Something for Something – October 28, 2021

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. . . I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:19,22,23

Something for Something


Daily Devotion – October 28, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 9:19,22,23

See series: Devotions

Quid pro quo.

That’s Latin for “something for something.” If I give you something, I expect you to give me something fair in return. If I work for a company, I deserve to get paid a fair wage. It’s my right.

And that’s all fine and good, as long as we remember that it goes both ways. If I put in the work, I deserve fair wages. But if I don’t put in the work, I deserve to be fired.

But God works a strange economy. He doesn’t give us what we deserve. He gives us what we don’t deserve. For our sins of crossing the line with God or not measuring up to his standards, we deserve to be punished. Instead, God, who is rich in mercy, gave us his Son.

Jesus had equal status with God because he is God. But he wasn’t so full of pride that he had to hold on to that status. No! He set aside his divine privileges and enslaved himself to his Father’s will so that he might save us. In perfect obedience to his Father, Jesus lived a selfless life and died a selfless death. And as a result, we are free from sin’s curse and Satan’s accusations.

Now, we are free to be all things to all people. For the sake of other people’s souls, I don’t have to insist on my way or my rights. I can meet people where they are at. I can listen to their point of view and try to understand. Then, I can point them to Jesus so they might share in the freedom that comes from his forgiveness.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, teach me true humility, so that I help rather than hinder the cause of your Gospel. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Who’s the Greatest? – Family Devotion – October 27, 2021

Read: Isaiah 53:10-12

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin.
After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Isaiah 53:10-12

Who’s the Greatest?

 

Family Devotion – October 27, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 53:10-12

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“I am the greatest!” A famous boxer named Muhammed Ali made that statement in 1964 just before one of his big boxing matches. Ever since that day, many Americans hear that phrase and immediately think of that very famous man.

Being “great” is something that a lot of people hope for. Whether its athletes being great at their sports, musicians being great performers, or students being great in school and other activities—all people seem to have a desire to be great.

However, greatness doesn’t last very long. Great athletes get older and slower. Great singers lose their fame to new great singers. Great basketball teams are beaten by other great teams. And finally, every human being eventually dies. Our greatness doesn’t last.

But that’s not the case with Jesus. Jesus is the one and only who can say, “I am the greatest,” something that always has been and always will be true. But he didn’t say it. Jesus set aside his glory and honor in order to give up his life for you and for me. The words that we hear today are a prophecy from the prophet Isaiah spoken about 700 years before Jesus came to earth. The words tell us how Jesus would come to suffer and bear the sins of the world as he gave his life as an offering, or payment for all sin.

Jesus fulfilled this promise and did come to save us. So God the Father says about his Son in verse 12, “Therefore, I will give him a portion among the great.” Jesus has all glory and honor as the greatest—the one and only who lived, died, and rose again to save us from death and hell.

Because Jesus is so great, it is good for us to thank and to praise him. What a joy to worship our great Savior on Sunday! What a blessing to be able to pray to our great Lord and know that he listens to us! What a comfort to be able to put our hope and confidence in our great God! Rejoice that you know the one who actually is the greatest—Jesus Christ our Lord.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, how great and gracious you are, that you came to live and die for me. Now help me to thank and praise you in all that I do! Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name two people who are “great” in this world.
  • Why is Jesus the greatest?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Satan is very powerful and dangerous! How do we know that Jesus is more powerful than Satan?
  • Explain how the greatness of Jesus is so much different than the greatness people in this world think about.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Isaiah spoke these words about Jesus’ suffering and dying 700 years before it happened. Explain why that is something that helps us to know that the Bible is truly God’s Word.
  • We often talk about thanking and praising Jesus for what he has done. Give a real and practical way that you can do that in your life?

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Strive for Rest – October 27, 2021

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.
Hebrews 4:9-11

Strive for Rest


Daily Devotion – October 27, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 4:9-11

See series: Devotions

The soldiers, rough and run down, file out of the truck. Their clothes are ragged. Their bodies are stiff and sore. For months, they fought hard and slept little. To say that these soldiers are tired would be an understatement. They have been on the battlefront too long.

As they line up, the commanding officer reminds them why they are here. They must use this time wisely. They have only one responsibility: rest and recuperate. It will take a few days for their bodies to respond, but gradually their energy will return as they find rest.

Is your soul tired? Are you worn down by your battle against your spiritual enemies–the devil and your own sinful flesh? Are you exhausted from trying to live up to God’s standard only to realize day after day that you fail?

Let God’s promise in today’s Bible reading comfort you. It promises that it is not our efforts that make us worthy to be with God. Jesus has already done that work. He carefully carried out his Father’s orders in everything. You don’t have to sweat or strain to soften God’s anger or try to win his love. Jesus has dismissed you from that wearying and worrying work.

So, you can rest. You can rest in him.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, when I am weary, help me find rest in you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Arrogant Pride – October 26, 2021

After Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
2 Chronicles 26:16

Arrogant Pride


Daily Devotion – October 26, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Chronicles 26:16

See series: Devotions

What were you doing at the age of sixteen?

For most of us, our teenage years were typical. Our time was consumed with dating, school, sports, and getting our driver’s license. Uzziah didn’t have a typical teenage experience. By the time he was sixteen, Uzziah was ruling the nation of Judah.

Uzziah was a great king. But the legacy he left behind is that arrogant pride will result in personal ruin. His name means the Lord is my strength and early in his reign Uzziah lived up to that name. He followed God faithfully. He lived in humble obedience before the Lord. As long as he did, God gave him tremendous success. Uzziah became the greatest ruler since Solomon.

Unfortunately, greatness went to Uzziah’s head. He forgot that the Lord’s hand, not his own, had achieved these great things. In arrogant pride, Uzziah forgot his place, strutted into the temple, and took over. The priests tried to stop him. Uzziah lost his temper. God struck him with a skin disease that stuck with him. He had to live out the rest of his reign in quarantine.

Uzziah serves as a reminder for all of us: In all things, give God glory. He is the source of all our successes. His hand, not ours, accomplishes great things for us. We would have nothing if God did not give it to us.

But even when pride goes to our head, and we fall flat, God remains faithful in his goodness. He lifts our eyes so we can see Jesus, who lived in perfect humility before God, as our substitute. And although he was without sin, God inflicted him and caused him to suffer the guilt of our arrogant pride.

So, whether it is success we have in this life or our hope of eternal life in heaven, we owe it all to God. May this reality keep us thankfully humble.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, make me mindful that all I have is a gift from you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Reformation

We Give Thanks to God for His Grace, Faith, and Word

These are the readings for Reformation Sunday.

God’s Word for This Week

On Reformation Sunday we give thanks to God for his rescue from hell, rescue that comes by his grace alone. We thank him for the faith he gives us to trust his promise. We thank God for his errorless Word, the Bible, which gives and strengthens that faith. At the same time, we understand that we can fall away from that grace by unbelief. We recognize that Satan, society, and our sinful self—will daily challenge our faith. Therefore, let us never stray from God’s life-giving Word.

Traditional First Lesson – Jeremiah 18:1-11

To whom did God send the prophet Jeremiah?

God sent Jeremiah to watch a potter form his objects out of clay.

What was the point of God’s comparison?

Just as a potter controls what he forms with the clay, so the Lord would decide what he would do with the people of Judah. If they did evil, he would form their future accordingly with his righteous judgment. If they repented, he would form their future differently, making them into a vessel of his grace.

Supplemental First Lesson – Daniel 3:16-28

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not sure God would save them from the fiery furnace. Still, what did they say to the king just before he threw them in? (See Daniel 3:18.)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said that even if their God did not rescue them from the flames, they would not serve Nebuchadnezzar’s gods or bow down to the image he had set up.

What three things did Nebuchadnezzar say that he concluded? (See Daniel 3:28-29.)

Nebuchadnezzar concluded a) that the God of the three men had sent his messenger/angel to save them, b) that the three had done the right thing, and c) that no other god could save in such a way.

