Awkward – September 24, 2020

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.
Matthew 18:15

Awkward


Daily Devotion – September 24, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 18:15

See series: Devotions

Essayist Leah Hickman has spoken to what she sees as a growing fear in our society. It’s the fear of the awkward moment—the fear of experiencing what follows in the presence of someone else when you need to raise a difficult subject or when you have to deal with a difficult situation. No one ever enjoys awkward moments, of course. But Hickman makes the case that, somewhere along the line, uncomfortableness has grown into outright fear.

It can be fun recounting awkward moments. They’re part of life. On the other hand, a fearful impulse to avoid the awkward at any cost is nothing to smile about. Hickman cites an older gentleman who’s observed, “It seems as if fear of awkwardness has become a barrier to doing the right thing.”

All of which brings us to Jesus, and his unapologetic love for every soul. When the Lord puts me in a position to speak in loving concern to someone about a specific sin—a specific sin that threatens to create spiritual harm in all kinds of ways—such a moment is tailor-made to be awkward. In all candor, you and I must confess to our Lord that there have been all kinds of times when we have retreated from speaking the truth in love—often from a simple fear of the awkward.

When fear of the awkward has been our motivation, however, you and I must also confess that we have been guilty of placing our own precious comfort zones ahead of a precious soul for whom Jesus died. I am placing my convenience ahead of someone else’s need. And that is a profound wrong.

But that’s when I remember that Jesus’ blood not only washes away the sins of the whole world. He washes away my sins too—including my sin of neglecting a precious soul.

And so let’s take a walk to the cross. Be washed in the blood of God’s Son. And as we see what he was willing to suffer to save us, may it make us willing to move out of our comfort zones, when necessary, to warn others about the sins that endanger their souls.

Prayer:
Lord, my fear of awkward moments has often overpowered me. Forgive me and renew my zeal to love others enough to warn them about sins that separate them from 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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Continuing Debt – September 23, 2020

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.
Romans 13:8

Continuing Debt


Daily Devotion – September 23, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 13:8

See series: Devotions

It’s World War II. It’s nighttime. A paratrooper is about to jump out of a plane. Just before he does, he looks down from the plane’s open door. He sees that he is about to jump into an air space that is alive with explosions, bullets, and flak. “Lord,” he prays, “if you get me through this night, I’ll never have a bad day again.”

The Lord got him through that night. And, as the old veteran loved to say for the rest of his life, “I’ve never had a bad day again.”

Think about that. So profound was the man’s gratitude for the Lord’s deliverance from death, that for the rest of his life he happily obligated himself to look upon the remainder of his days as all good days—every single one.

It’s the same kind of grateful spirit that the good news of Jesus works within Christians. In Romans chapter 13, Paul speaks of what he calls, “the continuing debt to love one another.”

This turn of phrase describes something unique. This is not a debt in the sense that I need to pay something off to God before I get something good in return. Jesus has already paid the debt of my sin in full. On my behalf, he has already lived a life of perfect love. In my place, he has already carried away the guilt of my every sin at the cross. And now, through faith in my risen Savior, I live. I stand forgiven. I am at peace. Heaven awaits.

In light of all this, something wonderful happens. The more this good news sinks in, the greater the gratitude grows. As it does, the Christian soul searches for some way, any way, to show thankfulness to Jesus. And one immediate way to do it is to demonstrate love toward others.

And so there it is. Just as a grateful survivor of war happily obligated himself never to have a bad day again, Jesus’ free gift of forgiveness empowers you and me to obligate ourselves in love to others. We do it not to get something, but to thank God for what we already have.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you. Give me opportunities to thank you more every day. 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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The Way Home – September 22, 2020

“As surely as I live,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn!”
Ezekiel 33:11

The Way Home


Daily Devotion – September 22, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 33:11

See series: Devotions

There’s only one road into Wabush. It also happens to be the only road out.

Wabush is a remote town in the middle of the Canadian wilderness with a population of about two thousand people. You’ll find friendly people there. You’ll find all the basic amenities, along with a post office, bank, barbershop, bowling alley, gymnasium, swimming pool, library, and hotel.

But if you find yourself in Wabush because you took a wrong turn, you cannot simply drive through it and keep going. Remember, Wabush is the end of the road. If you’re lost, and you want to get back to where you need to be, you’re just going to have to turn around. In Wabush, it’s that simple.

Left to ourselves, you and I are lost. We are lost in a wilderness of our own making. Our sinfulness makes us naturals at isolating ourselves from each other and isolating ourselves from the God who made us.

And so God marched into our wilderness to rescue us. He did so in the Person of Jesus Christ. Through the sinless life, he lived on our behalf, and through the death, he died on the cross to wash us clean, Jesus is the way out. Jesus is the way home.

Where do you find yourself in your life right now? Could it be that, for some time, you have been making a series of turns—reckless turns, distracted turns, rebellious turns, selfish turns—a series of turns where you now find yourself isolated, alone, despairing?

God does not want you to despair. As we heard him say in our Bible reading for today, he wants you to turn from your sins and live. He loves you. He proved this when he sent his Son to save you from those sins. So, don’t delay! Turn to him and live!

Prayer:
Many times, Lord Jesus, I’ve gotten so lost. Thank you for coming to find me. Remind me of your love and forgiveness and empower me to turn from my sins 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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Watchman – September 21, 2020

I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel.
Ezekiel 33:7

Watchman


Daily Devotion – September 21, 2020

Devotion based on Ezekiel 33:7

See series: Devotions

In 2019, Israeli soldiers made a discovery. On a remote part of their army base, the soldiers uncovered what turned out to be an ancient Israelite watchtower. The watchtower is massive, its boulders weighing up to eight tons. It is twelve feet wide and rises to seventeen feet. It stands on a hill. Even today, you can see why the watchtower is there. From that hill, you have a commanding view of the ancient city of Ashkelon. In the days of the Israelites, Ashkelon was a hostile city, an enemy of God’s people.

