Devotion for Saturday, April 30, 2022

“All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all” (Titus 3:15).

Sometimes I think we get things messed up.  Greet those who are in the faith.  We cannot be all things to all people, so don’t be.  Live in the truth that the Holy Spirit will guide you in the things you need to do.  Do be friendly and open but remember that love is not just about making other people feel good, it is also about doing what is right.  May you now and always abide in the grace and mercy of our Lord.

Holy Spirit, You know my heart and all that is needed in me.  Guide me into the life where I am gracious to others as You have been gracious to me.  As St. Paul instructed Titus, so also, let me receive the instruction You give me.  Help me to put into practice these things which You are teaching me.  Guide me in the upward way of eternal life that I may grow to be like Christ.

Thank You, Jesus, for leading the way.  Help me learn by Your example to do things the way I see You doing them.  Guide me in this journey of becoming like You.  Through all that comes, may I be found to be faithful, greeting others in Your love and by Your grace.  Through all that may come, may I now and forever look to You as the model for my life as I learn to be godly like You.  Amen.

Devotion for Friday, April 29, 2022

“Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing.   And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:13-14).

Put these things together into one idea.  Be mindful to be diligent and be productive.  It is not doing things just because, but that you know that being idle is more dangerous than being busy.  Also, this is how things get done.  So, do what the Lord gives you to do and be prudent so that you may care for those whom the Lord brings to your attention, including those things which are urgent.

Lord, You know how often I turn in on myself and do not do as I ought.  Help me, dear Lord, to go beyond myself and do the things You have given me to do.  Each day has more than enough things to keep me busy, so help me stay busy and give the devil no room for leading me astray.  Help me to also realize that these things are not for merit but are done because I am a part of Your family.

Lord Jesus, in Trinity, You are family.  Help me to see that I have been included to become a part of the extended family.  Families do for each other because that is what families do.  Help me to not think economically, but with love so that I may be busy doing things that need to be done in obedience with Your Word.  Help me now and always Lord to see that in You is all hope.  Amen

Devotion for Thursday, April 28, 2022

“When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there” (Titus 3:12).

Your pastor is a part of a team; so, is not just YOUR pastor.  We are all a part of the same body of Christ and sometimes we forget that.  Do not be led by the ways of the world, but by the truth revealed once for all.  Be guided by the Holy Spirit and receive anyone who rightly preaches the word.  We also have obligations for those we may not even know if they are a part of the body.

Lord, I think too often only of myself.  Is that not the reason for grace? That I need to be brought from the place where I think only of myself and realize it is not about me?  Help me, Lord, to get in the right frame of mind and live into the life which is mine through You.  Help me to receive and support all whom You send my way and whom You bring to my attention.  Help me realize that I am a part of Your whole body.

Dear Jesus, through Your Holy Spirit, I need help.  There are so many places that have crumbled because of a lack of action.  I have watched these things and do nothing.  The next time I say, “Why doesn’t somebody do something,” let me be that somebody.  Help me to love You and the church enough to do what is right always.  Guide me into all goodness through Your grace and mercy.  Amen.  

Devotion for Wednesday, April 27, 2022

“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:10).

Sadly, too few take this warning and the church suffers.  Yes, we are to love all.  Yes, we are to give, but that does not mean that we do these things without a conscience formed by wisdom.  Even the pagans have more concern for their children than just looking the other way.  Come then and live as the Lord would have you and be guided by His goodness and mercy.  Know that in Him alone is all hope and life.

Lord, I have experienced too many times those who are divisive and the church looks the other way.  Help me to always be appropriate, but to not leave things that I can do something about as if it were of no concern to me.  Yes, I am to love my neighbor, but sometimes that means the hard way of not letting them get away with sinful behavior.  Lead me, Lord, so that I may not fall into the trap of encouraging warped understanding of Your Gospel.

Dear Jesus, You know that all of these things will work together for good, but help me to do my part.  Guide me in the right way so that I would neither do these things, nor, when possible, allow them to harm the fellowship.  Grant me the wisdom to know what to do in every situation so that I would be helpful to You and the church.  Guide me, Lord, into wisdom to do what is right always. Amen.

Devotion for Tuesday, April 26, 2022

“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless” (Titus 3:9).

How much of our time is spent arguing over things that really, in eternity, make no difference.  We are both saved and you are right and I am wrong.  Or how about the other way round.  What difference will that make?  Or, it is not about being right, but about putting on the righteousness of Christ.  Stop then with those non-essential things that are not important and come into the grace which is yours in Christ.

Lord, I get so worked up over small things and do not focus upon what is truly important.  Help me, dear Lord, to have godly priorities and live into this life You have given me through grace.  Help me understand that in You alone is my hope and apart from You it is silly to think that I could be right.  Teach me the things of ever-lasting value and help me to live into the eternal life You give.

Lord Jesus, You have taught us so many things.  Each day has trouble enough.  Help me dear Lord to see that in You alone is all hope.  Let me look to You and seek the righteousness You give and then seek all the other things that will come my way.  Guide me ever deeper into the life of faith that You have given me.  In You is all hope.  Lead me, Lord, to live in that hope now and forever.  Amen.

Devotion for Monday, April 25, 2022

“The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people” (Titus 3:8).

The Lord has chosen to see us work through our salvation with fear and trembling, that is, knowing that this is a gift and won by no merit of our own.  Work, yes.  Not for salvation, but because it is ours.  He who knew no sin worked on behalf of us all.  You do not even need to get this right, but you are better off if you do.  You have been saved by grace apart from works.  Now go to work for others. God doesn’t need our help; our brothers and sisters and neighbors do.

