#DailyDevotion Jesus Overcomes Temptation 4 U

#DailyDevotion Jesus Overcomes Temptation 4 U

Matthew 4:1–11

4Then the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2He didn’t eat anything for 40 days and 40 nights. At the end of that time He was hungry. 3The tempter came to Him. “If You’re God’s Son,” he said to Him, “tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4“It is written,” Jesus answered,“ ‘A man doesn’t live on bread alone but on every Word that God speaks.’” 5Then the devil took Him into the Holy City and had Him stand on the edge of the temple. 6“If You’re God’s Son,” he told Him, “jump down. It is written: ‘He will order His angels to help you. They will carry you in their hands and never let you stub your foot against a stone.’” 7“It is also written,” Jesus answered him, “ ‘Don’t test the Lord your God.’” 8Then the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms in the world and their glory. 9“All this I’ll give You,” the devil told Him, “if You’ll bow down and worship me.” 10Then Jesus answered him, “Go away, Satan! It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” 11Then the devil left Him, and angels came and served Him.

Jesus having been baptized into a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin is compelled into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. When Jesus was baptized, John the Baptist, who happened to be a priest put the sins of the people on Jesus as the priest would do in the Law of Moses to the scapegoat. Another priest would then take the scapegoat into the wilderness of Azazel i.e. the devil.(Lev. 16) The Holy Spirit takes the priest job here as Jesus is offered up to the devil to be tested.

I’m not going to get into what each of the temptations represents, for that will not be helpful to you anyway. What you do need to know about them is this, Heb. 218”Because He Himself suffered when He was tested, He can help others when they’re tested.”  and this, Heb. 415”We have a High Priest Who can sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way just as we are, only without sin.” Jesus knows what it is like for us to be tempted. He felt the temptation just as Adam did and just as we do but without sinning. Because of this he sympathizes with us and can help us when tempted.

Now many may point to how Jesus overcame the temptations. Jesus addresses the devil with Scripture, in particularly God’s commandments. But I tell you that is not always going to work for you. Paul tells us, Romans 520”The Law came to multiply sin…” and Rom. 75“While we were living in the flesh, the Law stirred into action the sinful lusts in parts of our bodies to produce fruit for death.” Quoting commandments might even make the temptation worse because of our flesh.

How then should we handle our temptations? You may quote yourself God’s Law so you know what God wants you to do but even more so, you should remember Jesus overcame temptation and the Tempter for you. When tempted you tell your sinful desire Jesus overcame you for me in the wilderness. Tell the devil Jesus overcame him in the desert, the cross and the grave and has done this to free you. You don’t belong to him anymore. You belong to Jesus, his master. What you need is the Gospel to free you, not the law.

Blessed Jesus you overcame the devil and his temptations in the wilderness for us. When we are tempted give us your Holy Spirit that we may remember this and be freed from our temptation and have your life. In your holy name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Which Tree Are You Going To Choose?

#DailyDevotion Which Tree Are You Going To Choose?

Romans 518Now then, as by one sin all people were condemned, so also through one righteous act, justification which brings life came to all people. 19When one man disobeyed, the many were made sinners. So when One obeyed, the many will be made righteous. 20The Law came to multiply sin, but where there was much sin, God’s grace was so much greater 21that, as sin ruled in its deadly way, so His grace is to rule, giving a righteousness by which we live forever through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes by one man’s sin all people were condemned. We were all born in his image, his fallen image. So not only did we have his sin which condemned us having received his death, but we added to his sin and have become utterly sinful. This one sin is the root sin and all the sins we commit are its fruit.

The one righteous act is Christ death on the cross. Through that one act the world is declared righteous. As Paul says in 2 Cor. 519”In Christ God restored the relationship of the world to Himself by not counting their sins against them…” If our sin are not counted against us and sin is what causes us to be dead, then we have been restored to life. If we are no longer declared guilty but are justified, declared not guilty, then we have passed from death to life.

