Mar 20, 2017
THE KING ENTERS

... the whole multitude of His disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen (Luke 19:37b). Read Luke 19:28-38 Jesus has travelled to Jerusalem many times in His life, but this trip will be the last time. Every other time He walked through its gates, but not this time. Today He rides into the city as Jerusalem's King, its Messiah. But the King of kings does not ride a splendid war horse, instead He sends His disciples to bring Him a humble donkey, a lowly beast of burden. This animal fits Jesus' entire earthly life. He came as the meek, humble Baby born in Bethlehem's manger; He will lay down His life in humility on the cross. The crowds are caught up in excitement. They shout "Blessed is the King who comes in the Name of the Lord." The term "blessed" points to the Father, who chose this King and continues to bless Him. Even though He rides a humble donkey, Jesus enters Jerusalem as our King, coming to conquer our great enemies-Satan, sin, death and hell. The crowds add "peace in heaven and glory in the highest, " the same words the angels shared with the shepherds at Jesus' birth. Peace in heaven celebrates God's peace coming down upon the earth through the Messiah. His victory brings praise to God from His angels in heaven and from all of us who have been saved by His mighty Son. Jesus accepts this praise sweeping through the crowds because it is right and true. He is the King riding into Jerusalem to prepare to fight to the death to defend His people. In a few days He will stagger out through the city gates, carrying His cross to the battlefield. THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, our great conquering King, You rode into Jerusalem to wage war for Your people. Receive my thanksgiving for the victory You won through Your suffering, death and resurrection. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Mar 19, 2017
NOT YET - BUT SOON

(Jesus said) "But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We do not want this man to reign over us'" (Luke 19:14). Read Luke 19:11-27 Jesus' choice to stay with the chief tax collector Zacchaeus divides the crowd. Some are upset Jesus is associating with such an open sinner. Others think God's kingdom will appear at once when He reaches the Jewish capital Jerusalem. Jesus tells a parable that answers both ideas. The people have no trouble picturing His story of a nobleman traveling to a distant country to have himself proclaimed king. That was the way the Roman Empire worked. Herod the Great left the land of Palestine and travelled to Rome before Emperor Augustus proclaimed him king. Only then could he return to rule. Jesus pictures Himself as that nobleman-the great Son of David and Son of God. Instead of beginning His reign when He enters Jerusalem, He will be murdered by His enemies. But after His resurrection He will leave the earth, ascending into heaven where the Father will proclaim Him King. Then on the Last Day-and not until that Day-Jesus will return to reward His faithful servants and establish His kingdom on the new earth. Now Jesus turns to His enemies. He has shown great patience, humility, grace, mercy and love toward them, but they have hated Him, without cause. He warns that the time of judgment is coming. He will return with His angel armies to capture His enemies and slaughter them. To our ears that judgment sounds harsh. But Christ your King has given you fair warning. If you will not bow your knee to Him in faith, you will forfeit your life and suffer eternally in hell. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, You have established Your Son as the Ruler of all things in heaven and on earth. Break through my rebellious heart that I may love Him and serve Him now and through all eternity. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Mar 18, 2017
WHERE'S MY HOST

... "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today" (Luke 19:5b). Read Luke 19:1-10 Jesus' final week is just a few days away. He has come to Jericho to spend the night, but His host is not home. So Jesus passes through town to find him. Zacchaeus is a chief tax collector and extremely wealthy. But he left his tax office when he heard Jesus had come to town. He knew Jesus' reputation-while the Jews and their leaders despised tax collectors as traitors and thieves-Jesus was known as a friend to tax collectors. Rushing to the far edge of town, he climbed a tree to see the Lord. Jesus comes right up to that spot, stops, and looks up into the tree. Calling Zacchaeus by name, He tells him to come down quickly. Jesus wants to spend this night in his house. Zacchaeus scurries down and receives Jesus with great joy. The crowd hears this and is terribly scandalized. How could Jesus choose to stay in the home of a notorious sinner? What they didn't know is that Jesus had already begun to change Zacchaeus' heart. The chief tax collector was repenting of his sins and planning to make amends for his past wrongdoings. Jesus points out that Zacchaeus is a son of Abraham just as are those in the crowd. True children of Abraham share Abraham's faith in God's promise to send the Christ or Messiah. Zacchaeus knew Jesus had given him a great honor by staying in his house. But did he know His Lord had chosen to spend one of the last precious nights He had on earth with him? THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, with amazing grace You sought out the despised chief tax collector Zacchaeus and honored him by staying at His house that night. Help us appreciate the honor You give us, by promising to remain with us always. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Mar 17, 2017
A LONE VOICE

