Daily Reading: April 14th


#DailyDevotion All You Will Ever Get Is God’s Promise

Lent day 39 Friday

Read Ex 12:29–32; 13:1–16

Exo 12:29-30  At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock.  (30)  And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead.

 

To prepare Pharaoh to let His people go, the Lord killed all the firstborn of Egypt and Israel, both man and beast who did not believe His word.  That word being, place the blood of the lamb on the lintel of your doors to preserve their lives.  Those who did believe the Word of the Lord were spared.

 

Today we recognize and remember the death of another firstborn, the firstborn of Mary and the only begotten Son of God.  Jesus, not at midnight, but at midday the sky turned dark as midnight.  God the Father forsakes the Son.  The Son becomes sin so we may become the righteousness of God.  Jesus suffers the wrath of God there in the darkness for three hours even as Egypt was in the darkness for three days.  At the ninth hour (3pm) Jesus commends His spirit to the Father and breaths out his last breath.

 

Now God has another promise.  All who put their trust in Jesus’ sacrificial death will not taste death.  We have a promise that on the cross God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to Himself.  We have the promise that all who believe and are baptized into His name will not perish but have eternal life and that this promise is for our children as well.  We have the promise that Jesus’ body and blood assure and deliver unto us the New Testament in which God places His law in our hearts, He becomes our God and we His people, that we would know Him and that our iniquity is forgiven and our sins are forgotten.  Indeed we have the promise that if we believe in Jesus, even in His Name, we will not die but possess eternal life and even if we do die we will be raised on the last day to eternal life.

 

Now you have the Word of God like the Israelite and the Egyptians.  If you believe it, that is you trust that this Word is true, then like the Israelites who believed the Word of the Lord and place the blood of the lamb upon their doors, then you will live eternally with God and Christ in the new heavens and new earth.  If you don’t believe it then you will perish likewise like the firstborn of Egypt.  This is not rocket science nor is it Sisyphus’ or Hercules’ task.  It’s pretty darn simple.  So, what are you going to do.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, on this day, by your innocent suffering death and burial, you atoned for the sin of the world.  You squashed the head of Satan  by obtaining for us forgiveness of our sins.  You reconciled the world to the Father by the spilling of your blood.  Grant us faith now to believe this and grant us your Holy Spirit that like the Israelites who believed your Word in Egypt we may live such lives which demonstrate that trust.  Amen.

Daily Readings: April 13th


#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Our #Passover Sacrifice

Lent Day 38 Thursday

Read Ex 12:1–28

Exo 12:7-8  “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.  (8)  They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.

 

It would be a test of their faith. God had given instructions to the Israelites concerning the upcoming plague of the firstborn. They were to kill lamb, a year old, without defect. They were to put the blood on their doorposts and they were to roast the lamb whole and eat its flesh. Those who listened and believed did what the Lord said and the first born both man and beast survived that night in their homes. Those who did not believe lost loved ones that night.

 

Jesus is our Passover lamb. A young grown man without defect i.e. without sin, he is the one whom the Lord our God has chosen to be the sacrifice. Death claims all our lives. Not just the death of our bodies but the death of our souls. The blood of Jesus covers us in baptism. His blood upon the portals of our lips mark us a people who believe what the Lord has spoken. Because this is true, death cannot harm us. Jesus says in John, Joh 11:25-26  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, (26)  and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Like the Passover lamb that is roasted whole, our Lord Jesus Christ experienced for us the eternal death, Gehennah, the Lake of Fire that is our fate for disbelieving God and disobeying him. It is written, Mat 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” And, Mar 9:47-48  And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, (48)  ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ And again, Rev 20:15  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

 

What Jesus did not suffer is for us to be suffered for our sins. Upon the cross, Jesus suffered our fate for not trusting God. And like the Passover Lamb, he gives us his body to eat in the Sacrament of  Holy Communion. There his blood is place upon the door of our mouths. In partaking of this Testament, his body which suffered for us makes us whole. The angel of death looks at us and does not claim us. We have eternal life. 1Co 5:7  “… For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”

 

Heavenly Father, may we ever partake of Christ’ Passover in sincerity and truth so the angel of death may Passover us and we may be made partakers of your life now and in the world to come. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Readings: April 12th


#DailyDevotion Will You Escape The Final Judgment?

