Advent Devotion – Come, Lord Jesus – Day 3

Come Into Our Perspective


Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 3:2


December is a crazy busy, difficult month. Yes, there’s last-minute Christmas shopping and picking out the perfect ham, but even more, Christmas hymns and traditions bring back memories of loved ones now in heaven. Movies and messages point to happy families, but what do we do when we’re lonely and missing those we love?

The apostle Paul tells us to set our mind on things above. Advent is a time to meditate not only on Jesus’ birth but also his second coming. His birth is just the beginning of the story. Jesus is coming back.

First Thessalonians 4:16-17 reminds us: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven . . . and so we will be with the Lord forever.”

Our days on earth have plenty of sorrow and trouble and heartache, but we have something better than Christmas to look forward to. But not everyone does!

We set our hearts on things above, while being mindful of the people on earth. Someone you know doesn’t have the peace of knowing they will see their loved ones again. Your neighbors or friends or co-workers may watch Hallmark movies only to turn off the TV and wonder when or if they’ll ever see a happily ever after.

This year, as you focus on things above, pray for opportunities to tell others of the hope you have. Pray for boldness to speak about Jesus, who carried our sorrow that we might have joy. And use your grief as fuel to care far less about a perfect here and now, to focus on giving others the gift that leads them to everlasting perfection.


Prayer:

Lord, thank you for the joys of Christmas and the joys of heaven. Comfort us who grieve and motivate us to bring the message of salvation to those around us. Help us focus less on ourselves and more on those who need you. In our Savior Jesus we pray. Amen.


Written by Victoria Schrimpf
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry


During Advent, we eagerly wait and prepare our hearts for the celebration of his birth AND the time when he comes again. WELS Womens Ministry invites you to join us for daily devotion e-mails in the month of December to prepare your hearts for Jesus’ birth.

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Better Days – December 3, 2022

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.’”
Jeremiah 33:14,15

Better Days

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Daily Devotion – December 3, 2022

Devotion based on Jeremiah 33:14,15

See series: Devotions

We often look ahead to better days. We say things like: “If I can just make it until Christmas break, then I won’t have to go to school for a while and things will be better.” Or “if I can just make it through this bout of pneumonia, then I can go back home and be healthy again.” So much of our lives are spent looking ahead to better days.

To make matters worse, in this sinful world we are surrounded by wickedness and evil. Sin and temptation are on every side. It’s exhausting to be a Christian. And so, we find ourselves looking ahead to better days—days when sin will no longer be a part of our existence and we can enjoy perfect peace in heaven.

But waiting for those better days is difficult. If we are honest, we see how the sinful world is rubbing off on us. We find the sins of this world to be a little more “normal” than they used to be. We become more accepting of things that God despises. Our attitudes towards wealth and possessions begin to match the attitudes of this world.

God said through the prophet Jeremiah: “I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.” Jesus is the Branch who came into this world and lived a perfect life in our place. He also did what was “just,” as he gave himself in our place to suffer and die for our sins. He bled…He suffered…He died. God’s justice was satisfied. We are forgiven! The Branch brings righteousness—righteousness that he earned and freely gives to us through faith.

Whatever you are experiencing now, know that, in Christ, better days are here, and better days are yet to come. Jesus makes each day a better day through his gift of righteousness. Better days are coming when he will take us to be with him in heaven. Lift up your heads and look for those better days.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for the promise of better days to come in heaven. Keep my eyes focused on those better days to come and help each day to be a better one with you and your Word. 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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Advent Devotion – Come, Lord Jesus – Day 2

Come Into Our Homes


Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Proverbs 22:6


In my family, Christmas preparations began as soon as the Thanksgiving dinner dishes were put away. Boxes of decorations came up from the basement and down from the attic as music from a tall stack of CDs filled the house. Christmas is coming was the theme of the month, and all of December was a time of joyful preparation and waiting.

Christ did not get lost in the shuffle of cookies, cards, wreaths, and candles. Rather, the home’s transformation made it clear that we were preparing for something, and someone, very special. Candlelit family devotions kept our hearts focused on God during our preparation and celebrations.

My parents’ insistence that Advent be a special time brought Proverbs 22:6 into practice. They wanted their family to understand the magnitude of Jesus’ incarnation. Their traditions filled our home and our senses, putting their children on a lifelong journey pointing to Christ at Christmas. Now I look forward to Advent each year as a special time preparing my home and heart for Jesus.

An Advent season focused on Jesus’ coming will bless your family both now and in future generations. We welcome Christ into our homes with every preparation done through the fruit of the Spirit. We ask him to come in our prayers, hymns, and devotions. When we celebrate Advent with our families, we are starting our children off on a good path—one that will continue to celebrate Christ’s birth and anticipate his return.


Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for the blessings of Advent. Help us keep your Word at the center of our home that we and future generations may continue to follow you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.


Written by Abigail Phelps
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry


During Advent, we eagerly wait and prepare our hearts for the celebration of his birth AND the time when he comes again. WELS Womens Ministry invites you to join us for daily devotion e-mails in the month of December to prepare your hearts for Jesus’ birth.

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Our King comes in gentleness – December 2, 2022

Read: Matthew 21:1-11

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
Matthew 21:1-5

Our King comes in gentleness

Family Devotion – December 2, 2022

Devotion based on Matthew 21:1-5

See series: Devotions

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

The president of the United States rides in a limousine nicknamed “the Beast.” It’s a fitting name! His car has armor plating and bullet-proof glass; it carries weapons and rides on tires that can’t go flat. When you see a car like that coming down the street, you know a powerful leader is coming.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem to die for our sins, he wasn’t riding anything like that. He wasn’t in a chariot or riding a powerful horse. He was riding on a small, young donkey. But he was coming to be a King.

There were at least two reasons why Jesus rode a donkey. Hundreds of years before this, God made a prophecy—a promise!—through one of his prophets: When God’s true King came to his people he’d be riding on a young donkey. God said, “When you see this sign, pay attention. You’ll know I’m keeping my promise.”

And riding a donkey showed what Jesus was like. You wouldn’t ride a donkey out into war. Donkeys were lowly and humble. Gentle. Jesus wasn’t coming to attack people; he was coming as a gentle King who would lay down his life for his people.

Jesus still comes to us today. We’ll celebrate Christmas soon and rejoice in the miracle of God coming as a baby. But there’s a miracle taking place, even right now. God comes to us in his Word. He promises he’s speaking to us through the Bible. So are you reading the Bible tonight? Are you going to church soon? Then, pay attention! God’s keeping his promise to you.

And it shows what God is like, too. He doesn’t come to us in a thunderstorm or an earthquake, but in words that help us see our sin and promise us salvation. He doesn’t want to scare us; he speaks gently because he wants us to know him. That’s the kind of King you have.

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, when you entered Jerusalem on a donkey, you came exactly the way you promised, but so many people didn’t recognize you. You promise to come to us in your Word. As we read it tonight, as we worship you on Christmas Eve, help us to recognize you and receive you as our gentle and loving King. 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 kind of animal did Jesus ride into Jerusalem?
  • What did that show about what Jesus was like?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How did Jesus riding on a donkey actually show that he had complete control over what was happening?
  • Jesus is described as “gentle.” How else in the Bible do you see Jesus’ gentleness?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Jesus entered Jerusalem in this way as he was getting ready to die. Explain how his “gentleness” wasn’t the same as “weakness.”
  • List as many ways as you can that this reading shows us that Jesus is a powerful king and a loving king.

 

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 Trees Are Wrong – December 2, 2022

The Trees Are Wrong – December 2, 2022


Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5




Military Devotion – December 2, 2022

Devotion based on Proverbs 3:5

See series: Military Devotions

We are a society that banks on feelings. Be it a happy event or a sad one, the reporter with the microphone is apt to ask, “How are you feeling?” The question is asked often because readers and viewers feel that’s important.

It’s as if feelings define us. “How does the quarterback feel after this loss?” “How does your family feel about the upcoming transfer?” “How does the squad feel after the counterattack?”

The impact of feelings reverberates to the far corners of our lives. They are difficult to ignore—even when we know that we should.

There’s the saying, “If it feels good, do it!” That puts feelings into the command position of life. When faced with judgment calls, we sometimes go with our instincts.

That’s not necessarily bad. Instinct is often formed by lessons learned from the past. It grows from our understanding of situations. But our understanding is limited and sometimes dead wrong. Our understanding of life is not good enough to build a life upon.

Wise and inspired King Solomon clues us in. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

Solomon was right, of course. But sometimes, it is hard to do that.

There is an American who grew up in Africa. When his family returned to the U.S., he faced a cultural shock. So many differences!

Some of them he liked immediately. Some took a while to get used to. But one difference was very hard to accept.

He puts it this way: “The trees are wrong!”

As he traveled around, this continued to bother him. He could feel it in his bones. He could not shake the feeling. “The trees are wrong!”

Those tall pine trees, those majestic oaks—that’s not what trees are supposed to look like! Not one tree in the upper Midwest looked right. It was all wrong—and it continued to bother him.

Then, things changed. He writes, “Recently, on a trip to Texas, I felt at home. My eyes and mind saw that the trees grew right!”

He explains that the woodland where he grew up in Zambia consists of low, isolated trees surrounded by shrubs and grasses. The area is dry most of the year. “Thus,” he says, “it has many similarities to dry Texas shrub.”

What a good feeling for him!

But that doesn’t make the rest of America’s trees wrong.

“And lean not on your own understanding,” Scripture reminds us.

We are entering the portion of the year that might be labeled “The Season of Feelings.” We have been reminded to feel thankful. Now, we are encouraged to feel joyful. But what if we don’t feel like it?

What if this season doesn’t look like the Christmas we grew up with? What if the scenery is wrong? What if people vital to our picture of Christmas are missing?

What if we begin to wonder if our understanding of Christmas has been shaped by the spirit of make-believe?

Wasn’t our early excitement over Christmas influenced by stories of reindeer and a magic sleigh? If we have outgrown Santa Claus, have we also outgrown the story of a virgin birth and a baby that is both human and divine?

What sense does that make to our grownup mind? Is that why we cannot recapture the old feelings? Have we just lost the Christmas spirit? Or have we wandered away from the Spirit of Christmas?

Maybe it’s time we take our own “trip to Texas.” We will not be carried by car or plane. This trip is courtesy of the Holy Spirit, who brings back the familiar sights of wonder and grace before our eyes.

On the pages of Holy Writ, we see the things that refresh our souls. Once again, we catch sight of angels announcing the glad tidings of great joy that shall be to all people. Once more, in spirit, we walk with the shepherds to see the newborn King.

We come again to the realization: “This is real!” “This is my Savior!” “I can rejoice with the angels.” “One day, I shall live with them.”

This is too marvelous to comprehend and too amazing to understand, but I trust my Creator and Redeemer. I can now relax and feel good about what I see. Now I feel at home with this Christmas scene. I can be at peace once again.

And even if I am where the trees look wrong, Christ in Christmas makes them right.



Prayer: Holy Spirit, lift up my eyes to see again the reason why the angels sang for joy over the fields of Bethlehem. Show me the Savior who makes everything right. Amen.



Points to ponder:

  • Why does much of our joy seem to be influenced by the trimmings of Christmas?
  • What would we say to the person who feels he has outgrown Christmas?
  • Why are we inclined to trust our own understanding instead of the Lord our God?


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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Armor – December 2, 2022

Let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Romans 13:12

Armor

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Daily Devotion – December 2, 2022

Devotion based on Romans 13:12

See series: Devotions

Walk into a museum of ancient history. Stroll through the corridors that depict how people lived many centuries ago. After you’ve done this, go to the section that features military items. When you reach the area that displays examples of armor that soldiers used to wear, find a bench and sit down. Look at that armor for a while and give it some careful attention.

Now, as you sit in that museum, do a bit of time travel. Go back 2,000 years. Watch a Roman soldier as he carefully, deliberately puts on his armor. The very presence of that armor on his body tells you that he’s getting ready for a serious day. He will be watchful, alert, ready for action. After all, one does not put on armor to lounge around the house. You put it on for battle.

Satan is forever working to convince me that there’s no urgency when it comes to my Christian faith; that there’s no urgency when it comes to my role as a soldier of the cross. In fact, little by little, Satan can even ease me into presuming that I have plenty of time to indulge in all my pet sins. I can repent and get serious later and put on my armor some other day.

But not only is this wrong and rebellious. It is playing games with the evil one and an entity with one goal: To see my soul in hell.

But Jesus, our King, knows this. He pursues you and me with a love that is relentless. He reaches out to us through the living and enduring Word of God. As he calls us to repentance, he refreshes us with the good news of the blood he shed to wash us clean. And as he does, he empowers us. He empowers us to put aside our deeds of darkness, put on the armor of light, be ready to serve our King, and serve as a soldier of the cross.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive my deeds of darkness. Empower me to put on the armor of light. 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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Advent Devotion – Come, Lord Jesus – Day 1

Come Into My Darkness


For he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant, from now on all generations will call me blessed.
Luke 1:48


The prophets had been silent. The Roman Empire laid a heavy toll on the Israelites. Taxation and oppression were crushing their spirits, and their cries to God continued. The angel appeared to the virgin Mary, telling her of God’s grace toward her. She would give birth to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

When God acted, and answered the cries of his people, it certainly didn’t make things easy for Mary or Joseph. Mary humbled herself before the Lord and placed her faith in him. She didn’t have a step-by-step guide to explain the hows and wheres and whens. She simply had to take each next step trusting God.

It’s easy to wonder if God sees us in times of uncertainty when everything seems to be going wrong. Have you felt unnoticed, as if maybe God has forgotten you? You cry to him but still feel as if nothing seems to work out. Where is God? Does he see? Will he act?

This Advent, you do not need to see the answers to honor the Lord. You need only to place your trust in him. Serve others while you wait. Seek the comfort he gives in his Word and through the fellowship of believers.


Prayer:

Jesus, you are the Light of the world, the light the darkness cannot overcome. Give us the light to take each next step, trusting you to guide us. Strengthen us and give us your peace and help us to bring peace to others. Amen.


Written by Jordan Zuniga
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry


During Advent, we eagerly wait and prepare our hearts for the celebration of his birth AND the time when he comes again. WELS Womens Ministry invites you to join us for daily devotion e-mails in the month of December to prepare your hearts for Jesus’ birth.

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Wake Up – December 1, 2022

The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber.
Romans 13:11

Wake Up

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Daily Devotion – December 1, 2022

Devotion based on Romans 13:11

See series: Devotions

Sunday, December 7, 1941, 7:30 A.M. All is calm and quiet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The sailors are out of their bunks, but their pace is leisurely, relaxed. Many feel what a later generation would call “Sleep Inertia.” Under an easy schedule, they are allowing themselves the luxury of going slow, yawning an extra yawn, chuckling with each other at breakfast, savoring a second cup of coffee. They have no idea that they need to wake up NOW! They have no idea that in 25 short minutes, their world is going to change forever.

When God the Holy Spirit moved the apostle Paul to write his letter to the Romans, he saw to it that Paul’s letter was teeming with profound truths and promises. One of the great truths he proclaimed through Paul is that: “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber.”

My old sinful self—the part of me that wants nothing to do with Christ—wants to keep my soul sleepy and indifferent. It wants to keep my soul presuming that I have all the time in the world to get serious about the only Savior I’m ever going to have.

And here you and I must confess that there have been many times we have given in to the spiritual sleepiness—we’ve given in to the indifference. We’ve given in to Satan’s lie that when it comes to any earnest focus upon our Savior-King—there is no hurry.

