Speechless – July 5, 2022

Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.
Ezekiel 2:9,10

Speechless

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Daily Devotion – July 5, 2022

Devotion based on Ezekiel 2:9,10

See series: Devotions

Your friend just lost her child in a tragic car accident. You’re meeting for coffee and on the way, you think, ‘I don’t know what to say.’

Many situations may leave us speechless. It’s one thing to be speechless when trying to comfort a friend. It’s a whole other thing to feel speechless when talking to someone about spiritual matters. It can be intimidating. We may feel pressure knowing that we have the opportunity to speak words that can have an eternal effect. We may feel ill-equipped. ‘What if I say the wrong thing? What if I don’t know an answer to one of their questions?’

Before you buckle under the pressure, take comfort in a truth that God shared with one of his spokespeople, Ezekiel. When Ezekiel was commissioned to talk about spiritual matters, he could have easily said, “I don’t know what to say.” What made it worse, was that Ezekiel was being sent to people that were rebellious, obstinate, and stubborn. Yet, he could take comfort knowing that the words he would share were not his words, but God’s. “I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me.”

Knowing that the Word was coming from God’s hand to his mouth, Ezekiel could go forward in confidence. And so can you. As you encounter opportunities to speak God’s Word, know that it’s precisely that—God’s Word, not yours. His Word cuts to the heart and binds up the broken-hearted. His Word is effective. His Word is filled with power.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, take my lips and let them be, filled with messages from Thee. 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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Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus Had to Suffer; He Had to Be Killed

These are the readings for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost.

God’s Word for This Week

Jesus, crucified for us, calls us to pick up our crosses and follow him. What love that he wanted to die for us while being cruelly abused by men and abandoned by his Father.

Traditional First Lesson – Zechariah 13:7-9

What did the LORD of hosts declare? (See verse 7.)

The LORD declared, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me! Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones” (Zechariah 13:7).

What does the Lord’s declaration mean? (See 13:7.)

The Lord’s declaration means that even though one man would be close to him, other men would brutally attack that man (Jesus) and scatter his dear followers.

The Lord does not say here that he will let his people be severely tested. What does he say? (See 13:20.)

The Lord says here that he himself will bring the remnant of his people into fire. He will refine them like silver and test them like gold. (That requires a very hot fire.)

Supplemental First Lesson – Genesis 39:6b-12,16-23

What did Potiphar’s wife try to get Joseph, her husband’s trusted employee, to do?

Potiphar’s wife tried to get Joseph to have sexual intercourse with her.

How did Potiphar, Joseph’s master respond?

Potiphar got angry when his wife accused Joseph of trying to make fun of her (and worse). We do not read with whom he was angry, so we should not assume he was angry with Joseph; he may have been angry with his wife. In any case, Joseph was thrown in prison.

Things went well for Joseph in prison. The lesson for us?

The way things went well for Joseph in prison—part of the whole story of how God turned bad into good with Joseph and his family—teaches us to do the right thing always, for God’s sake. Following what God says may make us enemies and cause us many troubles, but God’s way is the best way. In the end, we will see it.

Traditional Second Lesson – Galatians 3:23-29

Why did God put his Old Testament law in charge of his Old Testament people, the Jews? (See 3:24.)

God put his Old Testament law in charge of the Jews before Jesus to lead them to Christ by showing them how much they needed a Savior. He wanted the burden of keeping the law to lead people to hunger for relief. His goal: declare all believers righteous through faith in Jesus.

Now that faith in Christ crucified has come, we are no longer under the tutoring and supervision of the law like young children. What are we? (See 3:26.)

Now that faith has come, instead of being like little children who need supervision, we are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

Supplemental Second Lesson – Hebrews 11:24-26

When Moses refused to be known any more as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, what result was he choosing?

By letting everyone know he was an Israelite, Moses deliberately chose to be mistreated.

Why did Moses think of disgrace for Christ’s sake as more valuable than the treasures of Egypt?

Moses thought of disgrace, for Christ’s sake, as more valuable than the treasures of Egypt because he did not intend to get a reward right away. He was looking ahead to a reward. (Think of what Moses turned his back on. The remains of a minor young pharaoh from that era, Tutankhamun, were found inside a coffin of gold.)

Gospel – Luke 9:18-24

How did Jesus react when Peter confessed him as God’s Anointed One? (See 9:20,21.)

When Peter confessed Jesus as God’s Anointed One, Jesus strictly warned the Twelve not to tell anyone.

Why did Jesus say he must suffer many things and must be killed? (See 9:22.)

Jesus had to suffer and die for us a) because there was no other way for us to be rescued than for a perfect substitute to offer himself willingly in our place under God’s judgment and b) because his great love for us compelled him to go through with it.

What will happen to you if you want to save your life? If you lose your life for Jesus? (See 9:24.)

If you want to save your life, you will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Jesus will save it.

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Are You Listening? – July 4, 2022

Read: Ezekiel 2:9-3:11

And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. Go now to your people in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen.”
Ezekiel 3:10-11 (EHV)

Are You Listening?

Family Devotion – July 4, 2022

Devotion based on Ezekiel 3:10-11 (EHV)

See series: Devotions

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

Nobody listened when Ellie spoke. Ellie was a quiet, little lady with three older siblings, who all liked to talk… loudly. They rarely listened when she spoke. One day Ellie tried to ask her sister and brother to play a game with her, but they were too busy arguing. Later that day, Ellie asked her other sister to read her a story, but her sister was too busy talking with one of her friends. That evening at the dinner table, Ellie tried to tell her parents about her day at school only to have her voice drowned out by her noisy family members. Mom and Dad turned their attention to them because they were so loud! Nobody was listening to Ellie. Finally she cried out, “WHY DOESN’T ANYONE LISTEN TO ME?!?” Everyone went silent and looked at her. They were finally listening to Ellie.

Six hundred years before the birth of Jesus, God appeared to a believer named Ezekiel with a job. “Go to the people of Israel and speak my words to them.” Ezekiel was going to be a prophet who would proclaim whatever message God wanted the people to hear. Sometimes it would be good news. Sometimes it would be bad. The problem was most people were not going to listen. God described them as “hardheaded and hard-hearted.” Many would ignore or reject his message. Some would even get angry with Ezekiel. That would make his job very hard, but the people needed to hear these messages from God, so he went whether they listened or not.

Are you listening? Are you listening to this devotion? Do you listen when you hear God’s Word read or preached in worship? Do you listen when the Word is taught in school or Sunday School? Every day we are tempted to not listen when we hear God’s Word. The devil doesn’t want us to listen. There’s a part of us that may even think it’s boring. But listen! Through that Word, God speaks to us about forgiveness and peace through Jesus. So how will God get our attention? He is not going to yell, “Why aren’t you listening to me?” Instead, God uses our parents, our pastors, our teachers, and others to get our attention. Because they love us, they want to share the best news of all with us—that Jesus loves us! That’s a message worth our listening!

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, we don’t always listen to you and your Word. We get distracted. We get bored. Instead, open our ears to listen, our minds to think, and our hearts to receive all that you have for us in your holy Word. 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 makes listening to a devotion sometimes hard for you?
  • Who does God send to help us listen to his Word?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What did God mean when he said the people were “hardheaded and hard-hearted”?
  • Even though sometimes it’s hard, why is it important for us to listen to God’s Word whenever we hear it read, preached, or taught?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Identify three distractions that keep you from listening to God speak through his Word.
  • How would you respond to a friend who tells you, “I don’t like going to church, because I get so bored”?

