God’s Love for a Faithful Woman of Love – Family Devotion – May 12, 2021

Read: Acts 9:36-42

Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive.
Acts 9:40-41

God’s Love for a Faithful Woman of Love

 

Family Devotion – May 12, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 9:40-41

See series: Devotions

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

Tabitha was good at sewing. She liked to use her talents for others. Tabitha loved God. That’s why she loved others and was dearly loved by those around her in return. We know this because the family of believers was very upset when she died. They sought help from Peter, a disciple of Jesus.

Peter had seen Jesus raise others from death, so he knew that God has complete authority over life and death. Peter prayed for God’s power to perform a miracle. He knew it would happen if it was God’s will. Peter said, “Tabitha, get up.” And she did! God used Peter to raise Tabitha from death. There were witnesses who told all about it.

Do you ever wonder why God performed such amazing miracles in Bible times and not today? Why don’t we get to see dead people come alive?

In a way, we do. We see it every day, right here in this family of believers!

How? Well, we know from God’s Word that each one of us is born with sin. The Bible says that we are “dead” because of our sins. The Bible also says that “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead” (Ephesians 2).

So, every time we confess our sins and look to Jesus for forgiveness, we remember an amazing miracle. Just as Tabitha was raised from physical death, we are raised from our spiritual death in sin. It might not seem very dramatic, but this is no small miracle, and it can happen every day! When we have trouble seeing or appreciating it, we ask God to help us better understand what it is to be forgiven and renewed each day. As members of a family of believers, we remind each other of this amazing miracle.

In fact, let’s do right now. Reread verse 40, “Tabitha, get up!” Instead of reading the word, “Tabitha,” insert your own name. Then stand up! Do this for each family member, inserting his or her own name.

Like Tabitha, you are all standing, sins forgiven, loved and alive in Christ!

So let’s get busy and use our talents to serve and love others!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, please make us truly sorry for our sins. Forgive and raise us up from spiritual death. Make us truly grateful for this everyday miracle. Raise each one of us to meet the challenges of each new day, fully confident of your love, your forgiveness, and your triumph over sin and death. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • How did Tabitha use her skills to serve others?
  • List two things you are really good at doing. Can you use them to help others around you?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • How do we go from being dead in sin to alive with Christ?
  • Describe what it feels like to know that you are not dead in sin, that you are alive with Christ right now.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is it easy to take for granted the fact that we are forgiven and renewed each day in Christ?
  • How can we as a family encourage one another to appreciate being made alive with Christ every day?

Hymn: CW 460:1,2 – How Can I Thank You, Lord

How can I thank you, Lord,
For all your loving kindness,
That you have patiently
Borne with me in my blindness!
When dead in many sins
And trespasses I lay,
I kindled, holy God,
Your anger ev’ry day.

It is your work alone
That I am now converted;
O’er Satan’s work in me
You have your pow’r asserted.
Your mercy and your grace
That rise afresh each morn
Have turned my stony heart
Into a heart new born.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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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Repentance and Forgiveness – May 12, 2021

Repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Luke 24:47

Repentance and Forgiveness


Daily Devotion – May 12, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 24:47

See series: Devotions

How do the speakers at a high school and college graduation boil down everything that happened during those years of education into something that captures all of it and holds the attention of the crowd? Many of them do not even try. They tell a few jokes, maybe a story, and then go for a memorable sentence general enough that most graduates can apply it to their lives.

When Jesus was about to ascend into heaven, he had his turn to boil down three years of education for his disciples into something that could apply to every one of their lives from that time forward. Here’s what he told them: repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all nations.

Repentance was necessary for every one of them, and it was necessary for every person to whom they would speak. Repentance is sorrow for sin and trust in God’s promises, and it is just as necessary for the nations today as it was back then.

Forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus is the key message of Christians. Nothing is more important. When the name of Jesus is put on something, it belongs to him, and he has put it on people from nations all around the world. They belong to him, and they have forgiveness of sins from him.

This has been a crazy school year. All around the world, graduation speakers are trying to summarize it. But you don’t have to be graduating this year to appreciate something that can be applied to every life as most important: repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, as I continue on the path of life, give me repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith in your name. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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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Love One Another – May 11, 2021

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11

Love One Another


Daily Devotion – May 11, 2021

Devotion based on 1 John 4:11

See series: Devotions

Dig down deep enough, and we can find something unlovable about anyone. Sometimes we don’t have to dig too far. It’s obvious. How can we ever find the strength to love people who are difficult to love?

Dear friends, God loves us. He knows unlovable things about each of us, and he still loves us so much that he sent his one and only Son to be our Savior. When we are feeling unlovable or unloved, we can return to that comfort. God still loves us, and his opinion counts more than any other in the universe.

Dear friends, God also loves those other people. He sent his Son for them as well. Taking his opinion into account, we realize that it’s pretty bad if we withhold our love from people God loves. So we take the confidence we have from being loved by God and make ourselves vulnerable to love the people he has put into our lives.

Because we are frail humans, we may struggle with the proper way to express our love in any given situation. But it’s worth the struggle to figure out the best ways to demonstrate our love for one another. When we fail, it’s an appropriate act of love to apologize and ask for forgiveness. When others fail and apologize, it is an act of love to forgive them.

We love them because he first loved us. Whenever we are not feeling it, return to that truth, and pray for strength.

Prayer:
Lord God, strengthen my love for you and for others, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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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Seventh Sunday of Easter

Our Ascended Lord Watches Over Us

These are the readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter.

God’s Word for This Week

Our ascended Lord watches over his Church. He intercedes for us with the Father. He protects us with his power. He guides us with his Holy Word of Truth.

TRADITIONAL FIRST LESSON – Acts 1:15-26

This takes place soon after Jesus’ ascension and before Pentecost. What did Peter propose to the early believers?

That they choose a replacement for Judas the Betrayer. He suggested that they choose a man who had been with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry.

The disciples let God choose who would take Judas’ place. Explain.

Even though the disciples “chose” the final two candidates, they did it prayerfully according to the criteria mentioned above. Then they prayed and cast lots. The lot fell to Matthias. This was not luck, but rather God’s decision.

SUPPLEMENTAL FIRST LESSON – Acts 7:54-60

Where/how did Stephen see Jesus? (See Acts 7:55.)

Stephen saw heaven open and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

Luke does not say that Stephen “died.” What does Luke say?

Luke says that Stephen fell asleep. What comfort for us! In Christ, we have nothing to fear from death. We will rise again with Christ on the Last Day.

TRADITIONAL SECOND LESSON – 1 John 4:13-21

According to verse 15, how can we know that God lives in us?

Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we know and trust that Jesus is the Son of God and our Savior. Therefore, our trust in Jesus is proof that God dwells within us.

What does our love for God lead us to do?

Out of thanks for God’s love, we seek to show love to others.

Verse 18 says that there is no fear in love. So if I am afraid at some point, have I lost my faith?

Our faith, which trusts solely in God’s love, does not fear anything. Faith says boldly with the apostle Paul, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Our trust in God’s love shows no fear. Yet, we are at the same time saints and sinners. Our sinful nature does doubt. Our sinful nature does fear. The life of a Christian is a struggle against that sinful nature. Moments of fear and doubt should not drive us to despair of our salvation but rather to the loving promises of our Savior God, who strengthens our faith and takes away our fears.

