#DailyDevotion You Are Anxious About So Many Things

#DailyDevotion You Are Anxious About So Many Things

Luk 10:38-42  Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.  (39)  And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.  (40)  But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”  (41)  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,  (42)  but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Did Martha know what she was getting into when she invited Jesus into her house? She got not only Jesus but no doubt at the very least the twelve.  Then who else who may have followed them into the home to listen to Jesus. Now Martha is doing a good thing. She recognizes Jesus’ authority and teaching. He is a servant of the Lord, a prophet and she wants to do good to him and by doing so render a good thing to God. But if she wanted to do a good thing to God through Jesus, well there was the rest of retinue as well. She took upon herself quite a task.

Now she had a sister, Mary. When Jesus came into the house, he did not come to be served but to serve. He began to teach the crowd that was there and Mary plopped herself down at Jesus’ feet to listen to him teach. Now this in and of itself was quite something at the time. It just wasn’t heard of for women to sit at a rabbi’s feet to listen to him teach. They would normally just overhear what the men were being taught and they would later ask their husbands about it if they had any questions and they would learn from them.

Now I can really feel for Martha. Here she is doing all this work, making all this food for all these people she had invited into her home and there is Mary, her sister, just sitting there listening to Jesus and not helping out. Luke said she “was distracted with much serving.” Martha was distracted. What was she distracted from? Listening to Jesus. Jesus didn’t enter her house to be served by her but to serve her and her house with his teaching. She got caught up in worldly things when she should have been listening. There would be time for cooking and serving later. Jesus and the crowd didn’t have anywhere else to go or be any place following. But Martha was not happy with her sister Mary not helping and demanded Jesus to tell Mary to help her.

Well Jesus’ response no doubt throws a lot of people into a loop. “You are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Well isn’t that fine and dandy. But this is nothing new from Jesus. He has taught us, Mat 6:33-34 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  (34) Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Mary was seeking first the kingdom of God. Jesus here was inviting Martha to the same.” Jesus came to serve not to be served. Mary chose the one thing necessary. It was the good portion. It was to sit at Jesus’ feet and to learn from him. His word is eternal life. Everyone else could wait for worldly things. Now was the time for spiritual things.

How often we get carried away with worldly things, even at Church? We get wrapped up in serving our neighbor that we forget the one thing necessary. There is so much grasping for our attention that we forget about the good portion that God wants to give to us in Jesus. That one thing necessary, that good portion is Jesus’ teaching, his gifts that he gives at Church where the saints gather usually on Sunday morning. You have six days to serve others. Let Jesus serve you on the seventh.

Gracious and Merciful Father, we get so wrapped up in worldly things that we often forget how you desire to serve us with your word and sacrament. Forgive us our anxiousness and let us desire see you in your temple and listen to the words of your Son Jesus Christ that we may find rest in him and eternal life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Christ In You, The Hope Of Glory

#DailyDevotion Christ In You, The Hope Of Glory

Col 1:25-29  of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,  (26)  the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.  (27)  To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  (28)  Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  (29)  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

God had given Paul a stewardship of the word. Indeed all called ministers of the word through the Church share in this stewardship. It is to proclaim the mystery of Christ and make it that word more fully known. This mystery was in plain sight in the Old Testament yet it was hidden in plain site. We who have received the Holy Spirit look at and think well of course that passage is talking about Jesus, but to those who haven’t received the Holy Spirit it is still hidden. We are called to point it out and through that message create new hearts, minds and souls who see it also through the Holy Spirit.

Now Paul has chosen to reveal this mystery to you, how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It was once clear that the children of Abraham, those who he had covenanted with on Sinai were to receive this glory and this inheritance to be the saints of God. Yet the Lord intended to join to himself the Gentiles also through the preaching of the word he had given to the Jews. The Lord had told Abraham that through his seed all nations would be blessed. He had spoken through the prophet Isaiah it was too small a thing to redeem just the Israelites, he would redeem the nations as well. Jesus had told the apostles to go to all the nations proclaiming the good news. The Lord Jesus Christ intended to and accomplished the salvation of everything and everyone upon the cross.