Go back three thousand years. You’re in Israelite soldier. It’s nighttime. It’s your turn to stand watch in the tower. You climb to the top, relieve the watchman on duty, and begin. The length of your watch will be four hours. During that time, you will exert all the powers of your perception—your sight, your hearing, your sense of smell, your trained instinct—to protect your loved ones from forces that wish them harm. As the watchman, you do not sleep, you do not daydream, you allow no distractions. You are the watchman, and you are on the front lines. You are the watchman. People’s lives are depending upon you.

In the Old Testament book of Ezekiel, the Lord told Ezekiel, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel. He was a watchman, however, not in the sense that he stood in a physical watchtower to keep an eye out for physical threats. Rather, Ezekiel was a spiritual watchman. His role was to keep an eye out for spiritual threats—anything that could invade or displace his people’s relationship with their Savior-God.

Which brings us to one of the great blessings of belonging to a Christian congregational family. The Lord, through congregations, calls leaders to help serve as a spiritual watchman. It’s a vital way by which the Lord keeps distractions to my faith at bay. It’s a vital way by which the Lord keeps my focus on Jesus, the One who lived a perfect life in my place, suffered and died for my every sin, and who now lives for me.

If you are a member of a Christian congregation, thank the Lord for your pastor who keeps watch over you. If you do not have a church home, find one that faithfully teaches the Bible so that you, too, can be blessed by the gift of having a spiritual watchman.

Prayer:
Lord, bless those who serve as a spiritual watchman. Keep them faithful to your Word so that your people are protected from the lies that might harm them. 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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The Pain of Loneliness – September 20, 2020

None of us lives for ourselves alone and none of us dies for ourselves alone . . . whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
Romans 14:7,8

The Pain of Loneliness


Daily Devotion – September 20, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 14:7,8

See series: Devotions

A couple of years ago, the magazine Psychology Today had a fascinating article about the function of the human brain. Our diagnostic equipment is now so good that we can actually map the human brain. As we do, we can see what area of the brain becomes active when a person is facing a certain situation. For instance, one area of the brain becomes active when a person is facing danger. Another area of the brain becomes active when the person sits down to a favorite meal.

Researchers decided to try an experiment. They placed someone in a situation where the person had to face loneliness. Their diagnostic equipment lit up. What it told them was a bit jarring. It told them that the area of the brain that becomes active when facing loneliness is the same area of the brain that becomes active when facing physical pain.

Think about that for a moment. According to this experiment, our emotional makeup is such that we process loneliness the same way we process physical pain.

Then again, maybe we don’t need researchers to tell us what we already know. Loneliness hurts. Loneliness brings real pain.

Jesus knows this. He knows this from his own turn at living in this fallen world. More than anyone else, he knows what agony it is to feel isolated, abandoned, alone.

But Jesus doesn’t just feel our pain. He’s done something about it. At the cross, his blood washed our sins away. He removed the wall of our sin between himself and us. That means those who follow him will never be alone again.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in those moments when I hurt from loneliness, heal my hurt with your presence. Remind me that, in you, I am never alone. 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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Restored by God to Serve God – September 19, 2020

The LORD says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me . . . I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you . . . from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel.”
Jeremiah 15:19-21

Restored by God to Serve God


Daily Devotion – September 19, 2020

Devotion based on Jeremiah 15:19-21

See series: Devotions

Jeremiah had a difficult ministry. For fifty years, he preached a message of repentance to the Jewish people, but his message mostly fell on deaf ears. He was shunned, beaten, and imprisoned. He had few friends. No one sympathized with him.

Can we blame Jeremiah for getting frustrated with God? He had done everything God had asked of him. He was a faithful witness to God’s word. In return, he had received nothing but pain and loneliness. Didn’t he deserve a better life than that? Where was God’s mercy for Jeremiah? Where was God’s deliverance?

Such frustration is understandable but hardly excusable. Jeremiah expected God to change, to give him a break. Instead, God changed Jeremiah. He led the prophet to repent and believe God’s promises about his ministry. God still had work for Jeremiah to do.

When we suffer through difficult times, we also may question God’s faithfulness and demand that he set us free.

However, let’s not forget what God has already done for us. He has been faithful to us. Jesus suffered and died for our sins, and God raised him from the dead as proof that he has dropped all charges of guilt against us. Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you are free indeed.

In this world, we will have trouble, but we can rejoice because Jesus has overcome the world. Persecution will always be a part of the Christian’s life. However, God will make us strong enough to stand up under it. God has work for us to do. Like Jeremiah, we are here to bring God’s Word to the world, even if we suffer for it.

Prayer:
Lord, your words are a delight to me and the joy of my heart. If I must suffer for them, give me your strength to be faithful to you so that I may receive the crown of 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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Boasting In Christ- September 18, 2020

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Galatians 6:14

Boasting In Christ


Daily Devotion – September 18, 2020

Devotion based on Galatians 6:14

See series: Devotions

The apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians draws a stark line of contrast between two opposing approaches to salvation—one by grace, the other by works. He wrote the letter as a response to false teachers who were insisting that what Jesus did was not enough to make us right before God. We must also do our part, by obeying the law in every detail. This is a tempting thought. We naturally feel proud of our accomplishments and want recognition when we’ve done something good. Why shouldn’t I get credit for the times I have helped others? Surely I should be rewarded for the sacrifices I have made! This is the thinking of most people in the world.

But those who want to be rewarded according to their obedience to the moral law will be judged by that same law. And that law quickly exposes our secret sins and reveals the darkness in our hearts that we try to hide from others. We need God’s grace, which was poured out on us when his Son, Jesus Christ, died to pay our debt and rose from the dead to give us life.

At the end of his letter, Paul made it clear which side he was on. He was ready to not get credit for any of the good works he had done in his lifetime, but rather to put his trust entirely on what Jesus had done for him. And Paul understood that taking his stand on Christ alone would separate him from others. “The world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” A person killed on a cross was not only permanently separated from the community, but he was also publicly shamed and humiliated in the process. Those who stand by faith on the works of Christ alone and those who put their trust in their own self-righteousness are worlds apart from each other.