SUPPLEMENTAL SECOND LESSON – Hebrews 7:11-27

Jesus did not ascend into heaven to retire and rest. What is one vital thing Jesus is doing for us right now?

One vital thing Jesus does for us is to act as our high priest before the Father. He intercedes for us. (See Hebrews 7:25.)

Since Jesus rose from the dead, he lives forever. Since Jesus lives forever, what kind of priesthood does he have? (See Hebrews 7:24.)

Since Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.

Old Testament priests also interceded for God’s people. Why is Jesus’ priesthood better? (And why, therefore, should we never leave Jesus?)

Jesus’ priesthood is better than any Jewish priest of old (and therefore we should never leave Jesus) because he was sacrificed for our sins once for all. He is holy and blameless, exalted above the heavens.

GOSPEL – John 17:11b-19

Jesus prayed these words on the night before he died. It is commonly known as his High Priestly Prayer. For what things did Jesus pray?

Since he was leaving his disciples visibly, Jesus asked the Father to watch over his disciples, unite them, and protect them. He also prayed that the Father would sanctify them.

What did Jesus mean when he said, “Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth”?

When Jesus asked the Father to sanctify his first disciples, he meant to “set them apart” for God and for holiness. God, through his Word and the trust worked by that Word, sets apart believers for himself. In other words, we are in the world, but we are not of it. We are heaven-bound. Jesus prayed that God would continue to keep them from sin, the devil, and the evil of this world through his Holy Word. God continues to set us apart through that same Word of Truth.

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How Can We Not? – Week of May 10, 2021

How Can We Not? – Week of May 10, 2021



This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:10-11



If I’m being honest, this has been a difficult devotion to write. It is almost like I feel hypocritical encouraging you all to love like Jesus does, when I struggle to do it myself. But knowing I, like you, am a sinner/saint, I can struggle and still encourage at the same time. We all better be able to do that because the pressure to love perfectly is not on us. It was taken off our shoulders when Jesus hung on that cross. We will fall short. We will fail. But forgiven in Christ we can always ask God for a heart that beats first for him and secondly, for others.

Children have a good sense of how to love.

“But he took my blocks!”, “She skipped me in line!”, “I had that first!” and so on and so on.

Isn’t it funny how little kids can be mad one second and best friends the next? How impressive is that kind of quick forgiveness? You see it in the classroom all the time. Friends can be mad at each other during carpet time, but then attached at the hip once they get out on the playground.

When does that change? When does that become so hard? To freely forgive. I do not know about you, but I struggle with forgiveness sometimes. I struggle to freely forgive those who hurt me or make my life hard. And yet, “…since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

How can we not? How can we not show that kind of love to one another?

He provides. He is faithful. Honest. Loving. Merciful. True. Caring. Kind.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to perfectly be faithful, honest, loving, merciful, true, caring, kind? What if the world was like that? What if we, as Christians, led the way? All the time? What a beautiful world that would be.

It seems like such a simple constant, yet it might just be one of the hardest things to do.

I am going to encourage you to stay in the Word. When loving others becomes hard, dive deep in the Word and be reminded of his love for you. Shift the focus off your shortcomings and instead, place it all on his amazing love.

Open the Old Testament and be reminded of his faithfulness to His people.

Open the New Testament and be in awe of his love to the ones who were loved the least.

He is the perfect example. He has an unbroken track record of his love for you. A love that forgives us freely so we too can love.

A love like that. How can we not?



Prayer:
Perfect Savior, I am so grateful for your forgiving love and your example. Thank you for showing me how to love in every situation. Help me to be in your Word, daily, so that I am reminded and encouraged of how to love others. Amen.

A Question to Consider:
Who is someone that you could show love to today? Make a plan and show them that you care.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly 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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Love as Jesus Loved Us – Family Devotion – May 10, 2021

Read: John 15:9-17

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:12-13

Love as Jesus Loved Us

 

Family Devotion – May 10, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:12-13

See series: Devotions

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

Start this devotion with an exercise. Stand up, stretch your arms wide, and say, “Jesus loves me this much!” Your arms are indicating a large amount of love, as far as you can reach, fingertip to fingertip. You are also acting out what Jesus looked like when he hung on the cross, giving his life for you, for all people.

Let’s sit down now and think about this.

Most of us would agree that giving up your life for someone is the greatest act of love. We hear stories of people who risk their lives for others. A firefighter who runs into a burning building. A nurse who cares for people during a pandemic. A soldier who goes to war. We call these people brave, and we appreciate them. Then there are those of us who have less daring lives: students, office workers, mechanics, waitresses, teachers, and other important but more “everyday” roles.

In today’s word of God, Jesus said, “Love as I have loved you.” But what does that look like? What if our lives don’t involve anything as grand as giving up life for someone else?

If we think our everyday actions aren’t important, that is Satan whispering a lie to us. He tries to convince us that “Love as Jesus loved” is something we say, not something we can actually do.

Is that true?

Stand up once again and stretch out your arms as wide as you can reach. As you look at the members of your family in this pose, what do you observe?

  • Your arms are wide open and ready to embrace someone.
  • Your heart is wide open and ready to receive love and give love.
  • Your hands are not clenched but open and ready to serve.

This is the pose Jesus assumed for us—arms out, exposed to insults hurled at him yet open to receive all our sins. Jesus surrendered himself to that position because he loved us. Now that love of God that flowed through him gushes out to each of us!

What does it mean to love as Jesus loved? Give up stubborn poses. Open your arms wide for those around you. Offer your hands in service to others—wherever God has placed you. What you do—what Jesus does through you—is important!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, open my heart wide so your grace and forgiveness can flow into my heart. Give me courage to live a life of love, letting all of your grace and love flow through me to others. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Finish this sentence: Jesus loved me so much that he…
  • Give two ways you can show your love to two people in your family.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Besides his life, recall two other things Jesus gave up when he agreed to be our Savior from sin.
  • Give an example of a way you can give up something important to show love for someone else.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Share an example of someone you admire who shows love to others the way Jesus showed love to us. How is that person a good role model?
  • How can our acts of love and service to others lead to a conversation about Jesus’ love for us?

Hymn: CW 488:1,3 – Savior, Thy Dying Love

Savior, Thy dying love
Thou gavest me,
Nor should I aught withhold,
Dear Lord, from Thee:
In love my soul would bow,
My heart fulfill its vow,
Some off’ring bring Thee now,
Something for Thee.

Give me a faithful heart,
Likeness to Thee,
That each departing day
Henceforth may see
Some work of love begun,
Some deed of kindness done,
Some wand’rer sought and won,
Something for Thee.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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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This Is Love – May 10, 2021

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10

This Is Love


Daily Devotion – May 10, 2021

Devotion based on 1 John 4:10

See series: Devotions

People want to know what love is. Teenagers want to know if their strong feelings for another person are puppy love, infatuation, or the real thing. People who have been burned in relationships wonder whether they were ever actually in love. On one day, the memes about love resonate, and the next day they ring hollow.

Do you want to know what real love is? Take a look at the attitudes and actions of God.

God loves you. He wants you to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. He is committed to the best for you. He knows the real you, the times you have disappointed him. He knows your weaknesses and failings. That doesn’t stop him from loving you.