Thanks be to God that he pursues us through his Word. He calls us to repentance. He does what he needs to do to rattle us, rouse us, wake us up. For when the final day comes for each of us, he does not want any of us left outside. He wants us to be awake. He wants us to be with him. He wants us basking forever in the full forgiveness our King has purchased for us at the cross.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my King, forgive me for all the times I have allowed myself to become sleepy and indifferent towards you. Refresh me in your law and gospel. Draw me to yourself. 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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Our King can turn worry to joy – November 30, 2022

Read: Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

Our King can turn worry to joy

Family Devotion – November 30, 2022

Devotion based on Philippians 4:4-7

See series: Devotions

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

A preacher came to a new church. Everyone liked his first sermon. He preached it again the second Sunday. And the next Sunday! An elder asked him why he kept preaching the same sermon. He replied, “None of you were doing what I said the first time, so I needed to tell you again!!”

Paul repeats himself in our reading: Rejoice! Rejoice! But it’s not to get us to do more. He wants us to worry less. Maybe you think, “Yeah, that’s easy for you to say, Paul! If you lived my life, you’d worry a lot, too!” But did you know Paul was in prison when he wrote this? Paul had reasons to worry.

Here’s a lie that most of us believe: We can’t do anything to stop worrying. It’s just the way we feel. But Paul tells us there’s a lot we can do to change how we feel.

First, you can be gentle to others. You have control over your words and actions. If you treat people with kindness, it will help calm your own heart.

Second, remember that the Lord is near. Paul didn’t mean that Jesus was close to us (even though that’s true!). He meant that Jesus was coming back soon. Whatever problem you have, you won’t face it forever and you’ll never face it alone.

Third, pray. Cast your cares on the Lord. He’s listening, and he can help.

Fourth, give thanks. When you take time to thank God as you bring him your prayers, you’ll find reminders that he really is in control and is giving you so many blessings.

Those are things you can do that will help with your worrying, but maybe you noticed something. As you do these things, God is really the one doing the important work. He’ll give you peace that you can’t even understand. Your King Jesus will be turning your worry into joy.

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, sometimes I think I worry because I can’t control the things in my life. But the real reason I worry is because I forget that you’re the one controlling them all in love for me. As I show your love to others and remember your love for me, as I bring you my fears and give you thanks for your kindness, bless me with peace, even when I don’t understand how it will all work out. 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

  • Right after Paul tells us to rejoice, what does he tell us to do?
  • Why does Paul say we can always rejoice?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Describe something in your life that makes you feel anxious.
  • If there’s something you’re worried about, what can you do?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Instead of worrying, Paul tells us to give thanks to God. How does giving thanks to God actually help stop us from worrying?
  • What do you think it means that God’s peace “guards our minds”?

 

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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Guard – November 30, 2022

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

Guard

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Daily Devotion – November 30, 2022

Devotion based on Philippians 4:7

See series: Devotions

When Queen Elizabeth died, the Royal Guards went into action. As the many days of ceremonies and funerals got underway, the Royal Guards became a constant presence around her coffin. Throughout the long hours of her lying in state, it was the duty of the Royal Guards to stand at rigid attention, absolutely still. It was during this time, around 1 A.M., that one of the Royal Guards fainted and collapsed. As was later reported, this is not unusual. The long hours, heavy equipment, heat, and need to stand frozen in place—all contributes to an occasional collapse. In fact, because this is not uncommon, the Royal Guards receive specific training on how to “faint to attention.” In other words, when a Royal Guard faints, he is not to fall sideways. He is to fall straight forward, face first. As one of the officers said, fainting to attention in this way may mean “a broken nose and…missing teeth.”

Fainting to attention is certainly an impressive testimony to the Royal Guards’ devotion to duty. In its own way, it acknowledges that even such well-trained guards are still imperfect, still vulnerable to human frailty.

In the part of the Bible we are focusing on today, the apostle Paul gives us a solemn promise. He says, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Think about that for a moment; you have a guard—faithful, vigilant, standing watch over your mind and heart. But unlike a human guard, this guard will never tire, never waver, never wander, never grow faint. This is because the peace of God that guards you is sealed in the blood of Jesus Christ—the same blood that our King shed on Calvary’s cross to wash away our every sin, including every time you and I have wavered in our relationship with him.

And so, rest easy and know that all is well. Your Savior-King is on duty, and he will never faint.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my King, thank you for standing guard. Move me to rest in you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Anxious – November 29, 2022

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6,7

Anxious

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Daily Devotion – November 29, 2022

Devotion based on Philippians 4:6,7

See series: Devotions

You and I live in an anxious culture. There are all kinds of suggestions as to why anxiety seems to be on the rise. Some point to the economy. Others point to a loss in our sense of security. Still, others suggest that social media has produced factors that nurture anxiety, from poor sleeping habits and artificial light to a sense of isolation and the fear of missing out.

Prolonged anxiety can lead to other issues. It can diminish the immune system. It can disrupt the digestive system. It can contribute to muscle tension and chronic pain. Perhaps worst of all, prolonged anxiety is something Satan can use to introduce sinful escapes—drinking too much, eating too much, procrastination, and pornography.

Anxiety, however, is nothing new. Since our fall into sin, there has been more than enough to make people anxious. Take the apostle Paul. When he wrote his letter to the Philippians, Paul was under arrest in Rome. He was waiting—and waiting and waiting—for the Roman Emperor to rule on his case. If someone ever had reason to feel anxious, that person was Paul.

But to the Philippian Christians, Paul says this: Do not be anxious about anything. Anything? Yes, anything. Then, after such a bold statement, Paul gives the godly alternative to anxiety, the godly release. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, . . . with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” And when we do that, Paul promises, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And so, it all comes back to Jesus. Not only has the Son of God lived a life of perfect trust on our behalf; not only has our Savior and King suffered and died for all the ways we have sought sinful escapes. He now invites us to open up to him about everything. And as we do, he promises us a peace from him that transcends all understanding.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when I feel anxious, move me to open up to you. Give me your peace. 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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Second Sunday in Advent

Prepare Your Heart for the Lord’s Coming

These are the readings for the Second Sunday in Advent.
(This Worship Help aligns with the lectionary readings from Christian Worship 1993 and Christian Worship: Supplement.)

God’s Word for This Week

John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, fixes our attention on the need for true preparation for the Lord’s coming. Such preparation means repenting—recognizing how our sins have offended God and trusting him for the forgiveness he gives us in Christ. Jesus, the only Savior, brings peace to a troubled heart.

Traditional First Lesson – Isaiah 11:1-10

List examples of how Jesus fulfilled the description in verses 1-5.

Jesus descended from David, whose father was Jesse. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove at his baptism. Jesus’ earthly ministry was marked by wisdom, understanding, power, etc. Jesus knew people’s thoughts and attitudes (see John 2:25). Other answers will vary.

How does the description of peace in verses 6-8; give us comfort?

The animals paired in Isaiah’s description are natural enemies. Because of sin, we have all been born natural enemies of God. But because of the Savior’s work on our behalf, we are now at peace with God. While the peace between these animals is symbolic, it’s comforting to know that the peace between God and us is real and lasting.

Supplemental First Lesson – Daniel 4:19-37

What was the point of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?

God had used Nebuchadnezzar as his ax to chop down the unrepentant tree of David. But the king of Babylon failed to heed Daniel’s warning that the ax now sat at the root of his own tree. The prophet told him to repent, for God’s coming judgment was near. Nebuchadnezzar failed to acknowledge God’s sovereign power, and to repent and live in newness of life. So God fulfilled the dream: the tree of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was chopped down. God struck his glory and power and left him with neither civility nor sanity.

What lesson does it teach us about repentance?

How true it is: God is able to humble those who walk in pride. The world’s greatest sovereign became like an animal. Yet look at the mercy of God! When Nebuchadnezzar repented and acknowledged and glorified God, the Lord forgave him, renewed him, and restored him.

