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Higher Things Daily Reflections

Higher Things

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Higher Things Daily Reflections

Higher Things Daily Reflections

Higher Things

2
Followers
16
Plays
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Higher Things is pleased to provide free daily devotions, called “Reflections,” for youth and their families. These Reflections are centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and are based upon each day’s texts from the weekly readings in the one year lectionary and from Luther’s Small Catechism. Higher Things Reflections are free, like the Gospel! They may be reproduced for congregational, personal and other non-commercial use. Please use the following attribution: “Daily Reflections are provided by Higher Things. www.higherthings.org. Used with permission.”

Latest Episodes

Pentecost

Today’s Reading: John 14:23-31 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 21:10-35; Luke 21:20-38 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The one who loves Jesus is one who “keeps” His words. Kudos to the English Standard Version for not translating this particular Greek word as “obey.” It can mean “obey” in some contexts, but here it means “keep” in the sense of “guard, cling to, treasure.” The one who loves Jesus isn’t defined by obedience to His commandments. The one who loves Jesus is one who treasures the Gospel, clings to Christ’s promises, and guards the true doctrine lest the devil take it from him. The Church cannot exist apart from the words of Jesus. That’s why God sent the Holy Spirit to earth. The Spirit comes to “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance” everything Jesus said (John 14:26). The Spirit teaches the Word to the Church. First, the Spirit helped the apostles remember everything Jesus had taught them, so that they could record His teachings, thereby forming the New Testament. Now, the Spirit helps us recall the teachings of Jesus by speaking to us through those apostolic scriptures. Do you love Jesus? If you love Jesus, then you treasure His words and cling to His promises. Where do you hear His words? You will hear the voice of Jesus in the Divine Service. You will hear His voice when inspired Scripture is read aloud and when the Spirit leads your pastor to proclaim the Good News. When you walk away from the Divine Service, you will, to quote the Nunc Dimittis, “depart in peace.” Jesus gives you objective peace by satisfying the wrath of God as He hung on the Cross, and He gives you subjective peace by giving you confidence through the preached Gospel. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. –Rev. Alexander Lange O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Pentecost)

4 MINMAY 31
Comments
Pentecost

Eve of Pentecost

Today’s Reading: John 14:15-21 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 20:22-21:9; Luke 20:45-21:19 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16–17) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. One would think that Jesus wouldn’t need to say that He was sending the Holy Spirit so many times. You would think that the disciples would get it, that they would take comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit was with them. In the same vein, you might think you don’t need to hear these words from Jesus so many times either. “I hear ya, Jesus. I get it, okay?” But do you, really? Or do you need to be reassured that the Lord is with you, that His Holy Spirit has come to you to be with you forever? Yeah, that’s the right answer—you need to be reassured of His constant presence with you. And that’s okay,...

4 MINMAY 30
Comments
Eve of Pentecost

Friday of the Seventh Week after Easter

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 20:1-21; Luke 20:19-44 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. (Numbers 20:11) In the Name of Jesus. Amen. Oops. Have you ever messed something up so badly that almighty God Himself banned you from ever going home again? I would bet that you haven’t, but Moses certainly did. God specifically told Moses to “tell the rock” to bring forth water for the people of Israel. But that’s not what Moses did. He assembled the crowd and basically said, “Hey, y’all, watch this!” before striking the rock with his staff. Why didn’t God embarrass Moses right then and there by refusing to let the water gush forth since Moses had acted so selfishly? Because He was thinking in much broader terms than Moses was. He had His whole assembled people to care for, so He allowed the water to flow, even if Moses had openly rebelled against His command. Of course, this ...

--MAY 29
Comments
Friday of the Seventh Week after Easter

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:41-17:13; Luke 20:1-18 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. (Luke 20:13–15) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Selfishness. That’s what Jesus calls out. The religious ruling class did not like that Jesus had drawn such a crowd to Himself. They feared that He would eclipse them and become more important, more favored, better remembered. Wow, were they ever right! Control. That’s what they wanted. Complete and total control over the people and over the message broadcast to everyone in Jerusalem and Judea. But Jesus was having none of it. So He prophesies to them a parable about the very near future. They weren’t playing around, though. They decided that it would be best if Jesus were…eliminated....

