Daily Reading: March 1st

#DailyDevotion Faith Believes God Made Creation For Us

Ash Wednesday

Read Gen 1:1–19

Gen 1:1-2  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  (2)  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.


There’s a lot of tension at times between Christians and Scientist. Well that’s not true entirely. There is tension between Scientist who believe science has all the answers and possesses the only way to any and all sorts of knowledge and Christians who don’t understand that science, true science, only explains what it sees and can observe now and use those facts to postulate backwards in time as to how we got how we are.


Now creation, that is, faith in what God’s word has to say about it I believe happened just as God describes it in chapter one of Genesis. God created a world, a universe with all its parts and he created it complete. Since that is the case, I don’t believe it is the case that he is being deceitful. It isn’t his intent to deceive. But he created it will all the laws of the universe so we can observe nature and project it forwards and know what we can expect. It just so happens, if you can project forwards, you can project backwards as well. Except when you project backwards with the completeness we have today, you are going to get an old universe.


That aside, it does take faith to believe God created the heavens and the earth. As it is written, Heb 11:3 “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” As an article of faith, we can never prove scientifically God did it. Logically we can prove God made the universe though.


Creation is a good thing. It is created for us! God didn’t need it. Yet the three persons of the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit were intimately involved with making this creation for us. Imagine the mind of God and power of God who is able to create this universe and everything in it. In today’s reading we get light, the heavens, dry ground, vegetation and lights in the heavens. How wonderful and marvelous it all is. And yet today we are called to repent. Paul writes, Rom 1:21 “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” At times we forget God made all this for us. We forget the Word, Jesus, created and arraigned all this. We oppose at times the Holy Spirit and do not honor God or give thanks to him for this creation. We turn to created things instead of God for every good. This day, let us return to God with penitent hearts, confessing our idolatry of worldly goods and ask for forgiveness for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.


Heavenly Father, we give you thanks and praise for all of creation. Help us always to recognize and believe all you have made for us. Give us a spirit of devotion that looks only to you for all good things and recognizes you as the giver of every good gift. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Readings: February 28th

#DailyDevotion Faith In Christ Is Most Necessary In The Darkest Times

February 28th

Read Job 31:1–12, 33–40

Job 31:1-12  “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?  (2)  What would be my portion from God above and my heritage from the Almighty on high?  (3)  Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity?  (4)  Does not he see my ways and number all my steps?  (5)  “If I have walked with falsehood and my foot has hastened to deceit;  (6)  (Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!)  (7)  if my step has turned aside from the way and my heart has gone after my eyes, and if any spot has stuck to my hands,  (8)  then let me sow, and another eat, and let what grows for me be rooted out.  (9)  “If my heart has been enticed toward a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door,  (10)  then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down on her.  (11)  For that would be a heinous crime; that would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges;  (12)  for that would be a fire that consumes as far as Abaddon, and it would burn to the root all my increase.


Job’s final words are a plea to his innocence.  He lays out all of his good works and professes his abstinence from evil works.  Not that Job hasn’t confessed that he has sinned, but he did offer atoning sacrifices for those sins on a regular basis and not only for his sins but for those of his children as well.  He curses himself here if he indeed has sinned willfully against the poor, the widow and the like who are the apple of God’s eye.


He is really left at a loss.  He has been brought low, yes he has even been brought down to nothing.  We can remember the words of St. Paul, 2Co 12:7-10  “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.  (8)  Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  (9)  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  (10)  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”


As the old saying goes, “It is darkest before the dawn.”  Job and we need to remember in the darkest times that Jesus’ grace is sufficient for us.  Jesus’ power is made complete in our weakness.  It is there when we are nothing that Jesus does his greatest work on us.  For it is there we are left with nothing but his word and promises.  There our faith is called to be exercised and lived.   Many trust in Christ when everything is well or when we see a light at the end of the tunnel.  We are called to trust in his promises when we enter the tunnel and have nothing but bleakest and darkest of times.


Lord Jesus Christ, grant us your Holy Spirit that we may continue to trust in your promises when everything seems as if it is total loss.  Amen.

Daily Readings: February 27th

#DailyDevotion When You Hope For Death

February 27th

Read Job 30:16–31

Job 30:24-31  “Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand, and in his disaster cry for help?  (25)  Did not I weep for him whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy?  (26)  But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came.  (27)  My inward parts are in turmoil and never still; days of affliction come to meet me.  (28)  I go about darkened, but not by the sun; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.  (29)  I am a brother of jackals and a companion of ostriches.  (30)  My skin turns black and falls from me, and my bones burn with heat.  (31)  My lyre is turned to mourning, and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.


