Daily Reading: November 29th


#DailyDevotion Woe To Those Who Call Evil Good And Good Evil

November 29th

Read Is 5:1–25

Isa 5:18-25  Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes,  (19)  who say: “Let him be quick, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!”  (20)  Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!  (21)  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!  (22)  Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink,  (23)  who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!

 

The Lord, the God of Israel is building his case against the people of Israel in the eighth century B.C.. For these four woes plus two more earlier, the Lord is charging Israel with and explaining why he is bringing the Assyrians upon them to destroy them. Like most wicked people, the Israelites didn’t think they were doing anything wrong. They were justified of their own actions in their own eyes. Yet God had judged them righteously and not according to man’s standards. It isn’t as if they didn’t have the Law of Moses which warned them about what would happen if they turned away from the perfect will of God and trusted in false gods, particularly worldly wealth and their stomachs.

 

So the Israelites are condemned because they taunt the Lord of Hosts saying let’s see if these prophecies of doom come true, then we’ll believe it. They were just like people of today casting aside the warnings of God’s wrath to come. God’s warning to Israel and their subsequent destruction is a lesson and warning to us. The Israelites treated evil as good and good as evil. How much more so today where the world around us accepts and promotes homosexuality and fornication as good and condemn those who speak out against it, just as an example. Yet God’s judgment against all iniquity is coming.

 

The Israelites thought they were hot stuff and knew everything. How much more today with those who say they cannot believe and trust in a God that does x, y or z, things God indeed does do in the Scriptures and so they reject God’s wisdom and judgments because they think they know better than God but their minds are darkened and cannot see the truth. There were those who were champions at drinking and as such brought injustice to the land. Can we say the world we live in does anything less? God’s judgment against Israel is a warning to us and the world. He is calling us to repent of our evil deeds and judge ourselves according to his holy will. He is calling us to trust in the Holy One of Israel, Jesus Christ, who took this judgment upon himself on the cross and offers a full, complete pardon if we would but humble ourselves before him and confess our guilt. Judgment begins with the House of God. What will happen to the world?

 

Lord you have warned us in your Word of your righteous judgments and provided pardon in your Son Jesus. Grant us faith to believe, repent and do what is acceptable in your sight. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 28th


#DailyDevotion The Lord Jesus Promises Us A Better Day

November 28th

Read Is 2:1–22

Isa 2:2 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it,  (3)  and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  (4)  He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore… 11The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.  (12)  For the LORD of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up–and it shall be brought low;

 

The second chapter of Isaiah speaks of the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. What will it be like for those who have trusted in the promises of God from the Old and New Testaments? It speaks of a better day when men shall trust in God and his Christ alone. It speaks of how the Lord alone will be exalted on that day and into eternity. God himself will teach us. The Lord Jesus Christ shall put on his righteous paths.

 

A stone at the United Nations misquotes verse four and gives the impression that humanity, our current fallen humanity will bring this to pass. But it is only Jesus and his reign that makes this possible. Only Jesus and his reign over humanity’s heart by the Holy Spirit can bring this utopian society about. There in the new age, only the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will be exalted and praised.

 

This current age does not recognize or submit to the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed it does everything it can to fight against it. It does recognize or praise the mercy of God found in Christ Jesus. It only recognizes power and those who exert it. Along with power the world looks to its wealth as chief among the gods because wealth buys power over men’s hearts and minds. People will look to everyone and everything, they will make up gods in their hearts to gain power and wealth. They cannot trust in Christ alone for all good things; they cannot look to the Father of lights to be merciful and kind to them. And so like rebellious five year olds, humanity pushes away the hand of God and says, “I can do it myself.” Yet it then turns to creation and the imagination of men’s hearts and worships them instead of the God who created and makes such thinking even possible. All that is lift up as God and against faith in God and his Christ shall be brought low, humbled and made for naught on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ and the ushering in of his visible reign among us. Only those who have humbled themselves before Jesus and trusted in his work and his word shall be exalted together with him. Jesus is inviting you this day to cast aside your pride, to cast aside all created things, and everything you trust as God and to believe and trust in him for your eternal salvation and for all temporal goods in this world.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, grant us such faith in you that we may humble ourselves now, casting aside everything tempts us to trust in created things for every good to the end that we may dwell with you in the world to come and be exalted with you on the day of your second advent. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 27th


