Mar 9, 2017
SHATTERING ILLUSIONS

(Jesus said) "The Son of Man must suffer many things ..." (Luke 9:22a). Read Luke 9:18-22 Jesus' disciples have heard His powerful words and seen many mighty miracles. They believe He is the promised Messiah. But as soon as Peter makes his great confession, Jesus sternly commands the 12 disciples to keep the news to themselves. The Jewish crowds have the wrong idea about the Messiah; they think He will be a great king, driving out the Romans and establishing an earthly kingdom. Even the disciples are swept up in this dream. Now Jesus begins shattering that illusion and teaching them that He came to save the world through His death and resurrection. Jesus is fully aware of all the horrendous things He will suffer in Jerusalem, but He also knows the disciples are not ready for all the gory facts. So He draws a veil over the details and simply says, "The Son of Man must suffer many things." But the disciples need to know who will cause His great suffering. So Jesus teaches them that the leaders of His own people-the Jewish high court-will carefully examine Him and reject Him as their Messiah. They will kill Him through an act of judicial murder. But Jesus' revelation to the disciples doesn't end with His death. He clearly states that on the third day after His death He will be raised. At Christmas when you look at the Baby dozing in Bethlehem's manger, this may not be the life you would picture for Him, but it is exactly what God had planned for Him since the very beginning. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, Jesus was careful to shield His disciples from all the horrors He knew He would suffer to save us from our sins. Remind me that You know every detail of my future and give me confidence You will make all thing work together for my good. For Jesus' sake I pray. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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IS IT UNLAWFUL TO DO GOOD?

But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus. (Luke 6:11) Read Luke 6:6-11 The opposition against Jesus is mounting-neighbors from Nazareth and the devil with his demonic army. Now two new enemies join the fray. The scribes have spent centuries copying Old Testament scrolls, which teach God's Law to show us why we need His promised Savior. But they have distorted that word: teaching that heaven can be earned with less-than-perfect lives. Sitting with the scribes are their disciples the Pharisees, who dedicate themselves to live by these teachings and traditions. In the synagogue sits a man whose right hand is withered and useless. What will Jesus do? Scribal traditions forbid any work on the Sabbath, even healing a man's withered hand. So the scribes and Pharisees silently watch to see if Jesus will break their Sabbath rules. Jesus calls the man to stand, dramatically drawing everyone's attention. Then He turns to the scribes and asks, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?" He exposes the hypocrisy of their tradition that would forbid Him to use His powers to end someone's suffering just because it is the Sabbath. Looking around at them, He lets His point sink in. Jesus then tells the man, "Stretch out your hand," and his hand is completely restored. The scribes and Pharisees are furious. Jesus clearly broke the spirit of their Sabbath tradition, but by the letter of their law they have no charge to bring against Him. Nobody thought to write a law forbidding a man to stretch out his hand. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, Jesus' enemies grew furious when He showed concern for a man who was hurting. Forgive my cold, unfeeling heart toward those suffering around me, and help me flee to Jesus for forgiveness. I pray His Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Mar 8, 2017
I'M A WOMAN

Verse Little girl, I say to you, arise! Mark 5:41 Voice I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. -Maya Angelou Prayer Thank you for making each and every one of us in your image, God. (Sojourners, sojo.net)

