The Word – A Real Thirst Quencher

February 24, 2014

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. – Psalm 42:1-4

Ever feel like the psalm writer? Being isolated from other Christians, whether that be because of circumstances beyond our control or because of our own sinful choices, can leave us feeling lonely. Not being able to worship God in his house with fellow Christians, whether health or work is preventing it or again just because we haven’t consistently made the commitment to be there, leaves us feeling spiritually thirsty and drained emotionally.

It is true that a person doesn’t have to be a member of a Christian church to spend eternity in heaven. Only faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior from all sin and hell assures us of that. And it is true that we can read and study God’s Word at home alone and God the Holy Spirit can work through the Word to keep our faith in Jesus strong. However, in Psalm 42 the psalm writer’s experience leads to a question: “If you have the opportunity to worship with other Christians, and if you have the opportunity to join a Christian church that strives to teach and practice all of God’s Word, then why wouldn’t you?”

Don’t underestimate the benefits for your faith and attitude that come by hearing the Word of God proclaimed to you in God’s house. Don’t underestimate the benefits for your soul and mind when you join with fellow Christians in songs of worship and praise to the Lord. Don’t underestimate the value of regularly gathering with like-minded Christians for mutual encouragement and to experience being part of the team that plans and carries out efforts to connect more and more people to their living Savior, Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to more consistently be a person who says with King David, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD’” (Psalm 122:1). Amen.


Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

February 23, 2014

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From the Heart

February 17, 2014

“The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Romans 10:8-13

When you love someone, you express what’s in your heart by what you say and what you do. You send a card, give a gift, sincerely say, “I love you!” Because when you truly love someone, you want to show it. Love naturally expresses itself.

Jesus’ love for us speaks volumes. His death on a cross and resurrection from the dead reveals the depth and faithfulness of his love for us. He expressed his love by paying for our sins, once and for all. He opened heaven for us. He’s committed to staying with us and taking care of us. Those actions of love echo through time. They declare that he will always love us, always forgive us, always save us.

The message of Jesus’ love – the Gospel – moves our hearts to dearly love him as our Savior. The Bible says that when our hearts trust that Jesus died to take away our sins and rose from the dead, then our mouths will naturally confess him as Lord and Savior. His love in us empowers us to love him in what we say and how we worship him. The more his love is in our hearts through the power of his word, the more our lives will be glad to express our love for him.

Prayer: Jesus, thanks for your great love. Thanks for being my Savior. Help me confess you with all my heart for all my life. Amen.

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

February 16, 2014

Divine Service I, Page 136, Lutheran Worship

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Lucille A. Brune, 1932-2014

February 12, 2014

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Someone Special

February 10, 2014

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5

As human beings we want to matter to someone. We want affirmation and in some way make a difference. Emotions tank when we feel we don’t matter, can’t do anything, and no one cares. Perhaps this devotion finds you in such a place.

God came to the prophet Jeremiah with the following words: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah was given a specific task to take a challenging message to the people of his day. It would be a tough assignment, but God encouraged and equipped him for the task.

While the call is not the same, the heart of God toward Jeremiah is the same heart he exhibits toward you. Remember three things today about your value, worth, and significance.

God says, “I knew you.” Even before you were born and your parents knew you or you were old enough to be self-aware, God knew you. He knows the hairs on your head and the hurts of your heart. He knows the strength of your skills and the reality of your weaknesses. He knows the significance of your sins, and still chose you to be the object of his saving love.

God says, “I set you apart.” Out of the billions of people in the world, God set you apart to be part of his family. At baptism he put his name on you as his beloved son or daughter. He takes a close interest in you and set you apart for significance.

God says, “I appointed you.” Jeremiah was called to a specific role to bring God’s message to the nations. When we realize that God knew us and loves us, that he set us apart and called us his own, we also realize that he appoints us to be part of his larger mission to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). God has us here on earth to be part of an eternally significant task – to proclaim the saving love of Jesus to people everywhere.

So today and every day, remember true significance is knowing God knows you, that he set you apart, and that he appoints you to be part of his eternal mission of bringing Jesus to the nations.

Prayer: Lord as I search for and desire significance, help me see myself as you see me – one whom you love and have set apart and called to be part of your work. Help me today find my significance in you! Amen.

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

February 9, 2014

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