Daily Reading: January 10th


#DailyDevotion The God of Israel takes no pleasure in the death of men.

Epiphany Old Testament lessons

January 10th

 Read Ezek 18:1–4, 19–32

Eze 18:4  Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. ..21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.  (22)  None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live.  (23)  Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?  (24)  But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die. 25  “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 30″Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin.  (31)  Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?  (32)  For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.”

 

From what is being reported in this chapter of Ezekiel, Israel must have misunderstood what the Lord said when Moses wrote, “Exo 20:5-6  … for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,  (6)  but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”  God does not change.  Moses should be understood then in light of this passage from Ezekiel.

 

Verse 32 is extremely important in our understanding of the Lord.  The Lord takes no pleasure in the death of anyone.  It injures him so much that he gave a  prescription for death, his death.  Sin is extremely deadly.  The soul that sins is the soul that will die.  Death is the penalty for sin.  Not just physical death, but spiritual death.  One follows the other.  Adam sinned and he died that day spiritually.  Later the body followed.  There is no particular amount or particular sin that kills the spirit.  Any old sin will do it to you.

 

Yet the Lord does not want us to die.  So he gives us this warning and this promise.  If you have been sinning and you repent, that is you turn to the Lord and seek his forgiveness for the sake of Christ, you will receive eternal life and you will not die.  However, if you had been trusting the Lord and you turn away from the Lord, you will die, not just a physical death but more importantly a spiritual one.  There’s only one thing left to do then, repent like the habitual sinner.  The Lord’s promise of forgiveness is for all people everywhere.  Jesus does not want to punish anyone or sent anyone into eternal perdition. He wants you to live.  He promises us that he who believes in him will never die.  We have eternal life in Jesus.  Like spiritual death, physical death follows, eternal life is followed by physical life at the resurrection.  So daily repent of your sins and trust in Christ.

 

Lord God, you desire not our deaths but that we turn to you and live.  Give us your Holy Spirit that we may do this and live with you and your Son Jesus forever. Amen.

Daily Reading: January 9th


#DailyDevotion God doesn’t want to punish us but rather to forgive and love us.

January 9th

Read Ezek 3:12–28

Eze 3:18-21  If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.  (19)  But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.  (20)  Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand.  (21)  But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”

 

There is a lot that is going on the in visions Ezekiel is having that makes us scratch our heads and go, “Hmm, I wonder what that is all about?”  While all of scripture is important to us, some parts are or at least seem to be more important than others.  So in the midst of these crazy visions we have this nugget we can grasp hold and say, “Here’s something I think I can understand!

The prophet Ezekiel is given a charge.  One might even conclude that it is a charge given to all those whom the Lord calls into the service of his word.  This is the charge that we are given: to warn sinners whom God, the Lord has placed in our path of their coming destruction.  It is a call to repentance he calls us to pronounce.  It isn’t because God doesn’t want us having any fun.  It isn’t because he gets his joy from punishing us.  It is because he loves us that he warns of the consequences of our sins that we might turn from them and avoid the consequences.  He loves us.  He doesn’t want to punish us or to inflict vengeance upon us.  As St. Peter says, 2Pe 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

 

So for the sake of the one’s being warned and for the sake of the soul of the preacher, we preach the Law, we threaten with damnation and eternal punishment.  It doesn’t please us to do so.  It’s the most difficult thing a preacher can do.  But he does it in the hopes of wakening people up concerning the direction they’re heading, like giving a shove to a person asleep at the wheel.  It is the hope that they’ll realize the state they are in and seek a different path.

 

And therein lies the joy of the prophet/preacher, to proclaim the glad tidings of the Lord, the good news that God forgives them for Jesus’ sake.  It is the good news the Lord forgives and gives eternal life to all who turn to Jesus and his merits as the basis of their standing before God which changes our lives from those who seek to do wicked things to those who struggle against it and seek how we may be of service to our fellows.  The new mindset that comes with faith gives us a new perspective in which we can see our God as someone we love and cherish rather than fear and hate.

