Jesus Can Do a Miracle – August 5, 2021

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
John 6:10,11

Jesus Can Do a Miracle


Daily Devotion – August 5, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:10,11

See series: Devotions

“Do you believe in miracles?” Ever since the 1980 Olympics, that phrase has been identified as one of the most famous play calls by a sports announcer. Long before Al Michaels ever said those words regarding a hockey victory, Jesus subtly implied the same question. Picture the scene: Jesus’ disciples are running around frantic. “How in all the world are we supposed to feed all these people? Do you know how much that’s going to cost? We have one little boy’s lunch, but how far will that take us?”

And what does Jesus do? Amid the chaos, he calmly says, “Have the people sit down” (John 6:10). It’s not written, but it’s certainly implied that when Jesus gives those orders to his disciples, he’s asking, “Do you believe in miracles?” He already has in mind what he is going to do. And he already has the means. In hockey terms, all that is left was to put the puck in the net. All that is left for Jesus is to complete the miracle. And that’s exactly what Jesus does, “Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish” (John 6:11).

While the miracle is the key point of this lesson, signaling that Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be, namely the Son of God, let’s not miss how Jesus sets up the miracle. It’s so easy for us to run around in chaos, wondering how we’re going to accomplish this task or pay for that task. But before Jesus steps in and shows himself, he calmly asks, “Do you believe in miracles?” And he instructs us to take a seat and watch him go to work.

“Have the people sit down.” What a beautiful reminder that it’s not our activity that brings about miraculous changes. It’s Jesus. Only Jesus. So grab a seat, hear him speak to you in his Word, and marvel at the miracles that our Savior has done and continues to do for you.

Prayer:
Lord, take the pressure off my shoulders and lead me to have a seat and ponder the miracles of your love and care. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Can Use Any Means – August 4, 2021

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
John 6:8,9

Jesus Can Use Any Means


Daily Devotion – August 4, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:8,9

See series: Devotions

“Is it a keeper?” If your fishing partner has to ask you that about the size of the perch that you’re holding up to the measuring tape, the answer is usually, “No.” If it’s not obvious, it’s likely not a “keeper.” And yet, fishermen like to brag about the size of their catch, no matter how small they are.

Which is why I find it interesting that when fisherman Andrew presented one little boy’s lunch as the disciples were searching for food to feed the hungry crowd, Andrew didn’t just comment on the quantity of fish; he also commented on the size of the fish. “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish.”

Have you ever said or felt something similar when you look at God’s providence in your life? You notice the number of gifts he provides, but you complain about the quantity or the size of those gifts. Your “five loaves and two fish” may be that you have a job, but you quickly qualify it by commenting on the “smallness” of that job, “Yeah, I’ve got a job, but it’s going nowhere.” Or maybe your “small fish” concerns your resident, “Yeah, I’ve got a house, but it’s small and needs a lot of work.” Or, “Yeah, I have my health, but my strength is nothing compared to what it used to be.”

What is the “small” fish in your life? When you throw those fish back because they’re not keepers in your eyes, remember what our God can do with “small” fish. He once used the smallest son of Jesse to become the greatest king in the history of his people. He once used a humble girl from the small town of Nazareth to be the mother of God. Look at Jesus himself. To the rest of the world, he looked like a small fish in a big pond of prophets. Yet, in reality, he was the only “keeper” when it came to be our Savior.

The means that God uses to provide for our lives may seem small. But be assured, nothing is small when those means are in the hands of our loving God.

Prayer:
Lord, give me confidence that no gift is small when it is used by you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Worth More than Money – August 3, 2021

Philip answered [Jesus], “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
John 6:7

Worth More than Money


Daily Devotion – August 3, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:7

See series: Devotions

What are your concerns in life? Go ahead, list your top ten. If I were a betting man, I’d bet that somewhere on your list is something to do with money. Oh, I’m not accusing you of having the love of money, which is the root of all evil. I’m not accusing you of poor management of the financial gifts that God has given you. Nor am I accusing you of not being content with those gifts. I’m just acknowledging that money is connected to almost every aspect of our lives and will consistently be on our minds. And if it’s on our minds, it will be one of our concerns.

When Jesus asked Philip where they should get the bread to feed the large crowd that had gathered on the mountainside of Galilee, Philip’s first concern wasn’t where to shop. He wasn’t wondering which market would have enough inventory to feed a sporting arena’s worth of people. He wasn’t wondering how they would transport the food. His first concern was how much will it cost? “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:7).

Maybe Philip was exaggerating a bit. According to my calculations, in today’s money, it would cost approximately $2,500 to give each person a slice of bread. But if you gave each person a sack lunch consisting of a ham sandwich, bag of chips, and an apple, it would cost $33,000, which happens to be the average cost of a pre-Covid wedding in the United States. How would you like to pay for a wedding on the spot without having time to plan for it?

