Saint Lucas Lutheran

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

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Home Every Day With Jesus 2-3-14 to 2-9-14

2-3-14 to 2-9-14

Daily devotional thoughts from Scripture        February 3-9, 2014
Saint Lucas Evangelical Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, WI

MONDAY, February 3, 2014  Ephesians 2:1-3  “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”

DOA   Dead on arrival.  DOA. Spiritually dead on arrival.  That was me - and you, and everyone else.  As the offspring of two sinners we arrive on the planet spiritually dead.  We know there is a God; but we don’t trust Him.  We know He has His will for our life; but we don’t obey Him.  This inherited curse of sin affects everything about us - our mind’s attitude our body;s action.

DOA spiritually dead on arrival.  That’s the natural condition of all humans: “...disobedient...gratifying the cravings of our sinful flesh and obeying its desires and thoughts”.  In the light of this ugly truth, are the daily headlines in the news any surprise?  Our natural self has the potential for unfathomable evil.  To different degrees that potential is realized in the life of every person.

The disobedience of our natural self - its spiritual deadness expressed in dark deeds - deserves wrath.  “Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”  This is a very unpleasant distressing truth.  It needs to be honestly faced.  Thankfully, as we shall see tomorrow, this ugliness of our nature gives God the opportunity to show the beauty of His nature, the beauty of His quality known as grace!

(We, who are new in Christ, shall see that this inherited self is no longer our true self.   Even though it still profoundly affects us, it is our former self not our true and new self.)

PRAYER:  LORD God, I confess that my nature comes from Adam, the rebel.  His inherited image in me leaves me desperately wicked and deserving of wrath.  With deep shame I confess my sinfulness and renounce all its thoughts, words, and actions which fly in the face of Your perfect holiness.  Have mercy on me!  AMEN

TUESDAY, February 4, 2014  Ephesians 2:3b-5  “Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

LOA  It’s a basic fact of Scripture that all people born in the natural way to women are DOA - dead on arrival, spiritually dead.  Praise God that it is equally true that all people are LOA - Loved On Arrival.

While our inherited sinfulness and its subsequent slavery leaves us unworthy of love, God loves us anyway.  Loves everyone of us.  “ nature objects of wrath.  BUT!!...”  The helplessness of our nature provided God the opportunity to show the helpfulness of His nature.  “But because of HIs great love for us…”  We deserve wrath.  He gives us love.  Undeserved.  The fact that it is undeserved makes it all the more wonderful.  
This needed love is expressed in Christ and received in faith.  All grace!  “But because of His great love for us, God,  Who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.”

LOA - Loved On Arrival.  It is God’s desire that everyone in their lifetime is made aware of His gracious love and receives it by faith.  That is why we call our life - a time of grace.

PRAYER:  LORD, You have always loved me although I have never deserved it.  I grasp this grace by faith.  Help me to grow stronger in my grip.  AMEN

WEDNESDAY, February 5, 2014  Ephesians 2:6  “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…”

“Seated with Christ”  The Apostles’ Creed confesses the truth that Jesus is now “seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty”.  He is not in a comfortable chair waiting for “the last day”.  “Seated at the right hand of God”  is powerful picturesque speech.  It means this Person, Jesus Christ, the Godman not only as God but also as man rules over all things in heaven and on earth.  

We confess that truth. We believe it.  Christ deserves that place of honor and power because of Who He is and what He has done.  The verses before us today reveal another astounding amazing fact that flows from that truth.  Not only is Christ “seated at the right hand of the Father”, “God...seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus”!   We live and reign with Christ.  Wow!

This truth is unfathomable.  It should also be unforgettable.  Of ourselves we are nothing but sinners unworthy of mention; but we are not left to ourselves,  we have rescued by Christ and united with Christ.  Now we live and reign with Him.  Amazing!

PRAYER:  LORD, I know that Your Son, my Savior rules over all things at Your right hand.  Help me begin to understand and to benefit from the amazing fact that Your grace has “seated me with Him”!  Let me be always amazed and affected by this gracious fact.  AMEN

THURSDAY, February 6, 2014  Ephesians 2:6-10  “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Valued and Valuable  I am not just a miserable sinner, I am a happy saint!  My natural self, of which we heard on Monday, is sinful.  That inherited sinfulness is miserable and brings misery to others.   But God in grace has intervened in my life and in yours - “It is by grace you have been saved” the LORD reminds us of this repeatedly in Ephesians 2:4-10  The real me now is not my old self but the new self.