Lord, guide me in the way of everlasting life.  Let me not look to the world which is constantly wanting me to seek handouts.  Help me to always do my part first knowing that Your grace will lead me.  In You alone do I hope.  All other things are secondary.  Lead me, Lord, in those works You know will build up in me the gift You have given me to become Your child.

Lord Jesus, You were faithful each day to do what was right and fitting.  Guide me, O Lord, in the godly way of life so that I would not now or ever shirk the work You haven me to do.  Help me to understand Your call on my life, Lord, and lead me in Your grace and mercy.  You are my hope and firm foundation and in You and by Your grace I am assured and have the hope of a sure confidence.  Amen. 

Devotion for Sunday, April 24, 2022

“[W]hom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:6-7).

Become heirs.  See what Scripture tells us about why we are doing what we are doing.  We are to become children of the Heavenly Father.  It is not about our behavior first, but about the relationship we already have with the Lord and then learning how to behave in that relationship.  Our salvation is based upon what Christ has done.  Live in the justification which is yours in Christ.

Lord, teach to get my priorities straight.  Lead me in the freedom which is mine through grace.  Help me work on my behavior as a child, but not out of fear of damnation.  Lead me, not in arrogance, but in  humble hope.  Through all things, guide me to see that in You is all hope and it is mine through the grace which redeems me, purchased of God on the cross.  Thank You, Lord, for all You provide.

Lord Jesus, In You is all hope.  You have won the grace which I could never gain on my own.  You are my Redeemer.  Lead me, Lord, so that I walk humbly in this age, but filled with the eternal hope which is mine through You.  Help me to overcome those times when I doubt and fill me with the humble confidence that comes when Your Word is richly dwelling in me.  Amen. 

Devotion for Saturday, April 23, 2022

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”(Titus 3:4-5)

We do not (and cannot) save ourselves.  Too many follow the wickedness of thinking we are equal to God and just need to do a few good works.  Only in the goodness and kindness of God do we have any hope.  Like life itself, we are completely dependent upon Him.  Apart from Him, we can do nothing.  Come then and walk in the freedom He gives.  Come, eat and drink without paying and enter into His peace.

Lord, how can this be?  What are You doing?  You say, “Come and find out.”  But I want to do something and earn my way.  Lead me, O Lord, so that I would humbly walk in the truth of the revelation You have given me through Christ.  Let me see clearly that this is not something I can reach out and grasp on my own but is the free gift You give through faith.  Lead me, Lord, that I may become a child of God.

Thank You Jesus for coming and saving me in the midst of this rebellious world which teaches me to hate, strive, and gain for myself.  Lead me, Lord, in the way of everlasting life so that I might now and forever walk humbly in Your grace and mercy.  You have appeared not to judge, but in order that we might now and forever have everlasting life.  Lead me in this new life always!  Amen.

Devotion for Friday, April 22, 2022

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another” (Titus 3:3).

How sad that there are so many that live this kind of life.  Even in the church, masked as good church folk, there are those who live so foolishly.  Do not live as they do.  We were once that way, but now you have been given the grace of Christ and new life in Him.  Live knowing that what is before you is peace in eternity with Him.  Be guided by His goodness and mercy.

Lord I do get caught up in these ways of the world.  Help me live into the new  life which is mine in You.  Guide me away from the disobedient hatred of those full of the meaningless passion of resentment.  Help me look to You so that I may overcome these things.  Help me now and always that I may learn to see You as the example, follow Your lead and do as Your Word instructs.  Move me from hatred to love, Lord.

Dear Lord Jesus, Your encounter with the wicked of this world is something I cannot even fathom.  How You were able to walk about loving those who hated You is beyond my understanding.  Guide me, Lord, so that I would look to You and not to those who hate and are filled with wickedness.  Lead me through the difficulties I face in order that I may not live with these traits in me anymore.  Teach me how to love, Lord.  Amen.

Oh, What A Mess

Speaking of “oh, what a mess,” here is the latest from Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Awhile back the board of Luther voted to continue to not be RIC.  RIC stands for Reconciled in Christ, which means that a synod, congregation, seminary, or other organization fully embraces the beliefs, values, agenda, and priorities of ReconcilingWorks.

According to its website, ReconcilingWorks advocates “for the full welcome, inclusion, and equity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual/aromantic (LGBTQIA+) Lutherans in all aspects of the life of their Church, congregations, and community.”

They define their mission in this way.  “ReconcilingWorks advocates for the acceptance, full participation, and liberation of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions within the Lutheran Church.”

At this time Luther is the only ELCA seminary that is not RIC.  The board feels that their current welcome statement is sufficient. 

Immediately there was an uproar.  Students threatened to boycott the school.  There was conversation that the president should be removed from her position.  Please remember that it was not that long ago that the students at another ELCA seminary, United Seminary in Philadelphia and Gettysburg, were able to force the firing of the president because someone discovered that twenty years before she had been director of an organization that held and advocated for traditional views on human sexuality.  She was fired even though she is totally LGBTQ+ affirming now.

Members of the non-faculty staff wrote and signed a letter in support of the student movement to cause the seminary to become RIC.  Now a letter has been written and signed by most of the faculty members, again supporting the movement.  Here is a link to the letter. Talk about groveling. Talk about one more example of the ELCA’s encouraging, enabling, and empowering extreme progressive elements.  Do the seminary faculty really think that good will come from their talking, acting, and handling a situation in that way?  Do they really think that it will stop there – with the seminary’s becoming RIC – and the students – thus emboldened – will not go on and demand something far more?