While you were still a sinner, Jesus died for you. His death was a sacrifice because he didn’t have to do it. The Son of God could have continued living in glory for eternity. Instead, he took on a human body and a human soul, then suffered hell so that you wouldn’t have to. He let that body and soul separate in death, paying the complete price for your sins.

Some people want the best for you and are committed to you, but no one else has done what God has done for you. Even your gratitude and love for God are not the best example of love.

This is love: God loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Now you know what love is. But people don’t just want to know love. They want to experience it. In Jesus, you have experienced it, and you can heal from every harmful human relationship that has fallen short of perfect love.

Prayer:
Jesus, you are all compassion, pure love without boundaries. Enter my trembling heart and make me confident in your continuous perfect love. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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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A Special Plan For You – May 9, 2021

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. . . . Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:13-18,23,24

A Special Plan For You


Daily Devotion – May 9, 2021

Devotion based on Psalm 139:13-18,23,24

See series: Devotions

Our Bible passage for today gives us some remarkably comforting information. For example, it assures you that you are not a random accident of evolution. No, God personally knit you together in your mother’s womb. The end result is something fantastic, unique, and special.

As a special creation of God, God assures you that he knows the exact amount of days you will live on this earth. During your life, God has a specific plan mapped out just for YOU. When you stray from the plan, God pulls you back. And when you stray again, God does not leave you. He stays with you. He uses his Word to correct and comfort you.

Together with the writer of today’s Bible reading, you can say: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to treasure the physical life you have given to me as a gift. Even more so, help me to treasure the spiritual and eternal life you give to me as a gift through faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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 – May 9, 2021

The May series is for the times we may hit rock bottom as we experience seasons of fear and weariness, despair and depression, pain and loss … all of them due to sin. Yet God never leaves or abandons us. He pursues and seeks us in our dark moments.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
John 9:1-3

Rock Bottom … Why Them?

We live in a world that tries to convince us, “You get what you deserve.” Teachers will say it to students. Coaches will yell it at players. Bosses will try to convince employees of the same. You can understand the statement in some aspects of life. But not when it comes to sin and grace.

Jesus was constantly teaching lessons that his disciples—and we—need to learn well in our lives as Christians on earth. Our reading today serves as an opportunity to do just that. Seeing a blind man, the disciples mistakenly thought that there must have been a reason in either his life or in the lives of his family that caused this blindness to befall him. We can easily fall into the same trap, thinking to ourselves, “You get what you deserve.”

Thank our gracious God that we don’t. Jesus would go on to heal the blind man from his affliction, not because he deserved it, but because of Christ’s love for him. That’s how he treats us in life! We know who we are. We know how we’ve failed God and shown ourselves to be unworthy of his love. We know that if it’s true that “You get what you deserve,” we are in a world of trouble. Faith in Jesus, though, understands and cherishes that we don’t get what we deserve. Instead, we are recipients of God’s love—love revealed to us in his Son Jesus today, tomorrow, and for all eternity. Everything that happens in life is “so that the works of God might be displayed” (v. 3). What a blessing!

Prayer: Almighty God, we are not the only people who struggle in life. All have sinned against you and need the comfort that you alone can give. Be with all who are struggling, dear Lord. Help me be a friend to those around me and someone others feel they can come to for help. All to give you glory. All for your Son’s sake. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A mother’s pain – May 9, 2021

A mother’s pain – May 9, 2021


Through the window peered Sisera’s mother; behind the lattice she cried out, “Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why is the clatter of his chariots delayed?”
Judges 5:28




Military Devotion – May 9, 2021

Devotion based on Judges 5:28

See series: Military Devotions

“Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living” (Genesis 2:30). It was a special name for a special person.

Without her, the human race would have consisted of a grand total of one. She was essential to God’s perfect plan of creation.

God knew what he was doing when he made women the bearers of children. He bestowed a special blessing upon the human race when he established a role that set women apart from men.

A father cannot replace a mother, so matter how hard he tries—no matter how much modern thinking tries to blur the lines between the two.

Changes in technology may have changed the opportunities for women to have a productive life outside of the home. But they can never change the special place women have in the home.

A mother sees her children with more than her eyes. She watches with her heart.

Sometimes, that heart breaks with pain.

Some might say that Sisera was a person only his mother could love. We surely would not look upon him favorably, nor did the Israelites of his day.

Sisera was a Canaanite army commander. His 900 iron chariots struck terror into the hearts of God’s people. It was at a time marked by confusion and dismay. The refrain in the book of Judges is: “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). No wonder there was confusion and dismay.

It was left to a woman to be the military leader of Israel. Her name was Deborah. She and another woman by the name of Jael caused the pain in the heart of Sisera’s mother.

As thousands of mothers before her must have done, and thousands upon thousands of mothers have done since then, she was anxiously waiting for her son to return from war.

She waited in vain.

The writer of the book of Judges pictures the scene for us as she waited. She looks through the window—but does not see him. She waits to hear the clatter of his returning chariot—but does not hear it.

She never will.

Her son lies lifeless among the enemy. His army was being defeated. He ran for his life. He found a woman who offered to hide him in safety.

Then, she drove a peg through his temple while he was sleeping (Judges 4:17ff).

His mother must have felt the peg was driven through her heart.

The Lord God told rebellious Eve that one consequence of sin would be the pain of childbirth. It remains to this day.

The Lord God told faithful Mary that her son would be the Savior of the world. It was a message of joy that stands to this day.

There has never been a child that did not bring pain to its mother.

There is no person, except Jesus, who does not need to regret a mother’s pain.

There is no person, except Jesus, who does not need to request forgiveness for causing her pain.

There is no person, because of Jesus, the Son of a woman, who does not have those sins paid for.

That should fill any mother’s heart with joy.

Mother’s Day is a prime time to thank our God for mothers—especially our own.

Is it not?



Prayer: Creator of all and Rescuer of mankind, remind me of the blessings you have given to me through my mother. Lead me to honor you by honoring her. Amen.



Written by Pastor 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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The Grace of God – May 8, 20 2021

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us, so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.
Psalm 67:1,2

The Grace of God


Daily Devotion – May 8, 20 2021

Devotion based on Psalm 67:1,2

See series: Devotions

Everywhere on the internet, there are those fake ads where someone pretends that they have received a free phone or computer because the company has made a mistake. If you foolishly click on the link, you will always find out that it’s a scam. No company would give away valuable merchandise that you haven’t paid for, right?

But God has given away something more valuable than a phone or a computer, and you haven’t paid for it. God has given away salvation, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life in heaven. We haven’t paid anything for these valuable gifts. In fact, we don’t deserve them, and we can’t do anything to pay for them. Instead, Jesus paid for them by shedding his innocent blood and dying for us on the cross. Because we don’t deserve the love of Jesus, we call God gracious. Because the gifts of God bring us many good things in our lives of faith, we say that he blesses us.

Why would God do that for us, especially when we don’t deserve it? Is he making a mistake?

God doesn’t make mistakes. He knows what he is doing. One of the reasons he blesses us is so that his ways might be known on earth. If people realized that there really were sweet deals on the internet, getting something valuable for nothing, they would be sharing those deals immediately with family and friends.