When Adam disobeyed all of us were made sinners. What else could we do? We did not have the life of God in us. We were dead in trespasses and sins. We could have an outward righteousness but our hearts were still opposed to God and his life. We would not and could not accept the things of the Spirit of God. When Jesus, the One, obeyed he declared us righteous and made us righteous before his Father in heaven. Indeed, Jesus will present us holy, blameless and without a fault to our Father in heaven.

Those who want to be righteous by following the Law, Paul has bad news for you. The Law was given to multiply sins so that sin would be utterly sinful. You will despair of God and try to hide from him because you will find yourself unable to keep his Law as he wants you to keep it. It does you no good to say, “Well I’ll keep the Law the best I can and depend upon God for grace to cover the rest.” This is a zero sum game. Either you keep the Law entirely inviolate like Jesus or you trust he has kept it inviolate for you. To depend at all upon your own good work in any amount is to blaspheme the work Jesus accomplished and to throw the gift, the free gift of God’s grace in Christ back into his face as a despised gift.

The good news is God’s grace in Christ Jesus is greater than our sin. We cannot sin so much that his grace cannot overwhelmingly cover it. And it is his grace that is to rule our hearts giving us a righteousness by which we live forever in our LORD Jesus Christ. As his grace rules our hearts and we live in his righteousness, then we will be about doing the will of God in our lives not out of compulsion but from a thankful heart knowing his grace covers all our sin and his righteousness our unrighteousness.

Merciful and Gracious Father, you gave us your Son Jesus Christ so that by his obedience he may overwhelmingly undo the death wrought by Adam’s disobedience. Grant us faith in Christ’s saving work that we may live eternally in his righteousness. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion It’s Not Fair!

#DailyDevotion It’s Not Fair!

Romans 512One man brought sin into the world, and his sin brought death. And so because all have sinned, death spread to all people. 13There was sin in the world before the Law was given, but where there is no Law, sin isn’t counted. 14Still death ruled from Adam to Moses even over those who, when they sinned, didn’t break a law as Adam did. He was a picture of Him Who was to come. 15But the gift is more than the sin. If one man’s sin brought death to all people, we are all the more certain God’s grace and the gracious gift of the one Man, Jesus Christ, have been richly poured out on all people. 16The gift also does more than that one man’s sin. The sentence, due to one man, condemns us, but the gift, following many sins, declares us righteous. 17Yes, if death ruled through one man as a result of his sin, we who have received God’s overflowing grace and His gift of righteousness, will live and rule even more through the one Man, Jesus Christ.

Well I don’t know about you but I often hear the adage, “It’s not fair we get blamed for one man’s sin!” Yet I don’t hear too many complaining, though there are a few, “It’s not fair. We all get declared innocent and righteous because of one man’s obedience!” We all sinned in Adam and that’s just the metaphysics of the situation that we have to deal with. By Adam’s rebellion sin came into the world and by that sin death. Since we share in Adam’s image we also participate in his sin by sinning all the more. Sin brings death. While no one had any commandments from God like Adam did till Moses (we do get don’t murder after the flood) men still sinned against their consciences. If you sin against your conscience it’s just as bad as trespassing a written law to your soul. Death reigned over the children of Adam because of sin.

Adam was a type (picture) of him to come, i.e. Jesus the second Adam. This infers that the LORD was always going to become man despite Adam’s rebellion. He always intended to commune with us in this manner, drawing humanity into the Godhead. Something to think about.

Jesus, the LORD, came to give us a gift. It is more than the sin of Adam. Adam’s sin brought death to all people. Jesus’ obedience and the gift of his obedience is poured out on all people. The gift is greater because it is not earned. It was given by God’s grace and is a gracious gift. For while we were in Adam when he sinned, we were not automatically in Jesus when he obeyed. Yet, God graciously considers it to be so.

