#DailyDevotion God The Father Is More Crazy Generous Than Anyone

#DailyDevotion God The Father Is More Crazy Generous Than Anyone

Eph. 1. So 8He poured out the riches of His grace on us, giving us every kind of wisdom and understanding 9He told us the hidden meaning of His will. It was His kindly purpose in Christ 10 to manage everything in heaven and on earth in such a way that when the right time would come it would all be organized under Christ as its Head.

The Vonage company had a commercial where they appeared to be crazy generous. Well our LORD Jesus Christ and our Father in heaven is crazy generous. Here in Ephesians tells us of his generosity with words such as pour, riches, grace, giving, every, everything, kindly and the like.

So we see here he poured out the riches of his grace on us. When you hear the word ‘pour’ you should think of your baptism for that is where you can be certain your God poured out the riches of his grace upon you. There he gave you faith, he sealed you with his Holy Spirit and he washed away your sins. You were made one with Jesus in his life, death and resurrection. He made you children of God, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. He made you citizens of the kingdom of God and Heaven.

If that were not enough, he has given us every kind of wisdom and understanding. The wisdom of God is Jesus Christ. When we looks to Jesus and what he has done for us we gain understanding of how and why God the Father does what he does. In Christ we understand the Father loves us and has a kindly gaze upon us. We understand our Father in heaven is merciful and forgiving. We see his wisdom in sending his son to become one of us and one with us so he may take our death upon himself, take our sins and guilt and nail them to the cross, and pour out his blood as an atoning sacrifice and propitiation for our sin.

God the Father in his crazy generosity tells us the hidden meaning his will. The hidden meaning now revealed that he wants to save the world, all people in Christ Jesus through his death and resurrection. He shows us how he has placed everything in heaven and on earth under Jesus Christ as its head for Jesus said in John 12, 32“And once I have been lifted up from the earth, I will draw all [people] to Me.” You might note I put people in brackets because the Greek just says all. Translators put people there. All is more fitting as Jesus redeemed not only all people but all creation as Paul tells us in Romans 8, 20“For this created world must waste away, not because it wants to but because its Master would have it so, but it does so with the hope 21that this created world also will be freed from the slavery of decay in order to share the freedom of glory with the children of God.”

Jesus is the head of creation as its source and Jesus is the head of creation as the one who leads and guides everything to bring us to faith, sustain and strengthen us in our faith in him and to have us regain our dominion over it with him as he reigns eternally at the right hand of God.

Heavenly Father, continually manifest your magnificent generosity towards us in Christ Jesus so we may properly give all honor and praise to your Son Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.

#DailyDevotion God Has Shown His Kindness & Love In Christ

#DailyDevotion God Has Shown His Kindness & Love In Christ

Eph. 14He has done what in His kindness He planned to do: Before He made the world, He Who loved us 5appointed us to be made His sons by Jesus Christ. In Him He chose us to be holy and blameless before Him 6in order to praise the glory of the love He gave us in His dear Son, 7Who bought us with His blood to forgive our sins and set us free.

We may wonder sometimes why God would have gone through with his creation of man if he knew beforehand what we were going to do and how we were going to mess things up down here. Yet, he decided to go ahead with creation and before we did anything good or bad, he made a plan to save us. Paul says He did in His kindness what he planned to do. If God had not gone through with his plan of creation then we might not even exist. How would that have been kind of God to not even let us come into existence? So God carried through with his plan of creation, to bring us all into existence in His kindness.

In his kindness, before God made the world, God appointed us, you, to be made his sons by Jesus Christ. We see in Jesus’ genealogy in Luke who Jesus was the son of, until we get to Adam, who is God’s Son. Jesus is God’s Son from all eternity being of one substance with the Father. Now, in Christ Jesus the Father has chosen you to make you his sons. In baptism, you have been joined with Jesus and have been made one with him. If you are one with Jesus then you are God’s sons for you are in the Son.

In Christ Jesus, God chose you to be holy and blameless before him. This is not your doing, though you should try be live up to your calling to be holy and blameless. Jesus himself though will present you holy and blameless to the Father through the water and the Word as Paul says in Ephesians 5. Jude tells us, 24“To Him who is able to keep you from falling and have you stand without a fault and with great joy before His glory,…” Paul also writes in Col. 122“He has made you friends in order to have you stand before Him without sin or fault or blame.” He has done this and will do this 6 “in order to praise the glory of the love He gave us in His dear Son.” We began with God doing this in his kindness and now we see it is also in the love he gave us in his dear son.

