Preparatory Devotional - June 2023
This is the twelfth Lord’s supper preparatory devotional I have
been blessed to write for our help and edification. I am so thankful
for the opportunity to write these, and for your willingness to use
We are using these devotionals as a way that God the Holy Spirit is
feeding and nurturing us. That feeding and nurture comes in the
way of self‐examination. The purpose is to know better who we
are and, especially, Who Jesus Christ is, our Savior and Lord. Please
make diligent use of this little devotional. If you have family with
you, read it together. Pray together. Encourage one another. Ask
your own heart the hard, searching questions. We each need to be
strengthened in the faith and perhaps a little “help” like this
preparatory devotional is just what we need.
The structure of these daily devotionals is simple. Read, reflect,
and pray. Joy awaits us as we come to know our God and ourselves
better in preparing to come to His table!
In this installment of the preparatory devotional, we learn that
true blessing comes by Christ’s way.
“Let each one examine his heart to be sure that he trusts in
Jesus Christ alone for his salvation, that he believed his sins
are forgiven wholly by grace, for the sake of our Lord’s
sacrifice on the cross.”
~Preparatory Exhortation paragraph #3
MONDAY - June 4, 2023
“Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and satdown. His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them, saying:”~~ Matthew 5.1, 2
Are you teachable?
That’s an important question given the
“introduction” to the sermon on the mount. These verses serve as our
introduction to Jesus, the great Teacher. But are you one of His
students? Look at verse one of our text and notice how with all that
happens, Jesus is the leader. He sees the crowd, He went up on a
mountainside (sermon on the mount…), He sat down, taking the pose of
the teacher in Old Covenant tradition. His disciples, then, came up to
Him on the mountain and made themselves available as His students.
Are you teachable?
Each Sunday we arrive at His house to sit under His ministry, right? We
believe the preaching we hear is only through the mouth of an under
shepherd. That preaching is from the mouth of our great Priest and
Prophet and King, Jesus Christ. He is the great Teacher. We come to
church as students. We must surely be His students during the week of
Preparatory is the time to focus on Jesus Christ, to carefully consider
our own sins, and to remember the holiness of God and His wrath
against sin. As we examine His Word, our hearts, and pray for the
correct response to both, we will be made ready by God the Holy Spirit
to a proper approach to His table.
God does not need from us a list of our accomplishments or lots of
empty promises. What the Lord God calls us to is a thorough
examination, an honest assessment, and then a piercing gaze upon the
Lord Jesus Christ, our only hope.
Reflect: Ask yourself if you are teachable under the great Teacher Jesus
Christ? If so, you will ask questions about sin and salvation this week.
Pray: Ask the Lord to give you a keen eye for the truth of His Word as
you examine your heart this week. Ask God to show you Jesus Christ
and His perfect salvation for sinners.
TUESDAY - June 6, 2023
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are themeek, for they will inherit the earth.”~~ Matthew 5.3-5
Read those three verses a second time, and try to come up with one or
two words that connect all three of these “blessed are” conditions?
Does the word ‘humble’ work for you? How about ‘contrite’? Maybe the
word ‘lowly’ gets at it. Maybe we can summarize who the Lord is saying
are the blessed ones by saying “it is not the proud, ‘I can do it my way’
people who are in a blessed state. Rather, blessed are the poor,
mourning, meek ones. That should define us during the week of
Why? Because we are examining our hearts. Have you looked at your
heart lately? I saw an MRI of my physical heart recently, but of course
that’s not what we mean, is it? Have you evaluated your spiritual
vitality, your willing obedience to the commandments of God? Have you
tested your delight in coming to church? Do you come willingly and
joyfully or out of a sense of duty or because you merely want to see
your friends? Are you mourning because you realize you still sin and
some (a lot?) of what you do and how you react proves that sin is alive
and well in you? Are you poor in spirit?
Answer please the question from yesterday again: Are you teachable?
The Lord sat down, the disciples gathered around and as He spoke, they
took it all in. Now as you read His Word here about being a poor,
mournful, and meek sinner are you nodding your head and saying, “yes,
Jesus is right. That’s who I am”? Are you allowing Jesus through His
Word to teach you? If you are, you will be ready for the Lord’s supper.
Reflect: Consider how the person who knows they are poor, mournful,
and meek is the person rightly prepared to come to the table of our
Pray: Ask the Lord to break your heart about your sin, to humble you
about your disobedience, and show you how great is your need for
WEDNESDAY - June 7, 2023
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
If we make a connection between the “Beatitudes” and the Lord’s
supper, surely that connection is usually in these Words. Hunger –
bread; thirst – wine. Spiritually, speaking, we “eat the flesh of the Son of
Man and drink His blood” (John 6.53). So, it is natural for us to think of
hungering and thirsting for righteousness and being filled as leading to
the Lord’s supper. The problem with us doing that is it is too limiting.
Ask this question of yourself today: Am I usually spiritually hungry and
thirsty? This is an important question because the person who hungers
and thirsts regularly is the person regularly looking for food from Jesus
Christ. That person regularly examines his or her heart. That person
wants to read the Bible, wants to spend time with God in prayer, wants
to fight against sins in their life, wants to come to church both morning
and evening on the Lord’s day. The one who hungers and thirsts is
blessed because they will be regularly finding rich food and drink in
Those who regularly hunger and thirst spiritually will be very good
students. Such people are regularly teachable. That means – if this is
you – your heart and mind are teachable at this moment. You are
looking forward to the Lord’s supper ahead. You are seeing the
remnants of gross sins in your life and are busy putting them to death
(Romans 8.13), and finding continual forgiveness in the precious blood
of Jesus Christ. If you hunger and thirst for righteousness, then you also
‘trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation.’