His gift is greater than the trespass Paul says because though we die because of one man’s sin, we sinned on top of that. We added to Adam’s sin with our own sins and trespasses. The gift, the free gift we are given in Christ Jesus, declares us righteous. Through faith in Jesus we have received the overflowing gift of his righteousness. His grace is overflowing, that is to say, his grace towards us and for us is more than the sins we commit. Or rather, we can’t sin so much that God’s grace in Christ Jesus isn’t more. We lost our dominion in Adam’s sin. In Christ Jesus we live and rule again through the one Man, Jesus Christ. Yes eternal life is our gift in Christ Jesus. Having been joined to him through baptism, we sit and rule with him at the right hand of God. We were brought to lowest depths by Adam’s sin. We are brought to a higher place than Adam’s original one through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Merciful God and Father, though we dead in trespasses and sin through Adam’s sin you have lifted us up to your throne in Christ Jesus. Grant that this good news overcomes all our sinful thoughts that we may live out your will in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Threat Of God Is Fulfilled

#DailyDevotion The Threat Of God Is Fulfilled

Gen. 314Then the LORD God said to the snake, “Because you did this, cursed are you among all the animals, tame and wild. You will crawl on your belly and eat dirt all your life. 15And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your descendants and her Descendant. He will crush your head, and you will bruise His heel.” 16To the woman He said, “I will give you much trouble when you’re pregnant, and in pain you will give birth to children. You will long for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17To the man He said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate some fruit of the tree when I ordered you, ‘Don’t eat of it,’ cursed is the ground on account of you. Weary from work you will eat your food as long as you live. 18The ground will grow thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants in the field. 19In the sweat of your face you will eat bread till you go back to the ground, because you were taken from it. You are dust and will turn back to dust.” 20The man called his wife Eve [Life] because she became the mother of every living person. 21The LORD God made tunics from skins for the man and his wife and clothed them.

Taking those blamed in reverse, the LORD starts telling each what is going to happen to them because of their sin. The snake is cursed among all the animals and must crawl on its belly now. The woman will have increased trouble in pregnancy and the relationship with her husband is not what it was. The man will now have increased trouble in growing things and work will be toilsome now. They will return to the dust from which they were made. We see the effects of these results even done to today as their children born in their image and likeness.

Taking those blamed in reverse, the LORD starts telling each what is going to happen to them because of their sin. The snake is cursed among all the animals and must crawl on its belly now. The woman will have increased trouble in pregnancy and the relationship with her husband is not what it was. The man will now have increased trouble in growing things and work will be toilsome now. They will return to the dust from which they were made. We see the effects of these results even done to today as their children born in their image and likeness.

Ironically or perhaps trying to making something good out of a bad situation, Adam calls the woman Eve because she became the mother of every living person. It’s ironic because what she gives birth to are not living persons, but living dead persons. That is, those born into this world don’t have the life of God in them. They are conceived in sin, every inclination of their hearts is wicked from birth and will not and cannot accept the things of God. Yet the LORD gave us something in the Garden to give life to our hearts, a promise in the form of a threat.

In verse 15 the LORD speaks a threat to the serpent which is good news for us. Eve understood it as good news when she mistakenly names her firstborn Cain. She thought he was the LORD, the promised head crusher. The Woman is to give birth to one who will crush the head of the serpent, the devil while the devil strikes his heels, killing him.

Yet the Woman whose seed crushes the head of the serpent does come and has come. That Woman is Mary. Without the seed of a man, the LORD conceives in her himself. As the LORD made a woman from the rib of a man, now he makes a man from the seed of a woman. He joins himself to her flesh and becomes man. As Paul writes in Gal. 4:4 “God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5to free those under the Law and make us His sons.” Yes, Jesus the LORD, the Son of God, became one us to free us from the curse and make us God’s children andcame to restore the life that was in us, his life. Jesus says in John 6 “anyone who believes has everlasting life.” Mary in effect becomes the mother of the living because it is her son Jesus who gives the life of God to mankind through faith in him.

Almighty God and Father, you made and fulfilled your promise of overcoming Satan through the seed of the Woman, Jesus, your Son. Grant that we may have faith in him and receive eternal life through him. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Are You Looking At The Man In The Mirror?

#DailyDevotion Are You Looking At The Man In The Mirror?

