Wednesday Easter 7

#DailyDevotion Our Christian Hope Is To Receive The Glory Of God

Wednesday Easter 7

Eph. 1:18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might


When St. Paul was baptized, something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. When Jesus broke the bread, the disciples on the road to Emmaus recognized it was Jesus talking with them. When the disciples caught the great amount of fish, they realized it was the Lord.  Unless the Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit enlightens the eyes of our hearts, we won’t recognize Jesus and who he is and what he has done for us. Jesus has won for us eternal life.


What is this hope that Paul prays that we may know and what we have been called to? The hope we have is the hope of glory. That is to say, we hope one day to have the glory of God. That is will be our possession by grace.  St. Paul says, 2Co 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Again he says, Col 1:27 “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.” St. Peter says it a little differently, 2Pe 1:4 “so that through them [the promises] you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”


Through faith in Christ we have been made heirs, heirs with Abraham. What are we heir of? We are heirs of God and fellow heirs of Christ. Our inheritance is the kingdom of God, the new heavens and the new earth, the New Jerusalem. God himself is our inheritance. Jesus’ righteousness is what we have inherited at Jesus’ death. We are heirs of eternal life. Indeed everything that was Christ’s is now ours by faith but we will see with our own eyes in our own flesh on the day of Christ’s revelation. This inheritance is being kept safe for you in heaven.


Finally Paul wants us to know the power of God’s might that worked in Christ when he was raised from the dead. To some extent we have already experienced it when we first believed. Our spirits were reborn, born from above, raised to newness of life. We went from having a dead spirit and soul to having one which now possesses the life of God. That power still is working in us renewing us inwardly day by day, finally on the last day overcoming our mortal bodies with immortality. These things we hope for and will receive as those who trust in Jesus Christ. They can be yours too, for Jesus won these things for all people.


Heavenly Father, grant that St. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians may also be fulfilled in us so we too may praise you, your glory and the glory of Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Tuesday Easter 7

#DailyDevotion Paul Prays You Receive Godly Wisdom And Revelation In Christ

Tuesday Easter 7

Eph. 1:15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,


For this reason. What reason? Well what just immediately preceded this, their faith in the Lord the Jesus Christ and what immediately followed, their faith and their love towards all the saints. The Ephesians received the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result they believed on Jesus Christ and his love for them went out towards one another. For this reason Paul says he prays for them and continually gives thanks for them.


Now what does Paul pray for? Who does he pray to? Well he prays to God of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now why does he say it that way? Isn’t Jesus God? Yes Jesus is God. According to his divine nature he is equal to the Father. So why is the Father God to Jesus? Because Jesus became like us in every way excepting sin. In the flesh, Jesus had to learn obedience and trust. The Creator became a Creature and so according to his flesh, Jesus looks to the Father for every good thing, just as we are supposed to do. Jesus prayed just like we’re supposed to do, trusting in the Father for all worldly and spiritual things. So although Jesus is God, according to his human nature, the Father is God to Jesus as he is our God also.


What does he pray for? That the Father of glory may give you a spirit of wisdom-in the knowledge of him. What is this wisdom that Paul speaks of? Not worldly wisdom. Worldly wisdom has the appearance of wisdom and may do fine in dealing with one another. But the wisdom that Paul speaks of is Christ Jesus. Christ became man and as man suffered on the cross. God would use sinful men to make a sacrifice of the Author of Life, the Lord of Glory that we might be reconciled to God. Worldly wisdom thinks this is utter foolishness. But God’s folly is wiser than human wisdom. The Word of God, who is God, becomes one us to redeem us. Everything that is necessary to be truly human the Word of God becomes so that the whole human is redeemed and saved, for God made Adam and Eve good. In Jesus he now restores that goodness and furthermore exalts that goodness in his own flesh, seating it at the right hand of God in power and glory.


Paul prays for a spirit of revelation-in the knowledge of him. No human heart or mind can comprehend what God the Father in Christ Jesus has done for it. It is revealed to us through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit must open our minds that we may see and believe it. It is a miracle of God that we believe that Jesus is Word of God, who is God, who became one flesh with us to save us. Ordinary knowledge of the facts cannot do this. Plenty of miscreants have memorized the bible better than you, yet they don’t know what it means. They have either shut out the light from the Spirit or it has not yet been given to them to understand. But you know and understand the great sacrifice Jesus and the Father has made for you and continually makes know to you, his great love for you and all people in Jesus.


