Wednesday Ezekiel 37:1-14

Prayer: Almighty and loving God, guide us in your Word and Spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Breath of life

10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

These bones, these bones, these dry bones, now hear the Words of the Lord.! I always hear this song in my mind as I read today’s text. Societies usually treat dead bodies with respect, but without breath they cannot live.  Only God can give the breath of life. Only God can resurrect us.

God speaks through the words of Ezekiel: “I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live” (v. 14). Our devotion writer explains; “God, who orchestrated our very first breath, has also promised to give us life after death. Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live’ (John 11:25). This promise is for you, for me, and for all who have died in Christ. God alone can give breath, and we can trust that our powerful God will make good on what has been promised—resurrection!”

14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live…

Prayer: “You are the resurrection and the life, O Christ. Enliven me today and always by your Spirit. Amen.”

 

Ezekiel 37:1-14

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Valley of Dry Bones

37 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

11 Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Tuesday 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Prayer: Gracious and merciful God, guide us with your Spirit and your Word, in Christ. Amen.

A place for you

25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another.

Good words for us to keep in our minds especially when change is coming. It is so easy to be critical but being critical is often not helpful in the big picture. Our devotion writer suggests that we “shake the hand of the grumpy usher, and thank him for his dedicated service. Slow down around the woman with the walker, and pause to listen as she talks about the challenges of her new therapy routine.  Invite the newcomer on a tour of the facility and then to lunch. Compliment the young couple on the deft handling of their colicky baby.  Tell the widower you thought of his wife last week. Ask the passionate activist where you can find more information on his cause. Gratefully sip the coffee that’s weaker than anything you’d every make at home.”

It is seldom constructive to begin a relationship by appearing judgmental.  There is always places for people to fit in.  We all have jobs to do. It may be helpful for us to be inconvenienced for the sake of unity and welcoming. Our devotion writer explains; “Be who you are in the midst of this community, generously and authentically so, without any arrogance or self-consciousness. You are a necessary part of the body of Christ, individually a member of it, and have been placed exactly where God wants you to be. In our diversity, Christ himself unites us.”

Prayer: “God, your Spirit gives life to the body of Christ, and I thank you for making me part of it, through Christ. Amen.”

 

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

One Body with Many Members

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24 whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Monday Joel 2:18-29

Prayer: Great and merciful God, teach us through your Word, in Christ. Amen.

Battling shame

26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame.

Our devotion writer writes; “Shame can be a destructive force in our lives.” I say shame is be one of the worst.  It is especially bad to raise children to grow up thinking they are ashamed of living. Or shamed for all the wrongs they do and even some of the right things. As our devotion writer has said, shame can build character, but mostly it makes for lack of self-esteem. Without self esteem one cannot love oneself, and therefore cannot truly love others. Indeed, even love God. Ones relationship with God often becomes one of shame and governed by the Law.

God loves us, created us, and calls us to Him. He wants to forgive us all our sins and forgets them.  If we cling to shame, we don’t forget. We constantly measure ourselves against our interpretation of the Law; not understanding that we can be our worst judge.  Faith and trust in God is the solution, but it is not as easy as it sounds. It is important to remember that we can’t “do” anything to earn God’s love, worth and favor.

Our devotion writer asks; “What sense of shame are you battling today? Acknowledge your struggle, but do not wallow in self-hatred, self-pity, jealousy, or any such thing. Confidently believe and trust in God’s grace and love in Christ Jesus, which is sufficient.”

Prayer: “Do not let me be put to shame, O God. Forgive my sin and restore me to new life, through Christ. Amen.”

 

Joel 2:18-29

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

God’s Response and Promise

18 Then the Lord became jealous for his land,     and had pity on his people. 19 In response to his people the Lord said: I am sending you     grain, wine, and oil,     and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you     a mockery among the nations.

20 I will remove the northern army far from you,     and drive it into a parched and desolate land, its front into the eastern sea,     and its rear into the western sea; its stench and foul smell will rise up.     Surely he has done great things!

21 Do not fear, O soil;     be glad and rejoice,     for the Lord has done great things! 22 Do not fear, you animals of the field,     for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit,     the fig tree and vine give their full yield.

23 O children of Zion, be glad     and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication,     he has poured down for you abundant rain,     the early and the later rain, as before. 24 The threshing floors shall be full of grain,     the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

25 I will repay you for the years     that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,     my great army, which I sent against you.

26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,     and praise the name of the Lord your God,     who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. 27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,     and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame.

God’s Spirit Poured Out

28  Then afterward     I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,     your old men shall dream dreams,     and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even on the male and female slaves,     in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sunday John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Prayer: Holy Spirit guide us and inspire us through your Word, in Christ. Amen.