When we go back to the beginning of Job we see that he really was a good man.  We often think the rich must be doing something wrong to accumulate great wealth but that is not always the case.  The Lord makes one man rich and another poor.  He made Job rich.  Now he made Job poor and miserable.  During his good days Job was actually an outstanding fellow and he makes that clear here, “Did not I weep for him whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy?”  Job did what he should have done and yet now he is in misery.


What great trouble Job was in.  He not only lost worldly wealth and children but on top of that his health had taken a turn for the worse.  He was covered in sores and his inward parts even were in turmoil and never still.  His life now was hardly worth living in the eyes of many people.  Job certainly felt that way and he expressed it clearly.


He has cried out to God the Lord for help and it looks like he’s not getting any.  At best he has had a visit from friends which hasn’t done Job a whole lot of good.  In fact, Job is probably feeling even more miserable.  So what now?  Are you experiencing what Job experienced?  Do you have a love one who is undergoing what Job is undergoing?  I could point you out to the end of Job where everything works out for Job.  But the fact of the matter is many saints undergo what Job has undergone, some even to the point of martyrdom.  They suffer their whole lives and never get relief until they close their eyes in death.  You may be one of these people.


Mat 6:25  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, … Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? …33  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Each day has its own trouble and we are not to think only about this life.  Our hearts and minds need to be on heavenly things.  Our hope is not in the things of this world but in heaven. (Col. 1:5)  Our treasure is being kept safe there for us by our Lord Jesus Christ.  Christ, while for us in this world is mainly for us in the world to come. So we do not fear what this age may do to us.  It is transitory but the life to come is eternal in Jesus Christ.


Lord Jesus Christ, in the midst of trials and agonies of this life, give us your Word that we might not give up hope even and especially when everything of this world is hopeless and there is no chance of things getting better but instead receive strength to live in with the promise of the resurrections.  Amen.

Daily Reading: February 26th

#DailyDevotion We Only Get Justice In This Life On The Cross Of Christ.

February 26th

Read Job 21:1–21

Job 21:1-9  Then Job answered and said:  (2)  “Keep listening to my words, and let this be your comfort.  (3)  Bear with me, and I will speak, and after I have spoken, mock on.  (4)  As for me, is my complaint against man? Why should I not be impatient?  (5)  Look at me and be appalled, and lay your hand over your mouth.  (6)  When I remember, I am dismayed, and shuddering seizes my flesh.  (7)  Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power?  (8)  Their offspring are established in their presence, and their descendants before their eyes.  (9)  Their houses are safe from fear, and no rod of God is upon them.


Having his heart pierced by his friends who demand that Job should repent.  He must have done something wrong.  This doesn’t happen to the innocent. Job returns the volley with his own salvo from his experience in life.  It is much like the complaints of the ungodly in Malachi chapter 3.


Experience shows the ungodly wicked sinners do seem to get away with murder and theft.  The punishment for their iniquities neither falls on them or their children.  In contrast, everything seems to go wrong for those who try to follow God.  We do see some of the wicked fall occasionally and very publicly.  It is not often enough to deter them from their ways.  We too, like Job and the ungodly in Malachi raise our fist to heaven and shout it isn’t fair.


Job fixes his complaint squarely on the One in charge.  His complaint isn’t against any man.  He is impatient with the Almighty.  He wants justice and he wants it now.  Job doesn’t realize that we shouldn’t be asking God to give us justice.  We need mercy.  There is no one who is righteous and doesn’t sin, no not one.


But we do have an advocate with the Father, who stands in the gap and pleads our case for us, Jesus Christ, the righteous One.  God’s justice is found only in Jesus in this life.  There as we look at the cross we can see what we deserve and what those who we might call evil or wicked deserve.  It’s all the same. The darkness that covered the noon day sun is the darkness we deserve from the Creator of heaven and earth.  It is the darkness of the Father turning his back on his only begotten son that we might have mercy, love, kindness and eternal life in this life and the life to come.  But for now, that is hidden in Christ.  We don’t always experience it in our lives just as the unbelievers do not experience the wrath of God in their lives here and now.  His mercy is to them and to us now but at the resurrection everything will be revealed.  We may be impatient but God’s patience with us brings us to eternal life.