Lent day 37 Wednesday

Read Ex 10:21—11:10

Exo 10:22-23  So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.  (23)  They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived. Exo 11:4-5  So Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt,  (5)  and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle.

 

The plague of the firstborn calls for faith if you were going to escape it, like the plague of hail. Except for with the plague it falls upon both Egyptian and Israelite. For to escape the final judgment, one must have faith in God’s word whether you were raised in the Church or not. Those who had faith put the lamb’s blood on their doors that night and the firstborn lived. In like fashion, we too must have faith in Christ Jesus if we are to escape the judgment that is coming upon the world. What must we believe?

 

In these two plagues we see the judgment of God against His only Son, His Firstborn for the sin of the World.

 

On the one hand we see the darkness that covered the earth as the Father’s judgment against sin is laid upon Jesus and he becomes sin for us.  The Light of the World is extinguished as he becomes utter sin, darkness, and death.  The Father turns His back on the Son and he cannot behold his face.

 

We see the wrath of the Father has he kills his firstborn.  The firstborn of the Israelites were to be redeemed with blood.  They belonged to the Lord.  But the true firstborn, Jesus of Nazareth is called to be the substitute firstborn.  The Father sacrifices Jesus on the wood of the cross so we may live.

 

And so while we think it was terribly cruel for God to inflict these punishments upon Egypt  he laid the greater punishment upon his one and only begotten Son, Jesus, the son of Mary.  This he did for you so you may escape the wrath of God where the Egyptians did not.

 

Lord God, Heavenly Father, we thank you for afflicting your Son Jesus instead of us so we may live to your glory. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Daily Reading: April 11th


#DailyDevotion The Cure for Your Addiction To Sin

Lent day 36 Tuesday

Read Ex 9:29—10:20

Exodus 9:29-34 29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. 30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.” …33 So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh and stretched out his hands to the Lord, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured upon the earth. 34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned yet again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.  10:16-20 16 Then Pharaoh hastily called Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you. 17 Now therefore, forgive my sin, please, only this once, and plead with the Lord your God only to remove this death from me.” 18 So he went out from Pharaoh and pleaded with the Lord. 19 And the Lord turned the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea. Not a single locust was left in all the country of Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go.

 

Pharaoh is like your typical alcoholic at about 3 am and 10 am in the morning.  Kneeling at the porcelain altar he cries out to whatever god he thinks he believes in or acknowledges and says, “I swear if you get me out of this, I’ll never do it again.”  Yet we know by 1 pm at the latest if he is awake, he’ll be sippin’ a little bit of the hair of the dog that bit him and he’ll be at that altar again soon.  We note a couple things about this incident with Pharaoh.  First, it is Pharaoh who hardens his heart against the Lord before the Lord begins to harden Pharaoh’s heart.  Second, that is the way it is with us.

 

You don’t need to be an alcoholic to act this way, but it helps.  Indeed, we are all addicted to sin.  We can never get enough of it.  We turn to it to solve all our problems in life.  When it comes around and bites us in the rear, which it always does, we turn to the invisible deity and cry out, “If you get me out of this, I swear, I’ll never do it again.”  And it seems to be more often than not the Lord goes, “Why not.”  And lo and behold we are out of whatever mess we made for ourselves.  Then we forget the deity which has delivered us and we go back to doing whatever it was that got us through the night before we prayed.

 

God in Christ Jesus does want to and does indeed deliver us from sin, death and the power of the devil.  He renews our minds and gives us the Holy Spirit, so we may turn from depending on sin and start depending on and trusting in Christ Jesus in our every need.  He’s even given us a prayer, the Lord’s Prayer or Our Father that we can pray every day and whenever we feel we need assistance.  We simply need to trust that God the Father hears and answers that prayer and live as if indeed the help has come.  Jesus has taught us that when we pray give thanks as if you have already received it.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, by your suffering and death, by your resurrection, you have freed us from our addicted dependence upon sin to supply us our every need.  Grant unto to us true repentance that we not harden our hearts and return to the sin that enslaves us. Amen.

