#DailyDevotion So Where Do Your Troubles Really Originate?
Psalm 25 22“O God, free Israel from all their troubles! 4O LORD, help me know Your ways and teach me Your paths. 5Lead me in Your truth and teach me, because You are the God who saves me. I am always looking to You for help. 6Remember, O LORD, how merciful and kind You’ve always been. 7Don’t remember how I sinned and did wrong when I was young. You are so kind – remember me and show how good You are, O LORD.
The Psalm for Pentecost Sunday begins with verse twenty-two. It is a plea to God to free Israel from all their troubles. The troubles they have are not the Assyrians, the Egyptians or the Babylonians. They troubles they have are their own sins, their rebellious hearts and their stiff-necked spirits. They had hearts of stone that did not trust in the LORD their God. We too are born into this world with the same stick-necked spirits and rebellious spirits. So we like David and the Israelites must call upon the LORD to free us from our troubles, all of which are of our own making.
To free us from our problems we must know the ways and paths of the LORD. But apart from the Holy Spirit it is impossible. Certainly we may and others without the Spirit may sound and look an awe-full like we have the Spirit. But in actuality we do not. We need a complete paradigm shift in our thinking. We are sinful. To sin is be off target. You don’t have to be a lot off target. Spirituality or rather life with God isn’t like horseshoes and hand grenades. There is no close enough. To be on target with God you need to be born from above. You must have the Holy Spirit.
So it is no wonder these verses are used in the introit. It is Pentecost when Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit makes us born from above. He changes our minds. He puts us on target. The Holy Spirit makes known to us the ways of the LORD. He teaches us the LORD’s paths. Now the world may see knowing the ways of the LORD and his paths as do all the right things and don’t do all the wrong things. They are quite insistent on it. It’s why they look and sound a lot like Christians. Christians indeed are concerned about such things but…in a different paradigm.
The ways, the paths, the truth of the LORD is to be taught humility before the LORD Jesus Christ and humility before our fellows. To be humble before the LORD Jesus Christ is to be utterly, totally, completely and thoroughly dependent upon the grace and mercy of our LORD Jesus Christ. It is to trust him for all things, not least of all the forgiveness of our sins, our justification, redemption, ransom and a good conscience before God the Father. David acknowledges Jesus is the God who saves him. David is always looking to Jesus for help. He confesses Jesus is the one who has always been merciful and kind to him. David looks to Jesus to forget his sins and the wrongs he did. We must have such a change in thinking too. The best we can do without the Spirit is to be terrified of our sins. Only with the Spirit the rest comes to us. So we plead with Jesus to always give us this Spirit so we may always be humble before Jesus and receive all good things from him. We remind him of all his kindness to us and to remember to show us how good he, the LORD Jesus Christ is.
Then we can be humble and be of service to our fellow man as our LORD Jesus Christ has served us.
O almighty and merciful Father, give us your Holy Spirit what we may be born from your heart, be humble and trust that we receive all good things from you through your son, our LORD Jesus Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Who Fulfills Your Thirst?
John 7 370n the last day, the great day of the festival, as Jesus was standing there, He called out loudly, “If you’re thirsty, come to Me and drink. 38If you believe in Me, streams of living water will flow from you, as the Bible has said.” 39By this He meant the Spirit, Whom those who believed in Him were to receive. The Spirit had not come yet, because Jesus hadn’t been glorified yet.
When Jesus says to come to him if you are thirsty he is referencing Isaiah 55, “Oh, come to the water, all you who are thirsty! You who have no money, come, buy and eat. have no money come buy and eat Come and buy grain without money, and wine and milk that costs nothing.” Jesus identifies himself, he points to himself as the very LORD who has spoken these words to Isaiah. Pointing to himself as the one who fills our thirst he is the LORD who in Psalm 36 it is said, “You let them drink from Your river of delights. 9With You is the spring of life,…”
The Psalmist tells us, 42 “As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. 2 I thirst for God, the living God.” He says in 63 “O God, You are my God; I’m eagerly looking for You, I’m thirsting for You. My body faints with longing for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Again he says in 143 6 “I spread out my hands to You, longing for You like thirsty ground.” Those who belong to God have such a thirst for God within them. Jesus is this God, this LORD, the Psalmist speak to and about. Because of the condition of our souls and the condition of our flesh, we who know there is a God, the God of the Bible, those whom the LORD will call unto himself and has chosen to be his people before the foundation of the world thirst for this God and this LORD.
