#DailyDevotion The Joy Of Being Helpless

#DailyDevotion The Joy Of Being Helpless

Romans 5:6-11 6At the right time, while we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7A man will hardly die for a righteous person; oh, for a kind person someone may dare to die. 8But God shows how He loves us by this, that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. 9Now that His blood has declared us righteous, we are all the more certain He will save us from God’s anger. 10If while we were His enemies we were made God’s friends by the death of His Son, now that we are His friends we are all the more certain He will save us by His life. 11More than that, we rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has now given us this friendship.

At the right time, the Kairos (in Greek), calls to mind Jesus’ words from last Sunday’s Gospel lesson from Mark 1:15 “The time has come, and God’s kingdom is here.” The timing wasn’t circumstance. It was planned by God. God’s salvation for mankind, for you, occurred at the right time. At this right time what is and was your state before God? You were helpless, weak, impudent. You could do nothing to save yourself. You could contribute nothing to your salvation. You were impious, ungodly which is juxtaposed with helpless telling being ungodly and being helpless go together. Had you been godly you wouldn’t be helpless. But as it is, you were helpless and ungodly.

I take great comfort in this. You may be scratching your head wondering why. Well if I was helpless and could do nothing to save myself, then I can rest most assuredly in the work of Jesus Christ. If I had to power to do something and I didn’t, then I most assuredly be damned. I would have messed it up, fallen short and I’m pretty certain I have already messed it up and fallen short. But Jesus has not messed up nor fallen short. His work of salvation for me is perfect and complete.

Not only was I helpless and ungodly, Paul says I was a sinner and an enemy of God. I thank God that these things are past tense. But when I came into the world I was indeed all these things. I had nothing to offer God nor could I do so. My salvation, your salvation, the salvation of all people depends solely and only on the work of God in Christ Jesus.

So what did Christ do? He died for the helpless, ungodly and sinners. The great love of God moved him to send Jesus to die for us, in our place, the death we deserve (the wages of sin is death). We then get this now and not yet from St. Paul. Now we are declared righteous, justified by the blood of Christ. Now are God’s friends by the death of his son. This is all God’s doing. It does not depend upon me. Then, at the eschaton (Last Day) we will be saved from God’s wrath. Then, we will be saved by his life. Our translation says we have been made God’s friends, but this is really an interpretation of being reconciled to God. The Father has reconciled us to himself by the death of Jesus. We rejoice in this reconciliation in that God no longer holds our trespasses against us. We can rejoice now knowing God is no longer angry with us because of our sins and will not hold them against us on the Last Day. Our salvation is most definitely only and solely the work of God in Christ Jesus.

Heavenly Father, when we were helpless, ungodly, sinners and your enemies, your great love for us sent your only begotten son into the world to bear our flesh and in this flesh obtain justification and reconciliation for us. Grant us you Holy Spirit that we may believe this and rejoice in it always. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Peace Of God In Christ Jesus Goes A Long Way

#DailyDevotion The Peace Of God In Christ Jesus Goes A Long Way

Romans 5:1–5 Now that we have been declared righteous through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2who gave us access to God’s grace, in which we stand. We boast in the hope of God’s glory. 3More than that, we also boast of our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces patient endurance, and patient endurance produces a genuine Christian character; and a genuine Christian character produces hope.4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5In this hope we’re not disappointed, because the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us, poured God’s love into our hearts.

So, God credits our faith in Jesus Christ, who he is, what he did, and what he promises us as righteousness. This faith itself is a gift from God when we hear this good news of who Jesus is, what he did and what he promises to do for us. If we are counted as and declared righteous through faith in Christ then we can stand before God with a clear conscience and have peace with God. At any moment in time we can remember how God looks at us in Christ Jesus and know and believe God is at peace with us and us with God. The good news is that we have this access to God’s grace not based on what we do but through our LORD Jesus Christ. If we look at ourselves we cannot have peace with God because if we are honest with ourselves we will see nothing but our sins, perhaps we may see works wrought by God the Holy Spirit, but even then we see them tainted by sin. So we must always look to Jesus as our access, our means, to God the Father and have peace with him.

St. Paul also says, on account of this we boast in the hope of God’s glory. If we have God’s righteousness through faith in Christ Jesus we also will have God’s glory. Some Christians seem to be pretty limited with the grace of God in Christ Jesus. They say, “If I am forgiven, that is enough.” That may be true, but after eating your broccoli and brussel sprouts, you probably don’t stop there but you proceed to the porterhouse steak and double chocolate fudge cake with chocolate syrup. Our Father in heaven wants us to rejoice in all his gifts. His glory is one more of those gifts he bestows upon us for the sake of Jesus.