To rescue me from my self - my destructive death causing and hell deserving old self - God’s Son willingly poured out His holy precious blood.  That was the value He placed on my soul and paid for my soul.  You and I are VALUED by God’s grace.
Not only are we valued, we are VALUABLE.  “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  The new you, the real you, is the you who has received God’s precious grace in Christ.  The work of our salvation and the faith which receives it is all God’s gracious work.  As believers in Christ, you and I are “God’s handiwork” in which He takes pleasure and for which He has a purpose.  That purpose is “to do good works”.  The opportunities which we have and which we take to do good works “God prepared in advance for us to do”.

Being a sinner no longer defines me.  God’s grace has redefined me!  I am a saint in Christ: valued by God and valuable to God.

PRAYER:  LORD, enable me to appreciate more and more the value Your grace has placed on me and then to fulfill the valuable purpose for which Your grace has created me.  AMEN

FRIDAY, February 7, 2014  Ephesians 2:11-13  “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

“Near”  Non-Christians are often not without gods but they are without God.  They may feel like they have a good relationship with god and may even be rigorously living out their relationship with him, as they see him.  The Biblical truth is that although a person may have a relationship with god or even gods, there is no relationship with God apart from Christ.  

He alone is “the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world”.  (John 1:29)  He Himself says, “No one comes to the Father except through Me”.  (John 14:6)  Living without faith in Christ means living “...without hope and without God”.

Before a person comes to faith in Christ, they are “far away”.  Once a person comes to faith “ “you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ”.  Through faith in Christ we come close to God, in fact, we are joined to Him and He lives in us.  Nearness to God in Christ brings us near to one another in Christ too.

PRAYER:  LORD, thank You forever!  You have brought me to faith in Jesus so that instead of living far away from You on Your planet in time and being sent away from You in hell for eternity, I am living with You, You are living within me, and I shall live with You forever.  All paid for by the precious blood of Your Son. May my life say: Thank You!  Thank You!  Thank You forever! AMEN

SATURDAY, February 8, 2014  Ephesians 2:14-16  “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

“Peace”  The peace of Eden was destroyed by sin.  Personal sin in our life makes it impossible to live in unbroken peace with God and with others.

Enter Christ. “He Himself is our peace.”  “The Prince of Peace”as Isaiah called Him (9:6)  He has paid for the sin which separated us from God.  He has suffered on the cross to pay for our hostility toward God and toward others.  Now Christ, through His Church, comes “to preach peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.”

As this peace is preached, the LORD wants it to be received by faith.  We who have received God’s precious peace are to live in peace with Him and in peace toward others.  Where and whenever our sin has broken the peace, we confess our sin and ask for forgiveness to restore the peace.  Where the sins of others against us have broken the peace, we offer the peace and forgiveness we have received from Christ in our personal forgiveness to them.  We seek to keep the peace in the future by not sinning against  God or our neighbor.

PRAYER:  Father, thank You for restoring peace between me and You through the blood of Christ shed upon the cross.  Inspire me to ask for or to give the forgiveness that will restore peace in my relationships with others and then to live in a way that keeps the peace.  AMEN

SUNDAY, February 9, 2014  Ephesians 2:19-22  “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

A “dwelling for the Spirit”  Years ago at Saint Lucas the elders gave out green bracelets which some of us still wear.  The acronym PBPWMGINFWMY is on the bracelet.  It stands for Please Be Patient With Me, God Is Not Finished With Me Yet.

Your’s and my life in Christ is like a house under construction.  The Builder/Owner in this case is actually already living in the house.  He is continually building it to be just the way He wants it to be for Him.  We are working with Him by His Spirit to make His dwelling everything He wants it to be too.  

This “house building” is quite a development!!  There’s a lot of other building going on in the neighborhood.  We are “being built together”!  It’s a great neighborhood!  Until the building is completed it can be a little messy, noisy, stressful.  But, we are already experiencing how nice the house is and what it is going to be like when it is done!

PRAYER:  LORD, keep me conscious that I am Your dwelling place.  Make the house of my heart exactly what You want it to be and continue to enable me by Your Spirit to work with You on the project.  AMEN


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