--MAY 28
Comments
Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:23-40; Luke 19:29-48 God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. (The Small Catechism: The Lord’s Prayer, First Petition) In the Name of Jesus. Amen. Trying to keep God’s Name holy is a strange concept. It is His Name, after all. How can you do anything to it? How can you damage the Name of the Most High God when He is the all-powerful one? Pretty easily, actually. Have you ever broken something that belonged to someone else, especially by misusing it? You didn’t mean to do it, it just happened. If only you had been more careful! Grandma’s special crystal vase should be handled more carefully than the plastic cup you can also use to put fresh flowers in. So it is with the Name of God. You keep His Name holy when you treat it properly, when you read, hear, and learn the Word of God as He intends you to receive it. When it is taught in truth and p...

--MAY 27
Comments
Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 4:7-14 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:1-22; Luke 19:11-28 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12–13) In the Name of Jesus. Amen. There are any number of accounts of God’s people being persecuted in the early years of the Church. It was almost expected that some sort of pain would come your way if you were a Christian. Don’t be surprised about it, Peter says. Paul tells the Galatians about the “marks of Jesus” he bears on his body. You see in the news today (if you know where to look) that faithful Christians around the world are suffering trials for confessing the faith. Don’t be surprised. The world hates Christians. So does the devil, and even your own sinful flesh hates your faithfulness. The common thread among the early C...

--MAY 26
Comments
Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 36:22-28 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 14:25-45; Luke 18:35-19:10 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. (Ezekiel 36:25) In the Name of Jesus. Amen. There is baptismal imagery all over the Old Testament. Hopefully you’ve been taught to recognize it when you read your Bible. Today’s text is pretty clear, isn’t it? Ezekiel almost shouts that these words of the Lord are baptismal. The people of God are exiled, driven from home and settled uncomfortably in Babylon. The surface reason is that the Babylonian armies have conquered Israel. The real reason is that God’s people have been faithless towards Him and He uses the Babylonians to discipline them for their idolatry. How bad was it? There were idols to false gods in the Jerusalem temple, not only in the courtyards, but inside the very temple building itself! The priests of Israel were praying to false gods across the ...

--MAY 25
Comments
Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

The Seventh Sunday of Easter

Today’s Reading: John 15:26-16:4 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 14:1-25; Luke 18:18-34 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. (John 16:3) In the Name of Jesus. Amen. One of the hardest things to understand is how Christians, or those who call themselves Christians, can act contrary to God’s Word and still think they are doing the right thing, or serving God while doing it. Jesus speaks specifically about the religious authorities who plan to kill him by crucifixion and then shift their wrath to the newly sent apostles who proclaim Him as the salvation of the world. Their great sin is unbelief, Jesus says. They do not know the Father. In spite of all their work with Holy Scripture, these religious authorities still cannot (or will not) see the Father working through His Son to wash away the sin of the world in Jesus’s death and resurrection. So they will turn to violence and shunning and shaming and rejection of those who carry the message of life...

--MAY 24
Comments
The Seventh Sunday of Easter

Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Today’s Reading: Acts 1:1-11 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 11:24-29; 12:1-16; Luke 17:20-37 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) In the Name of Jesus. Amen. Witnesses are those who speak the truth about what they have seen. Luke says that he had questioned eyewitnesses before writing his Gospel and this book of the Acts of the Apostles. So also, Jesus sends His apostles as witnesses to the ends of the earth to speak what they have come to know about Him. It is sometimes hard to get witnesses to agree, though. There are just enough differences amongst the Gospel records that some people doubt any of it is true. The same thing happens in everyday life. You’ve probably had two people tell you the same story in completely different ways, yet they both swore their versions were true. What is consistent though, what never changes, is the content o...

--MAY 22
Comments
Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

The Ascension of Our Lord

Today’s Reading: Luke 24:44-53 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 11:1-23, 31-35; Luke 17:1-19 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Just before He ascended to the Father’s right hand, Jesus made sure His sent ones knew exactly what they were to do without His physical presence, and why they were being sent to do it. One last time, He opened the Scriptures to them and clearly traced the line from Genesis, through the oracles of the prophets, across the psalms, and up to His own life, death, and resurrection, to be sure they understood that this is how it always had to be—the way it must be for salvation to be procured and proclaimed for all humanity. Now, as He is set to return to the right hand of His Father’s throne, He tells them that they are to pick up the mantle. They are to go forth...

