Home > Reading > Daily Reading – January 5, 2024

Ephesians 5:6–11 (Listen)

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.


Twelfth Day of Christmas

Having lived in Ohio my entire life, and in Columbus for the past 13 years, I’m a Buckeye through and through. On fall Saturdays, we cheer for Ohio State—period. Imagine my dismay then when my youngest daughter, at age 10, informed us that she was going to cheer for both the Buckeyes and our archrivals, the Michigan Wolverines. Oh no, not on my watch! I patiently tried to explain to her why this was impossible, but to no avail.
Similarly, in today’s Scripture text, the Apostle Paul explains the impossibility of living in both darkness and light. These are not simply ways of living, nor are they metaphors for bad and good behavior. Darkness and light are two different kingdoms engaged in spiritual warfare; Christ’s kingdom and the Devil’s kingdom.
From the moment of conception, we were in darkness because of original sin. But Paul emphasizes that the Lord “”has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13–14). He goes on to explain in today’s reading how that transition has changed our very nature, and how that change ought to be evident in the way that we live our daily lives. In a dark world, where we are told that up is down and truth is relative to each person’s experience and feelings, the church does well to repeat the childlike plea of Kathleen Thomerson’s 1999 hymn, “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light.”
I want to walk as a child of the light.
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world.
The star of my life is Jesus.
In him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart Lord Jesus.

Prayer: Lord God, when the darkness of this world closes in, draw our hearts and minds to You. Guide our thoughts and actions. Fill our imaginations with the light of Your truth and love, so that our lives may bear fruit for Your kingdom and bring glory to Your name; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Devotion written by the Rev. Jeff Morlock

Joshua 3:14–4:7 (Listen)

14 So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

Twelve Memorial Stones from the Jordan

4:1 When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the LORD said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

Ephesians 5:1–20 (Listen)

Walk in Love

5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

  “Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
  and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,


Morning Psalms

Psalm 99 (Listen)

The Lord Our God Is Holy

99:1   The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble!
    He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
  The LORD is great in Zion;
    he is exalted over all the peoples.
  Let them praise your great and awesome name!
    Holy is he!
  The King in his might loves justice.
    You have established equity;
  you have executed justice
    and righteousness in Jacob.
  Exalt the LORD our God;
    worship at his footstool!
    Holy is he!
  Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
    Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
    They called to the LORD, and he answered them.
  In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
    they kept his testimonies
    and the statute that he gave them.
  O LORD our God, you answered them;
    you were a forgiving God to them,
    but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
  Exalt the LORD our God,
    and worship at his holy mountain;
    for the LORD our God is holy!

Psalm 148 (Listen)

Praise the Name of the Lord

148:1   Praise the LORD!
  Praise the LORD from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights!
  Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his hosts!
  Praise him, sun and moon,
    praise him, all you shining stars!
  Praise him, you highest heavens,
    and you waters above the heavens!
  Let them praise the name of the LORD!
    For he commanded and they were created.
  And he established them forever and ever;
    he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
  Praise the LORD from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all deeps,
  fire and hail, snow and mist,
    stormy wind fulfilling his word!
  Mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars!
10   Beasts and all livestock,
    creeping things and flying birds!
11   Kings of the earth and all peoples,
    princes and all rulers of the earth!
12   Young men and maidens together,
    old men and children!
13   Let them praise the name of the LORD,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his majesty is above earth and heaven.
14   He has raised up a horn for his people,
    praise for all his saints,
    for the people of Israel who are near to him.
  Praise the LORD!


Evening Psalms

Psalm 96 (Listen)

Worship in the Splendor of Holiness

96:1   Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
    sing to the LORD, all the earth!
  Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.
  Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples!
  For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
  For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the LORD made the heavens.
  Splendor and majesty are before him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
  Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
    ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
    bring an offering, and come into his courts!
  Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
    tremble before him, all the earth!
10   Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
    Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.”
11   Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12     let the field exult, and everything in it!
  Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13     before the LORD, for he comes,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
  He will judge the world in righteousness,
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Psalm 110 (Listen)

Sit at My Right Hand

A Psalm of David.

110:1   The LORD says to my Lord:
    “Sit at my right hand,
  until I make your enemies your footstool.”
  The LORD sends forth from Zion
    your mighty scepter.
    Rule in the midst of your enemies!
  Your people will offer themselves freely
    on the day of your power,
    in holy garments;
  from the womb of the morning,
    the dew of your youth will be yours.
  The LORD has sworn
    and will not change his mind,
  “You are a priest forever
    after the order of Melchizedek.”
  The Lord is at your right hand;
    he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
  He will execute judgment among the nations,
    filling them with corpses;
  he will shatter chiefs
    over the wide earth.
  He will drink from the brook by the way;
    therefore he will lift up his head.

“”Kaj (pronounced KYE like
“sky”) Munk, Martyr, 1944″”

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After several challenging years in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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