Daily Reading: December 7th


#DailyDevotion God Has Given Us Advent That We Might Repent And Believe

December 7th

Read Is 24:1–13

Isa 24:1-5  Behold, the LORD will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.  (2)  And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor.  (3)  The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the LORD has spoken this word.  (4)  The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish.  (5)  The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.

 

Well, no good news in that reading. Isaiah is speaking of the last day here and much that is here can be seen also in Revelation chapter eighteen. Perhaps we already see much of this happening in our lifetime. Calamities and the like will continue until the last day. Things will get more intense until it is utter destruction. It will come upon all people in all levels of society, every age, every nation, language, tongue and people. Destruction will be upon the world for Rom 3:10-12 “None is righteous, no, not one;  (11)  no one understands; no one seeks for God.  (12) All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

 

The Lord speaks, “The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.” The law of God is written on the hearts of mankind. No one, not even the little ones have kept it. Even or babes do not come into this world trusting in the Lord of Hosts. Everyone has broken the covenant God made with the world at the time of flood.

 

You’re probably looking around the world, seeing how crazy it is and wondering why does God allow all this stuff to happen. Well we are under a curse, a curse we have brought down upon ourselves and the world we live in. We are suffering for our guilt. God allows this stuff to happen because he is calling us to repent. He calls us to turn from our sin, iniquity and faithlessness and to turn and look to his son Jesus Christ. We are to look to his cross and see the guilt of the world, our guilt there and know there and only there that God still loves us and makes a new covenant with us. From that cross of Jesus Christ, redemption for mankind is won and proclaimed and the redemption of creation has taken place. There is good news, Rom 8:19 “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God…:21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God…23  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

 

Heavenly Father, forgive us our iniquity. Grant us faith in your son Jesus Christ and give us your Holy Spirit that we may truly repent of our sins and trust you in all things. Preserve us in the true faith until the day we see our hope, the redemption of our bodies and all creation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: December 6th


#DailyDevotion The Spirit Of The King Of Babylon Will Be Cast Down And Christ Lifted Up

December 6th

Read Is 14:1–23

Isa 14:1 For the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob… (12)  “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!  (13) You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;  (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’  (15) But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.

 

The mystery of Christ that St. Paul talks about, i.e. that Gentiles will be grafted unto Israel, is manifested here in verse one. It is amazing that as the Lord has compassion of Jacob and Israel, he converts his people to having faith in Christ. On top of that, with that same message, the Gentiles are also converted to having faith in Christ and are attached to Israel. (Rom. 9)

 

Yet we move on to verses 9 and following and we come across a passage that once was thought to refer to Lucifer aka Satan because of verse 12, the Day Star in Latin is translated Lucifer, which means bringer of light. In Isaiah’s prophecy, he is actually referring to the king of Babylon, who will not be on the scene for another hundred years or so. Like the kings of Assyria, the kings of Babylon will think they won for themselves kingdoms and subjected peoples. Yet the Lord, the King of the Universe, is the cause of both the Assyrian and Babylonian, not to mention the Greeks, Romans, French, Spaniards, English, Germans and Americans rise to power. Like many kingdoms many of these are infected with the spirit of Babylon, a desire for world power and uniting mankind under one of its rulers. Ultimately, the king of Babylon and all worldly leaders who do not give credit or have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will be received in the fashion of verse ten. Ultimately, at the end of time, the final worldly king or antichrist will raise his head and desire to be like the Most High. He may be one who comes the closest to fulfilling Babylon’s desire for the world. As close as he gets, he, the devil and his false prophets will be cast down to the far reaches of the pit.

 

For their can only be One King and that King is Jesus. He is the king that sacrifices himself on behalf of his people, all those that will humble themselves and put their trust in him alone. All those who give all glory to Jesus because they believe that salvation is won by Christ and his sacrificial work and glorious resurrection will join Christ in his kingdom, the New Jerusalem, the new heavens and new earth. We will find our rest in him then even as we only find our rest in him now.