The basis that we can see this love and kindness of God is demonstrated in this, 7“Who bought us with His blood to forgive our sins and set us free.” Yes, the Son of God becomes man so that he may shed his blood for us to redeem us, to buy us. Jesus sheds his blood for us in his circumcision, in the Sanhedrin, in Pilate’s and Herod’s courts, and upon the cross to forgive us our sins and set us free. This demonstrates God’s great love for you that Jesus would suffer this for you. Your sins have been atoned for. They no longer have a hold of you, of your mind and spirit. You have been set free from the slavery of sin and the fear of death through faith in Christ Jesus’ blood. So great is the kindness and love of God toward us in Christ Jesus.

Heavenly Father, in your kindness and love, you prepared a great salvation for us so that at the judgment, we would be presented to you holy and blameless in Christ Jesus. Continually give us your Holy Spirit that we may believe this and see the fulfillment of it at the revelation of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion God The Father Has Blessed You In Christ Jesus

#DailyDevotion God The Father Has Blessed You In Christ Jesus

Eph.13Let us praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who in Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven.

We have a God, no the one and only living God, who is our Father. Many things claim to be God or we make them God, for we put our trust in them to provide us with every good thing. But the one and only true living God is the Father. He is the source of all things and he is the provider of all good things. We also have our LORD Jesus Christ. The Father is the Father of our LORD Jesus Christ. Our LORD Jesus Christ is also the one true living God. He has the name LORD because he is the LORD we see throughout the Old Testament. LORD in the Old Testament stands in the place of the divine name of God, Yahweh, “I am who I am.” He existed before creation with the Father and is eternal, one and equal to the Father in every respect. As the book of Hebrews tells us, “He is the Expression of His Being.” Paul says in Col. 115“He is the Image of the invisible God.” Now for just being the one true living God, the Father and the Son deserve to be praised.

But the Father deserves to be praise also as Paul says here, “Who in Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven.” “In Christ” is very important and is central to everything Paul writes in Ephesians, though it is a big theme throughout his letters. The Father does everything in Christ. All creation was created in and through Christ. It is in Christ the Father saves all humanity from the sin of Adam and from death. It is in Christ the Father defeats Satan and all his plans and devices.

But we praise God the Father especially for blessing us with every spiritual blessing in heaven in Christ. What sorts of spiritual blessings has the Father blessed us with? For starters in Christ we have an atoning sacrifice which removes our sins from us. In Christ, we are blessed with God righteousness as a gift, a free gift. In Christ we are justified, declared not guilty of our sins. In Christ we receive the holiness of God. God in Christ makes us his heirs and co-heirs with Christ of the kingdom of God. The Father conforms us to the image and likeness to Christ in Christ. In Christ we participate in the divine nature of God. In Christ Jesus our LORD we are declared and make holy and perfect like God our Father.

We receive all these spiritual blessings in heaven in Christ when we are placed in Christ Jesus. When were we placed in Christ Jesus? Where can we be certain we are in Christ Jesus our LORD? Paul tells us in Romans 6, 3“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4Now when we were baptized into His death, we were buried with Him so that as the Father’s glory raised Christ from the dead we, too, will live a new life. 5If we were united with Him in this likeness of His death, then we will be united with Him also in the likeness of His resurrection.” Where we can be certain we have been united with Christ and all his blessings in your baptism into Christ. So treasure and praise God the Father for your baptism regularly.

Heavenly Father, you have blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven in our LORD Jesus Christ and have assured us of these blessings by baptizing us into Christ Jesus. Grant us faith to praise and bless you continually for all your blessings unto us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Will You Be Wiser Than King Solomon?

#DailyDevotion Will You Be Wiser Than King Solomon?

1 Kings 310The LORD was pleased that Solomon asked for this. 11“You asked for this,” God answered, “and you didn’t ask for a long life or riches or the death of your enemies, but you asked to be able to understand how to be just in giving judgment. 12I’m going to do what you ask. I’m giving you such intelligence and understanding that no one before you or after you will be like you. 13But I’m also giving you what you didn’t ask for — riches and honor, so that no other king will be like you as long as you live. 14And if you live according to My ways and keep My rules and commandments as your father did, then I will also give you a long life.” 15 Solomon woke up. It had been a dream. He went into Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the LORD’s covenant and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. And he gave a dinner for all his household.