Daily Readings: April 10th


#DailyDevotion The Rulers of This World Serve At God’s Pleasure

Lent Day 35 Monday

Read Ex 9:1–28

Exo 9:16  But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth…19  Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.”‘”…19 Now therefore send, get your livestock and all that you have in the field into safe shelter, for every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home will die when the hail falls on them.”‘”  (20)  Then whoever feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh hurried his slaves and his livestock into the houses,  (21)  but whoever did not pay attention to the word of the LORD left his slaves and his livestock in the field…27  Then Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the LORD is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.

 

Like the last couple of plagues the following plagues also fall only upon the land of Egypt. Goshen, where the Israelites lived, were not affected by the Lord’s plagues. God makes a distinction between those who believe in him and those who do not. As said yesterday, this theme will be picked up again in the book of Revelation.

 

But now, with the plague of hail, the Lord offers a chance for the Egyptians to show they have faith in the word of the Lord. The Lord warns them he is bringing a great hail upon the land. Well those who have been watching and believe what the Lord can and will do take the precautions the Lord gives. They bring into shelter anything they don’t want ruined by the hail. Those who don’t believe the Lord’s word leave their goods out in the open and they are destroyed by the hail.

 

Now in the two plagues before this, Pharaoh didn’t repent and his heart was just hardened. This event was so disastrous it broke even his stony heart and he repented. He asked Moses for help and the Lord relented. But like so many of us, once we are out of trouble we’re right back in the thick of things, Pharaoh hardened his heart. Now the Lord is using the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart to have the name of Lord proclaimed in all the earth. It was the reason the Lord had raised him to this position. Though he may king of all Egypt and think he is a god, those in positions of authority upon the earth are there by God’s doing. Therefore, we Christians should not fear the rulers of the world. Like Pharaoh, God has placed them there for his purposes, namely the spreading of the Gospel, the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ. While they serve to have order and peace in the world, the Lord raises some for his divine purpose of glorifying his name. Whether they do good or evil, they are his servants.

 

Heavenly Father, we pray for all those in positions of authority that they may be led by your good wisdom that we, your people, may live our lives in quietness and peace, to the glory of your holy name and the glory of Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: April 9th


#DailyDevotion Don’t Harden Your Heart Like Pharaoh

Palm Sunday

Read Ex 8:1–32

Exo 8:16  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats in all the land of Egypt.'”…18 The magicians tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they could not. So there were gnats on man and beast.  (19)  Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said…22 But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.  (23)  Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.”‘”…31 And the LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; not one remained.  (32)  But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and did not let the people go.

 

What kind of God smites people with frogs? Apparently the Egyptians didn’t appreciate them. Stranger yet, the magicians also produced frogs (now they did it to show Moses wasn’t anything special). But the Moses produced gnats the Egyptian magicians were stumped and they realized this was the finger of God. Now the reason the Lord put these plagues upon the land so was they would know that the Lord is in the midst of the earth. Like yesterday, they would know the Lord from judgment.

 

Now the Pharaoh every time says he repents. “If you just fix this thing for me Lord, I swear I’ll never do it again!” We’ve said this prayer and many who have reaped the natural consequences of their sinful habits are prone to pray this prayer a lot. Like Pharaoh, the Lord listens but Pharaoh and we harden our hearts and we’re back in the mire.

 

Now when the Lord sends the flies he doesn’t something different here and it will continue for all the following plagues. The rest of the plagues do not fall upon the land of Israelites but only upon the Egyptians. The final plague falls upon everyone who did not have faith. This is also reflected in the plagues of Revelation. Some things happen to everyone and some things only come upon those who aren’t baptized and have faith.

 

Now Pharaoh again did not repent though the opportunity was there. He again hardened his heart against the Lord and the Israelites. Now what are we going to do? Are we too going to harden our hearts after God delivers us from whatever trouble we have gotten ourselves into again? Or are we going to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for the mercy bestowed and live out the gift of grace he has given us? In the book of Revelation, after many of the plagues, the people still did not repent. What are you going to do?