And he cried out, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. ... (Luke 18:38-39a) . Read Luke 18:35-43 Jesus is approaching Jericho. It's one of His last stops before Jerusalem. Along the road sits a blind man begging. Hearing a loud commotion passing by, he asks what's going on. Someone from the crowd answers, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." Immediately, the beggar begins shouting at the top of his lungs. He knows Jesus is somewhere in that crowd, which is shuffling past him. But unlike the stranger from the crowd he doesn't call Him "Jesus the Nazarene. " Instead, he calls him, "Jesus, Son of David." He is convinced that Jesus is the promised Messiah, David's Son. Jesus indeed is the King marching on to save His people from their enemies. Some in the crowd try to silence the blind man, but he shouts all the louder to get Jesus' attention. That is the character of faith: the more people and circumstances rise up to silence us, the louder we cry for our Lord to be merciful to us. We might expect Jesus to be so preoccupied with His approaching death that He wouldn't notice a lone voice, crying out to Him in the midst of the clamor of the crowd. But His ears are attuned to cries for mercy from His faithful ones. Now that He has accomplished His mission and won complete forgiveness, we can be confident He hears our cries for mercy and pity too. The man is blind no longer. He rises and follows Jesus on His way. THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, even as You were journeying toward Your bitter death, Your ears were wide open to the pleas of the blind man. Give me confidence that You hear my prayers for mercy too. In Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Mar 16, 2017
HOLDING NOTHING BACK

For He will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging Him, they will kill Him, and on the third day He will rise (Luke 18:32-33). Read Luke 18:31-34 Jesus has left Galilee in the north and is on the road to Jerusalem with His 12 disciples. The crowds are excited by everything Jesus is doing, and the disciples are swept up in their hopes and dreams. Jesus tells them everything recorded in the Old Testament prophets concerning Him will be fulfilled in Jerusalem. They expect Jesus to announce His glorious earthly kingdom, but Jesus paints a very different picture. Twice before, Jesus has announced His coming death and resurrection. Both times He veiled the details behind the words, "The Son of Man must suffer many things. " Now, however, He spells it out. He doesn't disclose Judas' upcoming betrayal, but He does reveal that the Jewish high court, the Sanhedrin, will deliver Him into the hands of the Gentiles, namely, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. The Roman soldiers will mock Him, treat Him shamefully and outrageously, spit upon Him, flog Him, and then kill Him. The details are stunning. Jesus knows exactly what He is walking into-and He goes willingly. This is not at all what the disciples expect or want to hear. But when those words are fulfilled, they will have no doubt that Jesus foresaw it all -- and went through it all -- for them and us. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, Your Son knew all He must suffer to save us from our sins, and yet He took that path willingly. Give me a thankful heart that I may joyfully follow whatever path You choose to set before me. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

Posted at 06:34 pm by preacher314
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HEROD'S DEATH THREAT

... "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill You" (Luke 13:31b). Read Luke 13:31-35 Each day the danger increases for Jesus. Today, some Pharisees pass along an alleged death threat. If Herod did make this threat, it was more of a bluff to drive Jesus out of the region. Later, he'll have his chance to kill Jesus in Jerusalem, but he will hand Him back to Pilate instead. He doesn't want to anger his Galilean subjects by killing yet another popular prophet, executing John the Baptist had already cost him enough. Jesus refuses to be intimidated. His time in Galilee is growing extremely short, and He will reach every person He possibly can before He must move on toward Jerusalem. Jesus gives them a message to take back to Herod, "Tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.'" If demons and diseases cannot stop Jesus from carrying out the work the Father has set for Him to do, no earthly ruler will either. He must go up to Jerusalem. And it is there-like so many prophets before Him-that Jesus must die. Like a bird that spreads its wings to gather its chicks and shield them from danger, Jesus reaches out to His people, but they turn their backs. On the cross His arms will be stretched out for them also, but they will pass by with sneers, insults and mockery. This brings tears to His eyes. But they are not for Him; rather, they are for the people of Jerusalem He so desperately wants to save, but they are unwilling. This unwillingness will lead to their destruction at the hands of the Roman legions in another 40 years. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, so many times You reached out to Your people, yet they kept turning their backs on You. Heal my stubborn heart, so I may know Your peace and joy through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Mar 14, 2017
PILATE'S FIRST APPEARANCE