And more than boasting of receiving God’s righteousness and his glory we also boast of our sufferings. Wait! What!? God uses our suffering to accomplish this progression in us: patient endurance, character, and hope. In 2 Corinthians Paul tells us our sufferings are a participation in Christ’s sufferings. When we are suffering we need not fear that God is angry with us. When suffering we remember that God is at peace with us and we are at peace with him for the sake of Jesus. Our Father in heaven is disciplining us so we may share in his holiness and bear the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Heb. 12) The peace of God helps us through whatever it is we are undergoing. We can get through anything knowing we have peace with God and he is working through this suffering for a good purpose for us. So we can conclude with St. Paul, “In this hope we’re not disappointed, because the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us, poured God’s love into our hearts.” Yes, in Christ, through faith in him, we have God’s peace, God’s righteousness, God’s glory and God’s love.

Heavenly Father, when circumstances in our lives make us doubt your love for us and our reconciliation with you with, remind of the work of Christ on our behalf so we may live at peace with you and rejoice in your good work in us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion You Are New Creations In Christ Jesus

#DailyDevotion You Are New Creations In Christ Jesus

Genesis 17:1–7, 15–16 When Abram was 99, the LORD appeared to him. “I am God Almighty,” He told Abram. “Live before Me and be perfect. 2And I will make My covenant with you, and I will make you the father of very many people.” 3Then Abram bowed down to the ground, and God told him: 4“This is My covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations, 5and you will no more be called Abram [High Father) but Abraham [Father of Many], because I made you a father of many nations. 6I will give you very many descendants and make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7I will keep My covenant with you and with your descendants after you in their generations — an everlasting covenant it will be. I will be your God and the God of your descendants…17Abraham bowed down to the ground and laughed. “Does a man have a child when he’s a hundred years old?” he said to himself. “And is Sarah going to have a child when she’s ninety?”

Sometimes we may wonder if Jesus died on the cross for our sins why do I need to keep asking for forgiveness. Then we may also wonder why we need to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. We may ask ourselves why do we need to go to the LORD’s Supper often for the forgiveness of sins or why do I need to keep going to church if I already have been forgiven. The answer lies in this, why did the LORD keep repeating the covenant he made with Abraham, now the fourth but not the last time? I can only think the LORD knows we need to hear it regularly for like the Israelites we are a stiff-necked people. Our sinful flesh, our circumstances, and the world make us doubt at times or forget sometimes all of God’s promises to us. I am certain, with the number of times Abram lied about his wife Sarai to kings, he forgot as well.

Now in this particular rendition of the covenant the LORD makes with Abram he changes the names of both Abram and Sarai. We see in this rendition of the covenant the LORD changes Abram’s name to Abraham and he changes Sarai’s name to Sarah. Now I have heard, but I don’t know if it’s true that the LORD, i.e. YHWH, when he makes his covenant here with Abraham and Sarah that he is giving him part of his name, in particular an H from YHWH. If true this is similar to when the LORD Jesus Christ gives us his name when we are baptized, of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Abraham and Sarah are now new people in the LORD hence a name change. When you enter into a covenantal relationship with the LORD you get a new name. You become a new creation. In the New Testament we see Simon become Peter and Saul become Paul. Up until recently, when you were baptized you received your middle name, your Christian name, signifying you have become a new person. Paul writes in 2 Cor. 5, 17“So if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. They have become new.” In Revelation 2 and 3 the LORD Jesus Christ promises us a new name and his new name if we are faithful to the end. We are new creations now having received the name of God in baptism. We have a new spirit, new mind and the like. Then we will be completely renewed, body and soul. And just like Abraham who needed to hear the covenant repeated to him, we need to hear Jesus’ covenant with us repeated in all its form to remain faithful to be transformed by it.