Now what are the riches of the glory of this mystery? Christ in you, the hope of glory. The hope of glory is that Jesus comes and takes residence in your heart. Indeed not only Christ, but the Father and the Holy Spirit as well. You have been called to be a participant in the life of the Holy Trinity through faith in Christ Jesus. When you were baptized, you received the Holy Spirit and faith. You became a temple of God. You are one with Christ, you in Christ and Christ in you. Jesus is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. In Christ, you are not one with them and them one with you. Their life has now become your life. Even now, in Christ, you are seated in the heavenly places where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.

This was Jesus’ prayer in the garden, Joh 17:20-23  “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,  (21)  that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  (22)  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,  (23)  I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

This glory we may not see yet, but we believe we have received it through faith. It is a eternal weight glory we are being prepared to receive through our present sufferings. It calls us to participate in the divine nature through these promises of forgiveness, redemption, atonement, expiation, propitiation, life and salvation. What can be more glorious than communion and participation with and in the divine nature?

Almighty God and Father, you have called us to hope of glory beyond all our wildest imagination. Ever give us a more clearer vision of this glory and give us your Holy Spirit that we may more and more daily live out our lives in this glory today and everyday so people may see Christ Jesus your son in us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Do The Unexpected, Rejoice In Suffering

#DailyDevotion Do The Unexpected, Rejoice In Suffering

Col 1:24-25  Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,  (25)  of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,  .

Now that’s something you don’t see much in church today, someone rejoicing in their sufferings for the sake of the church, much less any other sufferings. I will get back to rejoicing in a second but I must address this, “I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,…” Now we know that Christ’s work upon the cross is sufficient for our salvation. He pronounced the word upon the cross, “It is complete.” There is nothing left for us to do to merit or earn our salvation. Yet, it word of Christ must still go out. His salvation must be proclaimed to all the world. In the process of that proclamation Jesus has told us, “Pick up your cross and follow me.” Just as a cross was laid upon our Lord Jesus Christ, so too, his disciples will have a cross laid upon them, particularly as they witness to Jesus’ perfect salvation.

Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians that we must suffer with Christ. We participate in his sufferings. As we participate in his sufferings we too will participate in his comfort, to be able to share his comfort with those who are suffering with Christ. Now Paul particularly here is reminding the saints in Collosae of the sufferings he is enduring for the Church. The Lord had told pastor Ananias concerning Saul, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” So we was going to suffer much for the name of Jesus as he preached Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Now concerning rejoicing, Paul tells us, Rom 5:3-5 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  (4)  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  (5)  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” We all want to escape from suffering and endure less of it. But that is the way of the flesh. Our sinful flesh hates suffering. It recognizes the suffering it endures portends its end. As saints of God and Christ we, in our inward man, knows God is working through our suffering to produce in us endurance, character and hope.  We know through our suffering our Father is preparing us to bear the weight of eternal glory. (2 Cor. 4:17)

Peter also witnesses to this here, 1Pe 1:6-7 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  (7)  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Again he says, 1Pe 4:12-14 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  (13)  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.  (14)  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”

So we will bear the cross with rejoicing that is laid upon us. We know our Father in heaven has not abandoned us when suffering but is drawing closer to us conforming us into the image of his son. He is purifying our faith. He is using our suffering to witness to the suffering of his son Jesus Christ for our salvation and the salvation of the world. Let us not then shun our suffering but instead thank God we are found worthy to suffering with and for Christ according to his glorious plan and purposes.

Heavenly Father, grant us faith to see our sufferings not as your rejection of us but rather you drawing us closer to you, conforming us to the image and likeness of our savior Jesus Christ and as a witness to the world the sufferings of Jesus for their salvation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion If You’ve Never Been Hostile Towards God, Jesus Isn’t For You.

#DailyDevotion If You’ve Never Been Hostile Towards God, Jesus Isn’t For You.

