Showing Tue Mar 20 - Sun Apr 15, 2018

2017 Series

Monday, March 19, 2018: Deuteronomy 9-10

Today’s reading is a perfect way to start a Monday. Israel is reminded that the land they are about to enter, which they will possess, is not given to them on account of their righteousness (because indeed they are stubborn!), but because the LORD, Yahweh, is faithful. Yahweh is nothing if not consistent, as it’s the same for us. God lists their trespasses, including the Golden Calf, and says DESPITE all of this, I will keep my promises. Think for a moment on your trespasses, the symptoms of our mutual brokenness, and then know for certain that God will keep his covenant promises with you, just as He did for Israel. You are loved, because God is faithful.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Tuesday, March 20, 2018: Deuteronomy 11-12

Yahweh instructs His chosen people to lay up these Words of His… His love and command, His Gospel and His Law, and to never forget. The same command applies to you and me, to treasure the Words of God, His Word of obedience and forgiveness, His Law and Gospel. To meditate on them when we walk, lie down and rise; to put them on the doorposts of our houses and on our gates; to teach them to our children (and neighbors, family, anyone who will listen!). When things are great… when things are rotten, as they would be for Israel, never forget the Word of our LORD. He never forgets you.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Wednesday, March 21, 2018: Deuteronomy 13-14

Other gods sure are enticing. Money, power, health, professional advancement, our children’s success, the legacy we leave with grandchildren… these all too easily become things we fear, love, and trust. Redirect your praise. Redirect your efforts. Ignore those who would lead you astray. Only ONE God can give you what you need. Only ONE God already has.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Thursday, March 22, 2018: Deuteronomy 15-16

I love this passage, because the Sabbath rest it talks about is not only for you as a day of rest and relaxation (which is important!) but even more, it describes a return to normalcy with those around us. If a brother of yours is broke and hurting, lend him sufficient for his need, WHATEVER it may be. If a brother or sister is working for you, on the 7th year let him go free! For us in our day, if you have employees working under you, care for them. Sabbath rest on the seventh year is not just for our sake, but for our neighbor’s as well. Sabbath rest can be found when Israel (the Church) exists as a family of equals! What have you done for your neighbor, employee, or brother/sister in Christ recently?

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Friday, March 23, 2018: Deuteronomy 17-18

A very practical passage, though it might not appear so at first glance. Historically, it is important to see how Israel’s kings wouldn’t measure up to what God prescribed. Practically and presently, it is important in describing how our leaders and pastors should conduct themselves. With humility, not acquiring much silver and gold, not too many horses! And they should speak what they have heard from the Lord in scripture alone… and the people (the Church, the new Israel!) should listen as if they’re hearing the Law and Gospel straight from the mouth of Christ.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Saturday, March 24, 2018: Deuteronomy 19-20

Yahweh cared about His people, even the day to day occurrences of their lives. These rules might seem slow reading and arbitrary, but they speak to us of a God who is involved in our daily lives, and cares how we carry ourselves, how we resolve conflict, how we live peaceably with our neighbors.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Monday, March 26, 2018: Deuteronomy 21-22

Again, these chapters might seem tedious, but imagine living a covenant life without them! These made it easy on Israel in the land they were to possess. Instead of scratching their heads all day tryhing to figure out what would please God and what would anger Him, He laid it out for them, making obedience much easier than a guessing game. It’s the same for us. What makes God happy? Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor as yourself. We don’t have to walk blindly in figuring out how to witness our faith in the world. He laid it out for you, just like He did for Israel.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Tuesday, March 27, 2018: Deuteronomy 23-24

Is God holy? Yes. Does God expect His people to be holy? Yes. Is God well within His rights to command the death of those who act in evil? Of course. If as we read these chapters we see God as cruel and capricious, we might first reflect on His mercy to bring this stubborn, fickly, idolatrous people out of Egypt in the first place. Second, we should reflect that even though we each deserve death because of our sin and brokenness and personal Golden Calves, we have received quite the opposite… just like the Israelites.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Wednesday, March 28, 2018: Deuteronomy 25-26

Israel would not have possessed the land of Canaan without the hand of God leading the way. In the same way, we would not have any of the blessings we have (great or small!) without God’s providence and provision. So it is our duty as well as our joy to give back to Him a small part of what He first gave to us. Consider your tithe back to God through the local congregation. When you give 10% back to God, you might just worry a little less about the remaining 90%! It not only supports the ministry of God in that place, but it also teaches who to throw down the false idol of monetary security and to praise the true giver of all good gifts.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Thursday, March 29, 2018: Deuteronomy 27-28

Blessings and curses for obedience and disobedience, respectively, sound strange to Gospel centered Christians. But practically speaking, it does work out this way often (not always, but often). If you don’t murder anyone, might your life be a little easier? If you don’t cheat on your wife, will your family and marriage be “blessed” more than if you did? If you truly seek to praise the Lord only, daily at home and weekly at worship, do your children stand a better chance of not falling away? Of course! Naturally there is ALWAYS forgiveness for ALL of our failings and disobedience, but we may have to wrestle with the early consequences of that disobedience. Repent, be forgiven, and wrestle away with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Friday, March 30, 2018: Deuteronomy 29-30

Yahweh tries to simplify for Israel (and for you) everything He has just said. This commandment is not too hard, He says, it’s simple. If have set before you life and death. Obey me, seek me, and you will live. But if your hearts turn away and are drawn to other Gods, you will perish. Pray today that you, individually, your family, your local congregation, and ALL Christians AND current unbelievers would seek life where it can be found- in the nail pierced palms of Christ.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Saturday, March 31, 2018: Deuteronomy 31-32