Reflect: A life of hunger and thirst is good if what you hunger and thirst
for is righteousness. As you come to the Lord’s table that hungering and
thirsting will again be satisfied by our spiritual bread and drink.
Pray: Ask God to feed you richly at the upcoming meal if you regularly
hunger and thirst for righteousness. Ask Him to give you a regular
hunger and thirst for spiritual things if you do not have that.
THURSDAY - June 8, 2023
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are thepure in heart, for they will see God.”~~Matthew 5.7, 8
This is the first indication in the sermon on the mount of an outward
action to show the inward reality of being right with God. Those who
are right with God, the ones who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
who are poor, mournful, and meek sinners will show mercy to others. Is
that you? Such ones are also, it seems, ‘…pure in heart.” Again, is that
you? Here is where we are again faced with the question we must
answer: Am I teachable? In this section of the “beatitudes” being
teachable means, I ask my heart if I willingly, readily, and quickly show
mercy to others, especially when they sin against me.
Preparatory is the process of examination. In that examination we are
to ask questions of our heart. That means our thoughts, actions, and
reactions need to be questioned and evaluated. What do we hope to
learn? We need to learn whether our sins have been forgiven wholly by
grace, for the sake of our Lord’s sacrifice on the cross. Which sins? In
this case, the sin of not willingly, readily, and quickly showing mercy to
others, especially when they sin against us. But to receive that
forgiveness we must admit the sin. Is your heart pure on the matter of
showing mercy to others?
When we return to the house of the Lord this coming Lord’s Day we
hope and plan to partake of the Lord’s supper after we hear from Him in
the preached Word. We will both hear from God and taste of His
goodness. As verse 8 of Jesus’s teaching puts it, we will “see God.” Don’t
push that “beatific vision” away and think we will only see God in
heaven. As His mercy works through us to quickly forgive others, we will
come to His house in Christ rejoicing to see God in the Word and
Reflect: Blessed are those who, out of hearts made pure by grace, show
mercy to others by quickly forgiving them when they sin against us. Plan
to see God in His house through the Word and sacrament this Sunday.
Pray: Ask the Lord to give you a willingness to show mercy to others.
FRIDAY - June 9, 2023
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”~~ Matthew 5.9
“Let each one examine his heart to be sure that he trusts in Jesus Christ
alone for his salvation and that he believes his sins are forgiven…”
Are you at peace? Are those nearest to you at peace with you? Do you
feel peaceful? These questions flow from this text and toward our
observance of the Lord’s supper. Are you at peace with God and your
neighbor? Being at peace with God comes by and through Jesus Christ,
because of His shed blood. Examine your heart and be sure. Is Jesus
Christ your only reason for your claim that you are at peace with God?
Being at peace with your neighbor comes because of being at peace
with God through Jesus Christ, but as a fruit of His salvation. Those
reconciled to God by Jesus Christ will always seek to reconcile with a
neighbor (friend, family, co‐worker, etc.) because they must have peace.
This is why the preparatory form also warns us: “If anyone of us is living
in disobedience to Christ and in enmity with his neighbor, he must
repent of his sin and reconcile himself to his neighbor before he comes
to the Lord’s table.” So, be a peacemaker!
But you must also examine your heart to be sure that you feel peaceful.
Even though feelings can be a dangerous ‘metric’, it is still true that
being at peace with God and neighbor should leave you feeling
peaceful. If not, ask “why not?” Remember this: “..we urge any who lack
this confidence (of coming to the table with good conscience) to seek
from the minister or any elder such counsel as may quiet his conscience
or lead to the conversion of his life.” Are you a peacemaker?
Reflect: The Lord gives peace to those who are His. We should be at
peace before we come to His table in just two days.
Pray: Ask the Lord to reveal to you His peace through Jesus Christ and
ask Him to bring you into peace with those around you.
SATURDAY - June 10, 2023
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
~~ Matthew 5.10
On this Saturday before the Lord’s Day, the last day of preparatory we
might be saying – why do we have to end with the warning about
persecution? The Lord says here we are in a blessed state if we are
being persecuted for living in a way that glorifies Him. But we might
want to live as private Christians. We might want to just keep our faith
in Christ to ourselves. And we might even decide to do that – be a closet
Christian – because we want to avoid persecution. If so, then what? One
Why repent? Because if we don’t repent of being a private Christian, we
will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Read again the Lord’s Word
above. It’s a pretty clear statement. “Am I a soldier of the cross, a
follower of the Lamb, and shall I fear to own His cause, or blush to speak
His Name? Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease, while
others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas? (Psalter
#465). Is that your song?
What does it mean to be the blessed of the Lord? All that we have
covered in this week of preparatory – including being a Christian who is
out of the closet, ready to own His Name and His cause. To be
persecuted for the Name and honor of Jesus Christ is to be blessed. This
truth only makes clearer to us why we need His Word and His supper.
And He does not disappoint. He has prepared a Word and a meal that
will fill and enable us, spiritually. Truly we are blessed and week by
week we realize that all the more. Praise the Lord!
Reflect: To be the blessed of the Lord includes the privilege of suffering
for the Name and glory of Jesus. He will strengthen you tomorrow to
suffer for His Name.
Pray: Ask our gracious God to make the Lord’s day, the Lord’s Word,
and the Lord’s supper our strength to live for the Name of the Lord.