Devotions

May 24th - Trial and Temptation

For 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 was without sin. Hebrews 4:15 Luther: When the devil tempts me, my heart finds comfort and my faith finds strength in knowing Christ, Who for my sake has overcome the devil, and that Jesus comes to me to be my help and my comfort. Thus Christian faith overcomes the devil. Therefore, first, God teaches me faith, that I may know that, for my sake, Christ has overcome the devil. Then, since I now know that the Enemy has no power over me, but is overcome by faith, I must be ready to be tempted. The purpose of this is that my faith may be strengthened, and that my neighbor may be given an example by my victory over temptation, and may be comforted. And mark this: Whenever faith begins, temptation soon follows. The Holy Ghost does not leave you to rest in quietness, but soon He throws you into temptation. Why? In order that your faith may be confirmed, for otherwise the Enemy would blow us about like chaff. But if God comes and hangs a weight on us, making us weighty and heavy and anchors us, then it is clear to the Enemy and to all mankind that the power of God is at work in us. Thus God manifests His glory and majesty in our weakness, therefore He casts us out into the desert, that is, He casts us down [from our pride] so that we are deserted of all creatures and can see no help. We even think that God Himself has utterly forsaken us. For as He acts toward Christ, even so does He act toward us. It does not run smoothly. At times, our heart faints within us. Sermons from the year 1523. W.A. 11. 22 f. (Day by Day We Magnify Thee, Daily Readings for the Entire Year, Selected from the Writings of Martin Luther. Fortress Press, 1984. p.123) 1 John 3:19-20 19. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence 20. whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.

May 22nd - God gives gifts to His Church

Psalms 106:1 Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Ephesians 4:7-8 7. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8. This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." Power and Primacy 67: Wherever the Church is, there is the authority to administer the Gospel. Therefore, it is necessary for the Church to retain the authority to call, elect, and ordain ministers. This authority is a gift that, in reality, is given to the Church. No human power can take this gift away from the Church. As Paul testifies to the Ephesians, when "He ascended ...He gave gifts to men" (Eph 4:8). Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.143.

May 21st - Divine Protection

Isaiah 53:4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. Matthew 8:16-17 16. When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to Him, and He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." Large Catechism II 30: Jesus Christ has taken us as His own property under His shelter and protection (Ps 61:3-4) so that He may govern us by His righteousness, wisdom, power, life, and blessedness. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.142. [Psalm 61:3-4 3. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. 4. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.]

May 20th - Sinless Great High Priest

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' Hebrews 2:14-17 14. Since the children have flesh and blood, He [Christ Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil-- 15. and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16. For surely it is not angels He helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17. For this reason He had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and to make propitiation [atonement] for the sins of the people. Formula of Concord SD I 43: Second, in the article of Redemption, the Scriptures testify forcefully that God's Son received our human nature without sin. So He was in all ways -- sin excluded -- made like us, His brethren (Heb 2:14-17). Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.141. Hebrews 4:15 For 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 was without sin.

May 19th - The Promise of Christ's Return

Genesis 28:15 "Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken for you.'' John 14:18 "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. Apology XVII: The adversaries accept Article XVII [Christ's Return to Judgment] without qualification. In it, we confess that Christ will appear at the consummation of the world. He will raise up all the dead and will give eternal life and eternal joys to the godly [believers] [2 Tim 4:8], but He will condemn the ungodly [unbelievers] to endless punishment with the devil [Matt 25:46]. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.140.

May 18th - Christ is Exalted According to His Humanity

Psalm 47:5-7 5. God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets. 6. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. 7. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. Ephesians 1:19b-22 That power is like the working of His mighty strength, 20. which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, 21. far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22. And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, Formula of Concord SD VIII 12: Christ's human nature has been exalted to the right hand of majesty, power, and might, over everything that can be named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come [Eph 1:21]. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.139.

May 15th - Glory to Whom glory..

Psalm 19:1-4 1. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. 3. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. 4. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Romans 1:18-20 18. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19. since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--His eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Apology II (I) 11: Scripture everywhere warns us, as the Prophets constantly complain, about putting our confidence in our human abilities, contempt for God, hating God,and similar faults with which we are born. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.136. [It's easy to think we are not guilty of contempt for God if we do not feel hostile toward Him. But any and every sin constitutes such contempt, the attitude that we know, even better than God, what we need, and how things are. This contempt resides in the sinful nature. By faith in Christ, we must war against our sin by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.]

May 14th - Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel

Proverbs 3:13, 17: 13. Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, 17. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. John 14:21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.'' Apology V (III) 67: Therefore, we tell godly minds to consider the promises [gospel], and we teach about free forgiveness of sins and about reconciliation, which happens through faith in Christ. Afterward, we add also the teaching of the [Third Use of the] Law. It is necessary to distinguish these things aright, as Paul says in 2 Tim 2:15. We must see what Scripture says about the Law and what it says about the promises. For it praises works in such a way that it does not remove the free promise. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.135. --------------------------- 2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth [Law/Gospel]. First Use of the Law: to curb coarse outbursts of sin. Second Use of the Law: to serve as a mirror, to show us our sin, and our need for a Savior. Third Use of the Law: a guideline for Christian living. (How should I live, so as to say "Thank You!" to God for my forgiveness and salvation.) Unbelievers and the sinful flesh of the believer need First and Second uses. Only the Christian employs the Third Use.

May 13th - The LORD has made us His People

1 Samuel 12:22 "For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people. 2 Corinthians 6:2 For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.'' Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Apology [Defense] of the Augsburg Confession. IV (II) 40-41: But the promise of forgiveness of sins and of justification has been given us for Christ's sake, Who was given for us in order that He might make satisfaction for the sins of the world. He has been appointed as the Mediator and Atoning Sacrifice. This promise does not depend on our merits, but freely offers forgiveness of sins and justification on the basis of Christ's merits. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.134.

May 12th - God has forgiven all sin for Jesus' sake

Psalm 25:18 Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins. Matthew 9:5-7 5. Which is easier: to say, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Get up and walk'? 6. But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . ." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." 7. And the man got up and went home. Large Catechism III 88: There is here again great need for us to call upon God and to pray, "Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses." It is not as though He did not forgive sin without and even before our prayer. (He has given us the Gospel, in which is pure forgiveness before we prayed or ever thought about it [Rom 5:8].) But the purpose of this prayer is that we may recognize and receive such forgiveness. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.133. [Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.]

May 11th - Right Use of God's Name

Psalm 37:30-31 30. The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. 31. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip. Acts 4:18-20 18. Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the Name of Jesus. 19. But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. 20. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." Large Catechism I 70: Children should be constantly urged and moved to honor God's Name and to have it always {properly, reverently} upon their lips for everything that may happen to them or come to their notice [Ps 8:2; 34:1; Matt 21:16; Heb 13:15]. {And the example of the adults helps them to learn this.} Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.132. {The casual, seemingly "innocent" misuse of God's Name, even in the so-called "soft" forms, is not innocent, but very harmful to the soul. God's Name is not given to us to use as an expletive, but as the way to identify, and honor, the One Who loves us most of all and best of all, and to call on Him in faithful prayer.}