October 31st, 2021
Today’s devotion is based on Leviticus 19:2, “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”
First of all we need to understand that the word holy does not mean sinless but set apart for God’s use. As the people of Israel were God’s people, so we are his children through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Children are supposed to take after their parents, so we should take after our Heavenly Father.
God does not need anything from us. He is God! Martin Luther argued that God doesn’t need our good works – our neighbor does. Following these rules that we’ve read today doesn’t get us into heaven, nor does it somehow put God in our debt. These rules, and how poorly we follow them, show us how far from being holy we are, how we have all sinned and fallen short. It is we who owe God everything, and he wants us to love our neighbor.
Please pray with me, Almighty God, you are indeed most Holy! Wash me so that I am white as snow. Cleanse me of my sin. Thank you that through your dear Son, I am forgiven. Help me today and every day to see and take hold of the opportunities you give, to show forth your love to those around me. Only with your Spirit can I do this. Amen.
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 21:43, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” I appreciate the heart of the landowner in Jesus’ parable, who plants his vineyard, equips it carefully, but then must leave it in the hands of tenants to care for it as he goes away. His vineyard remains in his heart, though, because he sends agents to collect the produce.We know what happens. Those wretched, wicked tenants kill the son, somehow thinking that they’ll get the property. But now, the vineyard owner will come himself. What will the grief-stricken father/owner do? ‘Kill those wretches!’, we all shout.
Jesus tells the parable to Israel’s religious leaders, and they realize Jesus is casting them as ‘those wretches’. Where are you and I in this story? A beloved vine branch? A messenger sent by the Owner? A grasping tenant, wanting to ‘own’ and direct the vineyard of Jesus’ church? Perhaps we’ve been each of these at different times in our lives.
Thank God he has brought us into his vineyard, the kingdom of his Son, in our baptism! Thank God his grace covers us, always! Now Jesus stands before us asking, ‘How will you respond to me, the vine? Will you let me produce the fruit of the kingdom in your life today?’
Please pray with me. Lord God, have mercy on us when we don’t do as you want in caring for your vineyard. Keep us faithful and obedient to your Son, the cornerstone, the vine. Produce your good fruit in our lives today. Amen.
Do you believe?
Today’s devotion is based on Matthew 9:28, “When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
Their answer was in the affirmative. Do you believe? Now that’s a question! I have known several people who had what I would describe as having a simple faith. That is not to be taken as putting them down or criticizing their faith. It just means that their faith was That wasn’t putting her down or criticizing their faith. Their faith was uncomplicated. They did not have all the answers to the big questions about God, but they trusted him in their life and death.
What about you? Do you believe in simple, childlike trust that Jesus can bring you out of the darkness that wants to smother you, and take you into a place of light? These two men in the Bible show us the way. They follow after Jesus, they persevere, and they ask quite simply. And their sight is restored.
Please pray with me, Jesus, I call you ‘Lord’, which means I believe you are Lord over everything and every aspect of my life. Reach out your hand and heal. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
October 25th, 2021
Today’s devotion is based on Isaiah 9:2, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.”
I’m sure you know what it’s like to be in darkness. Maybe you were in despair, confused, wracked with guilt, or just feeling broken. We all do. If we look inwards, often, what we see is pretty dark. We don’t like being in a dark place. Without light, we just stumble around. We may as well be blind. It’s as though there is no hope.The passage from Isaiah promises us light because it points to Jesus, the Messiah That’s what Jesus does. He opens eyes. He makes new. He brings change. He dispels the darkness and brings things into the light. Jesus calls us to look out, look up and see his light, bathe in his light and then be light to those around us.
Please pray with me: Lord Jesus, dispel the darkness and shine your light into the dark places of my life. Amen.
Today's devotion for today is based on Matthew 10:22, “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved”.
We are a holy people, set apart, and so unwelcome in a world turned against God. It’s no different if we are public proclaimers or everyday Christians living out our faith in our everyday lives. ‘Jesus is Lord’ remains an incendiary declaration – whether in Roman times or today’s world. Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.
Please pray with me: Lord Jesus, my faithfulness to you is so easily intimidated by the hostility of today’s world. Help me to stand firm in you. Renew in me your Spirit of power, love and self-control. In your blessed name, I pray. Amen..
Today's devotion for today is based on Psalm 126:5, "Those who sow in tears [will] reap with songs of joy."
