Devotions

February 12th - Jesus is Eternal God

Exodus 34:29 Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses' hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. Matthew 17:2 and [Jesus] was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. Formula of Concord SD VIII 49: Regarding the divine nature in Christ, in God there is no change (Jas 1:17). His divine nature, in its essence and properties, endured no subtraction or addition by the incarnation. It was not, in or by itself, either diminished or increased by it. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.43.

February 11th - We are Blessed that Christ is God!

Psalm 91:4 He will shield you with His wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Mark 4:39-41 39. He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" 41. They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!" Large Catechism I. 2: A God means that from which we are to expect all good and in which we are to take refuge in all distress. So, to have a God is nothing other than trusting and believing Him with the heart. The confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.42

February 10th - Thankfully, we are not our own!

Isaiah 66:2 For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,'' says the Lord. "But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My Word. 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, Formula of Concord Ep I 4: God created the body and soul of Adam and Eve before the fall. But He also created our bodies and souls after the fall. Even though they have been corrupted by sin, God still acknowledges them as His work. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.41. [Isaiah 43:1 But now, thus says the Lord, Who created you, O Jacob, and He Who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.]

February 9th - Day of Rest

Psalms 26:8 I love the house where You live, O LORD, the place where Your glory dwells. Luke 19:45-47 45. Then He entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. 46. "It is written," He said to them, "`My house will be a house of prayer'; but you have made it `a den of robbers.' " 47. Every day He was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill Him. Large Catechism I 86: This is the simple meaning of the [third] commandment: People must have days of rest. Therefore, such observances should be devoted to hearing God's Word so that the special function of this day of rest should be the ministry of the Word for the young and the mass of poor people [NEHEMIAH 8:2-3,8]. Yet the resting should not be strictly understood to forbid any work that comes up which cannot be avoided. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.40.

February 8th - Be on the alert!

Matthew 13:36–43 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Ignatius, a disciple of the Apostle John, was about to be thrown to wild animals. Shortly before this he wrote to his congregation whom he knew and loved well: “I am the wheat of God, and let me be ground by the teeth of wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ.”[1] This is one of the few who faced death with blessed assurance of faith. Who of us can boast of this? Can God not come today? At this harvest this saying doesn’t apply: “Midsummer has not yet come.” The Father alone has set the time and the hour. Neither may we say: “The signs which shall precede it have not yet happened.” We are often so blind that we ourselves do not see or understand the signs of the time. Nor can we say: “The world is not yet ripe for harvest.” Who can judge that? Only He who is the Lord of the harvest, who arranges the harvest, who directs the harvesters. So wake up, before the separation comes. No weed can stand before God. For the farmer weeds are often so strong that they cannot be controlled. Noxious plants stand so thick that one can’t deal with them. But the harvest sickle of divine judgment cannot be broken. It mows down princes and paupers, as it pleases. Before it all people are like grass in the field [Isa 40:7]. “The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” [Psa 1:5]. Before God it is of no use to pretend. There is a kind of false wheat which in its outward appearance looks like true wheat. A human harvester can be fooled into gathering it with his load. There is also such counterfeit wheat in God’s field. Many people have the appearance of fearing God. But it is only a “Christian” cloak. Their heart is not renewed in meekness and devotion to Jesus Christ. God cannot be deceived. He looks at the heart, the grain and kernel. These false grains His harvesters shall bind in bundles to burn them up. So hurry, by the Lord’s power and grace become a true stalk of wheat! Do not be ashamed to repent! Hurry! The older a heart gets, the more difficult it is to be renewed and become a child of God. Think of God’s Day of Judgment as coming tomorrow. Then you should take care of your salvation today. If you have found shelter under His grace, and if in mercy He will grant you to live longer — then “you shall never regret it, for only those can enjoy life, who adorn their life with faith” (Ahlfeld[2]). God, give us this grace that we may be true grains of wheat and be gathered into Your glory. Amen.

