Daily Reading: October 28th


#DailyDevotion Only Those Hearts Which Jesus Circumcises Are The Lord’s People

October 28th
Read Deut 30:1–20
Deu 30:4-6 If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. (5) And the LORD your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. (6) And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live…14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. (15) “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. (16) If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

The Word, the Law and commandments, the precepts and rules are impossible for natural man to keep. Therefore, the Lord lets them know that at some point in time the Israelites are going to experience the blessings and the curses. The blessings they will experience as their faith in the Lord and they do what he commands. The curses will follow when they cease to trust the Lord and go their own way.

But the Lord makes a promise here. When they are driven to foreign lands, and they will be driven to foreign lands, He will gather them back. More than that, He will circumcise their hearts and their offspring’s hearts so that they will love the Lord their God and do all that He wills. The Lord tells them these commandments He’s given them are not too hard. He placed them in their mouths and in their hearts. Therefore they can do what He asks of them. But that only works as long as they are faithful. We know that they were not.

Obedience to the will of God is a matter of the heart. It is one of faith and not works. For without faith it is impossible to please God and everything apart from faith is sin. God does not look at the outward work but at our hearts. Paul reminds us, Rom 2:28-29 “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. (29) But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.” It is our hearts that must be circumcised and that the Lord does when He baptizes us.

In baptism, the Lord gives us a new heart and a new mind. He gives us the Holy Spirit and while our sinful flesh may continue to sin, the new man created in Christ Jesus loves the law of God, sees it as holy and good and desires to keep it. Indeed, the new man in Christ obeys God’s law from the heart, spontaneously without thinking about it. This is born out in faith. With faith the Lord gives in His Son Jesus Christ we trust in Him and love our neighbor. In this faith He showers His blessings upon His Israel, the Church of which you were made a part when you were baptized.

Lord God, heavenly Father, continually circumcise our hearts that we may love you with our whole heart, mind, strength and will and live in obedience to your will by loving our neighbor who is made in your image and likeness. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 27th


#DailyDevotion The Lord God Has Made A Covenant With You To Be Your God

October 27

Deut 29:1–29

Deu 29:10  “You are standing today all of you before the LORD your God: the heads of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel,…12 so that you may enter into the sworn covenant of the LORD your God, which the LORD your God is making with you today,  (13)  that he may establish you today as his people, and that he may be your God, as he promised you, and as he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

 

With mighty and serious words the Lord is making a covenant with the people of Israel and all who are with Israel before they cross the Jordon into the Promised Land, And not just any old covenant but a sworn covenant in which the Lord swears by himself, so serious is this covenant. In this covenant the Lord makes himself God and the people of Israel his people. He does this because he is a God of promises. He promised this to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

 

Yet in this covenant the people must perform. They must only worship the Lord alone as God. They must look to him for every good. You might think the Israelites having seen the Lord’s salvation at the Red Sea, heard his voice at Horeb, having followed him in a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, having been fed the manna, having the water come from the rock, having been punish and delivered by the Lord for their offenses in the deserts and having defeated might kings, they would understand the Lord is God, mighty and powerful, merciful and just. But as it is says in verse 4 the Lord had not given them a heart to understand, eyes to see or ears to hear. It was because of the stubbornness of their hearts this was so.

 

Yet the Lord calls them to faithfulness. He strictly warns the to be faithful and loyal to him. Not only outwardly, but in their hearts they were to trust in him alone. If they would not be faithful, he would destroy them, cast them out of the land and all the nations would down upon them. Well we know they did not heed the Lord. They did trust him during the time of the judges or the kings. They did not even trust him when he took on their flesh to save them from their sins and he sent the Romans to destroy the temple, Jerusalem and disperse them to the nations even as they are to this very day.

 

Because they would not keep this covenant, the Lord made a new covenant with them. 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.” This covenant was made in the Lord’s own flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of Jesus the Lord. Not only did he make this covenant with Israel but with the whole world but with all who would hear of this covenant and put their trust in Jesus. You are called to be part of this covenant. All of the Lord’s blessings he seeks to give to you in Christ Jesus. Peace and Joy are yours there. But if you reject the Lord’s offering, then what the Israelites suffered temporally you and all who reject him will suffer eternally.

 

Gracious Lord, give us hearts that understand, ears that hear, and eyes that see that we may put our faith in Christ alone for our salvation and enter into the eternal Promised Land of your kingdom. In, Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 26th


#DailyDevotion Getting Blessed By God

October 26th

Read Deut 28:1–22

Deu 28:1-2  “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.  (2)  And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God.