Heavenly Father, as you gave Abraham a new name when you made you covenant with him, you also in Christ Jesus give us your name and new name as you remake us into Christ’ image. Continually hold forth your covenant with us before our eyes so we may be faithful to the end. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Israel, God’s Son, Who He Delights In

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Israel, God’s Son, Who He Delights In

Mark 1:9–15 9It was in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10Just as He stepped out of the water, He saw heaven torn open and the Spirit coming down as a dove on Him. 11And a voice from heaven said, “You are My Son, Whom I love. I am delighted with You. 12Then the Spirit drove Him out into the wilderness, 13and He was in the wilderness for 40 days while Satan tempted Him. He was there with the wild animals. And the angels served Him. 14After John had been put in prison, Jesus went to Galilee and preached God’s good news: 15“The time has come, and God’s kingdom is here. Repent, and believe the good news.”

Mark seems to be simple and abbreviated at times when he gives an account of the life of Jesus. We certainly do not get a full theological treatise on what the baptism of Jesus means here. You won’t get one here but perhaps this devotion will get you started. First is the amazing fact that Jesus is getting baptized. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus had no sin so what gives with that? Jesus is being baptized in our place, fulfilling for us in baptism which we could not do for ourselves. He is making it a holy thing for us. I believe also he is being identified as one of us here, sinners. We mostly focus on Jesus taking our sins upon himself on the cross and rightly so, but I think he is doing that here as well.

Then there is the whole aspect of being baptized in the Jordan, in the wilderness. Chad Bird somewhere noted Jesus here is taking Israel’s place. It was here the people of Israel came out of the wilderness and entered into the Promised Land having been tested by God. As we shall see shortly, it is here Jesus goes into the wilderness to be tested by Satan on our behalf. As you read the history of Israel, you will see they failed pretty miserably the testing they received, but the LORD was gracious and let them enter anyway. They also did a pretty poor job of being the people of God once they entered. Jesus in his baptism is identified as Israel.

Having been baptized we see the Trinity revealed to us, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father speaks, “You are My Son, Whom I love. I am delighted with You.” This is more of the Father counting Jesus as Israel. In Matthew 2:15 Jesus is identified with Israel when he comes out of Egypt. Unlike Israel who crossed the Jordan with whom the Father is not pleased, he is pleased with Jesus. Jesus being identified as Israel fulfills all that God commanded Israel and all God’s promises to Israel are fulfilled in Jesus Christ of Nazareth and to all who are joined with him.

Jesus is tempted in the wilderness by Satan and does not fall into sin. Jesus has overcome temptation for us. When tempted we remember Jesus has overcome our temptations for us, in our place. Only the good news overcomes temptation and sin. God’s kingdom has come is the good news. Jesus is God’s kingdom. He overcomes sin, death and Satan for us. As such we are called to believe this good news and have a change of mind, that is trust in God the Father in Jesus’ name and be baptized. When you are baptized Jesus’ righteousness becomes yours, you receive the Holy Spirit and the Father speaks to you, “You are My Son, Whom I love. I am delighted with You.

Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for sending your son Jesus Christ to be our substitute and win your kingdom for us. Grant us this faith always so we may overcome temptation, through Jesus Christ, your Son our LORD who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Overcome Your Temptations With The Gospel

#DailyDevotion Overcome Your Temptations With The Gospel

James 1:12–18 12 Blessed is the man who endures patiently when he is tested. When he passes the test, he will receive the crown of life God promised those who love Him. 13When you’re tempted, don’t say, “God is tempting me.” God can’t be tempted to do wrong, and He doesn’t tempt anyone. 14Everyone’s own desire tempts him, draws him away, and tries to trap him. 15When desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin grows up, it gives birth to death. 16 Don’t make a mistake, my dear Christian friends. 17Every good and perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 18As He wanted it, He gave birth to us by the Word of truth so we would be the first and best of His creatures.

So, if you think by becoming a Christian everything is going to start going easy for you, you couldn’t be more gravely mistaken. You have become an enemy of Satan and the world. You still live in the world. Even your own flesh is not your friend. You are going to be tested, experience trials and be tempted. But you have these words, this promise to help you to hold fast to your faith in Christ, “Blessed” and you “will receive the crown of life,” This is nothing new. Jesus promised you’d be blessed in the Beatitudes if you endure. Peter writes in his first epistle, 16 “This delights you, although now for a little while you may have had to suffer various trials. 7Gold is tested by fire, and your faith, when it is tested, should be found to be much more precious than gold, which perishes. This is how you will have praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ appears again.” Jesus says in Rev. 3 11“Cling to what you have and don’t let anyone take your crown. 12Be victorious, and I will make you a pillar in the temple of My God, and you will never leave it again. I will write on you the name of My God and the name of the city of My God — the new Jerusalem coming down from My God in heaven – and My new name.” Paul writes in 2 Cor. 4, 17 “The light trouble of this moment is preparing for us an everlasting weight of glory, greater than anything we can imagine.”