Jesus calls out to us who have a thirst for the LORD, who thirst for righteousness, to come to him and drink. He calls us to believe in him as he told the woman at the well he would give living water to the one who trusted in him. This living water is the Spirit of God. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit into us who believed in him. The apostles had not yet received the Spirit yet because Jesus had not been glorified by the cross or his ascension to the right hand of God. But once Jesus had been glorified his pours out his Spirit upon all flesh. To those whom the Spirit creates faith in Jesus and they believe he makes them his holy temple.
This Spirit also gives us eternal life and is eternal life. When the Spirit makes us born from above the life that is Jesus from eternity at the Father’s side becomes our life. This life is ours now and the proof it is ours now is our faith in Jesus. In the world to come our eternal life will be made manifest as it says in Revelation 21, “To anyone who is thirsty I will give water, without cost, from the spring of the water of life.” That which is prophesied in Isaiah, that which Jesus promises in the Gospels, it is fulfilled now and on the day of his revelation. The Spirit of God and the Life of God filling us and pouring forth from us unto time without end.
Merciful God and Father, in your word you promise to give us the living waters, the Holy Spirit without cost which will be overflowing forth from us. Always give us this living water so we may rightly believe and confess Jesus Christ as LORD now and forever. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Make No Mistake, We Are In The Last Days
Acts 2 12 They were all amazed and puzzled. “What can this mean?” they asked one another. 13Others sneered: “They’re full of new wine.” 14Then Peter got up with the eleven, raised his voice, and addressed them: “Jews and all you who live in Jerusalem, understand this, and listen to what I say. 15These men are not drunk, as you suppose. Why, it’s only nine in the morning. 16 No, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about: 17In the last days, God says, “I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Then your sons and your daughters will speak God’s Word, your young men will have visions, and your old men will have dreams. 18In those days I will pour out My Spirit on My servants, both men and women, and they will speak God’s Word. 19I will give you startling wonders in the sky above and marvelous signs on the earth below; blood and fire and a cloud of smoke; 20the sun will turn dark and the moon to blood before the coming of the Lord’s great and splendid day. 21Then everyone who calls on the Lord’s name will be saved.”
Hearing the great wind and then hearing the apostles speak the Good News of Jesus Christ in their own native language the crowd had to wonder, “What does the mean?” Some had thought the apostles were drunk. Peter tells them it’s only nine in the morning (apparently Jerusalem isn’t New Orleans). Peter though points out to what this sign meant. It was the fulfillment of what the prophet Joel had spoken about.
I would like to particularly key in on the phrase, “in the last days.” We often think the last days are at some point in the distant future. I’m guessing it must because to us it seems as if the LORD has seemed to have delayed his revelation on the Last Day. We’ve been conditioned by the false teacher Scoffield with his false bible notes in the nineteenth century to think the seals, trumpet and vials of Revelation must take place in order in a certain time period. But Peter tells us no, don’t believe these lies of Satan to make you lazy in your faith and so you will be caught unawares when our LORD Jesus Christ returns.
The last days began with Jesus’ crucifixion. In Matt. 27 it is written, 45 “At twelve o’clock darkness came over the whole country and lasted until three in the afternoon.” This was not an eclipse. Eclipses do not last this long. No, this was the fulfillment of the prophesy the sun will turn dark and the moon to blood. You may object and say Matthew doesn’t mention the moon. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Matthew again notes, 51 “Just then the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth was shaken, the rocks were split, 52the graves were opened, and many bodies of the holy people asleep in death were brought back to life;…” Such startling wonders in the sky above and the earth below. The Jewish crowd hearing this would have witnessed all these things themselves as they had originally had come to Jerusalem for the Passover when our LORD Jesus Christ was crucified. Peter tells by the Holy Spirit we are in the last days. Wake up! Be repentant!