Deu 28:15  “But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.

 

Israel was about to have it good.  The Lord God had freed them from the land of Egypt, brought them through the wilderness and was about to give them the promised land.  And then He sets before them these blessings and curses.  Blessings if they faithfully obey the voice of the Lord and Curses if they do not.

When one looks over the blessings you might think, “Those sound great! Let me at the commandments, rules, regulations, precepts and statutes.  I’m going to do everything I can to avoid that stuff He doesn’t want.”  It might sound reasonable.  They had the gospel and method of taking care of their sins when they sinned.  God was not saying they would not ever sin or fall short of the moral prescriptions of the Law.  That’s why the Law had all sorts of sacrifices in it.  But as we can see from history they did not and could not keep the Law in its entirety.  Many throughout the history of Israel were faithful though: Joshua, Ruth, David, Hezekiah, Josiah and the prophet not to mention everyone else not mentioned.

Never-the-less, it was too much.  Peter tells us, Act 15:10-11  “Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?  (11)  But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”  The Law of Moses is too much.  No one excepting Jesus was or is able to bear and keep it, including the sacrificial system.  David knew this for he says, Psa 19:12  “Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.”

And so as Peter says, we must rely not on our obedience before God for blessings but the grace of Jesus Christ.  The grace of Jesus Christ brings this upon us: Mat 5:3-12  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  (4)  “Blessed are those who mourn, …  (5)  “Blessed are the meek, …  (6)  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, …  (7)  “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. … (8)  “Blessed are the pure in heart, …  (9)  “Blessed are the peacemakers, … (10)  “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, …  (11)  “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account…

As far as the curses are  concerned Paul tells us, Gal 3:10-13  For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”  (13)  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”–

 

Lord Jesus you are our curse and our blessing.  Grant your grace to believe this. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 24th


#DailyDevotion Obedience To The Will Of God Is Freedom

October 24th
Read Deut 25:17—26:19
Deu 26:16-19 “This day the LORD your God commands you to do these statutes and rules. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. (17) You have declared today that the LORD is your God, and that you will walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and his commandments and his rules, and will obey his voice. (18) And the LORD has declared today that you are a people for his treasured possession, as he has promised you, and that you are to keep all his commandments, (19) and that he will set you in praise and in fame and in honor high above all nations that he has made, and that you shall be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.”

Some people, perverted people may see this as bondage. In fact it is freedom. The Lord God had freed His people not only from the Egyptians but from the world and the ways of the world. The ways of the world is bondage to self and bondage to Satan. He had called the Israelites out of the world to be His Holy People. The commandments, statutes and rules were there to lift up the Israelites from the people around them as how they should live their lives as well.

But these rules, commandments and statutes are only beneficial when they are done with trust in the one who called them out of darkness. Otherwise they are become like the elemental principles of the world which the pagans follow. Tit for tat, karma, an eye for an eye is the way of the world.

Paul writes to us, Gal 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” And again he says, Gal 5:13-14 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (14) For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Jesus has freed us not from Egypt but from sin, the fear of death and the one who has the power of death, the devil.

But this freedom has not been given us that we may throw ourselves back into slavery to sin again. We have been freed to serve God, the Lord, and our Lord Jesus Christ with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We do that by loving our neighbor which is the fulfillment of the Law. We are free from the Mosaic law with all its rules, commands and regulations. We are also now free to fear, love and trust in God above all things, to trust in Christ Jesus, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. There isn’t a whole lot of minutia of how to live our lives or how to love our neighbor in the New Testament. There are a whole lot of things described in the New Testament in what loving our neighbor is like and not like. But that is where our old perverted flesh takes offense. It wants to sin because it is bound to sin. It conducts itself according to karma on a good day and as if it doesn’t exist on another. But Christians are called to a different life where our sins are forgiven us, guilt is taken away, our shame is nailed to a cross and God calls Himself our Father on account of the work of someone else, His Son, Jesus Christ. It is only as we believe this that we live in the freedom of loving God and loving our neighbor, just because.

Lord Jesus Christ, help us live in the freedom you have gained for us in your calling us to be your people. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 23rd


#DailyDevotion How Should You Treat Your Neighbor

October 23rd
Read Deut 24:10—25:10
Deu 24:13 You shall restore to him the pledge as the sun sets, that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you. And it shall be righteousness for you before the LORD your God.
Deu 24:15 You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the LORD, and you be guilty of sin.
Deu 24:18 but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.
Deu 24:19 “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
Deu 24:22 You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.