Col 1:21-23  And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,  (22)  he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,  (23)  if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

If you have never in your life been alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds towards the Lord your God, then Jesus isn’t for you. You don’t need him. But of course you were conceived and born this way. It is written, Gen 6:5 “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Again it is written, Gen 8:21  “for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” Such is the state of man that comes into this world. Paul confirms this in this other letter, Eph 2:1-3 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  (2)  in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—  (3)  among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

That doesn’t sound too good for us, does it? Yet none of us would have believed it was true apart from God’s witness against us in his word. So much has original sin corrupted our minds that we believe we are basically good people, apart from Jesus, and deserve a good afterlife and a good life now. But the word convicts of being hostile in mind towards God, alienated from his life, and dead in trespasses and sins. How can we stand before God our maker?

St. Paul tells us. Jesus has reconciled in his body of flesh, by his death you to God. This is God’s will and work towards you through his only begotten son Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Adam’s sin, in which we all participated, brought death into this world. We die because we sinned in through Adam and continue to sin. We live because through baptism we participate in the death of Jesus on the cross. He who was innocent of all sin took our sin and our punishment for sin in his own flesh, upon his own person, his soul and suffered what we deserve. Through Jesus’ flesh you participate in the punishment you deserve and God no longer counts your trespasses against you. You can be certain of that when you are baptized into his name. Paul has written, Rom 6:3-6 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  (4)  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  (5)  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  (6)  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”

Jesus has baptized you into his death so he may present you holy, blameless and above reproach on the Last Day before the Father. Paul witnesses to this fact also here, Eph 5:27 “he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Jude also testifies to it, Jud 1:24 “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,…”

Now there is an ‘if,’ “if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard” You must continue in this faith that he will do this for you and has done this for you. If you fall back into thinking you deserve eternal if because of anything you have done, you have fallen from grace. But no, stay steadfast in the faith that Jesus done this for you and you will have it. He has given you baptism as an outward sign of his promise to hold onto.

Merciful God and Father, we thank you for a great and wondrous salvation won for us by Jesus’ death. Preserve us always in this faith unto life everlasting. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The LORD Jesus Gets The Last Laugh

#DailyDevotion The LORD Jesus Gets The Last Laugh

Gen 18:10-14  The LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.  (11)  Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah.  (12)  So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?”  (13)  The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’  (14)  Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”

The LORD has come to Abraham to reaffirm the covenant he had made with him. Abraham was to have many descendants. They were to inherit the land he was sojourning in.  But first Abraham would need a son. Now Abraham did have a son through Hagar but that was not the LORD’s planned son for Abraham. He was not the child of promise. The child of promise would come from both Abraham and Sarah.

Now Sarah was old. I mean real old. She was ninety years old when the LORD told Abraham, “next year I will return and Sarah will have a son.” Hearing this, Sarah laughs to herself saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” Indeed Sarah like most women her age had reached menopause and indeed as far as childbearing goes was worn out. Perhaps the Lord miraculously preserved her ovaries. Perhaps he cause one egg to come forth into her womb to be fertilized by Abraham’s seed. We don’t know. Sarah was certainly surprised she was going to know pleasure from her husband Abraham.

The LORD asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh?” Certainly the LORD understood why she laughed. It was a laugh of disbelief. Something to the effect of  “Yeah, right!” But the LORD wants her and Abraham to have faith and believe. He gives them a word, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Is anything to marvelous or difficult for the LORD to do? Well of course not. He is the LORD. Indeed, a year would go by and the LORD returned and Abraham would have a son and he was named Isaac—which means “He Laughs.” While Sarah laughed at the LORD’s announcement he gets the last laugh.

Now the same LORD who made this covenant with Abraham and talked with him that date and reiterated his promise to him is the same LORD who would one day be joined to Abraham’s flesh and become one of his descendants. The LORD had promised through one of Abraham’s seed all nations would be blessed. The LORD would send his angel to another unlikely mother, one of whom it would be equally impossible to have a child. That would be the Virgin Mary.

Luk 1:34-37  And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”  (35)  And the angel answered her… (37)  For nothing will be impossible with God.”

A virgin who has not known a man is just as infertile as an old woman. Ok, we can do some things scientifically today, but still, it’s still impossible without the help of a man. Someone still has to donate some dna for science to do the job. But there would be no man. As the LORD told Eve, “your seed will crush his [Satan] head.” The LORD would bypass the man and would cause himself to be joined with Mary’s seed and become the promised descendent. For as he asked Sarah, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” He has his angel tell Mary, “For nothing is impossible with God.” Now the LORD made flesh also does another impossible thing. Jesus the LORD dies on the cross so man’s sin is atoned for and you and me can inherit eternal life.