Joel says, “Then everyone who calls on the Lord’s name will be saved.” The LORD there he refers to the LORD, the Creator, the God of Israel. Peter points us to see this LORD is the very same Jesus Christ of Nazareth. That great and splendid day of the LORD is Jesus’ resurrection. In his resurrection Jesus showed us he is the LORD, the God of Israel in the flesh. So now, if you want to be saved call upon his name. Trust in the name of Jesus to save you from the judgment to come and he has promised you will be saved. He does not nor cannot lie.
Merciful God and Father, in these last days may the name of your only-begotten son Jesus Christ be proclaimed as LORD so all who hear it may call upon that name and be saved to the glory of your holy name. May we be counted among them and be faithful until the Last Day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion God Is An Us & We Are Supposed To Be An Us
Gen 11:5-9 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. (6) And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. (7) Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (8) So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. (9) Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth.
I believe this is one of those instances where God is just trying to communicate something to us just so we can understand it. What I mean is in verse five there is no need for the Lord to come down and see what we are doing. The Lord is omniscient: He knows all things. So why does the Lord report this to us in this fashion? Well for one you can grasp with the name of God being present here, the LORD, i.e. YHWH. In the Old Testament, generally, when the text uses the divine name, God is getting up and personal with us. So in the garden, the LORD knew what Adam had done, but he is getting personal with Adam. So too here, God wants us to know that he is not just some impersonal deity up there somewhere, but he is a God who is intimately involved with humanity.
Now the people had a unity of language and purpose. While it would be nice if we were all united, if we are united in purpose antithetical to the Lord’s purpose for us, that would not be a good thing. Here, man was united to a purpose antithetical to God’s will. It was engaged towards pride and circumventing man taking dominion over the earth under God. Some have taught that they were building it to escape in case the Lord decided to flood the earth again. If true, that would demonstrate a. they didn’t trust the Lord’s promise and b. they forgot the Lord flooded the earth above the mountains. The text doesn’t say that so that is just pious speculation.
So that their plans were frustrated the Lord went down and confused their language and well, that’s why we have so many languages today. But note this important nugget here in the text. The LORD says, “Let us go down…” Did you see that? Now he said something similar here, Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” and again, Gen 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.” Who is this us? It is not the angels. Man is not made in the image and likeness of angels. No, this is the divine Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Now the Lord is one. The Father is Lord. The Son is Lord. The Holy Spirit is Lord. But there are not three Lords but one Lord. Each distinct person is Lord and yet there is only one Lord. Man was supposed to be one in and under the Lord. Marriage is an image of that oneness where husband and wife are one flesh. That oneness was to extend over all humanity in the Lord. But sin broke up that oneness.
However now in Jesus Christ, the Lord, the Lord is bringing back that oneness that was meant to be in himself. Paul says, Eph 4:4-6 “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— (5) one Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” He also says, 1Co 6:17 “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” So now, through faith in Christ Jesus we are one with one another, one with Christ and one with God; God in us and us in God. While we cannot see it now, we believe and confess it to be true because the Lord has said as much and we will see its fruition on the Last Day.
O Almighty Lord, you confused our languages because of our unity in sinfulness but now in these last days, you call us to be one again, with one another and with you through faith in Christ Jesus. Heal all our sad divisions in body of Christ and unite us all as one on the day of Jesus’ revelation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotions The LORD Is Gathering His Israel
Act 2:1-12 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. (2) And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. (3) And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. (4) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (5) Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. (6) And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. (7) And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? (8) And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? (9) Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, (10) Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, (11) both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” (12) And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”
So here we have fulfillment of Jesus’ word and the scriptures, Joh 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Jer 31:33 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Pro 1:23 “If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.” Isa 44:3 “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”
The Lord had promised the Holy Spirit. The placing of the Law upon the heart is the renewal and regeneration of the Holy Spirit. Rom 8:3-4 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, (4) in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Now the promised Holy Spirit has been poured out on all flesh. The Holy Spirit is working in the world through the Word, i.e. the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bring repentance, faith in Jesus and the forgiveness of sins.