In the same way, when we realize the grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, we find ways to post it and tell it and pass it on—across the street, across the internet, and across the world.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 249)
God of mercy, God of grace, show the brightness of your face. Shine upon us, Savior, shine; fill your Church with light divine, and your saving health extend to the earth’s remotest end. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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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Reflecting God’s Love – Family Devotion – May 7, 2021

Read: 1 John 3:18-24

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth…. This is his command, to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
1 John 3:18,23

Reflecting God’s Love

 

Family Devotion – May 7, 2021

Devotion based on 1 John 3:18,23

See series: Devotions

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

What do you think of when you hear the word “love”? Maybe you think of Valentine’s Day, when red, pink, and white chocolates show up in the stores; you hand out cards and candy hearts to your friends; and grown-ups give each other flowers, say “I love you,” and kiss.

None of those are bad thoughts, but they’re not what the apostle John means by love. The Greek word used for “love” in today’s reading is a special word: agape (ah-gah-pay). Agape isn’t something that you say to someone; it isn’t a feeling that can change from day to day. Agape is an action word. It’s not just saying, “I love you,” but also showing someone how much you love them. It’s the things you do rather than just the words you say.

Agape love shows up in one of the most famous passages in the Bible—John 3:16: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” God is the best example of agape love that exists. From the very beginning of our lives, he knew how totally and completely unlovable we are. But instead of hating us , God loved us. Then he showed how much he loved us by sending Jesus to us. There is no sin you commit that Jesus did not die to save you from. There is no guilt that you bear that Jesus’ cross does not relieve.

There’s an important connection between the love that God showed for us in sending his Son and the love that we should show to others. We don’t love others on our own. We can’t love others on our own. But because of the great love God showed for us, we respond in love—both love for God and love for those around us.

The next time you say “I love you” to your mom and dad, don’t forget about how you show your love for them. Think about God’s agape love and how you love others because God loved you. Think about love as an action, not just a feeling. What a privilege to be able to show God’s love to those around you!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me enough to send your Son to save me from my sins. Help me to share this love with others not only through my words but also through my actions. 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

  • Give one way you can you tell that your mom or dad love you.
  • In what way did God show his love for us?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Can we show love to others on our own? Why or why not?
  • Give two specific ways you can act to show love to those around you.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • If God so loved the world, why isn’t everyone going to heaven?
  • When we don’t act in ways that show love, how do we know that God still loves us?

Hymn: CW 385:1,2 – Chief of Sinners Though I Be

Chief of sinners though I be,
Jesus shed his blood for me,
Died that I might live on high,
Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine,
I am his and he is mine!

Oh, the height of Jesus’ love,
Higher than the heav’ns above,
Deeper than the depths of sea,
Lasting as eternity,
Love that found me—wondrous thought!—
Found me when I sought him not.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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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To God Be the Glory – May 7, 2021

[Jesus said] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. . . . You are the branches. . . . This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:1,5,8

To God Be the Glory


Daily Devotion – May 7, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:1,5,8

See series: Devotions

Everyone has a “born on” date. And we all have an “expiration” date. Everything in between is summed up with a “dash.” The question is, what do we do with the “dash” between those dates? What are we supposed to do with our lives?

Look to plant life for the answer. A vine produces grapes. A flower blooms. A stalk sprouts ears of corn. But it is the gardener who makes it happen. He chooses the seed and gives it life by planting it in good soil. He makes it grow and flourish by watering it and weeding around it. So, when a plant is fruitful, the glory belongs to the gardener.

This is the way for God’s people. From eternity he chose us to be his own. Through faith in his Son, our Savior, he gives us life. By his word, he causes us to grow and flourish in line with his will. So, when we are fruitful, it is because God is at work in us for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

So, what do we do with the dash? What are we supposed to do with our lives? We don’t all bear the same fruits, but we all have the same Father. He loves us. He gives us life and the ability to produce.

“So, whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and giving me life in your Son. Help me to glorify you in all that I think, and say, and do. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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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It Will Be Done – May 6, 2021

[Jesus said] “I am the vine; you are the branches. . . . If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
John 15:5,7

It Will Be Done


Daily Devotion – May 6, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:5,7

See series: Devotions

Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Wow, that is one incredible promise! But what does it mean? It sounds like Jesus is some kind of genie in a jar. Do you want to be wealthy, healthy, lucky in love, successful? Ask for whatever you wish, and “Poof!” Jesus will grant it.

If that were true, then everyone would be a follower of Jesus.

So, does that mean Jesus is a liar? Of course not! Look closely at the promise Jesus makes to us. He says he is the vine, and his people are the branches. A branch doesn’t wish to become a butterfly. Neither do Jesus’ followers wish to be anything other than like Jesus.

Rooted in Jesus by faith and nourished by his Word, Jesus’ people grow in the grace and knowledge of him. They know that Jesus suffered, died, and rose again to set them free from sin and death and to set them free to thrive as God intends.

May this be true of you. Rather than praying “my will be done,” may your prayer be, “Heavenly Father, thy will be done.” And God’s answer will always be “Yes,” in Christ.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, accomplish in me the works that you have prepared in advance for me to do. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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 Can You Help? – Family Devotion – May 5, 2021

Read: Acts 16:11-15

The Lord opened [Lydia’s] heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
Acts 16:14-15

How Can You Help?

 

Family Devotion – May 5, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 16:14-15

See series: Devotions

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

Not many people knew about all the things that Miss Davis did at church. Setting up for communion, making the coffee for Bible study, cleaning up after special events—she did lots of little stuff behind the scenes that most people didn’t know about. That was fine with her; Miss Davis didn’t help out in order to be thanked or recognized. She just saw things that needed to be done and took care of doing them. She looked for ways she could help.

In today’s reading, we meet someone similar: Lydia. She listened to the preaching and teaching of the apostle Paul. The Holy Spirit opened Lydia’s heart. She believed in Jesus as her Savior. She was baptized, along with everybody in her house. Afterwards, she invited Paul and his friends to come and stay at her house. She saw a way that she could help Paul by providing for his needs while he was staying in her hometown of Philippi. Why? Because Lydia was so thankful for the good news of salvation.

The Holy Spirit has also brought us to faith—he has changed our lives—and now we respond in the same way as Lydia. We look for ways to help our pastors and teachers, to do the little things that make it easier for them to preach and teach. Why? Because Jesus showed great love for us, and we want to reflect that love by serving those called by God to be our spiritual leaders.

Sometimes it can be hard to find ways to serve, especially when there are so many other people who are older or who seem better at helping than you are. Sometimes you might feel discouraged or unappreciated. Sometimes there might be so much work to do and so little reward for doing it. Is it really worth trying to help, especially if nobody notices?

Yes! Even if nobody realizes how you help, God still sees it. He treasures the little ways that you help your pastors and teachers. He views your good works as a beautiful response, as a way of saying thank you for being brought to faith and made a member of God’s family. One day, he will say “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21) and invite you to share in his happiness. That makes all your helping worthwhile!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, help us always to look for ways to help our pastors and teachers. Even if no one sees how we help, remind us that you see and appreciate all we do for those around us. 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 did Lydia do after she came to faith?
  • How did Lydia help Paul and his friends?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Think of two ways you can help your pastor(s) and teachers.
  • What should you do if no one notices or appreciates your help?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Read Ephesians 2:10. What does Paul mean when he says God prepared good works in advance for us to do?
  • If you don’t look for ways to help, if you don’t do good works, does that mean you’re not really a Christian? Explain.

