#DailyDevotion Jesus Lets Us Know What To Expect In These Last Days

#DailyDevotion Jesus Lets Us Know What To Expect In These Last Days

Luke 215Some were saying about the temple, “It is beautifully constructed with fine stones and gifts.” 6“About these things that you see,” He said, “the time will come when not a stone will be left on another here but will be torn down.” 7“Teacher,” they asked Him, “when will this be, and how can we tell when this will happen?” 8“Be careful not to let anyone deceive you,” Jesus said. “Many will come using My name and saying, ‘I am He” and, “The time has come.’ Don’t follow them. 9“When you hear of wars and revolutions, don’t get alarmed. These things must happen first, but the end won’t come right away.” 10 Then He told them, “Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes and famines and pestilences in different places, terrible sights and great signs coming from heaven. 12“Before all these things happen, men will arrest you and persecute you, hand you over to church councils, and put you in prisons. They’ll bring you before kings and governors on account of My name. 13It will be your chance to tell them the truth. 14So make up your minds not to worry beforehand how you’ll defend yourselves. 15I’ll give you such speech and wisdom none of your enemies will be able to oppose it or talk against it. 16“Even parents, brothers, relatives, and friends will betray you and kill some of you, 17and everyone will hate you because of My name. 18But not a hair on your head will be lost. 19Endure patiently, and you’ll win your lives.”

Ask Jesus a question and you’ll get more than your bargained for. Jesus comments on the disciples admiring the temple and they ask when will the temple be torn down. Jesus eventually gets around to answering that question but first he lets them know about last days and what is going to happen to them and all believers before the Last Day and before the temple is torn down.

So verses eight through eleven are things you can expect to happened before the Last Day, Judgment Day. When we see these things happening, we shouldn’t get too stirred up. None of them in particular or even grouped together is saying, “This is it!” Rather as we see these things, false prophets, wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis we should take them to heart, examine ourselves, repent of our sins and trust Jesus Christ all the more for our lives now and for the resurrection to come. The devil wants us to get all worked up about such things, but Jesus tells us these things will happen so we don’t get worked up. We shouldn’t be running around like chickens with their heads cut off or be afraid the sky is falling—it is. We should, as Christians, be the most calm about it because we believe Jesus is Lord and these are just signs of his future coming.

Now Jesus lets his disciples know that before any of that stuff even gets started, even before the fall of Jerusalem, they should get ready to suffer persecution for his name’s sake. This persecution will before Jerusalem’s fall and after the fall until the Last Day when Christ is revealed in judgment. They indeed stood before the Jewish councils, before kings and even before the emperors of Rome themselves because of their witness to Jesus Christ. They didn’t and we don’t have to worry about what we’re going to say as we stand faithful to our Lord. He will give us the Holy Spirit and the Spirit will put the words in our mouths as we testify to Jesus Christ. We may be betrayed by those closest to us, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children. We have been betrayed and killed by these throughout the centuries. We need not lose heart. Jesus promises not a hair on our heads will be lost. We, like the apostles and disciples before us, are simply called to be faithful and endure all things. We may lose family, friends, worldly possessions, health, comfort, any and all things that pertain to his age, but we will win our lives for all eternity. We will receive the kingdom of God on the Last Day even as eternal life is already a present possession for us now in our hearts.

Almighty God and Father, you have forewarned us through Jesus of the things to come. Give us courage in the midst of trials and tribulations to not lose heart but to trust in the promises of Jesus when these things happen so we will win our lives in Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Don’t Be Lazy Or Get Tired Of Doing Good

#DailyDevotion Don’t Be Lazy Or Get Tired Of Doing Good

2 Thess. 36Now we order you, fellow Christians, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to keep away from any Christian who refuses to live and work as we instructed you. 7You know how you should imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you 8and took no free meals from anyone but worked hard and struggled day and night in order not to burden any of you. 9Not as though we didn’t have a right to get support. No, we wanted to give you an example to imitate. 10And while we were with you, we gave you the order, “If anyone doesn’t want to work, he shouldn’t eat.” 11We hear that some of you are living a lazy life, not doing any work, but being busybodies. 12Such people we order and encourage by the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and eat their own bread. 13And you, fellow Christians, don’t get tired of doing good.