What should we conclude from this story?

Among many things, we should conclude that God will bless those who fear him—those who put his Word and command above any other word and command.

Second Lesson – Revelation 14:6,7

The book of Revelation offers a number of symbols and pictures of how the world is and will be until the end of the world. What did the apostle John see in these verses?

John saw an angel who went out urging all people to honor and worship God, for the time of his judging had come.

What connection does this have with the Reformation?

In previous visions, John had seen that believers would suffer many trials and that the enemies of God and false teachers would attack them. Today’s two verses offer the comfort that even in the midst of persecution and false teachers, God’s Word will be proclaimed to the nations. Martin Luther was one messenger who did just that. The Greek word for angel means, “messenger.” May we, like Luther, be messengers of the truth in this wicked world.

Gospel – Mark 13:5-11

What kinds of things does Jesus warn us will continue to happen until the end of the world?

Jesus warns us that many people claiming to be Jesus or the Messiah will come. There will be wars and rumors of wars.

Why should we not be afraid of such things?

Why shouldn’t we fear? God promises to be with us and give us strength. He promises his Holy Spirit, who will help us defend our faith without fear. We have God’s promise of eternal life. We know that all trials are “birth pains,” that is, signs of the new and perfect life that is coming soon.

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You First – Family Devotion – October 25, 2021

Read: Mark 10:35-45

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:41-45

You First

 

Family Devotion – October 25, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 10:41-45

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“I’m the best!” Brayden whispered, pointing at the A+ on his spelling test. Avery looked at him and rolled her eyes. “Oh boy, here we go again!” she thought to herself. You see, all the kids in first grade had been getting used to Brayden saying this. Brayden would get a homerun in kickball and shout, “I’m the best!” as he was rounding the bases. Brayden would finish his math facts sheets before anyone else and tell his friends, “I’m the best at math!” No matter what it was, Brayden always liked to tell everyone how great he thought he was.

Unfortunately, not many of Brayden’s classmates agreed with him. Usually this made the other students so upset that they didn’t even want to play with Brayden at recess or eat with him at lunch. Sadly, the one thing that Brayden actually was the best at was being proud and selfish.

Some of Jesus’ disciples had a similar problem in the story today. The brothers James and John had come to Jesus and asked if they could have a special privilege. They asked if they could sit on his right and left side some day in glory. In a sense, you could say they wanted to be the best in Jesus’ kingdom. When the other ten disciples heard about this, they were very upset. “Why should they be the best? Why can’t we be the best? We want to be treated specially in Jesus’ kingdom, too!”

That’s when Jesus had to bring all his disciples together and teach them something important. Jesus told them that many worldly rulers like to use their power and authority to try to be the best and rule over other people. (Even today we see this same thing sometimes with celebrities, athletes, and political leaders.) But Jesus teaches his disciples both then and now something very strange to this world—whoever wants to be first and best should be like a servant.

For an example of this, we need look no further than Jesus himself. Jesus is the best. He is God. Yet Jesus humbly came not to be served by us as the best. Instead, he came to serve us and treat us like we are the best. Jesus sacrificed himself to be the ransom—the payment—that would pay for our sins and give us the gift of life in heaven. We love and treasure our Savior so much because he served us with such love. The important lesson we learn today is that our joy as Christians is to put others first and love them just as Jesus has loved us.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for humbling yourself to serve us by giving your life to die for us and pay for our sins. Help me to be humble and to put others first in love, just like you did. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does it mean to be proud? How did the disciples act proud and selfish?
  • What does it mean to be humble? How did Jesus act humbly with love?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why do you think so many people act selfishly today and try to be “the best”?
  • Jesus is true God and actually is “the best.” Explain why Jesus didn’t act like it here in this world.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: It is always wrong to put your own wants or desires before that of others. Explain your answer.
  • Identify two ways that you can be humble and put others first.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Servanthood – Week of October 25, 2021

Servanthood – Week of October 25, 2021



[Jesus said,] “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:43-45



I have often joked that if I ever write a book, I will entitle it, “Where Are All of the Parades?”. Where is the parade when I wake up early to workout? Where is the parade when my class had a fantastic day and somehow everything I planned was executed and executed well? Where is the parade when I made dinner and did not hear one complaint about it? Where is the parade when I did all of the laundry, folded it, and put it away all on the same day?

I tend to want parades. A pat on the back. Words of affirmation. Acknowledgement for all the hard work that I do. Ever feel that way?

Every now and then, a parade, with chocolate and flowers thrown at me with people cheering me on would be awesome.

Does that sound a little off? A little too much? A little self-serving? While it is nice to feel appreciated every now and then, sometimes that’s just not the reality. You might never hear a “way to go!” or a “thank you!” and that’s ok.

“Jesus said, ‘Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’” Mark 10:43-45

Think of our Savior, Jesus. He came to this world with one purpose…to save. He worked tirelessly to serve those in need, those who were lost, those who desperately needed a Savior. He served humbly, quietly, selflessly. Never expecting anything in return, but rather hoping for the people he was serving to be victorious after it all was said and done.

It is easy, while we serve others, to desire something in return. It can be easy to want praise or a sense of gratitude for the work you put in day in and day out. But when you fall into the trap of working with a heart that desires parades, remember the One who did it all and ended up on a cross. The One who served with a heart full of love, for you. Pray for that kind of heart. A heart full of love for him. A heart full of servanthood to the Lord.



Prayer: Dear God, you are great. Forgive me when I forget you. Give me a joyful heart of servanthood that puts you right at the center. Amen.

A Question to Consider: Who do you know that could use the reminders and encouragement of these verses? Consider sharing them with them by forwarding this devotion and perhaps including a personal word of encouragement.

 



Early Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Our Great Redeemer – October 25, 2021

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin . . . the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand . . . By his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many . . . Therefore I will give him a portion among the great.
Isaiah 53:10-12

Our Great Redeemer


Daily Devotion – October 25, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 53:10-12

See series: Devotions

You are a hardened criminal. For as long as you can remember, you have been in trouble with the law. When the authorities finally apprehend you, they charge you with society’s worst imaginable crimes and drag you to court.

You stand with your court-appointed attorney in front of the judge. Over the next twelve hours, the prosecution presents witness after witness and produces evidence after evidence. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, you are guilty. The judge sentences you to 10 consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole.

Just as the judge is about to close the case, your attorney speaks up. “Your honor,” he says, “I am willing to take responsibility for this person’s crimes. I will assume his guilt. I will accept the consequences. I will satisfy the sentence.”

“Very well,” the judge responds. “I will allow it. The accused is free to go.”

You can’t believe your ears. This is great!

As great as this news would be, the good news of what Jesus has done for us is even greater.

We fall short of God’s approval. He has his limits, and we continually cross the line. He has his demands, and we keep missing the mark. There is no such thing as a misdemeanor in God’s courtroom. If we break one law, we are guilty of breaking them all. It’s a death sentence—hell without parole.

But Jesus is our God-appointed attorney. And since he could not argue our innocence, he stepped in and assumed our guilt. When he went to the cross, he suffered our punishment. With his dying breath, Jesus satisfied God’s sentence against us. By raising Jesus from the dead, God drives away all doubt for the sake of Jesus; we are forgiven. We are free!

Isn’t Jesus great?

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, thank you for being my great Redeemer, for suffering my sentence and setting me free. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Perfection – October 24, 2021

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.
Hebrews 3:1,2

Perfection


Daily Devotion – October 24, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 3:1,2

See series: Devotions

In the 1986 fighter pilot movie “Top Gun,” the theme was the need to be perfect. The fighter pilots often heard the phrase “there are no points for second place.” That meant as a fighter pilot you needed to be perfect because anything less meant that you would likely die in an encounter with the enemy.

We live in a very competitive world. People strive to be the best they can be. But how good do we have to be for God to accept us? How can we reach the level of perfection that God demands?