 

Lord God, heavenly Father, ever place in the lips of those around us, your word of warning concerning our sins but even more so place in their lips the word of forgiveness for Christ’ sake that we may turn from our sinful ways and live in your life. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Daily Reading: January 8th


#DailyDevotion All pastors have is God’ Word and Promises. Listen to them.

January 8th

Read Ezek 2:1—3:11

Eze 3:2-7  So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat.  (3)  And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.  (4)  And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them.  (5)  For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel— (6)  not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you.  (7)  But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart.

 

As they say in many comedy clubs, “Tough crowd.”  Ezekiel is given what seems to be an impossible mission.  He is called to preach the word of God to Israel and call them to repentance.  He is to speak to them lamentations and woe.  Yet the Lord tells him that they are a hard headed people.  They are stubborn and unwilling to listen to the Lord.

 

Ezekiel is not sent with his own words to speak but with the Word of the Lord he is to speak.  He is told to eat the scroll.  What is written on the scroll he is to speak.  Christian pastors are pretty much in the same boat today.  We have been given the bible, some 65 scrolls to eat and inwardly digest.  They are to become part of us.  It is this Word and not our own we are called to speak to the world and to the people of God.  Whether they listen or not, they will know there has been a prophet amongst them.   As Peter tells us, 2Pe 1:20 “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.”

 

Jesus also says this of those whom he sends, 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.”  We are not called to do miraculous signs and wonders but to faithfully preach the Word of God.  The people of Israel didn’t listen to the prophets nor did they listen to the apostles.  Paul warns us, 1Co 1:22-24  “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,  (23)  but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,  (24)  but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”  Just as Jesus also taught in the parable of the rich man, Luk 16:29-31 “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ (30)  And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ (31)  He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.'”

 

So we too today have simple men, sent by God with the good news of Jesus Christ.  They have nothing but the Word and Promise of God.  That Word and Promise of God is this, repent and believe the good news.  God has forgiven all your sins and has been reconciled to you for the sake of his Son Jesus Christ.  His spilt blood, his innocent suffering and death is the atonement needed to make peace between you and God. Nothing further is needed.  This gift is delivered to us in the Word, Baptism, Absolution, the Lord’s Supper, and the consolation of the saints.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, when you send your pastors into our lives give us ears that hear and hearts that repent and believe the Word you place in their mouths for our salvation. Amen.

January 7th


#DailyDevotion Jesus’ glory is shown chiefly in showing mercy.

January 7th

Read Ezek 1:1–14, 22–28

Eze 1:26-28  And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance.  (27)  And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him.  (28)  Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

 

We have in this text the epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ in his pre-incarnate form.  For Jesus is the Lord, he is the Word of God made flesh.  We know it is him for as the Word of God he brings us a message, the Word and Will of God.

 

The Lord we see here in his glory can indeed be frightening.  We have these cherubim with different faces.  There are wheels and flames in the wheels.  There’s the whole whirlwind action going on.  There’s no wonder Ezekiel falls down upon his face.

 

But then in this vision of the Lord there is a glimpse of hope, love, mercy and kindness.  There about the Lord is the appearance of the rainbow.  The rainbow of course is the sign of the Lord’s promise that he would never flood the whole earth again in wrath and anger.  It reminds us of God’s mercy and kindness.  We deserve nothing but punishment and wrath and he preserves the human race, knowing what kind of mess we are going to make things again.

 

This One clothed with the bow in all his glory which sends Ezekiel to his knees, he dispenses with his glory as he becomes one of us.  He empties himself and is born of the Virgin.  He subjects himself to our human weakness and grows in knowledge and stature. He submits himself, who is the Lord of all, to his human parents.  He submits finally to human authorities and is sentenced to death, even death upon a cross.  But there on the cross which humanity finds nothing but shame and degradation, Jesus shows us the glory of his kingdom.  For it is in showing mercy that the Lord, the God of creation, Jesus Christ’s power is chiefly known and how he wants to be known.  There on the cross, Jesus shines in his glory, the glory of his mercy, kindness, love and forgiveness for all humanity.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, whose power and glory is known chiefly in showing mercy, we thank you that you did not come to us in you power and glory but have taken on our human flesh to be like one of us that we may not be terrified of your presence but comforted by your cross.  Grant us such faith in you that on the day on your appearing we may rejoice and not fear like those who rejected you and who do not know you. Amen.