Pentecost

13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own…

There is truly confusion about the work of the Spirit.  Is it emotions? Goosebumps? Some kind of emotional experience?  To some, the mystical experiences are a turn off.  To others, it is all of these things, and more.

Our devotion writer explains; “Jesus teaches that the Spirit ‘will testify on my behalf’ (15:26). The Spirit ‘will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you’ (16:14). The Spirit serves as Christ’s witness. That which does not reveal Christ is not the work of the Spirit.”

Our devotion writer continues; “The Spirit is near to us. In the Small Catechism, Luther teaches that the Spirit ‘calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole church and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one, common, true faith. Daily in this body, the Holy Spirit forgives all sins’ (ELW, p. 1162). On the last day the Spirit will join us to the resurrected life of Christ. This is most certainly true.”

Prayer: “Living Spirit, declare to me the ways of Christ. Fill my heart with joy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

 

John 15:26-16:15

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

16 “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.

The Work of the Spirit

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saturday Romans 8:22-27

Prayer: O God, help us love our neighbors, inspired by your Word, in Christ. Amen.

Keep up hope

25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

“Another day, another tragedy.” Another school shooting! Like George, mentioned in today’s devotion, we might want to turn off the TV many days. His daughter tells him; “There’s bad in the world, but there’s plenty of good, too. You’ve gotta keep up hope!”

Hope? What is hope supposed to look like?  Some days hope seems impossible with all the problems we see and hear about. It is a good time to turn the God’s Word and trust in God’s Spirit. Our devotion writer explains; “This ever-present Spirit reminds us of God’s mighty deeds through Christ, enlivens our hearts with faith, and points us to the future fullness of that salvation—orientating us to the promised day we cannot yet fully see. The Spirit helps us experience the present day with patience, gratitude, and faithful living.”

24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?

Prayer: “Give us patience, O God, and help us live as people of your gracious promise, through Christ. Amen.”

 

Romans 8:22-27

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Friday Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Prayer: Almighty and Merciful God, thank you for the wonders of your creation and the wisdom of your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Manifold works

24 O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all;

I don’t know how long ago it was, maybe in the 80’s, when I was in the mountains on a clear night sometime after midnight…the sky was so full of stars, there was no moon, yet the starlight was almost brilliant all around me. Here at sea level it is hard to see many stars because of the humidity in the atmosphere.  God’s creation is awesome.

Our devotion writer rightly states; “When we behold God’s creation in these wonderful ways and more, we catch a glimpse of God’s wisdom, power, creativity, and sense of humor.” She goes on to suggest that God’s creation has wonders both visible and invisible. Just consider all the wonders that await us in heaven.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—32 who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.

Prayer: “O God, your works are amazing! Fill my heart with joy as I await the unmatched glory of heaven. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

 

Psalm 104:24-35 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

24 O Lord, how manifold are your works!     In wisdom you have made them all;     the earth is full of your creatures. 25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide,     creeping things innumerable are there,     living things both small and great. 26 There go the ships,     and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

27 These all look to you     to give them their food in due season; 28 when you give to them, they gather it up;     when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. 29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;     when you take away their breath, they die     and return to their dust. 30 When you send forth your spirit, they are created;     and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;     may the Lord rejoice in his works— 32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,     who touches the mountains and they smoke. 33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;     I will sing praise to my God while I have being. 34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,     for I rejoice in the Lord. 35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,     and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Thursday Acts 2:1-21

Prayer: Guide us with your Word, O God, in Christ. Amen.

Emboldened by the Spirit

13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Things happen when the Holy Spirit comes! The disciples were praying and praising God when all of a sudden, they were speaking and hearing other languages. It must have been startling to them as well as the people around them. It became so chaotic some passersby thought they were drunk.

Peter says:

15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.

That was a joke, but Peter begins to preach and quotes the Scriptures and the words of the prophet Joel. They had seen the fulfillment of prophecy before there very eyes.

17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh…

Our devotion writer declares; “The Spirit is still active among us today, enabling us to serve God and one another freely and fearlessly. We become different people, even weird people, because of what God has done for the world and what God has done for us. Our behavior as the body of Christ should raise a few questions! May we be made crazy about Jesus Christ and emboldened by his Spirit.”

Prayer: “Powerful God, fill me with love for you, and help me to serve you boldly among my neighbors. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

 

Acts 2:1-21

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,     and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions,     and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,     in those days I will pour out my Spirit;         and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show portents in the heaven above     and signs on the earth below,         blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20 The sun shall be turned to darkness     and the moon to blood,         before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment