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Tuesday, October 31, 2017 Devotion

“For strangers have risen against me and violent men have sought my life; they have not set God before them.  Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my soul.  He will recompense the evil to my foes; destroy them in Your faithfulness.”  (Psalm 54:3-5)

Lord, You are the One who is everlasting.  There is none besides You.  Yet, there are those in this world who lift up false gods and command me to look at them.  Help me to see clearly Lord that I would look to You alone.  Justice is in Your hands O Lord.  You know all that needs to be done.  Bring me to the place where I trust in your justice and live simply by the words You have decreed.

Lord God, You have made plain from the beginning the truth that You are God.  You are the Savior.  You are the One who sustains all things.  You will deal with all that needs to be dealt with.  Compose my heart to be satisfied with Your goodness.  Lead me to trust in Your justice.  Take away from me those things which will hinder me simply trusting You in all things and for all things.

Lord Jesus, You have come and declared that You are the judge of the living and the dead.  Guide me to trust You in and through all things, knowing that You alone must be the author and finisher of my faith.  Lead me this day in the goodness of whom You are, knowing that You will lead me through all things that will come.  Guide me to trust that Your grace is more than sufficient for me.  Amen.

Monday, October 30, 2017 Devotion

“Save me, O God, by Your name, and vindicate me by Your power.  Hear my prayer, O God; Give ear to the words of my mouth.”  (Psalm 54:1-2)

Your name O Lord, what is it?  Have you not sent Yeshua, which means, literally, Your Salvation?  You are the Savior.  There is no other.  You have come as one of us to lead the way for all who will listen.  You are the One who, from the beginning, has called to as many as would hear, to hear the call of Your voice, heed Your voice and listen to the call You give.  Let my mouth be full of Your praise.

Lord, You know us better than any of us know ourselves.  You created us.  You know who we are.  Lead me away from what I think up to the place where I see where You have revealed reality.  Guide me in Your ways O Lord that I would be vindicated by Your power and majesty.  Let my mouth be filled with words of Your goodness and praise You all the day long.

Lord Jesus, You have come to show the way.  Through You, who is the way, truth and life, You have pointed to the Father who offers to all who believe and eternal relationship.  Guide me in the eternal way, established from the beginning, that I would walk with You, as You lead, to where You are taking me.  Help me now and always to hold fast to the prayer of my heart, which is to walk in the way of truth.  Amen.

Sunday, October 29, 2017 Devotion

“There they were in great fear where no fear had been; for God scattered the bones of him who encamped against you; you put them to shame, because God had rejected them. Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!  When God restores His captive people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.” (Psalm 53:5-6)

Salvation does come from the One who is the salvation of God.  He Himself has come that all who hope in the promise of the Lord would know His love and mercy.  Come then, you who wonder, come all who ponder and know the goodness of the Lord.  In the midst of adversity He comes offering mercy and grace to those who turn to Him.  Fear is displaced by the assurance He gives to those who come to Him.

Lord, You say the wisdom begins with fear.  Yet it does not remain there.  This is the beginning place.  Lead me O Lord by Your wisdom to come to the place where I see that You are the One who has been calling me to You from the beginning.  Lead me into seeing the light shining in the darkness.  You have restore us, even though we are not yet restored.  You have saved us even though it is not yet.

Lord Jesus, You have come to give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf and to release the captives from their bondage.  Guide me in the wisdom You offer that I would come into the eternal presence of the Father and know the goodness that has always been present.  Help me through all the difficulties that arise, that I may live in the grace You have given me from the cross.  Amen.

Saturday, October 28, 2017 Devotion

“Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.  Have the workers of wickedness no knowledge, who eat up My people as though they ate bread and have not called upon God?”  (Psalm 53:3-4)

The corruption in this world has affected everyone.  There are none who are exempt.  The wicked of the world follow after their hearts which are corrupt to pursue what is right in their minds.  Be guided not by the ways of this world, but by the truth of the God who created the world.  Seek not for yourself, but the greater things from the One who made all things.  Do not be consumed, but resume the path to which you have been called by the One who knows all things.

Lord, this world is crazy.  In the guise of something new, the same things happen over and over.  Each generation desires what it wants, not knowing what it really wants.  Let alone what it needs.  Help me, I pray to see through the cloud of confusion the truth that You alone are God and that there is no other.  Help me through Your Holy Spirit to come into the eternal truth of Your presence and purpose.

Lord Jesus, You are the One who has come that as many as turn to You would not be consumed, but through You restored to liberty and life.  Lead me now and always to walk in the ways I should go and not depart from them.  Help me see more clearly each day that I might walk on the narrow path You have set before me.  Through Your grace, enable me to be one who overcomes the adversity of this age.  Amen.

