross and bury Him. It is good because Jesus, in a sense, is allowing those who love Him to care for Him. Humanly speaking, He can do nothing for Himself at this point—not even protect His own body from being dumped like trash into a mass grave somewhere. But Jesus' people can do something—and they do. 

Joseph and Nicodemus loved Jesus. In the most intimate, humble way, they stood in for all of us who love Jesus and who are thankful for the overwhelming love He showed us through His suffering and death. We are privileged to have been allowed to love God Himself. Sunday morning we along with Joseph and Nicodemus, and all believers we will celebrate Jesus rising from the dead, thus assuring us that all who believe in him will share his everlasting life.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things seen and unseen thank You for giving us forgiveness and the promise of life for you. Help us to show your love through our love. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

April 19, 2019

Today’s devotion is based on a Lent devotion by LHM.

Isaiah 53:11 - Out of the anguish of His soul, He shall see and be satisfied.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus chose to suffer and die on the cross? I don't mean the usual answer, "Because He loved us." That, of course, is true. But if you are like me, there's something in the back of your mind that occasionally whispers: What if Jesus only puts up with me because that's His job? What if I am nothing more than just one more person on this earth. What if; and the questions go on.

If you ever have, this devotion is for you. Isaiah gives us a glimpse of Jesus' mind toward us—how He thought of us when He was walking toward the cross, and how He still thinks of us now that His suffering, death, and resurrection are all accomplished.

"He shall see and be satisfied"—see what? You! You are the fruit of His cross. When He looks at you, He sees His offspring—the child He has given eternal life to. You are the result of the anguish of His soul. And He is satisfied.

You no longer have to believe Satan’s lies that God is secretly disappointed in you. He has told you already what His mind is toward you. He thought you worth the cross. That fact will never change.

Please pray the prayer for today with me. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for your wonderful gift to me. Help me always to remember what you have done, so that I will never doubt you and your promise of salvation. Keep me always with You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 
 
April 18, 2019

Today’s devotion is based on a Lent devotion by LHM

John 19:27 - Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

There wasn't much Jesus could do once He was hanging on the cross. He couldn't come down. He couldn't move His hands or feet much. Even His ability to talk was probably getting lesser and lesser as time went on. 

But He still had a few things to settle before dying. As He looked down, He saw His mother and some other women standing by His cross, along with His disciple John. He could see the grief in their faces. And Son of God though He was, Jesus was also the Son of Man—a human being. He had loved ones to provide for. Specifically, who would care for Mary? Jesus entrusted His mother to a disciple. In doing so he taught us to love those he loves.

What an honor this is, that Jesus should trust us with the care of those He loves so much! To us, He says, "Behold your mother. Behold your son, your daughter, your brothers and sisters, the lonely, the poor, the sick and those who are disenfranchised." He gives us one another to care for. For all of us who trust in Him are His beloved, His needy family, and He gives us to one another.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank for your dear son, who even in the approach of his death, showed love for his mother. Thank You for trusting us, your Church, with the people You love. Help me to love them as You have loved me. Amen.

April 17, 2019

Today’s devotion is based on a Lent devotion from LHM.

Luke 22:61-62, “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

What was in that look from Jesus? Sadness, no doubt—but also love and forgiveness. Nothing else could melt that hardened, fearful heart. Nothing else can melt my heart when I've fallen into sin. But Jesus' love is for us—oh yes, that will do it. Because He is the One who suffered, died, and rose again for our sakes. Because we are worth it to Him—because He loves us. And that is no small thing.


It did not take much for Peter to deny his Lord. It doesn't take much to trip us up either even as we proclaim Jesus as our Savior. An overheard remark, and instantly anger, jealousy or fear spring up in my heart. A promise I've made to someone else, and I think, "Oh, I can bend that a little bit—they won't mind, or even notice it."

No amount of willpower can fix these problems. Even if I could force myself to go through all the right motions, the basic problem would still be there, in my heart. I don't need a life coach. I don't need a scolder or a cheerleader. I need a Savior—just as Peter did, just as you do. Jesus is the only one that turns us around from death to life.