Traditional Second Lesson – Romans 15:4–13

When Paul wrote this letter, what “Scriptures” did the Christians in Rome have?

Roman believers had only the Old Testament. Think about how much more we have today with the entire Bible!

What is the connection between the peace that Jesus gives and accepting one another? (See 15:7.)

Since Christ has accepted us and made us part of his family through faith, we have peace with God. How could we not accept one another when our God has been so accepting of us?

Supplemental Second Lesson – Acts 3:19-26

When God calls on all people to repent, what does he mean?

Repentance is God’s work that results in a change of heart, a change of direction, and a change of attitude. First, the Law makes us feel contrition over our sin and guilt. Second, the Gospel’s message of forgiveness in Jesus leads us to trust in God’s grace.

How do you see that in these verses?

God used the miracle of the beggar’s healing to capture the attention of the crowd so that Peter and John could preach a message of repentance to the people. They preached the harsh accusations of the law: “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead,” to prepare the hearts of the people to repent. Then they offered the sweetest gospel message that repentance brings renewal by wiping away sins and bringing God’s refreshment through Christ.

Gospel – Matthew 3:1-12

How do you know John the Baptist’s message is aimed at our hearts?

Just as in John’s day, we too need to “repent” (3:2), “confess” our sins (3:6), and “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (3:8). Our heart’s attitude, not our family tree, is what matters before God.

What is John describing with the “ax… at the root of the trees; and burning up of the chaff?”

Jesus calls everyone to repent of his or her sins and promises forgiveness and peace to those who trust in him. However, to those who reject Christ, he threatens eternal punishment; and he means it. These words serve as a loving warning even to the believer. We are truly prepared for Christ’s coming at Christmas when we repent of our sins and look to him for forgiveness.

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Our King can turn tanks into tractors – November 28, 2022

Read: Isaiah 2:1-5

[The Lord] will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.
Isaiah 2:4,5

Our King can turn tanks into tractors

Family Devotion – November 28, 2022

Devotion based on Isaiah 2:4,5

See series: Devotions

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

We’ve all seen swords in movies and TV shows. Swords were weapons of war used to hurt or kill your enemy. We don’t see plowshares as often. Plowshares were a tool used on farms. They were wedges of metal that oxen would pull through a field to break up the dirt so the farmer could plant his crop. Plowshares were used in peace.

So do you understand Isaiah’s picture? God would bring so much peace that people would turn their swords into plowshares. They wouldn’t have use for weapons anymore, so things that were created to kill could instead be tools used to grow food. Today, it would be like saying that God would turn tanks into tractors or use machine guns to spray water out onto the fields to irrigate the crops. That’s all a way of saying that when the Savior came, he would stop our fighting and give us peace with each other.

That’s one of the things Jesus does as he takes away our sins. When we hear his Word and believe it, he leads us to apologize when we argue with or war against one another. He gives us the ability to forgive each other. That’s part of what it means to walk in the light of the Lord: we can be honest about the way we hurt each other, and we can remind each other that Jesus has died for those sins. We’ll never do that perfectly on this side of heaven, but every time we do, we beat our swords into plowshares and get a little bit more of the peace God describes. Husbands and wives can love each other; brothers and sisters can forgive each other. God can fix the broken relationship with your friend.

Can you picture that peace? Sometimes it seems impossible to think that a big problem can be healed! Maybe it seems as impossible as someone using a tank to plow their field or a machine gun to water it. But that’s what your King can do!

Closing Prayer:

Dear King Jesus, you know the problems in my life. You know the people that I’m angry at or feel hurt by, and you know the things I’ve done that have hurt others. Use the light of your Word to help me be honest about those sins. And when we confess our sins to each other and tell each other of your forgiveness, bless us with real peace. 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’s a plowshare?
  • Isaiah describes God as a judge. Why do you think he’d be a good judge?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is “war” a symbol of the pain and trouble that sin brings into the world?
  • Isaiah describes God bringing peace like someone turning swords into farming equipment. Come up with your own picture of God turning something dangerous into something helpful.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Give an example of a time “walking in the light of the Lord” helped you find peace with someone you were angry at.
  • Do you think this passage is promising a time where there will be world peace? Why or why not?

 

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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Joy and Peace – Week of November 28, 2022

Joy and Peace – Week of November 28, 2022



Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7



I hope I planned it just right. While my class was gone for Thanksgiving break, I pulled out my Christmas tree and lights. I found the ornaments, tinsel, and candy canes for them to hang on the tree. I got out my special Advent calendar to help us count down to Christmas. I planned special projects and songs. I hope that when my little ones walk into our classroom, they are filled with Christmas joy.

Joy: what a wonderful Christmas word! When the apostle Paul wrote these words to the Philippians he was imprisoned in Rome, and yet, throughout his letter, he repeatedly used the words joy and rejoice. Paul knew something that gave him joy. He exclaimed, “The Lord is near.” No matter what our situation, we have that same knowledge. Jesus is near. That’s what we look forward to each Christmas and throughout the year. Jesus gave up his heavenly throne to be born in a stable so that he could be near us. He lived for us and ultimately died for us. And even now he is with us, guiding us. Yes, we have joy!

Knowing that Jesus is near gives us reason to be gentle. Jesus has always been kind and loving to us, in spite of our disobedience and sin. Now we look to each other. We find gentle words to comfort and encourage. We forgive and work together to restore joy. And when anxiety and worry strike, we encourage each other in Jesus’ almighty power and everlasting love. We bring our cares and concerns to God and thank him for the many blessings he showers on us.

And don’t forget another beloved Christmas word: peace. That’s what Jesus brought when he was born. He brought the peace of knowing that we have forgiveness for every sin, big and small. He brought the peace of knowing we have his unconditional love every day of our lives. And when the world is anything but peaceful, we know the Savior is on our side. He will take us to the perfect land of peace, where we will be with him forever.

I have a feeling that I’ll hear some squeals of joy as the children see the tree and hang the ornaments. I pray they’ll feel the peace of their Savior as we ponder the Christmas story. This Advent season, may you revel in the joy and peace only our Savior can bring.



Prayer:
Dear Jesus, you are the source of my joy and peace. Help me savor all you have done for me and share the joy and peace you bring with those around me. I love you, Jesus. Amen.

Hymns to Consider:

Christian Worship 21 330 Peace Came to Earth
Christian Worship 21 356 God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
Christian Worship 21 363/93 34: Now Sing We, Now Rejoice


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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Mountain – November 28, 2022

Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob.”
Isaiah 2:3

Mountain

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Daily Devotion – November 28, 2022

Devotion based on Isaiah 2:3

See series: Devotions

In terms of visitors, the most popular mountain in the world is Mount Fuji. It is the tallest mountain in Japan. Its distinct beauty is breathtaking. It’s the stuff of poetry, art, and history. And because it’s possible to reach the summit without special mountain-climbing equipment, hundreds of thousands climb Mount Fuji every year.

The climb, however, is difficult and long. There are certain items you need to bring with you. You will need protective clothing and good hiking boots. You need rain gear in case of sudden storms. And for the portion of the trail where you’ll be walking in darkness, you’ll need a battery-powered headlamp. When you stop half-way up to catch a few hours’ sleep, you’ll need earplugs to block the noise. For food, bring along high-calorie food sticks and energy bars, and bring water. And in case you begin to get light-headed towards the summit, a small can of oxygen is a particularly good idea.

There is another mountain that exists—a mountain far more breathtaking than Mount Fuji. This mountain is of an entirely different kind. The prophet Isaiah calls it, “The mountain of the LORD.” It’s his inspired way of describing the presence of Christ the King. Coming to this mountain is not about bringing the right clothing, the right equipment, the right food. It is not at all about climbing through darkness, storms, heat, and cold in the hope that you might make it to the summit.

Rather, it is all about the Holy Spirit using the message of Christ crucified and risen to draw you into God’s presence through faith in his Son. It is all about the gospel empowering you to bask in the forgiveness Jesus has earned for you, to be filled with his peace, to proclaim Christ with your fellow believers, to trust his will for your lives.