The point being, we can get caught up in the numbers, just like Philip. Whether it’s the cost of mortgage, groceries, tuition, cars, insurance, vacations, weddings, and more. Life isn’t cheap. But when we’re counting the cost of living, don’t forget that you can count on the One who promised to provide for you. You can count on Christ.

Prayer:
Lord, lead me to trust in you to provide for all my needs. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Jesus Has a Plan in Mind – August 2, 2021

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
John 6:5,6

Jesus Has a Plan in Mind


Daily Devotion – August 2, 2021

Devotion based on John 6:5,6

See series: Devotions

If you grew up hearing Bible stories from your parents or going to Sunday School, you may have fond memories about the miracle of Jesus feeding 5,000 people on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. That miracle recorded in John chapter 6 often makes the list of top Bible stories.

If you’re not familiar, read John 6:1-15. If you are familiar, can you list the details of the story? Five thousand people (actually 5,000 men, plus women and children), five loaves and two fish, and plenty of leftovers are just a few of the details that quickly come to mind. But do you remember what was going through Jesus’ mind that spring afternoon as the crowds gathered on the mountainside?

When Jesus asked Philip, “Where shall we buy bread?” he wasn’t wondering whether Philip would say, “Kroger, Albertsons, or Walmart.” Rather, “He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do” (John 6:6).

Read that again: “he already had in mind what he was going to do.” Consider the comfort that detail brings to our daily lives. So often, we look for the miracle, or we wonder about the means. ‘How are we going to get through this challenge? Where am I going to get that necessity? How am I going to carry out this responsibility?’ Long before the miracle or the means becomes evident, our Savior already has in mind what he is going to do. At times he may make us wait before he acts. Jesus may test us prior to providing. But he always “has in mind” what he is going to do.

Treasure that thought today. If your life plans and activities don’t seem clear, know they are clear to your Savior. From before the creation of the world, he always had you in mind.

Prayer:
Lord, calm my heart of any uncertainties, assuring me that you always have a plan for me. Amen.

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

I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
Romans 1:15

Lost to History


Daily Devotion – August 1, 2021

Devotion based on Romans 1:15

See series: Devotions

If you visit the city of Rome today and walk through its ancient ruins, what you’ll see are the remnants of massive, awe-inspiring stone structures—the amphitheater, the baths, the villas, the coliseum. And what a sight it is.

What’s easy to overlook is that Rome, in the First Century A.D., had upwards of one million people. And the vast majority of those people did not live in luxurious villas. They lived in small, multi-level apartment buildings.

Those apartment buildings were made of wood. More than a few of them were in ramshackle condition. And so living in such apartments often meant a constant fear of fire or collapse. The living conditions could be cramped, sometimes just one room per family. Many apartments had little or no natural light. And if you lived in the upper levels of the apartment, you had no access to water.

Perhaps most poignant of all is the simple reality that these tens of thousands of wooden apartments have long ago disintegrated and vanished—along with the names of the hundreds of thousands who lived in them.

Names lost to history? Yes. Names forgotten by the Lord? No.

Every soul that the message of the gospel brought to faith, every soul who came to trust in Jesus as Savior from sin through the power of the Holy Spirit—that soul’s name is written in the Book of Life. That soul is a fully forgiven child of God now basking in the presence of Jesus Christ forever.

Keep that in mind the next time you feel forgotten.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in those moments when I feel anonymous and forgotten, remind me by your Holy Spirit that I am not. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Needed Rest – July 31, 2021

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Mark 6:30-34

Needed Rest


Daily Devotion – July 31, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:30-34

See series: Devotions

You need a vacation. You know you do. You wince when the phone rings, regardless of who it is. Trying to get everything done, you work right through meals. You wake up in the morning and feel like you haven’t even rested. Even if you are a people person, you know you need to retreat to a quiet, solitary place and get some rest.

Jesus sent his disciples out into the communities of Israel to call people to repentance and to tell them that the promised Savior had arrived. When they returned from that important work, they debriefed with Jesus. It was clear to him that they needed some rest.

Their attempt to seek a place for physical rest was thwarted by a large crowd of people. Rather than being frustrated, Jesus realized that those people needed rest as well. Their need for rest was spiritual, and Jesus met that need by teaching them many things.

When you have physical, emotional, and spiritual needs for rest, Jesus meets those needs by teaching you about himself. “Come to me,” he says, “and I will give you rest.” He calms your concerns about your work and your life by promising to be with you. He remedies your guilty feelings by promising to forgive you. He invites you to remember that everything is under his control and that he loves you.