Gracious God and Father, give us faith to believe the good news that we might not laugh in disbelief but wholehearted trust in your promise that through the death of your Son, our LORD Jesus Christ our sin is atoned for and the gift of eternal life is given us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion When God Gets Personal

#DailyDevotion When God Gets Personal

Gen 18:1-10  And the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day.  (2)  He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth  (3)  and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.  (4)  Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree,  (5)  while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.”  (6)  And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.”  (7)  And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly.  (8)  Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.  (9)  They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.”  (10)  The LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him.

In the Old Testament, it seems to be that when you see LORD it is when God is getting personal and acting in a covenant type of relationship. So in Genesis chapter 1 when God is creating the world he is less personal. However when he creates man forming him from the dust of the ground, he is LORD, which is the personal name for God and not just some derivative term for deity.

So the true is same here, God appears to Abraham as the LORD. He has come to act personally and in a covenantal fashion. He appears as three men standing before Abraham. Is this the Holy Trinity? Many seem to think so. The one argument against it is one of the persons sends the other two as angels to save Lot and his family. But, the LORD often appears as ‘the angel of the LORD’ so it doesn’t dismiss it as not true. The LORD has a personal interest in Abraham as the one through whom he is going to save the human race.

Now what we see in Abraham is what we see of the people of his day. He is hospitable according to his means. It is probably true not everyone living in the wilderness was hospitable. But according to people who study these things, most people were. If you showed up at someone’s tent you were going to be hospitable to them because someday you would be traveling and might be in need. You would want someone being hospitable to you. When Abraham greets his guests as lord he is not recognizing them as being the LORD. He is using a term of respect. He entreats them to stay so he may be hospitable to them. In similar fashion we should seek to see how we may be of help to those around us. It is a blessing to be a blessing to another person. As St. Paul says, Rom 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” The LORD graciously accepts Abraham’s invitation.

Now in the previous chapter the LORD changed Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah. He has made a covenant with Abraham to bless him with a son and with many descendants. He comes back again to affirm the covenant he made with Abraham. This will not be the last time. It reminds of when people get chinchy with God’s grace. They say, “If Jesus died for all my sins, why do I need to keep asking for forgiveness?” “Why do I need to be baptized if Jesus died for my sins?” “Why do I have to confess my sins to my pastor if I can go straight to God?” Etc. You think God is stingy because you are so stingy. It isn’t because your faith is great. The LORD is crazy generous. So he tells Abraham he is going to have a son in a year, the son of promise. Because we are fallen, human beings, the LORD repeats his covenant to us otherwise, we probably would fall from faith and not believe him.

Heavenly Father, ever repeat your covenant with us we have through your son Jesus Christ that our faith may ever be strengthened and we not fall away. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Lord Jesus’ Name Is Wonderful

#DailyDevotion  The Lord Jesus’ Name Is Wonderful

July 13th
Read Judg 13:1–25
Jdg 13:16-23 And the angel of the LORD said to Manoah, “If you detain me, I will not eat of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the LORD.” (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the LORD.) (17) And Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, “What is your name, so that, when your words come true, we may honor you?” (18) And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” (19) So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the LORD, to the one who works wonders, and Manoah and his wife were watching. (20) And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground. (21) The angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the LORD. (22) And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” (23) But his wife said to him, “If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.”

Yes, the Israelites are at it again. But don’t look down on them. You can be just as stubborn, stiff-necked and rebellious at times. Entering into the discipline of the Lord they cry out and the Lord hears him.

We enter the account of the beginning of Samsun. Sometime I wonder if he were the actual basis for Hercules, except Hercules was even less moral than Samsun. In any case, the Lord is having mercy on his people by giving them a judge. He would be dedicated to the Lord through the Nazarite vow. The Angel of the Lord appears to his mother who is barren and announces his future birth. Going to her husband they seek him out again and find him.

