Sunday, August 18, 2019, 01:10 pm | No Comments »

"Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word; Curb those who by deceit or sword, Would wrest the kingdom from Your Son, And bring to naught all He has done.

"Lord Jesus Christ, Your pow'r make known, For You are Lord of lords alone; Defend Your holy Church that we May sing Your praise eternally."

In the hymn we pray that God would restrain those who "by deceit or sword" would try to tear the kingdom from our Savior's grasp, but we know from Scripture that such a thing is impossible. Jesus, our Shepherd-King, has a firm grip on His sheep, promising, "No one will snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:28b). We have received a kingdom "that cannot be shaken" (Hebrews 12:28b).

Still, there will always be those who seek—in vain—to destroy our Lord's kingdom. Many enemies of Christ wield the sword, violently persecuting Jesus' followers. All around the world Christians are attacked, imprisoned, and murdered; their churches, homes, and businesses are destroyed. Others who seek to destroy Christ's work rely on more subtle, but still destructive, methods. False teachers may try to "wrest the kingdom" from God's Son by suggesting that Jesus is not really the Son of God. Jesus, they say, was not God in the flesh but merely a wise teacher, a good example to follow through life. They try to deceive believers and unbelievers alike, denying that Jesus is the Messiah and Savior. Some false teachers claim that Jesus never really died on the cross. Others may admit that He died but claim that He never rose from the dead. Seeking to deceive the world with such false beliefs, these enemies of the Gospel deny the lordship of Christ and attempt to "bring to naught" all that He has done.

Jesus said, "If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31b-32). From the Word we know the truth. The victory in this battle belongs to Jesus, even though on earth the defeated enemy, Satan, continues to war against us in futile rage. In the hymn we ask our Lord to defend His holy church. We, as members of His body, the church, are involved in this kingdom battle, and so we pray, "Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word." It is in our Savior's Word that the world's false ideas about Jesus are revealed as deceitful lies, and it is in the Word we learn the joyful truth reflected in the hymn. The crucified and risen Savior we will praise for all eternity reigns now, and He alone is Lord of lords.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, by Your mighty power defend Your church on earth. Keep us faithful and strong in the study of Your Word. Amen

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word," which is found on page 655 of the Lutheran Service Book.

Friday, August 16, 2019, 11:08 am | No Comments »

Today's Scripture: Acts 20:17-38

"Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. And when they came to him, he said to them:

“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship."

Today's Devotion: Paul Preaches in Miletus

What a sermon! The pastors in Ephesus travel to Miletus to meet Paul and hear final words from him. The central verse is 20:28, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which He obtained with His own blood.” Theologically, this text stuns us as it talks about the “blood of God.” God has blood. God has a body. God is born. God dies. The incarnation of Jesus makes the unimaginable possible: the eternal God bleeds for us, and His blood redeems us from sin, from death, and the power of the devil.

O Lord, grant us joy and peace in Your blood and death. Amen.

Devotion by Pastor Bryan Wolfmueler

Produced by Around the Word Devotion

Thursday, August 15, 2019, 11:44 am | No Comments »

Today's Scripture: Matthew 7:22-29

"On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes."

Today's Devotion: Two Houses

Here are two houses. One build on rock, the other built on sand. Before the rain comes they look the same. Maybe the house built on sand looks even nicer. (They saved so much money on the foundation!) But the storm shows the truth: one stands, the other is rubble. Jesus uses this picture to show the difference between the people who hear His preaching and those who do not. The world will pass away, but the Word of the Lord endures forever, and when we are established in His Word we also stand.

Lord, build our house on the immovable foundation of Your Word. Strengthen us to stand through the storm so that we will, at last, stand before You. Amen.

Devotion by Pastor Bryan Wolfmueler

Produced by Around the Word Devotion

Wednesday, August 14, 2019, 11:40 am | No Comments »

Today's Scripture: Jeremiah 15:19-21
"Therefore thus says the Lord:
“If you return, I will restore you,
and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
you shall be as my mouth.
They shall turn to you,
but you shall not turn to them.
And I will make you to this people
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you
to save you and deliver you,
declares the Lord.
I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.”

Today's Devotion: Jeremiah will stand before God

It’s not easy being a prophet. Jeremiah was sent to stand before rulers and kings and preach the thundering terror of God’s judgment. He would suffer for it. Jeremiah was ridiculed, arrested, thrown in a pit, exiled, maybe even stoned to death by his own countrymen. But more frightful than standing before kings was the prospect of standing before God. But look how the Lord comforts Jeremiah. “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before Me” (15:19). Clothed in Christ, we have nothing to fear. We are ready to stand before the Lord in the perfection of the forgiveness of our sins.

O Lord, cover us with the righteousness of Your Son so that we would be ready to stand before You in joy and peace. Amen.

Devotion by Pastor Bryan Wolfmueler

Produced by Around the Word Devotion

Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 12:25 pm | No Comments »

Today's Scripture: Romans 8:12-17
"So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."

Today's Devotion: Children or Heirs

Paul talks about two spirits, the “spirit of slavery” and the “Spirit of adoption of sons.” Those are the two options: a slave or a son. The devil wants us enslaved, bound by sin and the fear of death. The Son comes to set us free, and if He sets us free we are free indeed! He sets us free by adopting us into His family. Jesus is our brother! So, in Christ we are free from sin, free from condemnation, free from the fear of death, and we cry out to God as a gracious heavenly Father who delights to hear our prayers.

Heavenly Father, thank You for adopting us as Your children and giving us the Spirit of adoption as sons. Amen.

Devotion by Pastor Bryan Wolfmueler

Produced by Around the Word Devotion

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