 

Gracious God, Heavenly Father, cast down all who are proud in their hearts and those who seek power apart from you and grant them and us repentance from our sins and faith and trust in the merits and works of your Son, Jesus Christ, our only King and Lord. In his name we pray. Amen

Daily Reading: December 5th


#DailyDevotion The New David Has Come. Now We Wait For His Return

December 5th

Read Is 11:1—12:6

Isa 11:1-2  There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.  (2)  And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.  Isa 12:1-3  You will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.  (2)  “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

 

And there’s a lot of other good stuff between 11:4 and 12:1 but let us focus on this today.  David’s house shall be cut low down to the stump with is his father, Jesse.  The shoot coming forth is a new David.  The fullness of the Holy Spirit shall rest upon him.  He will not judge as others judge.  Verse 10 tells us not only is it a shoot from the stump of Jesse but the root of Jesse as well.  So he comes before Jesse and after Jesse.  This of course is Jesus who is of the house of David according to the flesh but who is the Son of God who precedes all creation and is its author, that is, God, the Lord Almighty.  The Holy Spirit rested upon him at his baptism by John and we see the action of his wisdom in his earthly ministry.   We shall see it fully at his return when he judges the earth.

 

Jesus is raised up as a signal to the nation in his crucifixion and in his lifting up he draws all to himself.  All Israel, all men, all creation are drawn into Christ and is redeemed by him on the cross.  Even now we see this as Jesus gathers his people from all nations into his body the Church.  We shall see this even more clearly at his return.  And at Christ Jesus’ return those who looked to him shall be raised or changed to everlasting life and those who refused his love, forgiveness, and mercy shall be raised to everlasting perdition.

 

Which is why “in that day,” we will be giving thanks and praise and honor and glory; for he has turned away his wrath and anger.  Even now we sing, (2)  “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” Even now we sing, “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.  (5)  “Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.  (6)  Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”  But then we shall sing it even more gloriously and with more forever.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, we give you thanks that you have drawn us from all nations by your crucifixion that we may know, understand and believe that in that action God’s wrath has been set aside and is now our salvation, strength and song.  May all who hear our praise of your name become fellow partakers of our song in that day to everlasting salvation.  Amen

Daily Reading: December 4th


#DailyDevotion There Are Only Two Kingdoms. Which One Do You Belong To?

December 4th

Read Is 10:12–27a, 33–34

Isa 10:12-19  When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes.  (13)  For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding; I remove the boundaries of peoples, and plunder their treasures; like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones…(15)  Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it, or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it? As if a rod should wield him who lifts it, or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!  (16)  Therefore the Lord GOD of hosts will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors, and under his glory a burning will be kindled, like the burning of fire.

 

There is a double fulfillment at work here in today’s text from Isaiah.  One points to a fulfillment in the time of Isaiah, the other to the last day when Christ returns.  First we see how the Lord, the God of Hosts views the attitude towards the king of the Assyrians.  The king is boastful and full of pride.  He believes it was his skill, power and the like which has won him much of the earth he has conquered.  But the Lord rebukes him accosting him and reminding he that he is simply the tool of the Lord’s wrath against his people Israel and Judah who have turned against faith in the Lord.

 

Because of his pride and arrogance the Lord is going to bring the king to ruin and of his reign who will tell of it.  Of his descendents, do we even know, can we even tell who they are?  And indeed, the Lord eventually brought about the ruin of the Assyrians.  The Babylonians would take their place eventually, then the Persians and Medes, followed by the Greek and then the Romans.  The Holy Roman empire, the Spaniards, French, English and Germans, the Russians, the Americans, the Chinese have all had their empires and they all thought their own hand, power, might and wisdom had gotten them where they were at some point in time and they likewise fall away.  It is and was the Lord our God, Jesus Christ, who guides the fates of nations and empires.  There are two more great kingdoms left to be brought to bear.  It is our Lord who lifts both up.  There is the kingdom of the World, which is always the same kingdom no matter the name, which is the original world kingdom, Babylon, which man thinks he creates and there is the kingdom of God which uses Babylon for Jesus’ own purposes and glory.  In the end, as Isaiah says, (17)  “The light of Israel will become a fire, and his Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day.”  Jesus is the Holy One who will defeat the kings of this world with the breath of his mouth and turn all those who fight against him and his Church into food for birds. (Rev. 19)  But to those who trust in the gift of Jesus’ merits, righteousness, forgiveness and life, they are his Israel whom he gathers to himself eternally.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, may pride have no place in our minds nor in the minds of those who lead our country that we may continually give glory and praise to you for all temporal and eternal goods.  Amen.

Daily Reading: December 3rd


#DailyDevotion Lord Jesus Christ, Grant Us And Our Nation Repentance Unto Life

December 3rd

Read Is 9:8—10:11

Isa 9:13-18  The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the LORD of hosts.  (14)  So the LORD cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day— (15)  the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail;  (16)  for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.  (17)  Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.  (18)  For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke.