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CONFRONTING A DEMON

And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice. (Luke 4:33) Read Luke 4:31-37 After being rejected in his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus sets up His headquarters in the town of Capernaum. On the Sabbath He begins teaching in the synagogue. Once again the people are amazed at His powerful words. But sitting in their midst is a man possessed by a demon. Demons are fallen angels. In the beginning God created them pure and holy, but following their rebellious leader Satan they rose up against their Creator. Jesus would later tell His disciples, "I saw Satan fall like lightning" (Luke 10:18b). Cast out of heaven, Satan and his demonic angels turned their rage and hatred against the humans God had created. Here in the synagogue this ancient enemy cries out in a loud voice: "Ha! What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us?" Since their fall all the demons have known and dreaded the coming of God's Son in judgment. In terror the demon blurts out, "I know who You are-the Holy One of God!" Jesus gives the first of two short commands: "Be silent." Standing before God's mighty Son, the demon immediately falls silent. Then Jesus commands, "Come out of Him!" In obedience the demon immediately comes out, throwing the man down in the process. But under Jesus' protecting eye the man is left completely unharmed. In the wilderness Satan had tempted Jesus to bow down and worship him. But on the Last Day Satan and all his evil host will bow down and worship their Creator and Judge-and be cast into hell forever. THE PRAYER Almighty God, like Satan and his demons, I have sinned against You. Forgive me for Jesus' sake and free me from Satan's power that I may serve You now and forever. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Mar 7, 2017
THE FIRST REJECTION

And they rose up and drove Him out of town and brought Him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw Him down the cliff. (Luke 4:29) Read Luke 4:14-30 Having defeated Satan's temptations Jesus then travels from village to village in Galilee, sharing God's plan of salvation and working many wondrous miracles. Months later He returns to His hometown Nazareth. Entering the synagogue Jesus reads from Isaiah, the Old Testament book that most clearly talks about His work as the Messiah. He tells His neighbors of the forgiveness, peace and freedom He has come to bring. At first they are amazed by His gracious words; then they remember all the years He lived among them, and how they had never seen anything remarkable about Joseph's Son before. Having heard about His miracles in the neighboring towns, they want Him to heal them too. Jesus wants to help them, but He will not reward their unbelief. He reminds them how in the past God withheld healing miracles from Israel, when His people refused to believe. Filled with fury they rise as an angry mob to drive Him to the cliff to throw Him to His death. In one blind moment they foreshadow the rejection and violent death He will suffer at His own people's hands. But God has chosen a different time, and a different place. Jesus gives them one last miracle to consider. They have Him firmly in their grasp, ready to fling Him off the cliff, but then Jesus suddenly turns and calmly goes His way through their midst-never to return. He leaves this final warning to His neighbors: if they stubbornly refuse to repent, they will have to stand before Him on Judgment Day. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, today Jesus comes to me offering to forgive, restore and save me. Give me faith to trust Him, so I may escape Your wrath and live in Your loving, glorious presence forever. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Mar 6, 2017
THE BATTLE

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil...(Luke 4:1-2a) Read Luke 4:1-13 When Satan first squared off against humanity he tripped up our parents in the Garden of Eden, with his cunningly twisted words. They disobeyed God's Word, ate the forbidden fruit, and plunged our world into death and destruction. Now Satan squares off against our Savior. For 40 days Jesus ate no food as our enemy unleashed a devastating torrent of deceitful temptations. Luke records three final devious traps Satan set for Jesus. First, he appeals to Jesus' great hunger: "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." It sounds innocent enough, but Jesus sees the trap. Following Satan's advice will show He doesn't trust God to provide for His needs. Jesus answers, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'" The tempter next offers to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if He will worship him. Jesus answers, "It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.'" He came to walk His Father's difficult saving path-not Satan's shortcut. In one final temptation Jesus is placed on the pinnacle of the temple. Satan challenges Him to jump, appealing to God's promise in the Psalm, "He will command His angels to guard you ... lest you strike your foot against a stone" (Psalm 91:11a, 12b). If Jesus won't jump, it looks like He doesn't trust God's promise. But Jesus sees through it. He doesn't have to prove His faith to Satan. He replies, "It is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" Having no success in his temptations, Satan departs from Jesus, waiting a more opportune time. THE PRAYER Almighty God, where Adam and Eve fell to Satan's lies, Your Son stood firm. Thank You for His salvation. Help me trust You as He did and cling to Your Word alone. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Mar 5, 2017
WE MUST

If we want to experience the peace of God, we have to make peace with each other. And if we want to be able to build His Temple, we must start by building better relationships with all His children.

