Paul digs deeply into the theological truth that apart from Faith in Christ, there is no righteousness.  How will faith bring changes to our lives?  How will being made right through Christ bring us transformed lives of freedom, joy, sacrifice, and renewal?

We were created in the image of God.  The fall has made that image hard to recognize, but the power of life in Christ awakens our hearts and calls us alive to become more and more like our Savior every day.

May 28 – The Right Spirit.  The day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to send the Holy Spirit. With the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were empowered from on high to continue the ministry that Jesus started. Powered by the Holy Spirit, three thousand people were changed forever in the waters of baptism. The Holy Spirit fills our lives today with the power of life in Christ. All that we do in his name is the result of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

June 4 – The Right Mission.  The church has had one mission – to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded to you. How we do that here, in this time and this place, is awakening hearts in every generation to the power of life in Christ! As members of the church, each one of us has been given this mission – awakening hearts and making disciples, and that mission is empowered by the Holy Spirit and the constant presence of Jesus.

June 11 – The Right Promise.  We have grown so accustomed to broken promises. Promises are made and broken by politicians, by spouses, by children, by all of us. But there was a promise made to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world. And this promise would not be based on our ability to keep our promises to God, but on faith in the promise that he has made to us.

June 18 – The Right Relationship.  Relationships are not easy. Sin too often gets in the way with how we treat others and how others treat us. This is most true with our relationship with God. But Jesus has reconciled us to the Father, restoring our relationship and saving our lives. Moved by his renewal in our lives, we are empowered to renew broken relationships we have with others.

June 28 – The Right Law.  What kind of fruit is your life bearing? Paul instructs us that we were once slaves to sin and our lives produced nothing but death. But we have been set free from sin and now we are free to become slaves of righteousness. We long to live lives that produce the abundantly good fruit of the Kingdom of God.

July 2 – The Right Law.  If the law shows our sin, and sin brings death, is the law bad? By no means! The law is holy, but we are too often deceived by sin. The law shows us the best possible life on this side of heaven. Yet Paul teaches that we have died to sin and now are released to serve in the new way of the Spirit. In Christ, our sins are washed away, and we are set free to live out the commands of God without fear.

July 9 – The Right Deliverer.  Why do we keep on sinning? The good things that God desires us to do seem to be impossible, while the bad things that we wish to stop, we keep on doing? Paul cries out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Our humble King comes peacefully into our lives to deliver us from sin and to give us rest.

July 16 – The Right Witness.  Eyewitnesses are sources of great authority. In a courtroom, great value is placed on the word of a credible witness. If there were witnesses of your life, what would they say about you? Surely there are some that would say good things, and some that could share some not so good things. Praise be to God, that when a witness comes forward to testify about us to God, it is the Holy Spirit himself, and he declares us to be made right – adopted sons and daughters of God and heirs of his kingdom!

July 23 – The Right Restoration.  Life is far from easy. Finances, health, relationships, does anyone find perfection is all of these all of the time? Reality is difficult. Paul reminds us that regardless of our current struggles, there is glory coming through redemption and restoration. Our struggles now will seem inconsequential compared to the glory that waits. Until then, take comfort, for the Holy Spirit himself prays on your behalf with groans that words cannot express. We can have hope now for the right restoration to come.

July 30 – The Right Love.  When difficulties come, it is tempting to think that God has abandoned us, or at least we are less important to him. Paul reminds us that God loves us so much that nothing in heaven or on earth or under the earth can remove us from his love. Not only that, but he loves us so much that he promises to use even our difficulties now to our good, and reminds us that in the face of our trials, we are more than conquerors through him who loves us. And with Jesus’ right love in us, we are made able to share love with others, even those causing us difficulties.

August 6 – The Right Family.  What family are you from? And what does your family say about who you are? For some, being a part of the right family sets one up for success or struggle. Paul shared that we have a connection to the family of Abraham, not by blood, but by the promise we are counted as children of God. In our baptisms, we are connected to the family of Abraham, we are adopted as sons and daughters of God, and we are heirs of life everlasting! Being a part of the right family makes all the difference in the world.

August 13 – The Right News: News travels fast. Social media and online 24 hour news presents us with constant updates on what is happening. So much news can quickly become noise, and one news cycle can make you forget the last. But one piece of news stands out as different. It is good, it is eternal, and it is more meaningful than any other news. All who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved! Your life, your words and actions, beautifully bring this good news to the lost.

August 20 – The Right Mercy.  Paul preached to the Gentiles that they were once disobedient, but that made them eligible to receive God’s mercy – God not treating them as they deserved. But lest they look upon the Jews in a negative light, Paul reminds them that in their disobedience, God desires them to become jealous of the Gentiles and desire God’s mercy as well. We are entitled to nothing. Our own disobedience makes it impossible for us to please God with our good works apart from faith. But our disobedience also makes us eligible for God’s grace!

August 27 – The Right Parts.  When building anything, it is important to have all the right parts and all the right tools. Jesus is transforming us into his body, each with different skills, roles, and parts. Each is incredibly important, and we must all work together, doing different things, to accomplish the same goal. We can only do this as Jesus transforms us by the renewal of our minds.

September 3 – The Right Marks.  Do you ever make judgments about other people based on how they act and behave?  Do you think other people do the same about you? What kind of observations do people make when they watch you? Paul tells us the marks that identify one who follows Christ. The standard is high. In fact, it is impossible. When we stumble and fall, we are forgiven and restored, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live the sanctified life he has already declared to have.