 

Hear this prophecy against Israel, God’s chosen people.  Pay attention!  These disasters which overtook Israel, these armies of the Assyrians which are about to overtake the land of Syria, Lebanon and Israel were warnings from the Lord of Hosts to repent.  The Lord struck his own people to wake them up from their sins but they preferred their slumber.  So in one day he would take away both elders and priests, church and state.  These two institutions took away the people of the Lord and caused them to believe a lie.  The people not only turned to false gods and to a false faith but in doing so their hearts turned cold and sought out their own benefit over their neighbor, the widow, the orphan, the poor and foreigner at the gate.  They did not recognize the signs and turn to the Lord or inquire of them. See the fierce anger and wrath of the Lord.  These people whom he has chosen, he will rejoice in their young men and have no pity on the fatherless and widow.

 

What the Lord did to the Israelites is to be a lesson for us and the world.  Many false pastors and Christians think the Lord does not hold the nations of the world to account.  They dismiss natural disasters and foreign and native born attacks as nothing but the course in life of an evil world.  While it is true that these things happen to us because we are in an evil world, we are not to dismiss them out of hand and have self-righteous indignation.  When we do, we are acting like the ancient Israelites.  Know this, the sins of the world are piling up and our own wickedness will bring the whole cosmos into ruin through flames of judgment.  The Church is not the instrument of God’s judgment but the voice calling out to repent of false gods, false doctrine and a wicked life and turn to God’s mercy, love, kindness and forgiveness found only in Christ Jesus.

 

When evil befalls us and our nation then we need to repent.  We need to inquire of the Lord, examine ourselves and our city, county, state and nation.  We need to decry our and our nation’s sins.  We need to point out the false teachers and depose (through the appointed means) those leaders of our government who increase wickedness in our land.  Not only for things such as legalizing abortion, homosexual marriages, easy divorces and the like but also to make sure the poor, the elderly, the orphan are not oppressed and are cared for.  Let us confess our and our nations sin and turn to Jesus for mercy and guidance in both Church and State.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, grant us and our nation repentance. Give us your Spirit to trust in you, to love our neighbor and for leaders who will govern us with wisdom, justice, equity with righteousness. Amen.

Daily Reading: December 2nd


#DailyDevotion When Jesus Is Your Fear And Dread Nothing Else Need Fear You

Dec. 2nd

Read Is 8:9—9:7

Isa 8:13-17  But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  (14)  And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  (15)  And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”  (16)  Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples.  (17)  I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him….. 9:2  The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone…  (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.  (7)  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

 

The people of Israel and Judah lost their fear of the Lord and thereby lost the Lord, the God of Hosts.  They went chasing after other gods and other means of receiving spiritual and temporal guidance other than the Lord who told them in the Law to seek Him and only Him and His direction.  So the Lord calls out to His people here in Isaiah 8 and 9 to return to Him.  The Lord they were to honor as holy.  The Lord was to be their fear and dread.  When the Lord is their fear and dread then He becomes their sanctuary and their solid rock foundation.

 

But here they do not make the Lord their fear and dread, instead of their foundation, He becomes the rock with smashes them to pieces and grinds them to dust.  He becomes a snare and a trap.  He hides himself from those who rejected Him that they might seek the Lord.  Isaiah understands this and he binds the testimony of the Lord and seals his disciples with the teachings of the Lord.

 

Jesus fulfills this prophecy in his first advent to Israel in the flesh.  It is Jesus in whom we are to have the fear and dread of the Lord.  With the proper fear and dread of Christ Jesus, he becomes for us our sanctuary from the wrath of the Almighty.  He binds and seals us with his promises and his sacraments.  In his days among us in the visible flesh, Jesus was the light shining in the darkness in the land of the Gentiles and Samaritans.  Jesus is the child who becomes for us “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  As such, even now Jesus is reigning over creation at the right hand of God.  We place our hope in him.  When Christ returns visibly he will establish in the new heavens and new earth justice with righteousness forevermore.  In the meantime as we wait, we turn to Christ Jesus for all our needs and he promises to hear, protect and be with us at all times. It is in this hope that we live our lives. We need not fear what men and governments do. Their reign over us is only temporary. The reign of Christ Jesus is into eternity and he only seeks our good. Trusting in this we can wait patiently for the visible return of his kingdom in peace and joy.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, grant us patient hearts as we await your return and give us a spirit that fears and dreads you alone that we may live in hope and peace always. Amen.

Daily Reading: December 1st


#DailyDevotion The Lord’s Fulfillment Of Past Promises Gives Us Assurance Of His Future Promises

December 1st

Read Is 7:10—8:8

Isa 8:1-5  Then the LORD said to me, “Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters, ‘Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz.’  (2)  And I will get reliable witnesses, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah, to attest for me.”  (3)  And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the LORD said to me, “Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz;  (4)  for before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.”