Genesis 310“I heard you in the garden,” he answered, “and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”11“Who told you you are naked?” He asked him. “Did you eat some fruit of the tree I ordered you not to eat?” 12“The woman You gave me,” the man answered, “she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13Then the LORD God asked the woman, “What did you do?” “The snake tricked me,” the woman answered, “and so I ate.”

The LORD had called out to his two children, Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” It wasn’t because he didn’t know where there were but so that he may come to them in a state of grace. Adam admits his fear of the LORD because he was naked. Well that opens up a whole can of worms! Who told you that? If you are ashamed of your nakedness then something happened.
“Did you eat some fruit of the tree I ordered you not to eat?” Mercifully the LORD opens up the situation so Adam may confess his sin in all humility. But the damage has been done. Adam knows evil now, I mean is really intimate with it. He has become one with it as he was once one with his wife.

And there you go the original blame game started right there in the Garden of Eden. What a horrific thing to read. The man who not more than a chapter earlier broke forth into poetry when the LORD brought him the woman is not blaming her for his rebellion and while we’re at it, he is also blaming God for giving him the woman. What a sad, sad scene it is. Evil has worked its magic on Adam.

But wait, there’s more! The LORD God asked the woman, “What did you do?” Does this look like a scene from a playground or the backyard when there is a broken window? Well evil had had its way with Eve as well. She learned quickly from her husband and points the finger at the snake. She blames him for tricking her. And well since God created the serpent there is a tacit blame of God here as well.

The snake, well he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

We have inherited this way of life or rather death from our parents Adam and Eve. With death so corrupting our nature we are afraid of God with an ungodly fear. We want to blame him for all our troubles in our lives, yet for the most part the trouble are mostly our own making. Mostly. We blame God and we blame others, your parents, your siblings, society, other races, the Democrats, the Republicans, the Socialists and the Communist. We blame the schools and we blame economic systems. Yet what is needed is we look in the mirror and accept responsibility for our sins, iniquities, trespasses, guilt, shame and rebellion. He need to humble ourselves underneath our heavenly Father’s most gracious hand and confess our sins. For the sake of Jesus, God’s Son, he forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. In accepting and confessing our fallen nature, receiving the love, mercy and kindness of God in Christ Jesus, we are made anew. Christ the life and light of the world gives us his life, the life we had in the Garden and we are new creatures in Christ. If we point our finger it is to Jesus and saying, we are saved because what Jesus has done.

Heavenly Father, grant us the gift of repentance that we may truly be contrite over our sins, believe in Jesus Christ for their forgiveness and receive his life as our own. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The LORD Seeks The Lost

#DailyDevotion The LORD Seeks The Lost

Genesis 3:1–9 The snake was the smartest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘Don’t eat from any tree in the garden?” 2“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,” the woman answered the snake. 3“But God did say, ‘Don’t eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, and don’t touch it, or you will die.” 4“You’re not going to die,” the snake told the woman. 5“No, God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you’ll be like God and know good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good to eat, a delight to look at, and what anyone would want in order to get wise, she took some of its fruit and ate it. Then she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked. They sewed together leaves from a fig tree and made skirts for themselves. 8At the time of day when there was a breeze, they heard the LORD God walking in the garden, and the man and his wife hid from the LORD God among the trees in the garden. 9The LORD God called the man. “Where are you?” He asked him.

So this isn’t a story made up to explain why people don’t like snakes. There are plenty of people who do and who worship them. Was the snake possessed by Satan? Is Satan a legged dragon? Who knows, though I think it is likely that Satan was one of the Seraphs that once surrounded the throne of God praising him as we see in Isaiah chapter six. What we do know is what the Scripture tells us Satan is the serpent who deceives Eve to kill mankind.

Satan’s tricks haven’t changed since the beginning, “Did God really say?” Yes, Satan deceived Eve and deceives us into thinking God, the LORD, is a liar when it is he who is the liar. He takes God’s word and twists it. He gets us to add to God’s word and to take away from it. He uses our senses and desires to justify doing what the LORD tells us clearly. See how Eve is manipulated with a simple question which Satan knows isn’t true. Watch how the woman adds to God’s word. The LORD never said don’t touch the fruit. Adam and Eve could have made fruit pies and had a pie fight if they wanted to. They could have made a forbidden fruit bath and bathed in it if they wanted to do so. No, all the LORD said was, “Don’t eat it.”