Daily Reading: January 6th


#DailyDevotion Don’t be those people.

January 6th

Is 66:1–20

Isa 66:12For thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees.  (13)  As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.  (14)  You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; and the hand of the LORD shall be known to his servants, and he shall show his indignation against his enemies…18″For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory,  (19)  and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations…  (22)  “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your offspring and your name remain.  (23)  From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD.  (24)  “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

 

Today we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Father of Lights sends his Son into the world.  It is from and through Jesus that peace is extended like a river  and the glory of the nations come like an overflowing stream. Today we celebrate the good news of a savior for all nations being revealed to the nations.  A savior not only for the Jews, the Israelites or the children of Abraham but a savior who is the promised blessing to Abraham, his seed through which all nations shall be blessed.

 

On this day we celebrate the Magi coming to visit the One born King of the Jews.  They saw his glory and brought him gifts.  This is the beginning of the gathering of nations and tongues.  Jesus is the sign set before us, Jesus and his cross.  He is the sign that God the Father is at peace and reconciled to the world though all its inhabitants have rebelled against him.  But now that He is reconciled to us, we place our trust in the Son, Jesus who brought us his peace and his glory.

 

From Bethlehem, to Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan valley, Jerusalem to the whole world, Jesus has sent the survivors of the wrath to come to announce the good news and to deliver peoples, nations and tongues that there is salvation, freedom and peace in Christ Jesus.  No one has to suffer God’s wrath, who trust that Jesus has delivered them from it, who trust in Jesus’ work on the cross.  A new heavens and a new earth shall be given to those who trust in Jesus and his salvation.  We shall come before him and worship him and the Father through the Spirit.  But to those who reject this free gift of salvation it isn’t a pretty sight. “For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” Don’t be those people.

 

Lord Jesus Christ, you have been set up as a sign to the nations of God’s peace and reconciliation.  May all who hear this good news believe in it that they may be counted amongst the redeemed in the New Creation you have prepared for us.  Amen.

Daily Reading: January 5th


#DailyDevotion Tired of this world? Trust in Jesus for a better new world.

January 5th

Read Is 65:8–25

Isa 65:15 You shall leave your name to my chosen for a curse, and the Lord GOD will put you to death, but his servants he will call by another name…17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. (18) But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. (19) I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress…24 Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear. (25) The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.

Indeed because of the sins of Israel and Judah, their names have become a curse upon the earth. Calling someone a Jew is still considered to be an insult. So God, though preserving for himself a remnant of Abraham’s race, calls his servants by another name, Christians. The name of the Holy One of Israel, Jesus, the Christ is the name by which God’s people are now name and called. Made of both Jew and Gentile, one holy Israel in the One who is Israel, Jesus. All who are baptized into his name and have faith in his blood are God’s holy people.

For such a people God promises a new beginning. A new heavens and a new earth for the people of God, all those who confess Jesus Christ as the God who rescued Israel from the Egyptians and who now rescues us from sin, death and the power of the devil. This new world the Lord is bringing us into will no longer bear the curse and neither will we. For even as creation is renewed in its redemption, so too, all who have faith in Jesus will have new immortal, imperishable, glorious, sinless bodies like our Savior Jesus Christ.

In the new creation, there will be no more crying, pain, suffering or death because sin is no more. Even the animals are renewed and restored to the time in the beginning with the wolf and lamb grazing together. The mighty lion will no longer be eating antelopes but straw like an ox. So wonderful will this new creation that this world will quickly be forgotten. It will no longer come to mind because of the beauty and awesomeness of it all. Indeed we shall see God and be like him. That which God had begun in the beginning will be complete at that time. Jesus shall be our king and no longer will politics push and pull upon us vying for our devotion and attention. Jesus shall rule all men’s hearts and we shall all dwell together in peace, a peace that is eternal that no other man or government can accomplish.

It will be as it is written, Revelation 21:3-5 …”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. (4) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (5) And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Amen. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.