But the blood of Jesus was spilled for every person on earth. God’s promises of forgiveness are meant for all nations. So boast and brag to everyone you know about the love of God for us sinners!

Prayer:
Jesus, you are my dearest treasure. I will praise your name always. 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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Gifted by Grace – September 17, 2020

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Romans 12:3-5

Gifted by Grace


Daily Devotion – September 17, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 12:3-5

See series: Devotions

It was Stewardship Week at St. James Lutheran Church, and Ginny was looking at a sign-up sheet on a table in the church lobby. It said that volunteers were wanted to host small-group Bible studies in their homes. A kindly-looking, older couple approached her—Ginny knew them only as Mr. and Mrs. Kleibert. Gesturing towards the sign-up sheet, Mr. Kleibert held out a pen and said, “You won’t regret it!”

“Oh, I don’t think that’s for me,” Ginny said. “I haven’t been a member here for very long.”

“Where does it say you have to have tenure in the congregation to host one of these groups?” Mr. Kleibert pretended to search the paper for what he knew wasn’t there.

“Besides,” Mrs. Kleibert added, “We’ve noticed how active you’ve been in Sunday morning Bible class. You ask lots of great questions.”

Ginny looked at the two of them. “You’ve noticed?” she asked.

Mr. Kleibert assured her, “I’m one of the elders here at St. James and my wife Janet leads the Altar Guild. We’re always on the lookout for ways to involve new members into the life of the congregation, find ways for them to feel at home, and use the gifts that God has given them. The Holy Spirit makes sure that every Christian has something to offer to the rest of us.”

Ginny was still hesitant. “You’re sure it’s a good idea?”

Mrs. Kleibert said, “My dear husband here will be the one leading the study, and I’ll be there too. You’ll be just fine. Now quick sign your name so I can introduce you to the gals on the Altar Guild too.”

Prayer:
Father, by grace you have united me with Christ and called me into your family. Help me to value the gifts of my fellow believers and encourage them to use those gifts for your glory. 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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Pleasing God – September 16, 2020

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

Pleasing God


Daily Devotion – September 16, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 12:2

See series: Devotions

Ginny looked up from her chai tea and smiled when she saw Nancy approach her at their usual table. The two of them had been meeting Wednesday mornings outside a local coffee shop for conversation and encouragement.

“Hey, friend! How’s your day going?” Nancy asked as she sat down across the table from Ginny.

“Well, I keep thinking about our discussion at the end of Sunday morning Bible class,” Ginny answered. “Pastor explained to us that the ‘true and proper worship’ of Romans 12:1—or ‘spiritual worship’ of some Bible translations—means that we want to please God in everything we do because of his mercy for us. I get that, and I want to do that. I still can’t get over how patient God has been with me, despite all of my wrong turns in life. How Jesus was willing to give his life for me. But I still struggle. There are so many times I just don’t know what the right and ‘God-pleasing’ thing to do is. Remember, I’ve only been coming to church for a little over a year now.”

Nancy sipped her latte and thought for a moment. “Pretty heavy thoughts for a Wednesday morning!” she finally said. “But I know how you feel. Every Christian struggles that way. Even the apostle Paul described his own inner fight between right and wrong in Romans chapter 7.”

“That’s true,” said Ginny.

Nancy continued, “But you are on the right path. You’re coming to church; you’re coming to Bible study, and you’re doing your best to put all that into practice in your life. I’ve learned to trust the Holy Spirit to transform my heart and mind through his Word and sacraments. He started it when we were baptized, and he continues to work in us whenever we’re reading or talking about his Word. Believe me, I know from experience that it’s a life-long process, full of ups and downs. That’s what makes me so grateful for his forgiveness!”

Prayer:
Dear God, you called me to be your child. Keep me from sin and teach me to know and do what is pleasing 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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True and Proper Worship – September 15, 2020

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Romans 12:1

True and Proper Worship


Daily Devotion – September 15, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 12:1

See series: Devotions

After many months, Sunday morning Bible class was finally meeting again, and Ginny couldn’t wait. Pastor Schroeder wasn’t surprised to see her hand shoot up when he asked if there were any questions.

“Pastor,” she said, though muffled by her mask, “while we were all stuck at home, I watched streamed worship services from a few other churches. It struck me how many different styles and ways of worshiping there are. But it also made me wonder if there is a right way to worship?”

Pastor Schroeder interrupted her, “Well, that might take longer to answer than we have time for this morning.”

Ginny continued anyway, “So I did what you always tell us to do. I looked in the Bible for answers. One verse I found was Romans 12:1 where the apostle Paul talks about ‘your true and proper worship.’ But what does that verse mean?”

“Great catch, Ginny!” said her pastor. “In the first eleven chapters of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he writes at length about God’s grace for sinners and how we are saved only by what Christ has done for us, not by anything we do. Then, before he gets into describing the way that Christians should live, Paul reminds them of what God has already done. ‘In view of God’s mercy…’ That motivates us to dedicate every part of our lives—body and soul—to serving him. When every moment and every choice in life flows from gratitude to God for his mercy, our bodies are like living sacrifices, made holy and acceptable through Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for us on the cross.”

Ginny’s eyebrows raised above her mask. “So, ‘true and proper worship’ means not just going through the motions—either in life or in church?”

Pastor Schroeder nodded. “Yes. It means always keeping before our eyes everything that God has done for us and then letting our words and actions flow from that.”

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for your many blessings to me, though I haven’t deserved them. Let me never forget your love for me. Help me to live in a way that pleases you. In the name of Jesus, I pray. 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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Motivated for Action – September 14, 2020

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Matthew 16:21-23

Motivated for Action


Daily Devotion – September 14, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 16:21-23

See series: Devotions

Do you struggle with procrastination? Is there something really important that you know you should do, but you have been putting it off? Maybe you delay doing those things that are difficult or where the outcome is uncertain.