Heavenly Father, fulfill in us what Paul prays for the Ephesians that we may be given a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of your son Jesus Christ that our faith may continually grow and be strengthened in him. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Monday Easter 7

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Openly Coming With The Clouds When He Returns

Monday Easter 7

Acts 1:10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”


Probably, too often, Christians these days think Jesus went up to heaven and that’s it. In similar fashion, they think we die and we go to heaven and that’s it. But that isn’t it. Jesus is coming back in similar fashion as he has departed. Jesus is returning for the Last Judgment, to gather up his elect and to judge the world which rejected him. We don’t know when this is going to happen but it is going to happen.


Jesus had said, Mat 24:30-31 “Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  (31)  And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” He witnessed before the high priest, Mar 14:62 “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Now this is in fulfillment of Dan 7:13-14  “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.  (14)  And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”


Now St. Paul assures us, 1Th 4:16-17 “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  (17)  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” On the last day when Christ returns you will know it is Jesus for the dead in Christ will rise from the dead and we if we are living will be changed into our resurrected bodies. Then the rest of the dead will rise to be judged. Many people have been deceived when someone comes along and teaches people they are Christ that was to come again. They may claim they are Jesus reincarnated or they have received the spirit of Christ. But Jesus has promised when he returns he will come with the clouds.


Finally John writes, Rev 1:7 “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.”  Now anyone who comes to you and says here is Christ or there is Christ and that Christ isn’t coming down on the clouds with his pierced body, it isn’t Christ. This will not be a secret coming. Every eye will see him even those who pieced him.


Heavenly Father, grant us faith to believe in Christ so that on the day of his return on the clouds we will be found faithful and will be gathered unto him in the New Heavens and New Earth. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Seventh Sunday After Easter

#DailyDevotion The Apostles Were Of One Accord

Seventh Sunday after Easter

Acts 1:12 Then [the apostles] returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.


So after our Lord Jesus Christ ascended the disciples returned to Jerusalem. They went back to the upper room, no doubt the same upper room they were at when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. There the Eleven, with the women, Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers. Now it’s interesting that Mary, Jesus’ mother and his brothers were there. In other places in the gospels, particularly his brothers, seemed opposed to Jesus’ ministry and mocked him. But now they are with the Apostles. No doubt Jesus had revealed himself to them during the forty days after his resurrection and now they believe in him.


What we note of particular importance is they were gathered with one accord devoting themselves to prayer. What were they praying for? Jesus had promised power from on high, the Holy Spirit. I think it is highly likely they were praying for that. Since Jesus told them they were going to go from Jerusalem unto all the earth proclaiming his name, I bet they were praying for wisdom, boldness, knowledge and the like to have them be good Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.


This sets a good example for us in our congregations and families. While we do pray together a general prayer during the church service, do we gather together to pray for more specific needs of the congregation? Do we pray for the conversion of the unbelievers of our neighborhoods, towns, counties, state and country? Do we pray the Lord give us boldness to witness the faith we have in Christ Jesus? Are we praying for wisdom and knowledge for the best ways of reaching the lost and building up the current flock? Just some suggestions to think about.


The Lord wants us to pray. He wants us to pray together. He wants us to pray for each other. Jesus tells us to pray for workers for the harvest. St. Paul reminds us to pray for the political leaders who are over us. The good news is that we have the promise that as we bring these petitions to God our Father in Jesus’ name, he hears us. The Father answers us with yes! Now, he may not do it in the manner, number, time etc. that we think he should. But he does answer it yes in the manner, number, time etc. that is best for us and for the Church. It will be better than we had prayed for.


Heavenly Father, help us to pray together in unity all that you would have us to pray so that our prayers to you will end up and praise and thanksgiving for your son Jesus Christ our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.

Saturday after the Ascension

#DailyDevotion Jesus The Messiah Has Fulfilled All Thing Written Of Him In The Torah, The Prophets & The Psalms

Saturday after the Ascension

Luke 24:44 Then [Jesus] said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them,  “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.