#DailyDevotion God Is Not Politically Correct

November 27th

Read Is 1:1–28

Isa 1:10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!  (11)  “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats…16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,  (17)  learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.  (18)  “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool…(25) I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy… (27) Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness.

 

What damning things the Lord speaks to Israel. Yes the Lord is speaking to Israel here. He is calling her the wicked cities he had once destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah! Here our Lord compares their sacrifices that he had once commanded to those of the surrounding pagan countries. He is not pleased with them. Jesus would at the beginning of his ministry make a similar comparison: Mat 11:23-24  And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.  (24)  But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

 

The people of Israel and Judea were not pleasing to God because they ceased to have unfeigned faith in the Lord their God. As the author of Hebrews writes, Heb 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Instead they worshipped gods of their own understanding. They worshipped in a way that was pleasing to themselves. Because of this God would send the Assyrians, the Babylonians and the Romans to conquer his people and hopefully through these trials bring them to repentance.

 

The repentance that the Lord is looking for is ceasing to continue to do evil and the commencement of doing good. But such repentance is only possible if there is a promise from God to receive it. It is only possible by trusting what the Lord promises. What does the Lord promise? He promises to turn our sins which are like scarlet and crimson into being white as snow and wool. The bloodshed which our sins bring about, the Lord our God will wipe out. How will he accomplish this? Jesus brings this about through justice and righteousness. Not that he brings justice upon us or having his righteousness wipe us out but instead Jesus receives justice upon his own flesh and by the righteousness of God, the Lord punishes our iniquity by placing it on Jesus. No sin is left unpunished. No unrighteousness is left unatoned for. You have been declared innocent and not guilty. You have been declared righteous for Christ’s sake. Repent therefore and believe the good news.

 

Heavenly Father, though you condemn our wickedness it is not your desire to annihilate us but to bring us to repentance and restore us to yourself. Grant us a repentance unto salvation through the merits and works of your son Jesus and make us, sinful as we are, white as snow and wool that we may enter that good land you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 26th


#DailyDevotion Would To God We Would Be Convicted Of Being Faithful Christians

November 26th
Read Dan 6:1–28
Dan 6:3-5 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. (4) Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. (5) Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.” …7 All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions…10When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. (11) Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.

Would to God that the only fault anyone would find with us is our devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ! Daniel was of such character that he was excellent in all his work that was set before him. True, his performance was assisted by the power of our God, but his character insofar as the world was concerned was flawless. But this type of character should not be characteristic of people like Daniel. We ordinary Christians should exhibit such character in our lives.

St. Peter writes to us, 1Pe 3:13-17 “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? (14) But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, (15) but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (16) having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. (17) For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”

St. Paul writes, Tit 2:7-8 “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, (8) and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”

This is to be our Christian life through faith and by the grace that is in Christ Jesus. We should note that their trap for Daniel did work. It is better to obey God rather than man. Daniel turned to the Lord and prayed to him three times a day and gave thanks. He did this knowing the persecution he would have to endure and indeed, Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den. Know this too, and Saints Peter and Paul tell us, while we should not give any reason for men to curse God because of us or blaspheme our Lord Jesus Christ because of our lives, when we do live such blameless lives before men, you may suffer persecution for doing good. Do not fear them. Greater is the one whom you have faith in than those who are in the world. The worst they can do is kill the body. But at our Lord Jesus’ return he shall raise those bodies from the dead and those who mistreated you shall be put to shame and enter into everlasting contempt.

