• August 15, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: Jeremiah 23:1-6

    “This is the name by which He will be called: the Lord is our righteousness.”
    Jeremiah 23:6

    Our Righteousness

    In these God inspired words, Jeremiah says much more than that our Lord Jesus is righteous in His person and in all His works. Jesus, the Messiah from the house of David, he says, shall be made righteousness, the righteousness that avails before God, to those who believe in Him. The pastors and teachers in Israel in the days of this prophet had all but wasted the kingdom of God among men with their sinful neglect of the Word of God, and their rejection of their redemption through Him who had been promised as the Redeemer. Therefore, the Lord Himself, the prophet says, would arise and gather what was left of His people from all the countries to which His chastisements had driven them and give them pastors to lead them to green pastures of His Word and to make them unafraid. In those days, the days of the New Testament, the Messiah would rise and prosper, and the Church would be holy and dwell safely. All who would be the Lord’s in truth would call the Savior “The Lord is our Righteousness.”
    By the redemption of the world through the blood of Christ, all sinners are not only forgiven all their sins, but they also have Christ in them. This purpose of God is realized in us through faith. We behold Jesus in the Gospel and in the Sacraments; by enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, we call Him “the Lord is our Righteousness.” So we are saved. So we enter the heavenly mansions.

    August 15, 1945

  • August 12, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: Acts 16:6-10

    “They attempted to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.”
    Acts 16:7

    Baffled for Greater Usefulness

    The decisions of God can leave us perplexed, especially when we try to serve Him and fail; a door closes mysteriously, and we have to abandon our purpose. Thus, the Apostle Paul must have been perplexed. He had attempted to enter the province of Bithynia, intending to do God’s work there. Yet the Holy Spirit Himself, whose very work is that of bringing sinners to Christ, barred the way in a manner to us unknown. The Apostle must have also wondered about this. Then he learned why this had been. All unknown to him, a great door was now open into the whole continent of Europe. There he was needed the most. God conserved Paul’s strength and his remaining years, for the greater task by closing the way to the lesser.
    The same reason also lightens our “bafflements”. We are poor judges of our best abilities and opportunities. Sometimes, we try to undertake tasks for which we are un-suited. Or we are unaware of other tasks for which we are better suited. We sometimes mistake the less important for the more important. And so, God conserves our strength and time by making some things impossible for us. He guides our usefulness into more fruitful fields, often closing other doors.
    We are to try to serve God as think best. If we are wrong, we may trust Him to correct us and guide us. He will put us where He wants us, if necessary by closing doors. But He baffles us in the present only to guide us to greater usefulness in the future.

    Heavenly Father, guide my days and service while giving me humility and trust to follow Your leading. Amen.

    August 12, 1940

  • August 11, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: Romans 8:31-39 // Psalm 133

    “If we live, we live to the Lord, and is we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”
    Romans 14:8

    Maker and Preserver

    The smells, the sights, the sounds, even the movement of my own muscles speak to me of my Father in heaven who created me and the world about me, who has created within me a clean heart through the forgiveness of Christ, my Savior, who gives me the privilege of serving Him today. Every moment of this day, I am determined to remember that my real Master is God the Father Almighty, my Maker and Preserver. I shall think, speak, and act is all things, as though I were doing it for Him – for in fact, I am! I would not want someone to say of me, “what a great person He is;” but rather, “what a great God he has.”
    I do not know what will happen to me this day or tomorrow or the next day. But I do know that I begin each day with a clean slate, for all my sins are washed away by His forgiving love. I do know that I live each day in His care and protection, so that whether I live or die, I am on my way to Him who created me for life everlasting.

    August 11, 1967

  • August 10, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: Psalm 17:6-15

    Hear My Prayer

    Among the problems that have always disturbed the Christian heart, one of the greatest is the problem of unanswered prayer. Does God answer all prayer? Will He answer mine? If not, why not? For these answers, we must go to the gates of eternity. Here on earth, we see as through a glass, darkly. But the question about unanswered prayer can be answered here: there never has been, and there never will be, anything like an unanswered prayer. Every true prayer, spoken in faith in the redeeming work of the Savior, whether it be the words of our lips or the sigh of our heart, is heard by God and answered. If we think of prayer as a great correspondence between earth and heaven, no letter is ever laid aside or left unanswered. God always hears our prayers!
    This, however, is also true: some of our prayers have been, and will be, un-granted. But there always is an answer. Sometimes, the answer may be “yes”, some it may be “no”; most often, it may just be “wait, you do not see clearly. You vision is dimmed by your sin and tears. My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts your thoughts.”
    This we must remember when we plead with God to hear our prayers. He hears them, but the answer is His, and not ours. He may want to take us in a way we do not want to go, but it is His way – the best way. Our plea should be, “Lord hear my prayer, Thy will be done.”

