Devotion for Thursday, May 6, 2021

“But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all” (Philippians 2:17).

Take your eyes off yourself.  Look at what is being done by the Lord through you.  In this sinful world, people are living for themselves.  Sometimes, you and I are also.  The Lord is making of us something different, where our focus is elsewhere.  Do you rejoice in what the Lord is doing?  Do you hope for what the Lord promises?  Look outward and be willing to be used for His purpose.

Lord, let me not be concerned with what happens to me, but rejoice when I see Your kingdom growing.  Guide me Lord in the way of truth so that I may now and always abide in You, knowing the hope of glory You have given me through salvation.  How can I complain when I see that You gave up everything so that I might gain all things.  Lead me to follow Your example.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for the hope You have given me through faith.  Lead me, O Lord, in order that I may now and always live into the promise You have already given me through grace.  Guide me to know that in You is all hope and a future.  May I learn from You with a willingness to be poured out so that others may live into the same hope You have given me through grace.  Lead me this day and every day.  Amen.

Post Easter Giving Appeal Letter

April 2021

Dear Friends –

Every year the Gospel reading for the second Sunday of Easter is from John 20: 19 ff.  I remember how last year – when we first went into lockdown during the middle of Lent – around the middle of March – many felt that certainly we would be able to worship again in person by Easter.  But it did not happen.  Who would have thought at the time that some churches would not even be meeting indoors in person by Easter 2021?

As we have been living for a year now in various stages of lockdown, and some have been under quarantine because of exposure to COVID-19, I have gained a new understanding of the position the disciples were in in John 20: 19 ff.  The Bible tells us, “When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week (Easter Sunday evening), and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews.”  In that kind of situation, what did Jesus do for them?

  • He gave them His presence.  “He came and stood among them.”  (verse 19)
  • He gave them His peace.  Twice He said, “Peace be with you.” (verses 19 and 21) 
  • He gave them unmistakable evidence of the resurrection.  He showed them His hands and His side.  (verse 20)
  • He gave them a renewed sense of purpose and a calling.  He said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”  (verse 21)
  • He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (verse 22)
  • He gave them authority.  He promised, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (verse 23)

If we are going to be able to not just survive, but actually be strong in our witness for Christ, if we are going to be able to advocate for the historic, orthodox Christian faith in the midst of all of the pressures and opposition – not only from the world, but also unfortunately from within the church – we are going to need the same gifts from Jesus.  We need His presence, peace, unmistakable evidence of His resurrection, a renewed sense of purpose and calling, the Holy Spirit, and His authority.  The good news of Easter is that Jesus has all those same gifts for us.

I would like to tell you about one of our newest ministries.  We are working with a group of younger persons that includes two students at an ELCA seminary, four college students who are planning on attending seminary, and others.  Of this group –    

  • One of them is leading a young adult group at his church.
  • Two of them are working at starting new groups – one at his university, one at his church.
  • Several have written articles that have appeared or will appear in our newsletter, CORE Voice.
  • One of them made a video book review, which has been posted on our You Tube channel.
  • Three of them attended NEXUS while in high school.  Two of those three have been college-aged mentors for NEXUS and plan to be mentors again this summer.

NEXUS is a program of Grand View University in Des Moines for older high school students, which includes a week of Bible study, theological discussion, fellowship, relationship building, and being challenged to consider a church-related vocation. Lutheran CORE is sponsor of the week of NEXUS which will be held this summer.  

  • From this ministry we are seeing develop –

A support system for orthodox students at ELCA seminaries.

Young adults leading and starting groups for young adults. 

Opportunities for NEXUS alumni to stay connected and continue to be involved in ministry as they prepare to enroll in seminary.

Seeing the risen Christ, the disciples had the strength and courage to face all the challenges and opposing forces in life.  Because we know that Jesus is alive, we are able to continue our work of confronting the forces that are undermining the historic Christian faith, offering guidance and assistance to congregations that are or soon will be between pastors, working with congregations that are reviewing their church body affiliation, providing a system of support for orthodox ELCA pastors and seminarians, hosting our annual Spanish language and bi-lingual ministries festival, and challenging the ELCA to honor its commitment to also provide a place for traditional views and those who hold them.    

Thank you for all your words of encouragement and your faithful prayer and financial support.  Please click here for a form that you can use to let us know how we can be praying for you.  Your timely gift to Lutheran CORE will help enable us to continue to be a VOICE for Biblical Truth and a NETWORK for Confessing Lutherans.

Living with hope because of the resurrection of Jesus,

Dennis D. Nelson

Executive Director of Lutheran CORE

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Devotion for Wednesday, May 5, 2021

“Holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain” (Philippians 2:16).

Preachers do think about whether what they are doing is in vain.  Behind every famous person of faith is the nameless preacher or teacher.  Each one of us has a time in which to be the preacher/teacher.  This is what is meant when we are sent and told to go the ends of the earth and share the Good News of salvation in Christ.  In Him alone is all hope and a future.  Will you glory in the faith of another?