The truth is that if we try to be perfect before God, we’re always going to fail. It is the hard cold reality of sin. God demands that we be perfect. Yet just one wrong deed or a single bad thought causes us to fail.

But there is hope in Jesus! “He was faithful to the one who appointed him.” God appointed his eternal Son, Jesus, to be the world’s Savior. Jesus accepted that mission and accomplished it. He left heaven and lived a perfect life here on earth. Yes, he never sinned once. That’s important because God, in his love for us, credits Jesus’ perfection to us. Jesus was also faithful to his heavenly Father by submitting himself to death. He didn’t deserve to die because he was perfect, but he died because we are not. God laid the guilt of all our imperfections—our sins—on Jesus for which he paid the penalty of death in our place.

By faith in our faithful Savior, we will stand before God with the assurance of a blessed eternity in heaven!

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, for being faithful to your Father and saving me from my sins. Keep my eyes fixed on you and the hope of eternal life you provide. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – October 24, 2021

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Ephesians 2:13

Christ Alone

I vividly remember not being included. It happened several times. Whether I was in elementary school, middle school, high school, college, or even now as an adult (also known as an “old guy”), I can still describe many instances where I was on the outside looking in. Do you know what that’s like?

Maybe you’re the person who’s always included, always on top, always winning, always admired, always with more friends than you know what to do with. Maybe you’re the person who sets down your phone and, when you pick it back up a few minutes later, you have several notifications and new followers. Or, maybe you’re like the vast majority (by that I mean probably 99.9999% of people) who haven’t been included in every way.

You know what? God experienced that too. On the cross, Jesus felt abandoned. “Why have you forsaken me?” he cried. Here’s the answer: The Father let his Son die for the sins of his people so that we never know what it feels like to be excluded. Jesus spent his life including those who were excluded, loving the unloved, and searching for those who strayed.

One time, Jesus defended a woman who was about to be stoned to death for her sin. Another time, he stood up for a lady who had a record of sexual sin. He even made a man who was a thief and a cheater to be one of his disciples! And these are just the tip of the iceberg of how far God will go to include us.

When we say that we are saved by Jesus Christ alone, we recognize that Jesus is the only one who could save us. More than just by his example, God carried out all of his saving work in Christ alone. And since he sought you out, included you in God’s family, and brought you into the inner circle of his family, then you are loved. You are included. You are close to God now and forever.

Prayer: Lord, I have to admit that I hate the idea of being far from anyone and anything that is good and wonderful. Thank you for bringing me close to you through Jesus Christ my Savior. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Peace in Our Hearts – October 23, 2021

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1

Peace in Our Hearts


Daily Devotion – October 23, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 5:1

See series: Devotions

Do you know the story of the little boy who loved the Lord Jesus with all his heart? The boy had a very serious heart problem, so serious that the surgeon found it necessary to operate on his heart. The surgeon told the boy, “Tomorrow morning, I will open up your heart….” “You will find Jesus there,” the little boy interrupted. Being a bit annoyed, the surgeon took the boy by the hand and explained, “I will cut your heart open. I have to see how much damage has been done…” “But when you open up my heart, you will find Jesus in there,” the little boy said again.

The next day following the surgery, the surgeon recorded the notes “…damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary vein, muscle degeneration. No hope for transplant or a cure.” Tears flowed from his eyes as he recalled the faith in this little boy’s heart. When he awoke from the surgery, he whispered to the surgeon, “Did you cut open my heart?” “Yes,” said the surgeon. “What did you find?” asked the boy. “I found Jesus there,” said the surgeon.

In this story a well-educated and learned surgeon learned from a child. He learned what it meant to have child-like faith and to believe in Jesus so that even in the face of death, we need not worry but be at peace and have the confident hope that we will be with him in heaven. All this is because Jesus suffered, died, and rose again to pay for all of our sins.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me a child-like faith, a faith that does not doubt or question what God’s plans are for me, but a faith which trusts his precious promises for my physical and eternal well-being. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Loving Like Jesus – Family Devotion – October 22, 2021

Read: Hebrews 13:1-6

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Hebrews 13:1-3

Loving Like Jesus

 

Family Devotion – October 22, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 13:1-3

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Wait!” Aiden shouted. “Don’t go yet!” Aiden’s parents looked back at him from the front seat of their van with confused looks. Aiden rolled down the window next to his seat and held one of his cheeseburgers out the window. You see, Aiden saw a homeless man on the sidewalk next to their minivan. Even though he loved McDonalds, he wanted to be sure that this man had something to eat. Aiden’s parents smiled and offered the man something to eat as well.

Clearly Aiden had been learning from his parents. It was very common for their family to show love and kindness to other people. The family had guests at their home all the time. They even had students from other countries stay with them during the school year. The family donated used clothes to those who needed them, and they went a few times a year to serve food at a homeless shelter. Showing love to others was important to them. Aiden was learning to do the same.

Jesus has shown love to people who need it too—people like you and me! We needed his love after all the many sins we have committed. So Jesus showed us love in the most amazing way! Jesus gave himself to be the payment for our sins. His life and death won for us the gift of life with him in heaven, too. We didn’t earn this love. We don’t deserve it. But Jesus showed us love anyways.

Because Jesus has loved us so much, it is our privilege to show that kind of love to other people, just like Aiden and his family do. The Bible verses for today offer some ideas for how to do that. We can welcome people into our homes or show kindness to those in prison or in need. But there are so many more ways you can show love! You can share your lunch at school with someone who forgot theirs! You can help a classmate with an assignment they don’t get. You can donate toys or clothes or food to people in need. You can give offerings at church that will help spread God’s Word to those in need.

God has shown us so much love, and we can show so much love to others too! Look for opportunities in your regular everyday life to show love to others. When you do, you aren’t just showing your love, but you are showing the love of Jesus as well. So go! Live! Love! And let your light shine!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, help me to reflect your love to others in all that I think, say, and do. Help me to see opportunities for showing love to others. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Name one way you can show the love of Jesus to someone in your house or at school.
  • Name one way you can show the love of Jesus to someone in your church.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Agree/Disagree: If you don’t have money to give, there aren’t many ways to show love for people in need. Explain your answer.
  • Explain why showing love for someone else is also showing love for God.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • As a family, discuss ways that you could show love to people who are in need.
  • Explain why helping someone in need might be a great way for a door to open so you can share God’s Word with them.

Hymn: CW 421:1,5 – All Depends on Our Possessing

All depends on our possessing God’s abundant grace and blessing,
Though all earthly wealth depart.
They who trust with faith unshaken In their God are not forsaken
And e’er keep a dauntless heart.

If on earth my days he lengthen, He my weary soul will strengthen;
All my trust in him I place.
Earthly wealth is not abiding, Like a stream away is gliding;
Safe I anchor in his grace.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Keeping count – October 22, 2021

Keeping count – October 22, 2021


The total number of persons belonging to Jacob—his direct descendants, not including the wives of Jacob’s sons—who came to Egypt: 66. And Joseph’s sons who were born to him in Egypt: two persons. All those of Jacob’s household who had come to Egypt: 70 persons.
Genesis 46:26,27




Military Devotion – October 22, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 46:26,27

See series: Military Devotions

A WWII veteran once remarked: “In war, life is cheap!” He had survived for weeks on the beaches of Anzio without a scratch. Suddenly, pain erupted in his stomach. It was not an enemy shell. It was a ruptured appendix.

The medics hauled him off for treatment. As he watched the mangled wounded come in, he began to realize that he was being overlooked. “I didn’t count!” he said. “I was sick, not wounded. But I knew that unless someone noticed my condition, I was going to die.”

One does not need to be neglected on a battlefield to feel he doesn’t count for much. Bad enough if strangers act like this toward us in our time of need. Worse, if friends and family begin treating us this way. Absolutely the worst, if it seems not even God notices!

A severe famine was heading for Canaan in Jacob’s day. Money would do no good if there was no food to buy. But God provided for Jacob in advance by having one of his sons sold into slavery in Egypt. Years later, Joseph, as an Egyptian government official, would provide his father and brothers and their families with plenty of food—and pastureland, besides.