 

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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A Mission Prayer – Week of July 4, 2022

A Mission Prayer – Week of July 4, 2022



May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us—
So that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.
The land will yield its harvest; God, our God, blesses us.
May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.
Psalm 67:1-3, 6-7



“Your kingdom come.” Whenever we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we speak those words. Do you sometimes wonder just what that means? It certainly means that we want God to keep us as his dear child and when our life on earth comes to an end, we want to be with him in heaven. These words have a much broader meaning than just our desire to be with him in heaven. In this three-word phrase, we are asking God that his kingdom, his message of grace, comes to all people. Think about that. Each time we say the Lord’s prayer, we are asking that his message of salvation and grace come to all people everywhere.

Our reading for today takes that same thought and puts it into a beautiful mission prayer. We first ask God for his grace, his blessing, and that he looks on us as his dearly loved child. As our Father, God loves to answer that prayer. However, this prayer is not a simple prayer for ourselves. It’s much more. As we read the next phrase we see the result or the why for that prayer. We ask God to answer our prayer so that his ways, his power and love, could be told and known throughout the earth, in all nations.

But then what happens? As people hear about God’s grace for us and for them, they praise him. The prayer continues to ask God to lead all people everywhere to praise him. Imagine for a minute what that would look and sound like! God wants every person in every place and in every time to know him, to love and worship him, to praise him, to be his own. As ones who know and experience his grace, forgiveness, and the blessings of faith, we are asking God to lead us to reflect him in our lives to those around us. Think of the old commercial— “and they told two friends, and they told two friends.” That’s the privilege God gives us! We get to be one of his messengers!

The result? An amazing harvest of people who turn to God in faith and in praise. God will bless it. He promises this. His kingdom will come. May his salvation be known among all!



Prayer
Dear God, we ask you to be gracious to us, bless us, make your face shine on us. Use and encourage us to be messengers of your grace.  May all people, everywhere, know and praise you. It’s in your Son Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

For Further meditation:

May God bestow on us his grace, with blessings rich provide us;
And may the brightness of his face to life eternal guide us,
That we his saving health may know, his gracious will and pleasure,
And also to the nations show Christ’s riches without measure
And unto God convert them.

O let the people praise your worth, in all good works increasing;
The land shall plenteous fruit bring forth, your Word is rich in blessings.
May God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit bless us!
Let all the world praise him alone; let solemn awe possess us.
Now let our hearts say, “Amen!”

CW93 574, CW21 906 St. 1 and 3


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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A Hand Stretched Out – July 4, 2022

Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me.
Ezekiel 2:9

A Hand Stretched Out

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Daily Devotion – July 4, 2022

Devotion based on Ezekiel 2:9

See series: Devotions

“Help Wanted.” “Now Hiring.” “Apply Inside.” It seems like wherever you go, those signs greet you at the entrance. Businesses are trying desperately to field their teams so that production and performance can continue to meet demand.

Perhaps you’re experiencing the same thing at your local church. For a variety of reasons, it seems like the pastoral vacancy rates are high, resulting in empty pulpits. While that may be personally concerning for you, rest assured that the Lord has not forgotten about you. And he’s not forgotten about his Church. Even when his people have turned their backs on him, the Lord continues to stretch out his hand and call people to serve in his kingdom.

And those people aren’t always full-time prophets or pastors. Have you ever been amazed at the many people that God has used to proclaim his Word to you? Perhaps it was a parent, a friend, a neighbor, or a coach. Go ahead. Write the names down. Be amazed at the people God has used to be his instrument in reaching out to you. That’s not by accident, and it’s not a coincidence. The Lord continues to stretch out his hand to employ many people to further stretch his kingdom. And perhaps the Lord is stretching out his hand to you. Lift up your eyes. What do you see? The Lord’s hand is stretched out to you. May God bless you as you stretch out your hand, to pass along the good news of Jesus to someone else.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, increase my confidence in your control of the Church. And thank you for using so many people to reach out 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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Transformed – teen devotion – July 3, 2022

One truth shared: The ministers that God sends to us are the mask by which he proclaims his Word to us. It is good for us to put ourselves under them. They are a gift from God to us.

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:5

God’s Gift to You

He didn’t look like much. He wasn’t all that impressive. He was dressed in a gunny sack with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached in the wilderness. He didn’t look like much, but God sure used him. I’m talking about John the Baptist.

They didn’t look like much either. None of them had a whole lot of training, but still they had left everything to follow Jesus. They didn’t look like much, but when they went out Satan fell like lightning from heaven and demons submitted to them. Jesus used them; he spoke to people through them! I’m talking about the seventy-two disciples whom Jesus sent out as missionaries.

He doesn’t look like much. His clothes may not be trendy, and his speech might be old fashioned. He might try too hard to be cool when he’s around young people. He might make things really awkward; but really, are adults supposed to do anything less when they are with young people? He doesn’t look like much, but God sent him for you. Your pastor is God’s gift to you.

  • God gave him to you to pray with you when you are overwhelmed and stressed.
  • God gave him to you to listen to you when you are trying to make sense of your life.
  • God gave him to shepherd you, to care for you, and to lead you to Jesus.
  • God gave him as an example for you that you might learn from him and seek to imitate his faith.

He isn’t perfect, but he is forgiven. He may not be cool (let’s be honest, he probably isn’t!), but he is God’s gift to you to care for you. This is the call God has given him.

It will be good for you to hear him even if he isn’t cool. It will be good for you to confide in him. He is given by God to you to walk with you in faith and in life until you reach your eternal good.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the pastors you have given to me. They aren’t perfect, but they are from you. Help me to honor them as I honor you. Through them, help me to lean on you. 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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Joy of Eternal Life – July 3, 2022

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” [Jesus] replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Luke 10:17-20

Joy of Eternal Life

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Daily Devotion – July 3, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 10:17-20

See series: Devotions

On one occasion, Jesus sent his disciples into towns and villages to declare that the kingdom of God was near. Those who listened would find God’s kingdom in Jesus, the Son of God. The disciples felt the joy of spreading the good news. They were also quite impressed with the power God had given them to carry out this work.

The disciples returned overflowing with joy. Jesus rejoiced with the disciples over their success. He pointed out that when his followers faithfully proclaim forgiveness of sins in his name, Satan falls from heaven. That means Satan can no longer stand before God and accuse believers of deserving eternal death. Jesus promised continued success. The devil and his friends would not be able to stop them. God would see to that.

But Jesus did not want his disciples to get all wrapped up in the miracles they could perform. Rather, they were to rejoice that they had an eternal inheritance waiting for them in heaven.

And that is our joy too. Jesus, our loving Savior, gives us eternal life. He earned it for us by his holy life and his innocent death. Of all the things which we thank God, this is one of the greatest: the joy of eternal life with Jesus!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you that, because of what you have done for me, my name is written in heave. 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 Is on Your Side – July 2, 2022

“The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”
1 Kings 19:11,12

God Is on Your Side

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Daily Devotion – July 2, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:11,12

See series: Devotions

It was oh so discouraging. The big success, which was anticipated, well, it just didn’t happen. Things looked hopeless. The work had been in vain. It was awful.

Felt that way before? Most of us have, sometime along the way. Well, you’re in good company. Elijah felt that way and told God so. As a result, God said to his prophet, “Come over here, Elijah. I want to show you some things.”

Then came the wind! And the earthquake! And the fire! But the Lord wasn’t in them.

The Lord revealed himself as a gentle whisper. It was a reminder to Elijah that our God is the God of faithful love. That our God works in ways which are often quiet, often different than what we’d expect. It was a reminder that God loves to forgive us and wrap his arms around us.

Every time you hear his Word, God is doing that for you. He’s reminding you that he loves you, that your sins are forgiven, he’s on your side. No matter how challenging life might look, if the faithful, loving God is on your side, you will be okay.

Prayer:
O faithful Lord, remind me of your love, that the things of this world might not discourage me unduly, but that I might focus on the eternal blessings which are mine because of your love. 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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Will I Follow Jesus? – July 1, 2022

Read: Luke 9:51-62

As they went on the way, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me!” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus told him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another man also said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say good-bye to those at my home.” Jesus told him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:57-62 (EHV)

Will I Follow Jesus?

