GOD PAUSE DAILY DEVOTIONS

Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

It's comforting to know that God calls and claims each one of us; all our lives belong to God. Yet, we continue to read in Ezekiel, "it is only the person who sins that shall die." Wait ... what?! Sinners shall die. But I am a sinner; we all are sinners. Every one of us. We join with the house of Israel and we shout "unfair!" Your rules God, your laws, your commandments—they are too difficult, too precise, too much not like us. And you want us to turn from our iniquities, from our transgressions, in order to have life? How is this possible? I can't do it; none of us can do it.

But Jesus can. Yes, we will die. Because of what Jesus did for you and me on that cross and in the tomb, our sinful selves, our old Adams, our flesh is killed. And it begins in the baptismal waters. Out of this death, out of this drowning in baptism a new life begins with God's gift of a new heart and a new spirit. The sinful self won't go down easy, not without a fight. But rest assured children of God, in Jesus Christ God is making everything, and everyone, new.

Thank you Jesus. For it is through your sacrifice, that we may have life. Guide us through the power of your Spirit into this new life with you. Amen.

Nate Bendorf
Pastor of Youth and Family at Calvary Lutheran Church, Bemidji, Minn.
Master of Divinity , 2013

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 (NRSV)

1 The word of the Lord came to me:
2 What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, "The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge"?
3 As I live, says the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel.
4 Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.
25 Yet you say, "The way of the Lord is unfair." Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?
26 When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die.
27 Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life.
28 Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die.
29 Yet the house of Israel says, "The way of the Lord is unfair." O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?
30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin.
31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?
32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.

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This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.