Hymn: CW 385:1,4-5 – Chief of Sinners Though I Be

Chief of sinners though I be,
Jesus shed his blood for me,
Died that I might live on high,
Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine,
I am his and he is mine!

Chief of sinners though I be,
Christ is all in all to me.
All my wants to him are known;
All my sorrows are his own.
Safe with him in earthly strife,
I await the heav’nly life.

Strengthen me, O gracious Lord,
By your Spirit and your word.
When my wayward heart would stray,
Keep me in the narrow way;
Grace in time of need supply
While I live and when I die.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Fruit Filled Life – May 5, 2021

[Jesus said] “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:4,5

A Fruit Filled Life


Daily Devotion – May 5, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:4,5

See series: Devotions

In technologically advanced cultures, people take much for granted. But there are still some remote places in the world where people don’t even have access to electricity.

The story is told of a man from such a place. He travels to a modern city and is amazed by all the electric lights. What a blessing these would be to his village! So, he took what little money he had and bought a bag full of bulbs and a light switch.

Back home, he excitedly hung the bulbs around his yard and on the front of his home. Puzzled, the other villagers asked him what he was doing. “Wait until dark, and you will see,” he replied.

When evening came, he flipped the switch, but nothing happened. No one had told him that without a connection to electricity, light bulbs are useless.

Without a connection to Jesus, we can’t do the good that God created us to do. But when God connects a person to Jesus by faith, the power of his forgiving love flows through them, enabling them to do what is pleasing to God.

Do you want to live a more God-pleasing life? The key is Jesus. Connect to Jesus through his Word. He will empower you to produce those God-pleasing fruits.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, keep me connected to Jesus through your Word so that I live a life that pleases you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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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Pruning Love – May 4, 2021

[Jesus said] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. . . . Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”
John 15:1-3

Pruning Love


Daily Devotion – May 4, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:1-3

See series: Devotions

Some people have a “green thumb.” I do not. My wife once gave me some cacti from Arizona. They could survive in the desert’s arid atmosphere but not under my artless attention.

That’s why I’m amazed by anyone who can not only keep plants alive but make them bigger or more beautiful. Have you ever seen those prize pumpkins at a county fair that weigh over 300 pounds? How do they do that? They direct all the nutrition to one or two blossoms rather than the whole plant.

God is such a skillful gardener. He wants us to produce the fruit of love in us. So, he connects us to Jesus, the true vine who gives us life. And he prunes away things that hurt our connection to Jesus, the vine.

The pruning process is often painful, but God isn’t punishing us. Jesus has already made you pure in the sight of God through faith in his holy, precious blood. Through his Word, the Bible, God is directing the flow of his grace so that the fruits of love we produce are more than mediocre—they are magnificent.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for planting me in the vine by your gospel of grace. Help me accept whatever pruning I need so that my life better displays your splendor. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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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Sixth Sunday of Easter

Love One Another

These are the readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

God’s Word for This Week

What one word summarizes all of God’s commands? Love. Luke tells us about a Christian lady full of love for the widows of her city. The apostle John teaches us that love for God and his Word compels us to carefully examine all teachings and churches in the light of Scripture. Jesus himself commands us to love one another as he has loved us.

TRADITIONAL FIRST LESSON – Acts 11:19-26

According to verse 21, what happened to the church despite persecution?

Because of the persecution of the Jews, many Christians were scattered, and the Word of God spread to other regions. In Antioch, many non-Jews heard the gospel and came to believe.

Believers were first called Christians at Antioch. What is the significance of being called Christians?

By bearing the name “Christians,” we give testimony to the fact that we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the promised Savior of the world. We bear the name proudly. We also recognize that the life we live reflects upon him whose name we bear.

SUPPLEMENTAL FIRST LESSON – Acts 9:36-42

Why were the widows of Joppa so upset when Dorcas died?

The widows of Joppa were so upset when Dorcas died because, out of her love, she had sewn clothes for them.

What loving, amazing words did Peter speak when he raised Dorcas from the dead?

Peter said, “Tabitha, get up.” (In Aramaic, this sounded very similar to the time Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, saying, “Talitha [little girl], get up).”

SECOND LESSON – 1 John 4:1-11

Who/what are the “spirits” of which John speaks here?

The spirits about whom John speaks here are those who make spiritual claims.

What are we to do with such spirits?

We are to test such spirits, to see whether they are from God. That is, we are to test teachers and churches against the Bible. If they disagree with Scripture—if they deny that Jesus is the Christ—then they are not from God. Note that we are not to test other people’s hearts (we can’t), or count other followers, or try to gauge their pizzazz. Any of those would be unloving. Rather, we lovingly check out what a spirit, a person making spiritual claims—teaches.

Evaluate the following statement. “If we do not always show true love for others, that means that we are not true believers.”

If we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we will produce fruits of love. Sinners, however, are hardly perfect. The fact that we don’t always show love doesn’t mean that we aren’t believers; it means that our faith needs to grow. We will not use that need as an excuse to not show love, but rather as a reason to grow in our faith through the use of the gospel.

GOSPEL – John 15:9-17

The world often portrays true love as weak and God’s commands as burdensome. According to verse 11, why did Jesus command us to show love?

Jesus commands us to show love that we might have his joy and that our joy may be complete. God does not give us his commandments to make our lives boring or more difficult but rather because he knows that it is for our good. We are happier when we follow his commandments.

What is love?

Love is self-sacrifice in attitude and action. Love is the opposite of selfishness. Love does everything for the other person. Jesus gives us the ultimate example of love in verse 13: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

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Are You a Growing Branch? – Family Devotion – May 3, 2021

Read: John 15:1-8

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
John 15:5,6

Are You a Growing Branch?

 

Family Devotion – May 3, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:5,6

See series: Devotions

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

Spring is here! It’s a season where plants poke through the soil, and tree branches sprout leaves… at least, most tree branches. Sometimes tree branches snap off and end up on the ground. The rest of the tree is growing new green leaves, but that dead branch isn’t connected to the tree anymore. It isn’t growing like rest of the tree.

Throughout the book of John, Jesus uses lots of word pictures to describe himself and his relationship with those who believe in him. In today’s reading, Jesus calls himself the vine and his followers the branches. Just like a tree helps its branches grow green leaves, so too Jesus helps his followers—us!—grow in our faith. And just like a branch on the ground is dead because it’s not connected to the tree, so too our faith will suffer and eventually die if we don’t stay connected to Jesus.

That can be a scary thought! Do you ever worry whether you’re still connected to Jesus, still a growing branch and not a dead branch? Sure, you go to church and listen to God’s Word. But is that really enough? There are times when you fight with your friends, when you talk back to your parents, when you are angry at everybody. Do these times mean you are in danger of becoming disconnected from Jesus? Are you close to becoming a dry, dead branch?

There’s a small word in today’s reading that can help you not worry about being strong enough to stay connected to Jesus. Did you catch it? Jesus says to “remain” in him. He doesn’t say “get connected to me” or “find a way to make your connection with me stronger.” Instead, he says “remain in me.” Jesus connected you to him like a branch is connected to a tree. Maybe you came to faith at your baptism, or maybe it was when you were a little older. Whenever it was, Jesus promised to remain in you so you can believe in him.