News reports of the day would not have taken note of this one refugee family. But God noticed. He was counting these people—because they counted to him. Their number was 70!

Four hundred thirty years later, he counted them again. The time had arrived for his people to return to Canaan. By now, they could field an army of 603,550. Adding women, children, and others not able to wage war, the number was easily 2.5 million.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had not forgotten his people or the promises he had made to them. He was watching over them.

If the Lord knows the number of the stars and calls them by name, if he has counted the hairs on our head, then we should not be surprised to learn that he kept count of the people from whom the Savior was going to come.

Or that he is keeping careful watch over us—counting our sorrows, counting our fears, counting our blessings—counting everything but our sins. For those he has removed from us as far as the east is from the west. His Son took them all away.

It matters little if we are far from home and our homeland or if we can go home to our family every night. It makes no difference if we are sick or well, in safety or danger, awake or asleep. The Lord God keeps track of us. He watches over us. He neither slumbers nor sleeps, as we learn in Psalm 121.

Thousands of troops stormed the beaches of Anzio in 1943. The Lord knew each one of them. The young sergeant from a small town in Wisconsin needed not fear. The eyes of his Lord were upon him. His life was not cheap. It had been bought with the blood of Christ. In God’s sight, he counted dearly.

And so do we.

The soldier’s loved ones offered up their prayers for his safety day after day. They did not know where he was. They did not realize he was at death’s door. They just knew that his help was in the name of the Lord. So, to the Lord they prayed.

The God of grace and glory heard those prayers—every one of them. They probably lost count of how often they prayed.

He did not. He never does.

He keeps count of such things because, to him, such people and prayers count.



Prayer: Eternal Father, strong to save, we know that you neither slumber nor sleep. At times we may feel that we have been forgotten and our needs overlooked. Banish our doubts. Remove fears. Wipe away our lack of faith. We lift up our eyes to you, O Lord, for your eyes are always upon us. And since you have already counted out the days and minutes of our earthly life, keep us safe until we have finished our mission in life, and then lead us home. Amen.



Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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Ouch – October 22, 2021

[Jesus] said, “Go, sell everything you have . . . Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Mark 10:21,22

Ouch


Daily Devotion – October 22, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 10:21,22

See series: Devotions

You have an area on your left side that has become uncomfortable. You go to a doctor. The doctor seems to examine everything except the area in question, “I see no problems. You look just fine,” he says. As you go home, you’re uneasy. For while you’ve just been to a doctor who’s given you a clean bill of health, you sense he has failed to put his finger on the problem.

In Mark chapter 10, the man who approaches Jesus presumes that his spiritual health is in good shape. He believes he has lived a decent life. He does not see any glaring problems in his relationship with God.

Jesus, however, is the Great Physician. He conducts his diagnosis of this man in a way that the man discovers he is hurting where he did not even realize he was hurting. The man happens to be quite wealthy. When Jesus challenges him to part with all his wealth for the sake of following Jesus, the man is crestfallen. He walks away sad. In love, the Great Physician has placed his finger on the area that hurts. He has gotten the man to say, “Ouch.”

In my sinful weakness, I often possess a genius for sliding into the presumption that my spiritual health is in pretty good condition. Sure, there are garden-variety sins here and there, but my self-diagnosis frequently comes up with a clean bill of health.

And this is why we need our Savior. Through his Word and his hand in my life, our Great Physician puts his finger on that area of my life where I am truly hurting. In love, he gets me to say, “Ouch.”

Is this pleasant when he does this? No, it isn’t. But Jesus loves me enough to do it. For when he causes me to wince, I then realize even more how much I need his blood to wash me clean, to forgive my sin, to bring me his healing.

And through faith in him, that’s what I have—you and I both.

Prayer:
Great Physician, you make me realize how much I need you. Thank you for the healing I possess in your blood. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Tender Subject – October 21, 2021

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
Hebrews 13:4

Tender Subject


Daily Devotion – October 21, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 13:4

See series: Devotions

Today’s Bible verse touches on a tender subject. Many of us carry deep emotional wounds from the misuse of God’s gifts of marriage and sex. These wounds may be self-inflicted. Or we may be carrying them due to the actions of others. Our Lord cares about us enough, however, to speak to us about it in loving candor.

The Lord tells us, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure”—the “marriage bed” referring to God’s wedding gift of sexual intimacy. Our Heavenly Father is clear on this matter. His wedding gift of sexual intimacy is for a husband and wife to enjoy within the exclusive security of marriage—not before it and not outside of it. To emphasize his serious concern about this, his Word goes on to say, for God will judge the adulterer” (that is, anyone who is unfaithful in marriage) “and all the sexually immoral” (that is, anyone who misuses God’s wedding gift of sexual intimacy in any way, whether that person is married or single).

Several decades ago, our culture, to a great degree, bought into the premise that what God’s Word says about marriage is unnecessary. The implied promise was that if you threw off the old notions about marriage and sex, your life would be happier, healthier, more pleasurable, more free.

Sadly, the results are in: broken homes, broken trust, emotional scars for both parents and children, resentment, isolation, loneliness. Such is the nature of sin, of course—your sin and mine. It promises a better life if we only ignore God’s will for our lives. But sin can never deliver on its promise.

Jesus, however, does. Always. In our place, he lived a life of purity, a life of perfect obedience to God’s will. At the cross, his blood washed away our every unfaithfulness, our every dark sin. When we fix our eyes on him in repentant hearts, all is forgiven. All!

Which empowers us to begin again when it comes to our approach to marriage. All to the glory of our Savior.

Prayer:
Forgive me, Lord, for where I have fallen in this area of my life. Empower me to trust your will. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Which One Are You? – Family Devotion – October 20, 2021

Read: 2 Kings 5:14-27

Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.
2 Kings 5:15-16

Which One Are You?

 

Family Devotion – October 20, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Kings 5:15-16

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The two men couldn’t have been any more different! One was named Naaman. Naaman was from a different country that was an enemy to Israel. Naaman had a big problem—he had leprosy. Leprosy was a very bad and contagious skin disease. A kind young girl from Israel suggested that Naaman go ask one of God’s prophets for help. So Naaman found Elisha, Elisha told him to go and wash in the river, and Naaman was healed by the Lord in a great miracle!

Naaman was so thankful! He expressed it in today’s Bible verses. Now he knew that the Lord was the one true God. He wanted to thank God and his prophet Elisha, so he offered a very kind and very big gift to Elisha. But the prophet Elisha did not take it. He didn’t need any gifts for doing the Lord’s work.

But Gehazi was a very different person. Gehazi was Elisha’s helper. When he saw how big the gift was that Naaman had offered, he was greedy and wanted it. So Gehazi ran to Naaman and lied to him in order to take the big gift for himself. God was not pleased with Gehazi’s sin, and Gehazi ended up getting the leprosy that Naaman had.

These two men were very different. Which one are you like? Are you thankful for God’s grace and blessings like Naaman? Or are you greedy and selfish, wanting lots of things for yourself like Gehazi?

When we see things that we want on TV, in stores, or online, it can be very easy for us to be like Gehazi. Sinful hearts want us to love things of this world. Before we know it, Satan can lead us to be greedy and selfish like Gehazi.

It is important for us to remember that we were just like Naaman. We have a disease, too. Not leprosy. Our disease is called sin, and it’s even more dangerous because it can send us to hell. Thanks be to God that he has healed us of this disease! Jesus is the cure! He washed us clean, not in a river but in his own blood! What a miracle!

Like Naaman, we can now look for opportunities to show our thanks to God and to other people. How we use our time, our talents, and our treasures shows how thankful we are to God for all that he has done. May God give us thankful hearts that are happy to serve him every day!

