Daily Reading: October 10


Read Matt. 11:1-19
Mat 11:16-19 “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, (17) “‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ (18) For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ (19) The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”

So are you still demanding that God and Jesus (who is God) must meet your expectations as to what God and Jesus should be and do? It’s pretty arrogant of us sometimes to be telling God how to be God. We try to tell Jesus what sort of savior he must be. We have expectations of God and Christ which God has never told us he is like or is going to be doing or has done.

Get over yourself. Who are you to tell God what he should be doing or how he should be doing it? You can’t even dictate your own life and the lives of those around you. Yet we keep trying and our expectations are continually cast aside and then we’re disappointed because of unrealistic expectations of God.

If you really want to know what you can expect from God and Jesus (who is God) then you have to submit your expectations according to his revealed will which happens to be written down for us in what we normally call the Bible. Really, read through the whole thing 7 or 8 or even 10 times before you start telling God what sort of God he ought to be. He tells you what sort of God he is right there in the text and what you can expect from him.

And what sort of God and Jesus do we get? We get one that likes to get dirty and play in the mud. (Gen. 1 and 2) We get one who isn’t ashamed to call us brothers. (Heb. 2) We get one who associates with all sorts of people good and bad, up and down and a bunch of riff raff in the middle. Some even call him a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. God and Jesus just are unrespectable. Because if he were respectable, then none of unrespectable people, who really need him, would ever approach him and be saved.

So if you want to be with the Father and with the Son, you too recognize your own unrespectability. It’s the only way you’ll ever accept the only God and Jesus there ever was, is and will be forever.

Heavenly Father, help us to have a right understanding of you and your Christ as it is revealed in your Word and give us faith that we might believe and trust in it. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 9


Read Matt 10:24–42
Mat 10:28-35 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. (29) Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. (30) But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. (31) Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (32) So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, (33) but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (34) “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (35) For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

To fear or not to fear, that is the question. Or perhaps it is who to fear or how to fear the Fear of Jacob. Who and what we are not to fear is simple. We are not to fear people or the world. They can torture us, behead us, sell us into slavery, rape and murder us. Yet we are not to fear them. Whatever they can do us as Christians is transitory. It can only last as long as we are in the world. But it will not last forever.

What God can do to us is forever though. Therefore he is rightly feared. Not only can God destroy the body but he can torture it and the soul forever in the fires of hell. Yet the proper fear of God is trust and love, in him and towards him. And Jesus gives us a good reason to fear, love and trust and God. He has the very hairs of our head numbered and we are worth more than birds. Remember Jesus said earlier before we pray God knows what we are going to pray and answers our prayers. He said our Father in heaven knows what we need and is going to provide us these things as we seek his kingdom and his righteousness. He is going to give us all good things and not bad things when we pray. So we can fear God, love and trust our Father in heaven.

Jesus gives us this encouragement because we are going to face all sorts of trial and tribulations in our life which will cause us to doubt God really loves us and is on our side. So he calls us to remain faithful unto him. He calls us to confess his name before men and hold to this confession always. If we do this he promises to be faithful to us and to confess us as his own before the Father in heaven. The peace we have before God comes at a price. As we possess this peace before our heavenly Father, we will not know peace with the world. Jesus doesn’t bring peace but a sword. His sword divides those who trust in him and those who do not. Those who do not trust him raise up their own sword against God and his people, whether strangers, family or friends. In the face of the sword, remain faithful to Jesus and you will inherit a crown of eternal life.

Heavenly Father, may we ever possess that peace knowing we are worth more to you than birds, we are worth the very life of your Son, Jesus. Grant us your Spirit and faith that we may ever confess the name of Jesus especially in the midst of persecution. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 8


Read Matt 10:1–23
Mat 10:21-23 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, (22) and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (23) When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Indeed the Son of Man has already come. He is the one speaking these words. They just didn’t get it quite yet. But one things Jesus is telling his apostles is something he has told all of us in the Beatitudes. When you are a Christian you will be hated for the name of Jesus. You will suffer persecution, ridicule and yes sometimes even imprisonment and death.