Daily Reading: January 4th


#DailyDevotion In Christ Jesus, we have a Father in heaven.

January 4th

Read Is 63:15—65:2

Isaiah 63:16-17 For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name. (17) O LORD, why do you make us wander from your ways and harden our heart, so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage…64:4 From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him…6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away…8 But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. (9) Be not so terribly angry, O LORD, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people…65:1 I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here am I, here am I,” to a nation that was not called by my name.

While Christians regularly address God as Father, following the example and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is not an appellation given to God in the Old Testament often. This is one of those few passages. The people of Israel and Judah have so fallen away from the true worship of God they can say that Abraham and Israel neither know nor recognize them. They accuse God, who is rightly their Father in the faith of making them wander from His ways and hardening their hearts. Perhaps the charge is true to a point. God did make them wander and harden their hearts, but only because they wandered first and hardened their hearts first against their Father, their Redeemer from of old by casting golden calves as images of the Almighty in northern and southern Israel. They went and started worshiping the false gods of their neighbors and following their detestable worship practices which were followed by further acts of debauchery and cruelty in their daily lives. The Lord God, their Father simply confirmed them in their errors and let them reap what they have sown.

Let us not follow their path. As we look to January 6th, Epiphany, Gentile Christmas, we remember chapter 65 verse 1, we are those who did not ask for the Father. We are those who did not seek the Redeemer. We are those nations not called by His Name. But now in Christ Jesus the Father of lights has given us birth through the waters of Holy Baptism into the Son, Jesus. Now we are a holy people. Now we are called by His name, Christian. Let us remember the example of the people whom our Father rescued from the hands of the Egyptians and not follow their path but instead as 64:4 says wait for the salvation of our God, Jesus Christ with all patience and perseverance. Don’t go and run off to other gods, other things, other ideas, philosophies, religions and other debauchery because you cannot wait for God to act. You have a Father in heaven who does love you, who treats you as a son (Heb. 12) and who will save and deliver you from your truest enemies, sin, death and the power of the devil. Nothing else matters.

O Lord our God, you deign to call us your children in Christ Jesus and invite us, bid us to call you our Father. Ever give us your Holy Spirit that we may be faithful to you as much as you have been faithful to us in your only begotten son, Jesus, that we may never be confirmed in the hardness of our hearts but always be called back to repentance until the day we see your salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: January 3rd


#DailyDevotion Will you experience God’s wrath or redemption on the day of the Lord Jesus?

January 3rd

Read Is 63:1–14

Isaiah 63:3-7 “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. (4) For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come. (5) I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. (6) I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” (7) I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

We see here God’s wrath and His redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Jesus is not some soft, cute, lovable puffball. He is God Almighty, great to save and great is his wrath. Isaiah here sees pictures of the last day as seen by John’s Revelation chapter nineteen. It is a day of judgment where all the world who rejected him as their Savior, who would not repent of their sins and look to him alone as their Redeemer, will get the only other type of God that is left, a vengeful God. On that day, all the people, great and small, young and old will be wipe out and Jesus will stomp them out like grapes in a wine press. They will all drink the wine of his wrath and enter perdition where they will suffer for all eternity. Not a pretty sight.

Yet there is the year of redemption. For by his own arm Jesus has won salvation. By the shedding of his own blood, he has made atonement for all the people of the world. On the cross, Jesus has suffered the wrath of God and made peace between God and men. Yet many people will not accept this peace. But for those who do believe, they shall experience the steadfast love of the Lord. God does not want mankind to suffer but they spurn His great love. On that day, all of us who have been called by God to be His holy people by being baptized in Jesus will experience that love for all eternity.

We shall praise the Lord Jesus Christ on that day and we shall experience his praise for trusting in him. You may remember earlier in Isaiah, the Lord will be singing over us. Our reward shall be a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness reigns. We, ourselves, will be totally regenerated no longer having the effects of a sinful flesh tormenting us. We will be like Jesus resurrected on the third day, bodily. The universe will be right and we will be righteous. Jesus even now pours out his compassion upon us by his blood by quieting our consciences as we confess our sins and here the words of absolution. On that day we shall see his compassion with our own eyes in our own flesh. So what will we experience on that day? His wrath or redemption? Trust in the one of died for you and receive Jesus’ salvation.