Now it is not God who tempts you and puts you in all sorts of trials. Remember you are in enemy territory and an enemy of Satan and the world. James also speaks here of our temptations to sin. Now God most certainly does not tempt you to sin. But then is the source of our temptation to sin? Your desire. The Greek word is epithumia, in the Latin concupiscentia, in the negative sense we translate lust or covetousness. When we desire to get something in a way God has forbidden that is sinful. Adam and Even desired to be like God by eating the fruit. They were already made in his image and likeness. Such desire gives birth to sin if not checked. But the way to overcome temptation is not by the Law, but the Gospel. The Gospel here is “Every good and perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father of lights.” In Psalm 37 it is written, 4“Delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desire.” Remember, God is not keeping anything good from you and gives you all good things. Remember you are children of God as James says, “He gave birth to us by the Word of truth so we would be the first and best of His creatures.” In Matthew 7 Jesus reminds us our evil Fathers give us good things. How much more will our Holy and Good Father in heaven give us his Holy Spirit and all good things if we ask him? So when tempted by your desires, turn to your Father in prayer, believe you are his child, believe he will provide you will all good things, and trust that he has done so.

Heavenly Father, you are the giver of all good gifts. Give us your Holy Spirit that we may desire good things and receive them from you for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion What Are You Willing To Sacrifice To The LORD?

#DailyDevotion What Are You Willing To Sacrifice To The LORD?

Genesis 22:1–18 After this God tested Abraham. “Abraham!” God said to him. “Yes,” he answered. 2 “Take your only son Isaac, whom you love,” He said. “Go to the country of Moriah, and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the hills I will point out to you.” 3Early the next morning Abraham harnessed his donkey. He took two of his servants and his son Isaac with him. He cut the wood for the burnt offering. Then he started out for the place God told him about. 4On the third day Abraham looked and saw the place in the distance. 5Then Abraham said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey. I and the boy will go over there and worship. Then we’ll come back to you.” 6Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac while he took the fire and the knife in his hands. And both were walking together. 7Then Isaac said to his father, “My father.” “Yes, my son,” he answered. “We have the fire and the wood,” said Isaac, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” 8“God will provide Himself with a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And so both walked on together.

This account in the Bible really sets a number of people off. How can a loving God ask Abraham to sacrifice his own son, his only son by his wife? The LORD comes off bloodthirsty and mean. Many of these same people have no problem though with a woman sacrificing the child in her womb to the gods of convenience and happiness. How can Abraham give consent to this horrific request by the LORD? The LORD though is God. He is the only God. He has made a covenant with Abraham. Who is Abraham to refuse God? The author of Hebrews tells us something we don’t know here. In chapter 12 he writes, “17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered Isaac. Yes, this man, who received the promises 18and was told: ‘Isaac’s children will be called your descendants,’ was sacrificing his only son, 19thinking, ‘God can even raise him from the dead.’” In chapter 17 of Genesis the LORD had promised, 16“I will bless her and by her give you a son; I will bless her, and she will be the mother of nations and of kings of people.” And again the LORD says, 19 “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac, and I will keep My covenant with him, an everlasting covenant with his descendants.”

This faith in no way made it any easier for Abraham to do what the LORD had asked him to do. He must have felt conflicted. The LORD promised this and now he’s asking to do this thing which seems to go against the promise. You and I have the promise of the resurrection. We still grieve greatly at the loss of a spouse, child or parent. Yet what we see Abraham doing is exactly what the Father does when he sends his son, his only begotten son, Jesus Christ to the cross.

On the first day Abraham set out, Isaac was as good as dead. On the cross there on Golgatha Jesus was as good as dead. Indeed, he did die. Abraham laid the wood on Isaac to prepare him for the sacrifice. The Father through the hands of the Roman soldiers laid the wood of the cross upon God’s only begotten son for his sacrifice. While Abraham laid the wood on Isaac on the third day he also receives Isaac back from the dead on the third for the LORD did not make him go through with the sacrifice. On the third day Jesus literally does rise from the dead and we received him back as our LORD and Savior. The LORD provided a sacrifice in the place of Isaac, a ram. The LORD provides a sacrifice in substitution for us, Jesus Christ the LORD, his life for our death, his righteousness for our sins.

