Daily Reading: January 18th


#DailyDevotion The Church is the Temple of God

January 18th

Read Ezek 40:1–4; 43:1–12

Eze 43:1-7  Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east… (3)  And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face.  (4)  As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east,  (5)  the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple… (6) I heard one speaking to me out of the temple,  (7)  and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoring and by the dead bodies of their kings at their high places,

Mat 24:27  For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man….Rev 21:1-3  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  (2)  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  (3)  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God….Rev 22:3-5  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  (4)  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  (5)  And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

The vision of Ezekiel is more clearly seen in Revelation 20 and 21.  Of course even there it is a vision so it symbolizes a greater reality.

But this is the reality that we have been promised, Jesus Christ is returning with all the saints who have gone before us and we shall be joined with them.  We are, the Church, the believers in the promises of God in Christ Jesus, the very temple of God.  We shall dwell in Him and he shall dwell in us.

At that time, there shall be no more evil, wickedness, sickness or death for that is cast into the lake of fire.  We will live in the light of Jesus and the Father and they shall fill the desires of our heart which is true union with them and with one another.

But only those who have this faith shall be there.  All are invited to this place with Christ as their Lord.  The payment for being there has been paid for all by the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is he who purifies us and presents us pure, holy and blameless before the Father of lights.

Lord Jesus Christ, give us this faith which makes us living stones in the temple of our God that your and the Father’s presence will fill us with peace, joy and happiness. Amen.

Daily Reading: January 17th


#DailyDevotion Don’t be one of those who are taken. Be left behind!
January 17th

Read Ezek 39:1–10, 17–29

Eze 39:17-20  “As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood.  (18)  You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth–of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan.  (19)  And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you.  (20)  And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,’ declares the Lord GOD. ..22 The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward.  (23)  And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword.

The Revelation to John depicts this as well, Rev 19:17 “Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God,  (18)  to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”  Jesus also foretold of it, Luk 17:34-37  I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left.  (35)  There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”  (36)  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.] (37)  And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

 It doesn’t sound like good news.  For those who are taken it isn’t.  They shall be food for birds.  But for the people of God on that last day it will be a day of great joy.  God gathers his Israel also.  Though they and we have sinned and continually sin grievously against the Lord.  We cast ourselves upon the mercies of God found in Christ Jesus.  For the sake of the Name of Jesus the Lord God forgives us our sins.  We shall forget our shame and the sins we have committed.  We shall dwell securely in the land, the new heavens and new earth he has prepared for us.  The world will know on that day that Jesus is Lord, the creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.  He is the Judge of the living and dead.  Those who have put their faith in the son of God will never have to fear anyone or anything again.

However on the last day when Christ returns, it will not bode so well for all who have not repented of their sins, though the Lord had sent signs and wonders in the world to call men to repentance all their lives.  Young, old, rich, poor, religious or spiritual, all alike are condemned for their sins and more importantly, they have rejected the good news, the free gift of eternal life offered to all mankind in Christ Jesus. A horrible death, a terrifying realization as they are raised from the dead and being cast into the lake of fire to suffer for all eternity, is their fate. Don’t let that be your fate.

Lord God, heavenly Father, on the day of your Son Jesus Christ’s return, may we be found those who are left behind to be gathered by your holy angels into your grace and may the glory of your name be known in all the earth.  Amen.

Daily Reading: January 16th


#DailyDevotion Christians aren’t afraid of the Antichrist or the World

January 16th

Read Ezek 38:1–23

Eze 38:17-23  “Thus says the Lord GOD: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them?  (18)  But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord GOD, my wrath will be roused in my anger.  (19)  For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel…(22)  With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur.  (23)  So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.

Revelation chapters 16, 19 and 20 give us some insight into this great and terrible day of the Lord.  It reminds us that the people of the world, the unbelievers, the goyim (Gog) shall be gathered up to make war upon the people of God (the Church) and the Lamb.  We people of God, Christians, need not fear the world and what it may do to us.  We need not fight against it with the sword.  We are to live in peace, as much as we can, with the world around us, even though we are aliens and strangers here.  This is not our home.

But we do not need to break out arms against the world (Gog) who will come upon us in the last days, on the last day.  Nope, like the ancient Israelites who came before us, we will simply trust the Lord and break out in singing, playing musical instruments and dancing.  We won’t need and won’t have walls to defend ourselves against the Antichrist and the unbelievers who are stirred up to come against us to destroy us.  They do not come against us only but against the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

The Lord sends the demonic hosts to gather them against us and him (Rev. 16).  He shall as at the time of the Ammonites have them fight against one another.  He shall rain down upon them fire and brimstone and with the breath of his mouth and the holy angels shall put to death all the enemies of the people of God, the Church.  Then they shall know Jesus Christ is Lord.  He shall raise them up from the dead and cast them and the fallen angels into the lake of fire to suffer for all eternity.  He shall raise us from the dead or change us into His glorious body and we shall dwell with Christ and our Father in a new heaven and a new earth in blessedness forever.  This is the promise made to all who trust in Jesus for their salvation.

Lord Jesus Christ, you shall display your glory on day of your visible return by destroying the nations, the peoples of the world who rejected and denied you.  May we be part of that number which dwells in peace with you and are raised to everlasting life on the day of your return.  Amen.