Productivity gurus will often tell their clients that motivation is the key to getting things done. Very often the reason we procrastinate on a task is that we lose sight of the project’s purpose. When you find yourself dragging your feet and putting off an important task, a consultant might advise you to ask yourself: What do I hope to accomplish? What will the outcome be if I carry through with my assignment?

God’s Son, Jesus Christ, never needed to attend a productivity seminar. He came into this world fully aware of his priorities and was completely dedicated to accomplishing his goal. The Bible tells us that, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). That goal of our salvation was only possible by sacrificing himself. So, Jesus told his disciples that he must suffer, he must die, and he must rise to live again. There was no alternative. This was God’s plan from eternity. This is the way he would cancel the debt of your sins and win the gifts of forgiveness and eternal life for you. Nothing would distract or delay him from accomplishing that blessed goal!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me so much that nothing could keep you from going to Jerusalem to save me from my sins. 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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Become an Imitator of God – September 13, 2020

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 4:32–5:2

Become an Imitator of God


Daily Devotion – September 13, 2020

Devotion based on Ephesians 4:32–5:2

See series: Devotions

When actors need to imitate someone in a skit or movie, they spend many hours preparing for their role by watching videos of the person they are going to imitate. This ingrains the subject’s mannerisms and speech patterns into the actor’s mind. When show time comes, the actor can then imitate the subject quite naturally.

God wants us to imitate him. It is a tall order, to say the least. It is actually impossible for sinful humans like us. Fortunately, Jesus did what we cannot do. He perfectly imitated God because Jesus is God. His perfect life is why we have been forgiven by God for our sins.

Although we will not be able to do what Jesus did, we still strive to imitate God every day as a way of thanking him for forgiving us. Just like an actor preparing for a part, we imitate God best by watching Jesus. Hour after hour, day after day, we read about Jesus in the Bible. This ingrains God’s mannerisms and ways of speaking into our minds. It leads us to be kind and compassionate, to forgive each other, and to live a life of love. Keep watching Jesus and become a better and better imitator of God.

Prayer:
Thank you Jesus, for doing what I could not do. Help me to do what you have done. Help me to imitate God today. 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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The Most Amazing Person – September 12, 2020

“But what about you?” [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
Matthew 16:15-17

The Most Amazing Person


Daily Devotion – September 12, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 16:15-17

See series: Devotions

The disciples of Jesus had lived with him for more than two years. They had seen him heal many, feed thousands, and even raise people from the dead. They knew the public opinions about Jesus: that he was a holy man, perhaps even a great prophet. But they had also been listening carefully to their Rabbi and knew who he really was. So when Jesus asked the big question, “Who do you say I am?” Peter was quick to respond with an amazing answer, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Peter was saying that Jesus was the long-promised Savior, our gracious God’s one and only Son, true God and true man who had lovingly come to rescue this world, which was totally broken, totally lost in guilt and sin and without hope. All history revolves around him. He’s the most important and most amazing person who ever walked on this earth. He brought heaven to earth and earth to heaven. God had revealed that truth to Peter. In the next year, Peter would learn much more about all this when he saw Jesus on the cross and then risen from the dead.

“Who do you say I am?” is also the biggest question we will ever face. Thank God that we have the same source of truth as Peter did in the Bible.

Thank God every day of your life if you can answer, “Jesus, you are my Savior and my hope for heaven!”

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, for revealing yourself to me! Thank you, Holy Spirit, for putting faith in my heart! Help me to grow in your grace so that I, too, can boldly confess with Peter that you are my Savior! 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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In Jesus We Have Everything – September 11, 2020

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Matthew 16:16

In Jesus We Have Everything


Daily Devotion – September 11, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 16:16

See series: Devotions

By the grace of God, Peter saw Jesus as the promised Savior of the world—the One and only! Peter knew that Jesus is the answer to sin—the only one God will provide. Peter knew that Jesus is the central figure in God’s plan of salvation and that no one can possibly be saved without him. Peter believed that Jesus is the only one who fulfills all the world’s needs.

It is not hard to see why so many people fail to recognize the significance of Jesus. Limited, sinful human minds simply cannot grasp such an amazing miracle. Why would God send Jesus to die for a world of sinners? Why would God save me? Why would God care at all what happens to us when we die? In a word: GRACE. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” God’s loving plan to save us from sin, death, and hell is beyond anything we could have dreamed or imagined.

It is only by faith that we can confess Christ and believe what Peter claims about him. Jesus himself says: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.” In a world clouded by unbelief, God had seen fit to bless Peter with faith, and Jesus wanted Peter to know what a priceless gift that is. Without Jesus, we are lost. In him, we have everything. May we confess him as clearly as Peter.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, grant me a strong faith, bold to confess you as the Savior this world needs. 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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Put Your Faith in Jesus – September 10, 2020

“But what about you?” [Jesus] asked, “Who do you say I am?”
Matthew 16:15

Put Your Faith in Jesus


Daily Devotion – September 10, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 16:15

See series: Devotions

There is no shortage of opinions on who Jesus is. Throughout history, there has been a wide range of opinions about him. But how about you? “Who do you say Jesus is?”

Before you answer the question, realize the answer is more than just words. What we say about Jesus affects the way we live our lives. If we believe the Bible when it says that Jesus is the one and only Savior of the world, then that changes everything. Let me put that another way. If Jesus is everything to us, why is it so hard for us to be in his house for worship on a regular basis? If Jesus is our greatest treasure, why do we go entire days without reading his Word or praying to him? If Jesus is the light of our world, why do we not invite everyone we know to come and see him so they can know him too?