 

You may wonder why are we looking at these verses and not 7:14. It is because unless we look here we cannot be certain of God’s promise of Immanuel there. The Lord has Isaiah take prophetic action. Isaiah goes to the prophetess and bears a son whose name means “In Speed Spoil, Booty hastens.” Such will be the case of the Assyrian invasion of Israel and Judah. In previous verses of chapter seven the Lord describes the invasion of Assyria into Israel and to Judah and the things that happen then. The Lord has foretold it.

 

As such that is what happened when the Assyrians invaded, conquered and exiled the people of Israel. Judah was not untouched either in the Assyrian campaigns. By 722 B.C. these things have occurred just as the Lord had predicted. The prophet cries “O Immanuel” harkening back to the previous verses in chapter seven for hope.

 

So now that the prophecies of the Assyrian invasion and conquest have been fulfilled just at the Lord has predicted, now we can take comfort in chapter seven. Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. It was a sign of comfort to Hezekiah that his enemies would be destroyed, namely Israel and Syria. God fulfills this prophecy in our age, the New Testament age. Because of the prophecy fulfilled concerning Israel, Syria and Assyria have been fulfilled we can be certain that the Lord has fulfilled this prophecy also. The virgin, the Virgin Mary, did indeed conceive and bore son in her virginity. He is called Immanuel, God is with us. For that is who Jesus is, God with us. The “with” here carries with it the force of not only being with but also “for” for if is not is not for us it matters not that he is with us. But in the person of Jesus we see God is with and for us because as the God-Man, Jesus conquers our enemies, not those of flesh and blood but spiritual ones. Jesus conquers sin, death and the power of the devil. He can do that because he is not only man but also truly God. He has promised to return at the end of the age and usher in his visible kingdom where righteousness reigns. O come Immanuel!

 

Lord we thank you for fulfilling your prophecies of the past so we may be comforted by the prophecies of the future. Grant us faith in your Immanuel, Jesus Christ, that we experience the redemption of our bodies on the day of his second advent. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 30th


#DailyDevotion The Lord Has Sent Forth His Seraphim To Cleanse You From Sin

November 30th

Read Is 6:1—7:9

Isa 6:2-7  Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  (3)  And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”…  (5)  And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”  (6)  Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.  (7)  And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

 

At some point in time during Isaiah’s ministry, he receives a call from God directly to the prophetic task. He was to warn Israel, Judah and the world about God’s coming wrath to call them to repentance. Isaiah does not only that but issues many proclamations about the salvation of their God for them and for the world through God’s chosen servant.

 

During this call Isaiah sees a vision of the worship of God in heaven by the angels and he sees the seraphim which are burning serpents or dragons with six wings. Even these perfect, angelic creatures cannot look directly have God but cover their eyes and bodies with their wings. As they do so they sing a song which has been made a part of a hymn sung during the liturgy of Holy Communion. As we sing it, we too join them in their heavenly praise, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” We sing this song, because we too, like the angels, are in the presence of the Lord of hosts who has joined himself to our humanity and gives us his very body and blood in the New Testament Supper.

 

Even as the Isaiah, recognizing his own sinfulness and humble position in the presence of God, when we gather together as his body, the Church, and we are his presence, his body and blood in the holy sacrament, we too confess our sins like Isaiah. He, even though he is a prophet of the most High, confesses he is a man of unclean lips among a people of unclean lips. We confess our sins at the beginning of the service and many other times during the service. Isaiah has even seen the Lord with his own eyes, yet God is merciful to Isaiah and does not strike him down dead. Having confessed his sins, a seraph, an angel takes a coal from the altar of God in heaven, touches Isaiah’s lips and proclaims him clean, his “guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

 

In similar fashion, God has sent an angel, a messenger, to you to accomplish for you the same thing when you humble yourself before God, i.e. your pastor. Your pastor with the authority of Christ lays his hand(s) upon you and pronounces absolution, that is forgiveness. (John 20:22ff) God has us baptized with water and the Word and make us clean. (Titus 3:4ff) Like the seraph, the pastor takes Christ’ body and blood from the altar for you to eat and drink and likewise you can be certain “this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”(Matt. 26:28) Our Lord is one who uses instruments to convey his grace.

 

Lord, may we with Isaiah confess our iniquity and with Isaiah receive the means by which you will convey your grace to us that we may believe our guilt is taken away and our sins atoned for. In Jesus’name. Amen