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, thank you for the many blessings you have given to me. But best of all, you have healed me of the disease of sin by forgiving me through your Son, Jesus. Now help me to show my thanks in the way that I live. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why was Naaman, the man from another country, so thankful to God and to Elisha?
  • Why can we be so thankful to God?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is being greedy a dangerous sin?
  • Explain why being greedy and selfish also breaks the First Commandment.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree. It is sinful to want new or nice things. Explain your answer.
  • Describe how Christians can learn to be happier and more content in life.

Hymn: CW 421:1,3-4 – All Depends on Our Possessing

All depends on our possessing God’s abundant grace and blessing,
Though all earthly wealth depart.
They who trust with faith unshaken In their God are not forsaken
And e’er keep a dauntless heart.

Many spend their lives in fretting Over trifles and in getting
Things that have no solid ground.
I shall strive to win a treasure That will bring me lasting pleasure
And that now is seldom found.

Well he knows what best to grant me; All the longing hopes that haunt me,
Joy and sorrow, have their day.
I shall doubt his wisdom never—As God wills, so be it ever—
I to him commit my way.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Welcome – October 20, 2021

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers.
Hebrews 13:2

Welcome


Daily Devotion – October 20, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 13:2

See series: Devotions

Sometimes a simple book title can say all that needs to be said. In 2019 an author by the name of Alisha Anderson came out with a book with just such a title. The title of her book is The Lost Art of Hospitality.

Many observers of our present culture have remarked that more and more people seem to feel uncomfortable when it comes to practicing hospitality on a personal level. There could be many social reasons for this, of course. Perhaps the “professional” side of hospitality has been elbowing out the personal side. Perhaps the frantic pace of Twenty-first Century life has discouraged personal hospitality. Or perhaps the term coined back in the 90s, “cocooning,” which describes the tendency for people to curl up by themselves within their own homes—perhaps that is making an impact too.

Whatever the reasons, you and I do well to pause and give this some thought. Have I given in to the self-absorbed culture to such a degree that I no longer focus on making someone else feel appreciated, accepted, comfortable, welcome? To the degree that I have fallen short in this area of my life, I need to come to repentance before the God who calls upon me to do just that in my relationships with others.

And this is where Jesus comes in. Wherever he traveled, he took deliberate care to make others feel valued and welcome. Jesus did this on our behalf. He also went to the cross to wash us clean of all of our self-absorbed moments. Through faith in him, we stand forgiven, embraced, accepted.

How can I thank him for this? I don’t necessarily need to go out and compel a family to stay in my home for a week. But maybe I could invite someone out for a cup of coffee and give that person my undivided attention. Or invite someone out to a park with a couple of fast-food milkshakes. Or maybe I could open my humble home for a couple of hours to share a pizza. Whatever I do, I do it to thank the Lord Jesus for all he has done to care about me.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for seeking me out. Move me to show the same kind of care for others. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Builder – October 19, 2021

For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.
Hebrews 3:4

The Builder


Daily Devotion – October 19, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 3:4

See series: Devotions

Near Iceland lies a cluster of islands called the Faroe Islands. In these islands stands one of the oldest continuously occupied houses in the world. It’s called “The Viking Farmhouse.” It’s a cozy, wood-framed home. The family currently occupying the house has had it for some time—17 generations to be exact. The Viking Farmhouse is about one thousand years old.

There are no records that survive for who designed it, gathered the materials, or built the house. Its very existence, however, declares that someone did.

In the Bible, God engages us in various ways when it comes to his existence. In the New Testament book of Hebrews, he invites us to stand in front of a house—any house—and give that house a good look. As we stand before that house, we may not see the architect or contractor; we may not see the carpenters, plumbers, and electricians who were once there. However, the very existence of the house gives testimony to their work.

With that, God invites us to take in something a bit bigger. He invites us to look at the creation around us and give it a good look. Look at the heavens. Look at the stars. Look at the precise orbit of our planet around the sun. Look at the breathtaking orchestration of our ecosystem. Look at the overwhelming sophistication of just one single cell in our human bodies. God invites us to look at all of this, for it all points to him. He is the builder.

But he is far more than just the builder. When humanity, the crown of his creation, chose to sever its relationship with God, God did what he had to do to bring us home. The builder became one of us. He walked among us in the person of Jesus Christ. As our substitute, Jesus lived the life we failed to live. He suffered and died for our every wrong, all to set things right.

That’s the love the builder has for you.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for creating me. And thank you for saving me. I am doubly yours. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus Shows Us True Greatness

These are the readings for the Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost.

God’s Word for This Week

“I am the greatest,” shouted Muhammad Ali after one of his more famous boxing victories. He later added, “I am the greatest heavy weight of all time.” How would you define greatness? Is it power? Wealth? Fame? In our readings for this Lord’s Day, the greatest who ever lived, he who died for us all and rose again, shows us that true greatness comes through humble service.

Traditional First Lesson – Isaiah 53:10-12

In the verses preceding this reading, Isaiah describes in detail Jesus’ suffering on the cross some 700 years before he was even born. Why does this suffering servant deserve a portion among the great?

Because he gave his life for the world. Jesus willingly allowed himself to suffer the punishment of all the sins, of all people, of all time. He paid the price with his humble service and won the victory for all people.

What does it mean that this suffering servant has justified many?

“Justify” is a courtroom term. It means, “to declare innocent.” Jesus, the righteous or innocent servant, suffered the punishment of the guilty in order that they might be declared innocent of all charges. Through Jesus the suffering servant, we have been justified, i.e., declared innocent of all sin. We are now free to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Supplemental First Lesson – 2 Chronicles 26:16-23

What did King Uzziah do wrong that caused God to afflict him with leprosy?

In his pride, Uzziah went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the golden incense altar inside the Holy Place. Only priests were allowed there.

Therefore, what couldn’t Uzziah do for the rest of his life? (See 2 Chronicles 26:21.)

For the rest of his life, due to his skin disease, Uzziah could not enter even the outdoor courts of the Lord’s temple where other Jewish people could go.

Traditional Second Lesson – Hebrews 4:9-16

The Book of Hebrews demonstrates how Jesus is superior to every aspect of the Jewish religion. In the Old Testament, what was the “Sabbath”?

The word “Sabbath” literally means, “rest.” Just as God rested on the seventh day of creation, he commanded his Old Testament believers to rest on the seventh day and dedicate it to him and his Word.

What superior “rest” does Jesus give?

The Sabbath Day symbolized the eternal rest that God would give his people in heaven—the perfect rest that comes only through faith in Jesus. Even today through the double-edged sword of his Word, God gives us the spiritual rest that we need to make it through this sinful world and prepare ourselves for the one to come. May we never despise preaching and his Word!

How is Jesus a superior High Priest?

Part of the High Priest’s job in the Old Testament was as intercessor, i.e., he was to offer up prayers on behalf of the people. Jesus is our perfect intercessor who understands our trials because he has faced them. Yet he did not sin. He won for us the right to approach God with confidence.

Supplemental Second Lesson – 1 Corinthians 9:7-12, 19-23

Did Paul and Barnabas have a right to be paid for their labors among the Corinthians?

Yes, Paul and Barnabas had a right to be paid for their gospel work. Both logic (Paul cites soldiers, vineyard owners, and shepherds in 9:7, and plowmen and threshers in 9:10) and the Old Testament (Paul cites Deuteronomy 25:4 in 9:9) show that Paul and Barnabas had a right to be paid. Pastors and other hard-working servants of the gospel today have the same right.

Why didn’t Paul and Barnabas make use of this right? (See 1 Corinthians 9:12.)

Paul and Barnabas did not make use of their right, so as not to hinder the gospel of Christ when they were in Corinth.

Why was Paul so adaptable and flexible in his ministry methods? What was his goal?

Paul was so adaptable and flexible in his ministry methods so that all in all, he might save some people (9:22) and that he might share in the gospel’s benefits himself (9:23).

Gospel – Mark 10:35-45

How did the disciples define greatness?

Jesus’ disciples considered greatness to be a position of honor among themselves. They considered greatness to be having a seat right next to Jesus when he came into his glory.