Lord Jesus Christ, may your Holy Spirit so guide and govern our hearts that we may live such lives that give praise and glory to your name so whatever evil speak against us is only because our devotion to you and good works towards our neighbors. Amen.

Daily Readings: November 24th


#DailyDevotion The Most High God Makes Rulers Rise And Fall

November 24

Dan 4:1–37

Dan 4:17  The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’…4:34  At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;

 

The kings, rulers, presidents, prime ministers, senators, representatives, magistrates, et. al. should take notice. They rule by the pleasure of the King of Heaven, the Most High Jesus Christ. They are his servants. They are answerable to him. His choice of them does not give them carte blanche to do what they please. Whether they believe in him or not, they are his servants. He has placed them in positions of power and might to bring justice, rule fairly, make sure all people are treated with equity. They are to protect their people and keep their areas of rule in peace. They are called to make sure the orphan, widow, the foreigner, the sick, the oppressed and the like are cared for and treated fairly. They are called to take up their cause.

 

But should they become proud like Nebuchadnezzar and think they have built what they have on their own, then they should beware lest they be made an example like him. They however have no promise from the Lord that he will restore them back to their former glory.

 

Nebuchadnezzar was restored to his mind, he repented and gave glory to God who had gave him such glory among men.

 

We too, even if we don’t think we are powerful and the like should take notice for ourselves. We should give glory to God for all his benefits to us. It is he who blesses the work of our hands. It is he who bestows upon us blessing after blessing as we go about and fulfill our vocations. We also should not become proud within ourselves but rather praise God for all his benefits to us.  This time of year we are reminded to be thankful for all his benefits to us lest we make the Most High angry with us for forgetting where our strength comes from and we end up like King Nebuchadnezzar.

Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for all your benefits and mercies toward us that we should receive the fruits of our labors. Grant wisdom and humility to those you have set above us that they may bless you and serve you in these good vocations of government. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: November 23rd


#DailyDevotion Faith No Matter What Is The Point

November 23rd

Read Dan 3:1–30

Dan 3:14-21  Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up?  (16)  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.  (17)  If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  (18)  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  (19)  Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated.  (20)  And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.  (21)  Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace.

 

We have all heard this story in Sunday School or VBS and we usually come away with the wrong message.  While it is true it teaches us not to worship idols, that is not the main point.  While it is true that the Lord rescued the three young men in the fire, the point most certainly is not, “If you are faithful to the Lord, he will rescue you miraculously.”  I’m afraid that is what most people get out of it and the devil uses that to help us fall away from the true faith when troubles beset us and it doesn’t appear the Lord is doing anything to help us or deliver us.  We simply suffer and/or die or live with the fact that someone we have loved got sick, suffered or died a horrible death.

 

The three you men certainly believe the Lord is able to deliver them in verse 17 and indeed they believe he will deliver him in that verse.  But the key to understanding the whole is those three little words in verse 18, “But if not…”  It takes some real courage to stand before the king of the world and tell him, “We don’t care what you threaten or what you’ll do to us, we won’t obey.”  They are not concerned whether or not the Lord will deliver them.  They will not bow down to the statue. That’s it. Period.

 

Why would they answer like that?  It only made  the king even angrier.  He liked these kids.  But with their answer, his countenance towards them changes.  He wanted them dead.  Killed dead dead.  He has the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual.  So hot it is that those dumping the kids in the fire die from the heat in the process.  Jesus tells us, Mat 10:28  “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  They feared the Lord more than they loved their lives.  We are called in faith to do the same.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, grant unto us true faith and fear of your name that on the day of decision we may think, live and do as the three young men and have the same fear of your name as they did.  Amen.

Daily Reading: November 22nd


#DailyDevotion There Is A God In Heaven Who Has Revealed The Future. Listen To Him

November 22nd

Read Dan 2:24–49

Dan 2:44-47  And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,  (45)  just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”  (46)  Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him.  (47)  The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.”