Family Devotion – July 1, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:57-62 (EHV)

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever tried to ride a fence? Not turned towards either side, but sitting on the fence with one leg on each side like riding a bike? It’s tough to ride a fence for very long. While riding a fence might give you a decent view for a little while, eventually it gets uncomfortable, even a little painful. Plus, you have to be careful about keeping your balance. If you tip too much either way, you can end up falling off the fence. It can be tough to ride a fence.

One day, Jesus met three men who seemed to be riding a fence. Would they follow Jesus or not? One of them came up to Jesus and said, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus had become pretty popular, so this man wanted to be one of his followers, to be part of the popular crowd. Yet Jesus told him that following him is not always popular. In fact, a follower of Jesus might even be asked to make sacrifices for Jesus. Would he follow or not?

Jesus asked another man to follow him, but the man told Jesus, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” The man loved his family, but his family was more important than Jesus. Jesus wanted the man to realize that following him needed to be more important than even his own family. Would he follow Jesus or not?

Another man came up to Jesus and said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to those at my home.” This man claimed that he would follow Jesus in the future, but his attention was pulled back in a different direction. Would he follow Jesus or not?

When it comes to us following Jesus, does it ever feel like riding a fence? We love to follow Jesus when it’s easy and fun, but what happens when following Jesus isn’t fun? Will we still follow him? What if following Jesus means going in a different direction than the people we love? Will we still follow Jesus? Remember this: Jesus never sat on a fence when it came to saving us. He looked ahead to the cross even though it meant rejection and separation from God because of our sins.

When it comes to you, Jesus didn’t ride the fence. Today he says, “Hop off the fence and follow me!”

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for not being hesitant about saving us. Thank you for going to the cross and paying for those times when we have hesitated to follow you. Help us to focus on you and follow you each day until you bring us home to heaven. 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

  • Explain what it means to ride a fence.
  • What makes following Jesus hard like riding a fence?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • List three things or people that could distract you from following Jesus.
  • What can help you focus on Jesus as you follow him?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is it impossible to follow Jesus while “riding a fence?”
  • In Luke 9:51, Jesus “set his face toward Jerusalem” where he would die on the cross. Explain what Jesus meant when he said: No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.

 

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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Brothers – July 1, 2022

Brothers – July 1, 2022


A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 17:17




Military Devotion – July 1, 2022

Devotion based on Proverbs 17:17

See series: Military Devotions

They are brothers—though they come from different families. By ties weaved together under conditions of stress and danger, a group of people can become so tightly connected that they regard each other as true brothers, even if they are not related by blood—unless one counts spilled blood.

Civilians have heard about the Band of Brothers and have been entertained by Hollywood’s depiction. But those who have had their lives tied to a group like this know there is more to it than can be seen on the screen or explained to families.

Typically, this type of brotherhood (which can include women) is formed by former strangers undergoing such trying and dangerous times that their lives have become fused together.

For them, “I’ve got your six!” is not merely a nice phrase, but a promise that will be backed up with action.

That’s a special setting.

The Bible shows there is even more to the picture.

A brother such as this, was born for just such a time as this. The Lord God, in infinite wisdom, knew what his servants were going to run into down the path of life. He knew the time would come when they would need someone to battle alongside them.

The Lord of life controlled when these people would be born. He enabled them to have the necessary training and skills. He saw to it that these very people would be put together at this time in history. He is the one who forms the band of brothers.

We think in terms of coincidence and luck. He works by design.

It’s humbling to think that, with no input from us, we were born into a certain family, at a certain time, in a certain place on this globe. He did the same to others so they could be part of his plan for our lives.

The God who promised: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) was preparing to keep that promise even before we were born. He arranged for the help to be there when adversity arose.

Of course, this applies to more than military persons and to situations apart from war. People of all ages and circumstances are under the watchful eye of their loving Savior. He sends the friend indeed in times of need.

More than normal helpers or caregivers, these friends are extraordinary. They are tied to us in a special way. They become like family. Of them, we might say, “Blessed be the tie that binds!”

We are indeed blessed when our heavenly Father sends special people into our lives just when we need them most!

This is a part of a larger plan and an even superior band of brothers. It includes one our eyes have not yet seen. He is the brother sent from heaven.

He was there when we were born. He was there as we traveled the winding roads of life. He will stay with us as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He will be there to welcome us to the other side.

As we celebrate Independence Day, we remember those special people the Lord has sent into our lives at times of adversity. We think of the Son of God who took on human flesh to fight for us in the battle for our souls.

We pause on this day to salute our brother from heaven.



Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we walk our path in life, you have brought in others to travel part of the way with us. We especially thank you for those who have helped us through adversity. Continue to provide such people when we need them. Enable us to be there for others in their hours of need. This we ask in the name of Jesus, the best brother of all. Amen.



Points to ponder:

  • Why does God sometimes use a non-Christian to be a friend and brother?
  • Why might a band of brothers be resented by family members?
  • How does Jesus fit the role of being a brother?


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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Onward and Upward – July 1, 2022

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:61,62

Onward and Upward

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Daily Devotion – July 1, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:61,62

See series: Devotions

“What’s the goal?” That’s an important bit of information if you’re being asked to do something. It’s important to know: what’s my purpose; what’s my goal? If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, you’re likely never going to meet your goal.

When it comes to being a disciple of Jesus, our Savior makes the goal exceedingly clear. Our ultimate goal is eternal life in heaven; that’s what we’re aiming for. The apostle Paul could not have stated it more plainly than he did in his letter to the Colossians. “Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (3:1,2).

When a person once told Jesus, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family,” Jesus immediately replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” His point was crystal clear: if you’re going to be my disciple, you’ll need to direct your eyes onward and upward. He knows that we are easily distracted by the things and people of this world. Don’t look back, he urges us. Don’t take your eyes off the goal.

But don’t get Jesus wrong either. He wants us to demonstrate love and concern for the people in our lives, especially our families. He has called us to serve them daily in every way we can. But he also wants us to realize that if the choice is between him and our families—between our lives in this dying world and life everlasting with him in heaven—there simply can be no contest. Jesus and the heaven he freely gives us must be our ultimate goal.

And how do we get there? Not by our own doing, but through Jesus and his powerful Word. Cherish that saving Word because it directs your eyes onward and upward.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, grant me your Spirit that I may always keep my heart and mind firmly fixed on 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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Jesus Wants Top Billing – June 30, 2022

He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:59,60

Jesus Wants Top Billing

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Daily Devotion – June 30, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:59,60

See series: Devotions

When actors begin their careers, they don’t generally get the lead part after one audition. Instead, they endure years of playing insignificant roles before their big break. Most never get one. For every actor you can name, there are thousands whose names you’ll never know. It’s difficult—almost impossible—to get top billing. Most don’t ever see their name in bold letters over everyone else’s on the movie poster or theater marquee. That’s only reserved for the very best.

When Jesus walked the earth, plenty of people were willing to follow him, but only to a certain point. St. Luke tells us in his gospel that there were large crowds traveling with Jesus (14:25), but they only wanted him to play the part of a movie extra in their lives. Yes, he could be a part of their lives but not the essential part. They weren’t ready to give him top billing, the starring role.

But Jesus isn’t interested in having disciples who are only willing to give him an insignificant role in their life story. He wants us to give him top billing. When he saw that large crowd following him, he told them in no uncertain terms what he expects. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26,27).