There were some present at that very time who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices (Luke 13:1). Read Luke 13:1-5 Today we catch our first glimpse of Pontius Pilate, the Roman military governor. Jesus is making His way toward Jerusalem when He gets word of a recent tragic event in Jerusalem. While some of Jesus' fellow Galileans were offering sacrifices in the temple courts, Pilate's soldiers rushed in and killed them. This event is not recorded by any other Gospel writer or ancient historian and Luke doesn't explain Pilate's reasons, he is more interested in Jesus' reaction. "Do you think that these Galileans where worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered in this way?" That's how people thought in that day, and it's a conclusion we sometimes are too quick to jump to in our day too. If someone suffers something horrendous such as a tragic accident or an illness, then God must be punishing them for some secret sin. Jesus warns us not to judge by outward appearances. In a short time another Galilean will be killed at the hands of Pontius Pilate. People will look at Jesus hanging on the cross and reach the false conclusion that God is punishing Him for falsely claiming to be His Son. But in truth, Jesus is God's perfect Son. He will hang on the cross and endure punishment for the sins of all people for all time. This He will do so that God may give complete forgiveness to all who repent and believe. Jesus continues, "No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." All people are sinners. Only those who repent and trust in Jesus' sacrifice in their place will find salvation and eternal life. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, teach me not to judge how You feel about me or anyone else by mere appearances and circumstances. Let me instead live by faith in Jesus Christ my Lord. I pray in His Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Mar 13, 2017
PEACE AT ALL COST?

(Jesus said) "Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division" (Luke 12:51). Read Luke 12:49-53 The hostility against Jesus grows. His enemies will not stop until He hangs dead on a cross. That doesn't seem to fit the words of the Christmas angels: "Peace on earth" (see Luke 2:14). But the angels weren't talking about peace among people. They said, "Peace among those with whom God is pleased." God is only pleased when we recognize our failings, and then trust Jesus Christ as our Savior. The Jewish leaders won't accept that they are misleading God's people. They cling to their errors and refuse to turn to their Messiah for forgiveness. Jesus warns His disciples that hostility will one day turn against them. Listen to the urgency in His voice: "I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is My distress until it is accomplished!" The fire Jesus wishes to cast is the cross; His bloody sacrifice divides believers from unbelievers. The fire of that cross rages across the earth to this very day. Jesus asks, "Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth?" How often do we compromise the truth or stand in silence trying to live at peace with others? Not so with Jesus. He refuses to wash His hands if it will support a satanic lie. He powerfully attacks the deception of the Pharisees and scribes so they will recognize Satan's lies and turn to Him for salvation. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, there can be no compromise between You and Satan, truth and error, life and death, heaven and hell. Help me cling at all costs to the peace believers have with You, which Jesus Christ won. I pray in His Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

Posted at 06:28 pm by preacher314
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I'M NOT WASHING

The Pharisee was astonished to see that He did not first wash before dinner (Luke 11:38). Read Luke 11:37-54 Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem for the last time. One Sabbath He stops to teach in a synagogue. After the service a Pharisee invites Him to share His morning meal. Before they eat, the Pharisee and his other guests carefully wash their hands, according to Jewish traditions. They believe eating with unwashed hands would contaminate the food which, in turn, made the body unclean in God's eyes. It was time for Jesus to confront that error. Knowing all humans are contaminated by the sinful nature they receive from their parents and not from eating unclean food, Jesus refuses to wash His hands. His host is astonished, but Jesus refuses to back down. He then starts blasting the traditions they trust to earn their way to heaven. It may seem unwise for Jesus to turn up the heat, but it is the greatest act of kindness anyone could do for them. If they keep straining to wash a little uncleanness from their hands, they will never let God remove the uncleanness and sin from their hearts, minds and souls. This brings a complaint from the scribes. When He attacks the Pharisees, Jesus is really attacking the scribes, whose traditions the Pharisees are following. Jesus turns the heat up again. He accuses the scribes of burying God's gracious Old Testament promises beneath their traditions, which deceive people into relying on their own works rather than God's free forgiveness as given through His Son, the Messiah. The Pharisees and scribes strenuously object. They pressure Him to speak on more things, lying in ambush, hoping He will blurt out something carelessly. THE PRAYER: Almighty God, Your Son Jesus made clear there is only one way into Your presence, through faith in Him. Drive from my heart and mind the lie that there are many ways. I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen. Lenten Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

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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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