 

Heavenly Father, ever give us your grace that we may repent of our sins, trust in Christ and continue to follow Jesus every day of our lives and do not let us harden our hearts but grant us lives of continual repentance. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: April 8th


#DailyDevotion You Will Know God One Way Or Another

Lent day 34 Saturday

Read Ex 7:1–25

Exo 7:1-6  And the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.  (2)  You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land.  (3)  But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt,  (4)  Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment.  (5)  The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”  (6)  Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the LORD commanded them.

 

Now this is one of main themes of the early part of Exodus if not the whole the whole scriptures.  What is that you say? That mankind come to know the Lord.  Here in particular is that Pharaoh and the Egyptians come to the know the Lord.  Unfortunately for them they are going to get to know the Lord from his judgment side.  They are going to learn about his power and might.  The Lord still calls out to the world from his judgment side with disasters, calamities and the like calling us to repentance.

 

On the other hand the Israelites, God’s chosen people are going to get the know the Lord in a whole different sense, the sense the Lord really wants to be known.  They will know the Lord as a great deliverer. He will free them from the land of bondage and of misery.  They will be shown him who is merciful, kind, patience and bound to a covenantal love he had placed himself.

 

In the New Testament this is also a theme.  Jeremiah says, Jer 31:34  “And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”  Jesus says to the Jews, Joh 8:19  “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” To his disciples he says, Joh 14:9  “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Concerning those who would come after the apostles he says, “Joh 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”   And St. Paul testifies, 1Co 13:12  “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

 

God does not want to be a hidden quality.  But to know the Lord as he wants to be known, one can only know him in Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ makes his Father known as the one who his patient, kind, long-suffering, forgiving and love.  But apart from Christ Jesus you simply will not know the Lord this way.  But you know him and will know him as one who brings judgment.  How do you want to know him?

 

Lord Jesus Christ, you reveal to us the Father in the manner in which he wants to be know through faith your work in you innocent suffering, death and resurrection.  Grant us faith to know you that we may know the Father as well. Amen.

Daily Reading: April 7th


#DailyDevotion What On Earth Are You Doing Lord?

Lent day 33 Friday

Read Ex 5:1—6:1

Exo 5:22-6:1  Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?  (23)  For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.”  (6:1)  But the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”

 

Well it seemed like a reasonable request, “Let us go and worship our God in the wilderness for several days.” But God had a plan. Pharaoh already was hardened against the Israelites but now he had it set in his mind they had too much time on their hands. The Lord therefore hardened his heart even more and set it against the Israelites. They had to gather their own straw for the bricks and the Israelites in charge of their brethren were beaten if they did not still come up with the same quota, which they didn’t. They were then set against Moses and Aaron.

 

Moses, in turn, turns to the Lord. “Lord, why did you do this? Why did you send me? Nothing has happened but evil since I got here.” How often do we too wonder what the Lord is doing when we think we are doing everything correctly? Indeed, we might be doing everything, as humanly possible what the Lord has given us to do. Yet everything seems to be going wrong. I know pastors often feel this way. But the rest of God’s people also have this happen to them as well. It seems as if God is against us. This is the mystery of bearing the cross. The Lord is not against us. He just has bigger plans than we can comprehend at the moment. Our faith is being purified.

 

Now the Lord answers Moses (we wish we could hear the voice of the Lord who would explain things to us) and tells him now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh and how with a powerful hand he will not only set them free but drive them out. As we shall see in upcoming days, it won’t be as quick as we might have hoped. Moses and the Israelites will be wondering, when are you going to get this done? It had been 400 years since they’ve been in Egypt. The majority of the suffering was only for the last several generations of Israelites from what I can tell. But God’s timing is not our timing.

 

I believe it is a fact, we don’t always see what the Lord Jesus is doing in our lives or see the end of it while we are still breathing. The sufferings we endure may be for our lifetime and it is only when we see the face of God that we will finally understand what he was up to that whole time. This requires faith. We have God’s promises in Christ Jesus. Through these promise we become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). The Israelites had the Lord’s promises and believed, but they faltered too sometimes.

 

Heavenly Father, grant us faith to believe you know what you are doing and that what we endure in this life is for our good and your glory so we may see your face and be participants in your divine glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.