Of course, Jesus doesn’t really want us to hate anyone, any more than he wanted to keep his would-be disciple in Luke 9 from attending his father’s funeral. But Jesus does want us to understand this: nothing in our lives can outrank him and his saving Word. He must have top billing because he and his Word alone grant us the certain hope of everlasting life. That’s what Jesus has won for you and for all people, and he doesn’t want you to trade it for anything.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to give you and your Word top billing in my life. 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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No Comparison – June 29, 2022

Read: 2 Corinthians 11:21b-30

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
2 Corinthians 11:30 (EHV)

No Comparison

 

Family Devotion – June 29, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 11:30 (EHV)

See series: Devotions

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

Have you ever played a comparison game? It starts with someone telling you, “I’m better than you!” Your first thought is not going to be, “Yep, you’re right. You are better than me.” No, your first thought is probably going to be a claim of your own. “But I’m faster… I’m smarter… I’m prettier… Mom loves me more!” Sadly, the comparison game is never really a game. Feelings really do get hurt. Real tears fall from our eyes. Telling someone that you’re better than they are is called boasting. And boasting turns into arguing, which might even turn into fighting. Eventually, someone has to step in and break it up.

In today’s Word of God, some religious teachers tried to get the apostle Paul to play the comparison game. Paul worked very hard to share the good news of Jesus in a city called Corinth. These religious teachers boasted that they were better than Paul. They said they were wiser and stronger than Paul. They claimed to preach and teach more beautifully. They were better! Sadly, people believed them. Paul didn’t try to prove he was better. He just pointed to Jesus and his love. Even though Paul suffered many setbacks because he served Jesus, he knew the powerful love of Jesus would still shine through—despite Paul’s flaws and weaknesses. People would still hear about Jesus and be saved. None of those teachers could claim that they were better than Jesus. There was just no comparison.

Sometimes we are tempted to play a comparison game. We wonder if it would be better to be like those who don’t follow Jesus. We might feel embarrassed to say that we are Christians, because someone might think that following Jesus is silly or stupid. Yet no matter how others feel about Jesus, think of all the ways Jesus has shown you his gracious, powerful love. When you feel guilty, he forgives you. When you feel worried or anxious, Jesus calms you. When you are sad, Jesus dries your tears. When you and your family are going through a difficult time, Jesus is there with you. He helps you. He even blesses you through those difficult times in ways beyond what you can see with your eyes.

We don’t need to play the comparison game with Jesus. There is no one in the world better than him!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, with you there is no comparison to anyone or anything else in this world. Show your gracious, powerful love through us no matter how unimpressive we may feel we are. 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 do you feel when someone tells you they are better than you?
  • Who is better than anyone or anything in the world?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why did Paul boast about being weak?
  • When we feel weak, how does Jesus make us strong?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • How might God use suffering to bless us?
  • Agree or Disagree: Better to be a foolish follower of Jesus than the wisest unbeliever in the world.

 

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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Jesus Calls Us to Be All In – June 29, 2022

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Luke 9:57,58

Jesus Calls Us to Be All In

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Daily Devotion – June 29, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:57,58

See series: Devotions

Once upon a time, I had grade school friends who were very important to me. We would ride bikes together, play hours of ball, go to the movies, and sleepover at one another’s homes. At times, my life revolved around them. They were that important.

And now they’re gone. We didn’t have a falling out. We just grew apart. We went to different schools and moved away from our hometown. At one time, we were so committed to one another, but no more. And that’s okay. God didn’t insist that we be committed to one another for the rest of our lives.

But it’s different when it comes to my wife. She and I have been friends for almost 25 years now and married for about 20 years. Unlike the relationships I had with my schoolmates, my wife and I made promises to one another before God. We promised to be faithful to one another as long as we both shall live. In other words, God has called us to be all in. It can’t be halfway or even 99 percent. It requires 100 percent commitment because being married to a sinner is hard. Just ask my wife how hard it is!

When Jesus once had a man say to him, “I will follow you wherever you go,” he seemed to be expressing 100 percent commitment to the Savior. What music to Jesus’ ears! But Jesus wanted this man to realize what following him meant. “Foxes have dens and birds have nests,” he replied, “but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” In other words, following Jesus in this world is no walk in the park; it’s a challenge. Yes, it’s an all-in proposition that requires us to deny ourselves and take up cross and follow him (Mark 8:34).

Yes, it’s difficult, but not impossible. And why? Because Jesus is 100 percent all in. Even when we’re unfaithful to him, he remains faithful to us. And that will never change. He’s promised to be our Savior-friend forever.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, empower me to be faithful to you by marveling at your faithfulness 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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Jesus Is Zealously Patient – June 28, 2022

And [Jesus] sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him. But the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. Then he and his disciples went to another village.
Luke 9:52-56

Jesus Is Zealously Patient

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Daily Devotion – June 28, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:52-56

See series: Devotions

Believe it or not, Jesus has not always been welcomed with open arms.

This man from Bethlehem is God from all eternity. By his powerful Word he created all things and gives life to all things, including us (John 1:1-4). Then he assumed our broken humanity— “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14)—in order to win forgiveness and eternal rescue from death for everyone. What’s not to like?

But by nature, we all reject Jesus—lock, stock, and barrel. Yes, we turn our backs on our only Creator and Savior. “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, and his own did not receive him” (John 1:10,11).

You might think our refusal of Jesus’ amazing gifts and unparalleled love would leave him hopping mad. Jesus would have every right and reason to seek revenge for our rebellious response and leave us in the dust forever. That’s what his disciples, James and John, suggested he do to the Samaritans when they refused to open their hearts and homes to him as the Savior journeyed to Jerusalem to sacrifice himself on a cross for the world’s sins. “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” they asked.

But Jesus didn’t seek revenge, instead he zealously pursued patience. Rather than striking these people with lightning, he rebuked his disciples and urged them to have patient and merciful hearts toward sinners. The same kind of patience and mercy that he had so often shown to James and John. Yes, the same patience he shows to you and me.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to be loving and patient toward others, just as you are forever patient with 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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Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Forgiven Much by Jesus, We Love Much

These are the readings for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.

God’s Word for This Week

When we sense how much we need God’s forgiveness, his mercy becomes the most powerful reality in our lives. It transforms us. To ignore our need brings ruin, but to hang on tightly to God’s gift of mercy brings peace, joy, and purpose.

Traditional First Lesson – 2 Samuel 11:26–12:10,13-15

How did David respond to Nathan’s story about the rich man and the poor man? (See 12:5.)

David responded to Nathan’s story by burning with anger at the rich man and swearing that he deserved to die.

What conditions did Nathan set for David to be forgiven? (See 12:13.)

Nathan set no conditions at all for David to be forgiven. His sin had bitter consequences, but the Lord totally took away all of David’s guilt. Nathan said so right away.

Supplemental First Lesson – 2 Chronicles 33:1-6,10-18

What kinds of evil things did King Manasseh do?

Manasseh, king of Judah (the southern part of Israel), worshiped idols and helped other Jews to be idolaters too. He sacrificed his sons in the fire to an idol. He tried to contact the dead and find out about the future.

What changed after the king of Assyria put a hook in Manasseh’s nose and took him to Babylon in handcuffs?

In his old age, Manasseh sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. Manasseh got rid of altars to idols and tried to re-establish worship of the true God.

Traditional Second Lesson – Galatians 2:11-21

Did Peter eat with Gentiles when he came to Antioch in Syria? (See 2:11,12.)

Peter ate with the Gentiles when he first came to Antioch. Then some men came from James in Jerusalem, and Peter began to draw back and separate from the Gentiles. He led other Jews astray too.

If we rebuild what we destroyed, it doesn’t prove that what we just destroyed was bad. What does it prove? (See 2:18.)

If we rebuild what we destroyed, it only proves that we are lawbreakers. We are sinners sorely in need of grace.

What would be the result if we could get right with God by obeying his law? (See 2:21.)

If we could get right with God by obeying God’s law, then Christ would have died for nothing.