There is one thing you can bring along, however, your sin. Bring your sin for your King and Savior to wash it all away.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for the mountain of your grace. Move me to bring you my sin every single day. 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 – November 27, 2022

One truth shared: Our King Jesus brings a divine peace.

“This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
Isaiah‬ ‭2:1-5‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Picture of Peace

From the on-going war in the Ukraine to the struggles in our own living rooms, this world is full of conflict. Even during the holiday season, when families get together and times are supposed to be festive and joyful, we still experience conflict—arguments, hurt feelings, broken relationships, worry. And conflict robs us of a peace that we all yearn for.

The prophet Isaiah experienced conflict in his life too. His home nation of Israel was being threatened by foreign powers. Unfaithful kings were leading God’s people astray. Most people were unwilling to listen to Isaiah’s call to repentance and refused to turn back to the God who saved them. Isaiah too yearned for peace.

God came to Isaiah and gave him a picture of what was to come. He saw the “mountain of the Lord’s temple.” He saw God settling disputes between people so they would stop fighting. He saw a picture of peace for him, for his people, and for us too.

God’s picture centers around a person—a Messiah—Jesus. Jesus was born into our world of conflict. He experienced conflict his entire life—conflict between his own Jewish people and the oppressive Romans, conflict among the people he discipled, and even conflict from his own family.

Thankfully Jesus came not just to live in conflict, but to put an end to conflict. He knew the source of all conflict—sin—sin that started thousands of years before his birth when our first parents fell to the temptations of the devil. Sadly, you and I inherited that sin, and it infects the core of our being. It finds its way into every aspect of our lives, creating conflict at every turn. Every day.

Are you tired of living in conflict? Then listen to this: Jesus came on a mission to end conflict—to bring forgiveness for your sins and my sins and for all sins. Through his perfect life, innocent death on a cross, and resurrection from the grave, he completed his mission and brought peace between us and God, and between us and others.

At Christmas we celebrate the first coming of Jesus. We’ll sing “Silent Night” with the line, “sleep in heavenly peace” because Jesus is the Prince of Peace who comes into our world of conflict. We see the same picture Isaiah saw—a Messiah who will someday come again to bring a final and eternal peace—to put an end to any and every conflict once and for all.

Prayer: Prince of Peace, thank you for coming into our world of conflict and bringing everlasting peace. This Christmas season may your peace reign in our hearts and flow over into the lives of others. 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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Obstacles – November 27, 2022

Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.
1 Thessalonians 3:11

Obstacles

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Daily Devotion – November 27, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 3:11

See series: Devotions

The apostle Paul longed for the opportunity to return to the city of Thessalonica and be with his Christian friends. He wanted to go there in person to encourage them in their trials and strengthen their faith to help them stand firm in the face of opposition. But Satan stirred up such a fury against the followers of Jesus that it was too dangerous for Paul to revisit the congregation. As much as he desired to go, his way to them was blocked.

We have these same experiences. At times there are difficult issues and crushing concerns that greatly impact our lives. We are stymied by these events and circumstances that are beyond our ability to contend with and rise above. What kinds of things are you facing now that are blocking your way forward? What can you do?

Do what Paul did. Realizing that the situation was beyond his control, the apostle expressed a prayer to the One who controls all things. He prayed that our “God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you.” Paul could not quell the persecution to open up the way for him to make his important trip, but God could. He is the almighty God who can do all things.

Whatever obstacles in life you face, pray confidently to God that he clears away the roadblocks. He is your heavenly Father who created you with his almighty power, and through the Lord Jesus, he loves you as his very own. He has removed the most difficult obstacle—the sin that blocked your way to life with him. Therefore, you can trust God to always do what is good for you so that you can go forward in life, serving him in love and living in thankfulness to him for all his great goodness.

Prayer:
Lord God, be my helper and strength, especially as I face difficult obstacles. Remind me of the great love that you demonstrated in my salvation. Give me the assurance that you continue to exercise your power and love for me in all circumstances. 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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Beautiful People – November 26, 2022

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.”
Jeremiah 23:5,6

Beautiful People

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Daily Devotion – November 26, 2022

Devotion based on Jeremiah 23:5,6

See series: Devotions

In the days of the prophet Jeremiah, about 600 years before the birth of Jesus, many people of God’s chosen nation had turned away from God into unbelief. They followed false teachers and bad leaders that led them into idolatry. However, there were some people who remained faithful to the true God. Through Jeremiah, God promised that he would gather all his faithful ones and bless them.

The Lord announced that glorious time: “The days are coming when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.” With the word “branch,” God wants us to think of a shoot or sprout which grows out of a dying stump or from the ground where a tree stump is decaying. With this imagery, God pointed to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. His roots or ancestry were from the line of King David. But by the time of his arrival, the grandeur of David’s kingdom had died and decayed under David’s godless successors. The Messiah, however, came to reestablish the glory of David’s throne, although not in the same way as before. Jesus Christ is a King, but his kingdom is new and different. His has a spiritual kingdom where he graciously rules in the hearts of people of faith.

God cares for his people, and he saves them. He sent Jesus to do what is “just and right in the land.” In contrast to the people who rejected God and lived in disobedience to his will, Jesus lived in perfect obedience to the will of God and was guiltless of any sin. He lived this way for our benefit. God charged the perfect righteousness of his Son to us. He is: THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Covered with the purity of Jesus Christ, we are beautiful people in God’s eyes and blessed by faith in Jesus to be members of his glorious, eternal kingdom.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 376)
Jesus, your blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Mid flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head. 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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How Do You Say “Thank You”? – November 25, 2022

Read: Luke 19:1-10

Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I am going to give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone out of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:8-10

How Do You Say “Thank You”?

Family Devotion – November 25, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 19:8-10

See series: Devotions

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

“So, what do you say?” Millie had just received a piece of candy from the friendly man behind the counter. She was so surprised to receive the sweet treat that she forgot to thank the kind man at the store. Once she heard Mom’s reminder, she blurted out, “Thank you!”

Do you ever forget to say thank you? We all have. Sometimes we don’t pay attention. Sometimes we simply forget, but every day God gives us lots of reasons to say thank you. Thank you for smiling at me. Thank you for preparing a tasty meal. Thank you for helping me with my homework. Thank you for keeping me safe. Thank you for teaching me about math, when I struggle with it. Thank you for telling me about Jesus. Thank you for giving me a hug.

So how do you say, “Thank you”? Sometimes, just saying “Thank you” is enough. But other times, we say thank you with our actions. Maybe you write a thank you note. Maybe you give a gift. Maybe you help the person who helped you. Maybe you pay it forward. That means you show kindness because someone showed you kindness. In fact, Christians have paid it forward for centuries. Why? We’ve been shown the greatest kindness of all!

God’s Word today tells us about a man named Zacchaeus. He was known for being cruel rather than kind. He was a dishonest tax collector and made people’s lives miserable. Nobody liked him. Everyone avoided him, except… Jesus. As Jesus was traveling through his city, Zacchaeus had trouble seeing over the crowd, so he climbed a tree. There Jesus found him. Imagine that! Jesus—God himself and the Savior of all on his way to the cross for our sins—looked up and found Zacchaeus. Jesus cared deeply for that lost, sinful man. Zacchaeus wanted to say thank you for God’s undeserved love with actions. So he paid back everyone he cheated and gave more to help the poor.