When have you 'sown in tears'? Maybe it's happening right now. It may be that the work is hard and exhausting, or you are experiencing negativity or challenges from people at work. Or you can't see if any good will come from your efforts. Perhaps you are losing heart in a dry spiritual desert.
Wherever you are, whatever the sorrow you are experiencing in your calling, remember that your God is a restorer of fortunes. And may you be filled with the joy of hope, sure hope, that in his kingdom, those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy!
Our Lord Jesus sowed in tears. He saw the bitter road ahead, the hard, exhausting work. He saw the cruel opposition of people around him, even perhaps wondering in his humanity if he was truly hearing the plans of God rightly. 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'
But I wonder if he laughed aloud that early morning when he stood in the dawn garden, freed from grave clothes, full of life, a victor over death itself. Joy must have filled his heart as he knew his redemption work was finished!
Please pray with me: Lord Jesus, you know the tears of frustration and sadness that overwhelm us in our walk. Come to us in these times and speak your words of life and hope to us again. Remind us of the armfuls of harvest we will hold one day in the future. Fill us with your joy, God of all goodness! In your blessed name, I pray. Amen.
God's Word is a mirror
Today's devotion for today is based on Mark 10:21,22: [Jesus] said, "Go, sell everything you have . . . Then come, follow me." At this, the man's face fell. He went away sad because he had great wealth. "
In Mark chapter 10, the man who approaches Jesus presumes that his spiritual health is good. When Jesus challenges him to part with all his wealth for the sake of following Jesus, the man is crestfallen. He walks away sad.
In my sinful weakness, I find that I have quite the talent for believing my spiritual health is in pretty good condition. Sure, there are garden-variety sins here and there, but my self-diagnosis frequently comes up with a clean bill of health. And this is why we need our Savior. Through his Word and his hand in my life, our Great Physician puts his finger on that area of my life where I am truly hurting. In love, he gets me to recognize the problem.
It is not pleasant when God's Word does this, but thanks be to God he loves me enough to do it. For then, I realize even more how much I need his blood to wash me clean, to forgive my sin, to bring me his healing.
Please pray with me: Great Physician, thank you for touching me through your Word so that I realize how spiritually sick I am. Thank you for healing me, even when it is painful. Help me to remember that my healing comes from your terrible suffering and death. In your holy name, I pray. Amen
The marriage bed is to be pure
Today's devotion for today is based on Hebrews 13:4, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure. For God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."
Several decades ago, our culture, to a great degree, bought into the premise that what God's Word says about marriage is unnecessary. The implied promise was that if you threw off the old notions about marriage and sex, your life would be happier, healthier, more pleasurable, more unrestricted. The result is that there are now broken homes, broken trust, emotional scars for both parents and children, resentment, isolation, loneliness.
There are, unfortunately, certain times in our fallen world that divorce is needed for the protection of a spouse or children. That does not mean that God's command of fidelity in a marriage is not the best for spouses and families. It just means that sin has entered the picture.
We, as Christians, should always strive to follow God's commands. When there is sin, there is also a chance for forgiveness. This does not give us, as so many people believe, the right to sin, for to do so is to reject the death of Jesus. It does mean that when we fix our eyes on Jesus in repentant hearts, all is forgiven. This empowers us to begin again when it comes to our approach to marriage.
Please pray with me, heavenly Fathe, creator, and sustainer of all things; I beg you for the sake of Jesus to forgive me when I have sinned. Please help me withstand temptation in and out of marriage so that I live as you have made me to live, a reflection of you. In Jesus' holy name, I pray. Amen.
Today's devotion for today is based on Hebrews 13:2, "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers."
When I read this verse this morning, I wondered if I have, without realizing it have fallen short of showing hospitality to strangers. To whatever degree I have fallen short in this area of my life, I need to come to repentance before the God who calls upon me to do just that in my relationships with others.
Wherever Jesus traveled, he took deliberate care to make others feel valued and welcome. Jesus did this on our behalf. He also went to the cross to wash us clean of all of our self-absorbed moments. Through faith in him, we stand forgiven, embraced, accepted.
How can I respond to God's love? I could help someone in need. I could take some time to listen to someone over a cup of coffee. I could encourage and make someone feel welcome and worthy. There are many things I could do, but most importantly, I need to do them.
Lord Jesus, thank you for seeking me out. Thank you for making me a child of yours. Thank you for saving me from the just wrath of God. Thank you for loving me even when I am not lovable. Please help me to reflect your love better as I interact with those I meet today. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.