Heavenly Father, grant that we may have the faith of Abraham that we would be willing to sacrifice all for the sake of having Jesus Christ as our LORD. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Who Do You Want To Be Praised?

#DailyDevotion Who Do You Want To Be Praised?

Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21 [1[Jesus said:] “Be careful not to do your good works before people to be seen by them. If you do, your Father in heaven will not reward you. 2So when you give to the poor, don’t blow your horn, as hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets to be praised by people. I tell you, that’s really all the reward they’ll get. 3When you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4that your giving may be secret. Then your Father, Who sees what is secret, will reward you.” 5“When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites, who like to stand praying in synagogues and on street corners in order to be seen by people. I tell you, that’s really all the reward they’ll get. 6But when you pray, go into your own room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, Who is with you when you’re alone, and your Father, Who sees what is secret, will reward you…16“When you fast, don’t look sad like hypocrites. They disfigure their faces to show people they are fasting. I tell you, that’s really all the reward they’ll get. 17But when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face 18so that no one will see you fasting except your Father, Who is with you when you’re alone. And your Father, Who sees what is secret, will reward you.” 19“Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy them and thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where no moth or rust destroys them and no thieves break in and steal. 21Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.

Between this text and the text from Joel, sometimes we may wonder about the practice of putting ashes on our foreheads. For some people, perhaps it is appropriate. They want everyone to know they are a good “X” and went to church and did their thing. So for them, they may to hear these words of Jesus and repent. For those who receive them to remind themselves they are mortal and need to repent and are reminded throughout the day, as they wipe their forehead and then ashes on whatever they are touching, they need to be repentant, it can be a good spiritual practice.

What do I mean? The one key to this text are these words, “to be seen by them” and its variants in this lesson. Jesus does not condemn people who do good works openly. He actually commends it here in chapter 5, 16“So let your light shine before people that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven.” So we see it is the motivation of why we do things publicly whether good works, giving to the poor, praying or fasting. Are we doing them to be praised by people? We need to repent. Are we doing them so our Father in heaven is praised?

Finally, Jesus makes a direct attack upon one our major deities in our pantheon of gods we turn to for every good, strength and hope…worldly wealth, mammon. Jesus calls us to repent of serving and sacrificing to this false god. Instead, we should be sacrificing this false god every chance we can. So Jesus says don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth but in heaven. Every time we are worried about money, how will we make it in this world, how will we be provided for in the future, take some of your worldly wealth and give it to one of Jesus’ representatives, the widow, the orphan, the poor, foreigners and his pastors. In doing so, you will store it for yourselves in heaven and be praised by them in eternity.

Jesus came to serve you and still does at the right hand of the Father.

Heavenly Father, may we do good works so you are praised and not ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

#DailyDevotion Be Reconciled To God, Now, Right Now, Today!

#DailyDevotion Be Reconciled To God, Now, Right Now, Today!

2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10 20b We ask you for Christ, “Be reunited with God.” 21God made Him Who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we would have the righteousness of God. 6 As men who are working with God we plead with you: Don’t let God’s grace be wasted on you. 2He says: At a favorable time I have heard you; On the day of salvation I have helped you. Look, now is the favorable time. Look, now is the day of salvation.

Kind of a strange place for this lectionary reading to begin. I think I would have started with, 19“In Christ God restored the relationship of the world to Himself by not counting their sins against them,…” Before we do anything God must take the first step. In verse nineteen we see the Father takes the first step in restoring the relationship we have with him in Christ. He restores us to himself by not counting our sins against us.

On this basis then Paul says, “Be reunited with God.” I’m thinking the translation “be reconciled” is probably better here. Most often this is interpreted as meaning our part in reconciliation is accepting and believing what God has done for on his part in Christ Jesus. I think for some of us that is a start. It opens the door for something else on our part. You see, a lot of people are angry, upset and disappointed at God. There’s been illness, disease, death, loss of loved ones. People have experienced horrific things in their lives. If God is Almighty why did he let this stuff happen or worse why did he send it upon us? Grant it, who are we to talk back to our make and question what he has allowed or done? Yet, we still have these resentments against God. People don’t change, much. I’m certain the people in Paul’s day often had these thoughts and feelings. So based on God the Father being reconciled to us and no longer counting our sins against us in Christ Jesus, we too should take our resentments towards God and place them on Christ Jesus on the Christ and be reconciled to God.