Yes, there are times when you will struggle with a certain sin, when you feel like you’re not doing anything right, when your faith doesn’t feel strong, but like a weak branch. In those moments, remember the strength of the vine—of your Savior, Jesus—and know that he’s the one keeping you connected to him. What a reassuring thought!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for doing everything needed to connect us to you. When we doubt or feel weak, remind us that our strength comes from you: the vine, the one who provides everything we need to stay strong and grow spiritually. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does Jesus call himself in today’s reading? What does he call us?
  • Why can’t branches on the ground grow leaves or fruit?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Why is the word “remain” so important in today’s reading?
  • How can you be sure that you’re a growing branch and not a dead branch?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • What are some specific ways you can show that you’re growing, that you’re bearing fruit?
  • What could you say to help comfort someone who is worried about whether they’re producing enough spiritual fruit?

Hymn: CW 385:1,3 – Chief of Sinners Though I Be

Chief of sinners though I be,
Jesus shed his blood for me,
Died that I might live on high,
Lives that I might never die.
As the branch is to the vine,
I am his and he is mine!

Only Jesus can impart
Comfort to a wounded heart;
Peace that flows from sin forgiv’n,
Joy that lifts the soul to heav’n,
Faith and hope to walk with God
In the way that Enoch trod.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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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Remain – Week of May 3, 2021

Remain – Week of May 3, 2021



“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

John 15:5-8



Remain is a powerful word. It’s a strong word. Sure, we can open our Bible from time to time, say a quick prayer, but imagine the power that comes with remaining in God.

What are some tangible ways that you can remain in him? Well, being in his Word daily is a great way to start. When you remain in his Word, you have all the promises of your most faithful Friend at your fingertips. Worried? There is a passage for that. Overwhelmed? There is a passage for that, too. Joyful? You guessed it…a passage.

Praying to God is a great way to remain in him. Bringing the big stuff to him, but the little stuff too. Nothing is too small to bring to our Savior. You teach that to your students. Please, know that you never grow out of that truth.

Worshiping is a wonderful way to remain in him. Singing praises. Confessing your sins and receiving the power of forgiveness.
There is great power in remaining in God.

What is the alternative? In verse 5 of our reading, it says, “apart from me you can do nothing”. Nothing. There is no power in “nothing”.

So, remain. Easy, right? If only.

I don’t know about you, but often, my priorities in life don’t make it easy for me to remain in God. I plan to open my Bible every day, but if I am being honest, sometimes it can be days that go by without my eyes reading a verse.

Sometimes, my first line of defense when things are going wrong is to call a friend. I talk about my problems and then keep talking about them. And then right when I think I am done, I talk about them just a little bit more. Friends are a blessing—one of the greatest blessings in this little thing called “life”. But remaining in my Best Friend, is the best remedy for a hard day, rough spot, long year. Bringing all our troubles to him is where we can find true relief.
When we remain in God, we are connected to the Lifeline. Connected. Another powerful word.

You can remain in the One who is greater than all the rest. You can be connected to the One who has your best interest in mind.
You have the power to remain. You get the power from him, our heavenly Father. Praise God!



Prayer:
Dear Jesus, I am sorry for the times that I put you on the backburner. Help me remain in you by daily being in your Word, calling on your name in the good times and bad, and worshiping you on a regular basis. Thank you for never putting me on the backburner. Thank you for your grace and mercy. Please help my students remain in you and let their light shine to others. Amen.

A Question to Consider:
Can you identify a way that you struggle to remain in God? Work on that specific struggle this week. Make a game plan, write it down, and ask God to help you carry it through.



Creative Commons LicenseEarly 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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You Are a Planting of the Lord – May 3, 2021

[Jesus said] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. . . . If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
John 15:1,2,6

You Are a Planting of the Lord


Daily Devotion – May 3, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:1,2,6

See series: Devotions

Spring is in the air. New life is signaling the death of winter. Bird songs fill the air. The grass is greening. Leaves are budding. Flowers are blooming. And soon, the fruit will be ripening on the vine.

Yet, amid the kaleidoscope and fragrance of flowers mingles the gray haze and pungent smell of brush fires. The smoke isn’t pleasant, but it is necessary. Gardeners need to trim away lifeless branches, rake up the waste, and burn it to protect the healthy plants and promote new growth.

In the garden of God, every believer in Jesus is a planting of the Lord. To God, the gardener, we are the display of his splendor (Isaiah 61:3) and the pleasing aroma of Jesus (2 Corinthians 2:15). We flourish best when our heavenly Father trims away everything that threatens our faith.

God’s gardening activity is always for our good, even though the smoke and shears may bring about tears. Sometimes God’s shears and smoke are a warning signal for us: Be on your guard against anything that can threaten your faith in Jesus.

Sometimes, God’s shears and smoke signal that God is at work in our lives, caring for us and correcting us when necessary so we can bear the fruit of love for him and our neighbor.

Prayer:
Lord God, mercifully forgive me for my sins and accept my thanks for graciously grafting me to Jesus, the true Vine. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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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Yesterday’s Shadow – May 2, 2021

Yesterday’s Shadow – May 2, 2021


Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.
Isaiah 2:5




Military Devotion – May 2, 2021

Devotion based on Isaiah 2:5

See series: Military Devotions

Too often, I find myself walking in yesterday’s shadow.

“God is light,” we are told, “and in him there is no darkness at all.”

Why, then, do I so often find myself living in a shadow?

I know what causes the shadow. The darkness comes when I step off from God’s path. Doubt, dread, and shame dim the brightness that comes from the Holy One.

So does fear.

Sometimes, I find fear when I find myself walking near the valley of the shadow of death. I should fear no evil. But I do.

I find I cannot leave yesterday behind. Its shadow follows me into the night. It is there when I awake to the new day.

I cannot just forget the past and move on. I feel I must fix the past. But I cannot undo what has been done. I cannot go back in time and make things right. I cannot turn darkness into day.

The new day may not dawn as dark as the old. But if even a shadow of it remains, my soul feels the weight.

King David knew what that was like, and he knew who was applying the pressure. He wrote: “For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer” (Psalm 32:4).

So, God had applied pressure upon David. Is God the one who causes the darkness? Is he the one who removes my joy? Is this how he punishes me?

No.

He comes to scatter the darkness. He comes to heal, not to hurt.

But healing can be painful.

King David had lived for a long time in a misery of his own making. Adultery and murder had cast long shadows. No matter if his people did not know of his crimes, he knew, and he staggered under the weight of the guilt.

Each yesterday handed off the guilt to the next day. Like the darkness at noon on Good Friday, the sunshine of God’s favor was being blotted out.

Until…

Until he admitted his guilt and turned to God for forgiveness. He wrote, “I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD“—and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5).

He added this prayer: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12).

With guilt gone, there is no barrier to joy.

The psalmist declares: “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1)

The answer is, No one! Nothing!

The shadow of doubt and fear must fade in the light of God’s presence.

The path of the child of God is clear now. It is written, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Yesterday’s shadows must always give way to the light of the Lord.



Prayer: Heavenly Father, show us the path of light and life. Call us back when we stumble off of your path. Let us live in the light of your presence. Amen.



Written by Pastor 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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Transformed – teen devotion – May 2, 2021

The May series is for the times we may hit rock bottom as we experience seasons of fear and weariness, despair and depression, pain and loss … all of them due to sin. Yet God never leaves or abandons us. He pursues and seeks us in our dark moments.

Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:13-14, 23-26

Rock Bottom … Why Me?