Supplemental Second Lesson – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

What kind of people will not inherit God’s kingdom?

People who do not repent but keep practicing homosexuality and other things that change God’s holy plan for marriage, as well as idolaters, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, slanders, and swindlers will not inherit God’s kingdom.

What is remarkable about the Christians in Corinth to whom Paul wrote this letter? (See the first part of 6:11.)

Some of the Christians in Corinth were former thieves. Some were former homosexuals, etc. (Today, people often claim that, with certain sins, they are born that way and cannot change.)

What happened to the Christians to change them?

Paul says they were baptized. Its results were amazing. They were made holy and declared innocent in God’s courtroom through their trust in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Gospel – Luke 7:36-50

When the Pharisee said something snide to himself, what did Jesus do? (See 7:39-40.) What did this show?

Jesus “answered” the Pharisee, even though Simon had said nothing out loud. This shows that Jesus knows all things. He knows the thoughts we may think are secret.

In terms of a day’s wage, how much did the two men owe? (See footnote on 7:41.)

One man owed 500 days’ wages, the other 50 days’ wages. If an unskilled working man in our day might make about $50 a day, these two men would have owed $25,000 and $2,500, respectively.

Have you been forgiven much or little? How are you responding to this forgiveness? (See 7:47.)

This question is for you to ponder, not to find a definitive answer.

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Are You All In? – June 27, 2022

Read: 1 Kings 19:19-21

So Elisha turned back from following him. Then he took the team of oxen and slaughtered them. Using the equipment from the oxen as fuel, he cooked the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he got up, followed Elijah, and served him.
1 Kings 19:21 (EHV)

Are You All In?

 

Family Devotion – June 27, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:21 (EHV)

See series: Devotions

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

“Are you in or out?” Jacob wasn’t sure. Was he going to go with his friends on the roller coaster or not? Jacob had ridden roller coasters before, but The Shark had a reputation for high speeds, deep dives, and extreme turns. The ride was a lot bigger, a lot faster, and a lot higher than anything Jacob had ever ridden. As his friends ran to get in line for the ride, Jacob paused. “Am I in or out? If I join my friends, I can’t turn back. If I stay here, will I ever go on this ride? I want to ride this ride, but do I really?” Jacob looked up, swallowed a big gulp of air, and ran ahead to join his friends. He was all in… and loved the ride!

Leading up to today’s Word of God, Elijah served the Lord faithfully for many years. His work was difficult because God sent him to face his enemies. Yet the time had come for someone else to take his place as prophet. So God sent Elijah to find a man named Elisha. Elisha was getting fields ready for planting. Elijah ran over to let Elisha know that he was going to be God’s new prophet. Was he in or out? The work would not be easy. Elisha would also have to face God’s enemies. People would reject his message, even threaten his life. Yet, many would trust in the true God through his work. So was Elisha in or out? He could have said, “I’m out,” but Elisha was all in. He held a big barbecue for his family, then left with Elijah to become a prophet.

Here’s where you fit in to today’s Word of God. Jesus has not called you to be his prophet, but he has called you to follow him. Are you in or out? Jesus wants followers who love him more than anything or anyone else in the world. Jesus wants followers who are willing to leave everything behind to be with him. On our own, we could never do it. We would fail. We would have to say, “I’m out, Lord!” Yet we have a Savior who was “all in” for us. Jesus left all the glory and comfort of heaven behind because he knew that he had to give up everything, even his own life, to save us from sin and death. Because of his super love for us, we now follow Jesus through faith. With his help, we are “all in.”

Closing Prayer:

Lord God, you call us to follow you, even giving up everything to be with you. Forgive us when we have not been all in. Help us through faith in Jesus to follow you now and always. 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 “all in”?
  • How was Jesus “all in” for us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why did Elisha need to be “all in” to become a prophet?
  • What makes it hard for you and me to be “all in” as a follower of Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Elisha left behind his family and wealth to become a prophet. Consider two things that you might have to give up in order to be “all in” on following Jesus.
  • How can Elisha serve as a model of commitment for you as you follow Jesus?

 

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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I Will Never Be Shaken – Week of June 27, 2022

I Will Never Be Shaken – Week of June 27, 2022



Truly my soul finds rest in God;
My salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2



“I will never be shaken.” Such words of confidence! Have you ever said these words or something similar? “I won’t back down.” “I won’t give up.”
Even when spoken in the Superman pose with feet spread, hands on our hips, and head held high, there’s a voice we hear that says, “Really?” We try to be the faithful fan who cheers even in a losing game or season. We commit to a healthier lifestyle. We might commit to being more faithful in reaching out to friends or family. Commitment helps us meet goals but if we’re honest, commitment is hard and more often than not, we don’t keep those commitments.
What about our faith commitment? Are we “all in” or a “fair-weather” person of faith? Jesus is clear in his expectation for those who follow him—“all in.” Jesus shared with his disciples and others what it means to be a follower. It means loving him more than anything else. “Of course I do,” you may think. If we’re honest, do we? Do we always put God first in our lives no matter the cost? If we took a hard look at our lives, our priorities, our activities, are we really putting God first? The truth? We’re not capable of making that level of commitment…not on our own. We fail and fail even with the best of intentions.
All this can be discouraging. We commit over and over to be more faithful in worship, join that Bible study, read a morning devotion each day, pray faithfully. It’s lasts for a bit and then fades. It’s disheartening and leaves us with a feeling of guilt.
However, there’s good news—amazing news actually. That spiritual fatigue that we experience can find rest in God. When we recall how he sent Jesus as our Savior, we are reminded that our most significant burden, sin, was taken care of by Jesus. Jesus is our rock—he’s not going anywhere. He’s our fortress—protecting us from the evils of Satan, the evils of the world, and even ourselves. He’s our salvation-the gift of peace knowing that sins are covered, forgiven, gone.
Exhale. Jesus has done it all for us. We can rest spiritually in God in a way that is unlike any earthly rest. We can say with confidence (with or without the Superman pose) that Satan, the challenges of this world, and our own sinfulness, will not consume us. We can say, “It is well with my soul.” (CW21 850) We have the peace and rest that comes from God alone. “[We] will never be shaken” from God’s loving care for us because of him and what he has done for us and our salvation.



Prayer
Dear Jesus, I want to be faithful to you. I know I can’t do it without you. Hold me close and help me to always be faithful and at peace in you. It’s in your name I pray all this. Amen

For Further meditation:
CW21 850
It Is Well with My Soul

CW21 736 This hymn is a beautiful prayer asking the Lord to keep us faithful to him. This prayer can be sung or read.
Lord, You Call Us as Your People


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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Determined to Save – June 27, 2022

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51

Determined to Save

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Daily Devotion – June 27, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:51

See series: Devotions

There are different ways to describe people who are deeply committed to their mission. Sometimes they are called pit bulls, or maybe it is said of them that they have a laser focus. They’re the type of self-starters who carry out their assigned duties with no holds barred, and give 110 percent. Or perhaps they are described as true believers and people who are willing to do anything to get the job done right and on time. The point of all these descriptions is simple and straightforward: these folks are not halfway committed to their cause, they are bound and determined. Nothing and no one is going to stop them.

We might not naturally picture Jesus that way, as someone stepping over anyone who gets in his way to fulfill his mission. It’s more likely that we picture him the way Christian artists have traditionally portrayed him, as a soft, gentle, good shepherd type who wouldn’t hurt a flea. But while it’s true that Jesus is the world’s ultra-gentle Good Shepherd, who carries his lambs close to his heart (Isaiah 40:11), he’s also the mightiest of warriors, a singular soldier in God’s salvation army. He has a mission, and he is bound a determined to fulfill it.

That’s how St. Luke pictures Jesus for us today, as a man who “resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” And why was he going there? To die for the sins of the entire world.