According to Jesus, how should we define greatness?

Jesus, the Great One, gave us the greatest example of greatness. He humbly offered his life to pay for the freedom of all mankind from eternal death. True greatness comes through humble service. May we follow Christ’s example of humble service, not out of selfish ambition, but out of thanks and love to him who loved us first.

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Establish the Work of Our Hands – Week of October 18, 2021

Establish the Work of Our Hands – Week of October 18, 2021



May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.

Psalm 90:16-17



In the front of Christian Worship, the hymnal, you’ll find a simple Morning Devotion on page 152. The opening words are as follows:

God, our Father, each day is a gift of your grace.

Your mercies are new every morning.

What beautiful reminders these words are at the beginning of a new day. Yesterday is done but the remnants, especially our failures, hurtful words, impatience, apathy, can linger and build day after day. We can begin each day with the burden of sins behind us by God’s gift of forgiveness.  What a comfort these words are for the repentant sinner in you and in me. Today is another day of God’s grace-his forgiveness that we don’t deserve but that he freely gives. His mercies, unlike our own patience and mercy with others, never runs out. It is new each and every day.

Beginning today and each day with those reminders can be wrapped in the prayer we find in Psalm 90. Earlier in the Psalm, the writer expresses praise for the eternity of God but also describes the mortality of people. Our mortality is a result of sin but because of God’s eternity, he can be the dwelling place for all people of all generations. While we can do nothing to deserve each day of God’s grace, today’s verses ask for God’s mercy. We ask for God to give us each day not for ourselves, but for the opportunities to serve him. We ask him to use us, use our hands in our labors no matter what those may be, to glorify him, to reflect him, to share the astounding message of his grace and mercy to others.

As you begin a new day, reflect on the tasks before you. As you change a diaper, your words of kindness and love are nurturing a young soul. As you share a Bible story, you are helping plant seeds of faith in a small child. As you comfort an anxious child or forgive a disobedient young child, you are modeling and teaching God’s endless grace and love. As the Psalmist has shared, as you begin the tasks of the day, remember God’s mercies that are new each day and ask that God would establish the work of your hands that all you do may reflect him and bring him glory.



Prayer:

May the mind of Christ my Savior live in me from day to day,
By his love and pow’r inspiring all I do or say.

May I run the race before me, strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus as I onward go.

May his spirit live within me as I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel, seeing only him.

Christian Worship 467:1, 5, 6

A Question to Consider:

Ask someone to join you in a conversation about all you do each day. Together list some of the many tasks that are done each day and then identify how each one is an opportunity in your ministry to reflect and/or share Jesus.

 



Early Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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What’s Number One? – Family Devotion – October 18, 2021

Read: Mark 10:17-27

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
Mark 10:17-23

What’s Number One?

 

Family Devotion – October 18, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 10:17-23

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The living room was a mess! The floor was covered with bows and ribbons and crumpled up wrapping paper. Empty boxes were everywhere. In the middle of it all, Hayden was sitting in a chair, surrounded by gifts, and she had a great big smile on her face. It had been a great birthday party! She got so many cool new things!

Two days later, it was almost like her birthday never happened. Some of the new gifts were shoved under her bed. Two of them were broken already. The rest of the gifts were piled up in the corner of her bedroom. Meanwhile, Hayden gave out a big gasp of frustration, “Ugh! Mooomm! I have nothing to do! I’m so bored! Can we go to the store to get a new toy?”

Has this ever happened to you? Maybe you get so excited for all kinds of presents at Christmas or on your birthday, and before you know it you want something new or better. Or maybe someone in your family gets the newest iPhone or iPad or the newest game system . . . but soon enough they want the next bigger and better one. It is so easy for us to fall in love with money and possessions, and then to want more!

We hear today why this is so dangerous. A man came to Jesus and wanted to know what he needed to do to go to heaven. He thought he had done all kinds of good things and had obeyed God. Other people probably even thought he was a pretty good person. There was one big problem though—God wasn’t first in his heart. That’s why Jesus challenged him to go and sell all of his things and then come follow him. But the man couldn’t do it. He went away sad because he loved his money and possessions too much.

Watch out for the love of money and “things”—like toys or tools or technology. Quickly they can become number one in our hearts and lead us away from God. That’s why Jesus said it can be hard for rich people to enter heaven. Not always, but sometimes people who have lots of money start to love their money and possessions more than God.

Take a moment to think about how much God has given to you. Certainly he has given you many wonderful earthly blessings. But best of all, God has given you his own Son, Jesus, who won for us the greatest treasure of all—life in heaven. What a joy that we can put such a loving God as number one in our hearts.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, forgive us for loving worldly things so much. Help us always to put you first in our hearts. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • What is something new that you would really love to have?
  • What can be dangerous about always wanting new toys, games, and technology?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why was the man so sad when Jesus told him to sell everything he had?
  • What things in your life might Satan tempt you to put as number one in your heart instead of God?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree/Disagree: It is better for Christians to be poor and not have much money. Explain your answer.
  • Describe the proper way for Christians to live with their money and possessions. What is their attitude? How do they act? What kinds of things do they do?

Hymn: CW 421:1-2 – All Depends on Our Possessing

All depends on our possessing God’s abundant grace and blessing,
Though all earthly wealth depart.
They who trust with faith unshaken In their God are not forsaken
And e’er keep a dauntless heart.

He who to this day has fed me And to many joys has led me
Is and ever shall be mine.
He who ever gently schools me, He who daily guides and rules me,
Will remain my help divine.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Beach – October 18, 2021

Seek the LORD and live.
Amos 5:6

The Beach


Daily Devotion – October 18, 2021

Devotion based on Amos 5:6

See series: Devotions

Colonel George Taylor had a problem. It was D-Day. His men had just landed on a Normandy beach to begin the invasion of Nazi-occupied France. The problem was that his men felt trapped on the beach. Their position was alive with enemy gunfire, and everyone was afraid to move forward.

But above the roar of gunfire and the explosion of mortars and the cries of the wounded, Colonel Taylor simply shouted this: “There are only two kinds of men on this beach—those who are dead, and those who are about to die. Let’s get out of here.”

His simple logic worked. His men realized that the beach meant only death. The sooner they moved forward and moved off the beach, the sooner they would find life.

In the Old Testament book of Amos, God’s people found themselves on a similar beach of sorts. It was not a beach threatened with gunfire, however. Rather it was a beach of their own making. It was a beach of their own sin. In spiritual terms, there were only two kinds of people on their beach—those who were dead, and those who were about to die.

The Lord, however, loved his people. That love moved him to speak to them in a clarity that was both piercing and beautiful. “Seek the LORD and live,” he said.

How about you? Do you feel as though you are trapped on a beach right now—a beach of your own making? If so, perhaps you know exactly how you ended up on this beach, or perhaps you don’t. Either way, you sense that this awful beach of yours is not where you’re supposed to be. And what was true of that beach in Normandy is true of your beach too. On it, there are only two kinds of people— “those who are dead, and those who are about to die.”

But Jesus has come to the rescue. On your behalf, he has lived a sinless life. On your behalf, he has washed you clean at the cross. Now, through his Word, he proclaims to you his gospel invitation: “Seek the LORD and live.” The way off your beach has arrived. His name is Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you are my rescue. I am yours. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Transformed – teen devotion – October 17, 2021

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8

Faith Alone

Imagine that you were hanging off a cliff. I know, it’s kind of silly, but play along. You’re hanging off a cliff and your two hands are holding onto two different things. One hand is grabbing a rod of steel rebar that is well-anchored into the rock. And the other hand is hanging onto the root of a dead tree that is cracked and almost broken. Both hands are squeezing equally hard. The difference isn’t how hard you cling, but what you cling onto. And that’s the same truth for our faith in God.

God saved us. It was all his doing. He loved us before creation. When others don’t think about us or care about us, God does. He always has. And his grace took shape in place and time when Jesus walked through life perfectly for us, died to take away our guilt, and rose from the grave to guarantee that we are forgiven forever.