Lord Jesus help us to live by faith in your Word because what we see is not the reality that you are.  Amen.

Daily Reading: February 25th

#DailyDevotion It Only Appears The Godless Get Away With Everything

February 25th

Read Job 20:1–23, 29

Job 20:4-9  Do you not know this from of old, since man was placed on earth,  (5)  that the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless but for a moment?  (6)  Though his height mount up to the heavens, and his head reach to the clouds,  (7)  he will perish forever like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’  (8)  He will fly away like a dream and not be found; he will be chased away like a vision of the night.  (9)  The eye that saw him will see him no more, nor will his place any more behold him.


Zophar is not just whistling Dixie here.  In this whole chapter he is expounding on teachings found throughout Scripture.  They should not be dismissed.  For truly it does seem the wicked get away with everything and enjoy life immensely, but even Charlie Harper gets pushed in front of a French train.  It isn’t true that “Only the good die young.”


The Psalmist also writes, Psa 73:12-20  “Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.  (13)  All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.  (14)  For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.  (15)  If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children.  (16)  But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task,  (17)  until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.  (18)  Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.  (19)  How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!  (20)  Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.”


So we should not envy the wicked and try to take up their paths.  We have a Heavenly Father who does watch us and watch over us.  There’s a reason you always get caught when it was the first time you tried something you shouldn’t have been doing.  Your Father in heaven is rescuing you from that life.  But if you persist and harden your hearts look out.  He might just decide to ignore you until you dig a pit for yourself too deep to get out by your own power or strength.


Of course the truth is you and I appear to get away with wickedness all the time.  We just don’t think we’re being wicked.  We think we are justified in our actions, word and thoughts.  The truth is we are being selfish and self-centered and being seen by others as getting away with it.  And you know what, we are getting away with it—Scott Free!  But there is a penalty paid.  There is a debt created by us in the universe by our sins.  It must be atoned for.  Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary, pays that price.  He is the Lamb of God who suffers for your sins in your place.  He makes full atonement for all your self-justifying iniquities which you never see in yourself but others do.  No one really gets away with anything.  The debt must be paid.  It is paid for you by Jesus on the cross in his agony and pain, with his suffering and death.  It should make you feel a little guilty about what you do but it also should be even more comforting that he loves you so much he would go through it for you.


Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you for suffering for us.  Give us an appreciation of that death that we in faith avoid those things for which you suffered and live a life that is pleasing to our Father in heaven. Amen.

Daily Readings: February 24th

#DailyDevotion When Your Only Hope Is The Resurrection

February 24th

Read Job 19:1–12, 21–27

Job 19:5-10  If indeed you magnify yourselves against me and make my disgrace an argument against me,  (6)  know then that God has put me in the wrong and closed his net about me.  (7)  Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.  (8)  He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass, and he has set darkness upon my paths.  (9)  He has stripped from me my glory and taken the crown from my head.  (10)  He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone, and my hope has he pulled up like a tree…25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.  (26)  And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,  (27)  whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!


Job’s friends are no friends at all, at least as far as Job is concerned.  It is enough that God has allowed and brought all this misery upon Job.  Job has been crying out for justice but no one answers.  He believes the Lord has hemmed him in on every side so he cannot escape. One thing goes wrong after another and there is no relief in sight.  Everywhere Job looks it appears and is darkness.  He is stripped down to nothing.  He is like a fruit tree that looks like it has been pruned too far and there is not a chance it could ever come back.


Perhaps you have been there or are there now.  There just doesn’t seem to be any point in living.  What use are you to others.  You hear others talking about when they think you cannot hear and they are talking about your death and how a dog wouldn’t be treated this way.  You might even agree.  You wonder why your Lord would allow you to suffer this way or at for so long.  What is the point?  Everywhere you look, it just appears as darkness.


In the midst of this think Job has a ray of light, a smidgen of hope that helps him prevail.  “I know that my Redeemer lives…after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God…my eyes shall behold and not another.”  Job believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Father has permitted Job this vision of salvation.  Job’s Redeemer, the one who pays the debt, who rescues from death and destruction is risen from the dead and will one day stand on the earth for all to see.  His Redeemer, Jesus Christ shall raise Job from the dead and give Job everlasting life.  It will be Job’s body and not another’s.  There is no such thing as reincarnation.  That is Hindu hell and is a lie.  You die once and then there is the judgment.  All flesh shall rise from the dead by the power of Jesus Christ, the first-fruits of the resurrection.  Those that trusted in him will rise to everlasting life. Those who did not trust him will rise to everlasting perdition, the lake of fire, eternal punishment.  It is the Christian’s hope, like Job’s, to rise bodily to live in a new heavens and a new earth and our eyes shall see God and we shall be like Jesus.