When they meet him they ask him his name. “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” He replies. Now true the name here is in its adjectival form but we are given a further clue a few hundred years later. Isa 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Hey wait a minute, that’s predicting another future barren woman, well not exactly barren, virgin (but as long as they’re virgin they can’t conceive, don’t get me started on modern fertility clinics). So the Angel of the Lord is Wonderful and the future child of the Virgin is Wonderful.

And that takes us to one more thing, the Angel of the Lord. The Angel of the Lord is God the Lord in a form we can handle. Angels are messengers and The Angle of the Lord is the supreme messenger. He is the Word of God. John 1:1ff. In other words, this is Jesus, the Lord pre-conception/birth from the Virgin Mary. There is a difference between “an” angel of the Lord and “The” angel of the Lord. “The” angel of the Lord is the Lord, the God of Israel. When we confess Jesus is Lord we mean that he is this Angel of the Lord who is the Lord. And he means to be gracious to us just like he was to Samsun’s mom and dad. That is why he came. And the fact that he is gracious and merciful to us who are undeserving is why his name is Wonderful.

Lord Jesus Christ, your name if Wonderful because in your name we have salvation and life. Grant us the same faith as Zorah and Manoah that we may trust in your mercy. Amen.

#DailyDevotion We Are In Spiritual Warfare, But Jesus Fights The Battle For Us

#DailyDevotion We Are In Spiritual Warfare, But Jesus Fights The Battle For Us

July 12th
Read Judg 7:1–23
Jdg 7:2-7 ESV The LORD said to Gideon, “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ (3) Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead.’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. (4) And the LORD said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Take them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ shall not go.” (5) So he brought the people down to the water. And the LORD said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who kneels down to drink.” (6) And the number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths, was 300 men, but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. (7) And the LORD said to Gideon, “With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand, and let all the others go every man to his home.”

There are many who attempt to lay out how good a battle planner Gideon was by whom he eliminated from his army. Some will even try to say those who lap water are better soldiers than those who knelt. But the fact of the matter is the Lord is the one who determined who was in the army and not based on the facts of who would have been a better soldier. No the Lord eliminated down to a workable size in which no one could claim it was anything or anyone but the Lord who handed the victory over Midian to Israel.

Indeed not a single sword was used by Gideon’s army to win the battle. Gideon had 300 men with horns and pottery. It was Midian’s swords who cut one another down. Eventually men of Israel captured the fleeing army and kings and then they cut them down. The battle was the Lord’s.

How often then do we who call ourselves Christians do not believe the Lord is fighting on our side. Jesus is our King, our General. Jesus is the one who fights our battles for us. He does his best work on winning us the victory when we are at our weakest point. Yet how often do we give up and give into fear and sin not trusting the Holy Spirit to give us the power to overcome our fear and sin? Far too often I would believe.

But when we are feeling the battle in the spiritual realms coming down upon our heads we need to kneel in prayer. Consider even laying prostrate before Jesus and call upon his name. Act as if Jesus has heard your prayer for help and give thanks for Jesus indeed has promised to hear us and answer our prayers that are prayed with faith in his name and at his commands. We approach life so badly most of the time because we believe it’s really all up to us. But it isn’t up to us. It’s up to Jesus. We simply need to trust him and then live the life he has instructed us to live in his Name. Our whole outlook and attitude on life will then be one of faith and not fear,
trust and not sin, love and not hate.

Lord Jesus Christ you have promised to give us the victory over sin, death and the power of the devil. Grant us such faith that we turn our lives over to your care and trust that you will do for those things which are necessary for this life and the next. Amen.


#DailyDevotion Be The Least That The Lord May Use You

#DailyDevotion Be The Least That The Lord May Use You

July 10th

Read Judg 6:1–24

Jdg 6:1  The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. Jdg 6:7-10  When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD on account of the Midianites,  (8)  the LORD sent a prophet to the people of Israel. And he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I led you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of slavery.  (9)  And I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land.  (10)  And I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not obeyed my voice.” Jdg 6:13-16  And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”  (14)  And the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”  (15)  And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”  (16)  And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”

It really is sad when we read through Judges how the people continually rebel against the Lord their God.  But really is it any different today?  How many times a life, year, month, day and hour do we rebel against God and do what we want to do?  How often do we put our trust in things other than our maker?  I dare say it is way too often.  And when we do does the Lord discipline us like he did Israel?  Hebrews 12 would seem to indicate the Lord will discipline us if we are his children.