Being bound and determined to face your death is not at all natural for human beings, especially when it promises to include the kind of brutality that Jesus’ death entailed. But not only was Jesus willing to endure that kind of death, he was bound and determined to do so.

And why? Because of his unchanging and unconditional love for you and me and every sinner. Yes, Jesus is bound and determined to save us not because we’ve deserved it; but because we need him to do it so desperately.

And nothing will stop him from carrying out his saving mission perfectly.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for being so bound and determined to save me and all sinners. Lead me always to trust in your unfailing love and salvation. 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 – June 26, 2022

One truth shared: Following Jesus is not just words, but action. It’s not a duty, but it’s a direction. It’s not when I feel like it, but my life—my all.

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9: 57-62

What it means to follow Jesus

In Luke chapter 9, Jesus meets three men who are eager and willing to follow him. The first man enthusiastically says, “I will follow you wherever you go!” How surprised he must have been when Jesus replied, “Animals have a home and enjoy its comforts, but I don’t. If I lack good things in life or endure a tough time occasionally, my followers can expect the same. Are you willing to follow me if it means suffering? If it means losing someone or something?”

Jesus said, “Follow me!” And the next two men answer, “We will! But first….” The second man says, “First… let me go and bury my father.” The third man says, “First… Let me go back and say good-bye to my family.” In both cases they said, “Lord, first, let me do this.” In both his responses, Jesus makes clear what it means to follow him. There can’t be any other first. He says, “Either I’m your first priority or I’m not.”

What does it mean to follow Jesus? Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

  • The call to follow Jesus is to deny your precious self. Peter once denied Jesus and said, “I don’t know him!” To deny yourself is to say to yourself, “I don’t you. I don’t want to know your desires.”
  • The call to follow Jesus comes with a cross. Since he carried one, Jesus promised you will too. No cross? No Christian.
  • The call to follow Jesus is not a choice you get to either opt in or opt out. It is daily following, daily cross carrying, and daily denying of yourself.

Does that sound impossible? Exhausting? Do you hate the thought of having to carry a cross? That’s the discipleship challenge. When you struggle in your commitment, or beat yourself up and wonder why your attitude, behavior, and habits of life seem to display a skin-deep faith, Jesus says, “Stop trying to save yourself through your commitment.” Then he makes clear his commitment to seek, save, and give his life as a ransom for you.

The call to follow is embedded in Christ who says: “I want my disciples to know they’re saved by grace. Jesus doesn’t say, “If you follow me, I’ll go to the cross for you.” He says, “I went to the cross for you, so follow me.” You’re not saved because you’re a disciple who often struggles and fails. You are a disciple because of your baptism. That means the only thing that matters today is that your name is written in the book of life. May the power of the Word work to show you that! Now… follow him!

Prayer: Dear Lord, your call is simple, but following is often my great struggle. I carry burdens too heavy to bear and fight inner desires too strong to overcome. Thank you for your promise to help carry my crosses, take my burdens, and fight for me. With you by my side, I follow you today! In Jesus name. 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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Detours – June 26, 2022

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51

Detours

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Daily Devotion – June 26, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 9:51

See series: Devotions

Rod was getting more anxious by the moment. He began to wonder if he was ever going to reach his final destination. The miles continued to mount after he followed the designated detour. As a result, he couldn’t rid himself of the feeling, “Am I going in the right direction?”

When the time came for Jesus to go to Jerusalem, there were many detours he could have taken. The disciples certainly wanted more time with him. There were more people to be healed and helped. There was even the very real temptation for Jesus to avoid his capture and crucifixion. Jesus refused to take any of these detours, and as Luke records, “He resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Nothing could have kept him from accomplishing the work his Father set before him. There was never a doubt in his mind if he was going in the right direction.

Jesus’ refusal to even consider a detour is a cause for celebration in your life. Jesus not only came to your rescue but also walked the path you could never have walked. Because of his selfless love he now invites and makes it possible for you to walk on the path to heaven.

His path takes you past the detours of disillusionment, disobedience, and death. His path leads you safely past guilt, disappointment, and despair. Because Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem according to his Father’s will, you can now safely and confidently remain on a heavenward journey.

Certainly, your life will be filled with distractions and detours. It would be easy for you to stray. However, your Savior comes to the rescue. Not only does he bring you back to the right path, he also lovingly keeps you going in the right direction. It is because of what Jesus has done and continues to do that you can rejoice and say: “Wherever you lead, Lord, I will follow.”

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 439):
Lord, take my hand and lead me along life’s way;
Direct, protect, and feed me from day to day.
Without your grace and favor I go astray;
So, take my hand, O Savior, and lead the way.

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 Gift of the Holy Spirit – June 25, 2022

God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

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Daily Devotion – June 25, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:7

See series: Devotions

Do you ever feel timid or weak in your spiritual struggles?

Fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead, God sent his Holy Spirit to his believers. Wouldn’t it be strange if the Holy Spirit made the disciples more timid? More fearful? More hesitant? Wouldn’t it be strange if it turned out that the Holy Spirit was a spineless, powerless, timid spirit? Wouldn’t it be strange if the Holy Spirit led us to cave in or give up in our spiritual struggles?

The Bible teaches us what kind of spirit the Holy Spirit is and what kind of spirit he produces inside us— “a spirit not of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.”

A spirit of power. The power God used to make the universe. The power that God used to raise his Son from the dead after paying for our sins. That power is at work in us by his Holy Spirit.

A spirit of love. This power at work in us is not power over financial problems, health problems, or social problems. It’s power to resist the devil, to put off the sinful nature’s anger, hate, and envy. It’s power to love as Christ has loved us.

A spirit of self-discipline. Our sinful nature wants to run rampant. The devil tempts us to indulge self. But the Holy Spirit gives us power to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Jesus.

When you feel weak in faith, helpless against the devil, or fearful in the face of life’s challenges, remember this, the Holy Spirit is not weak or timid. And your spirit, given by the Holy Spirit in you, is a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. As God gave you forgiveness of all your sins by Christ’s death, as God gave you eternal life in heaven by Christ’s resurrection from the dead, God also gives you the Holy Spirit. Trust him to help you and empower you in your spiritual struggles.

Prayer:
Dear Father, thank you for your love and forgiveness through Jesus. Empower me by your Spirit to be strong in faith in Jesus and to deny myself and follow Jesus. 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 Saving Power of Jesus’ Words – June 24, 2022

Read: Luke 8:26-39

People went out to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet. He was clothed and in his right mind, and the people were afraid.
Luke 8:35

The Saving Power of Jesus’s Words

 

Family Devotion – June 24, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 8:35

See series: Devotions

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

The man we just read about… wow, what a story. He was strong enough to break chains. A large number of demons had come to live in him. (Side note: You might remember that demons were created as angels sometime during the six days of creation but sinned against God and were thrown out of heaven.) And this man was sad, angry, tormented—life was pretty miserable! He lived outside of town, and people were afraid of him.

Until Jesus showed up. Jesus wasn’t afraid to come and visit the man.

When you read this section of Luke 8, did you hear what the man first said? Or rather—did you catch what the demons said when Jesus appeared? “What do I have to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” The demons were terrified when Jesus came!

That’s the thing. Jesus came to rescue the man. He rescues the man by commanding the demons to go out of the man. And just like that—they did! The man was trapped, and Jesus rescued him. Jesus is a hero! These demons gave the man strength. He was so strong that he could break chains—yet a simple word from Jesus, and the demons had to obey! God’s Word is powerful!

God’s powerful word changed this man’s life. The demons were gone, and the man wasn’t afraid or in pain anymore. Jesus had rescued him. Jesus changed his life—from a life of pain and frustration, of fear and sadness, into a life where he knew the love of God and was able to live as a normal person.