Friday, October 27, 2017 Devotion

“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’  They are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; there is no one who does good.  God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there is anyone who understands, who seeks after God.”  (Psalm 53:1-2)

The fool looks into himself and does not ask from whence all that is came.  Looking only to the self, is absorbed in self and cannot think of the other.  God who created all things knows His own being and offers Himself to all, but the fools, if they think of God at all, only think in terms of what they can gain apart from God’s order of things.  Seek first the Lord, then all that is needed will be added.

Lord, I am often persuaded by the fools of this world to see things from their perspective.  Guide me in the way of truth that I would not seek what I want to be true, but You who is truth itself.  Lead me away from foolish thinking to realize that You, the Creator of all things, know the hearts of every man and hold all things in Your hand.  Guide me according to Your wisdom to come into truth.

Truth Incarnate, Jesus, You who have come that all who turn to You might know the way of life, guide me to live truthfully in this world, fleeing from the advice of the fools of the world who will not acknowledge You.  Help me through the obstacles that will come knowing that there is purpose in all things and by grace what is purposed will grow in me Your likeness.  Lead me this day through all that will come to be with You and in You always.  Amen.

Thursday, October 26, 2017 Devotion

“But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever.  I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it, and I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.”  (Psalm 52:8-9)

We are as the young tree, filled with potential, but not yet producing fruit.  In spite of where we, or not are, come anyway to the house of the Lord and taste and see that what He gives is goodness and this shall be forever.  Come into the presence of the Lord and know that He will fulfill all that He has promised.  Come as one of His godly ones and walk in His ways.

Lord, what do I know compared to the wisdom You hold on the edge of your pinky?  I am but a young shoot tender and vulnerable in a world filled with avarice and wickedness.  Guide me O Lord in Your ways that I would walk according to Your Word and live into the life to which You call me.  Help me O Lord through the salvation You offer by grace to walk into the kingdom You offer.

Lord Jesus, without You and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, I could go nowhere, for my mind is clouded and my abilities are limited, yet You still offer the path of grace.  Lift me up, O Lord, to walk in Your ways knowing that only through You and by Your power can I ascend to stand in the Father’s presence.  Help me now and always to prepare for Your Kingdom and walk in the ways You have established from the beginning.  Amen.

The Freedom of the Christian

  • October 25, 2017 - 11:41 am
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“[Jesus said] to them, ‘Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’”  (Matthew 22:21)

What a horrifying statement.  Is our Lord Jesus Christ actually suggesting that some things don’t belong to God?  Is He giving Christians permission to participate in the sinful institutions of man?  Doesn’t He know that God wants us to be perfect, as He is perfect? (Matthew 5:48)

First, no; second and third, yes.  Of course our Lord knows that all things belong to God.  Engaging debate as a good rabbi, He simply makes a thought-provoking distinction with few words and a strong image.  But yes, He is giving His followers the freedom to participate in government, economy, and other institutions of this world, and He does so precisely because He knows that our Father wants us to be perfect as He is perfect.

For the Father’s perfection is known in this: His beloved Son assumed the flesh of this world, and dwelt and worked among sinners, for the sake of redeeming them—He even assumed the sin of the world on the cross.  Thus gifting us with His enduring friendship, God frees us—He frees you—to take on the burdens of your neighbors, too, even in something as sinful as government or (gasp!) capitalism, for the sake of love, kindness, and mercy.

LET US PRAY:  Father, Your perfection makes all things perfect!  Grant me such faith in Your Son’s mercy towards me that I take up the yoke of loving as He has first loved me; in His name I pray.  Amen

 

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Zion, Wausau    

© 2017

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 Devotion

“The righteous will see and fear, and will laugh at him, saying, ‘Behold, the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and was strong in his evil desire.’”  (Psalm 52:6-7)

The day will come when the difference between those who trusted in themselves and those who trusted in the Lord will be apparent.  The self apart from the Lord will be separated as they are now from the source of life.  Riches and worldly wealth are fleeting and do not really belong to the one who says, “This is mine.”  The one who abides in the Lord abides forever, because the Lord is forever.

I do not see clearly and Your ways often seem hard to fathom, yet I know You are there and this is Your creation.  Clear my sight O Lord to walk with You on cloudy as well as clear days.  Help me see in You the hope that is forever and to not walk in the ways of fools who trust in things they did not make and will not last to be their satisfaction.  Guide me O Lord in Your ways.

Lord Jesus, You came into the world humble and living in simple circumstances.  Help me shed dependency on the things of this world to see that only You and the Kingdom You have established are forever.  Lead me today and every day in the way I should go and then help me get there by looking to You, the author and finisher of my faith, to lead the way.  Amen.