We should not here that Paul as in 1 Corinthians does not have Christians avoid pagans and worldly people but warns us with a command to avoid people who call themselves Christians who don’t live and work as Paul had instructed them. In Corinth it was people who called themselves Christians but lived immoral lifestyles i.e. sexual sins in particular. Here we are seeing a certain work ethic. Now apparently there was a problem of some people not wanting to work and keep busy because they thought the Lord’s coming was so immanent that they probably thought, “What’s the use? The Lord will be here soon.”

However that is not the life that Paul called them to imitate of himself. Paul worked hard, earning his own living among them, as a tent-maker, to pay his way. He did this not as how those who would follow him in the ministry should make their living (he’s quite explicit to the Corinthians those who preach the gospel should make their living from the gospel) but rather how every day Christian laymen should guide their own lives. Paul and his company took no free meals from anyone in the Christian community there but worked hard day and night to pay their own way.

Such was the example he gave to every day Christian laymen (not that pastors don’t work, their work is different). Paul had given the well known order, “If anyone doesn’t want to work, he shouldn’t eat.” So we as Christians are not called to be lazy and busybodies but rather industrious people too busy working to be involved in the affairs of others (in an intrusive way). Paul most certainly wants us caring for other people but not interfering in other people’s lives. He orders and encourages by the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and eat your own bread. By such a lifestyle we commend the Lord Jesus Christ to others. Such is the origin of the “Protestant work ethic” which brought much industry to New England when our country was being founded.

Finally he ends with these words, “fellow Christians, don’t get tired of doing good.” Sometimes we do get tired of doing good. Our adversary the devil tells us to relax and don’t work so hard. He tells us it’s no use, just look at everyone else having fun and not working so hard. Well pay him no mind. Even if everyone else is playing around you don’t know the end result of their life styles. The fictional character Charlie Harper looked like everything was just an easy lark and he ended up getting killed by a train in Paris. Ok, that’s fictional, but David writes in the Psalms the Lord showed him the slippery slope such people are on not realizing their precarious position. No, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see any results from your hard work. Your Lord sees what you do in faith and he will reward you for it at the proper time. It is his opinion that matters and not man’s nor the devil’s. It is by Christ Jesus’ command that we keep ourselves busy and productive doing good as the Lord provides good things for us to be doing until his return. Our work will be tested by fire at the time and we’ll be rewarded accordingly. (1 Cor. 3)

Gracious God and Father, you will and work in your children to do good. Help us always to be busy doing the good works you have placed before us that we may glorify Jesus’ name among our neighbors and through Christ Jesus your son glorify you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion May The Word Run Well

#DailyDevotion May The Word Run Well

2 Thess. 3 Finally, my fellow Christians, pray for us that the Lord’s Word will run well and win glory as it did among you 2and we’ll be rescued from wrong-minded and wicked people. Not everyone has faith. 3But the Lord is faithful. He will strengthen you and protect you against the evil one. 4We are certain in the Lord you are doing and will be doing what we order you to do. 5And may the Lord lead you to realize how God loves you and how patiently Christ suffered.

What Paul asks the congregations to pray for is something we should keep in mind and pray for as well, for our congregations and pastors and for the Church at large. One of the things we should pray for is the Lord’s Word will run well and win glory as it has among us. Well for a lot of us we probably should be praying his Word will run well and win glory among us. It is a prayer for missions and missionaries and for all who speak the word of Christ. God does not need our prayers nor will God’s will be hindered because we don’t pray. But the Lord God has so ordered things that we work with him to accomplish his will. He has chosen to have us participate with him in saving mankind. Our God is a God of means, instrumentality. He uses the creation he has made and the creatures in it to do his will. You are one of those creatures. God wants to share his glory and glory in us. We, as his children, should want to be participants in that. It’s kind of like Martin Luther’s explanation of the Lord’s prayer—God’s will is done even without our prayer but we pray it may be done among us.