See how Satan deceives her into not believing they will not die if they eat the fruit. You may think they didn’t die when they ate the fruit but the truth is they did die. They were dead as doornails. Sure, they were breathing, thinking, blood pumping, but they were dead. They no longer had the life of God in them. As St. Paul tells us, they “were dead in your transgressions and sins.” Their sin, our sin covers us with guilt and shame and makes us hide from God. We don’t want him to see us like this. We are afraid of what he is going to do.

Yet, the LORD knowing what Adam and Eve had done, knowing one called him a liar and the other outright rebelled against him doesn’t pour our his wrath upon them. No, he goes down and like nothing happened seeks them out, “Where are you?” This same LORD, our LORD Jesus Christ came down and seeks us out, like a shepherd who seeks a lost sheep or a woman her coin, Jesus Christ the LORD seeks us who are lost and loves them.

Heavenly Father, despite our sin and rebelliousness, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to seek out the lost and save us. Grant us faith to answer your call and say, here I am, I have sinned so we may experience your great love and mercy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The Son. Listen To Him!

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The Son. Listen To Him!

Matt. 175He was still speaking when a bright cloud suddenly overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud: “This is My Son Whom I love and delight in. Listen to Him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown; they were terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” He said, “and don’t be afraid.” They looked up and saw no one but Jesus. On their way down the mountain Jesus ordered them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”

Like the cloud that covered Mount Sinai as Moses went up a bright, shiny cloud overshadowed the 6 on the mount. The voice from heaven made 7. For no one could see the Father, only the only begotten who has made him known, i.e. Jesus. It is interesting in iconography, up to recent Russian iconography the Father was only imaged as hand for this reason. In Western art he starts appearing as we left the standards of iconography and went into the Renaissance. Here we only hear his voice, “This is My Son Whom I love and delight in. Listen to Him!”

God the Father once again puts his seal on his son Jesus Christ as he did at his baptism. At his baptism Jesus is identified as one of us, that is he takes our place as humanity. In the baptism of the cloud his mission, he is prepared for sacrifice like one of the ritual animals. Jesus intensely begins teaching about his upcoming death and resurrection after this point as we will shortly see. Yes, Jesus is God’s son and as a son is of the same substance and essence of the Father. As such he is equal to the Father concerning his divinity. The Father’s seal tells us to listen to him. This indeed is another place which tells us all of Scripture is about Jesus and God’s love for us in Christ Jesus. Jesus’ teaching is the Father’s teaching and has the Father’s authority. Because of this Jesus’ teaching is life, eternal life.

Now this frightens the disciples. They were terrified! And who wouldn’t seeing Jesus in his glory and then hearing from the cloud the Father’s voice. Yet in this age the voice of Jesus is gospel, good news, “Get up and don’t be afraid.” When you are with Jesus and he is on your side you don’t need to be afraid. Even if you don’t think he is on your side he wants to be if you would just humble yourself before him, confess your sin and know he is the Father’s love expressed to you. No matter what you have done or who you have been or are, Jesus has come for you with these words, “Don’t be afraid.” For in Jesus we find the Father’s mercy, kindness, patience, loving-kindness and grace. There was no one else there anymore, just Jesus. That is all we ever have is Jesus and he gives us the Holy Spirit and gives us to the Father.

The quest is now in earnest as they go down the mount. “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.” The others wouldn’t understand it. I doubt they did at the time. Perhaps he knew they would try to make him king before his time like the crowd. But Jesus’ mission is before him. The Son of Man must rise from the dead. If he must rise from the dead then he must be dead first. Jesus sets his face from now on to Jerusalem to be offered up as a ransom for humanity. He is to be the Father’s sacrifice for our sin. He must taste death for us and overcome death for us, for you. And he did.