Jesus loves you just as much as he loved Zacchaeus. He knows what’s going on in your life. Yes, he knows when you are cruel and dishonest, but he cares deeply about you. He came to save you. He sacrificed himself for you, so you could be his holy child forever. So how will you say thank you? With words? With action? How about with an entire life devoted to giving thanks to God for his gracious love to you? May God grant it!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you are the Savior of sinners. Thank you for saving me too. Let my entire life be filled with thanksgiving for your amazing grace. 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 three things you can thank Jesus for today.
  • What caused Zacchaeus to thank Jesus?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Recall the last time you said thank you to someone. What made it easy or hard to do?
  • Name two or three ways you can “pay forward” to others the love Jesus showed to you.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • It’s easy to forget to say thank you to people and God. What Bible passage can help you remember to say thank you for all God’s gifts? (e.g.: Psalm 136:1)
  • Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” How does knowing that fact about Jesus help you take action and share his love with others?

 

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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Mercy! – November 25, 2022

Mercy! – November 25, 2022


O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
1 Chronicles 16:34 (KJV)




Military Devotion – November 25, 2022

Devotion based on 1 Chronicles 16:34 (KJV)

See series: Military Devotions

Sometimes, what we want is not what we need—and what we need is not what we want. That’s the way it is with us humans.

Good thing our loving God knows that! He knows what we want, and he sees what we need. Ask a three-year-old what she wants for breakfast, and she might say “ice cream.” Because her mother loves her, oatmeal is what she gets. This does not bring about a happy face.

Years later, she may be thankful for her mother’s action—as she lovingly prepares oatmeal for her own child.

We might relate to that. Perhaps, we have also learned that what we once desperately wanted would not have been good for us. Maybe, we are now thankful that we did not get it. As we make our list of what we are thankful for today, we may want to include some prayers that were answered with a “No!”

Because God is good, he will not give us things that are not good. Our frown will not cause him to change his mind.

The psalmist encourages us to “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:1).

Some benefits quickly come to mind: good food, good friends, and good health. Thus, we might say, “Thank you, Lord, for my warm house, my loving family, and my secure job.” That’s a good list.

We may think of dangers and hardships that have been overcome. “Thank you, Lord, for bringing me home safely from deployment, for my parents surviving the hurricane, and for protecting me from Covid.” That’s a good prayer.

Yet, the Bible leads us to look more closely at the background in the picture of our life. It shows the face of God is there. He was always there.

He is the LORD. He answers to no one. What if he were evil instead of good or stingy instead of generous? Even more reason to heed the words, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endures forever.”

Many who have deployed to faraway places have come away with the realization that many Americans live an abundant life compared to others.

We complain about rising prices while others face empty shelves. We worry about weight gain while others watch their children grow gaunt and weak. We murmur over the price of gasoline while some others watch the skies for deadly incoming rounds.

Much of what we want are things we do not need—or do not truly need more of.

There is one thing, however, that we need most desperately, even if we do not realize it. There is something we cannot survive without.

We, who can sing of America, “My country ‘tis of thee,” must include the words, “God shed his grace on thee.” The Bible says, “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22).

“Not consumed?” Suddenly we realize we have more at stake than food, shelter, and life’s trinkets.

Our very life is on the line. The door to eternity is only a few steps away. Our only hope lies in the mercy of the omnipotent Lord God.

The grace of God is the undeserved love of God. Because that love is undeserved, it is rightfully called his mercy. About that, we are told, “For his mercy endures forever!”

For how long will he forgive our crimes against his holy law? Forever.

For how long will he love us? Forever.

For how long will we live in the happy home Jesus is preparing for us? Forever and ever.

How does this make us feel? Happy? Thankful?” It should.

But are we happy enough? Thankful enough?

Probably not? Certainly not!

Will we be booted from the kingdom of God for this failure?

Absolutely not!

We should be, but we won’t be.

The Lord we love and serve has also covered this shortcoming with the perfection of Christ. We are the recipients of his mercy.

Mercy is what we need, and mercy is what we want. Mercy is what we get.

Thank God!



Prayer: We give heartfelt thanks to you, O Lord, for you are good, and your mercy does endure forever. Amen.



Points to ponder:

  • Why do we quickly think of material blessings rather than spiritual ones?
  • When we pray, “Thy kingdom come,” are we asking for the last return of Jesus?
  • How would we explain the concept of forever to a child?


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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Worship God – November 25, 2022

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that . . . Worship God!”
Revelation 22:8,9

Worship God

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Daily Devotion – November 25, 2022

Devotion based on Revelation 22:8,9

See series: Devotions

As a little boy, Brian grew up in the heart of the United States. By the time he was in his late teens, he had joined the Army. As a commander, he saw the world: Europe, the Middle East, etc. Pick a spot on the map, and he had been there. But now, after a career of one transition after another, where did he retire? Raising chickens on his great-great-grandparents’ homestead in the middle of Kansas. You could hear the satisfaction in his voice as he told his full-circle story.

There’s something satisfying about seeing things come full circle. And there’s no better full-circle story than God’s. On the first page of the Bible, we see him create a perfect world, part of which included a tree and a law, “Don’t eat!” so that humans had an opportunity to worship. When God wiped the world clean and basically started over with Noah and his family, what did they do as soon as they set foot on the freshly washed earth? They worshiped. When God rescued his people from slavery and made a covenant with them, “Only worship God” was at the top of the list. When Jesus stepped into public ministry, and Satan tried to trip him up? What did Jesus say? “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only!” (Luke 4:8).

Now here we are on the last page of the Bible. A messenger brings good news to the apostle John. And out of impulse, John falls at his feet. But what does the angel tell John? “Worship God!” Why? There is only one God who created a perfect world and forged a relationship with us. There is only one God who was willing to sacrifice his Son to save us from our sins. There is only one God who will create a new world to cement our perfect relationship with him forever. Simply put, there is only one God worth worshiping.

Prayer:
Triune God, lead me to worship you and you alone. 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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Thankful on Repeat

Thankful on Repeat – Women’s Devotion


Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 118:29



Has anyone ever said to you, “I can’t thank you enough!”? Usually that phrase means the person is so grateful to you that they don’t feel they could even convey the extent of their gratitude. You have blessed them greatly and they are truly appreciative. They may even say, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

David proclaims his thankfulness to God. He thanks him for his goodness, mercy, and love. He states that that the Lord is with him, and that he will not be afraid. He declares that he almost fell, but that the Lord helped him. He joyfully expresses that the “gates of righteousness are open for him, and he will enter and give thanks to the Lord.”

Friends, we have what David is thankful for! We can be thankful for the exact same promises because they are ours through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. We can wake up every single day and recite the praise of verse 24, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” God keeps his promise to be with us always. He never leaves us or forsake us. He has our times in his hands, and he has plans for our future.

We can’t thank God enough for his everlasting love and blessings that he graciously showers over our lives. Our blessings abound, yes in our earthly lives, but most importantly in the promise of an eternal life with him in heaven. Undeservedly, we have inherited the blessing of heaven. Praise God!

Put your thanksgiving to the Lord on repeat. Let it never be something that wanes in the background of your life. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” Psalm 118:29.





Written by Jennifer Mueller


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Guard God’s Word – November 24, 2022

“Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”
Revelation 22:7

Guard God’s Word

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Daily Devotion – November 24, 2022

Devotion based on Revelation 22:7

See series: Devotions

A few years ago, a wildfire was approaching our home. We weren’t in imminent danger, but we could see the flames as they came down the mountain in our direction. While not forced to evacuate, we quickly pulled out our phones to grab a visual inventory of our “stuff.” Then we loaded up the SUV with the really “important stuff,” just in case the evacuation orders came. Not everything made it into the SUV. We had to prioritize.

Jesus warns us many times throughout the Bible, that the flames of judgment are coming. No matter where you live, they’re coming in your direction. But you don’t have to waste time grabbing a phone to take inventory of your stuff. You don’t even have to discuss what you need to prioritize for the SUV. The Bible makes it clear there’s only one thing necessary to keep. “Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy.”

Guard God’s Word. Don’t change it or leave it behind. Keep it. Why? Because it is the only thing that shows us Jesus. It is the only thing that shows us a Savior who went to the cross and snuffed out the fires of God’s wrath that were coming in our direction. God’s Word is the only thing that shows us a Jesus who says, “Blessed are you to receive my kingdom.”

