Today's Scripture: Psalm 92
"It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
How great are your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very deep!
The stupid man cannot know;
the fool cannot understand this:
that though the wicked sprout like grass
and all evildoers flourish,
they are doomed to destruction forever;
but you, O Lord, are on high forever.
For behold, your enemies, O Lord,
for behold, your enemies shall perish;
all evildoers shall be scattered.
But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox;
you have poured over me fresh oil.
My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him."
Today's Devotion: We Rejoice at God’s Merciful Works
Note the occasion for this Psalm: the Sabbath. It was meant to be sung in the context of Israel’s worship. And why did they worship? Why did they raise voices in praise? Because of what God had done! Because of His great works of mercy, steadfast love, and faithfulness. For these things, God’s people rejoice. We continue to rejoice even though we see our enemies succeed in this life. We know that we are planted in God’s kingdom. No matter what happens in this life, we will stand with the Lord of Life on the Last Day. What better reason is there than this to rejoice in His mercy shown to us and to gather together with His people to worship?
Merciful Lord, Your steadfast love for me brings me great joy and comfort. Grant that I may join with Your people to worship You again and again throughout my life. Amen.
Devotion by Pastor Quintin Cundiff
Produced by Around the Word Devotion
Today the reading in Treasury of Daily Prayer was in Galatians 5:1-26. Bryan Wolfmueller is pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church and Jesus Deaf Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas. (He previously served as pastor of Hope Lutheran Church in Aurora, Colorado.)
He also wrote an amazing book, Has American Christianity Failed?
I have a friend who has written a tract called “Born Again-ism.” Everybody in America is born again, and the reason why they’re born again is because of most of the preachers and pastors who do not understand the Gospel nor the power of the Gospel and that we've reduced the Gospel down to four spiritual laws and five things God wants you to know. We have done the very same thing that Catholicism has done since its beginning—turned salvation into nothing more than a few little steps and a superstitious prayer at the end, turned salvation into nothing more than a mere human decision whereby a man decides for himself simply to jump out of the line going into Hell in order to jump into the line going to Heaven.
But when you grasp the power of regeneration, everything else begins to fall in place and until you grasp the power of regeneration, you cannot understand the doctrine and the calling to self-denial.
Let me just give you an example ….another little definition I’ve written about man.
Man is a fallen, radically depraved, spiritually dead, morally corrupt, sin-loving, God-hating creature. In the very core of his being, he is as opposed to God as the devil himself. He cannot change and has no desire to do so. He loves a lie and will do everything in his power to restrain and suppress any and every truth about God and the more he knows about God, the more he hates Him, because God is righteous and man is evil.
Now, how do you take something like that, how do you expect a creature like that to all of a sudden hear a Gospel message of self-denial and turn his back on absolutely everything he is and at all cost follow the Christ? How can you expect a man to take a journey of a thousand miles if he’s neither willing nor able to take the first step? And this idea of, well, as the brother put it, “Well, let’s get them saved and then gradually introduce them to salvation and to discipleship and to the call to self-denial.” But I want to tell you something. It is not any easier to coax a dead man to take one step than it is to coax him to take a million. If he’s dead, he’s dead. And within that is found the power of regeneration.
Because I, as a preacher, an itinerant, nothing, little preacher, because of my belief in the power of the Gospel and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, I can look at the most defiled man on the face of the earth and tell him to forsake his mother, his father, his lands, his home, his own life, and I can expect that, out of the group of them, somebody’s coming out. I do not have to lay
down the bar on the Gospel. I can bid men to come and die from the very moment I speak with them because I believe in the power of resurrection. Someone says, “How can you expect a man to do that?” I say, “Well, let me answer that with another question. How can Ezekiel command bones to live? And how can Jesus cry out to a dead man and tell him to come forth?” Because salvation is not just some mere, tiny, puny, human decision.
It is the supernatural work of God.~Paul Washer
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye."
Have you ever seen a Scripture verse so often and misused so often that you almost disregard it entirely? This text is certainly a candidate for that treatment! Nonetheless, these are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. The judgment that our Lord is forbidding us from engaging in is the judgment of a person’s salvation. We must be wise and recognize evil in our world and evil in actions. But we ought not be about telling people that they are condemned. Rather, as disciples of Jesus, we speak about the mercy that is available to all in Christ Jesus and the wonderful gift that is.
Dear merciful Lord, please help me to speak of Your mercy and to be merciful as You have shown me mercy. Amen.