Daily Reading: March 14th

#DailyDevotion What Promises Has God Made To You?

Lent day 12 Tuesday

Read Gen 21:1–21

Gen 21:17-20  And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.  (18)  Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”  (19)  Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.  (20)  And God was with the boy, and he grew up. He lived in the wilderness and became an expert with the bow.


While the promised seed is to come from Isaac, God’s promise rest on all of Abraham’s children.  Ishmael is a child of Abraham also.  Though the child of the slave woman would have no part in Isaac’s inheritance, he will become a great nation because of Abraham.  We will see in few chapters after Abraham’s death that Ishmael has 12 children who are 12 princes.  They inhabit the area opposite of Egypt to Assyria.


So God takes the boy and his mother and provides for him.


What can we learn from this?  God keeps his promises.  What promises has God made to you? Mat 6:33  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Mat 7:7-11  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  (8)  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  (9)  Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  (10)  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  (11)  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Act 2:38-39  And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  (39)  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Rom 4:22-25  That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”  (23)  But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,  (24)  but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,  (25)  who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Rom 9:6-8  But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,  (7)  and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”  (8)  This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

Gal 3:26-29  for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.  (27)  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  (28)  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  (29)  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.


And of course there are many more which our Lord has kept and will keep.


O Lord our God, you have made and kept so many wonderful promises.  Grant us faith to believe these promises until you have fulfilled them before our very eyes. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Daily Reading: March 13

#DailyDevotion Nothing Is Too Hard For The Lord

Lent day 11 Monday

Read Gen 18:1–15

Gen 18:13-14  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.”


Last reading God said he makes the dead alive and calls that which is not into being. Well a woman at the age of ninety has gone through menopause as our text today testifies to. She isn’t having any babies. Barren by age is Sarah. But God promises a child next year. So, well who can blame her, she laughs at the promise. But God’s promises are nothing to be laughed at.
Is anything too hard, too wonderful for the Lord? Another practically couple barren women once asked how they would become pregnant. One was a virgin. Her older cousin Elizabeth was well just old. But the angel Gabriel pronounced to Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Both of them had children, one was John the Baptist the other was Jesus. Both were children of promise and were children of the wonderful action of the Lord through the promise made Abraham and Sarah in Genesis eighteen, Isaac.


The Lord can do the impossible and does marvelous things. One of the marvelous, impossible things he does is bring us from being dead in trespasses and sins and giving us eternal life. He makes us children of God being born from above in the waters of baptism. Jesus said as much when asked by his disciples, “Who then can be saved”? Jesus replied, “With man this is impossible but with God, nothing is impossible.”


You cannot save yourselves. There is nothing in you, no power or strength or will that can bring about your salvation from the kingdom of darkness to God’s marvelous light. But the Lord through the promised seed of Abraham, our Lord Jesus Christ is God and Man. Jesus does the impossible. He wins eternal life for you. You were just as dead as Sarah’s womb, but through the promise of Jesus life, death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit makes you alive again.


Trust that he has done this for you. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who does the impossible. Nothing is too hard or marvelous for him.
Heavenly Father as you have promised a child to a barren couple and through that promise you brought for Isaac, may the promise of salvation make us born from above that we may possess eternal life even now. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Readings: March 12th

#DailyDevotion Do God’s Signs Make You Blameless?

2nd Sunday in Lent

Read Gen 16:1–9, 15—17:22

Gen 17:1-2  When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,  (2)  that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”

Gen 17:10-11  This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.  (11)  You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.


Abraham and his wife Sarah were as good as dead at this age. Abraham has gotten a son through his wife’s made and he probably thought that was pretty good. But God called Abraham and his wife and made a covenant with them. The man and the woman are one.  So God, once again reaffirms his covenant with Abraham and adds a sign.

Now our translation (ESV) ends verse 2 with blameless. Many translations take the Hebrew word here and translate it perfect, blameless or upright. But the word here carries with it the meaning of completeness. To be complete before God is walk before him in faith, i.e. trusting God’s promises. Such faith calls us to holy lives. But it is faith that completes a man.


The Lord God gives Abraham a sign to believe God’s promise of him being the father of many nations with kings coming from his loins. The Lord gives it to him and all male descendents so their faith may be kindled regularly throughout the day.  Their wives shall see it regularly too so their trust in the Lord’s promise may be regularly kindled. That sign is circumcision. Every time Abraham’s descendents went to the bathroom throughout the day, they could remember the Lord’s promise to them and their faith could be rekindled.


Now the Lord has fulfilled that covenant in Jesus, we have new signs of the new covenant. We are baptized and whenever we clean ourselves or take a drink of water we can remember the Lord no longer counts our trespasses against us. We have the Lord’s Supper so every time we gather for his meal we can remember God has promised us everlasting life in a new heavens and a new earth with resurrected bodies. Every time we see a tree or intersecting lines we can remember on the tree, the cross, our Lord Jesus Christ has won salvation for us and the world.

