<![CDATA[SAINTJOHNLUTHERAN EMPORIAVA.COM - Daily Devotion]]>Sat, 04 Dec 2021 21:23:29 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[A Promise Kept]]>Sat, 04 Dec 2021 12:32:21 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/a-promise-kept​12-4-21
Today’s devotion is based on an Old Testament prophecy from Jeremiah 33:14-16, “‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. “‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days, Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior.’”
When God promised the coming of his Savior, he wanted to make sure that his people would have a clear picture of what he would be like, so he gave him a name that described him well. He announced through the prophet Jeremiah that the Savior would be called “the LORD Our Righteousness.”
God’s Old Testament people looked forward to the coming of the Savior, but we have seen the LORD Our Righteousness in the person of Jesus Christ. As we look forward to celebrating Christmas, let’s rejoice that the baby born in the manger was wrapped up in a name that tells us so much about him. He is our LORD, and he has brought us righteousness. There is no greater reason to celebrate Christmas.
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for telling me so much about your Son and our Savior. Please help me to stay focused on what is most important this Christmas season. Give me a faith that continually looks to the baby born in the manger, who is the LORD Our Righteousness. Amen.]]>
<![CDATA[Jesus humbles himself for us.]]>Fri, 03 Dec 2021 12:54:43 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/jesus-humbles-himself-for-us​12/3/21
The devotion for today is based on Luke 19:32-34, “Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as [Jesus] had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
Why did the owner of the colt let Jesus’ disciples take it? We are not told what he said, but apparently, because he believed that if the Lord needs something from you, then it’s something you should do.
Why did Jesus ride into Jerusalem knowing that, at the end of the week, his perfect obedience was going to be rewarded by the shedding of His own blood? Why would he mount a donkey, parade into the city, listening to the cheers of men, women, and children knowing that by the end of the week, nails and thorns would be pounded into him?
He was only and always thinking about our need to be forgiven and giving you something to look forward to when Jesus comes again—an eternal existence with our heavenly Father where every tear will be wiped away, and you will never need anything more than what you’ve already been given.
Please pray with me, Lord Jesus; thank you for coming to this world humbling yourself so that we can stand innocent before God the Father on Judgement Day.  In Jesus’ blessed name, I pray.  Amen. ]]>
<![CDATA[December 02nd, 2021]]>Thu, 02 Dec 2021 12:58:54 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/december-02nd-2021​12/2/21
Living in the shelter of the Lord
Today my devotion for today is based on Micah 4:4, “Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no-one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken.”
As humans, we actively live each day. It’s not a passive journey or the free ride of a passenger. In the Gospel of John, we read that God is the vine, and we are the branches. In him, we will be more fruitful. Our loving Lord is the foundation. It’s his work to provide us with strength, structure, and support, all while being deeply rooted in the love of our Heavenly Father.
We know our king is coming, so we don’t just sit and wait. We actively look forward, anticipate and remind ourselves of the deeply personal relationship that God shares with each of us through his Son. We are refreshed and nourished in his shady shelter. That is good news.
Please pray with me, Heavenly Father, gracious and loving God; thank you for showing yourself through the words of the Bible. Your generous love amazes me, comforts me, and inspires me. You know the day I have in front of me; thank you for walking with me. As I live my life in Your grace, I know that I am protected from all that would separate me from you.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 
<![CDATA[November 30th, 2021]]>Tue, 30 Nov 2021 12:56:01 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/november-30th-2021​11/30/21
God promises good things for those who love Him.
Today my devotion for today is based on Joel 16:17-18, "The LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. "So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who dwells in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy, and strangers shall never again pass through it. "And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the LORD and water the Valley of Shittim."
Dripping with new wine, flowing with milk, and running with water. These are powerful images of a reviving and refreshing change, sustaining a vibrant life after a time of deep and crusty dryness. It's a picture of a positive hope-filled future.
That's God's work for us. He is our safe place. We can safely tuck away our thoughts, actions, and words with him. Through his unconditional love, our coming king keeps our deep, dark stuff in the safe place of his heart.
The best bit is that when he takes on our ugly stuff, it is forgotten forever! Each day, and again this Advent, because our sin is hidden in him, we are free and openly welcomed to savor fresh milk, and commune in grace through new wine, and receive his baptismal spirit of new life through refreshing water. The condemnation of our sin before God is gone. Our hope is in him.
Please pray with me, Lord of love; you know my dark and ugly stuff. Thank you for taking it away. Thank you for your nourishment today. Thank you for being my hope for tomorrow, for I am safe in you. Amen.
<![CDATA[What is your vision?]]>Mon, 29 Nov 2021 13:24:04 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/what-is-your-vision​How is your vision?
As we enter the Advent season, my devotion for today is based on Numbers 24:16, where we hear Balaam speak, “The prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly, the prophecy of one who hears the words of God, who has knowledge from the Most High, who sees a vision from the Almighty.”
Balaam spoke these words at least 1400 years before the time of Christ. That’s a distant view toward a far horizon! This Advent, we also hear the word of God and have eyes to see. Today, we don’t need to rely on an ancient prophecy because we have the blessing, freedom, and daily opportunity to be informed by God’s word revealing the eternal truth in the Bible. God’s word is to be trusted. His love spans all time, across great distances, and remains the same. Through his grace, he comes to us daily with the gift of unconditional love and forgiveness. It’s always God’s work, and his love is for all. It’s clear to see this Advent. Our king is coming!
Please pray with me, Lord of love, lift my eyes today. Help me see you clearly in each moment. Thank you for being my king and standard of truth. Thank you for loving me. Amen.