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, preserve your Word in my mind and heart. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Where Do Gifts Come From? – November 23, 2022

Read: James 1:16-18

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

Where Do Gifts Come From?

Family Devotion – November 23, 2022

Devotion based on James 1:17

See series: Devotions

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

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we’re entering that time of year when one thought is on the minds of many people—gifts! The countdown until Christmas will begin almost before the leftovers find a place in the fridge. People will start looking for sales to get that special gift for that special someone in their life. Wish lists will go out to parents, grandparents, and other family and friends. Busy shoppers will fill stores and malls or go searching online.

There will soon be so much focus on gifts that we can forget about the giver of all those gifts. We can forget where every gift we receive comes from. Gifts come from family, friends, neighbors, classmates, even kind strangers, but who gives them the ability to give those gifts? Who gives them the desire to give those gifts? Who gives you all the gifts and blessings you need to live your life—not just those gifts beautifully wrapped for birthdays or Christmas?

In God’s Word, James tells us that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” Where do gifts come from? From God, our heavenly Father. He loves us deeply. He cares for each and every one of us more than we can possibly imagine. What’s behind every good act of giving from someone who cares about us? Our heavenly Father. What does every perfect gift that provides what we need prove? That our heavenly Father is behind it. Where does every blessing come from in our lives? It comes from our heavenly Father. That includes everything we need to live our lives—clothing, food, home, school, church, friends, family, and so much more.

In fact, our heavenly Father is the source of the greatest gift that we and all people have received—the gift of a Savior from sin and death. While we will hear much more about this at Christmas when we celebrate his birth, Jesus is God’s greatest gift to us. Jesus gives us forgiveness, peace, help, and hope. Jesus gives us strength for our lives now and life eternal with him in heaven. Isn’t that amazing?! It proves that God is behind every good and perfect gift. He is the source, the giver who knows what we need most and best all throughout our lives. Before we go searching for gifts to give or get, let’s give thanks to God for giving us his amazing grace!

Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, you are the source of every good and perfect gift. Open our eyes to see your love for us behind the kindness of others and behind every perfect gift we receive. Guide us to give thanks to you every day for every gift we receive from your gracious hand. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why do you get so excited about getting a gift?
  • Name two gifts that God gives to you.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Explain this statement: Every good and perfect gift is from above.
  • Name two ways that God can bless other people in your life through you.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Compare and contrast our typical “me, my, mine” attitude about gifts with God’s attitude about gifts in today’s devotion.
  • Explain how knowing that God is the source of every gift can actually make you more thankful for every gift you receive.

 

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 is Coming Soon – November 23, 2022

“Look, I am coming soon!”
Revelation 22:7

Jesus is Coming Soon

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Daily Devotion – November 23, 2022

Devotion based on Revelation 22:7

See series: Devotions

If you live in the United States, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which means today isn’t just about brining the turkey or setting the table with the fine china, it’s also the highest volume day of the year for air travel. While it may be a day filled with frustrations in the airport, it is also a day when excitement fills the home. “Johnny’s coming home tonight!” “Little Susie’s going to be at Grandma’s in a few hours!” “I can’t wait!” How many thousands of people are going to be peering out the front door today, ready to run out and hug their loved ones when they pull into the driveway?

It’s that same anticipation that Jesus wants for his people, “Look, I am coming soon!” In other words, “I’m on my way.” Consider how exciting that must have been for the apostle John to hear! His friend, his teacher, his Savior was “coming soon!” But it’s also exciting for you! Your friend, your teacher, your Savior is coming soon! In some ways, it’s even more exciting for us—to this point, we’ve never seen Jesus face-to-face. But when he comes back, we will. Imagine what it will be like to shake Jesus’ nail-pierced hand for the first time! Or imagine what it will be like to hug Jesus, thanking him for all he’s done!

But it’s not just the sheer excitement of meeting Jesus that makes us peer out the front door of our lives. It’s also the relief that he brings. He’s not just coming to our home to help carve the turkey or rice the potatoes; he’s coming to our world to relieve us from all the things we see going on around us: the wars, the disasters, the persecution. And best of all, even though he already defeated sin on the cross, he’s coming to relieve us from all the effects of sin. He’ll relieve us forever as he takes us to his home. That will be something worth celebrating!

Prayer:
Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly! 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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Assembly Required – November 22, 2022

The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.
Revelation 22:6

Assembly Required

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Daily Devotion – November 22, 2022

Devotion based on Revelation 22:6

See series: Devotions

“Some assembly required.” Those can be dreadful words. You purchase a new bookcase, and before you know it, parts and pieces are strewn all over the floor while you pore over the directions. “Insert hardware piece A into side panel 12. Insert hardware piece B into shelf C. Tighten bolt DD with locking nut FF.” By the time you get to step 22-3a, you lose patience and try to figure things out on your own. But just when you think you are done, you are concerned that there is still one board, four nuts, and three brackets. For a completely assembled product, you need to follow the steps in order.

From the beginning, God has proved himself a God of order. He didn’t create the fish on day five and then slap his forehead, “Ugh! I forgot to create water.” Creation had an order. So too, on the other end of the world’s timeline, God is all about order. Certain things must take place before this world comes to an end. We may not know all the “things that must soon take place,” but “the Lord, the God who inspires the prophets,” showed us what we need to know. From the rest of the Bible, we know some steps are quite difficult—wars, natural disasters, persecution. These “things” may not be easy, but according to the God of order, they are necessary.

Such things can be disturbing. But they ought not be surprising. And the fact that the God of order said this is how it would happen brings us great comfort. For it assures us that when this world seems to be spinning out of control, our God is still the One in control. And he is the One who will see us through these things until we reach the perfect new world; he has promised all those who place their trust in Jesus as their Savior from sin and hope for heaven.

Prayer:
Lord, assure me that everything I see happening in the world is still according to your great plan. 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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First Sunday in Advent

Be Ready for Christ’s Second Coming

These are the readings for the First Sunday in Advent.
(This Worship Help aligns with the lectionary readings from Christian Worship 1993 and Christian Worship: Supplement.)

God’s Word for This Week

With Advent, God’s people enter a new year of grace. The word “Advent” means “coming.” While we generally think of Advent as preparing us for our Savior’s first coming to this earth, the first Sunday in Advent highlights Christ’s second coming on judgment day. God urges us to be ready for him with a life of ongoing repentance, watchfulness, and spiritual renewal.

Traditional First Lesson – Isaiah 2:1-5

What is the “mountain of the Lord’s temple”?

The “mountain of the Lord’s temple” was an expression also used by Micah in his book (Micah 4:1). It refers to us, to God’s New Testament church. Isaiah is prophesying the coming Savior whose work would bring the most important time in the history of Israel or Jerusalem. That means, do not focus on the mountain on which the temple was built. Focus on God’s undeserved love for sinners, which will draw people to him, just like the Israelites were drawn to the temple in Jerusalem.

How do we know that the peace referred to in verse 4 is a spiritual peace, not an earthly peace?

Since the fall into sin, there has been no promise from God of peace on earth. Through the coming Savior’s forgiveness, we have peace with God. (See also Luke 1:77-79 and Romans 5:1.)

Supplemental First Lesson – Genesis 6:9-22, 7:11-23

How would you compare the world of Noah’s time to our world today, and how are we like Noah as we wait for Christ’s return?

Jesus told the story of the flood to explain the unexpected coming of God in judgment and grace. Noah was a man who worked and walked in the light. But he lived in a world darkened by sin. The lost around him were deaf to his preaching and blind to the signs. The coming of God’s judgment was as unexpected as it was terrifying for them. But in the middle of all that judgment, God came in unexpected grace to rescue Noah and his family.

As Noah worked and walked in the light, he heeded God’s warnings and trusted God’s promises. He watched; he waited; he prepared. And God made good on his promise: the same flood that judged the world also safely carried Noah and his family until they came to rest on a world washed clean. We live in a world that is still darkened by sin. As believers, we follow Noah’s example as we watch, wait, and prepare for Christ’s coming. We do not fear his return since we know he’s coming to take us to heaven.

