Weekly Devotional for 30 November, 2017

“Come,” He replied, “and you will see.” (John 1:39)

Our Lord spoke these words to St. Andrew, whose feast day is today (Nov. 30).  Church tradition often calls Andrew “the first called,” because he is the first disciple to whom Christ says “come” in the Gospel of John.  

In this invitation, we see more than just a call to Andrew.  We also see the simple truth that Jesus has no desire to hide anything from His disciples, but to be perfectly open and even vulnerable to them—indeed, He puts His life in their hands: “Take, eat, this is my body, given for you.”   

How fitting, then, that St. Andrew’s feast day stands at the joint where one Church Year turns to another.  For what is the preaching of the Church but Jesus laying Himself bare?  And what is the Church Year but a year-long sermon series on Christ and His kingdom?  

“Come, and you will see.”  It’s God’s promise to every sinner who calls on the name of the Lord.  You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

LET US PRAY:  We thank you, Lord, for Andrew, whom You graciously called to share in Your life.   Pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your Church, that this new year of preaching will lay bare the glory of Your Gospel for all who hear it; for You live and reign with the Father and Holy Spirit.  Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Zion, Wausau

Devotion for Thursday, November 30, 2017

“Arouse Yourself to help me, and see!  You, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to punish all the nations; do not be gracious to any who are treacherous in iniquity.  They return at evening, they howl like a dog, and go around the city.  Behold, they belch forth with their mouth; words are in their lips, for, they say, “Who hears?”  (Psalm 59:5-7)

Keep your eyes upon the Lord and His ways.  Walk in the counsel of the Lord and know that those who do wickedness will come to their own wicked end.  Do not cast your pearls before swine.  Come into the Lord’s presence and walk humbly before Your God.  Know that the Lord, who sees all, will keep you in His ways and will speak His Word to your ears.

Lord, all around are those who mock You and do not look to You for their sustenance.  Guide me, O Lord, in the way I should go that I would walk in that way.  Help me now and always to seek You alone in all things knowing that You have the words of eternal life.  Let my lips speak Your goodness and my feet walk in Your ways.  You will bring recompense in due season to all who mock You.

Lord Jesus, You took upon Yourself all of the mockery of the nations.  Guide me in Your ways, O Lord, and keep me close to Your teaching.  Let me not hear the ways of the wicked, but instead listen and heed Your eternal way of truth.  May I now and always be in keeping with what You teach me, with Your Word on my lips, meditating on the good portion You have shared by grace.  Amen.

Devotion for Wednesday, November 29, 2017

“For behold, they have set an ambush for my life; fierce men launch an attack against me, not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord, for no guilt of mine, they run and set themselves against me.”  (Psalm 59:3-4)

We often pay the recompense for our own sin in this world although forgiveness is granted to us by grace.  There are times though when others will attack with no real provocation and simply accuse and malign.  In a world of wickedness, these things do happen.  The Lord knows.  Look to the Lord who knows all things and be comforted by His grace to persevere in every time of trial.

Lord, as a sinner, I want revenge when it is by no fault of mine that I am being persecuted.  Grant that I would rest in Your grace and realize that You alone are able to handle every injustice, for You alone are able to discern what is right and fitting in every circumstance, Lead my heart to turn to You at all times and know that only in You can I find true peace that surpasses all understanding.

Lord Jesus, You have experienced the rebellion of the wicked first hand and know the false accusations that were raised against You.  In Your compassion and by Your understanding, lead me through these times of trial that will come that I may keep my eyes upon You and trust in Your never-failing support through all the tribulations of this world.  Lead me through Your grace dear Jesus.  Amen.

Devotion for Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; set me securely on high away from those who rise up against me.  Deliver me from those who do iniquity and save me from men of bloodshed.”  (Psalm 59:1-2)

Sometimes this world is troublesome.  There are difficulties each day.  But the Lord, who knows all things, has us in His hands.  He knows the plans He has for us.  Yes, we have our difficulties, but to Him we should turn in every time of trouble.  It may seem dark at times, but He is mighty to save and will watch over us all.  The Deliverer has come and in Him all who trust will be rescued.

Lord, I hear these words, but in times of trouble I am often overwhelmed in the moment.  Teach my heart to trust.  Teach me to learn from You that I may walk through every moment in trust and confidence in the faith You have given me.  Guide me, O Lord, that I may be led by Your mighty hand to become what you have in mind.  Lead me through every valley of the shadow of death.

Lord Jesus, You know adversity and the plotting of evil doers.  Guide me in the way I need to go each day.  Teach me to lean on You through Your Word and by prayer that I may forever hold fast to the truth You have revealed for the ages.  Lead me, my Savior, today that I may walk humbly with You and know the goodness You have in store for those who walk by faith.  Amen.