So we pray his Word may run well and particularly among us, here in our place. May the Lord indeed put his Word upon our lips and so move in our lives that through word and deed the glory of Jesus Christ is seen and heard among us so the people around us may see, hear and believe in the Good News Jesus Christ is the savior of the world. He has won eternal life for them and offers it for free among them. He has conquered sin, death and the power of the devil so they may repent of their sins and live a life worthy of the calling which the Father calls them. When this happens Christ is gloried and the Father is glorified. But again, not only in our place but wherever the Word may go, may it run well and win glory.

You, your pastors and the missionaries of the Church need our prayers to be rescued from wrong-headed and wicked people. We often make the mistake of thinking everyone has faith and are good and decent people, particularly in the Church. But as St. Paul says, “Not everyone has faith.” As such, they are still under the power of the devil who wants to gain us back to himself and wants to cut short his losses to Christ. He will use such people to hinder the message of Jesus from getting out. He will use them to persecute and even kill those who preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name. Praying God’s Word is our weapon against him and his agents.

Nevertheless the Lord is faithful. We have his promise that no one can drag out of his hand or the Father’s hand. We have his promise he will strengthen and protect us from the evil one. Because this is so we pray this in the Lord’s Prayer. We can be certain the Spirit of the Lord is moving us to will and do what he wants us to be doing.

As we walk in this life, through faith in the promises of Jesus, we will realize how much God does love us and how patiently Christ suffered Just as Christ suffered, we too will participate in his sufferings. As we participate in his sufferings, we know he the love God has toward us in Christ by having him take our sufferings upon himself in his flesh. This is the meaning of “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.” He gave him to suffer death, even death upon a cross to redeem and save us from our sins and death.

Merciful God and Father, may the Word of Christ run well among us and into the distant lands that the people you have made may hear, repent and believe it to the end they are joined to Christ and us in baptism, thereby glorifying Christ and you and the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Elijah Has Come!

#DailyDevotion Elijah Has Come!

Malachi 4. 4“Remember the instructions I gave My servant Moses at Horeb as laws and decrees for all Israel. 5“I am going to send you the prophet Elijah before the LORD’s great and terrible day comes. 6He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Otherwise I will have to come and destroy the whole country with a curse.”

So, in the end of days the prophets remembers and sees Moses and Elijah. Both with Jesus on the mount of Transfiguration. The LORD tells the prophet to remember the instructions he gave to Moses for all Israel. He also tells him he is going to send the prophet Elijah before the LORD’s great and terrible day. Elijah would be calling the people to repentance which is what is meant by restoring the hearts of the fathers to their children and vice versa.

So what do we see then? John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness calling Israel to repentance. He is restoring the hearts of the children to the fathers through preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus says, Matt. 1113“All the prophets and the Law prophesied up to the time of John, 14but he (are you willing to accept it?) is the Elijah who has to come. 15If you have ears, listen!”

Later the disciples would ask and Jesus would respond, Matt 1710..“’Why, then, do the Bible scholars say, “First Elijah has to come?’”  12‘But I tell you Elijah has already come, and people didn’t know him but treated him as they pleased. In the same way they’re going to make the Son of Man suffer.’ 13Then the disciples understood He was talking about John the Baptizer.” So John the Baptist is the Elijah to come.

Jesus then is the LORD who reminds the people of the instruction he had given them through Moses. You see the LORD had commanded to neither add or subtract from his Torah, instructions. Yet already in Malachi’s day the fathers who had returned from Babylon were doing just that. These became the traditions of the fathers that Jesus often railed about. Instead, Jesus taught what he had given from the mountain in Sinai. Jesus says, Matt 517“Don’t think that I came to set aside the Law or the prophets. I didn’t come to set them aside but to fulfill them. 18I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away, not an i or the dot of an i of the Law will pass away until everything is done.” We see in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, his Sermon on the Plain and all his other teaching teach the very spirit and meaning of the Law/Torah properly. It is harder than the easier ways of the Pharisees and it is easier than the stricter ways of the Pharisees. His teachings are exactly what he gave Moses on the mountain.