But imagine what it would be like if that was all true, but it wasn’t for you. Imagine hearing that good news—the best news ever—but it was for others and not for you. That’s what it’s like to have nothing to hang on to. It’s a life where you live just for the moment, just for some stuff, and only for a time. But then what? That’s hanging onto a broken root.

But not you, dear Christian! You have been saved by grace through faith. And the faith that God has put in your heart is also his gift. The arm to reach, the hand to hold, and the strength to cling to all of God’s gracious promises. That is God’s gift of faith which clings to the steely power of God’s saving love.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, keep me strong in the faith and clinging to your saving grace in Jesus my Savior. It’s all your gift. Amen.


Teen Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Once was lost – October 17, 2021

Once was lost – October 17, 2021


However, Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, her father’s household, and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent to spy on Jericho, and she lives in Israel to this day.
Joshua 6:25




Military Devotion – October 17, 2021

Devotion based on Joshua 6:25

See series: Military Devotions

It’s a false dream that suggests humans can earn the favor of God by living a good life. It’s despicable arrogance that leads someone to think: “Unlike myself, that person over there does not deserve God’s favor!” The truth is: no one deserves God’s favor!

The Bible almost screams out the message: “There is no one that does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10). “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Yet, we humans are inclined to reject this—either because it appears too good to be true or because it seems too bad to be true. Both conclusions assume that we must be deserving of his love.

The truth is a hard pill to swallow. To admit that I am a lost and condemned creature strips me of any intrinsic value and all hope of redeeming myself.

It should! That’s the reality I need to face.

The Savior God reveals the basis for offering his favor and rescue. He shows his undeserved love with words and actions.

Rahab, the prostitute, is one such example.

She lived in Jericho at the time when Israel was entering the Promised Land. By the command of God, every living thing in her hometown was to be killed by the sword—every woman, man, and child; all of the cattle, the sheep, and the donkeys—every living thing in Jericho, except Rahab and her family.

Surely some of those people had lived a better life than this woman! Certainly the children had fewer sins on their records! So why did Rahab deserve to be spared?

She didn’t. She was lost to the kingdom of God. The grace of God spared her.

And how was this undeserved love given to her?

By faith.

The New Testament explains: “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient” (Hebrews 11:31).

This thing called faith—that sure, firm, trust in God—that’s what makes all the difference. It’s a matter of believing him when he says, “Son, daughter, be of good cheer! Your sin is forgiven! It is my gift, bought with the lifeblood of my Son!”

When Rahab the prostitute put her faith in this God, she was changed from heathen to servant of the Lord, from sinner to saint. Not only was her earthly life spared, but she gained eternal life in glory.

She even was given glory in her earthly life.

Saint Matthew pens the name “Rahab” as the great-great-grandmother of King David. Amazingly, she became an ancestor of Jesus, the promised Savior of the world! (Matthew 1:5)

That’s good to know. For, like Rahab, I, too, once was lost. But thank God, lost no more!



Prayer: Lord Jesus, we sometimes sing the words, “Amazing grace—how sweet the sound—That saved a wretch like me!” We go on the explain, “I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” Allow us evermore to see your love and glory. Lead us over life’s border to your Promised Land. Amen.



Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.


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God Looks at the Heart – October 17, 2021

But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”
1 Samuel 13:14

God Looks at the Heart


Daily Devotion – October 17, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Samuel 13:14

See series: Devotions

Researchers claim that we form our first impressions of people in the first six seconds after we meet them. We form our opinions quickly, based on what we see—facial appearance, age, skin color, clothing, and the like.

This is how it was for the people of Israel and King Saul. Based on a quick first impression, many Israelites concluded that Saul would be an excellent king. There he was, the perfect physical specimen. What more could they want in a ruler? The peoples’ first impressions, however, were greatly misleading. Soon Saul’s heart became corrupt. As time went by, Saul hardened his heart more and more until royal convenience and expediency took full precedence over obedience to God. Finally, the Lord had enough. God would choose another king—one after his own heart.

God sent the prophet Samuel to the house of Jesse to choose the new king. As Samuel observed seven of Jesse’s sons, he looked only at the outward appearance. Samuel looked at each of them thinking that he was God’s choice, but the Lord said, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

When the last son, David, was brought in, Samuel saw a handsome young man with honest and alert eyes, the picture of health, but his youthful good looks did not suggest one strong enough to rule Israel. But God knew better. David’s humility and trusting heart were exactly what God was looking for!

What does God see when he looks at us? Does he see hearts that admit their sin and seek God’s forgiveness? Does he see faith that looks to Jesus’ cross for pardon? Does he see people who are willing to follow Jesus as faithful disciples? If so, then we are people after God’s own heart!

Prayer:
Lord, forgive me for the times I have followed my own sinful ways rather than your holy ways. Give me your heart. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Compassion – October 16, 2021

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 9:35,36

Compassion


Daily Devotion – October 16, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 9:35,36

See series: Devotions

Compassion. There often isn’t much of it in our dog-eat-dog world. Survival of the fittest. Win at all costs. Look out only for yourself. Climb the corporate ladder no matter who you have to step on. Show compassion? Ha! That’s for the weak.

But our Bible reading for today tells us that Jesus had compassion on people when he lived in this compassionless world. He healed the sick and injured. Most compassionately of all, he preached and taught the good news of free forgiveness and eternal life to souls burdened by guilt and sin.

You are on the receiving end of God’s compassion. In compassion, God sent his Son in the flesh to save you from the guilt and punishment of your sins. In compassion, God brought you into his family through his Holy Spirit who brought you to faith. In compassion, God daily protects you with his angels and provides for all your needs. In compassion, God hears all your prayers and is preparing a room for you in heaven. In compassion, God is working out everything that happens to you (even the bad and sad) for your eternal good.

God has shown you compassion. With an appreciative heart, go and show others compassion with your words and actions. You can’t heal the sick as Jesus did. But you can help ease someone’s pain. Above all, you can tell a burdened soul about a compassionate and forgiving God.

Prayer:
God, thank you for treating me daily with compassion. Help me to share your compassionate love with others. May they see your compassion and love through me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Dancing Together – Family Devotion – October 15, 2021

Read: Ephesians 5:21-6:4

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Ephesians 5:22-25

Dancing Together

 

Family Devotion – October 15, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:22-25

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Have you ever seen professional dancers? Maybe you’ve seen some on TV shows like America’s Got Talent or Dancing with the Stars. Wow, are they good! Some of the couples do amazing things! Can you picture them dancing together? Their feet move so quickly as they twirl and spin around. The very strong man lifts up the woman who is so graceful and elegant. She trusts him completely to hold her up in the air. At the same time, while the man is showing off his strength, the woman gets the spotlight for her dancing skills, too. Together, they make an incredible team.

What would happen though if they didn’t work as a team? What if the man wanted to lead in one direction, but the woman wanted to dance in a different direction? They would bump into each other or step on each other’s toes! Ouch! Or what if the man wanted to steal the spotlight and only show off his skills? That would be pretty mean to the woman who is also so good at dancing! Or, what if the man just stood in the corner and decided not to dance at all? That would be lazy, and the team would be a total failure.

In many ways, God designed marriage to be like one of these beautiful dancing teams. One partner is facing forward while the other has their back to the direction of travel. The forward partner takes the lead for the benefit of the dance. The apostle Paul says in the Scripture for today that the husband is the head, or leader, of the marriage. But that doesn’t mean he is the boss or the king of the wife. Paul says he is a leader like Jesus. That means husbands should be loving, humble, and gentle for the benefit of the marriage. They should be so loving that they want to serve and help their wives in every way—even to the point of being willing to die for their wives like Jesus did for us.

Paul then says that wives “submit” to their husbands. But this doesn’t mean that they are less important or just cook and clean all the time. Definitely not! This means that wives should love and honor their husbands just like we Christians love and honor our leader, Jesus. Wives are equally important partners and team members in the marriage.