Weekly Devotional for First Sunday in Advent, December 3, 2017


Devotional for First Sunday in Advent, December 3, 2017 based upon Mark 13: 24-37

When you were young, did you play Hide and Seek?  If so, where was your favorite place to hide, and were you able to find a place to hide where no one was ever able to find you?

In playing Hide and Seek, the person who is It will close his eyes, while everyone else runs and hides.  The person who is It counts to a hundred or so and then says, “Ready or not, here I come!”  In our Gospel lesson for the first Sunday in Advent Jesus is saying to the world, “Ready or not, here I come!”  But unlike Hide and Seek, this is not a game.  This is dead serious.  We are in the final countdown before Jesus appears on earth to judge the world and to gather the faithful.  Jesus concludes His talking about His return with the words, “What I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”  Ready or not, Jesus is coming.  We had better be ready.  We had better get ready.  But how do we get ready?  In our Gospel lesson Jesus tells us three things that we need to and can do to get ready.


Now of course, we all need to be asleep part of the time – six, seven, or eight hours a day.  But this is not what Jesus is talking about.  Rather He is talking about the sleep of being unprepared.  The sleep of not caring about what is happening in the world.  The sleep of indifference and unconcern.  Like the cartoon that depicted a couple men talking at a party.  One rather unconcerned-looking man said to the other, “So what if it’s Armageddon?  It’s not the end of the world.”

We need to be awake to the fact that someday Jesus will return – to bring history to a close, to judge the wicked and to gather the faithful.  According to the Bible, there is no question at all as to the certainty of His return.  The only question is when.  A car accident can happen – an explosion can occur – like a bolt out of the blue.  Jesus said that His return will be like that.  Sudden and immediate.  We must be ready before He comes, because we cannot get ready when He comes.  We must wake up from our sleep of business-as-usual, because Jesus is coming – whether or not we are ready.


But what does prayer have to do with being ready for Jesus’ second coming?  Through prayer we keep in touch with God.  If we daily keep in touch with God, we will not become careless about being ready.  We will always be ready for Jesus’ return at any time.

And then we also need to pray for those who do not know Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  We do not want these people to be found without faith if Jesus should return.  It is our responsibility to pray daily that they will be ready when Jesus returns.  

A young boy was fishing with his grandfather off the coast.  The young lad noticed a flashing light coming from the lighthouse even though it was mid-day.  The child said, “But I thought they used that light only when there was fog or a storm.”  His grandfather replied, “No, son, they use it all the time, because you never know when fog or bad weather might come up.  It’s better to always be prepared than to miss the opportunity to save someone’s life.”

Prayer is our taking advantage of every opportunity to save someone’s life.  In good times and in bad, in sunshine and in storm, we need to keep awake, watch, and pray that souls will respond to the love of God and get ready.


When Jesus returns suddenly and unexpectedly, what will He find you doing?  Jesus expects each one of us to be about His work, so that when He comes, He will find us doing what He wants us to be doing.

A traveler was visiting a castle in northern Italy.  The old gardener opened the gates.  The visitor stepped into the garden, which was being kept perfectly.  The visitor asked, “When was the owner last here?”  He was told, “Twelve years ago.”  “Does he ever write?”  “No.”  “Where do you get your instructions?”  “From Milan.”  “Does the owner ever come?”  “No.”  “But you keep the grounds as through your master were returning tomorrow.”  The old gardener replied, “Sir, I keep the grounds as though my master were returning today.”  As Christians we need to keep awake, watch, pray, and work as though Jesus were returning today.

Whether or not you are ready, Jesus is coming.  If you are not ready, you have reason to dread His return.  If you are ready, you have reason to rejoice.  For He is coming to be with us, to bless us, and to take us home to be with Him in glory.

Jesus is saying, “Ready or not, here I come!”  Are you ready?

Dennis D. Nelson

President of the Board and Director of Lutheran CORE

Devotion for Monday, November 27, 2017

“The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance; He will wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.  And men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth!”  (Psalm 58:10-11)

In a world filled with wickedness, it is hard to distinguish where justice lies.  The Lord knows, but we do not see His hand of justice at work.  The Lord is patient, but we, in our limited lifetimes want revenge now.  The Lord will judge and He will judge righteously.  Just trust in the Lord in all of His ways and know that He will lead all who turn to Him into the ways of righteousness.

Lord, I am easily led in so many directions by all of the wickedness in this world.  Guide the thoughts of my mind and the attitude of my heart that I would hold fast to the truth You have revealed.  Lead me, O Lord, in the way I should go and then help me walk in this way.  Grant that I would see Your hand upon this world and know that You are working all things together for good to those who love You.

Lord Jesus, in great love You have come to lead as many as would follow You in the way of truth.  The world is already judged and You have come for those who will come through You into light and life.  Guide my heart this day, O Lord, that I would look to You and Your ways and follow in them as You direct and lead.  By Your Holy Spirit, lead me this day.  Amen.