Sadly, our lives do not often match our confession of who Jesus is. This is precisely why we need him so much. We need him to wash our sins away. We need him to love and save us and make us right before God. We need him to be who he says he is. Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” Jesus is the answer to sin and death. He is the one who has come to live and die in our place to make sure that we could be saved and live with him forever.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your answer to that question has eternal implications. Jesus is your salvation. He is everything you need. Put your faith in him.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to never forget who you are. You are my Savior, my all. Lead me to love you and serve you always. 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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The Big Picture – September 9, 2020

“Who has known the mind of the Lord.”
Romans 11:34

The Big Picture


Daily Devotion – September 9, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 11:34

See series: Devotions

We live in a crazy, chaotic world. ‘What is God doing?’ Perhaps you have heard that question asked a few times. Maybe you are wondering: ‘If God really cared about us, wouldn’t he stop this pandemic? Wouldn’t he bring an end to all this inequality? Wouldn’t he stop the violence?’

It certainly can be difficult to understand what God is doing. The Bible often reminds us that God’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than our own. We do not always see the big picture of things. This can lead to frustration and anger when we do not understand why God allows certain things to happen. This, in turn, leads us to blame God or turn away from God.

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?” God may be tough to figure out at times, but just because we do not understand his plan does not mean that we can assume he does not love us. Quite the opposite, actually. When God sent Jesus into this world to die on the cross to pay for our sins, nobody understood that either. Even Jesus’ closest followers tried to stop it or to talk Jesus out of it. Yet, even though they could not understand what God was planning, it ended up being a huge blessing for them and the whole world. In sending Jesus to die on the cross, God made sure that there was a way for us all to be saved. Through faith in Jesus, we are forgiven, and on the way to heaven.

We cannot always understand God’s plan or know the mind of the Lord. But as we see his plan for saving us through Jesus, we can be assured of his love for us and his intent to bless us. This means we can trust him. As events around us seem to spin out of control, trust that God has a plan. He loves you and has saved you and will continue to carry out his will with you in mind.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for salvation in Jesus. While I do not always understand your plan, help me to trust you and your love for me. Help me to know that you will always take care of 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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A Memorial of Love – September 8, 2020

“These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
Joshua 4:7

A Memorial of Love


Daily Devotion – September 8, 2020

Devotion based on Joshua 4:7

See series: Devotions

Monuments have been the center of attention lately as a debate rages over which historical figures deserve a monument in their names. What are some reasons for having a monument in the first place? Above all else, a monument is designed to help people remember a certain person or event.

God instructed Joshua to construct a memorial on the bank of the Jordan River. The Lord had miraculously stopped the river from flowing and allowed the entire nation to cross over into the Promised Land—a land he was now going to give to them. This was truly a momentous event in the history of Israel, and the Lord wanted his people to always remember how he was there for them and had blessed them. So, Joshua instructed the people to set up a monument of stones to serve as a reminder of God’s goodness.

We have those too. As you think about your own life, what monuments to God’s goodness can you find? Perhaps you can review the clean bill of health from your doctor and rejoice in God’s goodness. Maybe you can look at the family picture on the wall and count all the children and grandchildren and thank God for the blessings that he has brought into your family. We all have different reminders of God’s blessings in our lives.

But there is one memorial we share: the cross of Jesus. The empty cross stands as a reminder that Jesus has taken our sins away and won for us the free gift of heaven. Throughout history, there will always be people who speak against the cross and tell us to take it down, but it is a visible reminder of the price Jesus paid to set us free from sin and death. It is a symbol of God’s love for all of mankind. Look to the cross today and every day and be reminded of God’s love for you.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for sending Jesus to be my Savior. In the cross, help me to see your love and forgiveness for me and the whole world. Help me to always remember that I am saved in 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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The Lord Alone is Faithful – September 7, 2020

God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord.”
Exodus 6:2

The Lord Alone is Faithful


Daily Devotion – September 7, 2020

Devotion based on Exodus 6:2

See series: Devotions

“I promise.” Those are words that should give us comfort. Those are words that should take away our worries. Those are words that should give us hope. But, when we hear the words, “I promise,” we often roll our eyes. We have grown accustomed to unkept promises.

It starts from little on. A young boy hears dad promise that he will play catch after work. But dad doesn’t get home from work until after the boy is in bed—far too late to play catch. An employee hears his boss promise that the promotion will be his, only to find out a week later that the job went to someone else. A bride hears her groom say, “I do”—and finds out later that he did not keep his promise to be faithful.

We are surrounded by unfaithfulness and also have been unfaithful in keeping promises. Because of this, we are often skeptical that anyone will keep a promise to us.

God is different from everyone else. He keeps his promises. In Exodus chapter six, verses 2-8, the Lord says, “I,” seventeen times. It jumps off the page. God says: “I am the Lord… I appeared to Abraham… I also established my covenant. I…I…I”—17 times! This reminds us that the Lord is unquestionably in charge. God lets us know that he has not forgotten us. He has heard our pleas. He WILL keep his Word.

And if you still doubt that, God points to his own track record. He proved his faithfulness once and for all on Good Friday. If there was ever a time for him to back out of a promise, this was it. There, hanging from a cross, was his own Son. Jesus did not deserve to die. He did not deserve to suffer. But, true to his Word, God kept his promise. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice for our sins. God sent his Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. That promise is kept, and that promise is yours—forever. You are forgiven!

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for keeping your promise and sending Jesus to be my Savior. Help me to know that in him I am forgiven. Help me to trust your Word always. 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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God is Awesome – September 6, 2020

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
Romans 11:33

God is Awesome


Daily Devotion – September 6, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 11:33

See series: Devotions

Look at a picture of the Grand Canyon sometime. As you look at that picture, the immensity of the canyon just takes your breath away. The bottom of the photograph shows the lip of the canyon, and then the ground just drops away and keeps going down, as the rift spreads to the left and the right. Imagine how much space there is when there used to be level ground. If you were to explore every nook and cranny, every space in that canyon, it would take a lifetime.