It’s really easy to have a pity party for oneself. Someone else’s family has a more comfortable lifestyle. A classmate more easily understands physics. We see those who seem to have a brighter future than we see for ourselves. Pity parties are something that affect all of us from time to time. They allow us to wallow in our misery and ask out loud “Why me?” when things go wrong.

The writer of Psalm 73 dealt with the same thing. He was struggling. With what? We don’t know exactly, but we do know we can relate. He speaks for all of us who have lamented before, “All day long I have been afflicted, and every morning brings new punishments” (v. 14). Whether we ask God “Why me?” from self-pity or sincere concern, it’s a question our sinful selves need to have answered if we are to have any joy and peace in life.

Our gracious God does just that. Think about how much he loves us. He sent his one and only Son to this earth to die as a substitute for our sin. He turned his back on Jesus so that he might never do the same to us. He’s given us his holy Word as guide, leading us forward in his most holy name. The writer of Psalm 73 asked “Why me?” and found his answer not by looking deep within himself, but looking to his gracious God who was was always with him—in times of trouble, in times of celebration, and for all eternity. We join with the psalmist today in praising this same God, proclaiming “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand” (v. 23).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me. I never deserve and don’t always appreciate this love, but you freely and fully shower me with your blessings each and every day of life. Guide me to always love as you have loved me. In your name I pray this and all things. Amen.


TeenCreative Commons License 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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Stay Connected – May 2, 2021

[Jesus said] “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. . . . If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
John 15:5,7

Stay Connected


Daily Devotion – May 2, 2021

Devotion based on John 15:5,7

See series: Devotions

What do we mean when we say we have “connections?” We are implying that we have a relationship that gives us a special advantage. It gives us an advantage that we would not normally have.

Our Bible passage for today tells about a connection that we have—that we are connected to Jesus. That was not always the case. In fact, we had a disconnect. We were sinners. Because of sin, we were separated from God and earned his anger for breaking his commands. But God was not willing that we remain disconnected from him. He sent his Son, Jesus, who died in our place, taking the punishment we deserved as sinners. Then Jesus rose from the dead to assure us that his death counts for us.

The Easter message is clear—we are no longer cut-off from Jesus by our sin. He took it all on himself. By faith in the living Jesus, we are branches firmly attached to him and empowered to lead lives that give glory to God for our salvation!

Do we have a special connection? Jesus says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” Stay connected to Jesus through his Word, and he will grant your wishes in ways that he knows are best for you. Jesus is our special advantage!

Prayer:
O dearest Jesus, as the true vine, you provide me with life and the ability to produce the fruits of faith. Keep me connected to you. Keep me growing in my love for you. Keep me close to you in this life and forever. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus is Our Hope – May 1, 2021

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 25:4,5

Jesus is Our Hope


Daily Devotion – May 1, 2021

Devotion based on Psalm 25:4,5

See series: Devotions

Drivers are required to follow rules and regulations as they drive. Obey the speed limit. Stop on red; go on green. Don’t cross the centerline; stay in your lane. The laws for road travel are set for the safety of everyone. Accidents, injuries, or even worse, are caused when drivers disobey laws.

Just as drivers have rules to follow as they drive, we have rules to follow as we live our lives. They are rules given us by the God who made us. They are rules meant to keep us safe–both physically and spiritually.

Sadly, we don’t always follow God’s rules. We think we know better, so we do our own thing and go our own way. Had God left us to our own devices, we would have wandered away from him forever.

But, as we see from today’s Bible verse, God is our Savior. He sent Jesus from heaven who walked life’s path for us—perfectly. And for all the times we fall and fail to follow God’s way, Jesus bore our guilt and suffered the judgment we deserved. Instead of being charged with breaking the rules of the road of life, through everything that Jesus did for us we have a perfect record. Instead of crashing into the destruction we deserve for lawbreaking, we have the joy of God’s love and assurance of life with him forever.

Having seen how much God loves us, we become more and more confident that the path he has marked out for our lives must be best for us. And so, with the writer of today’s Bible passage, we say, “O LORD, teach me your paths.”

Prayer:
Jesus, I praise and honor you for being my Savior who walked the path of life perfectly for me and rescued me from the destruction I deserve for my sin. Guide me now to live and walk in God’s way out of thankfulness and joy for the hope that you give me. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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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Only Working on Sunday Mornings? – Family Devotion – April 30, 2021

Read: 1 Peter 5:1-4

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be.
1 Peter 5:2

Only Working on Sunday Mornings?

 

Family Devotion – April 30, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Peter 5:2

See series: Devotions

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

Pastors only work on Sundays, right? Often, that’s when we see him—when he’s up in the front of church preaching and leading worship. We may not see him much during the rest of the week. What else could he possibly be doing with his time? It doesn’t take that long to write a sermon, does it?

Whether you see it or not, your pastor is doing so much more than “just” preaching on Sunday mornings. He’s talking with and taking communion to people who are stuck at home and can’t come to church. He’s sitting next to people in hospital beds and comforting them and their family members. He’s praying for the members of his church and praying that God would give him the strength and the wisdom to serve them in the best way he possibly can. He’s there for his members when they need him, sometimes at night or on the weekend when his workday should be over and done.

Okay, so pastors work more than “just” on Sunday mornings. What’s the point? It isn’t to make you feel sorry for your pastor or emphasize how hard he works. After all, your parents work hard too. It’s to remind you that your pastor faithfully serves as shepherd of your congregation—in fact, the word “pastor” literally means “shepherd.” God called him to be your shepherd. It also is reminder that you have a calling too: a calling to be a faithful sheep.

How can you be a faithful sheep to your pastor? There are lots of ways: come to church regularly, listen to and learn from what he teaches and preaches, talk to him and tell him what you particularly liked from his sermon or what part of it really hit home to you. Encourage your pastor as he seeks to serve his flock and strives to live up to the responsibility God has given him.

Most importantly, pray for your pastor. Pray that God would give him wisdom to proclaim the Scriptures in their truth and purity. Pray that God would give him strength to resist the devil and stand firm in the faith. Pray that God would give him the comfort to know that his labor in the Lord is not in vain. Pray for him—and then share with him that you’re praying for him. He’ll appreciate it more than you’ll ever know!

Closing Prayer:

Dear Jesus, you have blessed me with a faithful pastor(s). Help me to be a faithful sheep and encourage my pastor as he guides and feeds me with the truths of your Word. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • What does the word “pastor” mean?
  • What else does your pastor do besides preach on Sunday mornings?

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • What is something you could tell your pastor to encourage him?
  • What is a prayer you could say for your pastor?

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Why is it important for you to encourage your pastor? Isn’t coming to church encouragement enough?
  • Since your pastor is a shepherd and you are part of his flock, he cares for and watches over you. What are some specific ways he does this?

Hymn: CW 375:1,5-6 – The King of Love My Shepherd Is

The King of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness fails me never;
I nothing lack if I am his,
And he is mine forever.

You spread a table in my sight,
A banquet here bestowing;
Your oil of welcome, my delight;
My cup is overflowing!

And so through all the length of days
Your goodness fails me never.
Good Shepherd, may I sing your praise
Within your house forever!

