Devotions | Immanuel Lutheran Church
Move Button Move Button
Move Button Move Button
My Role in God's Plan

Romans 13:8-14

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

 

Thought for Today

Romans is one of my favorite books. Paul's primary focus, as inspired by God, is His instruction for how to live and love each other, His way.

 

Right off the bat, Paul's against incurring debt. 'Owe no one anything', is this a prohibition against too much Christmas shopping or excessive indebtedness? No and yes; Paul's trying to convey that when we live according to God's perfect plan, we are to love God with our heart, mind and soul. His second commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:30-31, and Luke 10:27) As we love others as ourselves, we desire to fulfill our commitments and live within God's provision. So when it comes to shopping, we need to be responsible while being generous to those we love. In regards to indebtedness, we are to be responsible in our planning for meeting our family needs, and to pay off what we incur. Living responsibly and generously serve as an example for others, especially to our children and family.


Paul goes on to remind us about fulfilling, living out the Lord's commandments as living examples in all other aspects of our lives. Luther's Large Catechism is a great resource for going deeper into how we should understand the 10 Commandments. Another great resource is Rev. Colin Smith's "The 10 Greatest Struggles of Your Life, Finding Freedom In God's Commands".


When we 'cast off the darkness of night', our unbelief, and put on the 'armor of light', we put on Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have a new life, a new world view and perspective. God's heart desire is for us to become more like Jesus. That's His Will for you and me. 

 

Prayer

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the Holy Spirit. Thank You for the enlightenment that only You can bring into my heart, mind and soul. I submit to You and ask that You change me to become mare like Jesus each and every day. Amen 

 

Devotional Quote

 If thou dost continually draw thine impulse, thy life, the whole of thy being from the Holy Spirit, without whom thou canst do nothing; and if thou dost live in close communion with Christ, there will be no fear of thy having a dry heart.

― Charles Spurgeon

 

Quote of the Day

 You cannot fulfil God's purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans.

― Rick Warren

Read more
Advent, Day 2

Isaiah 2:3-5

and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.

 

Thought for Today

Welcome to day 2 of Advent 2022. As you see from today's text, we are on a journey, a spiritual pilgrimage to the sanctuary of the Lord. Dr Luther has an insightful perspective on this: "This is what will influence and draw the nations, so that they flow to Christ and learn, namely, the Word.... From this place the scepter of Christ's kingdom was sent forth through the apostles without force in supreme peace, and the sweetness of this peace takes hold of the nations. But behold here the promise of the new word, a new law, namely, one that is different from that which was given from the cloud and on Sinai.


Here a place different from Sinai is designated. Law, that is, proclamation. The prophecy stands that a proclamation shall flow from Jerusalem into all nations. This was done through the apostles... 'Their voice has gone out to all the earth' (Rom. 10:18). By the Word alone therefore, the church is recognized , and in the glory of the Word the reign of Christ is described. The Word draws the people, makes them willing and joyful. Thus the church is exalted and triumphs against tyrants and heretics even in the midst of tribulation, in order that they may be forced to confess that this is true." 


Isaiah's prophecy is about the ultimate return of Jesus here, the ultimate bliss of Eden, the restoration of God's perfect plan with the return of Jesus to rule. Advent is a time for preparing our hearts on a macro scale. What is our role? It is to step out in faith as the apostles did and profess truth in love to the world each day.

 

Prayer

 Dear Lord, My head and heart are spinning. My historical focus in Advent has been on Jesus' birth. As I read Your vision from Isaiah's text, Jesus' birth is just the beginning. Help illumine my heart as I join You in this season of preparation and show me Your way and the role You desire me to play in Your plan. Thank You for loving me and inviting me into Your journey. Amen. 

 

Devotional Quote

 At this Christmas when Christ comes, will He find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God's own love and concern.

― Mother Teresa

 

Quote of the Day

Faith must precede all effort to understand. Reflection upon revealed truth naturally follows the advent of faith, but faith comes first to the hearing ear, not to the cogitating mind.

― A.W. Tozer 

Read more
Welcome to Advent

Isaiah 2:1-2

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord

shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it,


Thought for Today

Welcome to the season of Advent! We begin this week's devotional with God's inspired words to Isaiah. This was written sometime between 680-740 BC. Advent is a human term used to define this season, it's a time of preparation. What are you preparing for?