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Mar 4, 2017
HOW DARE HE

But Herod the tetrarch who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison (Luke 3:19-20). Read Luke 3:19-20 "How dare he challenge me like that? Doesn't he know who I am?" Like most wealthy, powerful people, Herod didn't want anyone telling him he was wrong, especially not a young wilderness wanderer, who went around wearing camel's hair and eating locusts and wild honey. The Baptist didn't like Herod's choice in women, but wasn't that Herod's own business? True, he had married his half-brother Philip's wife, the ambitious Herodias. But what was that to John? It was fine when John was laying into the Jewish religious leaders, but Herod thought his family should be off-limits. But God had sent John to confront sinners, so they would acknowledge their sin and find forgiveness in the promised Messiah. It didn't matter how high and important you were. John knew it was better to face up to your sins now, so God could take them away. The alternative was to wait until life was over, and you were standing before God's judgment seat. Herod should have listened to John's words and repented; instead, he seized and arrested John. He added this to his many other sins. Not only had he refused to heed John's timely warning and escape the wrath of God, he cut John off from the people who desperately needed to hear God's warning. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, Your Word confronts my pride and my sin. For Jesus' sake, move me to repent of my sin and seek Your forgiveness. In the Name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, I ask this. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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A NEW BEGINNING

...and when Jesus had also been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form, like a dove... (Luke 3:21b-22a). Read Luke 3:21-23 For 30 years Jesus had grown and lived in obscurity in the northern region of Galilee, working as a carpenter, alongside His father Joseph. None of His neighbors knew His true identity. But now it was time to set aside those carpentry tools and reveal Himself to the people of Israel. The great Son of God made His way to the Jordan River to be baptized by His prophet John. As He steps out of the water two amazing things happen. Something in the form of a dove comes down from above and lands on Jesus, while a voice from heaven thunders, "You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased." The "dove" was the Holy Spirit who came down from heaven to set Jesus apart from all other Jews. It singled Him out as the "promised Messiah" (Hebrew) or the "Christ" or "anointed one" (Greek). The booming voice was that of God the Father; He declared His approval of Jesus' life from childhood to this point. Winning God's approval is no small feat, for God is far stricter than any human father. He demands complete and perfect obedience in all our thoughts, words, deeds and desires. And that is exactly what Jesus accomplished. Every day of His life He completely obeyed God's will. Now He goes to work completing His great mission to save all people from sin, death and God's fiery judgment. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, when the time was right, Jesus began revealing Himself to His people. Through this season of Lent reveal Him to me as well. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

Posted at 09:27 am by preacher314
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Mar 2, 2017
IS THIS THE MESSIAH

Read Luke 3:15-18 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ (Luke 3:15). If John were here today, he would have a lot to say about our fear to confront those who live contrary to God's Word. He was a bold and powerful preacher; he was unafraid to stand up to the self- absorbed religious leaders or expose the errors of powerful political rulers. It's not difficult for the crowds to see the power of God at work in his ministry. So we should not be surprised to hear them asking if John might be the great prophet that Moses predicted long ago. Is this the Messiah God had promised to send? But John immediately set the crowds straight. However powerful he might be as a prophet, he is nothing compared to the One who is coming. Compared to Him, John is like the lowest house slave, unworthy even to stoop down and lay his fingers upon the sandals of the great Messiah. Even now, this mighty Son of God is living in Galilee. Soon He will come to John to begin His ministry, by which He will accomplish His great rescue mission. John baptizes with water, but the Christ will pour out the Holy Spirit and His cleansing fire upon those who hear and believe. What thoughts must have rushed through those crowds, hearing the long-awaited Messiah is near? What thoughts cross your mind when thinking of Jesus, who not long ago was that tiny Baby laying in Bethlehem's manger? How amazing is it that He will soon stride forward in humility and poverty to save the world? THE PRAYER: Almighty God, thank You for sending Your great Son to save us from death and hell. Accept our thanksgiving and praise for Jesus' sake. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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