As we read through the precepts the Lord is giving to Israel one of the things that comes up again and again is how the Lord had and is treating Israel. The basis for the Law, precepts, commandments and the like are based on how the Lord has treated Israel. How the Lord has or is treating you then is how you are to treat your neighbor, the person in front of you. Jesus treats you how He wants to be treated. But we cannot treat Jesus this way. We cannot see him. But Jesus has created man in His image and likeness. So how you want to treat Jesus you treat the person in front of you. That person in front of you is Jesus’ representative.

Whether you treat that person good or badly it is exactly how you would treat Jesus if He were in front of you. James writes, Jas 3:9 “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” And the Lord said, Gen 9:6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” The person in front of you is the image and likeness of God through whom you are to pay homage to the Lord.

Like Israel, we are to recount what the Lord Jesus has done for us. That is the basis of how we treat others. What has the Lord done for you? Go and do likewise to the one standing there.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant us your Spirit that we may recognize all that you do for us and give us faith that we may in kind treat those in made in your image and likeness. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 22nd


#DailyDevotion The Law Of The Lord Is Just, Right, and Merciful

October 22nd
Read Deut 21:1–23
Deu 21:8 Accept atonement, O LORD, for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, and do not set the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of your people Israel, so that their blood guilt be atoned for.’
Deu 21:14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.
Deu 21:17 but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the firstfruits of his strength. The right of the firstborn is his.
Deu 21:21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
Deu 21:23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.

In today’s lesson we see that one of these things is not like the others. In this lesson we see the justice, mercy and wrath of the Lord. We are made aware of His wisdom and justice in the first case where a murder is left unsolved but instead of destroying a village in which the culprit probably lives a substitute is made declaring the village innocent of the sin.

In the second, while we may not like that a woman is forced against her will to marry a man, the man is not given license to treat her as he will especially if for some reason he is no longer pleased with her. Provisions must be made.

In the third, the rights of the firstborn outweigh how a man may view his wives if he has more than one. The Lord keeps order in the relationships in which people get themselves into. The Lord is a God of law, order, peace and doesn’t show partiality.

In the 4th, we see the wrath of God against incorrigible children. Indeed those children of God who refuse to repent even though they have been admonished and warned and given every chance but will not trust God nor obey Him and His representatives are cast outside the city to die.

Finally in the last one, mercy is shown to the one cursed by God. He, though deserving death, even death by tree is buried before night falls. Because he represents the One who shall ultimately be cursed by God, he is shown mercy. The One cursed by God is God Himself. Not the Father, not the Holy Spirit, but the Son, who is God the Lord, who has become Man, takes the curse of God into his flesh and soul and becomes cursed for us. That which we deserved for our rebellious acts, our sin, our guilt, our shame, our iniquities, our transgressions and whatever else you want to throw between you and your Creator, the Son receives it in Himself, bears and nails it to the cross. He buries it in the tomb with His flesh never to be seen again. Jesus doesn’t stay in the tomb though. He is resurrected. His resurrection is the assurance that sin, death and the devil is defeated. Our death is left behind in the tomb and His life He gives to us freely, all who put their trust in Jesus have received this life and the wrath of God cannot touch us because it was nailed to the cross in Christ.

Lord Jesus Christ, you were cursed by your Father who hung you on the tree of the cross. Grant us faith in this work of yours that we may not be put outside the City, the New Jerusalem like incorrigible children. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 21st


#DailyDevotion The Lord Is Fighting For You. Do Not Fear.

October 21st
Read Deut 20:1–20
Deu 20:1-9 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. (2) And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people (3) and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, (4) for the LORD your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’

As the Lord is preparing His people to besiege the land He is giving them, He prepares and instructs them how to conduct battle. Never-the-less, the Lord reminds them it is not they who will fight their enemies in the land but the Lord Himself who goes with them and ahead of them to fight against their enemies for them. In these instructions, the Lord weeds out certain people, those who have just begun certain entanglements of life which might divide their attention and devotion to the thing at hand. Secondly, He weeds out those who are fearful and would cause other’s hearts to melt when they see them quiver. For fear is contagious. There is no room for fear when fighting with the Lord.

In similar fashion Jesus tells us, Mat 10:37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” And St. Paul says, 1Co 7:33-35 “But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, (34) and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. (35) I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.” As we serve the Lord Jesus, He wants our undivided devotion to him. All other relationships must come second and must flow out of and from our devotion to him.