Yet, thanks be to God, Jesus has fulfilled the Law on our behalf. Having fulfilled it in his flesh, he has set aside the covenant with Moses and created new covenant in his flesh and blood on the cross. Not only with the Israelites but with all people Jesus makes a new covenant, “I will be their God and they will be my people. I will forgive them their sins and remember them no more.”  Jesus then gives us these two commandments, “Believe in the one whom God has sent [Jesus] and love your neighbor as yourself.”

As we await the great and terrible day of the LORD to come, let us continue to look to Jesus for our salvation from that day as we trust in his work and sacrifice so we may be found worthy of the resurrection to eternal life. Let us not look to our own keeping of the Law as the basis of our salvation but to Jesus’ fulfilling of it in his flesh. In doing this our hearts are returned to our Father in heaven and his heart is returned to us his children.

Almighty God, heavenly Father, you fulfill all things in your son Jesus Christ. Give us your Holy Spirit that as we hear his word, we become repentant and trust in Christ solely for our righteousness before you on the Last Day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Of Nazareth Is The Sun Of Righteousness

#DailyDevotion Jesus Of Nazareth Is The Sun Of Righteousness

Malachi 4“You see, the day will come, burning like a furnace, and all who defy God and all who do wrong will be straw. The coming day will burn them,” says the LORD of armies, “leaving no root or branch of them. 2“But for you who respect My name there will rise the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings. You will go out and frolic like calves let out of their barn. You will trample on the wicked because they will be ashes under your feet on the day when I act,” says the LORD of armies. 4“Remember the instructions I gave My servant Moses at Horeb as laws and decrees for all Israel.”

Oftentimes in prophecy you’ll get mixed images of the future. Prof. Hummel compared it to looking at a mountain range. There was stuff right up on you and then other stuff in the distance that was related but further off in the distance. Sometimes they started off with the nearest and then the farthest. Sometimes they would go back and forth. Such seems to be the case with today’s lesson. Wouldn’t it be nice if they prophets just did things the way we expected them to do in our own cultural milieu? Well, they didn’t, so deal with it.

So we get two images here, the Last Day and some time before that day but which announced the Last Days. Concerning the Last Day, it isn’t going to be pretty. This day will be like a furnace. For the LORD God is coming down from heaven and our God is a consuming fire. All who defy God and all who do wrong will be like straw. (If you’d like another image of this day I refer you to Rev. chapter nineteen). Those who defy God and those who do wrong are in fact the same people. Who are these people? Those deny Jesus is the Son of God who has come in the flesh and who have not put their trust in him. It will be a day of darkness and death.

Then there are those who respect the LORD’s name i.e Jesus Christ of Nazareth who is the LORD, YHWH. Frolicking like calves coming out of the barn we will trample upon their ashes on that day. What else is the barn but the grave and coming out of it is nothing less than the resurrection to eternal life. The Sun of Righteousness is our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Light of the World. He comes to us with healing in his wings. You might recall how he wanted to gather the Jews to himself like a hen does her chicks under her wings. On that day, in the resurrection we shall finally be totally healed of all our afflictions.

This is how John sees that day, Rev. 1118“The nations were angry, but Your anger has come, and so has the time to judge the dead, O reward Your servants, the prophets, and the holy people, little and great, who fear Your name, and to destroy those who are destroying the earth.” Yes, on that day, the dead who don’t have Christ’s life in them will be judged and will experience his wrath since they have despised his love, mercy, kindness, peace and forgiveness. Those who feared and respected the name of Jesus will receive their reward, the new heavens and new earth, with new immortal, imperishable and glorious bodies like their Lord Jesus Christ when he was raised from the dead.

So take warning lest you despise the Sun of Righteousness and his fire consume you and put your trust in him, the Son of God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth and receive eternal life in his name.