In the Beatitudes Jesus assures us that we are blessed by God when we suffer for the sake of Jesus’ name. The kingdom of heaven belongs to such people. The same kingdom the disciples are proclaiming. It is for the lowly, the poor, the sick, the lonely and depressed and those who are seeking a righteousness which is not their own.

Those who live for the kingdom can expect persecution from their very own family, brothers, sisters, parents and children will at times turn against their own flesh and blood. This happened to the apostles, the Christians who heard them and even unto today those who believe the apostles’ message.

Yet we should not be discouraged or disheartened. If we endure, if we remain faithful to the end, we shall be saved. Not that endurance earns our salvation but our faith in Christ’ name. If we lose that faith, which is the only way to salvation, how can we be saved? But a crown of righteousness is for those who remain faithful unto death. St. Peter reminds us we have been saveed, 1Pe 1:4-5 “to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, (5) who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” We will be guarded through faith by God’s power to remain faithful. Whatever is going on in the world is transitory and passing away. It will not remain forever. But what Jesus has in store for you is eternal, it does not fade away, rust or rot. It is more precious than all the gold, silver and precious jewels of this world. And to illustrate that fact, the roads of the eternal Zion are paved with gold like common brick and cement.

Lord Jesus Christ, let us suffer for you name’s sake and not for doing evil and when we undergo persecution on account of your name, give us your Spirit that we may be faithful unto the end. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 7


Read Matt 9:18–38
Mat 9:20-23 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, (21) for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” (22) Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. Mat 9:27-30 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” (28) When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” (29) Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” (30) And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.”

When we look at these two instances perhaps we ought to feel ashamed because we don’t have faith like these two. We are encouraged to have faith the size of a mustard seed yet we don’t even have faith that big. Perhaps Jesus’ words to his disciples, “O ye of little faith” apply to us. Yet we should be thankful that there is no measurement of faith when it comes to salvation. For there is faith that can work miracles, which also is a gift of God, and there is justifying faith which receives the forgiveness of sins. With this faith there is no measurement other than do you have it or you don’t. You either trust God has saved you for Christ’s sake or you do not.

The miracles recorded here are not given that we might believe in Jesus they are given to strengthen our faith in Jesus. Jesus did these to show who he was and what authority he has. When our prayers aren’t answered the way we would like them to be answered, it isn’t that we don’t have faith or enough faith. It’s simply either not in God’s overall plan or will promote the kingdom of God. Perhaps at times it might be we don’t have enough faith, but not enough is not the same as none at all and that is where it seems we get into trouble in doubting our Savior. We may doubt we have any faith at all. That’s when we need to realize that we are trusting in our faith and not in Jesus.

I also believe that we have these accounts to encourage us to have a greater faith. A greater faith though comes at what I believe is a greater loss. The woman coming to Jesus had nothing to lose. She had lost everything. There just wasn’t anything else she could trust. The blind men were in similar straights. They had nothing also. Perhaps we need to see what are we still holding onto instead of trusting Jesus. What “insurance policies” are we still looking to in case our prayers aren’t answered the way we want them to answered.

So we are called then to trust only Jesus. If we still have eggs in other baskets we may be trusting Jesus, some, but our trust is not only in Him. Jesus is jealous for our faith in him.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us, increase our faith in you, help us to cast aside all other crutches so that you alone will be our Savior in all circumstances. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 6


Read Matt 9:1–17
Mat 9:2-7 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” (3) And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” (4) But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? (5) For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? (6) But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he then said to the paralytic–“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” (7) And he rose and went home. ..12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (13) Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The Gospel of Matthew is about authority, more specifically what kind of authority does Jesus have and where did it come from. In today’s lesson we see Jesus has authority to forgive sins. A paralytic was brought to Jesus. You would think in the normal course of circumstances that a healer would lay his hands on the man and heal him so he can walk. But Jesus knows what the man needs more than healing of the body is a healing of the soul. This is true for all of us. Particularly in Jesus’ day people believed if you had bad things happening to you, then you must have committed some sin to deserve that suffering. Seems they never learned the lesson from Job. It is true that all suffering comes from sin, sin in us, sin in the world and sins we commit. But our individual sufferings are not caused for the most part by any particular sin but our sinful condition. We need to hear we are forgiven, that God is not angry with us, and that he loves us.