Concerning fear, our Lord Jesus say, Mat 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Why should we fear anyone or anything? The Lord is on our side. We know whose we are and who we are. John writes, 1Jn 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” Our Father in Heaven loves us and shows us His great love for by sacrificing His only-begotten Son, His beloved Son that you may not perish but have everlasting life, immortality, eternal bliss. If this is so, then we should be filled with His love for us and approach life unafraid. The Lord is with us, through thick and thin, better or worse, sickness and in health, richer or poorer and even when everything is just plain out boring.

Lord Jesus Christ, give us undivided hearts and faith instead of fear that we may live our lives pleasing you and loving our neighbor. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 20


#DailyDevotion The Lord Will Not Put Up With False Witnesses

October 20

Deut 19:1–20

Deu 19:15  “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established…18 The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely,  (19)  then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst…21  Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

 

It was a mighty justice system the Lord had given to Israel. We have adapted many aspects of this system into our lives here in the United States, though many wouldn’t know anything of it. While some parts may seem harsh to us today, it kept many a person from seeking vengeance on others. It also kept justice from going overboard for some would want to exact more than just justice, i.e. instead of eye for eye, they would take both!

 

Another example is the witness system. One person could not bring charges against another person. There needed to be two witnesses, two collaborating witnesses. Of course a lot of people would still get away with stuff on this earthly plane with only one witness, but God would be their judge. We all experienced it on the playground or aspects of life: he said, she said. So nothing gets done. But unjustly punishing an innocent person was seen to be a far worse thing than a guilty person getting away with someone before man. But the guilty party still has a Judge to answer to.

 

Note the severity of bearing false witness. If a person was found bearing false witness than the person(s) bearing false witness would receive the punishment that the accused would have received, nothing less and nothing more. This was to instill fear in the hearts of people to keep men with evil hearts trying to take stuff and lives that did not belong to them through the legal system. The Israelites were to have no pity on those who bore false witness. They were an evil in their midst.

 

God himself knows what it is like to have others bare false witness against him. It is written: Mat 26:59-61”Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, (60) but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward (61) and said, ‘This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’’” Yet the High Priest knew even this was a lie for Jesus never said he was able to destroy the temple (though of course he could). The witness was not enough to accuse Jesus of a crime. Those who were supposed to be ferreting out false witnesses were seeking them. They wanted what Jesus had, the kingdom of God. They were willing to murder him for it. Well they got away with it. But they did not. The Father in heaven would be their judge.

 

Now even as our Lord was falsely accused you can expect nothing less. Jesus said, Mat 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” If you belong to Jesus, if you are joined to him by baptism and faith, you should expect people bear false witness against you. Now do not let this worry you too much. In as much as this happens to you on account of the Lord you are blessed. The kingdom of God which the High Priest sought unlawfully belongs to you.

Heavenly Father, grant us such grace and faith that when other bear false witness against us we may take comfort in your blessing and give us your Spirit that words from our lips may always bear your truth. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Reading: October 19


#DailyDevotion Everyone Wants To Hear God Talk To Them Until He Does

October 19th

Read Deut 18:1–22

Deu 18:15-19  “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers–it is to him you shall listen–  (16)  just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’  (17)  And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken.  (18)  I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.  (19)  And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.

 

The Israelites were too afraid to hear the Word of the Lord when He spoke to them from the mountain.  They requested He send someone to speak for him.  The Lord used Moses to hear His Word and speak for Him.  The Lord would no longer speak directly with His people.  He would send prophets to speak His Word for Him.  What they spoke had to come true if people would listen to them.

 

In time the Lord Himself would become human to speak to Israel and all humanity.  He took on human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary and became man.  As a human, the Lord Jesus Christ taught the people directly again.  Then as in the distant past, some listened and believed and other did not.  They crucified the Lord of Glory and killed the Author of Life as He planned to fulfill the Laws demands, to complete the sacrifices of Israel and atone for the sin of the World.

 

Jesus offered himself so that his blood would cover us and so death would have no power over us.  It gives us eternal life and His resurrection is the guarantee of our own resurrection to everlasting life.  Having ascended into heaven where all authority and power was granted to Him as the God-Man he sends his men into the world to speak his word of salvation, the free gift of life, reconciliation with God and the kingdom of God.

 

This is what he says concerning them, Luk 10:16  “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” Rom 10:13-17  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  (14)  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  (15)  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”  (16)  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”  (17)  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

 

Lord always send us those with your Word that we may hear, repent and believe and thereby receive You and the Father and have everlasting life at the resurrection of the dead.  Amen.