WHAT’S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE?: Devotional for Reformation Sunday 2017

  • October 24, 2017 - 9:29 am
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WHAT’S SO AMAZING ABOUT GRACE?

One of the great rallying cries of the Reformation, which we celebrate the 500th anniversary of this year, is Grace Alone.  What is grace?  Here are five aspects of grace, which can be expressed in terms of the five letters G – R – A – C – E.

G – GIFT – GRACE IS GOD’S GIFT

Paul wrote to the Romans, We are “justified by His grace as a gift.” (3: 24)  Salvation is absolutely free.  It is a gift.  You cannot earn it, buy it, or work for it, and there is nothing you can do to deserve it.  Here you have the fundamental difference between Christianity and every other world religion.  No other faith teaches that God gives salvation for free.  Every other world religion says, Here is the system you must follow for earning God’s approval.  Every other world religion can be summed up with one word – Do.  Here is what you must do to be approved by God.  The Bible says that the key word is not Do but Done.  It was done by Jesus two thousand years ago.  It was done when He cried from the cross, “It is finished!”  Salvation has been paid for.  A way to heaven has been provided.  The greatest gift that you could ever receive is being offered.  And it is free.

R – RECEIVED – GRACE IS RECEIVED BY FAITH

Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” (2: 8-9)  How could you ever brag about something that is free?  We do not earn it.  It is a gift.  All we can do is to accept it and then live in a way that shows that we are grateful for it.

A – AVAILABLE – GRACE IS AVAILABLE TO ALL

God does not play favorites.  It does not matter who you are, what you have done, how far you have strayed, or how low you have sunk.  God’s grace is available to you.  His grace is for anyone who will receive it by faith.  Romans 10: 13 says, “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”  It does not matter who you are.  The verse says everyone.  It does not say you have to be good enough or to have done or not done enough.  It just says everyone.  Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

C – CHRIST – GRACE COMES THROUGH CHRIST

John 1: 17 says, “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  Grace comes only through Jesus Christ.  And why?  Because Jesus is the one who paid for grace.  Nobody else paid for our sins.  On the cross He paid for our sins.  So grace comes only through Jesus Christ.  Another way to remember the meaning of grace using the five letters G – R – A – C – E is this – Grace is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.  Grace is free.  Salvation is free.  But it is not cheap.  It comes at a very high price.  Somebody had to pay the price.  And somebody did pay the price.  Jesus Christ paid the price.  Which is why we say that grace comes only through Jesus Christ.

E – ETERNITY – GRACE EXTENDS TO ETERNITY

Paul wrote to the Romans, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (6: 23)  This is both bad news and good news.  The bad news is that the wages of sin is death.  Apart from Christ, I will get what I deserve – death.  Break God’s law, and the penalty is death.  That is the bad news.  The good news is that “the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

You may be thinking, “But I am not worthy to receive that gift.”  The truth of the matter is that none of us is worthy to receive that gift.  Someone might say, “God could not possibly love and accept me after all the things I have done.”  The truth of the matter is that God has more than enough reasons not to love and accept every one of us.

God wants to give you that gift.  He wants to be generous and gracious to you because that is just the way that He is.  So accept His G – gift – that is – R – received by faith – A – available to all – that C – comes through Christ – and E – extends for all eternity.  If you do, your past will be forgiven, your future will be secure in heaven, and you will have power for living today.

 

Dennis D. Nelson

President of the Board and Director of Lutheran CORE

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 Devotion

“You love evil more than good, falsehood more than speaking what is right.  You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue. But God will break you down forever; He will snatch you up and tear you away from your tent, and uproot you from the land of the living.”  (Psalm 52:3-5)

The wicked tongue shall not survive.  Why do you cling to that which is already condemned?  Come then into the rest of the Lord and give up the vain ways of this world.  Do not cling to that which is destructive, but come into the hope of glory that comes through grace.  Live into the life into which You have been called through grace by faith.  Let your wicked heart be uprooted and replaced with a heart like Christ’s.

Lord, You know all the complexities of the heart and the ways in which it plays games with me.  Blot out my iniquities and take away those things which hinder me from living life as You have designed it to be lived.  Guide me, O Lord, into Your grace that I may begin again the journey to which grace called me.  Help me through all the obstacles to live, speak and have my being in You.

Lord Jesus, You have come to forever shatter the wicked and their ways from ruling in life.  Though there remains this season in which the wicked endure, let me not be counted among them.  Instead, guide me by Your grace to come into the life to which You have called me by Your provision to seek the goodness You offer.  Help me now and always to cling to You, the finisher of my faith.  Amen.