Saint Lucas Lutheran

Church, School, Pre-K and Child Care in Bay View, WI

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Home Every Day With Jesus 12-16-13 to 12-22-13

12-16-13 to 12-22-13

Every Day With Jesus        December 16-22, 2013
Monday, Dec 16
Wash your hands, you sinners. James 4: 8


A hospital in our area has a special unit for premature babies. Before you enter this unit there is a washing station. Above the washing station there is a sign for everyone to see. The sign simply says this: “If you could see the germs, you’d wash your hands.”

That sign says a great deal in just a few words. It declares that if you and I could only see the masses of dangerous germs crawling over our hands, we’d recognize what a deadly business these germs can be and we’d do what needed to be done to wash them away.

Sin can be like that. Our noses can get so used to the stench of our sinful habits that we can’t even smell it anymore. Our ears can get so used to the ungodly screech of our sinful thoughts that we can’t even hear it anymore. And our eyes can grow so accustomed to the bacterium of sin crawling over us and through us that we can’t even see it anymore.

“Wash your hands, you sinners,” James tells us. But how? And with what?

When it comes to your sin and mine, the answer is not some antiseptic that squirts out of a hospital dispenser. When it comes to your sin and mine, the answer is blood, the blood of the Son of God.

Jesus saw our filthy hands, our sinful hands. He knew we were helpless to wash them clean. And so he did what we needed him to do. He lived a holy life on our behalf. He suffered and died in our place. He rose from the dead. And now, through faith in him, his blood washes us clean. It cleanses us. It reshapes our relationship with God entirely. It makes your life and mine fresh and forgiven, clean and new.

And so let’s wash our hands, you and I. Every day. Wash them in the sweet, cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, it is your blood that washes me clean. Move me by your Spirit to come to you every day. Amen.

Tuesday, Dec 17
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth – to every nation, tribe, language and people. Revelation 14:6


If you drive to Mitchell Field and fly to Tel Aviv, in Israel, and from there take a bus to the city of Hebron, you can see a massive, ancient building erected over the tomb of Abraham. Abraham has been dead for about 4,000 years.

From Israel, if you fly to Leonardo da Vinci Airport near Rome, and take a cab into the city, you can see the sarcophagus believed to contain the bones of the Apostle Paul. Paul has been dead for about 2,000 years.

From Italy, if you fly to Frankfurt, in Germany, then drive 4 ½ hours to Wittenberg, you can enter the Castle Church and walk right up to the grave of Martin Luther. Luther has been dead for about 450 years.

Three different men, separated by centuries, separated by culture, separated by life experience. Each man lived and died in his own time, never knowing the other two.

One thing they held in common, however. They all proclaimed the eternal gospel. They all proclaimed the message of full forgiveness through faith in the promised Savior from sin.

Above the ebb and flow of history, above the twists and turns of nations, above the actions of cultures and governments and individuals – above it all is the eternal gospel. Above it all is the voice of God in his Word. It is the voice that says, “To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life” (Rev 21:6).

And that, dear Christian, is a wonderful thing to know.  

Prayer: Lord of the nations, bless the flow of history for the good of your people. Above all, Lord Jesus, thank you for your eternal gospel. Amen.

Wednesday, Dec 18
[Christ] has appeared once for all…to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:26


An office manager working at his desk had a ballpoint pen that was leaking ink. To deal with the problem, the man decided to purchase a large supply of white gloves he could wear to protect his hands. Every month or so, he had to take his stained gloves to the dry cleaners to remove the ink. That wasn’t all. About once a week some of the ink would get on his shirt and suit just before an important appointment and he would have to reschedule. To top it off, his leaky pen would regularly deface legal documents he had to sign. When that happened, he had to spend extra time and money preparing another set of documents.

A far-fetched story? Of course. After all, why go through all that trouble dealing with the symptoms of the problem instead of addressing the problem itself? The problem is a leaky pen. The answer is a new pen.