Daily Reading: January 15th


#DailyDevotion Jesus is our sanctification

January 15th

Read Ezek 37:15–28

Eze 37:22-28  And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms.  (23)  They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. But I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.  (24)  “My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes.  (25)  They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever.  (26)  I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore.  (27)  My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  (28)  Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”

 

On the last day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns, he will gather all his people from all the nations of the world and make them one.  No doubt many of these will be from the house of Israel and from the house of Judah.  But the nations that have been joined to Christ through baptism will also be part of Israel, for only those who have the faith of Abraham, which is faith in Christ Jesus are God’s Israel.  Jesus shall indeed be our king and we shall live with and under him in joy forever.

 

We see here that it is the Lord who sanctifies his Israel.  Jesus and the Holy Spirit is the One who saves us from our backslidings.  He is the one who cleanses us from our sins.  He is the one who gathers us together to be his people and declares to us he is our God.  It is an important correction to most our thinking and it certainly is a correction the world’s thinking.  The world and our flesh set about to sanctify ourselves, but we are unable to do this.  Jesus, through the gospel (the forgiveness of sins) and the sacraments (baptism and the Lord’s Supper) sanctifies us through and through. 

 

Jesus promises to present us before the Father blameless and guiltless.  It is not our doing.  It is all the Holy Spirit’s doing in Christ.  What a great and wonderful promise this is and oh how freeing it is to live under the gospel of Jesus Christ.  As St. Paul tells us in Romans chapter 6 we are no longer under law but under grace.  So Jesus is our covenant of peace with God.  We know he will do all that is necessary to present us to the Father pure and holy.  We will most certainly do it.

 

Lord God, Heavenly Father, we thank you for sending Jesus to be our peace before you and for sending the Holy Spirit through word and sacraments to sanctify us and gather us unto yourself as a holy people under your Son Jesus Christ.  Ever keep us in this faith through same word and sacraments unto life everlasting. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: January 14th


#DailyDevotion Don’t Fret. The Resurrection is Child’s Play for the Lord.

January 14th

Read Ezek 36:33—37:14

Eze 37:12-14  Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.  (13)  And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people.  (14)  And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”

The foot bone con-nected to the (pause) leg-.bone,
The leg bone connected to the (‘) knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the (‘) thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the (‘) back bone,
The back bone connected to the (‘) neck bone
The neck bone connected to the (‘) head bone
Oh hear the word of the Lord!

The resurrection is a key article of the Christian faith.  It was also one of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time.  Hear the Word of the Lord!  God has explicitly declared the resurrection from the dead here in Ezekiel.  We do not need to fret or fear how the Lord is going to accomplish this.  Many people are concerned about those eaten by lion, tigers and bears, by sharks and other wild animals. Some are concerned about those who have been burned to ashes.  How is God going to raise the dead particularly those whose parts whereabouts are unknown?  Silly people.

 

Have you not read, Gen 2:7 “then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”  If the Lord and maker of heaven and earth is able to do this, if you marvel at the construction of the universe and wonders of the human body and believe the Lord made it, then resurrecting it from the dead is child’s play.

 

These questions are not new. 1Co 15:35 “But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?”  (36)  You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.  (37)  And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain…(42)  So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.  (43)  It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.  (44)  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body… (49) Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”  As all humanity was joined to Christ Jesus in his baptism, so they are in his resurrection.  Those who faith in Christ are raised to everlasting life and those without faith are raised to everlasting perdition.

 

Lord Jesus Christ we thank you than in your resurrection in the flesh all mankind is raised from the dead.  Grant us faith in you that we may be raised to everlasting life.  Amen.

Daily Reading: January13th


#DailyDevotion God has sprinkled us with His Blood

January 13th

Read Ezek 36:13–28

Eze 36:23-28  And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.  (24)  I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.  (25)  I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  (26)  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  (27)  And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.  (28)  You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

 

Jeremiah who was a contemporary of Ezekiel said something very similar. Jer 31:33-34  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  (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.”

 

It for the sake of the name of the Lord, that the Lord will accomplish this great thing.  He is doing this even to this day.  He started in the days of John the Baptist who came proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  This very baptism Jesus experienced on behalf of all people.  Jesus sends forth his disciples to continue on with this baptism.  We are baptized into his name, the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

 

Here in baptism we are sprinkled with water and cleansed from our sins.  Here the Holy Spirit comes upon us and gives us a new heart and a new spirit.  We are now able to fear, love and trust in God above all things.  In baptism we know the Lord for we know he forgives us for his name’s sake.  We are called to be his holy people and he makes himself our God, the One whom we look to for every good.

 

So as God calls us to be his holy people out of the nations and before the nations his name is vindicated.  His holiness is upheld as we are brought into the covenant, the new covenant and made God’s holy people.  We are given new impulses, new thoughts, and new affections.  We desire to do God’s will and not the will of the flesh.  Such it is for those whom God calls to be his own through baptism.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, you call us to be your holy people though baptism and you enter into an eternal covenant with us.  Grant us you Holy Spirit as you have promised that we may know you and live according to your Word.  Amen.