The LORD was pleased with Solomon’s answer. He tells us why, “but you asked to be able to understand how to be just in giving judgment.” He didn’t ask for wealth, long life or the death of his enemies, something we would probably ask for.  If the LORD asked us the same question would be sincerely answer similarly, sincerely? You may tell yourself, “I know what Solomon did and what he got, so I’m going to do the same thing.” But the LORD would see through your hypocrisy and know you are shamming humility and wisdom. It is the world’s wisdom that thinks this way.

Solomon, being a young man, yet wise in his own time knew he didn’t know how to rule a kingdom. So he asked for what was needed to be a good king. The LORD was impressed and granted Solomon’s prayer. He would be given such intelligence and wisdom as the world had ever seen or heard. On top of that, the LORD promised to give Solomon everything he didn’t ask for, riches and honor. If Solomon lived the way his father David did, he would even give him a long life. Well all these things came to pass. Solomon in all his glory surpassed everyone else who  ever lived and ruled in all these ways.

Yet, with all his wisdom and intelligence, Solomon did not live as the LORD would have him live. He had many foreign wives and concubines. He built temples for the false gods of these women and he worshipped their false gods. If you read his book of Ecclesiastes you will see that ultimately he found out what was truly important was not all this stuff but fearing God and enjoying your work.

You and I can be wiser than Solomon. We don’t have to experience everything he had experienced to come up with the same conclusion. We start off with putting our faith in Jesus who is the Wisdom and Knowledge of God. Jesus through the free gift of the forgiveness of sins gives us his Holy Spirit that we may know and fear God properly. The greatest wisdom we can have which surpasses Solomon is looking into the face of Jesus and knowing the Father’s attitude toward us. Wisdom in Christ is knowing everything that is God’s is ours in Christ Jesus and trusting him to gives us such things as he knows we need them when we need them. We can be wiser than Solomon by only trusting the Triune God for all good things and to live out our lives with love and faith in Jesus.

Heavenly Father, you gave wisdom to Solomon which surpassed all men. Give us your Holy Spirit that we may be wise in Christ and fear, love and trust in you above all things. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion What Would You Ask For?

#DailyDevotion What Would You Ask For?

1 Kings 34The king also went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for the great high place was there. Solomon offered 1,000 burnt offerings on that altar. 5In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. “Ask what I should give you,” God said. 6“You have been very kind to Your servant David, my father,” Solomon answered, “as he lived before you sincerely, righteously, and with a heart that was right with You. And You have continued to be very kind to him by giving him a son to sit on his throne now. 7And now, LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, although I am a young man and don’t know how to be a ruler. 8And Your servant is among Your people whom You chose, a great people, too many to be counted or recorded. 9Give Your servant a heart that knows how to obey so that I can be a judge of this vast people of Yours and tell what is good and bad. For who is able to judge this people of Yours that is so great?”

Solomon was made king after his father David. Now Solomon had not yet built a temple for the LORD though David had made many preparations for the Temple to be made. So Solomon in fear and faith of the LORD went to offer up sacrifices unto the LORD his God at Gibeon. While he was there, the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream. The LORD presented Solomon with decree, “Ask what I should give you.” Now I don’t know about you but growing with stories like Alladin or the Imp in a Bottle, I’ve often wondered what would I ask for if I were to ask for anything I wanted. Rarely are my thoughts as pious as Solomon’s.

When presented with this opportunity from the LORD, Solomon recounts all that the LORD had done for his father David. He acknowledges that the LORD is the one of who placed him on the throne. In his great humility, Solomon admits that he doesn’t know how to rule this great people. Solomon demonstrates some wisdom in recognizing this and he asked the LORD, “Give Your servant a heart that knows how to obey so that I can be a judge of this vast people of Yours and tell what is good and bad.”

Now the LORD will give Solomon these things. But even more so, Solomon stands here in the place for Jesus who is the LORD, the King of Peace, who according to the flesh descends from Solomon. Solomon asks the LORD for a heart that knows how to obey. Jesus being tempted in the wilderness by the devil and being tempted in every way, just like us, obeys the commands of the Father above. Jesus, as we see in the Gospels doesn’t judge people only according to what the eyes can see. Jesus can look into the heart of men and judge what is on their hearts so he can make right judgments when he judges. When confronted by the Pharisees, Scribes and the Sadducees, Jesus is able to see through their schemes and do what is just and right in the sight of God.