Lord God, Heavenly Father, your Holiness demands retribution for all those who sinned against you, yet your great compassion sent your Son Jesus Christ to receive your wrath in his own flesh and soul, that we might be saved. Grant us your Holy Spirit that we may believe this and always experience your steadfast love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Reading: January 2nd


#DailyDevotion The Church like her Lord cannot keep quiet.

January 2nd

Read Is 62:1–12

Isa 62:1-5 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. (2) The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. (3) You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. (4) You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.

In the first verse the Lord says that he will not keep silent nor will he be quiet until Zion’s, God’s holy people, righteousness goes forth as brightness and her salvation as burning torch. The Lord Jesus Christ is determined and he cannot fail to have his word go forth unto the earth, proclaiming his salvation for all peoples.

He looks upon his Church as his bride. Paul says as much in Eph. 5. Jesus continually in his preaching speaks to the kingdom of God and its coming as a wedding banquet. You who are in Christ Jesus are his bride. But not only are you called to be his bride. Jesus has come to draw all unto himself. He made atonement for the whole world. He has reconciled the world to his Father.

True, once you were Forsaken, once you were Desolate, but now in Christ Jesus you are His Delight and Married. You have been stolen away from the evil one, rescued from his hand being delivered by the nails piercing through the hands of Jesus. Now Jesus and the Father rejoice over you for you are his precious possession.

And now even as the Lord would not keep quiet, neither shall his watchmen or his Church. Day and night pastors all over the world proclaim Jesus’ salvation, a salvation that is for all people, which is free and true and eternal. And we who remember what Jesus did and does for us, we cannot be quiet. We cannot rest. We must watch, pray and share the good news with those around us until our Bridegroom comes, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus Christ, help us ever to keep you in remembrance that we may endue and not take rest but continually watch for your coming. Amen.

Daily Reading: January 1st


#DailyDevotion On this 1st day of our year, let it be the year of the Lord’s favor upon you.

January 1st

Read Is 61:1–11

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (2) to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; (3) to grant to those who mourn in Zion– to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

The opening verses Jesus in his first sermon at Nazareth reads and then proclaims that he has fulfilled it. Everyone marveled at his words. Then they decided to kill him. Why? Because they did not believe him. Yet Jesus in his earthly ministry did indeed do all these things. He proclaimed the good news, bound up brokenhearted, gave liberty to those who were captive to their sins and at his death open the gates of heaven to those bound in Hades. His death and resurrection brought upon the year of the Lord’s favor.

Today Jesus still does these things through his priest, i.e. all his disciples who proclaim the excellencies of him to a fallen world in their daily vocations, of all Jesus has done for them. Jesus does it through all his pastors who faithfully teach and preach what Jesus has done for the world. Jesus does it through the Word and Sacraments he exercises through his pastors.

So now, through his people and his pastors, with the Word and Sacraments, Jesus adorns us with a beautiful headdress called faith, the oil of gladness who is the Holy Spirit, the garment of praise which is his righteousness. We who have put our faith in Jesus because of these things while we look broken to the world are instead oak of righteousness through whom our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is glorified.

On this day of Jesus’ naming and circumcision we greatly rejoice in the Lord and exalt in Jesus who is our God. Through his first spilling of blood this day, he began to fulfill all righteousness for all mankind. In us, Jesus is causing righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations who do not acknowledge Jesus as their King. This new year, will Jesus be your King? Will Jesus be allowed to give you his righteousness? Will you allow the brokenness of his cross bind up the wounds of your soul and grant you peace, joy, and courage in the face of all obstacles? Will you let him turn your sorrow over you guilt and shame into joy and gladness? Jesus is here in his Church, his people and he can and will do it through his Word and Sacraments.

Lord Jesus Christ, on this day you first spilt blood that we may obtain your righteousness, grant us such faith in you that our souls are indeed bound and we are set free from the guilt and shame of our sins, that we may bear your righteousness and covered with the oil of gladness. Amen.