But it’s one thing to recognize the foolish thinking of an office manager with a leaky pen. It’s quite another to recognize the foolish thinking in our own lives.

Think about this for a moment. Isn’t it true that it’s easy for me to busy myself with the symptoms of a problem instead of addressing the problem itself?  Let’s see: I’m always stressed. I’m always dissatisfied. I’m always resentful of the wonderful lives other people seem to have. I’m haunted by my past failures. I’m afraid about my future.

How do I deal with this? An extra drink or two at night? A little more bitterness in my gossip? Some extra sarcasm? Buying myself a feel-good gift with my credit card? Turning up the volume in my life so that it’s too loud for me to think?

That’s not addressing the problem. The leaky pen in my life is my sin – my sinful attitude towards myself, my sinful attitude towards others, my sinful attitude towards God. But the answer to my problem is not within me. The answer is Jesus Christ.

Come to your Savior in repentance. Be forgiven. Be washed in his blood. Be renewed in his Word. Be refreshed in his Spirit. When that happens, the symptoms of sin will no longer be in command. Jesus will.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord Jesus, for all the times I have busied myself with the symptoms of my sin instead of looking to you as my Answer. Refresh me in yourself. Amen.

Thursday, Dec 19
I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:8


Place yourself in the following scene. Someone in your immediate family has just died. You’ve made all the arrangements. The visitation and funeral are tomorrow. You’re sitting at home. You’re exhausted. You’re numb. Your mind is cloudy. You hear a car door slam outside. You look out the window. And there, coming to your door, is someone who has flown in from the other side of the world. There, coming to your door, is someone you have not been able to see in years. There, coming to your door, is the best friend you’ve ever had in your life.

And here’s what you feel. You feel a visceral sob of tenderness and joy. It starts just below your stomach. It rises through your chest and into your throat. And it quietly erupts through your eyes and through your mouth.

The Apostle Paul used a specific word to describe that feeling. In today’s verse, Philippians 1:8, that word is translated, “affection.” But here’s the real surprise. Paul tells us that that is the kind of powerful, deep-seated feeling that Jesus has for you and me.

So often you and I see Jesus only as the unmoving statue in the front of a church, the somber portrait on a wall, the doctrinal point in a Bible class. When that happens, we are failing to appreciate all that he is. In addition, we are robbing ourselves of the comfort and assurance he wants us to have.

When Jesus came to be your Savior, he did not come as some polite professional who was willing to perform the grim task of washing your sins away. He came to be your Brother. He came to be your Friend. And as your Brother and Friend, his affection for you is profound. It’s passionate. It erupts from the deepest places of his being.

That’s how much he loves you. That’s what keeps him by your side. And he’s never going to leave.

Prayer: Move me, Lord Jesus, to embrace the profound affection that you have for me. Thank you for being my Best Friend. Thank you. Amen.

Friday, Dec 20
Since the children have flesh and blood, [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might…free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15


It was January 1, 1863. On the main floor of the White House, President Abraham Lincoln shook hands with New Year’s Day well-wishers for 3 solid hours. Then he walked upstairs and entered his office. There, waiting for his signature, was the Emancipation Proclamation, the document that would set into motion the ending of slavery in America. He picked up the pen to sign, but then he put the pen back down. One of the witnesses feared that Lincoln was losing his resolve. But the opposite was true. You see, after 3 hours of shaking hands, Lincoln felt a severe numbness from his right arm down through his fingertips. The reason he paused was to rub some feeling back into his hand. As he did, Lincoln said, “If my hand trembles when I sign the Proclamation, all who examine the document hereafter will say, ‘He hesitated.’”  The feeling in his writing hand returned. Lincoln picked up the pen again. He signed his name. Even today you can see the resolve in that signature. The name, “Abraham Lincoln,” on that historic document is bold, clear and firm.