Please pray the prayer for today with me. Heavenly Father, creator and sustainer of all things, I give you thanks and praise for looking on my in mercy when I deny you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

April 16, 2019

Today’s devotion is based on a Lent devotion by LHM

Acts 1:25 - ... “Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”

It would be interesting to take a survey to see what people think of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. I suspect a lot of people would say very angry things. After all, what he did was terrible. But that's not what Saint Peter did as we read, "a guide to those who arrested Jesus" but nothing more. He referred to him as one who "was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry." And when the whole group of Christians prayed together about Judas' replacement a few minutes later, they said only, "Judas turned aside to go to his own place."

Why were they so restrained? I think it's because any one of them could have done what he did that night. Judas is not that different from us, for who has not betrayed Jesus in our words, acts, and thoughts daily. Whenever we behave in ways that lead the watching world to turn away from the truth of Jesus' Gospel, we have betrayed Jesus.

It is only the grace of the Holy Spirit that keeps us with Jesus, repentant, forgiven, thankful for the mercy He has won for us. When we think of Judas, let's do it with fear and trembling—and with intense gratitude to God for giving us a place in His kingdom.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen, and unseen, thank you for sending your only Son Jesus who took upon himself the punishment that we deserve. Lord, keep us always with You. Amen.

April 15, 2019

Today’s devotion is based on the Lent devotion by LHM.

Luke 23:33 – “And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on His right and one on His left.”

To begin with, both of them seemed to be railing at Jesus. Matthew 27:44 says, "the robbers who were crucified with Him also reviled Him," and Mark's Gospel agrees. They joined in the hate that was being dumped on Jesus—by the chief priests, by the scribes, and even by people passing on the road.

But as the hours went by, something changed—for one of them, at least wasn't yelling at Jesus anymore. Instead, he yelled at the other man. "Don't you fear God? ... This Man has done nothing wrong." And he asked Jesus to remember him in His kingdom.

Look at the difference between these two men. Though they started as two of a kind, nobody could be more different by the end. One had come to faith in Jesus. Jesus blessed him with a wonderful promise: "Today you will be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).

We, too, are not that much different from the people around us in the world. We are sinners. We do wrong. We get caught and pay the penalty, at least sometimes. We even blame and yell at God. But by God's mercy, we have come to trust in Jesus, our Savior. We know that He forgives us and makes us new and clean—people who belong to God. None of this is because of us. It's all because of Jesus.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, we approach you today with grateful hearts for bringing us into Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

 

April 12, 2019

The devotion for today is based on a Lent devotion by LHM. Matthew 27:54 – “When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, "Surely, this was the Son of God!"

The centurion and his soldiers were keeping watch over the dying Jesus. As the hours wore on, they heard those words mentioned again and again: "The Son of God ... the Son of God ..." 

The centurion might have wondered: What did they mean, "Son of God"? That was the title of the Roman emperor. Jesus is a rebel. But then, there were also the old stories of Roman gods who had children with human women. Their sons became heroes like Hercules or Perseus. Jesus didn't look like a hero. After all, you could hardly find a weaker man than someone dying on a cross.

And then Jesus cried out with a loud voice and died—and there was a great earthquake. The rocks split and tombs were shattered. The centurion was deeply impressed by the power he witnessed. And he gave his verdict: "Surely, this was the Son of God!"
 
 

April 11, 2019

The devotion for today is based on a Lent devotion by LHM.

We read in John 19:24, “This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, "They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots."

It's a grim picture—Jesus hanging on the cross, while beneath Him, several Roman soldiers gamble for His clothing. It's tempting to condemn the soldiers for what they were doing. It's offensive. They shouldn't be doing that! 

But from their point of view, they were only doing their jobs. They had taken three condemned men to Calvary, offered them a basic painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), nailed them up, and now there was nothing to do but watch them. The soldiers couldn't leave till the men were dead, and that would take hours, if not days.

Unknowing to them the central event of human history was taking place, right over their heads. Jesus Christ was dying for the whole human race. God was being executed—paying the price for all sin and wickedness. It is a shame the soldiers did not know of Jesus’ love toward them, just as it is a shame that so many people we all know do not know of Jesus’ love for them today.

Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator and sustainer of all things seen and unseen, I come to you today with a grateful heart for all you have done. As you served me help me to serve others. In and through Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

April 10, 2019

Today’s devotion is based on a lent devotion series by LHM.

It is recorded for us in Matthew 26:53-54, “Jesus said to those who came to arrest him, ‘Do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once send Me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?’"