Almighty and all merciful Father, you sent your son Jesus Christ into the world to deliver man by his light. May all who hear the good news and see his light fear his name and be saved on the Last Day from the coming destruction which is due to all men for their sin and rebellion against your word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Lord Is The God Of The Living

#DailyDevotion The Lord Is The God Of The Living

Luke 2037“That the dead rise, Moses showed in the story about the bush when he called the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38He’s not the God of the dead but of the living. All who are with Him are alive.” 39“Teacher,” some Bible scholars told Him, “You have told the truth.” 40No one dared to ask Him another question.

In Jesus’ discussion with the Sadducees who do not believe in the resurrection, they had asked the question about whose wife a woman would be who had been widowed multiple times. Jesus teaches them and us that at the resurrection we are like the angel in that a. we don’t die and b. we don’t marry. So now he brings it all to a head with the comment that the dead rise because when the LORD named himself, he called himself he God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  These persons are with the LORD and he is still their God. If they were dead, the reasoning is, they wouldn’t have a God any longer. However, Jesus says, “All who are with Him are alive.”

This brings us to the very nature of life and death. On the one hand there is medical life and death, that is what we can see and observe. On the other hand there is actual life and death. So in the garden, God told Adam the day he ate the fruit is the day he would die. Adam ate the fruit. Adam died that very day. He was no longer with the LORD. The life of the LORD was no longer in him. Was Adam still respirating, blood-circulating and having brain synapses firing off? Sure, but that is not life as God knows it.

The zombie apocalypse happened way back in the garden. Paul tells us in Eph. 2:1 “You, too, were dead in your transgressions and sins,…” Seriously, the world is full of the undead. But there is a cure for zombieism. Jesus’ death and resurrection is the cure. His promises give us life. Jesus says in John 1125“I am the Resurrection and the Life…Anyone who believes in Me will live even if he dies. 26Yes, anyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” You get that? If you believe in Jesus still lives even if they are medically dead.  Bigger than that, we never die when we have faith in Jesus. Just as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are with the LORD and living so we too who have faith in Jesus are with him and more importantly he is with us. Jesus is the Lord of the living. As Christians we never die. We may close our eyes in death but we are still alive for we are with the LORD.

Eternal life is a very present possession. It is yours now in Christ Jesus. The effects of possessing eternal life means there is a resurrection. That is Jesus’ point about the three patriarchs. They are alive with the LORD. If they are alive then there must be a resurrection. We are not meant to be disembodied spirits. We are human beings. God became a human being. The God-Man(human being) rose from the dead still as a human being and ascended to the right hand of the Father. Since this is so, you too, who believe in him are joined to him and his resurrection. It is not God’s will you become angels. God did not become and angel and die for them (Heb. 1). He became one of us. Becoming one of us he preserves us in our human nature, redeems it and resurrects it on the Last Day. This is our hope as Christians. We confess it in all the creeds. I believe in the resurrection of body. And so it will be. Place your hope and the hope of your loved ones in the hope of the resurrection.

Heavenly Father, you gave your life, the life of your Son Jesus Christ to the world so we may regain the life you first gave to our parents. Grant us faith in Christ Jesus that we may possess his life now and on the day of the resurrection to dwell with you and the Holy Spirit in your Son, in whose name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotions We Will Be Like The Angels

#DailyDevotions We Will Be Like The Angels

Luke 2027Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him with this question: 28“Teacher, Moses wrote for us, “If any married man dies and has no children, his brother should marry the widow and have children for his brother.’ 29Now, there were seven brothers. The first married and died childless. 30Then the second brother married the widow, 31and so did the third. In the same way all seven died and left no children. 32Finally the woman died, too. 33Now, when they rise from the dead, whose wife will she be? You know, the seven had her as wife.” 34“In this world men and women marry,” Jesus told them; 35“but those who are considered worthy to rise from the dead and live in the other world don’t marry. 36Nor can they die anymore, because they’re like the angels. They’re God’s children and share in the resurrection.