February 5th - Christ the Vine, we the branches

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, unless you abide in Me. John 15:4 LUTHER: Whoever wants to be a Christian must be born of God, and then grow out of the vine, which is Christ. When I am baptized or converted through the Gospel, the Holy Ghost is present and takes me like a piece of clay, and makes me into a new creature, who now receives a new mind, heart and thoughts, namely, a right knowledge of God and a heartfelt trust in His grace. In short, the innermost being of my heart is made new and changed, that I become a new branch planted into the vine, which is Christ, and growing out of Him. For my holiness, righteousness, and purity do not grow from myself, nor do they rest upon myself, but are in Christ alone and come from Him, into Whom I am rooted through faith, as the juice passes into the grapes, and I have been made like Him, that He and I are now of one nature and substance, and through Him I bear fruit, which is not mine but the vine's. Thus Christ and Christian become one loaf and one body, and Christians bear the proper fruit, not Adam's and not their own, but Christ's. Exposition of John 14 and 15. W.A. 45. 66

January 28th - Christ's Human Nature Exalted for our salvation

Proverbs 3:26. Luther: Christ, Who is your righteousness, is greater than your sin, and all the world's sin. His life and comfort are stronger and mightier than your death and hell. Hence a heart that is so strengthened and unafraid can despise the devil and all his terrors and plagues and can stand up against all his power, saying: 'Sin, if you would condemn me, you must first condemn Christ, my dear Savior, Priest, and Advocate with the Father. Death, if you would devour me, begin on high with Christ, my Head. Devil and world, if you would plague and frighten me, first drag Him down from His seat'. In short: I must not and will not be afraid of anything, even if the lightning should strike down at this instant and throw everything into confusion. For Christ is mine in His suffering, His death, and His life, the Holy Spirit with His comfort, and the Father Himself with all His grace in which He sends the Holy Spirit that He may preach Christ to my heart and fill it with His comfort. Exposition of John 14 and 15. W.A. 45. 727. (Day by Day We Magnify Thee, Daily Readings for the Entire Year, Selected from the Writings of Martin Luther. Fortress Press, 1984. p.346)

January 27th - The LORD shall be your confidence.

Psalm 19:12-14 12. Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Romans 7:18-19 18. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19. For what I do, is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Augsburg Confession XI 1-2: Our churches teach that [voluntary] private Absolution should be retained in the churches, although listing all sins is not necessary for Confession. For, according to the Psalm, it is impossible. "Who can discern his errors?" (Ps 19:12). Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.27. Romans 8 1. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2. because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in sinful man,

January 26th - Lasting Forgiveness in Christ

Psalm 32:1-2 1. Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. 1 John 2:1-2 1. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have One Who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. Augsburg Confession Apology IV (II) 76-77 To receive the forgiveness of sins is to be justified ["declared not guilty"], according to Ps 32:1, "Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven." By faith alone in [the atoning work of] Christ -- not through [our] love [for God], not because of love or works. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.

January 25th - Deliverance from grief and sorrow

Genesis 41:51-52 51. Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, "It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household." 52. The second son he named Ephraim and said, "It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering." 1 Peter 1:6-7 6. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Augsburg Confession Apology IV (II) 85: Therefore, let not good minds allow themselves to be forced from the conviction that we receive forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake, through faith alone. In this, they have sure and firm consolation against the terrors of sin, against eternal death, and against all the gates of hell. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.25.

January 22nd - Living Faith Produces Fruit

Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe My ways. 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. Large Catechism I 311: Now we have the Ten Commandments, a summary of divine teaching about what we are to do [in response to God's Love; from faith] in order that our whole life may be pleasing to God. Everything that is to be a good work must arise and flow from and in this true fountain and channel. So apart from the Ten Commandments, no work or thing can be good or pleasing to God, no matter how great or precious it is in the [ungodly] world's eyes. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.22. [Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God,]

January 21st - Jesus Brings righteousness

Psalm 45:7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions. Acts 10:38 "...God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, Who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Large Catechism I 189: A person who does evil to his neighbor is not the only one guilty under this [fifth] commandment. It also applies to anyone who can do his neighbor good, prevent or resist evil, defend, and save his neighbor so that no bodily harm or hurt happened to him -- yet does not do this [Jas 2:15-16] [Sins of Omission]. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.21. [James 2:15-16 15. Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? ]

January 20th - True Soul Food!

Isaiah 55:1-2 1. Listen! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. John 4:13-14 13. Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14. "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.'' Apology [defense] of the Augsburg Confession VII-VIII 15: But the Gospel [Christ crucified for sinners] brings not merely the shadow of eternal things, but the eternal things themselves: the Holy Spirit and righteousness. By the Gospel, we are righteous before God. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.20.