Devotion for Monday, June 24, 2024

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming” (Matthew 9:2b-3).

Blaspheme is standing in the place of God.  That is the real meaning of taking the name of the Lord in vain.  The ones accusing Jesus stood as judges.  There is the real blasphemy.  Mind you, if Jesus were not God, saying, “your sins are forgiven” would have meant nothing.  But Jesus is God, so no matter what He says, it shall be done.  The arrogance of judging has been the downfall of many.

Lord, I too stand in Your place and judge things.  I judge You.  Forgive me and open my heart to see that in this struggle between good and evil it is not a matter of power, for all of that belongs to You. Instead, help me to see that we all are tempted to decide what is good and what is evil.  We cannot, for all things are in Your hands and only You know all things.  You speak and it is so.

Lord Jesus, You who have all authority and power, when I stand in the place of judgement, slay my pride and raise me in Your likeness.  Yes Lord, I do not want to speak Your name as a swear word, but more importantly, I do not want to stand in the place where I blaspheme.  You alone are Lord.  Guide me in the goodness of Your grace and mercy to know that in You alone is the power and the glory.  Amen.

Devotion for Sunday, June 23, 2024

And after getting into a boat he crossed the sea and came to his own town.  And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed” (Matthew 9:1-2a).

We can ask the question, “What would Jesus do?”  We often really do not know.  The days of Jesus ministry were filled with problems.  This has not stopped.  The world is filled with pain and need.  Jesus is doing what needs to be done to fulfill His word.  As many as believe are those for whom He died.  He will accomplish all that needs to be done.  Have faith and trust that the Lord of all is still working to this day.

Lord, I am overwhelmed with my life at times.  I cannot imagine constant need coming at You.  But I am not You and that is the place to start.  You are doing what You are doing, and all things are in Your hands.  I need to be led to the place where I see that I too have often fought against the simple truth that You alone are the Lord.  Guide me to live humbly in a right relationship with You and my neighbor.

Lord Jesus, You came that I might live into the eternal life for which I am being prepared.  When I am overwhelmed, help me to rest in Your arms of mercy.  Guide me always in what You would have me do.  Lead me to see that in You alone there is hope.  May I now and always look to You, the author and finisher of my faith, so as to have a clear direction to follow, especially in those times of storms that come in my life.  Amen.

Devotion for Saturday, June 22, 2024

“The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs.  Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood” (Matthew 8:33-24).

Would the reaction be any different in our day?  Probably not.  Many people are skeptical of the spiritual realm.  But what does not belong to the realm of God?  Rather than seeking to be left to your own devices – something that is truly not possible – the answer is to come to the realization that we all are created beings and that the Lord is the Lord of all.  Yes, we fear, but why?  God is always good and He is gracious to those who believe.

Lord, You even showed grace to the demons by allowing them to go into the pigs.  Your common grace is given even to the wicked of this world.  But that is not what You are doing; for You have come so that we may have true life.  You have said that You are making all things new.  Lead my thinking from those places where I do not see the simple truth that You have come to form me into Your image.

Holy Spirit, You know me from the inside out.  Guide me this day according to all that You know needs to happen so that I look to You and not my clouded thinking for direction.  Do not let me run off in fear from those things which I need to do, but instead, embrace whatever challenges this day may bring.  Be my guide today and help me see that You are the One who is leading me.  Amen.

Devotion for Friday, June 21, 2024

“And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water” (Matthew 8:32).

The demons want life too.  There is something that horrifies even them.  Although we are pestered, led, even directed, by the wickedness of this world, greater still is the One through whom all things have their being.  The Lord of all beckons us to come to Him and no longer be led by the nonsense that comes from wanton sinning.  He Who said, “Go and sin no more,” bids us to live into the life for which we have been created.

Lord, I am often confused, but even in this, I know that you are not the author of confusion.  Lead me away from wanting to wallow in the pig slops of this world.  Guide me to live into the life for which I was created.  Help me in Your goodness and mercy to see that in You alone is all hope.  You have granted us hope through Your promises.  Keep me in that hope to be guided by You always.

Lord Jesus, I need Your help.  I too often want to go to places which will lead to my destruction.  Guide me now and always to look to Your word and to be led by Your promises.  Cast out all doubts and those things which hinder me so that I may be led by You now and forever.  Teach me to humbly walk with You as You lead me in the way You know I need to go.  You are my Savior and You know all that I need.  Lead me today, Lord.  Amen.

Devotion for Thursday, June 20, 2024

“Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them.  The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine” (Matthew 8:30).

All of us who have life want to hold onto it.  Even those who take their lives are desperate for real life.  The wicked are no different.  They think life in a herd of swine is better than no life.  The Lord and giver of life has offered for us to live life as it is meant to be lived.  Why not come into that life and live the way You have been created to live?  This is the offer of salvation.

Lord, You know how much I like the idea at times, but often, I get wrapped up in my present life and I would rather have momentary pleasures.  Take me away from the place where I would settle to living in a herd of swine.  I know that in saying this, it is a metaphor, but how often do I choose to live in just this way?  Open my eyes to see the better offer that I may live as You have created me to live.

Lord Jesus, You Who are the author and finisher of my faith, guide me in Your goodness so that I may humbly come into the life for which You have prepared the way.  Open my eyes, and help me to take those feeble steps which You must complete so that I come into that life and live according to the Father’s will.  Teach me what I need to learn and help me to always hear Your voice above the noise of this world.  Amen.