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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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Shepherds Take Care of Their Sheep – April 30, 2021

Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
Acts 20:28

Shepherds Take Care of Their Sheep


Daily Devotion – April 30, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 20:28

See series: Devotions

A friend invites you to worship with him on Sunday. He says, “Do you want to come to my church with me?” Two pastors get together for coffee, and each of them asks, “How are things going at your church?” Christians speak this way about the churches they attend because they have such a close connection to them. And this is a good thing.

But sometimes, this idea can go too far. People might say, “This is my church,” as they try to push their own personal agendas on the ministry of a congregation.

As a man named Paul spoke to the church leaders in the ancient city of Ephesus, he reminded them to whom the church belonged. He called the church “the church of God.” And then he explained why it belongs to God. God bought it with his own blood.

When you pay a lot for something, it is worth a lot to you. God paid a price for you and me too. He paid the price of his blood. Because Jesus was the innocent Son of God, his blood was infinitely precious—more valuable than all of the gold in the world. And Jesus paid the price with his blood, bleeding and dying to buy us out of our slavery to sin and death.

Now we belong to him. And the one who paid so much for us makes sure that we are taken care of. He chooses pastors and church leaders to care for the spiritual needs of Christians the way that shepherds take care of sheep. They have an important responsibility. But in the end, they are simply those chosen by God to care for his sheep.

Thank God for faithful pastors. Pray for them. Encourage them. And most of all, rejoice that, while pastors may come and go and churches rise and fall, the church of God remains as those forgiven, set free, and purchased with the precious blood of Christ.

Prayer:
Bought by your blood, Jesus, I belong to you. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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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What Great Love – April 29, 2021

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:1

What Great Love


Daily Devotion – April 29, 2021

Devotion based on 1 John 3:1

See series: Devotions

How does a father show love to his children? One father spends his hard-earned money to buy the best of everything for his children–whether it’s toys, computers, clothes, or cars. Another father pursues the best opportunities for his children—the best education, the best sports teams, the best music, or the best dance lessons. Another father works less in order to spend more time with his children. I suppose all of these can be motivated by a father’s love for his children.

But the Bible doesn’t say, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that he always gives us whatever we want, that he makes life easy for his children, or that he always makes them feel happy and loved.” No, it says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.”

God the Father’s love for us is most clearly shown in his calling us children of God. When we were born into this world, we were descended from Adam and Eve, the first two people in the world. Because they disobeyed God, we inherit from them an inborn desire to live for ourselves, ignore God, and operate by our own rules. When we live that way, we can be called children of the devil.

The devil is worse than any deadbeat dad in this world. He doesn’t care for his children at all. He only wants to see them suffer because when they do, he thinks he is getting back at the God who kicked him out of heaven.

But God loved us so much that he couldn’t wait to rescue us from that abusive household and adopt us into his family. And so he sent his own Son to be the perfect child in our place, to be absolutely obedient, not to demand proof of God’s love, but to give proof of God’s love by his life. He did that so that we might be called children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ himself. As God’s children, we have a place in his family and a home with him forever. Now that’s love!

Prayer:
God, I delight to call you Father. Thank you for your lavish love. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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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Remember What Your Shepherds Have Taught You – Family Devotion – April 28, 2021

Read: Acts 20:28-32

So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Now I commit you to God, and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Acts 20:31-32

Remember What Your Shepherds Have Taught You

 

Family Devotion – April 28, 2021

Devotion based on Acts 20:31-32

See series: Devotions

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

It was the last day of school, and it was time for Miss Schroeder to say goodbye to her students. She knew all of her students very well. She had taught some of them for several years. Others she had known since they were born. The last day of school was always happy. Even if she didn’t have her students in class again, she knew she’d still see them at school or in the community.

This year was different though. It was Miss Schroeder’s last day at the school. She would be moving far away in just a couple of weeks and didn’t know if she’d ever see any of her students again. In the last couple of minutes before school let out, she reminded her students of the lessons she’d taught them and encouraged them to not forget those things.

In today’s Word of God, the apostle Paul was saying goodbye to a church where he had spent three years teaching and preaching. He knew and loved these people like they were his own family. He was sad because he knew he would never see them again.

Paul also knew that life would be hard for them. They would have to deal with false teachers and would be tempted to turn away from the truth that they had learned. So Paul committed them to God’s care. He trusted that God would take care of them. He prayed that they would remember what he had taught them. Even though Paul wouldn’t see them in person, his teaching would live on. They would be able to stand up against the false teachers—as long as they remembered what they had been taught.

All of us also have pastors and teachers in our lives who have taught us about God. They love and care for us, pray for us, and commit us to God’s care. And because they’ve been so faithful in teaching us the truths of God’s Word, we naturally want to remember what they’ve taught us and live according to these truths.

So the next time you’re tempted to stop listening because it seems like your pastor or teacher is telling you something you’ve heard a thousand times before, don’t! Remember that they are living out their calling of preaching and teaching God’s Word. Then, live out what you’ve learned from them! Act in a way that reflects what they’ve taught you. That’s the best thank you that you could ever give them!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for all the faithful pastors and teachers you have placed in our lives. Help us to always remember what they have taught us and live according to these teachings. Amen.

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

Questions for Younger Children

  • Why was Paul so sad to say goodbye?
  • Discuss a way you can show appreciation to your pastor(s) and teacher this week.

Questions for Elementary Age Children

  • Think of three things you’ve learned about God from your pastor(s) and teachers.
  • Discuss one way you can better remember what you’ve learned.

Questions for Middle School and Above

  • Paul warned about “savage wolves” that hurt our faith. What wolf are you facing in your life today?
  • How does remembering what you’ve learned and have been taught help you to fight off these savage wolves?

Hymn: CW 375:1,4 – The King of Love My Shepherd Is

The King of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness fails me never;
I nothing lack if I am his,
And he is mine forever.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
With you, dear Lord, beside me;
Your rod and staff my comfort still,
Your cross before to guide me.

 

Family Devotions are brought to you by WELS Discipleship.Creative Commons License
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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Authority Over Life and Death – April 28, 2021

[Jesus said] “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”
John 10:17,18

Authority Over Life and Death


Daily Devotion – April 28, 2021

Devotion based on John 10:17,18

See series: Devotions

If you’ve ever stood beside the bed of a loved one who is dying, you know how helpless that can feel—for them and you. The body grows weaker, the pain increases. Every treatment has been exhausted. There’s nothing more that can be done. All you can do is wait. You don’t get to decide when they die. God gives life and takes it away. It’s his timing, not ours.

Jesus was in the prime of life when he spoke the words of our Bible reading for today. Cancer wasn’t consuming him. His organs weren’t failing. But he knew he was going to die, and he knew when and how. Jesus was not just a human being. He was also the Son of God. As God, no one could take his life from him.

But he willingly laid down his life for you. The angry hatred of his enemies didn’t put him on the cross. His amazing love for you and me did. His enemies taunted him from the foot of the cross and told him to come down to prove that he was God. He could have done just that. But he stayed there and gave up his life to forgive those who fought against him and rescue those who ridiculed him.

And, just as he had the authority to lay down his life on his terms, Jesus had the authority to take his life back up again. He came back to life on Easter Sunday. His rising from the dead proves that he has taken care of your greatest need by overcoming sin and death for you. You can be at peace because Jesus has defeated death for you. And by his power, he will one day raise to eternal life with him all who trust in him as their Savior.

Prayer:
Jesus, when I face death, lead me to trust in you and know that you died and rose to give me life. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License 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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