Now where we will get really messed up here in our thinking is the whole obedience thing.  We start thinking if we just start obeying the commandments then the Lord will be pleased with us.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Just look at the Pharisees.  They were really obedient to the Law but Jesus certainly wasn’t pleased with them.  No, obedience to the Lord must come from trusting in the Lord.  It is our faith, our trust that the Lord wants.  Israel didn’t obey because they didn’t trust the Lord.  It was their lack of faith that was disturbing.  Same thing with the Pharisees.   They didn’t trust Jesus so even what looked like obedience was not from the Spirit, it was not the fruit of faith.  Even their “good works” were not pleasing to the Lord.

The Lord in our account today hears the cries of the Israelites who repent and are turning to him for help.  He calls up Gideon to be a judge over Israel.  Gideon thinks the Lord picked the wrong person.  He doesn’t have a large army to command and he is the “least” in his father’s house.  But that’s exactly who the Lord works with, the least, the foolish, those who are not to bring salvation.  Indeed, Jesus in order to win salvation for us becomes the one who is Not, even to the point of death to win the victory over sin, death and the power of the devil.

In our dealings with life and with others, particularly as we witness our faith to them, it would  be good to be like Gideon and Jesus.  Let us become the least, the weak and like those who are not and let God’s Word, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news that Jesus is the Love of God for us.  Let us share the good news that we are acceptable to God on account of Christ and that faith is what pleases him.  From that trust obedience will follow.

Lord God, heavenly Father, you called the people of Israel to repentance through trials and tribulations because they did not trust you.  Grant us such repentance and faith that we may not fall away like they did but may your Holy Spirit through the gospel give us such trust in You that we turn not to created things that obedience may flow from such faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


#DailyDevotion If Men Don’t Do Their Responsibility He Will Raise Up Women To Do It, To Their Shame

#DailyDevotion If Men Don’t Do Their Responsibility He Will Raise Up Women To Do It, To Their Shame

July 9th

Jdg 4:4-9  Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.  (5)  She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people of Israel came up to her for judgment.  (6)  She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the LORD, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun.  (7)  And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?”  (8)  Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.”  (9)  And she said, “I will surely go with you. Nevertheless, the road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.

Isa 3:11-12  Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him.  (12)  My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.

Sure it may sounds sexist or misogynistic but the fact is, it is a shame for women to rule over men.  At least it is shameful for the men.  The people of Israel had rejected the Lord again and the Lord had placed over them as judge Deborah.  The Lord gave her the gift of prophecy so she could fulfill this vocation.  As judge she calls the general of the armies of Israel to go and make battle against Sisera who was oppressing them.

Now Barak, while believing and obeying the command of Deborah refuses to go unless she is with him.  Her promise from the Lord is not enough. He needs her presence to go into battle.  This is not lost on Deborah.  Because of this, she and the Lord will not hand Sisera over to Barak in victory.  Barak will win the victory in battle but the ultimate victory will fall into the hands of another woman Jael. Jdg 4:21  “But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg, and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went down into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So he died.”

God has ordained that the responsibility of headship belongs to men.  If men will not step up to their responsibility and lead as the Lord has intended the Lord can lift up women to do what men refuse to do.  We remember it was the women who stayed with Jesus at the cross (excepting John), it was women who went to the tomb and it was women who first proclaimed the good news of the resurrection.  Why?  Because the power of God’s Word is not dependent upon the strength of men, reason, wisdom, nor anything else in all creation.  Its power is in itself and He can choose the weakest of vessels 1 Pet. 3:7 (and often prefers that to demonstrate His might) to accomplish His purposes.

Indeed it is only we are at our weakest point, when we are powerless that the power of the Gospel does its greatest work on us.  When we are utterly defeated by sin, death and the devil, the good news of the free gift of salvation on account of Christ brings us the ultimate victory, life and salvation.

Lord Jesus Christ, we pray that those who have been given the responsibility of headship would rise to the occasion trusting in your promises.  Never-the-less, in our weakness may we ever trust in your divine promises and live our life according to them. Amen.