Mar 12, 2017
GROWING URGENCY

(Jesus said) "Let these words sink into your ears: the Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men" (Luke 9:44). Read Luke 9:37-45 Coming down with His three disciples from the Mountain of Transfiguration, Jesus encounters a demon that His other disciples are unable to cast out. With divine might and majesty, Jesus overpowers the demon and sends him away. The crowd is completely amazed and stands marveling at what God has done. Jesus knows His disciples are still clinging to hopes of an earthly kingdom, and He doesn't want them to get swept away by the excitement of the crowds. So He turned to talk directly to them. To get their attention He could have easily said, "Listen carefully. " Instead, He says something even more striking: "Let these words sink into your ears." And what are the extremely important words Jesus has to tell them? They are these: "The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men." Despite their dreams, and the hope of the crowd following them, Jesus' suffering is close at hand. He is "about to be delivered into the hands of men." But Jesus reveals one more painful fact about His coming suffering He did not reveal the first time: it will come about through an act of betrayal. Of course, Jesus knows the identity of His betrayer, but He withholds that information, for now. Not only will He be rejected and, consequently, subjected to violent brutalities and death, but treachery will be connected with these events as well. The disciples fail to understand and are afraid to ask Jesus anything about it. The suspense is building as Jesus' destiny-and our salvation-draw near. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, Your Son single-mindedly set His steps to fulfill Your plan to save the world. Give me an unwavering faith to follow Him all my days. In Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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SHINING IN GLORY

And as He was praying, the appearance of His face was altered, and His clothing became dazzling white (Luke 9:29). Read Luke 9:28-36 Eight days after Jesus predicted His death and resurrection, He takes three disciples up a mountain where He is transfigured before them. Peter had called Him the Christ of God. Now he can look upon the glorious face of God's eternal Son. Jesus always had this glory, but from His conception until that very moment it had been hidden behind His humanity. Now, for a brief moment, it bursts forth on the mountain. This glorious sight might strengthen Peter, James and John's false dream of Jesus reigning over a glorious, earthly kingdom. But Moses and Elijah-two great leaders from the Old Testament-stand speaking with Jesus about His departure and how He will complete His earthly mission through His death, resurrection and ascension. Peter, James and John awaken. Seeing Moses and Elijah beginning to leave, Peter blurts out his desire to build three shelters so they can stay Suddenly, a bright cloud envelopes Jesus and the three disciples. And from the cloud the voice of the Father speaks out, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" Jesus has much to teach them-and us-about our earthly life and how He will lay down His life, so we might live forever with Him. After the voice had spoken, Jesus was again alone with them, back to His normal, veiled appearance. He then leads them down the mountain on the path that will take Him to the cross. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, in Jesus' transfiguration we see His full glory as Your mighty and eternal Son. Strengthen my trust in Him as my Savior, so I may see His glory face to face in heaven. I pray this in Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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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.

Posted at 08:21 am by preacher314
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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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