What a word of encouragement today! Did Israel give up and quit, turn back to Egypt forlorn when Moses died? No! They followed their new leader, Joshua. In the same way, when the day comes (as it does for every congregation) when your beloved pastor takes a new call or retires, don’t give up and turn elsewhere as can be the case- stick with the family of faith you belong to, and get ready for the new chapter in your life together with your new, God-picked pastor. It will be the same God ahead of you as before, leading you into uncharted waters.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Monday, April 2, 2018: Deut. 33-34, Psalm 91

Let’s take a second to focus on the Psalm for today, Psalm 91. A beautiful prayer, through verse 13… and then God speaks. Through the mouth of the psalmist, God most high speaks words of comfort and truth. I, He says, I will deliver him. Because you know the name of love, the name of Christ, God will hear your prayer and answer. Not in your time, not always in the ways we desire, but He always answers. With long life He will satisfy you. Perhaps not in this lifetime, but the grave will not hold you. You have seen, and will continue to see, His salvation, up until the day all flesh is resurrected. Abide in the shadow of the Almighty, my brothers and sisters. The empty tomb is your refuge and fortress.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Tuesday, April 3, 2018: Joshua 1-2

Be strong and courageous… everyone’s favorite Confirmation verse. It isn’t easy though, is it? Joshua was, good for him. But in the face of trial and tempest, torture and tribulation in all of their varied forms, courage and strength are a pricey commodity. Whatever you are going through today, or this week, you might not feel like you have enough. Well then take heart and be of good cheer, someone else has strength enough for us all. Someone else had more strength and courage than even Joshua. And that strength is imparted to you, given to you freely, by the Holy Spirit. He prays for your strength, gives you spiritual strength, especially on the days you feel weakest. Like Joshua, you are not alone. There is one who fights for you.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Wednesday, April 4, 2018: Joshua 3-4

Each generation of Israel passed through water on dry ground. First, those who came out of Egypt came through the Red Sea untouched. Then, a second generation (as the previous had all died before reaching the promised land) came through the Jordan. You too, like your spiritual ancestors of old, have passed through waters of deliverance. Take time today to reflect on your Baptism, a simple moment with an eternal significance. Make the sign of the cross over yourself and thank God that, like Israel and Joshua, you are part of His covenant people.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Thursday, April 5, 2018: Joshua 5-6

The walls of Jericho fell with a crash. When everything else around her was falling down, Rahab and her family were spared because of their faithfulness. She must have been scared though, when everything she knew was crumbling. We are scared sometimes, when the institutions and sources of protection we have come to trust come tumbling down. Don’t look to the strength of walls, or governments, or advances in medicine for security, look to the One who has broken the seal of the grave.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Friday, April 6, 2018: Joshua 7-8

In the face of such incredible violence, it is hard to see the face of a loving God. But He is there, for His people. That is part of the key to reconciling the death prescribed by God to His enemies (and in particular the nations who worship His enemies, other gods) and the life He gives to His people. Throughout the OT, the violence God commands is directed to combat the false gods that stand opposed to Him, and to show His providence for His people. God provides, not always in ways we would choose, but in whichever way He chooses. And it is His right to choose.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Saturday, April 7, 2018: Joshua 9-10

The very end of chapter 10 is key- The LORD God fought for Israel. We can’t actually believe that this nomadic tribe of ex-slaves could have conquered the entire land of Canaan without divine help. In the same way, it is just as miraculous that the Church has not only survived, but thrived for all these centuries. It is because it is God who fights for you, for us. Not with swords or javelins as He did for Israel, but with His life-changing Word of Law and Gospel, sustaining His people through persecution and peace, famine and feast. Thank God today for the Church, and that you are a part of it!

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Monday, April 9, 2018: Joshua 11-12

More violence today, and a recap in Ch. 12 of the violence up until now. So let’s say a prayer after the conclusion of today’s reading…

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Tuesday, April 10, 2018: Joshua 13-14

Land is given to the tribes of Israel, the namesakes of their fathers, sons of Jacob. It is amazing that to the descendants of those same brothers who plotted to commit the sin of Cain against Joseph, a land flowing with milk and honey was given. Even through our worst betrayals, God’s grace cannot be thwarted. Think today of someone who has hurt you, as Gad, Simeon, and the rest hurt Joseph. And like Joseph (and the Lord) forgive them. Speak it out loud, on your knees, speak forgiveness for those who have sinned against you. Then, call them.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Wednesday, April 11, 2018: Joshua 15-16

See Tuesday, then repeat.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Thursday, April 12, 2018: Joshua 17-18

Surely, at least THREE people have hurt you like the brothers of Joseph.

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Friday, April 13, 2018: Joshua 19-20

More inheritances and cities of refuge. Isn’t the Church a place of refuge? It should be. I hope yours is. If not, you can work to make it so. Whether someone is a “manslayer” as in Israel, a felon, a deadbeat dad, dependent on narcotics, whatever it may be, your community of faith can and should function like the cities of refuge in chapter 20. If your congregation doesn’t have that sense of belonging, what can you do to create change and make it a family of safety?

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)


Saturday, April 14, 2018: Joshua 21-22

God’s promises have come to pass. Vs. 45, “Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” Our God keeps His Word. He keeps His promises to you, that He will never leave you nor forsake you, that you will rest eternally in Him. Take heart, be of good cheer, God is fait

—David Gruenwald (St. Paul, Albany)