Almighty God and Father, grant us ears that listen to your son our LORD Jesus Christ that we may believe in him and receive the kingdom prepared for us before the foundation of the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus’ Transfiguration Shows What God Has Planned For Us

#DailyDevotion Jesus’ Transfiguration Shows What God Has Planned For Us

Matt. 17 After six days Jesus took with Him Peter, James, and John, the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain to be alone with them. 2He was transfigured before them, His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as light. 3And there Moses and Elijah appeared to them and were talking with Him. 4“Lord,” Peter said to Jesus, “it’s good for us to be here. If You wish, I’ll put up three shelters here, one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

Jesus brings three of his apostles up with up to the mountaintop to be alone with them. They are to be witnesses of what they are about to see. Peter, James and John were several of the first disciples Jesus had called, though I’m always surprised Andrew, Peter’s brother, seems to not get as much attention as Peter even though he was first. We could probably equate this account of Jesus with Moses seeing the backside of the glory of God, the disciples fulfilling the role of Moses where Jesus is indeed the very same LORD whose glory Moses saw.

So Jesus is transfigured, metamorphasized before his disciples. His face shines like the sun and his clothes became as white as light. He is manifesting the glory he had before the incarnation, the glory of the Holy One of God. Like the 70 elders of Israel were not consumed by glory of the LORD on Mt. Sinai when they ate with him, the disciples are protected by the LORD Jesus Christ’s grace. This is a preview of how they shall see the LORD when he returns in glory.

For those who think we won’t know our relatives in the resurrection the disciples see and here Moses and Elijah. The disciples never saw a picture of these two prophets of God, yet they recognized them. When we are in the glory of God, when see Jesus as he is, as John later says, we will be like him (even as Moses shown with the glory of God when he spoke with the LORD, though fading).

Peter desires to set up three tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. We think he wanted the experience to last longer. Who wouldn’t? I don’t think we can fully comprehend the magnificence of this experience. Probably the closest thing we ever come to is being in the presence of some celebrity or politician we really admire and don’t know what to say.

Yet in this manifestation of Jesus’ glory we have something very important revealed to us—our destiny. 1 John 3 tells us, “Dear friends, we are now God’s children, but it hasn’t yet been shown what we’re going to be. We know that when it will be shown, we’ll be like Him because we’ll see Him as He is.” Peter tells us in his second epistle we participate in the divine nature through the promises of the Gospel. Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 4 we are being prepared to bear the eternal weight of glory. This is all God’s grace won for us by our LORD Jesus Christ. It is his gift, his free gift to you to become like him.

Heavenly Father, you manifested your Son’s glory to the disciples so we may see what you have prepared for us by grace. Grant us your Holy Spirit that we may believe these promises so we may participate in his divine nature. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Bible, Sure & Certain Word Of God

#DailyDevotion The Bible, Sure & Certain Word Of God

2 Peter 119And we have, as something more sure, the prophetic Word. Please look to it as to a light shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts. 20Understand this first, that no prophecy of Scripture came as some private explanation. 21For no prophecy was ever spoken because a man decided to prophecy, but men said what God gave them to say as they were directed by the Holy Spirit.

Peter being a witness to all the miracles of Jesus, being an eyewitness to Jesus glory in the transfiguration and hearing the voice of the Father says that we have something more sure, more certain, the prophetic Word. Just as the Israelites and Moses experienced the LORD in the wilderness and all the power of the LORD yet the LORD provided a written account for them and that Word is sure and certain for us, we also have the prophets and the apostolic record of Jesus’ disciples.

One might say Peter is not referring the New Testament text yet, but no, even in this letter, Peter later refers to Paul’s writings and some of the Gospels are already written at this time. You can depend on God’s Word more than any experience you may have. If Peter who experienced the LORD Jesus Christ’s glory and heard God’s voice from the cloud can say the written word is more sure and certain, you can bet your eternal salvation on relying upon the written Word.