Heavenly Father, you made promises to Abraham and gave him and his descendents a sign that they may be strengthened in their faith. You also have made promises to us and given us the sacraments as signs that give and strengthen our faith. May we look upon them and have our faith regularly kindled that we may walk before you blameless until the coming our Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: March 11th

#DailyDevotion Believing God’s Promises Is Righteousness

Lent day 10 Saturday

Read 15:1–21

Gen 15:5-18  And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”  (6)  And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.  (7)  And he said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”  (8)  But he said, “O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?”  (9)  He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”  (10)  And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half.  (11)  And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.  (12)  As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him…(17)  When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.  (18)  On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram,…


Wow how many times does God have to remind Abram of his promise?  Does he ever get it?  Yeah, you think you’re so good, but how often do you need to go to Church to hear God’s promises so you don’t sink down into despair or self-righteousness?  The Lord repeated his promise to Abram and it was counted to him as righteousness.  Right there then is the heart of the Gospel.  God makes promises. Man believes those promises. God considers that as righteousness.  That was the problem in the Garden.  Man quit believing God’s promises and he fell into death and darkness.  When we believe the promises we are righteous again.  We note that is all Abram did to be declared righteous.  He believed.


But his faith did not stop there.  Even though he believed, Abram wanted a sign. God told him to prepare some animals, to cut them in half.  The Lord was going to cut a covenant with Abram so he could have a sign to rely on when he doubted.  And the Lord appeared as a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch which passed between the pieces.  So serious is God’s promise to Abram he makes this covenant.  If I break this promise, may what happened to these creatures happen to me.  The Lord kept his promise and Israel possessed the land.


Now the Lord wants to fulfill his promise to Abram on a greater scale.  So he makes Abram’s seed, Jesus Christ to be the fulfillment of his covenant with Abram as the one whose seed blesses all nations.  In Jesus, God makes a covenant.  I will forgive them their sins and remember them no more and I will put my law on their hearts.  I will be their God and they will be my people.  No animals this time.  God himself in the flesh pours forth his blood.  Jesus, the Lord, gives us a sign of the covenant.  He gives us his body and blood with the bread and the wine so we may remember like Abraham God’s covenant with us.  As we partake of Christ’s body and blood we can be certain God will keep this covenant with us.


Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for giving us this sign of the covenant with your true body and blood, crucified on the cross, shed in your passion and death, resurrected and ascended into heaven.  May we with Abram be counted righteous for believing your word.  Amen.

Daily Reading: March 10th

#DailyDevotion I Have A Piece of Real Estate For You

Lent day 9, Friday

Read Gen 13:1–18

Gen 13:14-18  The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward,  (15)  for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.  (16)  I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.  (17)  Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”  (18)  So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the LORD.


Heb 11:8-16  By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  (9)  By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.  (10)  For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.  (11)  By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.  (12)  Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.  (13)  These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  (14)  For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.  (15)  If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.  (16)  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.


We believe scripture interprets scripture.  Hebrews interprets Genesis.  What did Abram see?  Was it a piece of real estate on the east of the Mediterranean or a heavenly city?  Perhaps both.   One was the earnest for the other.  The Lord did give to Abram’s physical descendents that land, the real estate on in the Middle East.  They are still in possession of it.  They began to take possession of it when the Israelites crossed the Jordan.  They had taken full possession of by the time of Solomon.  Because of their sinfulness, the Israelites lost control of much of it and all of it at times, Abram’s other children still possessed that land.  He had thirteen kids you know.


And while the Israelites were like dust of the earth, they are even greater now in Christ. For in Christ, all who have faith in Christ are children of Abraham.  We’re in every country of the world practically representing every nation, tribe and tongue.  And like Abraham we are looking to a city not made with human hands, the New Jerusalem.  God has promised this to all who have faith in His Son, the seed of the Woman, the seed of Abram.


Lord Jesus Christ, give us such faith in you that like Abraham we may wait in patience to receive all that you have promised us.  Amen.

Daily Reading: March 9th

#DailyDevotion Have You Been Blessed By The Seed Of Abraham?

Lent day 8 Thursday

Read 11:27—12:20

Gen 12:1-3  Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.  (2)  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  (3)  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”


As the numbers of people increase upon the land God narrows down through whom the blessing spoken about the Woman in Gen. 3:15 would come about.  The seed of the Woman would come through the seed of Abram (Abraham).


God sends Abram from his home in Ur with his father and brother further west to the land of Canaan.  Canaan you might remember is the son of Ham who was cursed for his father’s sin.  Canaan would later be mostly exterminated but also subjected to the Israelites, Abraham’s children 400 years later in Joshua, Judges and Samuel.  God gives the land of the Canaanites to Abram but it will take some time to fulfill.  Just remember that when you are waiting on God.


Now the most important part of this scripture is the second half of verse3 “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  It is a promise to be reiterated a number of times to Abram and his family.  “In you” that is in your seed (singular) all nations will be blessed.  Because this seed we are told is Jesus.  Jesus is the great blessing not only for the Jews and the Israelites but also for all peoples everywhere at all times and places.  Jesus is the seed who opens the gate of heaven for all people, Jew and Gentile, male and female, rich, poor, slave and free.