When Jesus came to this earth, he came with a firm resolve to set us free from another kind of slavery. It’s the slavery of sin and the fear of death that keeps us cowering and lost in the shadows.

As you read this devotion, some of you are reeling from a death in 2013 – the death of someone close to you. As you look ahead to 2014, you know that death is waiting there too. Who will die remains to be seen. For some it will be expected. For others it will be a complete shock. All we know is that death is a constant in this fallen, broken world.

But when it comes to the fear of death, Jesus has broken the chains. The Advent King has set us free. By his perfect life in our place and by his death on our behalf, our slavery to sin is over. And when Jesus rose from the dead, he personally assured us that he has turned death into the door through which we enter eternal life. That means we don’t have to be afraid of death anymore.  

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for setting me free from my slavery of sin and the fear of death. Keep my eyes of faith fixed on you. Amen.

Saturday, Dec 21
In [Christ] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

Do you remember watching The Wizard of Oz on TV when you were a small child? For a lot of kids, one of the most frightening scenes in the movie is when Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion approach the Wizard of Oz for the first time. Remember it? The four of them enter a massive assembly hall, and at the other end is a large, disembodied head that’s snarling and angry. Around the head there is smoke and fire and terrible noise. And the voice of the Wizard is deafening and awful. Lion was so terrified he jumped through a window to get away. A lot of children who watched that scene didn’t blame Lion one bit.

That short movie scene reminds us of something that’s not make-believe at all. It reminds us that if we ever think about approaching God just as we are, we’d better think again. God is holy. We are not. God is righteous. We are not. God is sinless. We are not. For us to think that we, as sinners, can approach the sinless God is much like thinking that we can approach a blazing fire when we are soaked to the skin with gasoline. His very presence would consume us.

God knows this. That’s why he sent his Son.

By his blood from the cross, Jesus has washed our every sin away. And by his perfect life he has covered us in his own purity. That’s why Ephesians chapter 3 tells us that in [Christ] and through faith in him we may [now] approach God with freedom and confidence.

Think about that. You can now come into the presence of God himself. You can bring to him any request, any concern, anything at all. And when you do, you have his undivided attention. You have his solemn promise to listen and to answer. He sent you his Son to make this possible. That’s how great his love is for you.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, on my own I could never come into your presence. But you sent your Son. Jesus has changed everything. In him I am now your beloved child. Thank you. Amen.

Sunday, Dec 22
The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.  1 Corinthians 1:25


If you were to ask people to say one word to describe our society’s attitude for the last 20 years or so, no doubt many would say the word, “cynical.” A pure cynic is distrustful of everything. A pure cynic takes pleasure in mocking someone instead of listening and learning. A pure cynic is always looking for the next punch line at someone else’s expense.

Recently, however, some observers of our culture have suggested that we have begun to enter what they call “post cynicism.” This is simply their way of saying that maybe, just maybe, our society is getting tired of assuming that everything is a big joke. After all, if you spend your life only making fun of other people and their ideas, when the day is done you still have no answers.

How about you? Over the years, how much time and energy have you spent in figuring out ways to dismiss Jesus, to dismiss his promises, to dismiss the specific things he did to rescue your soul?

One thing is for certain. As long as you keep embracing cynicism as if it were some great philosophy of the age, as long as you keep dismissing the promises that Jesus has made to you – as long as you keep on doing that, nothing is going to change. You’ll remain in the same old mess, the same old bitterness, the same old despair.

Cynicism is not the answer. Jesus is. He will displace your buried guilt with full forgiveness. He will fill your darkness with light. He will fill your emptiness with himself. That’s why he came to live a holy life on your behalf. That’s why he died in your place. And that’s why he lives.

Come and see.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I live in a cynical age, and I am often a cynical person. Speak to me in your Gospel. Fill me with your Spirit. Wash me in your blood. Renew my mind and heart. Amen.


St. Lucas Lutheran Church and School

(414) 483-9122

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