Paul then wraps this thought up with “God made Him Who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we would have the righteousness of God.” What great mystery and wonder is this grace! Jesus who knew no sin became sin for us. Some interpret this as being short hand for sin offering. Well Jesus is most certainly that at well. Yet even more, all our sin, the sin of the world is placed on Christ at his baptism and on the cross. What else can Christ be but sin on the cross. O great mystery! He does this so we become the righteousness of God. Our righteousness is but filthy rags but in Christ our righteousness becomes God’s righteousness. We are made and identified with God’s righteousness.

So Paul begs us to not let God’s grace be wasted on us. Now is the favorable time. Now is the day of salvation. As Joel cried out, “Right now turn to God.” The author of Hebrews quotes Psalm 95, 7“Today, hear if you will, His voice: 8Don’t get stubborn as at Meribah, as on that day at Massah in the wilderness…” If you have been putting off being reconciled to God don’t wait any longer. You don’t have any more time than Now, Right now, Today to do it. If you pass this world without trusting God has reconciled himself to you in Christ Jesus and letting go of everything you have against God for the sake of Jesus, then God’s grace will most certainly have been wasted on you. Don’t let that happen.

Heavenly Father, even as you have reconciled us to yourself in Christ Jesus on the cross, may we have faith in this reconciliation to reconcile ourselves to you so we may become your righteousness now and on the day of Christ’s revelation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Turn Back To The LORD Jesus Christ Right Now!

#DailyDevotion Turn Back To The LORD Jesus Christ Right Now!

Joel 2:12–19  12“Right now,” says the LORD, “return to Me with all your hearts, with fasting, weeping, and mourning.” 13Tear your hearts and not your clothes, and turn to the LORD your God because He is gracious, merciful, slow to. get angry, full of kindness, and relents from disaster. Who knows – 14He may relent and leave behind Him a blessing -gifts of food and drink for the LORD your. God?… 17Then the LORD was zealous for His country and took pity on His people. 19The LORD answered His people: “Now I’m sending you fresh grain, new wine, and olive oil, until you are, satisfied. And I will no longer let you be a disgrace among the nations.

Joel appears to be a prophet in the southern kingdom of Judah. The verses before these foretell an army coming to devastate the land at the bequest of the LORD God Almighty, Israel’s and Judah’s God. Why would their God threaten them with such destruction? They were not faithful to the LORD their God. They worshipped other gods besides him. They gave credit to these other gods for their good fortune instead of the LORD. To top that off, the people did not offer their sacrifices at the place designated by the LORD. They did not offer the LORD their best when they did offer sacrifices.

Because their hearts were not set on the LORD in their worship their hearts were cold to their fellow man as well. The widow, the orphan, the poor, the foreigner and the Levite were not provided for as the LORD had directed in the Torah, the Law. Worse! They were taken advantage of by the LORD’s people. They murdered for money, prostituted their daughters and sons, sold their fellow Israelites into slavery to make a buck. While our country is not a theocracy nor is it Church, how are we as Church, as God’s people in this place having mercy on those around us, the widow, the orphan, the poor, the foreigner and our pastors? What does James say? 127“Your way of worshiping is pure and stainless before God the Father if you look after orphans and widows in their troubles and keep yourself unspotted by the world.”

To Judah and to us the prophet Joel speaks, 12“’Right now,’ says the LORD, ‘return to Me with all your hearts, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13Tear your hearts and not your clothes, and turn to the LORD your God because He is gracious, merciful, slow to. get angry, full of kindness, and relents from disaster.’” We should examine ourselves daily according to the Word of God. Where have we failed or fallen short? Where have we rebelled? There is a chance, right now to repent. Right now, today! Turn to the LORD Jesus Christ and believe the word of the prophet Joel. He is gracious, merciful, slow to get angry, full of kindness and relents from disaster. This is the name the LORD gave us in Exodus 34. It is the reason we should repent, turn from our selfish, self-centered ways and start looking after those in need in front of us. Maybe we can even search for people needing our help. That is what God in Christ Jesus has done for us, for you. It’s what he’s doing right now as you are reading this. Let him change your hearts of stone into hearts of flesh that love even your enemy and do good to him. You were once God’s enemy and he sacrificed Jesus for you. If you believe this, you will do likewise.

Heavenly Father, give us repentant hearts that turn away from our selfish ways and turn to you for mercy, kindness, love and forgiveness so as we receive these things from the hand of Jesus we may give them freely to those we meet along the way. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.