At first, the demons were afraid when Jesus showed up. But when the rest of the townspeople show up—they were afraid because they saw how strong Jesus is! They were afraid of Jesus because his words are stronger than demons and stronger than chains.

This same Jesus rescued you and me. He even used the exact same tool to rescue us! Jesus used his Word, which drives out the devil and creates faith in a person’s heart. All the power of Jesus that we hear about in Luke 8 is power that Jesus still uses to bless you and encourage you today.

And even though Jesus rescued that demon-possessed man, he left the man where he was: “Go, tell how much God has done for you.” Jesus promised his words, even as he sent that man as his witness.

Rescued by the powerful words of Jesus: Jesus has left you here too, even though he has rescued you and prepared you for heaven. Please join me in telling how much God has done for us.

Closing Prayer:

Thank you, Jesus, for rescuing me from the power of the devil. Give me confidence that you want to rescue others through your Word, which still has power over Satan. Lead me to speak of all that you have done for me. 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 the most important thing God has done for you?
  • How did Jesus rescue the man?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • If you met the man in today’s reading (after Jesus rescued him), what do you think he would say to you?
  • Why were the townspeople afraid of Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Some people try to change Luke 8 by saying the man simply had a mental health crisis. What in the reading shows that this isn’t a simple mental health problem? Why might someone want to downplay the concept of demonic possession?
  • The man wanted to come with Jesus. Try to name two or three reasons why he would want to come with Jesus. Did he hold a grudge when Jesus said no? How do you know this from the text?

 

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 Sun Waited – June 24, 2022

The Sun Waited – June 24, 2022


“Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped
until the nation took vengeance on its enemies.
Joshua 10:12,13




Military Devotion – June 24, 2022

Devotion based on Joshua 10:12,13

See series: Military Devotions

Those who expect the Word of God to contain only pious stories may be shocked to discover that it opens doors to reveal what is beyond human comprehension. It challenges the reader to admit that there is much one needs to learn.

Foolish is the person not willing to learn from his Creator. Our Bible passage allows us to consider something that transcends the boundaries of human science. Here we learn that at one time in history, the sun stood still—and so did the moon.

Five Amorite kings banded together to stop the Israelites from their conquest of the Promised Land. Following an all-night march, the Israelite army surprised the Amorites and began to push them back.

The Lord stepped in with large hailstones that pounded the enemy. When Joshua saw that survivors could escape when night fell, he called for God to take unprecedented action: “Stop the sun in its path so that we can finish the battle!”

The Sacred Record reads: “The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man” (Joshua 10:13,14).

The sun waited for God’s people to gain the victory.

How could this happen? Did the earth stop its rotation? Were the sun and moon made to synchronize with the world’s rotation and not move across the sky?

We don’t know. As citizens of the 21st century, how do we explain this?

The same way that God’s people of the Old Testament did. A prophet who lived long after this event declares: “LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD. Sun and moon stood still in the heavens at the glint of your flying arrows, at the lightning of your flashing spear. In wrath you strode through the earth and in anger you threshed the nations” (Habakkuk 3:2,11,12).

This was the work of El Shaddai—God Almighty! It shows his power over all things and protection for his people. With him, nothing is impossible!

We hear the citizens of heaven proclaim the same truth: “Great and awe-inspiring are Your works, Lord God, the Almighty” (Revelation 15:3).

We can only stand in awe of the almighty God. We do so with respect and appreciation. It astounds us that he would use his power on behalf of those who sometimes doubt his power and love.

Yet, the Bible contains many accounts of divine intervention. We think of the crossing of the Red Sea, the angels sent to a fiery furnace and to a lions’ den in what is now Iraq—and then the opening of prison doors in Jerusalem.

But Golgotha is where his most incredible rescue took place.

Under that dark sky, Jesus announced, “It is finished.” The war against sin, death, and the devil was won.

We can live forever. Our souls will fly to glory. Our bodies will rise from our graves.

If ever we begin to doubt it, we merely need to remember Joshua.

And the day that the sun waited.



Prayer: Eternal Lord God, Ruler of heaven and earth, your works are truly awesome. Forgive us for doubting your power and your love. Teach us that while we live on this side of heaven, there is much for us to learn. Remind us that human wisdom cannot fathom the works and ways of the divine. Keep us under the shadow of your mighty hand. Amen.



Points to ponder:

  • Why doesn’t God intervene every time we face danger?
  • Are the “laws of science” actually God’s laws?
  • Have you glimpsed the hand of God’s intervention in your life?

A portion of this devotion was previously published.



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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Jesus Crushes Evil – June 24, 2022

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
2 Timothy 1:9,10

Jesus Crushes Evil

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Daily Devotion – June 24, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:9,10

See series: Devotions

When you think about it, the Christian faith doesn’t make a lot of sense. Sin, which comes so naturally to every human being, is out of bounds? And the guilt of any sin is enough to earn a one-way ticket to the opposite of everything good? And despite our best efforts, we can’t scrub that guilt off? And the only way out of guilt and into peace is through the actions of a Jewish carpenter who lived under Roman occupation far away and long ago?

It didn’t make any more natural sense to Paul, Timothy, or any who followed Jesus because of them. This trust and the resultant holy living are supernatural—the work of the Holy Spirit. The Christian faith is something no one could have thought up on their own. So, the apostle Paul tells us, it was revealed from the Holy Spirit through the words of the Bible.

And what has been revealed? Grace given before your parents gave you a name, victory over death, a vibrant life that will never end. And all of this won for you and given to you by a hero named Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you have won. Your victory is my victory. Lead me in that new reality that I might live for 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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Connected to Jesus – June 23, 2022

So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.
2 Timothy 1:8

Connected to Jesus

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Daily Devotion – June 23, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:8

See series: Devotions

He was a pastor in a country where Christianity was illegal. So, he went by his initial “L”—not his real name—for safety. He drove a truck full of Bibles to distribute them in rural villages—illegal. He ran Sunday Schools where children were taught Jesus—illegal. He ran worship services and taught Bible studies outside the state-controlled church—illegal. Things got really bad, so he boarded a plane in search of asylum. Before the plane took off, authorities boarded and removed “L.” He wasn’t under arrest, but he also wasn’t free to go.

The apostle Paul knew what it was to suffer for sharing God’s Word. In this case, he was writing to his friend, Timothy, from prison. But telling others about Jesus was so important that no amount of suffering would stop him from doing so.

Has suffering, or the fear of it, stopped you from living and sharing your faith in Jesus? In America, the consequences of being an “outed” Christian do not include imprisonment or torture. But have you allowed the fear of what might happen keep you from telling others about Jesus?

It’s easy to do. And it’s why we need a sacrifice who suffered for our sake. A Savior who was not ashamed to be counted among the fearful so that he might rescue people like you.

Because he did, suffering for my faith becomes a chance to be connected to Jesus, to be the mirror that reflects the love of my Savior to a dying world. Just like “L,” just like Paul.

For the closing prayer today, let’s use the words of Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius was an early Christian, so early that he learned about Jesus under the apostle John. May his prayer be our prayer as we face suffering.

Prayer:
“Let fire and the cross; let the crowds of wild beasts; let tearings, breakings, and dislocations of bones; let cutting off of members; let shatterings of the whole body; and let all the dreadful torments of the devil come upon me: only let me attain to Jesus Christ. 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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Feel Safe in the Midst of a Storm – June 22, 2022

Read: 2 Timothy 1:3-10

God did not give us a timid spirit, but a spirit of power and love and sound judgment. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Instead, join with me in suffering for the gospel while relying on the power of God.
2 Timothy 1:7,8

Feel Safe in the Midst of a Storm

 

Family Devotion – June 22, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:7,8

See series: Devotions

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

Do you like thunderstorms?

Thunderstorms can be okay when you’re inside of a house with your family and the windows are all shut. Thunderstorms aren’t scary when you feel safe.