Looking at the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God is much like looking at a picture of the Grand Canyon. The magnitude and splendor of God’s wisdom and knowledge are just breathtaking. We can sit on the ledge and stare into its depths and never find the bottom. Frankly, it’s unsearchable. We would never be able to even begin to search just the surface of his wisdom. It is impossible for us to understand on our own.

But God, in his unsearchable wisdom, revealed to us what we would never be able to find out on our own. He sent his Son, Jesus, to make peace between sinners and himself by having Jesus take on the punishment for sin. Then God said to you; yes, even to you, that you are a recipient of that free grace. He sent his Son for you. Your sins were also taken away by Jesus.

Hearing that proclamation of grace, we can exclaim with gratitude, “How unsearchable his judgments, and his path beyond tracing out!”

Prayer:
God, though I cannot fathom the depths of all your wisdom or understand all of your ways, I rejoice in the knowledge that you have revealed about your Son and the salvation that he accomplished for me. Through the study of your Word, help me grow each day in my appreciation for your 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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Faith Credited as Righteousness – September 5, 2020

After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:1-6

Faith Credited as Righteousness


Daily Devotion – September 5, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 15:1-6

See series: Devotions

The name Abram means “exalted father.” The irony was probably not lost on him when he was over eighty years old and still childless. Especially since many years earlier, God himself had promised to make his offspring into a great nation. And what’s more, Abram was assured that one of those future descendants would be the long-awaited Savior of mankind. Still, here he was an old man without a single child to his name.

But Abram was a man of action. So, Abram had already hatched a plan to deal with his childlessness: his servant Eliezer would be his heir.

You and I can hardly point an accusing finger at Abram. After all, our hearts have harbored many of our own doubts regarding God’s promises. We have falsely believed that our lives were in our own hands, that we controlled our own future.

What a patient God we have! Instead of abandoning us to our doubts and an uncertain destiny, he graciously repeats his promises. God assured the childless old man that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars visible in the night sky. And God assures sinners like us that all his promises of forgiveness have been kept in his Son Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Lord God, I have no righteousness of my own to stand before you. But I believe you when you promise to forgive my sins for the sake 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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Great Faith – September 4, 2020

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Matthew 15:28

Great Faith


Daily Devotion – September 4, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 15:28

See series: Devotions

Only twice in the Bible does Jesus call someone’s faith great. Was he talking about Peter or James or John on those occasions? Actually, when addressing his closest disciples, we hear him often say, “O you of little faith.” When he was highlighting great faith, he once was referring to a Roman Centurion. The other time he was talking to this Canaanite woman.

The woman’s daughter was demon-possessed. Doctors and home remedies were of no use. Only Jesus could help. Here’s where the “great faith” comes in. The Canaanite woman was humble. She realized she wasn’t entitled to good things from God so she offered a heartfelt plea, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me”… and knelt before him. “Lord help me!” She was persistent. Even when the disciples wanted to send her away, she continued to stand by Jesus. And most of all, she was dependent on Jesus. After all, it wasn’t her faith that healed her daughter. It wasn’t some kind of internal personal energy that drove her daughter’s demon away. It was Jesus, and Jesus alone. The Canaanite woman showed great faith by having a great dependency on Jesus.

What circumstances will challenge your faith today? What burdens are hard for you to carry? What worries occupy your inmost thoughts? Doctors and home remedies can sometimes help, but they have limitations. Only Jesus will walk with you every step of the way. Only Jesus deserves to be on the receiving end of your humble pleas, your persistent prayers, and your total dependency.

Do you have great faith? There’s no gauge or scale to measure that. In fact, the question is a bit misleading. It implies an emphasis on us. Instead, as you face today and whatever challenges that arise, be dependent on Jesus. He is great. His love for you is great. His interest in your life is great. His ability to bless you even when things look bleak is great. You are in great hands.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, strengthen my reliance and dependency on you. When I am weak, make me strong. When I am lonely, assure me of your presence. When I am down, lift me up with your promise to love and forgive. 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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An Odd Conversation – September 3, 2020

The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
Matthew 15:25-27

An Odd Conversation


Daily Devotion – September 3, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 15:25-27

See series: Devotions

What an odd conversation. One certainly doesn’t expect Jesus to carry on like this. He’s loving and kind. He is the one who welcomes sinners and tax collectors, isn’t he? Is he being rude, or is there something more here?

Something more, to be sure! For starters, it was Jesus’ idea to go to this region in the first place. This woman’s daughter was suffering from demon possession, and Jesus was going to help her. But first, before the miraculous healing, he would give her an opportunity to exercise her faith and, in the process, give us an inspiring example of trust.

Here’s the recap. The woman approaches Jesus. He ignores her. She kneels before him asking for help. He refers to her as a dog, implying she was not a rightful member of the Jewish family. And she replies, “Even the dogs eat the crumbs.”

In other words, she was saying: Jesus, I agree with you. I don’t deserve your love. I’m a sinner who is not worthy to approach your table, much less sit beside you. I’m not a direct descendant of Abraham, but I am his child by faith. But you, Jesus, have promised salvation for all people. I am clinging to that promise, even though some could get the impression you don’t care. I know you do care because you have made a promise to love all people and offer up your life as a sacrifice for the sins of all people. Have mercy on me, Lord.

Oh, how I want her words to be my words!

Jesus wasn’t showing indifference; he was exercising her faith. In the face of opposition, the Canaanite woman didn’t run away; she ran to Jesus. She didn’t sit on a bed of self-pity; she stood on the sure promises of Jesus.

Oh, how I want to stand where she stood—on the promises of Jesus!

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord, for promising to be with me today. When testing comes, help me run to you. Help me find rest and comfort in your promises. 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 For All People – September 2, 2020

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
Matthew 15:21-23

Jesus Is For All People


Daily Devotion – September 2, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 15:21-23

See series: Devotions

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that Jesus is for all people! Perhaps that’s why we see Jesus intentionally leaving the area of Galilee and withdrawing to an area populated heavily by people who did not have a lot of opportunities to hear about him. If there was a mission field, Jesus would enter it. If there were people in need of support, Jesus would seek them out.