When husbands and wives follow God’s plans, it looks like a beautiful dancing couple. They work together. Both get the spotlight as sometimes the husband has his gifts and abilities on display, and sometimes the wife does. Neither selfishly does whatever they want. Neither is lazy, doing nothing. Instead, like a dancing couple, they work hard and work together to have a beautiful relationship just like God planned.

Just like doing a special dance is difficult, so is marriage. It takes a lot of work and practice. Thanks to Jesus, there is forgiveness for the times the dance of marriage doesn’t look so pretty. And thanks to Jesus, he offers strength to help husbands and wives continue their beautiful dance together.

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, you bless husbands and wives with a beautiful partnership in marriage. Help all husbands and wives to honor and respect each other as they work together in love. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why is a marriage like working together on a team?
  • Name two or three ways that husbands and wives can work together in a marriage?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How is marriage like two people dancing together? How is it different?
  • God says that husbands are to lead in a marriage like Christ. What are ways husbands do that?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Many people wrongfully think that wives are less important in marriage. Explain how God designed wives to be different yet equal in a marriage.
  • Explain how our relationship with Jesus is similar to the relationship of a husband and wife. Explain how it is different.

Hymn: CW 506:1,5 – Oh, Blest the House Whate’er Befall

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly his—
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Then here will I and mine today
A solemn promise make and say:
Though all the world forsake his Word,
I and my house will serve the Lord!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Not Ashamed – October 15, 2021

Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
Hebrews 2:11

Not Ashamed


Daily Devotion – October 15, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 2:11

See series: Devotions

Real Men Love Jesus. The slogan appears on t-shirts, hoodies, coffee cups, and drink coasters. But why sell such items? Who would purchase them?

It’s a bit of a reaction to an unfortunate trend. Christians are often pressured to feel ashamed of Jesus and to hide their faith in Jesus. The Real Men Love Jesus slogan is a marketing strategy designed to reverse that trend. It’s time for Christians to let their light shine, not hide it. Don’t be ashamed of Jesus!

But have you ever wondered, “Could Jesus be ashamed of us?” After all, we are part of a human race that seems so self-absorbed. There’s so much chaos and disharmony in our communities. News outlets run stories about riots, wars, assaults, and trafficking. Could Jesus love a world like this?

On a more personal note, I have a good deal of chaos and disharmony in my own heart. I’m supposed to love Jesus above all else. In reality, I’ve set my heart on so many other things. I’m supposed to trust Jesus. Instead, I stress myself out with worry or try to take matters into my own hands. I’m supposed to honor Jesus by the things I think, say, and do. Oh, how I’ve failed! Could Jesus love a person like me?

He could. In fact, he does! John 3:16 reminds us that God loved the world so much, he sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus didn’t walk away from our self-absorbed humanity but willingly came running to our rescue. He took all the selfishness, sin, dishonor, and chaos of our hearts and communities—he took it all to the cross. And there on the cross, he suffered and died and made a perfect payment.

The result? The sins of the world have been paid for by Jesus! On a more personal note, the sins of my past have been taken away. The times I’ve dishonored or distrusted my God—those have been forgiven. Jesus, my Savior, has washed me clean.

What a way to start or end your day, knowing that Jesus loves you, has paid for all your sins, and isn’t ashamed to call you his brother or sister!

Prayer:
Savior, Jesus, since you have loved me so dearly, help me never to be ashamed of you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Never Alone – October 14, 2021

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
Genesis 2:18

Never Alone


Daily Devotion – October 14, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 2:18

See series: Devotions

According to Google, there are over eight million different species in the animal kingdom. Another article in an online animal journal identified ten of the most solitary creatures in the world. Out of all those eight million animal species, only ten prefer to be alone. The vast majority of animals prefer to be in packs, herds, and families. If that’s true for the animal kingdom, it is surely true for the vast majority of the seven billion human beings living on this planet.

While some alone time can be valuable, most of us thrive with the company of others. It’s not good for us to be alone. We function better when we have relationships with other people. We enjoy sharing experiences and creating memories with others. We benefit when friends or family members offer up listening ears, helping hands, and empathetic hearts. We feel a sense of purpose when we lend our ears, hands, and hearts to those around us.

Of course, all of us are different. We are unique individuals with unique personalities. Because of that, some of us might prefer just a few friends while others crave a much larger network. Yet, all of us thrive when we have some level of companionship.

Our Creator God knows what we need, and in his generosity, he supplies it. In marriage, God provides for that deep human need in a unique and special way. Husbands and wives transition from the households of their youth and join together into their own personal family units. For those who aren’t married, God still provides specials bonds with siblings and friends and deep, life-long relationships with parents and children. Because we live in a sinful world, there will be times when spouses, friends, and family members depart. Even then, our God does not abandon us. It is not good for us to be alone. So our Lord assures us, “You’re never alone! I am with you always.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my dearest Friend, thank you for the people you have put into my life. Help me to see my family members and my friends as precious gifts from you. Fill me with your love so that I may be a faithful friend to others, as you have been to me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Special Gift and Design – Family Devotion – October 13, 2021

Read: Genesis 2:18-24

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Genesis 2:18-24

God’s Special Gift and Design

 

Family Devotion – October 13, 2021

Devotion based on Genesis 2:18-24

See series: Devotions

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Just leave me alone!” Bryson was so angry and upset. He missed a shot that could have won the game for his team. When he got home, he didn’t want to see or talk to anybody. All he kept saying was, “Leave me alone! Leave me alooone!” as he stormed off to his bedroom.

But even though Bryson was upset and frustrated, his room was so boring! After about 45 minutes, he came out again. Bryson realized that he needed that hug his mom offered him and the encouraging words his dad always spoke to him. It wasn’t good to be alone.

Adam realized the same thing in the Garden of Eden. God gave him the special task of naming all the animals. But when Adam saw Mr. and Mrs. Cheetah and Mrs. and Mrs. Kangaroo, he realized that he didn’t have anyone. Adam then understood what God said in verse 18, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”

So God caused Adam to fall asleep. He took one of his ribs and used his mighty power to make a woman—Eve. God then blessed Adam and Eve as he created marriage. Ever since, a man and a woman can leave their own families and come together in marriage to start a new family. Since that time in the Garden of Eden, billions of people have been married throughout time and throughout the world.

God’s brilliant design was that husbands and wives would enjoy all kinds of amazing blessings. They love and support each other. They encourage and help each other. They have families with children together. In this amazing plan, whether you are young or old or married or single, you would always have somebody to love you and be with you so that you are not alone. May God bless all marriages and families so that they can enjoy the blessings he first designed!

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, thank you for your gift of marriage. It is a blessing for husbands, wives, and children. Help us to cherish this gift and to honor your designs for marriage. Amen.

The questions below are to help families discuss this devotion. The questions are divided by age group as suggestions, but anyone could reflect on any of the questions as they desire.

Questions for Younger Children

  • How did God help Adam to recognize that he was alone?
  • Why is it not good for us to be alone in life?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Describe in your own words how God made Eve.
  • Names as many blessings as you can that God planned for husbands and wives to have in marriage.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • God could have made Eve in any way he wanted—by snapping his fingers, or from the petals of flowers, or even from Adam’s pinky toe. Why do you think God specifically chose to make Eve from the rib of Adam? What message might God be communicating? (Hint: What’s the closest thing to your heart?)
  • Marriages are not very successful in our world these days. Describe a way that Christians can grow in their understanding and appreciation of God’s special gift of marriage.

Hymn: CW 506:1,3-4 – Oh, Blest the House Whate’er Befall

Oh, blest the house, whate’er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly his—
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Oh, blest the parents who give heed
Unto their children’s foremost need
And weary not of care or cost.
May none to them and heav’n be lost!

Blest such a house; it prospers well.
In peace and joy the parents dwell,
And in their children’s lives is shown
How richly God can bless his own.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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