So you probably need to know the Leverite marriage law to understand this parable somewhat. If you remember the book of Ruth, her husband died without a child so when she went back to Judah with Naomi she went to the nearest male relative to get married and have a child from that relative in the name of her husband, so that name would not disappear. Well that is what is going on here in the Sadducees story. They pose this story to Jesus to try to show him that there is no resurrection because whose wife would she be? I guess it never occurred to them that a woman in paradise could have more than one husband, after all they all could have more than one wife on this side of things. However, that is not the point.

Jesus though straightens them out. So Jesus teaches them in the resurrection i.e. the world to come, there is no institution of marriage there. People neither marry nor or given into marriage. From this the Church has extrapolated in the world to come there is no more sexual relations or children being born because the only proper place for sexual relations between men and women is in the bounds of marriage. Side note: God doesn’t care if you’re in love with someone to have sexual relations with that person. The only thing he cares about is 1. Are they the opposite sex and 2. Are they married to each other. So please forget about the whole TV/movie question about how do you know if you are ready—with the answer being, “If you love them.” That’s not morally, biblically or reasonably correct.

Jesus says we don’t die anymore because we are like the angels. Now, please, please, please read that correctly. We are like the angels, in these two points solely i.e. we don’t marry and we don’t die. We do not become angels when we die. Please quit telling people that at funerals. It isn’t biblical, it is isn’t true and it in fact denies the resurrection of Jesus Christ which is your salvation. If you are not raised from the dead, then Jesus isn’t raised from the dead, and it Jesus isn’t raised from the dead you are still in your sins and condemned. (1 Cor. 15).

So the point Jesus is making is at the resurrection of the dead, we who believe in Jesus Christ are God’s children and are raised immortal. We are raised bodily, with material bodies, to live in a material world (because material is good and indeed very good). Yet the bodies we have are spiritual, that is they, like the angels do not die. We do not die because we are live by the Spirit. Jesus Christ is our life. In fact, even now, we have eternal life. Our souls/spirit has been regenerated by the Spirit through the water and word of baptism, through faith in Jesus Christ. So we need not fear death nor despair the death of our loved ones in faith. We don’t die and our loved ones are alive and await the resurrection of the dead on the last day.

Gracious God and Merciful Father, continue to grant us faith in Jesus Christ and his resurrection that we may walk in faith in the promise of our resurrection when Chris Jesus returns on the Last Day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Lord Chose You To Be Saved & Share His Glory

#DailyDevotion The Lord Chose You To Be Saved & Share His Glory

2 Thess. 213But we always have to thank God for you, my fellow Christians, whom the Lord loves, because in the beginning God chose you to be made holy by the Spirit, to believe the truth, and so to be saved. 14“For this purpose He called you by the good news we tell; He wants you to have the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 15Stand then, fellow Christians, and cling to the instructions we gave you when we spoke to you or wrote to you. 16Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and by His grace gave us an everlasting comfort and a good hope, l7inwardly comfort and strengthen you to do and say everything that is good.

What wonderful comfort St. Paul gives us here as he gives thanks for the Thessalonians. Why does he give thanks for them? From the beginning God chose them to be holy by the Spirit, to believe the truth and to be saved. The beginning here is the before the foundation of the world as he says in Ephesians 14“He has done what in His kindness He planned to do: Before He made the world, He Who loved us 5appointed us to be made His sons by Jesus Christ…” God knowing what would happen when he created man had made a recovering plan. In that plan he chose you in Christ Jesus to be saved by believing the truth of Christ Jesus and to be made holy. Indeed St. John hears in Revelation 139“the Lamb Who was slain from the beginning of the world.” Such is the planning of your salvation by your heavenly Father.

So now the Holy Spirit has made you holy by baptism, separating apart from the rest of humanity. He has chosen you to believe truth—Jesus has died for your sins and has been raised from the dead for your justification. Through this faith in Jesus you have been saved i.e. God’s righteousness has been credited to your account. Now all this sounds pretty good when you know what the alternative is, Luke 1923“Being tormented in hell, he looked up, and though far away, he saw Abraham, and Lazarus at his side. 24‘Father Abraham,’ he called, ‘have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, because I’m suffering in this fire.’” And this, Luke 1328“Then you will cry and grind your teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in God’s kingdom but you yourselves thrown out.”