Martin Luther helps us here, he says: "The kingdom of Christ has been put in progress because it is placed in public view with its powers and gifts. Here one sees truth, pure doctrine, safety, peace; the Gospel is heard, and nothing can give greater joy. For it promises an abundance of things and salvation both here and hereafter, and a man stands safe in this Word against everything that opposes him, even against the gates of hell (Matt. 16:18). Behold, these virtues should influence the nations to make them come. They are proclaimed through the Word, namely that Christ is the King of mercy and of peace. Moses preaches the Law and is the minister of sin and death. Nobody runs to him. On the contrary, they are terrified. Christ, on the other hand, is the minister of righteousness, of life, and of peace. Therefore the people flow to Him just as water flows by its own effort and needs no one to push it"

What Dr. Luther is saying here is that Advent is a time to prepare for the season of Jesus Christ, starting with His arrival in human form, His earthly ministry and His promised return 'in the latter days'. So as we begin this Season of Advent, we look forward to celebrating Jesus' human birth, to continue into Lent, and to focus on these our 'latter of days'. 

 

 

Prayer

Dear Father God,

Work within my heart to deepen my relationship with You. Help me to accept Your perfect plan for my life as You introduce me to my Redeemer King, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Devotional Quote

 A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes - and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.

― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

Quote of the Day

Into this world, this demented inn in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ comes uninvited.

― Thomas Merton

Read more
The Great Day of the Lord

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 [Christ descends from the sky.] And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

 

Thought for Today

Paul writes his letter to the church in Thessalonica in part to answer questions they have about the end times. They thought the return of Christ was imminent, but Christians were dying and He had not yet returned. Did they lack the faith to stay alive until His return? Would they be second class citizens in heaven? Paul answers, “By no means!” The resurrection of the dead will happen before the rapture (the gathering of Christs’ followers in the sky). When Christ comes they will rise first and then together we will join Him in His triumphant return. There will be no second-class citizens in the new heaven and on the new earth. All are princes and princesses of the King of kings. What a glorious day that will be!

 

Prayer

Come Lord Jesus and restore those who have left this earth to be with You in heaven, that we all may be one, as You have promised. Amen.

 

Devotional Quote

No matter how devastating our struggles, disappointments, and troubles are, they are only temporary. No matter what happens to you, no matter the depth of tragedy or pain you face, no matter how death stalks you and your loved ones, the Resurrection promises you a future of immeasurable good. — Josh McDowell  

 

Quote of the Day

You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. — Mark Twain

Read more
Thanksgiving Proclamation

Philippians 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

 

Washington issued a proclamation on October 3, 1789, designating Thursday, November 26 as a national day of thanks. In his proclamation, Washington declared that the necessity for such a day sprung from the Almighty’s care of Americans prior to the Revolution, assistance to them in achieving independence, and help in establishing the constitutional government.

 

October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.


Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.


and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.


Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.


George Washington

 

Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

Read more
A Command, An Archangel, and a Trumpet

1 Thessalonians 4:16

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.

 

Thought for Today

Many people today are waiting for a quiet, secretive return of Christ. This is not what the Bible tells us to expect. The Apostle Paul tells us that the next time Jesus comes it will be loud. Trumpets will be blaring and archangels will be shouting. It will be anything but quiet. When the people of the earth hear this great commotion they will look to the skies to see what is going on. When they lift their eyes they will see Jesus, the triumphant King, returning to His creation to reestablish the order He intended it to have from the start. It will be a terrifyingly glorious moment! Are you prepared? How about your family and friends? The day is coming and it will be unmistakably the Great Day of the Lord. (What happens to us? Check back in Friday.)

 

Prayer

Come, Lord Jesus, and set right Your creation, that we may see the world as it was meant to be and You may receive the glory You are due. Amen.

 

Devotional Quote

Death may be the King of terrors... but Jesus is the King of kings! — Dwight L. Moody  

 

Quote of the Day

I look forward to hearing Louis Armstrong playing trumpet on the Judgment Day. — Al Stewart

Read more
Like a Thief in the Night

1 Thessalonians 5:1-2   Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you. . . are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

 

Thought for Today

The Day of the Lord will come unexpectedly. No one knows the day or the hour it will come. God left it this way because we are a people who tend to wait until the last moment to act. By not telling us when He will come He makes every moment the possible last moment. Today is the day to tell someone the Good News of God’s love in Christ Jesus Who do you need to talk to about Jesus today? It may be the last day you have to tell them. There is no way to be sure.