    August 10, 1938

  • August 09, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: Romans 8:1-9

    “Those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”
    Romans 8:5

    Thinking of Salvation

    Thoughts are most important in the realms of the spiritual. Solomon said, concerning man, “for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. Eat, drink! He says to you, but his heart is not with you.” [Proverbs 23:7] And the Bible often reminds us, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable … think about these things” [Philippians 4:8]. We know transgressions are thoughts, words, and deeds contrary to God’s will. Let us remember that thoughts come first. Before we speak a kind word, or perform and act of charity, there must be a thought that moves the lips to speak and the hands to give. The Bible is not only to be heard and read, but its precepts and promises are to meditated upon. The finest commendation of the Bible to a human being is this: “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” [Luke 2:19].
    There is a reason that thoughts are so important “for to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” [Romans 8:6]. A mind constantly filled with evil thoughts must finally go to the place where those thoughts originate, hell. But with Christ’s Word and Spirit in our mind, always rejoicing that Jesus saved us from sin, we shall be guided on the path of life and peace and heaven.

    Heavenly Father, let the same mind be in us that was also in Christ Jesus. Amen.

    August 09, 1944

  • August 08, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: Revelation 3:14-22

    “Fire shall be kept burning on the altar continually; it shall no go out.”
    Leviticus 6:13

    On Fire

    Throughout the history of God’s people in the Old Testament, there was to be a continuous fire on the altar of the Tabernacle and of the Temple. This was not to be a destructive fire, but it was to serve a twofold function. First, it was always to be ready to receive any burnt offering that anyone wished to bring. Then it was to symbolize the presence of Yahweh, who promised to be with His people in a cloud visible during the daytime and by a pillar of fire during the night.
    Symbolically, there should always be a fire burning on the altar of our hearts; it should never go out. This is the fire of faith, faith in Christ as the Savior from sin. It is also the fire of a confident trust, never to go out, even though it might become “a smoldering wick” [Matthew 12:20]. There is also the fire of love to God and love to man. It is to be burning brightly, so brightly that men may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. Finally, there is there is the fire of enthusiasm about our faith, our Church, our Lord. Unless there is this fire, there is little hope of God’s blessing upon us. He is displeased and disgusted with the lukewarm, who are neither cold nor on fire.
    Fire Thou me, O Christ, with heavenly zeal, that all my life, my time, my treasures, and my talents be dedicated to Thy service. Amen.

    August 08, 1960

  • August 05, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: Ephesians 4:11-16

    “So we, though many, are one body in Christ.”
    Romans 12:5

    One Body in Christ

    On any given Sunday, billions of people gather in the Body of Christ to worship Jesus. Our churches have as their focal point a cross, a constant reminder that we should be “In Christ.”
    This expression, “in Christ”, pretty well sums up our faith and life. We stand acquitted before the Father in heaven because he looks at us “in Christ”. There are 164 places in Paul’s letter in which the apostle describes believers as being “in Christ”. When we remember that we “are all on in Christ Jesus”, when we bear in mind the Biblical picture of Christ as the head and the believers as members of His body, then we will see that we must remain “in Him”.
    This body is the Christian Church. The unity is invisible. Christians must guard against the danger of being more fond of their Church, than they are of Jesus. We would shake our heads at someone who would say they were “all for education”, but hated books and schools. Yet we hear people say they are all for Christianity, but not the organized Church?
    We are to build the kingdom of God through a united effort amongst ourselves. We need the organized church and it’s groups; but, the Church must always be “in Christ”, and “for Christ”.

    Father, grant that we who are one body in Christ may in thought, word and deed glorify Him who is the head of the Body, even Jesus Christ, our Lord and God. Amen.