Yet your heavenly Father has even greater plans for you. St. Paul says here, “He wants you to have the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The LORD says in Isaiah 438“I am the LORD; that is My name. I will not give My glory to anyone else nor the praise I deserve to idols.” No one can arrogate God’s glory to himself or give it to idols. He may share though with whom he will. It is his intention to share his glory with his children who trust in Jesus Christ. So St. Peter writes 2 Peter 14 “you might by these promises share in the divine nature.” Paul again says elsewhere, 18“And all of us, reflecting the Lord’s glory in our unveiled faces, are changed from glory to glory to be like Him, as we expect it from the Lord, Who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 4) and again, 2 Cor. 417“The light trouble of this moment is preparing for us an everlasting weight of glory, greater than anything we can imagine.”

This the comfort of an everlasting hope comfort Paul gives to the Thessalonians and now he gives it to you. By this comfort and hope we are to be inwardly strengthened to do everything and say everything that is good. Now please not this, the good we say and do emanates from the good news and now from the law. If you would do and say more good, it isn’t the law you are to be focused on but rather what has Jesus promised to do for you. That is the way of the Spirit Paul talks about in Romans 8.

Heavenly Father, we give you thanks you chose us in Christ Jesus to be holy and saved  before the foundation of the world. Keep us in this salvation through the good news of your Son that we may participate in his glory when he is revealed and now say and do all good things. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Man Of Lawlessness Has Nothing On Us

#DailyDevotion The Man Of Lawlessness Has Nothing On Us

2 Thess. 2 Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming, and we’ll be gathered to meet Him. But we ask you, fellow Christians, 2not to lose your heads so quickly or get alarmed either by a “spirit” message or by any word or letter that seemed to come from us, saying “The day of the Lord has already come!” 3Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. First there must be a revolt, and the man of sin must be revealed, who is doomed to destruction, 4who opposes and sets himself above anyone who is called God or anything we worship, so that he sits in God’s temple and proclaims he is God. 5Don’t you remember I told you this when I was still with you? And now you know what’s holding him back so that he will be revealed when his time comes. 7This wicked thing is already working secretly, but only until he who is now holding it back gets out of the way. 8Then the wicked one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and wipe him out by coming and showing Himself.

So we have this comforting promise that our Lord Jesus Christ is coming and we’ll be gathered to meet him. Indeed when he returns, the dead in Christ will rise first and we’ll be changed and meet the Lord in the air. Now it always happens there are some Chicken Little Christians out there are get alarmed and think the sky is falling. Well they’re not completely wrong. The sky is falling but we shouldn’t be alarmed by it. In Paul’s day, some people thought the resurrection already took place and they missed it. They are much like some of our friends who erringly believe in a premillenial rapture. If somehow they thought they missed the rapture they would be devastated.

So before the Lord returns, there needs to be a revolt. This revolt takes place IN the Christian Church. You need to burn your Left Behind series books or please at least treat them as fiction. The man of lawlessness, the man of lawlessness, sometimes you may call him the Antichrist, must first come. And here’s the thing, you can quit looking for a political leader. You can also forget about a temple being restored in Jerusalem. You see he sets himself up in the Temple of God and proclaims himself as God. The Temple of God is the Church. This man of lawlessness, the Antichrist is a Church leader. For a while St. Paul says, the Holy Spirit was holding him back, even though he was at work secretly in the Church.

But he has been revealed and for quite some time now. There is one who claims if you want to be saved you must be in submission to him. He has set himself up in God’s temple the Church. Pope Boniface VIII in 1302 wrote a letter, Unam Sanctum. Much of it is very good. Then he ends is with this line, “Furthermore, that every human creature is subject to the Roman pontiff, – this we declare, say, define, and pronounce to be altogether necessary to salvation.” What is this but arrogating to yourself divinity. Granted, as a pastor to St. John’s Lateran in Rome, the pope like every pastor is bestowed the authority, through the Church, by Jesus Christ to forgive and retain sins.