Once Jesus was raised from the dead, he began an intense period of instruction with his apostles. I’m sure he must have told them these things all before during his three year ministry. Yet, now he has fulfilled all things concerning himself written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. He can review all these things and show them, hindsight so to say, how all these things have been fulfilled. Jesus had to open their minds though for them to get it.


Consequently, unless the Holy Spirit open our minds, we will not understand the scriptures either. It will just be a closed book. We’ll use for all sorts of things other than proclaiming Jesus. While those other things may be in the Bible, they are there to service proclaiming Jesus. Through the proclamation of Jesus the Holy Spirit opens our minds to believe and understand.


And what do the scriptures have to say? One, that the Christ should suffer. Genesis 3:15 tells us the seed of the woman would have his heel struck by the serpent. Isaiah 53 is chunk full of the suffering the Messiah must go through. Psalm 22 and most if not all the places in the Psalms where the Psalmist cries out his complaint demonstrates the Messiah’s suffering and death.


Two, that the Messiah must rise again. When Abraham receives Isaac back on the third day after the Lord commanded his sacrifice tells us of this.  Jonah’s coming back from the bowels of the sea on the third day proclaimed this. That the Lord would heal Israel on the third day proclaimed this.


It is written, Psa 45:17 “I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.” And again it is written, Psa 18:49 “For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing to your name.” So the name of Jesus, the Lord is proclaimed throughout the nations and his name is praised. He has brought the nations to repentance and gave to them the forgiveness won by him by his death and resurrection. He calls us to forsake our old ways and to turn to him to receive light and life. He offers it free to all men of every language, people, tribe and nation. They have come to faith in Jesus and repented of their sins. He offers this gift of repentance and forgiveness to you today.


Heavenly Father, continue to caused the name of your Messiah, Jesus Christ of Nazareth to be proclaimed throughout the earth that all men everywhere may repent of their sins and receive forgiveness, life and salvation in his name. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Friday After the Ascension

#DailyDevotion Only The Father Knows. What Don’t You Understand About That Gullible People?

Friday after the Ascension

Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them,  “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”


Yes, we would all really like to know when Jesus is going to restore the kingdom to Israel. This is why charlatans can sell so many books predicting when the end is going to come. It seems for the longest time it was always calculated to be in October around the 23rd. But lately the false prophets have been saying in September. But what does Jesus say? It’s not for you to know (.) Any man or woman who says they’ve figured out the day is antichrist, a tool, yes even a tool of Satan. Jesus had said before, Mat 24:36  “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” These false prophets are contradicting Jesus and need to be called out for what they truly are, antichrist who lead people astray. So don’t buy their books. Don’t go to their seminars. You’ve been warned.


Now Jesus tells them what they should do. Stay in Jerusalem until he sends the Holy Spirit and power. Indeed that is what happens. On Pentecost, one of the harvest festivals, the Holy Spirit comes down upon the apostles and gathers a harvest of believers for Jesus. The Holy Spirit is still poured out upon all flesh, keeping men from being deceived by Satan and his lies. But men still do not believe the testimony of Jesus’ servants.


But the apostles do go boldly testifying of Jesus into the world. They boldly proclaim, despite being beaten and imprisoned salvation only in Jesus’ name. Those who hear them boldly confess the name of Jesus unto death, witnesses their faith in him with their own blood. They were witnesses in Jerusalem, then in Samaria where the Holy Spirit is manifested like the first time in Jerusalem and then again to the Gentiles at Cornelius’ home. The Holy Spirit has indeed testified and emboldened believers to the ends of the earth. There are believers of ever language, nation, tribe and tongue. You are witnesses of this.


The Holy Spirit has been sent to us because Jesus has ascended to the right hand of the Father. There he rules creation on our behalf, preparing the kingdom from the foundation of the world for us. There he guides the world, the people on it, to bring them to faith in him and to have his people persevere in the true faith unto life everlasting. There he intercedes for us into the ear of the Father, presenting his blood for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus is returning from there. It always looks like this is the time. We should always be prepared in faith for that day.