Devotion for Wednesday, June 19, 2024

“Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29)

The wicked ones know who Jesus is.  It may surprise you when you realize that the truth of Christ is pronounced even by those who deny His salvation.  The wicked ones know, yet many humans remain in a cloud of darkness.  This too is a mystery.  But do not let the mystery keep you from the salvation which is offered through Christ.  He, the author of all life, offers His gift of grace that we may come out of darkness and into the light.

I know Your word says that the light is shining in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.  Guide me by Your goodness and mercy to come into Your light and live according to the mercy and grace that You grant.  Guide me, Lord, so that I may humbly walk with You, my Savior, and live the life for which I was created.  In Your goodness, guide my eyes to look upon You and live.  Do not let me follow the voices of the wicked who shout out and distract me.

Lord Jesus, Light of the world, wherever You are, the wicked tremble.  Be in me so that I see the trembling, firstly of the wickedness in me, but also as Your presence in me causes the wickedness in others to tremble.  Let this be done only in humility, for it is You and Your light in me and I am but Your servant.  Guide me to faithfully live out the life You have given me here and now.  May Your light shine in and through me today.  Amen.

Devotion for Tuesday, June 18, 2024

“When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way” (Matthew 8:28).

There is the God of heaven and earth.  Also, there are the powers and forces of darkness in this world.  Never forget, our Creator is the One through whom all things have their being.  The good things of this world have, all too often, gone  bad.  We see this in human history.  Indeed, there is the question of why, but never forget that all things are in the Lord’s hands and we, who have gone bad by sin, are offered the gift of redemption in Christ.

Lord, I do not fully understand good and evil, yet I know it is all around me and in me.  Let me not fall into the trap of sin and deny such things as are plainly shown in Scripture.  Guide me in the goodness You give to be one who overcomes by Your grace the evil in me.  Help me to understand fully that You are God, and I am in Your hands, as are all things.

Lead me, Lord, through, the wilderness of this life.  Guide me today and each day so that I look to You, the author and finisher of my faith.  Help me to understand that for Your reasons, You allow many things that I may not understand, but You have already overcome evil for those who turn to You.  Lead me to the salvation You have procured that I may walk with You always.  Amen.

Devotion for Monday, June 17, 2024

“They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:27)

What sort of man indeed?  The question is answered with the truth.  The only One with almighty power and authority has walked among us.  Jesus is God in the flesh.  Jesus and the Father are One.  Who indeed?  The Lord of lords can and does calm storms.  Even if He does not, he has complete control over our circumstances.  Trust in the God/man who came to redeem those who will love Him. For He is Immanuel — God with us.

Many around us marvel at the thought of who Jesus is.  We think about this for a little while and then go back into the routine of our daily life.  We have been called through the water of our baptism to come to the place of knowing who Jesus is.  Then we are invited to journey all of life with Him.  Not just life here and now, but eternal life with Him always leading the way.  Take up your cross to endure the storms of this world and follow Jesus.

Lord, this is still a great mystery.  You have come that we may have life and have it abundantly.  Guide me on the way of everlasting life so that I may now and always walk in the goodness and mercy that You give me.  Help me to look to You alone for my future.  You are the Word who gives eternal life.  May I always walk as You lead me and live according to Your word.  Amen.

Devotion for Sunday, June 16, 2024

“And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”  And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm” (Matthew 8:25).

Why are we afraid?  Behind this is the reality of the whole sin issue which is at the heart of the current predicament.  We want to sit in the place that belongs to God alone.  He knows our time.  All of it.  Yes, we fear and at times it is warranted, but often, the real issue is that we do not live in faith where we know all things are in the Lord’s hands.  Do not live in fear.  Be safe, but bold.  Be guided by the truth that you really are in the Lord’s hands.

Lord, I do have irrational fears.  A plane bumps and I stress.  Help me learn how to be prudent without fear.  Guide me in Your goodness to know that in You alone is all hope.  Let me live in such a way that I may be guided in Your goodness and mercy, so that when the storms of life come, I know, in faith, that all things are in Your hands.  Guide me, dear Lord, to see that in You is my hope.

Lord Jesus, You rebuked the wind, and it was calm.  Whether You calm the storm that swirls around me or allow me to weather the storm, help me to understand that I am now, as I always have been, in Your hands.  Guide me in Your goodness and mercy to see that in You I have the only hope that is true.  Help me to be calm, bold, prudent, and above all, trusting in You every moment.  Amen.

Devotion for Saturday, June 15, 2024

“And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.  A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep” (Matthew 8:23).

Jesus leads us even in the small things.  He leads to places we may not know, but He knows.  Let me ask you a question, “Does Jesus know when you are going to die?”  Of course.  Why then do you fear dying?  You will not change the moment; it is in the Lord’s hands.  Why do you fear anything but the LORD.  Nothing was going to happen to Jesus because it was not His time.

Lord, I do fear, but I know in faith that such fear is irrational.  It is not that I want to be callous or indifferent, but that I often do want to have faith such that I do not have that irrational fear.  I live thinking I have some power to do things, but all power is in Your hands.  Help all to look to You knowing that life and all elements that surround it are in Your hands.  I need help to be bold in faith and not live by the fear which comes from the wicked one.

Heavenly Father, You created all things, and You are my Creator.  I am to fear You above all things.  “All things” means all things.  But I do fear things.  Great storms come in my life and I become uncertain.  Guide me through this fear so that no matter what storm comes, I may live in the hope that You give.  Guide me today and each day You give in the grace Your Beloved Son purchased on the cross that I may come in prayer to Your throne of mercy.  Amen.