Devotions

July 14th - Discernment

Jeremiah 23:26-28 26. How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27. They think the dreams they tell one another will make My people forget My Name, just as their fathers forgot My Name through Baal worship. 28. Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has My Word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?" declares the LORD. Matthew 7:15-16 15. "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Formula of Concord SD X 25: (Adiaphora should be handled in such a way that:) God may not be angered, love may not be injured, the enemies of God's Word may not be strengthened, nor the weak in faith offended. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.196. (Adiaphora: things neither commanded nor forbidden by Scripture.)

July 13th - Without God we see nothing

Psalm 73:25-26 25. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Matthew 13:16-17 16. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it. Formula of Concord SD II 9: They (unbelieving, natural mankind) want to understand these spiritual things with their reason. But the more diligently and seriously they try, the less they understand or believe. Before they become enlightened and are taught by The Holy Spirit, they regard all this only as foolishness or fictions. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.195.

July 10th - His merits save us, not ours

Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin. Galatians 6:7-8 7. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Apology V (III) 246: But whenever merit is mentioned, the adversaries (wrongly) immediately transfer the matter from other rewards to justification (as though we are saved by our works). Yet the Gospel freely offers justification because of Christ's merits and not of our own. His merits are delivered to us through faith in Jesus. Works and troubles do not merit justification, but other payments, as the reward is offered for the works in these passages: "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully" (2Cor 9:6). Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.192.

July 9th - Rich toward God

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Luke 12:19-21 19. And I will say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." ' 20. "But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your soul will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God." Large Catechism: We will indeed look on and let these people skin, pinch, and hoard. But we will trust in God, who will do the following: after these people have been skinning and scraping for a long time, He will pronounce such a blessing on their gains that their grain in the silo, their beer in the cellar, and their cattle in the stalls shall perish (Luke 12:16-21 (parable of the rich fool)).

July 8th - We are God's workmanship

Genesis 11:4 And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.'' 1 Corinthians 3:9-11 9. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. 10. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. Apology VII-VIII (IV) 20: The Holy Christian Church [The Invisible Church, all believers] is properly the pillar of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). For it keeps the pure Gospel as Paul says in 1 Cor 3:11. The "foundation" is the true knowledge of Christ and faith. There are also many weak persons, who build upon the foundation with stubble that will perish (v. 12), holding certain harmful opinions. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.190. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. 12. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13. his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

July 7th - We will see His glory

Isaiah 49:14-16 14. But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." 15. "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! 16. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. John 17:24 "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. Formula of Concord SD VIII 65: This power (Jesus' divinity) was concealed and withheld at the time of the humiliation (of the human nature of Jesus Christ). But now, after the form of a servant has been laid aside, it is fully, powerfully, and publicly exercised before all saints, in heaven and on earth. In the life to come, we shall also behold His glory face-to-face (John 17:24). Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.189.

July 6th - We are Christ's, first, by creation

Jeremiah 10:12 He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Formula of Concord SD VIII 61: This divine power, life, might, majesty, and glory was given to the received human nature in Christ. This did not happen the way the Father from eternity has communicated to the Son (according to the divine nature) His essence and all divine attributes, by which He is of one essence with the Father and is equal to God. (For Christ is equal to the Father only according to the divine nature. According to the received human nature, He is beneath God (as we confess in the Athanasian Creed). From this, it is clear that we make no confusion, equalization, or abolition of natures in Christ.) So the power to give life is not the same in Christ's flesh as it is in His divine nature, where it is an essential property. Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions . John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.188.

July 3rd - Our Deliverance is in the Cross

Nevertheless, I am continually with you. Psalm 123:23 Luther: If, for the sake of God's Word, hardship, sorrow, and persecution come to us, all which follow in the train of the holy cross (persecution for the sake of Christ), the following thoughts should, with God's help, comfort and console us, and should make us determine to be of good cheer, full of courage and confidence, and lead us to surrender the cause trustfully into God's gracious and fatherly will. First, that our cause is in the hands of Him Who says so clearly, 'No man shall pluck them from My hand'. It would not be wise to take our cause into our own hands, for we could and should lose it by our loose ways. Likewise, all the comforting words are true and do not lie, which say, 'God is our refuge and strength'. Has any man who puts his trust in God ever been put to shame? All who trust in God will be saved, and again: 'You, Lord, have not forsaken them that see You'. Thus it is really true that God gave His only-begotten Son for our salvation. If God gave His own Son for us, how could He ever bring Himself to desert us in small things? (Romans 8:32) God (The Creator) is infinitely stronger, mightier, and more powerful than the devil (a creature). Thus says St. John: 'Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world'. If we fall, Christ, the Almighty King, must suffer with us, and even if His cause should (appear to) fall, we should wish rather to fall with Christ than to stand with the highest power on earth. Comforting words. W.A. 48. 327 f. (Day by Day We Magnify Thee, Daily Readings for the Entire Year, Selected from the Writings of Martin Luther. Fortress Press, 1984. p.117)

July 2nd - Snoring in our security

Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O Lord, and teach him from Your law. PSALM 94:12 LUTHER: It is highly necessary that we should suffer (persecution for Jesus' Name), not only that God may thereby prove His honor, might, and strength against the devil, but also because the great and precious treasure which we have, if it were given unto us without such suffering and affliction, would make us snore in our security. And we can see -- unfortunately it is a general thing -- that many abuse the Holy Gospel, behaving as if they were freed from all obligations (of the law) through the Gospel, and that there is nothing more they need do, or give or suffer. This is a sin and a shame. The only way our God can check such evil is through the cross (of suffering for Jesus' Name, which drives us for help to Christ in Word and Sacrament). He must so discipline us that our faith increases and grows stronger (by the gospel), and we thus draw the Savior all the deeper into our soul (by faith). For we can no more grow (spiritually) strong without suffering and temptation than we can (grow physically strong) without eating and drinking. Therefore since it is better that we should be given a cross than that we should be spared a cross, no man must falter and take fright at it. Have you not a good strong promise wherein to take comfort? Nor can the Gospel advance except through us as we suffer willingly and bear our cross. Sermon on suffering and the Cross. W.A. 32. 37. f. (Day by Day We Magnify Thee, Daily Readings for the Entire Year, Selected from the Writings of Martin Luther. Fortress Press, 1984. p.116)

July 1st - Why does God forgive? The CAUSE of His mercy

Exodus 15:11 "Who among the gods is like You, O LORD? Who is like You-- majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? Galatians 3:13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree''), Apology V (III) 57-58: We have a gracious God because of Christ's satisfaction, and not because of our fulfilling the Law. Paul teaches this in Galatians 3:13 when he says, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us." This means that the Law condemns all people. But Christ Jesus -- without sin -- has borne the punishment of sin (for all people). Treasures Old & New - Daily readings from the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. John C. Jeske. NPH 2006. p.183.