September 10 – The Right Authority.  Is there a person in office that you didn’t vote for? Are some governmental leaders making decisions that you disagree with? The Fourth Commandment saturates this text for today. Paul reminds us that all authority of our worldly government originates from God. By giving them the taxes and honor due their office, we are doing the same for God. Jesus transforms our rebellious nature to one of obedience.

September 17 – The Right Account.  It is so easy to look at other people and make an inventory of all the wrong things about them that they need to change. But we will all face judgment, not from one another, but from God. In our weakness, we would be doomed. But our judgment comes down to how we bow down in repentance and how we confess our faith in Jesus – not from our deeds, but by our faith.
September 24 – The Right Example.  The strong get stronger, the rich get richer, and the wise get wiser. But Paul reminds us that living like Christ means that we strive to follow his example, especially in how we treat others. Those who are strong are not to live a life that pleases themselves, but rather one that seeks to help those who are weak. We are all to seek endurance for ourselves as we give encouragement to one another, striving to live in harmony.

October 1 – The Right Heart.  We learn in life how to put our best foot forward, and present ourselves well. Social media fuels this by allowing us to show the world only the best parts of our lives. Yet with God, he cares far more for the condition of our hearts than outward signs. God is after our hearts, and he seeks to awaken them with his power. With hearts awakened, we seek to show our love to him by following his law and being obedient to him.

October 8 – The Right Justification.  We love to be right. Regardless of your position on any number of issues, we love to be right. And we can justify our position all day long. We can also justify our actions – for the ends justify the means, right? But justification with God is different. Paul teaches that we are justified (made right with God) not by our actions. If we were justified by our actions, no one would have a chance. In fact, it is the sinner who repents and believes in the forgiveness earned by Jesus who is counted as being righteous.

October 15 – The Right Hope. It may seem easier to find hope when life is abundant, vibrant, and peaceful. But, that is just hope in the world around us.  God offers us a different kind of hope, a sure and certain hope, especially when life is full of suffering. The hope that God has for us starts with us being at peace with him through faith, that allows us to rejoice always, even in times of suffering. 

October 22 – The Right Life.  Today is a great day to take stock of the life you live. Do you live according to the flesh, or according to the Spirit? We are no longer slaves to sin, but by the restoring work of our Savior, the Spirit of Life has set us free from sin and death. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are called to live out our faith boldly and without fear.

October 29 – The Right Redemption. Reformation day is a great celebration in our Lutheran heritage. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, which we know from the Word alone! We cannot boast in our salvation because of our works. This was a work done with the priceless death of our Savior who redeemed our lives and paid for our sin in full.

Weekly Awakening: How will you use God’s faithfulness at the cross to reflect his love?
November 5 – The Right Reward. Usually when we think of a reward it is granted because someone has done something great to earn it. But in the beatitudes of Jesus’ sermon on the mount, he gives blessings and rewards to the poor in spirit, the meek, and the persecuted. 
On All Saints Day we remember those who have passed from death into life. While we can enjoy the blessings of the beatitudes now, those who have passed know those blessings in full! We mourn, but not like the world does without hope. We anticipate the great family reunion and celebration that waits for us all.

Weekly Awakening: How will you use Jesus’ blessings to bless someone else this week?

November 12 – The Right People. Have you ever felt like you were on the outside looking in? Jesus turns things inside out by asserting that those on the inside, the nation of Israel, will be guilty of attempting to gain righteousness by works done without faith. Righteousness before God cannot be achieved, that is an impossible task. Righteousness before God can only be attained by faith. Our place in God’s family is not by natural birth, but by the rebirth of our baptisms. Jesus declares the outsiders his true family.

Weekly Awakening: Since by faith you’re safe within the inner circle of God’s family, how might you now consider sacrificing for another this week?
November 19The Right Glory. Do you listen to things that your “itching ears want to hear,” or do you humbly seek the truth? Paul urges believers to be watchful for those who cause divisions by teaching something other than the Gospel. The message of Paul is true gospel, according to the fulfillment of scripture which has been made known to all nations for the purpose of establishing and growing faith. To the only wise God be the glory!

Weekly Awakening: How does Christ’s victory give you hope and power for today’s struggle?

November 23 – The Right Attitude. Jesus changes the lives of ten men plagued by leprosy. He heals them, makes them clean, and they hurry off. Gratitude is a funny thing. Maybe it was the excitement, maybe a touch of entitlement, but only one out of the nine returned to thank Jesus for this life transforming gift. How is it with us? Do we see all the rich blessings that God has poured out onto our lives? Do we think that we are responsible for all the good because of our own efforts? Or do we have the right attitude, one of gratitude, that all we have belongs to the Lord, and he has asked us to use it for his kingdom?

November 26 – The Right King. The end of the church year gives us the opportunity to consider the final judgment. And it sounds like it is all about the things we do, or the things we don’t do for the least of these brothers of Jesus. But that would ignore the foundational concept in Romans that it is faith that is credited to us as righteousness. For those who believe, Jesus sees only our good deeds. For those without faith, Jesus sees only the unforgiven sins. It is faith alone that saves!

Weekly Awakening: How might I celebrate that King Jesus has declared me blessed this week?