The immediate comfort is this:

• No matter what your ethnicity, your background, your physical characteristics—Jesus is for you!
• No matter how much (or little) you know about the Bible—Jesus wants to have a meaningful relationship with you!
• No matter where you live or what vocation you have—Jesus loves you and wants to draw you ever closer to him!

Jesus’ disciples apparently did not get that memo.

We often learn from others what NOT to do. The disciples provide a prime example. How did they react to this woman in need? “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” Were they too busy or too tired? Did they think themselves too important to deal with ordinary people with ordinary problems?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know I don’t want to be heartless and distant when I deal with the people around me. I don’t want to be so self-absorbed with my own life that I miss opportunities to be kind and generous to others. In fact, maybe the Lord will place someone into my life today who just may need a helping hand or a listening ear. Maybe he’ll do the same for you.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for seeking me out, finding me, and giving me an opportunity to learn about your love. You were not too busy for me. Help me, Lord, to never be too busy or too distracted for those around 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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Welcome to the Club – September 1, 2020

I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.
Isaiah 56:8

Welcome to the Club


Daily Devotion – September 1, 2020

Devotion based on Isaiah 56:8

See series: Devotions

Some clubs are easier to get into than others. In many cases, you fill out the form, pay the annual fee, and you’re in! Not so with the Hurlingham Club in London, touted as one of the most exclusive clubs in the world–especially if you like polo, golf, and being treated like royalty. The bad news? Currently, there’s a 30-year waiting list before one could even be considered for membership. That’s pretty exclusive!

Exclusivity. You’d think if there was ever a club or group that could claim elite status and keep commoners and riff-raff at bay, it would be the family of God. Instead, he throws the doors open and exclaims, I will gather still others.

700 years before the time of Christ, Isaiah spoke of God not keeping the riff-raff away but inviting them into his personal household. The promises God made to Abraham and his descendants would spill over to people of all nations, of every tribe and language. God doesn’t want to keep anyone out; he wants all people to be brought in.

Jesus made that clear too. “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen,” he said. “I must bring them also” (John 10:16). That same Good Shepherd who sought to bring more and more sheep into his fold didn’t just seek them out, he paid their entrance fee in full. The apostle John spoke of that all-inclusive sacrifice—”He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2).

Guess what? You and I will never belong to the Hurlingham Club. In fact, there are probably a thousand clubs that are too exclusive for us, too rich for our blood, and too out of our reach. The good news? Jesus has removed your sins. He has paid your way in full. He wants you to have all the perks and blessings of his family. Welcome to the club!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for seeking me out and saving me. As a forgiven member of your family, use me in your task of seeking out and saving others. 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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Simply Remarkable – August 31, 2020

For the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.
Joshua 2:11

Simply Remarkable


Daily Devotion – August 31, 2020

Devotion based on Joshua 2:11

See series: Devotions

If you’re looking for a thrilling story filled with suspense, espionage, and escapes, look no further than Joshua chapter 2. Joshua, the successor to Moses, had sent spies to a city called Jericho. The local king found out and tried to track down and capture the scouts. With the help of an unexpected ally, the Israelite spies narrowly escaped. Remarkable!

But not as remarkable as this confession of faith: “the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on earth below.” Did Joshua say that? Or maybe one of the spies who had been spared? No. Rahab, a harlot living in Jericho spoke those words. News of the Lord had made it to Jericho, to Rahab’s ears, and her very heart. She believed in the Lord God.

Of course, the spotlight doesn’t belong on Rahab but on God. The God of free and faithful grace sought out Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho. His forgiveness covered her sins and his tender heart accepted her into his family. God’s love is remarkable!

Rahab’s confession of faith is a reminder to you that God loves all people, and he wants all people to be part of his believing family. Whatever sins may lurk in your past, be assured that Jesus paid for them when he died on the cross. Whatever skeletons clatter around in your closet, be assured that because of Jesus, you have a fresh start and a clean slate before God. That’s simply remarkable!

Prayer:
Gracious Savior, my past is filled with sins too numerous to count. Remind me every day that you love me and that your death on the cross has removed my sins. Help me to live today in the joy of that forgiveness. 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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Undying Hope – August 30, 2020

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.
1 Kings 19:3-5

Undying Hope


Daily Devotion – August 30, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:3-5

See series: Devotions

American poet Robert Frost wrote: “I turned to speak to God / About the world’s despair; / But to make bad matters worse / I found God wasn’t there.” Maybe you’ve felt that way too. Desperate and downcast from the suffering in your own life or seeing evil appear to go unchecked around you, you may wonder where God is in all of this mess. And when God doesn’t appear to answer prayer, the future looks even darker than it did before.

The prophet Elijah came to a point in his life where he had abandoned all hope. Wicked Queen Jezebel was putting to death the prophets of the true God. The people had turned to worship false idols. By his calculations, Elijah was the last faithful believer left, and now he was running for his life too. Exhausted after fleeing through the wilderness, he plopped himself down under a broom bush and told God that he had had enough. In his desperation, Elijah wanted to die under that tree, but it would have served no good purpose.

Hundreds of years later, a man did die–not under a tree, but on a tree. He was nailed to it by Roman soldiers. His name was Jesus Christ, and his death did serve a good purpose. His sacrifice paid for the sins of all people of all time. It shows how much God loves the people of this world, sinful as we are.

Remember this when you become discouraged by the evil in the world. God has not abandoned us. He has not abandoned you. The sacrifice of his Son proves it. May it give you courage and confidence this day.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, when I am frustrated with evil and ready to give up, remind me how you gave yourself up to defeat evil for 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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A Reason to Show Mercy – August 29, 2020

You who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience.
Romans 11:30

A Reason to Show Mercy


Daily Devotion – August 29, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 11:30

See series: Devotions

If you’ve taken an English Literature class somewhere along the way, perhaps the name of Robert Browning rings a bell. Robert Browning was one of the most famous and successful English poets of the nineteenth century. Even more extraordinary than his poetry, however, was Robert’s wife, Elizabeth.