Here we see that the Scriptures, the written word of God, are not some private explanation. The prophecy of Scripture, the books and the written words weren’t written because someone decided to prophecy. No, men said and wrote what God by the Holy Spirit breathed into them to speak and write. You might remember the prophet Balaam who tried to curse Israel but could only pronounce blessing. David was speaking by the Holy Spirit as he wrote the Psalms and so on. The words of the Bible are the very words of the Holy Spirit speaking.

To these Holy Scriptures we are to look as “shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts.” Yes the Word of God is our light in the darkness of the world around us. It guides us as to how God wants us to live. It gives us wisdom if we apply to our dealings with life and people. Most importantly and central is it shows us God’s attitude toward us in Christ Jesus. That attitude is unconditional love based on Jesus’ sacrifice. It tells us about Jesus and what Jesus has done for us to reconcile us to the Father. God’s love in Christ Jesus is our light in a dark place.

Until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts we are to look to the Holy Scriptures, that is when we close our eyes in death and see the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ sitting at the right hand of God the Father. We can never in this life depart from them or not need them to guide us correctly into the kingdom of God. Even as the Israelites when Moses was gone for a short period of time went into apostasy so we too continually need the Scriptures to guide all our thinking, actions and faith.

Heavenly Father, you have given us the more sure and certain, the reliable written Word so we may know your will towards us. Grant us the same Holy Spirit who wrote them to write them on our hearts so we may have faith and enter your kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Christians Don’t Follow Clever Myths

#DailyDevotion Christians Don’t Follow Clever Myths

2Peter 116We didn’t follow any clever myths when we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and His coming. No, with our own eyes we saw His majesty. 17God the Father gave Him honor and glory when from His wonderful glory He said to Him: “This is My Son Whom I love and with whom I am delighted.” 18We heard that voice speak to Him from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

Who doesn’t like a good story? For some people the actual facts just aren’t good enough and they have to embellish the truth. Apparently Peter was running across some of these fellows as he proclaimed Jesus Christ is LORD. He lets the Christians know that he did not follow any clever myths when they told them about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his coming. He was an eye witness of Jesus from the beginning of his ministry until he ascended into heaven.

Peter had heard Jesus’ teaching with the sermon on the mount and on the plain. He heard Jesus teaching in the synagogues every Sabbath. He heard Jesus teaching in the temple and on the streets. He knew what Jesus had handed down to his apostles before his departure.

On top of that Peter had seen the miracles of Jesus. He was here when he healed the sick, the lame, the deaf and the mute. He saw his own mother healed by Jesus. The apostles witnessed Jesus curing those with leprosy. They also saw Jesus’ power to cast our demons. Peter and the apostles saw Jesus walking on the water and Peter himself walked on the water with Jesus. They saw Jesus calm the storm with a word. Peter, James and John saw with their own eyes Jesus majesty as he was transfigured before them showing forth his glory. They saw Jesus risen from the dead and ascended into glory.

Peter, James and John then heard the Father give Jesus honor and glory when from his wonderful glory (the shiny cloud) the Father said of Jesus, “This is My Son Whom I love and with whom I am delighted.” Yes, Jesus is the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father who one with the Father in honor, glory and majesty. He is not less than God according to his divine nature which he has always had.  That glory was manifest to the disciples Peter, James and John. They also heard the Father say, “Listen to him.”

Yes, Peter and the apostles seen and heard all these things. They were eyewitnesses of what Jesus did and what he taught. On top of that,  Jesus gave them his authority and the Holy Spirit to do miracles to authenticate their message about Jesus wasn’t just a clever myth but the truth. Unlike some mockers today who think what we have received is nothing more than a garbled message in a game of telephone, the apostles teaching does ring differently for those called by God the Father to be his children. The Holy Spirit witnesses and convicts our hearts these things are true. More than that Peter’s and the apostles message is life and salvation.

Heavenly Father, we give you thanks and praise that you have revealed your love toward us in Christ Jesus in his life and his teaching. We thank you for the holy apostles who preserved these things for us so we may believe and have eternal life. By the power of your Holy Spirit grant us faith to believe all these things, enter your kingdom and live out Christ’s life in our own. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.