Lord Jesus Christ, in the midst of trials, tribulations and troubles even to the point of death, help us always to trust in your promise of eternal life that we may be strengthened in the day as we look forward to the redemption of our bodies. Amen.

Daily Reading: February 23rd

#DailyDevotion Do You Ever Think No One Knows What You’re Going Through?

February 23rd

Read Job 18:1–21

Job 18:2-4  “How long will you hunt for words? Consider, and then we will speak.  (3)  Why are we counted as cattle? Why are we stupid in your sight?  (4)  You who tear yourself in your anger, shall the earth be forsaken for you, or the rock be removed out of its place?


Bildad speaks. He has had enough of Job’s words. Job is sounding a lot like people we may know or maybe you have been one of them who say, “Leave me alone. You don’t know what I’m going through.”  Well maybe they or you are right. Maybe no one knows ‘exactly’ what you are going through. But the people who have come to help and comfort you, are they “cattle” or “stupid”?


The people who care about you are not. Do you think you’re the only person who ever suffered? Do you think your suffering is so unique? You may be working with a sick sense of pride. I tell you quit looking for the differences and look for the similarities in your collective experiences and you may find some comfort there.


Now Bildad speaks a number of things about the wicked in their state. Indeed many times the description of what is going on with the wicked may appear to be true. It is also true it appears to us that nothing ever happens to them and Bildad’s words fall flat. But they do eventually happen at their judgment before God. No one gets away with everything forever. But Bildad’s use of these words are misapplied. He wants Job to confess the sins that have brought this misery upon him. Job though is innocent. There is nothing he can point to and go, “Yes I did x and that is why I am experiencing this.”


We may want to remember these words, Heb 4:15-16 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  (16)  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Jesus is that high priest. When we are afflicted, suffering or in misery, we may draw confidence from Jesus and approach the throne of God’s grace and receive mercy. It is his desire that we do so. Don’t run from God and think he is angry with you because of your affliction. He is waiting to pour out his grace upon you.


Heavenly Father, when those around us try to comfort us, help us to see how they received mercy from you so we may be encouraged to wait patiently and turn to your throne of grace to receive the mercy we need at the right time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: February 22nd

#DailyDevotion When you become appalling to the nicest people.

February 22nd

Read Job 17:1-16

Job 17:7-8  My eye has grown dim from vexation, and all my members are like a shadow.  (8)  The upright are appalled at this, and the innocent stirs himself up against the godless…10 But you, come on again, all of you, and I shall not find a wise man among you.  (11)  My days are past; my plans are broken off, the desires of my heart.


Some of the nicest people are actually appalled at weakness and sickness. They cannot visit the sick or go to hospitals. They are appalled. Why are they appalled? The weakness and sickness of others reminds them of their own sinful condition. To look upon it puts fear into their hearts they may end up, indeed, there is a good chance if they live long enough they will end up the same way.


Maybe you are sick in such a condition that your eyes have grown dim and the members of your bodies are as nothing. You look around and there are people who normally are around you but cannot be found now. It’s nothing personal. Their spirit is simply weak. Do not be too hard on them. But you are suffering. Where is your comfort?


God will send those to comfort you. Don’t be too hard on them either. They will say a lot of stupid things. They mean well. You may be tempted with Job to say to them, “I shall not find a wise man among you.” Take your comfort that they are there and not in what say. You probably don’t want to work up the strength to put up with them, but you will find enough of it to tell them they don’t know what they are talking about.  Just tell them you appreciate them being there.


Take your comfort in this: There is someone who has descended into the grave, into the ground with you. That someone is God himself, in the flesh, Jesus Christ. He took our illnesses, guilt and shame upon his flesh and soul during the time of his visible presence. He suffered upon the cross our suffering. He took upon himself the indignity of our death and burial. In all this, he was there with us presently in our afflictions. He knows what we are going through and he has sanctified our sufferings and made them his own. So we are not alone and there is someone who does know what we are going through because is going through it with us and experiencing it with us.


Heavenly Father, in the midst of our afflictions remind us our Lord Jesus Christ’s sufferings so we may be comforted by them and when we visit the suffering help us to put the life of Christ into their death. In Jesus’ name. Amen.