So Jesus tells the man that he is forgiven. Many wonder, how can he have such authority to forgive sins? That is God’s prerogative! So Jesus tests them. Which is easier to say someone is forgiven or to actually heal someone who is paralyzed? Well anyone can say someone is forgiven, there needs no proof that it happened. You can’t see someone is forgiven. So Jesus tells the man to get up and walk and the man does. It showed them and us that Jesus has authority to forgive sins.

On top of this, Jesus teaches us that he desires mercy and not sacrifice. That is to say he wants us to perform acts of mercy on our fellow man, especially the downtrodden more than any other good works we may do. We may want to feed the poor, hand out blankets, and any other good work you think we ought to be doing as a good work, do these sacrifices we will. Jesus though needs or wants us to be merciful. To share the good news of the free forgiveness he won for us and all men everywhere by his sacrifice on the cross. And he wants us to forgive those persons who sinned against us. Then we can offer up sacrifices of thanksgiving to God.

Lord God, heavenly Father, grant us faith in the good news of the free gift of forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name and may we forgive those who have sinned against us. Embolden us to tell others who are suffering of this free gift of forgiveness that they may know your love as well. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 5


Read Matt 9:1–17
Mat 9:2-7 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” (3) And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” (4) But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? (5) For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? (6) But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he then said to the paralytic–“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” (7) And he rose and went home. ..12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (13) Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The Gospel of Matthew is about authority, more specifically what kind of authority does Jesus have and where did it come from. In today’s lesson we see Jesus has authority to forgive sins. A paralytic was brought to Jesus. You would think in the normal course of circumstances that a healer would lay his hands on the man and heal him so he can walk. But Jesus knows what the man needs more than healing of the body is a healing of the soul. This is true for all of us. Particularly in Jesus’ day people believed if you had bad things happening to you, then you must have committed some sin to deserve that suffering. Seems they never learned the lesson from Job. It is true that all suffering comes from sin, sin in us, sin in the world and sins we commit. But our individual sufferings are not caused for the most part by any particular sin but our sinful condition. We need to hear we are forgiven, that God is not angry with us, and that he loves us.

So Jesus tells the man that he is forgiven. Many wonder, how can he have such authority to forgive sins? That is God’s prerogative! So Jesus tests them. Which is easier to say someone is forgiven or to actually heal someone who is paralyzed? Well anyone can say someone is forgiven, there needs no proof that it happened. You can’t see someone is forgiven. So Jesus tells the man to get up and walk and the man does. It showed them and us that Jesus has authority to forgive sins.

On top of this, Jesus teaches us that he desires mercy and not sacrifice. That is to say he wants us to perform acts of mercy on our fellow man, especially the downtrodden more than any other good works we may do. We may want to feed the poor, hand out blankets, and any other good work you think we ought to be doing as a good work, do these sacrifices we will. Jesus though needs or wants us to be merciful. To share the good news of the free forgiveness he won for us and all men everywhere by his sacrifice on the cross. And he wants us to forgive those persons who sinned against us. Then we can offer up sacrifices of thanksgiving to God.

Lord God, heavenly Father, grant us faith in the good news of the free gift of forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name and may we forgive those who have sinned against us. Embolden us to tell others who are suffering of this free gift of forgiveness that they may know your love as well. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 5


Read Matt 8:18–34
Mat 8:25-29 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” (26) And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (27) And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” (28) And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. (29) And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”

“Save us Lord; we are perishing.” Just what were they expecting Jesus to do? Well it sure wasn’t telling the winds and waves to cease and be still. What were they expecting? They wanted Jesus to help bail. Get a bucket and get moving. Yet Jesus points them to have greater faith. They were afraid. It’s natural for sinners to be afraid. After all, if something happens evil to you, you may be dead.

Sometimes we too are fearful in the midst of our lives. What do we think is going to happen? What do we think Jesus is going to allow to happen to his people? Well think the worse and it probably will or at least could happen except this: Jesus will keep you safe in salvation. He will preserve the gift he promised for you in the heavens. He promised to present you blameless, holy and righteous to God the Father. So while our life may seem to go to hell at times, like the disciples in the boat in the midst of a storm, Jesus will preserve our most important things namely eternal life and salvation.