Like Solomon who was given rule over such a great people, Jesus has been given rule over his people the Church. Unlike Solomon who was given wisdom to rule, Jesus himself is the Wisdom and Knowledge of God. He rules his people from the right hand of God. While Solomon ruled from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River, Jesus rules over all creation, ordering all things to bring about his visible rule at the end of time, ushering in the age of Peace and Righteousness.

O Wise and Merciful Father, even as you made Solomon king over your people Israel, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to rule over your Church. Grant us faith in Jesus they he may reign over our hearts. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Born Of The Woman

#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Born Of The Woman

Galatians 44But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5to free those under the Law and make us His sons. 6And because you are sons, God sent into our hearts the Spirit of His Son, Who cries, “Abba! Father!” 7So you are no longer a slave but a son. And if you are His son, God has made you His heir.

Paul doesn’t speak of Mary much at all. In fact she is only mentioned here, in passing, without naming her, to bring us two important facts. The first, which you may be tired of hearing by now but is essential to the Christian faith, God had fulfilled his promise found in Genesis chapter three, 15“And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your descendants and her Descendant. He will crush your head, and you will bruise His heel.” Mary is that woman and Jesus is her Descendent or Seed.

Secondly, if Jesus is born of Mary, then he is truly Man. Jesus is truly God (unlike some people who think Son of God means something less than God) and Jesus is truly man (everything necessary to be truly human Jesus is). Jesus must be both to be our Savior.

Now there is a third thing. Jesus was born under the Law. Being Jewish, Jesus was initiated into the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic Covenant on the eighth day being circumcised. On his eighth day of life, Jesus shed his innocent blood for the first time. He was then bound to obey all the Mosaic Law. Jesus then proceeded to fulfill all of that Law in his life. Indeed, he is the only man to ever fulfill the Law of God not only outwardly, which is quite a feat in itself, but also according to the spirit of that Law.

Having fulfilled that Law, Jesus then took the curse of that Law upon the cross to which he was crucified and nailed it to the cross removing its accusations from us. He spilt his innocent blood again there on the cross fulfilling the Mosaic covenants demand for blood sacrifice to make atonement for our sins and freeing us from the Law.

Now we are made sons of God through baptism and faith in Jesus. Jesus sends his Holy Spirit into our hearts at baptism, causing us to be born from above, born of God. The Holy Spirit causes us to cry out to God, “Abba, Father!” We now know God as Father and not an angry judge. The Father is not like Santa Claus, making a list and checking it twice to find out who’s naughty and who’s nice. He already knows we’ve been naughty. That’s why he sent his son Jesus. Being made sons of God, we are free. We no longer are slaves to sin and all its whims. We are no longer slaves to the fear of death. We are no longer under the devil’s reign.

Instead we are heirs of God. God is our inheritance, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Eternal life is our inheritance. The Kingdom of God is our inheritance. The New Heavens and New Earth are our inheritance. Righteousness and glory are now ours. We cannot earn these things or merit them. We simply inherit them through Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Father’s adoption of us is also purely by his grace and favor, not because of anything we’ve done. What a Christmas present.

Heavenly Father, you made us your heirs through baptism into your Son Christ Jesus and giving us your Holy Spirit. Keep us in this faith until we receive our inheritance. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion Christians Live In The Now-Not Yet Age

#DailyDevotion Christians Live In The Now-Not Yet Age

Isaiah 61:10—62:3 10I will be very glad in the LORD, I will delight in my God, for He has dressed me in the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness as a bridegroom puts on a priestly turban and a bride puts on her beautiful jewels. 11As the ground produces its sprouts and a garden makes the seed sown in it come up, so the Lord GOD will make righteousness and praise spring up in the sight of all the nations. 62 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest until her righteousness comes out to be seen like a light and her salvation burns as bright as a torch. 2The nations will see your righteousness and all the kings your glory. You will be given a new name that the LORD’s mouth will determine. 3Then you will be a beautiful crown in the LORD’s hand, a royal crown in the hand of your God.

We have seen these verses from Isaiah sixty-one from the Advent season but now they are joined to Isaiah sixty-two. As we, in Christmas week one, continue the celebration of Jesus’ birth, we also continue to look to his second coming. We also would do well to remember that we live in the age of the Now-Not Yet. What I mean by that is what St. Paul continually reminds us, we live by faith and not by sight.