But what if you were camping in a tent, and a big thunderstorm started dumping rain onto your tent. The wind is blowing, the lightning cracks—BOOM! That thunderstorm would be a little scary, wouldn’t it? Thunderstorms like that don’t make you feel safe.

Today, Paul talks about being a prisoner. He was put into jail because he was preaching about Jesus. Paul even said that he would probably die before being released as a free man. Talk about scary!

But Paul was safe. Paul felt safe because he knew that Jesus had forgiven his sins. Paul knew he was safe, because Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to live in each Christian when they are brought to faith. Even though Paul was in a scary place, he was safe.

And scary things aren’t scary when you are safe.

That’s why Paul says these things in our reading. He basically says, “Friends! You’re safe! You’ve got nothing to worry about. You have a Savior who rose from the dead. You have a Savior who made you his witness. You have nothing to be scared of, nothing to be ashamed about—because Jesus has taken away your sin!”

In other words: Dear young Christians,—you are always safe. And the Jesus who has made you safe wants to make you his witnesses. Witnessing to Jesus means talking about Jesus and remembering that the resurrection of Jesus means all sin has been forgiven.

It’s true that talking about Jesus might bring some difficulty. After all, Paul was put into prison for talking about Jesus. That probably won’t happen to you—but you might feel a little uncomfortable at first. That’s okay! You’re safe! You have nothing to fear; you have a Savior who has broken the power of death and opened the door to heaven. Nothing can hurt you… not even a thunderstorm!

Closing Prayer:

Thank you, Jesus, for making me safe. Give me the willingness and words to speak as your witness. 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 something that is scary for you.
  • When you’re scared, what makes you feel safe?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How can God use suffering to teach us to trust him?
  • What is an easy way to practice talking about Jesus?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why would God allow suffering in our lives—especially if it is a result of our witnessing? (For instance, Paul was imprisoned for preaching about Jesus.) What good does God accomplish through suffering?
  • Paul closes with a statement: “Join with me in suffering for the gospel while relying on the power of God.” Why must suffering as a Christian go hand in hand with relying on God’s power?

 

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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God-given Gifts – June 22, 2022

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:6,7

God-given Gifts

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Daily Devotion – June 22, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:6,7

See series: Devotions

God has made me a learner, self-assured, eager for the input of others, value-driven, and able to put things and people in the places that set them up for success. How has God gifted you? Has he made you comfortable in front of crowds? Hard-working? Attentive to detail? A careful thinker? He has made you: body, soul, and mind. That means you have characteristics as unique to you as that birthmark behind your left elbow. Those gifts that he’s given to you have been laid at your feet for a purpose, “for the good of those who love him.”

That was certainly true of Timothy. He had gifts. And his spiritual father, Paul, saw them and encouraged them. “Fan them into flames,” he told Timothy. Don’t be content just to have them, but cultivate them, develop them, and lean into them. “They have been given to you; now make the most of them!”

Are you asking, “How do I fan my gifts into flame?” Fair question. Maybe the acronym ILPF will help (Identify – Learn – Practice – Feedback). Identify those gifts that you have. Maybe that’s a reputable assessment or asking a trusted mentor, “What do you see in me?” Then, learn about those gifts. What are they like? Who else has them? What is the danger of misusing them? Next, practice. You don’t get good at anything without endless cycles of trying and failing. That’s practice. And finally, get feedback. Ask those close to you, “I tried to use my gift. How do you think it went? What should I think about the next time?” As you live in your God-given gifts, watch as the Lord carries out his will.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for these gifts I have. I know they are from you. Help me to use them in a way that builds your kingdom. 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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From Generation to Generation – June 21, 2022

Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
2 Timothy 1:4,5

From Generation to Generation

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Daily Devotion – June 21, 2022

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 1:4,5

See series: Devotions

I remember visiting my grandparents every summer. They were farmers who lived in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. One reason I loved to visit was the copious amounts of ice cream my Grandma Eunice had hidden away for us. Another reason was the chance to ride big machines. But do you know what I remember, to this day, even more than push pops or tractors? I remember my Grandfather Lois read to us from his Bible after breakfast. He never read for very long, and it was never a big deal. But in those few minutes of reading, he modeled for the family what was important, and even a seasoned Christian regularly gets into God’s Word.

Young Pastor Timothy had models in his life too. A grandmother and mother who prioritized a relationship with the living God. Women who passed their faith down to their son and grandson. Their faith meant so much to them that they gave it to those they loved most. And look what God accomplished in that generational gift! How many more generations have come to faith because Lois and Eunice passed down their faith!

Maybe you never had that: a family that spent time in God’s Word—maybe you didn’t even go to church growing up. Maybe your family went to church, but that was the extent of “Jesus talk” during the week. That’s not easy, but you aren’t alone. God has a habit of calling the unlikely into his kingdom and making them family.

One final thought, consider this your calling to be a Lois or Eunice to the children in your life—to your kids, your grandkids, a niece or nephew, or the kids in your classroom. What you and I believe is too good to not pass on.

Prayer:
Dear Holy Spirit, thank you for giving me a family of faith, for those who have played spiritual mom and dad in my life. Keep them safe from harm and temptation. Give me opportunities to pass on what I believe to the next generation. 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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Third Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus Halts a Funeral and Raises a Dead Man

These are the readings for the Third Sunday after Pentecost.

God’s Word for This Week

The Son of God shows his great compassion and power in the face of death. On the Last Day, he will raise us all and give to all who trust in him eternal life.

First Lesson – 1 Kings 17:17-24

Who did the widow think had caused her son’s death? (See 17:18.)

In bitter grief the widow blamed Elijah for causing her son’s death.

Who did Elijah know had caused the boy’s death?

Elijah knew the truth—the Lord had caused the son’s death. Note this well. From God’s perspective, no one ever dies accidentally. The Lord sets the day of our death.

What two things did the widow learn? (See 17:24.)

The widow learned a) Elijah truly was a man of God, and b) the word of the Lord from his mouth was all true. When Jesus raises the dead, we learn that he is God’s Son and cannot lie to us.

Traditional Second Lesson – Galatians 1:11-24

What is Paul’s main point as he explains his itinerary after God brought him to faith in Jesus? (See 11:12.)

Paul’s main point is that he is not making up anything he is teaching. He did not plot with anyone to make things up or learn Christianity from other authorities. No! Jesus revealed the truths of the gospel to him directly.

Paul had vehemently persecuted believers. Then he became a believer. What conviction did this leave him with, even years later? (See 11:15.)

Paul was left with the conviction that God called him by grace alone.

Supplemental Second Lesson – Philippians 1:18b-26

Paul cherished the Philippians’ prayers for him. Did Paul expect deliverance from his imprisonment in Rome?

Paul was imprisoned in Rome and hoped to get out (see 1:27), but the kind of deliverance Paul joyfully anticipated most of all was deliverance from this sinful world—deliverance through death to life.

How did Paul summarize the way he and all Christians think of life and death? (See 1:18.)

Paul said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (What a wonder—dying is not losing but gaining. Specifically, living now is Christ. Dying? More Christ! We will get to see him face to face.)

Gospel – Luke 7:11-17

What made the funeral that Jesus and his disciples happened upon especially sad? (See 17:12.)

The funeral was especially sad because the young man who died was the only son of his mother, a widow. She had no one to take care of her anymore. It’s no wonder a large crowd from the town was following the body.

What did Jesus say after he touched the funeral bier? (Picture probably a stretcher of some kind rather than an elaborate American coffin.)

Jesus said, “Young man, I say to you, get up.”

What main things did Jesus show by these words for us to trust in?

By these words, Jesus showed a) his compassion, b) his own personal power—he doesn’t need to call on someone else for power, and c) his power to raise all the dead on the Last Day.

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