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Daily Devotion

Daily Devotional

Real and Only Worship

December 10, 2018
By Martin Luther

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol Him, all peoples! For great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!

PSALM 117

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Real and Only Worship

The psalmist admonishes and instructs us how to serve the Lord. He urges us to give praise and thanks. Since of ourselves we are nothing but have everything from God, it is easy to see that we can give Him nothing; neither can we repay Him for His grace. He demands nothing from us. The only thing left, therefore, is for us to praise and thank Him. First we must recognize in our hearts and believe that we receive everything from Him and that He is our God. Then out with it, and freely and openly confess this before the world—preach, praise, glorify, and give thanks! This is the real and only worship of God, the true office of the priest, and the finest, most acceptable offering—as St. Peter says (1 Peter 2:9): "You are a royal priesthood, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." Yes, our mouths will be slapped for such praise; for the world does not want to hear it and cannot stand it. But that is the risk if one wants to bring this sacrifice to God; for it is written: "Praise the Lord, all heathen." It does not say that we should praise men or this world, but the Lord and His work or grace, not the works of men; for these are condemned.

From Commentary on Psalm 117 (Luther's Works 14:32-33)

December 10

They Must First Hear His Word

December 09, 2018
By Martin Luther

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol Him, all peoples! For great is His steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!

PSALM 117

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They Must First Hear His Word

Now if all heathen are to praise God, this assumes that He has become their God. If He is to be their God, then they must know Him, believe in Him, and give up all idolatry. One cannot praise God with an idolatrous mouth or an unbelieving heart. And if they are to believe, they must first hear His Word and thereby receive the Holy Spirit, who through faith purifies and enlightens their hearts. One cannot come to faith or lay hold on the Holy Spirit without hearing the Word first, as St. Paul has said (Romans 10:14): "How are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard?" and (Galatians 3:2): "You have received the Spirit through the proclamation of faith." If they are to hear His Word, then preachers must be sent to proclaim God's Word to them; for not all the heathen can come to Jerusalem or make a living among the small company of the Jews. Therefore the psalmist does not say: "Come to Jerusalem, all heathen!" He lets them stay where they are and calls upon them, wherever they may be, to praise God.

From Commentary on Psalm 117 (Luther's Works 14:9)

December 9

Life after Death

December 08, 2018
By Martin Luther

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.

PSALM 116:15

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Life after Death

God does not inquire after sheep and cattle that have been slaughtered, but He does inquire after men that have been killed. Therefore men have the hope of resurrection and a God who leads them out of bodily death to eternal life, who inquires after their blood as after something precious, just as the psalm also says (116:15): "Precious is the death of His saints in His sight." This is the glory of the human race, which was won by the Seed when He crushed the serpent's head. This is the first example of that promise given to Adam and Eve, by which God shows that the serpent does not harm Abel even though it succeeds in having Abel killed. This is indeed why the serpent lies in wait for the heel of the woman's Seed. But while it bites, its head is crushed. Because of Abel's trust in the promised Seed, God inquired after Abel's blood when he was dead and showed that He is his God.

From Lectures on Genesis (Luther's Works 1:285)

December 8

The Great Consolation

December 07, 2018
By Martin Luther

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.

PSALM 116:15

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The Great Consolation

We see, moreover, with what great care Moses, or rather, the Holy Spirit, describes even the most trifling actions and passions of the patriarchs, among which none of the showy and prodigious works such as the monks and the self-righteous boast of are prominent. But these passions are especially outstanding and golden because they have this promise, that not only their death and blood are precious in the sight of the Lord (Psalm 116:15), but that even the hairs of their head are precious and numbered (Matthew 10:30). Therefore the Holy Spirit did not deem it unworthy to linger over these domestic and pastoral works and passions. For faith is exercised very well in these matters, and there ensues a sacrifice well-pleasing to God. Therefore we should continually fix our eyes on these examples of the patriarchs that we may learn that also our deeds which are done in faith, and likewise the afflictions which we endure in faith, are all acceptable to God and like a continual sacrifice. This is a great consolation for believers. The life of the godly appears to be an idle life and without any fruit and worth. But this is our great glory, that we know that our tears and each of the drops that fall from our eyes are numbered by God and that all things are written before the eyes of God and gathered in a golden vessel, so to say (cf. Psalm 56:8).

From Lectures on Genesis (Luther's Works 6:123-24)

December 7

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