It must be hard to be an angel. To know that you have the power to help, and yet have to stand by because God's will is being carried out in a slower, more terrible, and more glorious way than you could ever have imagined. To refrain from meddling, from taking over the life of someone else, even to make it better. To respect God-given free will, just as the Lord who made it does.

Thank God that Jesus is not under the same constraints. When He reaches into our lives to help and heal us, He does it right. He doesn't make things worse with His meddling. He knows when to respect the free will He created, and He knows when to respond to our cries for mercy. As He did in His best blessing to us—Jesus' life, suffering, death, and resurrection.

THE PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for caring for us in Your wisdom and mercy. Please keep us when we go through difficult times. Amen.

04-9-19

Today’s Lent devotion is based on a devotion from LHM.

Luke 23:28 - ... Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and your children."

As Jesus walks to the place where He will be crucified, a large crowd is following Him. Some of them are women who are grieving and weeping for Him. Jesus turns to speak to them. 

That in itself is surprising. In a few minutes, Jesus will be nailed to the cross. If there is ever a time for Jesus to think of Himself, surely it is now. And yet He doesn't. He is thinking of the women who are weeping. He warns them that terrible days are coming. For in just a few years, the Roman army came and destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem.

Jesus even while going to his death, beaten and scorned, was thinking of the women and their future. And yet He did far more than that, just hours after this conversation. Because when He died on that cross, Jesus made Himself our place of safety—the One who protects us from the power of death, the devil, and all evil. He made Himself our fortress, our protection. When we are in trouble, we can flee to Him for help. He will never fail us. He will never leave us alone.

Please pray with me the prayer for today. Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, your son Jesus, even amid his suffering thought of others, offering them words of warning so that they might be saved from the coming tragedy of their city. Thank you for giving us the Bible, which contains your words of warning so that we too will turn to you for comfort. Thank You, Lord, for becoming our place of safety. Amen.

 
04-8-19
Today’s Lent devotion is based on a devotion from LHM.
Mark 15:21 – “And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry His cross.”
Simon was on his way somewhere else when he saw Jesus stumbling under the cross. He wasn't there to watch the procession to Golgotha—chances are Simon had no idea men were going to be executed that day. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And so the Roman soldiers, realizing Jesus wasn't going to make it without help, grabbed Simon. "Hey, you!" they must have said, "Grab this and follow Him!" They had the right to force him, and they did. Simon carried Jesus' cross.
Every one of us who loves Jesus learns what it means to carry the cross—to follow after Him—to be exposed to shame and mistreatment for His sake. Some of our brothers and sisters learn this in very graphic ways, as they suffer persecution at the hands of those who hate Christ. For others of us, it comes in more subtle ways. But however it comes, we endure it knowing that if we carry Jesus' cross, it is because He Himself has carried our cross first, suffering, dying—and rising again!—for our sake. Because He loves us.
Please join me in praying. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for carrying our cross for us. Help us to carry the cross of faith, so that we endure to the end and thus win the prize of eternal life with you. Amen.

 
 
April 4, 2019
Matthew 27:29 - And kneeling before Him, they mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"

It must have been terrifying. There were hundreds of men in a Roman battalion, and they gathered in the governor's headquarters for a sadistic game of "king" with Jesus. They stripped Him and put a reddish-purple robe on Him. They crowned Him with thorns and gave Him a reed to be His scepter. 

And then they began to brutalize Him. They hit Him and spit on Him. They knelt before Him and cried, "Hail, King of the Jews!" They took the reed scepter away and beat Him on the head with it. They abused their prisoner gleefully, never suspecting for a minute that this bruised, bleeding man was God who had come to save them.

This was God in disguise—the true King mocked as a false king, the One who came to help us all treated as helpless and without power. They didn't recognize Him. But He recognized them. Nothing they did that day was unexpected. He knows what lives in human hearts. He was not surprised.

He knows what lives in our hearts, too. That is enough to make us hide our faces in shame, except that we know what those soldiers did not—that "God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

Our sin is not enough to make Jesus turn His face from us. He knows us through and through—and He loves us anyway. He died for us. He rose from the dead for us. And He continues to recognize us as God's own children and care for us today. As Paul says, "Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the One who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us" (Romans 8:34).

Jesus recognizes us as His own. Thanks be to God.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for seeking us out and calling us Your own. Amen.

 
 

 

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