--MAY 21
Comments
The Ascension of Our Lord

Latest Episodes

Pentecost

Today’s Reading: John 14:23-31 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 21:10-35; Luke 21:20-38 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The one who loves Jesus is one who “keeps” His words. Kudos to the English Standard Version for not translating this particular Greek word as “obey.” It can mean “obey” in some contexts, but here it means “keep” in the sense of “guard, cling to, treasure.” The one who loves Jesus isn’t defined by obedience to His commandments. The one who loves Jesus is one who treasures the Gospel, clings to Christ’s promises, and guards the true doctrine lest the devil take it from him. The Church cannot exist apart from the words of Jesus. That’s why God sent the Holy Spirit to earth. The Spirit comes to “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance” everything Jesus said (John 14:26). The Spirit teaches the Word to the Church. First, the Spirit helped the apostles remember everything Jesus had taught them, so that they could record His teachings, thereby forming the New Testament. Now, the Spirit helps us recall the teachings of Jesus by speaking to us through those apostolic scriptures. Do you love Jesus? If you love Jesus, then you treasure His words and cling to His promises. Where do you hear His words? You will hear the voice of Jesus in the Divine Service. You will hear His voice when inspired Scripture is read aloud and when the Spirit leads your pastor to proclaim the Good News. When you walk away from the Divine Service, you will, to quote the Nunc Dimittis, “depart in peace.” Jesus gives you objective peace by satisfying the wrath of God as He hung on the Cross, and He gives you subjective peace by giving you confidence through the preached Gospel. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. –Rev. Alexander Lange O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Pentecost)

4 MINMAY 31
Comments
Pentecost

Eve of Pentecost

Today’s Reading: John 14:15-21 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 20:22-21:9; Luke 20:45-21:19 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16–17) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. One would think that Jesus wouldn’t need to say that He was sending the Holy Spirit so many times. You would think that the disciples would get it, that they would take comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit was with them. In the same vein, you might think you don’t need to hear these words from Jesus so many times either. “I hear ya, Jesus. I get it, okay?” But do you, really? Or do you need to be reassured that the Lord is with you, that His Holy Spirit has come to you to be with you forever? Yeah, that’s the right answer—you need to be reassured of His constant presence with you. And that’s okay,...

4 MINMAY 30
Comments
Eve of Pentecost

Friday of the Seventh Week after Easter

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 20:1-21; Luke 20:19-44 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. (Numbers 20:11) In the Name of Jesus. Amen. Oops. Have you ever messed something up so badly that almighty God Himself banned you from ever going home again? I would bet that you haven’t, but Moses certainly did. God specifically told Moses to “tell the rock” to bring forth water for the people of Israel. But that’s not what Moses did. He assembled the crowd and basically said, “Hey, y’all, watch this!” before striking the rock with his staff. Why didn’t God embarrass Moses right then and there by refusing to let the water gush forth since Moses had acted so selfishly? Because He was thinking in much broader terms than Moses was. He had His whole assembled people to care for, so He allowed the water to flow, even if Moses had openly rebelled against His command. Of course, this ...

--MAY 29
Comments
Friday of the Seventh Week after Easter

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:41-17:13; Luke 20:1-18 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. (Luke 20:13–15) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Selfishness. That’s what Jesus calls out. The religious ruling class did not like that Jesus had drawn such a crowd to Himself. They feared that He would eclipse them and become more important, more favored, better remembered. Wow, were they ever right! Control. That’s what they wanted. Complete and total control over the people and over the message broadcast to everyone in Jerusalem and Judea. But Jesus was having none of it. So He prophesies to them a parable about the very near future. They weren’t playing around, though. They decided that it would be best if Jesus were…eliminated....