    August 05, 1956

  • August 04, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: Genesis 22:1-10

    “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
    Romans 4:3

    Mount Moriah and Faith Tested

    These were strange orders that God gave Abraham to carry out: “take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering” [Genesis 22:2]. For many years, God had been promising Abraham that he was to be the father of many nations, that his prosperity would be as countless as the stars. Abraham and his wife found it difficult to believe these promises since they were without a single child of their own.
    Then God gave them a son in their old age. This son was growing up to manhood as their only link between themselves and the countless descendants. But now, God commanded that his son should be sacrificed.
    This account tugs at our heart. Just suppose this command were given today? How unbelievable it would be for the parent given such a command; how frightening for the son who is to offered up. It was difficult for Abraham and Isaac, also. But Abraham trusted in the mercy of God who somehow be faithful to all He had promised. He believed what he could not understand. Do we believe implicitly in our Lord who is faithful, even when perplexing questions and pressing demands confront us?

    Open our eyes to see Your will and ways, O Lord our God. Amen.

    August 04, 1959

  • August 03, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: James 2:21-26

    “Wisdom says, blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.”
    Proverbs 8:34

    Attentiveness

    Happy is everyone who hears, watches, waits on the Lord. As we gather for our family devotion or when we worship in privacy, we speak to Him by means of our prayer. He in turn, speaks to us in His Holy Word. When we read our Bible or when it is read to us at home or in Church, let us pay the closest attention. Remember, God is speaking. It is our privilege, as God’s children, to hear.
    How often have we heard that what some people hear “goes in one ear and out the other”. Such people sit through the family devotion and have their minds so fixed on something else that they scarcely hear one word that is red to them. They listen to the sermon on Sunday, but they do not concentrate on what was said; by Monday, even before Monday, it has gone out the other ear.
    The great and important lesson for every Christian to learn is to pay attention to what they hear, to try to understand what it means, and to carry out in this daily life what has been taught him by the Word. Being attentive is not enough; for we must hear and learn it.

    Jesus, grant us both to will and to do according to Your good pleasure. Amen.

    August 03, 1943

  • August 02, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: James 4:13-17 // Psalm 118

    “You ought to say, ‘if the Lord wills, will live and do this or that.”
    James 4:15

    Planning for the Trip

    When beginning a trip, you could just get in your car and start to drive wherever the roads might take you. Usually, however, it is better t do some planning – study a map and learn where you would be going. In this way, you will know what clothing to pack and know what equipment to take along.
    God’s Word is our map for the trail of life. Here, He shows us the way; it isn’t by our goodness that we will get there. The only way is through Jesus, God’s Son, who took our place and was punished for our sin, and the sins of who have lived, are living, or will live.
    God’s Word is the equipment we need to take along in our lives. He gives us guidance to meet the challenges and opportunities that will come. He also gives us the spiritual strength we need to face these and to remain faithful in Him.
    Here, God comforts us that we are in His keeping also when the trail takes turns we don’t expect or particularly enjoy. So just as one does not look at a map only at the beginning of a trip, but throughout the journey, we keep using God’s Holy Word daily on life’s trail.

    August 02, 1990

  • August 01, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: 1st Corinthians 15:12-20

    “Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth.”
    Colossians 3:2

    The Things Above

    Without the hope of heaven in our hearts, life would be an empty and futile thing. It is good for us to remember that much of our weariness with life, much of our boredom and bitterness arises from the fact that we do not think enough about heaven. There are some who believe that “religion” should concern itself only with earthly affairs, and they like to say that if we talk too much and think too much about heaven, religion will cease to be a vital force in our daily life. On the contrary, it is when we forget our heavenly destiny and begin to live only for ourselves that our lives become small, meaningless, and fruitless.
    When our affection is set on the things that are above, “where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” [Colossians 3;1], then our hearts are filled with love for our Savior, who died to save us, and filled with a deep longing to be with Him where He is. Such a faith will brighten every corner of life and influence every thought, every word, and every deed.
    These people who say that heavenly-mindedness makes life drab and confining are so very wrong. It is the wonderful prospect of heaven that makes our human life a glorious pilgrimage full of adventure, full of meaning, full of hope.

    Blessed Lord Jesus, You have died that we might live forever; help us to live in this life as heirs of the life to come. Amen.