So we believe Jesus has won salvation for us but we cannot see it yet. We have faith that our sins are forgiven us yet we cannot see that this is true. We trust that we have been born from above however we cannot prove except for the fact that we have a new perspective on life and attitude towards our Father above.

So we will and are very glad in the LORD and delight in our God, “for He has dressed me in the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness as a bridegroom puts on a priestly turban and a bride puts on her beautiful jewels.” It is what our LORD Jesus Christ has promised us when we were baptized, given the Holy Spirit and came to faith in him. If we were converted as an older child or adult, we might remember some feeling of it, of course we might not have felt anything at all (there may have been a more transitional, educational conversion). Yet we rejoice because we believe all of God’s promises are yes in Christ Jesus.

The LORD Jesus indeed is having righteousness and praise spring up in the sight of all the nations. Whether it was sudden or gradual, from the time we were born from above as infants or later in life, the Holy Spirit is working righteousness and praise in and through us in the sight of all the nations. We Christians are the Jerusalem, the Zion the LORD is renewing, making and growing. As Simon become Peter and Saul become Paul, so we too received a new name from our Father in heaven when we were adopted by him in baptism because we have truly become new people. While the world may look down on us now, on the day of the revelation of Jesus Christ and our revelation as the children of God, we will be the crown and glorious diadem in the hands of our God.

Almighty and merciful Father, grant that we may indeed walk by faith in the promises which are fulfilled in Christ Jesus so we may with our own eyes see their total fulfillment at his revelation to the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

#DailyDevotion The Best Christmas Present

#DailyDevotion The Best Christmas Present

Hebrews 1 At many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers long ago by the prophets, 2but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, Whom He made the heir of everything and by Whom He made the world. 3He Who shines with God’s glory and is the Expression of His Being sustains everything by His mighty Word. He made a cleansing from sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven, 4and is as much superior than angels as the name He has is better than theirs. 5To which of the angels did God ever say: You are My Son, today I have begotten You? Or again: I will be His Father, and He will be My Son? 6And when He again will bring the firstborn Son into the world, He says: All of God’s angels should worship Him.

What a great Christmas text for it tells us of the gift of God’s Son to us. It tells us while God used to speak to us through the prophets, now, in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son. Yes, the Father sent his Son into the world, to take on our human flesh and to speak and teach to us God’s will and love towards us. But now we have the Word of God in the flesh speaking directly to us with our words so our ears can hear and believe.

It magnifies Jesus for who he truly is. Jesus is the heir of everything. That which belongs to the Father, is now Jesus’ in the flesh. Before he was made flesh it was by the Son the Father made the world, the cosmos and everything in it. Now in the flesh, Jesus takes up what the first man lost by his sin and he takes dominion over everything. This Jesus Christ of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, the son of Mary is the “Expression of His Being.” That is to say, if you want to know what God the Father is like, you need only look to Jesus who shines forth the exact character of his Father in heaven. Not only was everything made through Jesus, but Jesus sustains everything by his almighty word.

Jesus made a cleansing from our sins. Yes, in this body of flesh which he received from his mother Mary, Jesus offered up himself on the cross to cleanse us from our sins. Indeed, your sins have been cleansed and you have been made clean by the blood of Christ, when you were baptized into his name and believed in him and his work.  Having died and rose again, Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in Heaven, where he lives and reigns forever.

As such, Jesus is much better than any of the angels, or patriarchs or even Moses. While Jesus is from eternity the Son of God, as the Man, the Father now also speaks to him, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.” The Father has fulfilled the promise he made to his servant, King David, when he told him his descendent he would be a Father to and he would be his son. So the Son of God and the Son of Man, who are the same person, are declared to be the Father’s Son. To this son God tells all his angels to worship him. But that’s not all. Having been cleansed of our sins through baptism, that which is Christ according to the flesh is ours also. So the Father also has made us heirs of all things with Christ. He is conforming us into His image and likeness and fulfills that at the resurrection. He has declared us to be his sons (yes you women also) and exalted us to the place of his Son Jesus. Can you think of a better Christmas gift than that? I think not.

Heavenly Father, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to speak to us and to cleanse us from sins by his blood. You have made us one with him and with him have given us all good things. Preserve us in this faith until the final revelation of Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.