Before she met Robert, Elizabeth was a highly respected poet in her own right. But she lived at the home of her possessive and tyrannical father. When Elizabeth and Robert married, her father—for reasons perhaps known only to him—refused to talk to her. For the next ten years, Elizabeth faithfully wrote beautiful, loving letters to her father, patiently working to reconcile their relationship.

Then her father died. Around that time, she received a package in the mail from her father’s address. The package contained all of the letters she had sent over the previous ten years. He had never opened a single one.

A sad story? Yes. But there’s a larger story here that’s beautiful. That package of unopened letters was her expression of love for the most important person in her life. Over the years, Elizabeth had made no secret of her love for Jesus Christ as her Savior from sin. She knew all about the mercy and forgiveness he had won for her at the cross. His flood of undeserved love in her life empowered her to show mercy to others—even to an unforgiving father.

You and I have the same Savior. We have received the same forgiveness and undeserved love as Elizabeth. And we have the same reason to show mercy toward others—especially those who have hurt us.

After all, being merciful to others reflects our thanks to Jesus, who had such great mercy on us.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you know the people in my life who have hurt me. Point me to the cross. Empower me to show mercy. Empower me to forgive. 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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Do Not Be Afraid – August 28, 2020

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” . . . Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Matthew 14:25-27,33

Do Not Be Afraid


Daily Devotion – August 28, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 14:25-27,33

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What are you afraid of? Failure, the future, loneliness, love, rejection, disease, death—everyone is afraid of something. But we learn from Jesus that, in him, we have nothing to fear.

Jesus’ disciples were sailing through the night across the Sea of Galilee. While they were still a fair distance from shore, wind and waves were pounding against the boat. As they were busy battling the elements, Jesus came strolling atop the water toward them. The disciples were terrified. But Jesus quickly took away their fears.

He gave them courage by reminding them of who he is. He is the LORD, the unchanging Savior God. He is the God who set boundaries for the waters of the earth, saying, “This far you may come and no farther” (Job 38:11). He is the God who used water to deliver the Israelites from the Egyptians. He is the God who made it rain after 3 years of drought during the days of Elijah. He is the God who gave Peter the confidence to walk on water and the faith to call on his Savior when doubt caused him to sink. He is God who stopped the waves from battering the boat without saying a word.

You have nothing to fear. Jesus is your God, your Savior. He is the God who stretched out his hands on the cross to save you from your sea of sins that would have pulled you under the waves of God’s righteous anger. He is the God who loosened death’s grip when he rose from the grave so that he could give you eternal life. He is the God who speaks courage into your heart when fear batters your spirit and faith into your heart when you are sinking in doubt. Because of Jesus, your God, you have nothing to fear.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I praise you for delivering me from death, calming my fears, and removing my doubts. 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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Find Joy in Trials – August 27, 2020

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. . . . Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
James 1:2-4,12

Find Joy in Trials


Daily Devotion – August 27, 2020

Devotion based on James 1:2-4,12

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Dr. Wayne Dyer, a self-help author, once said: “A bar of iron costs $5, made into horseshoes its worth is $12, made into needles its worth is $3500, made into balance springs for watches, its worth is $300,000.” To be worth that much, iron must go through quite a trial by fire. The more it passes through the heat, is hammered and polished, the greater its value.

As a rule, we try to avoid going through the heat. We don’t like experiencing trials in our lives. But James, the half-brother of Jesus, challenges us to change our perspective. He says that God uses trials to make us better. In that sense, they are a blessing from God. Our gracious God has a good goal in allowing us to face all kinds of trials. Trials build and strengthen the character of our faith. The testing of our faith helps us to focus on the right things, eternal things.

The trials God allows us to face remind us that this is not our home. A better life now is not the goal. God has already prepared the best life for those who love him in the world to come. It is an eternal home with him that Jesus made possible for us by his life, death, and resurrection. He faced every trial common to humanity and persevered. And when he passed through God’s fiery wrath on the cross for our sin, he forged the crown of life for all who love him.

So, when God calls you to face all kinds of trials, don’t sigh and say, “Oh, boy.” Remember the goal that God has in store for you after you have passed through them, look up and say, “Oh, joy!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me to be faithful to you in trials so I may receive the crown of life you have prepared for 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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The Value of Knowing Jesus – August 26, 2020

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
Romans 9:1-5

The Value of Knowing Jesus


Daily Devotion – August 26, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 9:1-5

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In 1991, Teri Horton was looking for a gift for a friend. In a thrift store, she came across a large canvas covered with colorful drips and splatters. Even though Teri thought it was ugly, she bought it for five dollars. Her friend thought it was ugly too and gave it back to Teri. So, Teri tried selling the painting at a garage sale. An art teacher spotted the painting and suggested that it might be the work of the famous artist, Jackson Pollock. Teri responded, “Who is Jackson Pollock?” She had no idea that her five-dollar painting might be worth millions of dollars.

Many of the Jewish people living in the first century were in a similar situation. They had something extremely valuable but did not realize it. God had given the Jewish people a special place in his family and had promised that the Savior of the world would come from them. But when the Savior came, they saw no value in him. They rejected him and hung him on a cross. Even though Jesus proved that he was the Messiah, they doubted.

But the apostle Paul, a Jewish man by birth, knew the value of Jesus. His heart broke because his people rejected Jesus. They were rejecting God’s gift of undeserved love, free forgiveness, and eternal life. Paul loved his people so much that he was willing to give up those incomparable gifts if it would save them from eternal death.

But only One can save and has saved us. He is Jesus Christ. We are saved because of Jesus’ sinless life and his death for our sins. Trust him! His splattered blood beautifully covers over the sin-stained canvas of humanity. Don’t underestimate the value of Jesus. Believe it and celebrate it.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me to know you and the value of your salvation. 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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