 

Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me to use the time that I have to share the Good News with those You have placed in my path. Amen.

 

Devotional Quote

Nothing is more prominently brought forward in the New Testament than the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. — John Nelson Darby  

 

Quote of the Day

No man was ever wise by chance. — Lucius Annaeus Seneca  

Read more
Christ Returning

Mark 13:26-27

And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

 

Thought for Today

As followers of Christ, we long for the day when Christ will come and set all things right. As He ascended into heaven in the clouds (Acts 1) so He will return. His angels will spread over the earth and gather His people to Him. Think of how amazing that moment will be. Everything we struggle with now will be conquered. Cancer will be a memory. No one will ever be hungry or oppressed again. Truth, justice, and peace will reign on the earth. I know it sounds like a fanciful dream, but it is more than a dream. The words above were spoken by Jesus. He never lied or deceived, even when the truth was hard to believe. So we can believe Him now and look forward to the great Day of the Lord.

 

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I long for the day when You will come and make everything as it should be. Help me not to be complacent while I wait, but seek Your glory in every moment until You come. Amen.

 

Devotional Quote

The Bible never divorces the truth of Christ's future return with our present-day responsibilities. — Robert Jeffress  

 

Quote of the Day

Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you. — Walt Whitman  

Read more
The Wisdom of Solomon

1 Kings 3:5ff

The Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon answered, “. . . Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

 

Thought for Today

If God gave you the same offer He made to Solomon, what would you ask for? You could ask for wealth, power or fame. You could be altruistic and ask for world peace or an end to cancer. It would be entirely up to you. Solomon knew he had a problem. At 20 years old he has become king of a nation. Everyone assumed another of David’s sons would be king, so Solomon was not groomed for the position. He is also trying to fill the shoes of the greatest king in their history, so expectations are exceedingly high. He needs something that will help him be the leader that Israel needs. In truth, Solomon does not ask for wisdom. He asks for the ability to “distinguish between right and wrong.” Solomon wants to know what the right thing to do is in God’s eyes. This is a marvelous request; much better than wisdom in general. For if you know the right thing in God’s sight you can always lead the people in the way that best honors Him. Those who honor God are blessed by Him. This request is very much in tune with being the son of the “man after God’s own heart.” God is so pleased with Solomon’s desire to lead the people in ways that honor Him that He promises Solomon every other blessing under heaven to go with it. This is perfectly in line with what Jesus says to you and me. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). What can you do to more intentionally seek God’s Kingdom and righteousness today? You too display the Wisdom of Solomon when you seek God first.

 

Prayer

Holy Lord, give me the heart to seek You today and the spirit to discern right from wrong so that I may honor You like Solomon did. Amen.

 

Devotional Quote

Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done. ― C.S. Lewis

 

Quote of the Day

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. — Henry David Thoreau

Read more
A Kingdom Torn in Two - 4

1 Kings 14: 7-9

This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “I raised you up from among the people and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me.”

 

Thought for Today

God was the author of Jeroboam’s success. He even gave him David’s kingdom, which broke His heart. Yet Jeroboam turned his back on God and did whatever he thought was necessary to consolidate his power. The only thing Jeroboam did not do was consult the Lord. Isn’t it curious that as soon as people get into positions of power they start to think that it was their genius that got them there. They stop seeking God’s direction and wisdom. This often leads to moral failure that would have been unthinkable in before. Regardless of where you are in life today, remember that the Lord is the author of your successes and victories and the only way to sustain them is to continually turn to Him for wisdom and guidance. He will never lead you astray. Spend some time in prayer today seeking the Lord for the guidance you need in life.

 

Prayer

Lord God, You have ordered my life with blessings in the days gone by, keep my heart pointed directly to You, so I may follow You into the future. Amen.

 

Devotional Quote

Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person's seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next. ― Elisabeth Elliot

 

Quote of the Day

We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own. ― Ben Sweetland

Read more