This particular instance of the initial pouring out of the Holy Spirit has been prophesied Isa 11:10-12 “In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. (11) In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea. (12) He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Jesus and his cross is the signal and banner to the nations. He is gathering Israel, Judah and the nations to Jesus who is our resting place. Now with the outpouring of the Spirit, the nations and Israel inquire of God. Through the root and shoot of Jesse, Jesus of Nazareth, enlightens our hearts and minds with the Holy Spirit, so we may recognize our sinfulness and sins, confess them, repent of them and trust in the all salvific work of Jesus Christ and his cross.
Heavenly Father, you bring all things to pass that you have promised in your son Jesus Christ. Continually give us your Holy Spirit, that we may be born from above, have a new heart and new spirit within us, that through faith in Christ we may fear, love and trust in you above all things. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion There’s Still A Problem Here
Gen 11:1-4 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. (2) And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. (3) And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. (4) Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
Now the earth was beginning to be filled again after the flood. Everyone was a descendent of Noah and his family. As such they only had one language and everyone could communicate with each other. The only question was, what were they going to do with the gift of speech and the new world they had received from the Lord.
While the Lord did rid the world of many wicked people with the flood, there was still a problem with the people he did save and those that would be born to them: Gen 8:21 …the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. They were just as they were before the flood: 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. In case you’re wondering, that’s why we’re still in the mess we have today.
So what did these descendents of Noah plan to do? Well they wanted to make a name for themselves to the purpose of not getting dispersed over the face of the earth. Perhaps you don’t think this is too bad. But when the Lord has blessed man that created he intended for man to have dominion over the earth. You can’t do that staying in one place. Not to mention it isn’t healthy for the land for all mankind to be gathered in just one place. The reasoning they give shows what is on their hearts. They want a name for themselves.
Pro 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” We pride ourselves on our being proud today. We find our worth in what we do and not in the Lord who values us. Our esteem is not in Jesus the Lord but in ourselves. A prideful heart the Lord despised (Prov. 8:13) The people here in Shinar, later Babylon were prideful. They were demonstrating what the Lord said before and after the flood, “every intention of their heart is wicked from youth.” The Lord does not want us to rely on ourselves but upon him for all good things. We are not called to exalt ourselves like these people did. It did not end well for them.
Rather, Jas 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” and 1Pe 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,…” and Php 2:3-5 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (4) Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (5) Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,…” Humility in Christ is what we are called to have, trusting only in the goodness and power of our Lord. Jesus himself is our example who looked not to his own interest but for our submitting himself to the Father’s will. May we follow that example and not our fleshly desire for a name for ourselves but the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, pride cannot stand before you. Curb our fleshly desires for recognition and give us a spirit of humility that we may follow in the footsteps of your Son Jesus Christ and think of others more than we think of ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Why the Ascension of Jesus to the Right Hand of the Father is Important
#DailyDevotion May The Prayer Of Jesus Be Made Manifest To The World
John 176“I made Your name known to the people You gave Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your Word. 7Now they know everything You gave Me comes from You, because I gave them the message 8You gave Me. And they have accepted it and learned the truth that I came from You, and have believed You sent Me. 9I pray for them. I don’t pray for the world but for those You gave Me, because they are Yours. 10All that is Mine is Yours, and what is Yours is Mine. And I am glorified in them. 11I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You gave Me, so that they will be one as We are one.
The name of God is the presence of God. God put his name on the tabernacle and then on the temple in Jerusalem. In the Old Testament the name God the Israelites was Yahweh. He caused his name to dwell there with his people. Now Jesus has revealed another name of God. He is our Father, Jesus is the son, and then there is the Holy Spirit. We put that name on those who come to holy baptism and they become temples of God. So as Jesus tells us, the kingdom of God is within each of us who bear his name. We don’t need to go a temple or anywhere else to be in the presence of God to worship because we are his temple. Then also together, each of us is a living stone that make up one larger temple of God. He calls us to join together for worship as his holy, royal priesthood and temple.