Well you can hardly be a better blessing than that.  We see the fulfillment of that as we look back over the last 2000 years since Christ ascended into heaven.  Romans, Asians, the Germanic hoards, Celts, Nubians, Ethiopians, Kenyans, Indians, Chinese, Mongols, Russians, and even Australians and Kiwi’s have all had the good news of the seed of Abraham, Jesus brought to them and many have come to faith to receive and believe in the blessing of the seed.


Today the blessing is brought to you.  God has provided you this day a key, a ladder, and open gate to heaven.  It is Jesus.  Trust and believe he is your divine gift to eternal life and you will possess not just a piece of Palestine but the new heavens and the new earth, the heavenly Jerusalem.


Gracious Father, grant us such faith in your son Jesus Christ that he is the promised seed that we may possess the land promised to our father Abraham.  In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Daily Reading: March 8th

#DailyDevotion There’s A Reason We Like Looking At Trees

Lent Day 7 Wednesday

Read Gen 8:13—9:17

Gen 8:21  And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done…9:1  And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,  (15)  I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.


Here we see the kindness of God despite our sinfulness. Our true, fallen nature is told us here. If God did not reveal it to us, we would not believe it. He tells us, “the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” The Lord is just repeating what he said a couple of chapters previously, “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.” It is a rather bleak picture of man. This isn’t the only place the Scriptures speak like this. David writes, Psa 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” From the moment of conception we are sinful. Our every intention, our every desire is to do evil continually. The New Testament confesses the same thing. Paul tells us, Eph 2:3  “…we …were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Jesus doesn’t help our self-image either. He tells us, “Mat 15:19  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”


In God’s great kindness and love for us, he preserves mankind despite our sinfulness. He gives us a promise, a promise he doesn’t have to give. He promises he will never kill every creature on the earth, including mankind, like he did here in Genesis.  He gives us a sign to look to whenever we may fear that, a rainbow. It is a sign of the covenant God has made with us that he will never flood the whole earth again.


The Lord has also given us another sign that he desires to be merciful to us. That sign is Jesus. As weird as it may seem, the sign of his love for us is Jesus hanging on a tree, on a cross. Jesus tells us, Joh 3:14-15 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, (15)  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”  Jesus lifted up is God’s sign of mercy to us. Whoever looks to Jesus’ cross and believes there God has made peace with us need not fear the wrath God when he destroys the earth again but with fire. 2 Pet. 3:7 Any time of day you think God has abandoned you because of your sin, look to a tree, a telephone pole, if you are desperate, any two intersecting lines and remember that God, in his great love for you, gave his son Jesus as a peace offering. He no longer counts your trespasses against you. God is please because of the aroma from the sacrifice of the cross.


Heavenly Father, give us always the faith to believe in your covenant of peace you made with us by Jesus’ crucifixion that our hearts may find comfort wherever we look and see the sign of the covenant of your great love for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: March 7th

#DailyDevotion We Are Horrified Because We Don’t Know The Nature Of Sin

Lent Day 6th Tuesday

Read Gen 7:11—8:12

1Gen 7:13 On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark…23  He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark….Gen 8:1  But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.


Many unbelievers and a few believers at that, look at this event from Genesis with horror. What kind of God would kill every man, woman and child and every beast of the earth just because they were sinful. They may understand every man and woman, but child and beasts? What a cruel God, they think. They have heard God is love but where is the love in this?


But they and we sometimes do not understand the true nature of sin. It has corrupted all people and all creation. While we may look around and see good stuff happening around us, we cannot see into the hearts of people and we can just turn on the TV and see how it affects our world. We must look at this lesson and look at our world and repent before God comes again in judgment but not by a flood but with fire at the revelation of Jesus Christ.


But God is love and God is merciful and kind. It is not kind and loving to let sin continue to rule people’s lives and to let them to continue to debase themselves, others and the world. God is merciful and kind because as we see in chapter 7 he preserves mankind, eight people in all to continue humanity. He could have decided, and rightly so, to wipe us all out and just start over with a new lump of clay. But we are here because of his mercy, kindness and love towards humanity. He preserved the animals of the earth by saving 7 pairs of clean animals according to their kind and one pair of unclean animals according to their kind.


God is loving, merciful and kind because he remembered Noah, his family and the beasts aboard the ark. He dissipated the water so they could have a new life as God renewed the face of the earth. When Christ comes, he too will remember his people who live in the ark of the Church. He shall raise them bodily and change our lowly bodies to be like his. He will renew the cosmos as he takes all wickedness from it. It will be a world where righteousness reigns. He promises this to all who repent of their sins and trust in for their salvation. It is for who are baptized and believe on him for eternal life.


Are you going to be like those outside the ark and mock God’s people or are you going to trust Christ’ word and join his people in the safety of the ark, the Church?


Heavenly Father, ever give us true repentant and faith in Jesus’ words of promise that we may be held safely in the ark of your Church until his revelation on the Last Day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.