Devotion for Sunday, November 26, 2017

“Let them be as a snail which melts away as it goes along, like the miscarriages of a woman which never see the sun.  Before your pots can feel the fire of thorns He will sweep them away with a whirlwind, the green and the burning alike.”  (Psalm 58:8-9)

Those who are called to righteousness are perplexed at the presence of the truly wicked.  Yes, we call out for vengeance, if only on the inside.  But all things are in the Lord’s hands and we should never stop short at our inability to see why things are the way they are.  Instead, learn to simply trust the Lord in all things and for all things.  Be guided by His Spirit to learn to praise Him.

Lord I am impatient and want restitution when harmed.  Help me understand that You alone are God and my ability or inability to understand means nothing.  Guide me in Your ways that I may learn from You who knows all things how to live and how to respond to all of life’s circumstances.  Vengeance will come, but You are forever.  Lead me into forever Lord.

Lord Jesus You have come to lead the way for as many as would turn to You and follow where You lead.  Guide me in the way I need to go to learn through all circumstances to love You unconditionally.  Help me despite my feelings and desires to seek that which is beneficial now and forever, knowing that You are conforming me to Your image.  Lead me this day, my Savior.  Amen.

Devotion for Friday, November 24, 2017

“The wicked are estranged from the womb; these who speak lies go astray from birth.  They have venom like the venom of a serpent; like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear, so that it does not hear the voice of charmers, or a skillful caster of spells.”  (Psalm 58:3-5)

The Lord knows those who are His.  From the womb I knew you, says the Lord.  In the mystery of why some and yet not others, there is the truth that there are those who are estranged and will remain so their whole life.  Yes, we may ponder, but heed the warning.  Look only to the Lord and walk with Him all the days of Your life.  He alone is fully trustworthy.

Lord, grant that I may recognize those who would lead me astray.  Guide me in the way of truth that You have established from the beginning.  Help me at all times to be aware that I need Your grace and mercy and the ever-present support of Your Spirit.  Lead me, O Lord, and grant that I willingly follow where You lead.  Help me now and always to turn to You first in all things.

Lord Jesus, You have fought the good fight for us and although the war is over, the rebellion rages on.  Guide me in Your goodness to walk in Your ways all the days of my life.  Lead me, O Lord, that I may be led where You would have me go.  Help me now and always to look to You as the source of truth and salvation.  Keep me from being deceived by those who lie and use deceit. Amen.

Devotion for Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017 Devotion

“Do you indeed speak righteousness, O gods?  Do you judge uprightly, O sons of men?  No, in heart you work unrighteousness; on earth you weigh out the violence of your hands.”  (Psalm 58:1-2)

All of the things we imagine are in our heads.  They are our creations.  They have no life other than what we give them in our minds.  But the Lord is forever.  What can we do that will outshine the Lord?  What can we create but things that are manipulations of what the Lord has already created?  Look to the Lord, the Maker of all things and see that He alone is God.

Lord, we think ourselves clever and manipulate Your creation.  You know all things and have put everything into its order.  Guide the meditation of my heart to see in You the hope of eternity and the marvel of all ages.  Guide my lips to speak Your praise knowing that You alone are worthy of all honor and praise.  By Your guidance, take my heart from where it is to where it needs to be.

Lord Jesus, You know the difficulties of this world.  You also know the marvels of the creation.  You have come to lead the way for as many as would follow You into truth.  Lead me this day to walk humbly with You through all that is around me.  Lead my heart so that it looks to You for all things.  Guide me, my Savior, in the way of Your salvation that I would become like You.  Amen.

Weekly Devotional for November 22, 2017

“Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” (Luke 12:13)

It’s as though the United States Congress just put its entire military at your command, and you respond by saying, “Could they mow my lawn maybe?”  There our Lord Jesus sat, preaching the kingdom of God in all its cruciform power, and this young man wants him to settle a property dispute.  Our Lord’s response was surely just: “Who made me arbitrator over you?”  He’s no arbitrator; he’s the Son of Man and Prince of Peace!

As you come to our nation’s Day of Thanksgiving, remember this great power of the One whom you thank, and His greater, joyful intention for you.  The moisture of the clouds and the grains of the earth are but a foretaste of the “kingdom come,” already pressing its way into earth through the water of Baptism and the Bread of Heaven.  He would give you more than your father’s cash; He’d give you the Father’s kingdom.

How much reason, then, to give thanks!  As you come before Him over the next several days, give thanks not only for the food on the table, but for the Food that ever lasts, His Son, Jesus Christ, and ask Him to share that Holy Feast abundantly, through you and all His Church.

LET US PRAY: O living Bread, my Lord Jesus Christ: thank You!  For what greater reason do I have to give thanks but You?  Unite my gratitude, as poor as it may be, with Your own ceaseless petitions at the Father’s right hand, and make known to all the world the glory of Your cross.  Amen

Pastor Steven K. Gjerde

Zion, Wausau