Second Lesson – Romans 13:11-14

In what way is our salvation “nearer now than when we first believed”? (See 13:11.)

Each day of our life brings us that much closer to the goal of our faith, eternity with our God.

How do you “clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ”? (See 13:14.)

You clothe yourself with Christ through faith in him. While an unbeliever has no natural ability to believe in Jesus or come to him, a believer in Christ, a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), chooses to read Scripture, attend worship, study the Bible with others, and apply the Bible to their life. To “clothe yourself with Christ” practically means to immerse yourself in God’s Word.

Gospel – Matthew 24:37-44

In what way is the great flood similar to Jesus’ return on judgment day?

Just as Noah warned the people of his day, our God has warned his world about Jesus’ second coming. Yet, it will take many by surprise; then, as in the days of Noah, it will be too late.

Why do you think Jesus didn’t reveal to us the exact time of his second coming?

Certainly, Jesus knows what we are like. He knows that we procrastinate, are often spiritually lazy, and can succumb to false security. If we knew the date of his return, no doubt many would succumb to these. In his love, he doesn’t tell us when he will return.

What point did Jesus make by saying that not even the Son knows the day of his coming?

The second coming of Christ will be totally unexpected. No one will predict it; everyone must be ready for it to come at any time.

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We Are Ready – Week of November 21, 2022

We Are Ready – Week of November 21, 2022



Understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Luke 12:39-40



The class was ready.  We had talked about fire safety. We practiced “Stop, Drop, and Roll.” We shouted out the emergency numbers 9-1-1. We were ready for the firefighters’ visit. And the visit didn’t disappoint. We got to see the firefighter’s uniform, we climbed through the truck, and we even got to try the hose. What a great day it was!

We are ready for an extraordinary event. We anticipate something much more exciting than a fire truck visit. Jesus promised that he will return to this earth. He said, “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:27-28) With a little child’s eagerness, we look forward to seeing Jesus face to face when he returns to bring us to heaven.

We prepare for his coming. Just as the children learned about fire safety, we learn about our Savior. We take time for personal devotions and Bible study and look for opportunities to worship with others. We talk about Jesus every day with our students and are encouraged by children’s simple words of faith. “Jesus loves me. He takes away my sins. He is always with me. I love Jesus.” We are strengthened as we raise our voices in song to our Savior.

We are ready at all times. Only God knows when Jesus will return so he tells us to be always faithful. On our own, we wander from Jesus’ side. Our faithfulness is far from perfect, and we fall into sin. Our loving Savior provided a solution: his own faithfulness. “He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). Jesus gently leads us back to his heavenly path so we can rest in his unfailing love and forgiveness.

The last days are coming! Let’s get excited. Jesus has earned a place for us in heaven where we will be perfectly faithful to him. We will live in glory with him forever. We really are ready.



Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me always be ready for your coming. Forgive me when I focus only on this life. I rest in your promise of faithfulness and forgiveness and can’t wait to join you in heaven. Amen.

Hymns to Consider:
Christian Worship 21 307: When the King Shall Come Again
Christian Worship 21 312/93 11: Comfort, Comfort All My People
Christian Worship 21 573/93 376: Jesus, Your Blood and Righteousness


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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Blessed Are Those Who Are Ready – November 21, 2022

Read: Luke 12:35-40

“Be dressed, ready for service, and keep your lamps burning. Be like people waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. Blessed are those servants, whom the master will find watching when he comes… You also be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you are not expecting him.”
Luke 12:35-37a,40 (EHV)

Blessed Are Those Who Are Ready

Family Devotion – November 21, 2022

Devotion based on Luke 12:35-37a,40 (EHV)

See series: Devotions

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

“Are you ready yet? Grandma and Grandpa will be here any minute!” The house was a beehive of activity. Why? Grandma and Grandpa were coming over for Thanksgiving dinner. Kids hurried to clean their rooms. Toys needed to be picked up. Beds needed to be made. Teens and parents helped elsewhere around the house. A tasty turkey and a variety of yummy dishes and desserts were being prepared in the kitchen. A vacuum cleaner whirred away in the living room, while bathrooms were made sparkling clean.

Yet all this activity had to wrap up soon, because Grandma and Grandpa were going to arrive at any moment. “They’re pulling into the driveway!” In a matter of moments, the cleaning stopped. Grandma and Grandpa were standing at the door. “Happy Thanksgiving!”

Why do we work so hard to get ready? We don’t always do that. Is your room clean right now? Did your family prepare a feast for last night’s dinner? Maybe. Maybe not, so why work so hard to get ready? We work hard to get ready because someone special is coming. We want our rooms to look nice, our homes to be welcoming, and our meals to be tasty. When we do, all that effort often makes our time with our special guest all the more special.

In his Word, Jesus encourages us to be ready. Ready for what? Jesus wants us to be ready for his return, when he will come back to judge the living and the dead. Jesus even promises that we will be blessed if we are ready for his return, but are we ready now?

When Jesus returned to heaven, he promised that he would come back soon. Two thousand years have passed. We don’t know when he’s coming back, but he could return today, tomorrow, or another 2,000 years from now. So how can we stay ready? Jesus provided a way for us in his holy Word. When we hear it, ready it, study it, and trust what God promises in that Word, we get our hearts and heads ready for his return. That Word tells us how Jesus kept every one of his promises for us, which means he will keep that promise to come back and bring us home to heaven. What a blessing! So with that Word, let’s get ready because Jesus will be here soon!

Closing Prayer:

O Jesus Christ, do not delay, but come back to us quickly. Help us to wait patiently and be ever ready for your return. Come soon, Lord Jesus, and 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

  • Name someone so special that it is hard to wait for their arrival.
  • What makes it hard to wait for someone special to arrive?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What makes it hard to stay ready for Jesus to return?
  • Why does Jesus want us to be ready?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Agree or Disagree: Getting ready for Jesus’s return is easy. Explain your answer.
  • Identify two ways that God’s Word can help you get ready for the return of your Savior.

 

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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Trustworthy and True – November 21, 2022

The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 22:6

Trustworthy and True

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Daily Devotion – November 21, 2022

Devotion based on Revelation 22:6

See series: Devotions

Occasionally, I’ll watch a movie, and right before the credits roll, the producers will provide real-life updates on the characters. Shocked, I’ll think, ‘That was a true story?’ As soon as you know what you just watched was based on real people, it has a way of changing your perspective on the whole movie.

Just as the credits are about to roll after the last chapter of the Bible, we hear the same message, “This is a true story.” Maybe we had been convinced of that long ago. But at some times more than others, we need to be reminded, “These words are trustworthy and true.”

This was one of those times for a believer named John. He had witnessed some seemingly unbelievable events during his lifetime. As part of Jesus’ “inner circle” he watched Jesus raise a little girl from the dead. He watched a glowing Jesus converse with two heroes of faith who had already gone to heaven. When Jesus stood in John’s midst and explained his words and actions, there was little room for doubt in John’s mind.

But when John wrote the words of our Bible passage for today, Jesus hadn’t been around in the flesh for over fifty years. John’s friends and fellow disciples had all been killed. John himself had been exiled to an island. Things weren’t looking good for John or the Christian Church.

Perhaps you’ve felt the same way. You may feel abandoned and alone. Christianity seems not to be doing well, as Christians are viewed more as haters than helpers.

It is for you that the words of today’s Bible passage were written. God’s Word is true. And because God’s Word is true, it is also trustworthy. You can trust that your sins are forgiven through Jesus’ selfless sacrifice. You can trust that he defeated death when he rose from the tomb. You can trust that he has not left you alone. These words are trustworthy and true.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 872)
Lord, thank you for the truth of your Word. Use them to increase our trust that the strife will not be long; this day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.

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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