Lord, there is no business more serious than what You have given me to do.  Guide me, Lord, in the way of truth so that I would hold fast to You.  Guide me through the pitfalls of this age, removing what needs to be removed and strengthening what needs to be strengthened.  Through all things, help me to be a witness of Your presence in my life, living according to Your Word.

Lord Jesus, Word made flesh, You have dwelt among us to shine the truth of the glory of God through Your life, death, and resurrection.  Guide me this day so that I may hold fast as a witness and bear Your light to a lost and condemned world.  Through all that happens this day, may I be found faithful, stalwart, and reflecting Your light through all I do.  Abide in me, Lord, and let it be evident that You are abiding in me.  Amen.

Devotion for Tuesday, May 4, 2021

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14-15)

It is difficult to be a follower of Jesus in this world.  It always has been.  The wicked one seeks whom he may devour and takes down those who might follow the Lord.  But you, what will you do?  Will you hold fast to the truth and live into the promised life that is before you?  Will you abide in Him and have Him abide in you?  Will you accept what is and do what He gives you to do without grumbling?

Lord, there are too many worries that I carry because I do care.  Yet, You tell me to not worry, not to grumble, nor to be upset when wickedness forces its way in.  Lead me, Lord, through this age looking to You for all things.  Only You know how to navigate through the pains, trials, and troubles that come my way.  You are the Savior and apart from You I can do nothing.  Save me in every time of trial.

Lord Jesus, You went to the cross intentionally and without rancor.  Teach me to do the same in all things and doing what is right and good.  Guide me according to Your purpose so that I would not be argumentative, demanding, nor live in reproach.  Teach me to become as You are in order that I may be a child of the Heavenly Father and live the life You give me to live amidst the pain of this world.  Amen.

Devotion for Monday, May 3, 2021

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).

The whole of our salvation is wrapped up in this simple sentence.  Work as if it depended upon you, but never forget it is the Lord who saves and empowers you.  Live with and for Him in a loving relationship now and forever.  What lover counts what is done?  Do not lovers willingly and delightedly do for the other?  The Lord is working in you or you would not be reading about Him.  But you must do your part or you are not receiving Him.

Lord, this sentence is so profound, but it is truth.  Just as you cannot have belief without faith, so also you cannot have salvation without You and the cross and me and my acceptance and living into all that this means.  Help me to not separate these two, but to live them in the way You know they need to be lived.  Guide me ever deeper into the mystery of the salvation which You have purchased for me from the cross.

Lord Jesus, without You there is no salvation.  But I am a living and thinking being who has my part to do.  Lead me, O Lord, to live the life You have given me to live.  Help me to be fervent in action, dependent on Your power, and humble in all things.  May I be found both active and looking to You at all times, and for all things.  Lead me in prayer and guide me into Your truth.  Help me to live out the faith You have given me.  Amen.

Devotion for Sunday, May 2, 2021

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings.  Jesus is God.  What has the Lord done?  There is only One who is Lord and God.  Either you will bow willingly and live under King Jesus, or you will continue in rebellion.  The truth for us sinners is somewhere in between.  But your bent is one way or the other.  Which is it going to be for you?  Will you live for the kingdom?

Lord, salvation is being saved from the mess of this world.  Lead me, O Lord, in the way of truth so that I may walk humbly with You, my Lord and my God.  Guide me in Your goodness to see that in You alone is all hope and a future.  Apart from You there is only eternal death.  You are the Lord of lords, be my Lord in order that I would walk in Your example, shine in Your light, and live into the hope You give.

Lord Jesus, You are not a King as the world has kings.  You have come to serve us, and ask us to do likewise.  Help me live now and always in the hope You give so that I may walk humbly in Your example.  Help me to willingly bow to You and submit to Your humble reign.  In and through all things, guide me, O Lord, in order that I would walk in Your light and life now and forever.  Amen.

Devotion for Saturday, May 1, 2021

“Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).

Jesus is God in the flesh.  Yes, that is what this says.  That is what Scripture clearly says.  Those who deny this do not receive the report of the witnesses.  He who created all things became as one of us to make straight the way for our becoming as He is.  Not God, but a child of God.  All who are in Christ are a new creation.  He has made this possible and we see the first glimmering of what He is doing.

Jesus, You are the example of what it means to be the new man.  You have not only made the way possible, but have given the example of being submissive, even unto death.  In Your example, teach me what it means to be faithful.  In Your example, teach me how to live this new life You have given me through grace.  Guide me into the way of life which You have established.

Lord Jesus, You are the way, truth, and life.  There is no other way to live.  There is no other truth.  There is no other life.  Guide me in the way of true and everlasting life so that I would not be caught up in the insanity of this age.  The world carries on as if they created and are recreating themselves.  Through You alone do all things have their being.  Lead me, O Lord, in the way of truth that I may now and always walk with You.  Amen.