What sort of man is Jesus that he can do this? Strangely enough the demons tell us. He is the Son of God. The demons rightly believed who Jesus was and what he could and would do. They may do their worse in the world but their end in the lake of fire where they shall be tortured eternally. Jesus the Son of God came to save sinners, human sinners. That would be you. He came to sacrifice his life that you might receive freely his eternal life. Today he offers it to you. No one can take it away from you. He will keep it safe in the heavenly places. Since this is true, you can live your life without the fear of death and whatever life throws at you. Such things are only temporary. Jesus’ free gift of life is eternal.

Lord Jesus Christ, ever give us your life that may not fear death or whatever this life throws at us so we may live in peace as we pass through this sinful world. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 4


Read Matt. 8:1-17
Mat 8:16-17 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. (17) This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”

Even before Jesus is hanging on the cross he is bearing the weight of our sins. In his visible ministry he heals people by taking on their illnesses and diseases. These are a consequence of sin in the world. Not that any particular disease has any particular sin associated with it. But our root sin, unbelief, adheres to the flesh and causes us to bear the consequences of that sin.

Sickness and disease for the Christian then is to recognize our continued state of sinfulness and to call upon Christ for his mercy trusting that despite our sick state the Father is still pleased with us on account of Christ. Certainly Jesus healed many in his day and he still does, but for his purposes for his glory. If we pray for healing and do not get it, it is for our benefit. But never-the-less we appeal to Christ even as the leper, the centurion and the demon possessed with the words of St. Peter and Isaiah, 1Pe 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

But what when Christ does not heal us physically? The we must remember these words of St. Paul, “2Co 1:5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” Our sufferings are Christ’s sufferings. He has born them already for us on the cross. Now the sufferings we bear are not ours but Christ’s. It is in these sufferings, through faith that God is renewing us. In that same epistle Paul writes, “2Co 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (17) For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, (18) as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

So we should expect to outwardly waste away. It isn’t pleasant. In fact often times it is excruciating. (ex=from, cruci=the cross) But if we look to Christ that this is his suffering then we can be sure that inwardly we are being renewed so that on the last day we will bear the weight of eternal glory. We will have glorified bodies like Christ’s body.

And to think that this is so is to believe it is because Jesus has born our grief and pain. It is only a slight momentary suffering, but the glory we are to bear is everlasting.

Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for taking our sinfulness upon yourself, bearing our grief, pain and shame. Help us to realize this and through our suffering be are being transformed into your image from glory to glory. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 3


Read Matt 7:13–29
Mat 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. (14) For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few… 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. (18) A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. (19) Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (20) Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. (21) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (22) On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ (23) And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.(Jn. 14:16) Jesus is the narrow gate which we enter through by faith in him. Obviously it is not good works which is the narrow way. The world is full of people of doing works which men declare as being good. But they are not good in God’s eyes. Paul reminds us, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Rom. 14:23 and Heb 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him,…” In order to bear good fruit you must be a good tree. Yet in our natural state we are not good nor do we do good. Rom. 3:9-19 But in Christ we have become new creations; we are made good trees.

When we look at verses 21-23 we note something that seems to elude those who say good actions make good people not right beliefs. What might that be? Look at what those good works people are saying. Lord did we not do this in your name. Lord did we not do that in your name. They did a lot of good works in the name of Jesus. Doing good works and even doing them in the name of Jesus does not get you right with God. Look what Jesus says, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” All there works were lawlessness, sin and rebellion because they did not proceed from faith in Jesus. They were depending on what they DID in Jesus’ name not in Jesus’ name or Jesus.

So you be on the straight and narrow path. That path is faith in Jesus. Only by trust in what Jesus has done for you will allow you to enter into eternal life. This faith is a gift given us by God. (Eph. 2) It is received when we hear the good news that God has forgiven us for Christ’ sake and has given us salvation as a gift. Then good works approved by God will certainly follow.

Lord Jesus Christ, on the day of your return may we be found trusting only in your name and not on our works to enter into the eternal dwellings you have prepared for us. Amen.