Heavenly Father, you have fixed a day in time, the season of your Son’s kingdom upon the earth. Grant us faith now to trust in your Son Jesus and wait patiently for his visible return in all godliness and truth. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Ascension Day

#DailyDevotion The Right Hand Of God Is Not A Limiting Space But A Place Of All Power, Dominion and Authority

Ascension Day

Eph. 1:18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.


On this day we celebrate the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ to the right hand of God. Forty days after demonstrating his resurrection to those who would be his witnesses and instructing them in the ways he had fulfilled everything written of him in Moses and the prophets, we was taken up into heaven. There he is seated at the right hand of the Father. Now the right hand of the Father is not a physical place but a position of power and authority. We say in modern parlance that someone is so and so’s right hand man. On construction sites and the like the right hand man has authority, the authority of the contractor. He orders the men. He writes the checks and the like.


In similar fashion, Jesus at the right hand of God means what Paul tells us here in Ephesians. He is far above every rule, authority, power, dominion and name. He has all things place under his feet and is placed as head over all things, for the Church. The right hand of God is not a localized nor limiting space. It is quite the opposite. Verse twenty three tells us the fullness of him who fills all in all. Here Jesus exercises all power and dominion over all creation. He fills all creation. He is omnipresent and omniscience. He has all power and knows all things. There is nothing and no one in all creation has power, dominion or authority over him for he has these things over all creation.


As the Church we take great joy in this for he exercises this authority and power for us, the Church. Everything, I mean everything, happens in the world for the benefit of the Church and the members thereof. Satan and the world does not get one over on the Church. While it may look like it at times, with all the wickedness in the world and the attacks on the Church, Jesus even commands these things for the spreading of the gospel and the perseverance of his saints unto life everlasting. All things serve him whether they like it or know it on behalf of his people, namely you.


Heavenly Father, we rejoice at the ascension of your Son Jesus Christ to your right hand of power and might. As you have promised, may he continually use this authority to spread the gospel and to strengthen those who put their trust in him unto life everlasting. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Wednesday Easter 6

#DailyDevotion Jesus’ Commands Are Not Burdensome (Particularly Compared With The Torah)

Wednesday Easter 6

1 John 4:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?


Our victory over the world is our faith. But the Christian faith isn’t any old faith. Tons of unbelievers have plenty of faith. But what is the object of their faith? It isn’t Jesus. Which Jesus is it if they say they do have faith in him? For not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” will enter into life.


There are two things about Jesus mentioned here in John 4. One is we confess that Jesus is the Messiah, the other is that he is the Son of God. The Messiah, the Christ, promised anointed one, promised throughout the ages starting with Genesis 3:15 until the proclamation of John the Baptist. Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem is that guy. We believe Jesus is the Son of God. Not just someone with divine gifts who is really holy. By Son of God we mean Jesus is a divine person one in essence and substance with the Father. He is true God of true God. Jesus is Light of Light from eternity, before the creation of the world.


The world is in darkness and cannot recognize him. His own people did not recognize him (well many did and many more did after Pentecost) and they put him on the cross for blasphemy. Faith in this Jesus means we have overcome the world and we can begin to keeps God’s commandments.  There are two commandments. Trust Jesus has saved you and love your neighbor as yourself. John, as a Jews, can certainly say these are not burdensome. Try keeping all the laws, mandates, prescriptions, commandments and the like of the Torah. That is impossible. It’s so impossible the Rabbis made all sorts of rules around the rules to make it more bearable, but in many cases they just made it worse.


When we trust in Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, the Son of God, he sends into our hearts the Holy Spirit. By the power of the Holy Spirit we trust in Jesus and we begin to love our neighbor. Loving our neighbor is first and foremost forgiving them. It is also making sure they have every physical need met. It means showing them mercy and compassion. This is not burdensome for someone who believes God has had mercy and compassion on them. This is not burdensome for someone who believes God on the cross did what necessary for them to be reconciled to God and enter into eternal life. For Jesus did far more in showing us love than we could ever do for the person in front of us. Thanks be to God for this faith.


Heavenly Father, ever give us your Holy Spirit that we may believe Jesus is your Son, the promised Messiah, and by your Spirit love our neighbor. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.