    August 01, 1953

  • July 29, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: Matthew 5:1-13

    “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seats of scoffers; but his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and on His Law he meditates day and night.”
    Psalm 1:1-2

    The Greater Blessedness

    Most people desire to be popular. Many think that the favors and smiles of the world bring with them advantages and advancement. The wise of the world seem to forge ahead as they travel the broad way of life. They are surrounded by many companions and have fun wherever they turn. With withering contempt, they look down on those who walk with the Lord and serve Him in the beauty of His Tabernacle. They try to make us Christians feel that we are missing the best things in life.
    But the way of sin is still hard. In the end, there is no peace of mind. He is afraid of God. He cannot face the eternal courts of the Most High, while he rejects the gracious invitation to come to the cross and be healed. In the end, the wicked shall be cut off. Upon those, however, who walk in the paths of righteousness by faith, God pronounces His benediction of peace. The believer finds the greater joy in the grace of God through Jesus Christ. He is unafraid because he is cleansed altogether from sin through the redeeming sacrifice of Calvary.

    July 29, 1950

  • July 28, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: 1st Timothy 2:1-6 // Psalm 47

    “God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
    1st Timothy 2:4

    God’s Desire for the Lost

    Have you ever sat in a packed athletic stadium and wondered how many of these screaming fans knew Jesus as Savior and Lord? Have you ever walked down a busy street or tried to drive on a busy freeway during rush hour and silently prayed that somehow all the people around you would come to know and trust in Christ’s forgiveness? Too easily, people become nameless faces, a sea of people we will never know or speak to.
    It is important that we remind ourselves that God’s perspective is very different. He created, knows, loves, and yearns, for each person on this planet. His Son is the way, the truth, and the life for everyone. Jesus’ death on the cross and rising to life is the hope of salvation for everyone.
    God’s desire for the lost sends us into the world each day with the joy of loving people and sharing His love with them. As we share that joy in our daily lives, as we join with others in our congregation to share it in our communities, and as our congregation shares Christ, we are living out God’s desire for all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.

    Lord of all, send Your whole Church forth to share the joy of our salvation in Jesus Christ. Amen.

    July 28, 1999

  • July 27, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: 2nd Corinthians 1:3-11

    “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
    Philippians 4:13

    A Dynamo of Power

    Paul is not making an idle boast. He was conscious of his own weakness. But he was confident of Christ’s strength. Jesus was his Savior and Lord. He has yielded his life and will to the service of the King. Christ was his life and the will of Christ the determining influence of his actions and desires. To the Galatians, he had written: “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” [Galatians 2:20]
    The power of Christ had been infused into his soul, so that without reservation, he had placed himself into the service of the Lord and master, Savior, and Friend. Trust in self does not give us the right to say: “I can do all things.” But trust in Christ’s power in us makes us confident workers in the Kingdom, bold confessors for Jesus, patient sufferers in affliction, mighty victors in the battle against sin and temptation.
    The influx of this power comes to us through the Gospel. Christians, therefore, must remain in touch with the source of heavenly energy by diligent use of the Word.

    July 27, 1953

  • July 26, 2022

    The Best of the Portals of Prayer

    Read: Hebrews 12:1-3 // Psalm 125

    “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
    Hebrews 12:1

    Surrounded

    We’re surrounded! These are not comforting words if you’re in a battle. However, these words give great encouragement if you’re running a race with the stands full of cheering fans. “We’re surrounded!” That’s the cry as we Christians run the race set before us. Imagine the cheering crowds as we run. There’s Noah. “God helped me endure the ridicule. Keep running.” Abraham is cheering. “Don’t give up. The Lord got me through the testing.” Listen to Moses. “Nothing is impossible with God.” The chant is deafening, over and over again. “God help us. He’ll help you!”
    Surrounded by the faithful, we run in faith. Surrounded by the faithful, we repent and lay aside our faithless deeds. Surrounded by the faithful, we fix our eyes on the source of our faith, Jesus. Surrounded by the faithful, we run in awe that Jesus would find joy fixing His eyes on us as He endured the shame of our sin on the cross.
    “We’re surrounded!” Praise God.

    Thank You, Jesus, for Your faithfulness and for your faithful ones, those who have gone before us in the faith. Amen.

    July 26, 2009