On top of this, Rome has declared in the Council of Trent, you cannot be certain you are saved nor is faith in Jesus Christ alone sufficient for salvation. It has declared was St. Paul in his letters to the Romans in chapter seven not be sin what Paul clearly says is sin, namely the passions of the flesh. For these and many other errors, it has been revealed the papacy is the ‘man of sin’, the Antichrist. This he does all the while holding up Christ. The devil is indeed still the most cunning creature in all of God’s creation.

The Good News is we need not fear this nor the ‘Man of Sin’ i.e. the Antichrist. Jesus who is the real Christ stands by our side and will wipe him out with the breath of his mouth. He guards and protects our souls so we may not be deceived by him. He will bring us into his kingdom freely by his grace.

Heavenly Father may we never fear the wiles of Satan, but wholely put our faith in Jesus Christ your son uphold and sustain us unto everlasting life even as he has promised. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is “I Am” With US & For Us

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is “I Am” With US & For Us

Exodus 311“Who am I,” Moses asked God, “that I should go to Pharaoh and bring Israel out of Egypt?” 12“I am with you,” He said, “and this will be your proof that I sent you: When you bring the people out of Egypt, you will serve God on this mountain.” 13“When I go to Israel,” Moses answered God, “and I tell them, “The God of your fathers sends me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His name? what should I answer them?” 14“I AM WHO I AM,” God answered Moses, and He added: “Tell Israel: ‘I AM sends me to you.’” 15Again God talked to Moses: “Tell Israel: “The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, sends me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My title for the people of all coming generations.

AHWH ASHR AHWH, tell them AHWH sends me to you. Then in verse 15 he says, “YHWH, the God of your fathers…sends me to you.” There seems to be some debate as to what AHWH and YHWH mean. It is certainly linked to the Hebrew word HYH, to be. But it is more than mere existence or even absolute existence. This is God’s, Elohim’s, personal name he gives to the Israelites. Prof. Raabe of Concordia St. Louis says it more like, “I am here for you.” Which makes sense when you look at verse12 where God literally tells Moses, “AHWH with you.”

You see the name of God here is Gospel, it is good news! It isn’t a magical name to invoke or make golems with. It is a name of presence and of promise. AHWH is God speaking in the first person (i.e. I, me, myself). However in verse 15 God switches to the third person which we’re all familiar with YHWH. So God calls himself AHWH and tells us to call him YHWH. We speak back to him what he speaks to us. He says, “I am”, we say back to him, “He is.”

Again though, this is a name of promise and presence. So it is I am with you and he is with us. That is what the Israelites were about to learn as the LORD (YHWH) was about to deliver them from the Egyptians with a powerful outstretched arm. He was going to be with them there, through the Red Sea, through the wilderness and into the Promised Land.

Later, the prophet Isaiah would see another fulfillment of this name as he prophesies the virgin will have a child and they will call him Immanuel, which means God with us. This name uses the generic name for God, El with the word for with in verse 12 Im and the first person plural U. This of course is Jesus whom the angel Gabriel says people would call Jesus and how appropriate as we approach Advent and Christmas.

Jesus is YHWH saves and he promises us he is with us even to the very end of the age. (Matt. 28) Whenever we gather in his name he is with us. (Matt 18). He promises he will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews. 13) Jesus is the very same AHWH and YHWH who spoke to Moses and led them from Egypt to the Promised Land. Jesus in similar fashion is leading us, his Church, to the New Heavens and New Earth where righteousness reigns.

Like the Israelites who did not deserve to be brought into the Promised Land but were taken there because of a promise Jesus made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we, you, do not deserve to be taken to the New Jerusalem, the New Earth but for the sake of the promise Jesus swore by himself that all who believed on him he would raise from the dead on the Last Day and give them his kingdom. May we all remain faithful unto AHWH, YHWH, Jesus Christ of Nazareth the Lord unto he comes for us and takes us into his kingdom.

Merciful God and Father, you revealed the good news of your name to the Israelites and to us as a God who does not leave us for forsake us. Give us faith that we may always be faithful unto Jesus even as he is faithful unto us so we may enter his kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.