--MAY 28
Comments
Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:23-40; Luke 19:29-48 God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. (The Small Catechism: The Lord’s Prayer, First Petition) In the Name of Jesus. Amen. Trying to keep God’s Name holy is a strange concept. It is His Name, after all. How can you do anything to it? How can you damage the Name of the Most High God when He is the all-powerful one? Pretty easily, actually. Have you ever broken something that belonged to someone else, especially by misusing it? You didn’t mean to do it, it just happened. If only you had been more careful! Grandma’s special crystal vase should be handled more carefully than the plastic cup you can also use to put fresh flowers in. So it is with the Name of God. You keep His Name holy when you treat it properly, when you read, hear, and learn the Word of God as He intends you to receive it. When it is taught in truth and p...

--MAY 27
Comments
Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 4:7-14 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 16:1-22; Luke 19:11-28 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12–13) In the Name of Jesus. Amen. There are any number of accounts of God’s people being persecuted in the early years of the Church. It was almost expected that some sort of pain would come your way if you were a Christian. Don’t be surprised about it, Peter says. Paul tells the Galatians about the “marks of Jesus” he bears on his body. You see in the news today (if you know where to look) that faithful Christians around the world are suffering trials for confessing the faith. Don’t be surprised. The world hates Christians. So does the devil, and even your own sinful flesh hates your faithfulness. The common thread among the early C...

--MAY 26
Comments
Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 36:22-28 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 14:25-45; Luke 18:35-19:10 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. (Ezekiel 36:25) In the Name of Jesus. Amen. There is baptismal imagery all over the Old Testament. Hopefully you’ve been taught to recognize it when you read your Bible. Today’s text is pretty clear, isn’t it? Ezekiel almost shouts that these words of the Lord are baptismal. The people of God are exiled, driven from home and settled uncomfortably in Babylon. The surface reason is that the Babylonian armies have conquered Israel. The real reason is that God’s people have been faithless towards Him and He uses the Babylonians to discipline them for their idolatry. How bad was it? There were idols to false gods in the Jerusalem temple, not only in the courtyards, but inside the very temple building itself! The priests of Israel were praying to false gods across the ...

--MAY 25
Comments
Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter

The Seventh Sunday of Easter

Today’s Reading: John 15:26-16:4 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 14:1-25; Luke 18:18-34 And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. (John 16:3) In the Name of Jesus. Amen. One of the hardest things to understand is how Christians, or those who call themselves Christians, can act contrary to God’s Word and still think they are doing the right thing, or serving God while doing it. Jesus speaks specifically about the religious authorities who plan to kill him by crucifixion and then shift their wrath to the newly sent apostles who proclaim Him as the salvation of the world. Their great sin is unbelief, Jesus says. They do not know the Father. In spite of all their work with Holy Scripture, these religious authorities still cannot (or will not) see the Father working through His Son to wash away the sin of the world in Jesus’s death and resurrection. So they will turn to violence and shunning and shaming and rejection of those who carry the message of life...

--MAY 24
Comments
The Seventh Sunday of Easter

Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

Today’s Reading: Acts 1:1-11 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 11:24-29; 12:1-16; Luke 17:20-37 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) In the Name of Jesus. Amen. Witnesses are those who speak the truth about what they have seen. Luke says that he had questioned eyewitnesses before writing his Gospel and this book of the Acts of the Apostles. So also, Jesus sends His apostles as witnesses to the ends of the earth to speak what they have come to know about Him. It is sometimes hard to get witnesses to agree, though. There are just enough differences amongst the Gospel records that some people doubt any of it is true. The same thing happens in everyday life. You’ve probably had two people tell you the same story in completely different ways, yet they both swore their versions were true. What is consistent though, what never changes, is the content o...

--MAY 22
Comments
Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter

The Ascension of Our Lord

Today’s Reading: Luke 24:44-53 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 11:1-23, 31-35; Luke 17:1-19 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Just before He ascended to the Father’s right hand, Jesus made sure His sent ones knew exactly what they were to do without His physical presence, and why they were being sent to do it. One last time, He opened the Scriptures to them and clearly traced the line from Genesis, through the oracles of the prophets, across the psalms, and up to His own life, death, and resurrection, to be sure they understood that this is how it always had to be—the way it must be for salvation to be procured and proclaimed for all humanity. Now, as He is set to return to the right hand of His Father’s throne, He tells them that they are to pick up the mantle. They are to go forth...

--MAY 21
Comments
The Ascension of Our Lord
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