<![CDATA[Advent is the start of something big]]>Sun, 28 Nov 2021 12:00:00 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/advent-is-the-start-of-something-big​Advent is the start of something big.
Today is the first Sunday in Advent. It is that time of the Christian Church year that we turn our focus to the return of Jesus while also preparing for Christmas.  My devotion for today is based on Luke 21:25-28, “There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars … When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near.”
Change is coming. Change is exponential by nature and our constant companion as we do life together. At the same time, change is incremental, too, honoring a journey of small daily growth.
Advent pokes us in our slumber and stirs our anticipation of what is to come. In the tomb below Golgotha, dormant and still, Christ rested. Our loving Lord burst energetically into the light, and abundant beauty was unveiled and shared. Advent encourages us to lift our eyes in hope. A new season is coming. New life. Hope. God’s work changes everything.
Please pray with me; Lord of love, thank you for the gift of your grace each day. Thank you for loving me, no matter what. Thank you for being with me yesterday, today, and tomorrow. In Your holy name, I pray. Amen. 
<![CDATA[Jesus Is Our High Priest]]>Sat, 27 Nov 2021 16:40:03 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/jesus-is-our-high-priest​Jesus Is Our High Priest
Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. It is that time of the Christian Church year that we turn our focus to the return of Jesus while also preparing for Christmas.  My devotion for today is based on Hebrews 4:15, "We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin."
When you talk to your Savior in prayer, you are not talking to someone who's sitting back on his distant throne in detached serenity. You are talking to someone who has been where you are. Jesus did not merely get a small taste of what the world's battles are like in our lives. Instead, Jesus fully felt the very worst that this world could launch against us.
Every day through his Word, Jesus sits down with you. Every day Jesus says, "Let's talk." When he does, think about where he's been. Think about what he's done for you. He knows what the battles are like in your life. He's the one to carry you through.
Please pray with me, Lord Jesus, you know what it's like to do battle in this fallen world. Thank you for coming here to be my perfect substitute. When you sit down with me every day and speak to me through your Word, help me open up my heart to you in prayer. Amen.
<![CDATA[Loving Arms of God]]>Fri, 26 Nov 2021 21:10:59 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/loving-arms-of-god​Loving Arms of God
I am sorry this is late, but I am still recovering my our Thanksgiving feast.  I think  I committed the sin of gluttony and paid for it this morning.  The devotion for today is based on Psalm 25:1 “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you, I trust, O my God.”
This morning the news of a new variant Coronavirus that is already spreading across the world.  The news is spreading doom and gloom.  People are scared, and some, I am afraid, are losing hope. 
In these moments, I am grateful that God is always there. I don’t even have to do anything. When nothing seems okay and everything falls apart, I fall into the loving arms of God. There I am securely held.  And that is all I ever need.
Take heart today in your struggle and weariness. Lift your soul to the Lord; put all your trust in him. It’s all you will ever need. It won’t make your troubles disappear or change the circumstances around you. But God is taking your burdens upon himself and moves with you through it all.
Please pray with me; Loving God, I lift my soul to you and put all my trust in you. You are my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? You are the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? I completely place myself into your loving hands, knowing I am safe there. Grant me your peace that transcends all human understanding. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
<![CDATA[Thanks be to God]]>Thu, 25 Nov 2021 12:59:46 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/thanks-be-to-god​Thanks be to God
Since today is Thanksgiving Day, I am revisiting a verse that love.  It is Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Thanksgiving or not, our world is constantly changing. And that can make it hard to be thankful. There is one thing that always stays the same, our God, as the Bible verse for today tells us, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In English, we might say, “I am the A and the Z.” He means that he is the same from beginning to end. God never changes. He always was, is now, and always will be the same God.
That means he doesn’t change his standard of right and wrong. The sins that offended him in the past still offend him today and always will. But it also means that his mercy and love don’t change. God won’t change his plan. He won’t add strings or conditions. Through Jesus, God’s Son, he counts us as his children and pours out his love on us each day as our perfect, loving Father.
So we give thanks today for a God who doesn’t change, who always loves, always provides, always forgives. And we look forward to the day we will feast with him in an eternal celebration of thanksgiving!
Please pray with me, Heavenly Father, creator and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen; thank you for never changing.  I can always depend on you to do what you say you will do.  I can always rely on you to care for me in this life, for your mercies are indeed new every morning.  In Jesus’ blessed name, I pray.  Amen. 
<![CDATA[Listen to the King]]>Wed, 24 Nov 2021 11:27:04 GMThttp://saintjohnlutheranemporiava.com/daily-devotion/listen-to-the-king​Listen to the King
As we near the end of the Christian Church year, today's devotion is based on Jesus' answer to Pilate, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
When Jesus came into this world as a king, he didn't come with a powerful army. He came with one powerful tool—the truth. Often, this isn't what people want to hear. As the saying goes, "the truth hurts." That's especially the case when the truth reveals the darkest corners of our hearts, where selfish desires, envious and angry thoughts, and shameful lusts dwell. The truth of God's law shines below the surface to reveal how often we fail to live up to God's demands.
But the truth of Jesus reveals not just our hearts but the heart of God himself. God loves us unconditionally. In love, he punished his perfect Son, Jesus, for the evil in our lives so that he could pardon us fully and completely. In love, he continues to call us to leave behind our sinful thoughts and lives and to trust in his forgiveness and his promise of eternal life with him. That's why he gives us his Word of Truth—the Bible. And through that message of truth, Jesus moves us to trust him in faith as he rules in our hearts as King.
Please pray with me, King Jesus, the truth of your law hurts, for I know that I have sinned against you.  Heal me with the truth of your love so that I can live my life the way you want me to live it.  In your blessed name, I pray. Amen.