 

Many people who don’t believe the bible is God’s Word will point to passages in Daniel and say, “God didn’t reveal these things to Daniel.  Someone after the fact had to write these things as Daniel because it’s impossible to predict the future.”  But that is a point in Daniel.  There is a God in heaven who can and does reveal the mysteries of the future.  The Lord revealed there would a number of world kingdoms which were to come into reality and finally a world kingdom which perhaps is now or will be.  But this kingdom will not last like the others.

 

John the Baptist proclaimed, Mat 3:2  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Jesus also said, Mat 4:17  … “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Finally Jesus said, Mat 28:18-20  “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  (19)  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  (20)  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 

It is this kingdom which the Lord revealed to Nebuchadnesser and to Daniel.  The kingdom of God and his Christ, Jesus shall eventually destroy the kingdom of this world and usher in a new age,  new cosmos, a new heavens and new earth where righteousness reigns and the Father and the Son shall dwell with those who put their trust in Christ.  This kingdom is currently winning men’s hearts not with sword or gun nor with any other force.  Simply though the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins for Jesus’ sake and through baptism people of every nation, language and tongue are being brought into the kingdom of God.  You too are invited to be part of this kingdom through faith in Jesus and baptism.

 

But on the last day this present world will be utterly destroyed with its kingdoms and those who desire the kingdom of this world rather than the kingdom of Jesus shall be cast into everlasting fire and perdition.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, may we ever have faith in your son Jesus to enter his kingdom and my those we share the message with the kingdom believe and enter with us.  Amen.

Daily Reading: November 21st


#DailyDevotion The Lord Has Told Us The Future. Don’t Fight It. Live According To It.

November 21st

Read Dan 2:1–23

Dan 2:8-11  The king answered and said, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm— (9)  if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.”  (10)  The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean.  (11)  The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Dan 2:20-22  Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.  (21)  He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;  (22)  he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.

 

The king is pretty smart here.  I’m not sure why he ever even listens to these guys if he knows they are just making stuff up.  Perhaps their counsel is still pretty good on most days even if they are not able to tell the future from the stars or interpret signs, dreams, visions and wonders.  But he is firm. If you can’t tell him the dream, off with your heads.  Their reply is priceless, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean.”  Well the Lord is about to prove them wrong.

 

The Lord plans on ingratiating Daniel to king Nebuchadnezzer. He sent the dream to the king in the first place.  The Lord will now give the dream and the interpretation of that dream to the king through Daniel.  For Daniel has been sent by the Lord to get the ear of the king and to protect and preserve his people.

 

Now we will look at the dream and its interpretation later but what we need to grasp from this is the Lord has told us what is to take place in the last days.  We are living in those last days and have been since our Lord Jesus Christ has ascended into heaven.  He, himself, has revealed through his apostle John what is to take place.  We need not fear it.  Many of the plagues and calamities that fall upon humanity will fall upon all people including Christians.  But the spiritual plagues and calamities will not fall upon those who bear the name of Jesus in Baptism and who trust in Christ Jesus.  We will go through trials, tribulations and even face death for the name of Jesus.  He has told us as much.  But we need not fear it.  We know the outcome.  We know our end.  We know the Lord Jesus Christ has promised us a resurrection to eternal life and life with God in Christ.  What can the world do to me?  It is only temporary.  But for those who do not repent and turn to Jesus, the plagues and calamities, spiritual and physical will remain with them eternally.

 

We know the interpretations of Daniel of the King’s dreams and the visions of Daniel have mostly come to pass with the expected accuracy.  The meaning of them is from the Lord.  That which has not happened yet will come to pass with same accuracy as the past.  Let us place our hope in it.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, you always prepare your people for what is to come revealing it beforehand.  Grant us your Spirit that we may be properly repentant unto eternal life. Amen.