We see here that those who have to come to faith in Jesus Christ belonged to the Father and are given to Christ Jesus and belong to him. Jesus gives us the word, the teaching given to him by the Father. This word creates faith in our hearts which trust Christ. Because we belonged to the Father we receive Jesus’ word as the Father’s and so trust Jesus. We believe Jesus was sent by the Father to save, redeem, deliver and ransom us. Now we keep the word Jesus has given us, that is we treasure it, trust it and have begun to live our lives according to it for that word is our life. There are no secret teachings of Jesus. Everything Jesus has taught his apostles, they have taught the Church. The apostles had the teaching they received from Jesus and they had it written down so we may always know what Jesus had taught.
Jesus is glorified by and in us who trusts in him. We pray in his name. We give thanks in his name. We trust in his name. We are baptized in his name. We preach and teach in his name. We live, move and have our being in Jesus’ name. So Jesus is glorified in us.
Jesus prays to his Father to keep us in his name and to keep us as one even as Jesus and the Father are one. Indeed, the true Church is always one. We may not always be able to see the unity we have with one another, hence it is an article of faith. So we confess with St. Paul in Ephesians 44“one body and one Spirit – even as you have been called to share one hope – 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, Who rules over us all, works through us all, and lives in us all.” May the LORD our God and Father indeed hear Jesus’ prayer and make all his disciples as one as God is one.
Heavenly Father, Jesus prayed that you would keep us by his name and make us one as you, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one. Ever make our unity in the faith manifest in the world so the world may see it, repent and believe in you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
#DailyDevotion Jesus Prays For His Glory & For Ours
John 17 After saying this, Jesus looked up to heaven and said: “Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son so that Your Son will glorify You, 2since You have given Him authority over all men, to give everlasting life to all whom You gave Him. 3This is everlasting life — to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You sent. 4I have glorified You on earth by finishing the work You gave Me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify Me at Your side with the glory I had with You before the world began.
This is part of Jesus’ high priestly prayer. He was praying this in the garden while his disciples kept falling asleep on him. I like to take times like these in the Gospels to point out Jesus prayed. If Jesus, the Son of God, who is God prayed, how much more should we poor sinful humans come before God the Father in Jesus’ name and plead for his grace and mercy. If Jesus’ needed to pray we need to pray all the more.
So for what sort of things is Jesus praying for in this prayer? First, there is acknowledgement of what he is about to suffer—Glorify your Son so your Son will glorify you. What does it mean to glorify the son and the son to glorify the Father? Very simply Jesus being crucified and dying is Jesus’ glory. It is this meaning many times in the Gospels especially John. When the disciples ask to sit at his right and left when he comes into his glory, Jesus tells him those spots are already filled: the two thieves or murderers. To die this death, the most shameful of all, is Jesus’ glory because in this glory he takes away the sin of the world. In this glory he becomes the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all men. His blood becomes the ransom price and the redemption of the world. Jesus shows forth the love of God for man by his sacrificing his only begotten Son.
Having saved all men and receiving authority over all men, Jesus is able to give everlasting life to all whom the Father has given him. Having procured salvation for all men, Jesus has his elect whom the Father has given him. To these he gives everlasting life. Everlasting life is to know God the Father and Jesus Christ whom the Father has sent. Everyone whom the Father has chosen since before the foundation of the world comes to know the Father through Jesus, in particularly through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Well that makes evangelism a whole lot easier, doesn’t it. We share the good news with everyone and those to whom the Father has given to Jesus come to faith in Jesus and give him thanks. Those who will reject him because of the hardness of their hearts will reject him. To know Jesus and the Father is to trust what Jesus Christ has done for them on the cross. Jesus has glorified the Father by completing the work he had set Jesus to do on the cross and the grave.
Now Jesus petitions the Father to give him the glory he had before he became man, before the world began. He asked to be seated with him, at his right hand. So the Father answers Jesus’ prayer forty days after the resurrection. Jesus ascends to the right hand of the Father where he shows forth his glory that is his and which he promises to give to us, those whom the Father has given him.
Heavenly Father, give us faith that we may know you and your son Jesus Christ and thereby gain everlasting life and participate in the glory you have given your Son at your right hand when he returns in glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.