Jesus sees that you are like a sheep without a shepherd. As the Good Shepherd, he leads you and feeds you with his words and promises. He gives you true rest.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for the rest you supply me, here and for eternity. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Hero Speaks the Words of Salvation – July 30, 2021

So [Jesus] began teaching them many things.
Mark 6:34

Our Hero Speaks the Words of Salvation


Daily Devotion – July 30, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:34

See series: Devotions

One truth that we were reminded of by the global pandemic is that not all heroes wear capes. In fact, most don’t. Instead, they wear nurses’ garb and first responders’ gear. They keep our vehicles running and store shelves stocked. In 2020, we were reminded about all the heroes hidden in plain sight.

The Word of God from Mark chapter 6, shows us Jesus as a hero hidden in plain sight. Sure, he was a magnet for attention. Sure, people were chasing just to get a glimpse of him. But, when we see him here, he’s not doing prototypical hero things, or more appropriately, superhero things. He’s listening, nurturing, and teaching.

Indeed, teaching is the stuff of heroes. Especially when the Kingdom of God is the subject matter. Someone might ask, “If Jesus had the power to raise the dead, to give blind eyes sight and deaf ears sound, why would he spend his valuable time talking?” It lets us know that the miracles weren’t really why Jesus had come. He had come to reveal the plan of salvation to human hearts. And that plan is made known through words. If we do not hear it, we cannot believe it and be saved. Paul wrote to the Romans, “Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” In Mark chapter 6, we see that happen quite literally!

But we also see it happen in our lives today. Jesus still teaches us many things, still makes known the path to eternal life for us. He sends faithful pastors to point us to the cross and the empty tomb. He sends faithful teachers who speak to us about the things of God, including those who sit in a classroom, and those who share God’s truth in more informal settings, and those who show us Jesus in their Christian example. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news,” Paul wrote to the Romans just a couple of verses before the one we quoted earlier. Indeed! The words of Jesus bring lost sinners from the brink of eternal death to the gates of eternal life. That is heroic work!

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, you have the words of eternal life. Thank you for sharing them with me through your messengers. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Hero Sees With Compassionate Eyes – July 29, 2021

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Mark 6:34

Our Hero Sees With Compassionate Eyes


Daily Devotion – July 29, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:34

See series: Devotions

You have had the week marked off on your calendar for months. You have been counting down the days until you are finally able to get on the plane and jet away to your favorite vacation spot. As the plane touches down, you finally exhale. You have arrived, and it is time to relax! As you enter the baggage claim area of the terminal, there is a welcoming committee. It is your boss, your clients, and a bunch of your coworkers! And they are not here to vacation. They have phone calls for you to answer, emails that need attention, demands, and deadlines that cannot wait. You thought you were getting a little rest and relaxation, but you ended up instead with work and more work.

Even though the example is a little over the top, it bears some resemblance to what happened to Jesus and his disciples in today’s Bible verse. They went away to rest—at Jesus’ suggestion—and when they arrived at their destination, their work was right there waiting to greet them. I know how I would have responded in that situation, and you probably do, too. That is what makes the way Jesus responded truly heroic.

Yes, his work followed him on vacation. But when he got off the boat, he didn’t see work waiting for him there. He saw people. People who needed him because they were confused and helpless, spiritually speaking. They were like sheep without a shepherd. And that pulled Jesus’ heart toward them.

Perhaps you can see in this scene on the shoreline shadows of something even bigger. The same Savior whose compassionate heart moved him to set aside rest here is the One whose compassionate heart moved him to set aside heaven itself in order to come and rescue us from the sins that would have condemned us.

Heroes sacrifice. Their hearts are pulled toward people in need, and they always make the time. They abide with the inconvenience. They reach out when others will not. That is what Jesus has perfectly done for us. Thank you, Jesus!

Prayer:
Jesus, my friend and hero, thank you for looking on me with compassion rather than condemnation. Thank you for rescuing me from my sin so I might spend my eternity with you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Hero Helps Us in Desperation – July 28, 2021

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.
Mark 6:32,33

Our Hero Helps Us in Desperation


Daily Devotion – July 28, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:32,33

See series: Devotions

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “As you get older, it’s hard to have heroes. But it is sort of necessary.”

When you’re young, having heroes is easy. Your imagination is big, and your cynicism is little. There are so many people who seem stronger and smarter than you. But as the years pass and you get older, you realize that that idealized image you had in your head wasn’t all that real. So many people seemed strong because you hadn’t yet been made aware of their weaknesses. So many people seemed smart because you hadn’t yet seen the foolish mistakes they make. As you get older, more and more heroes fall by the wayside, exposed by time as vulnerable at best and outright villains at worst.

But at the same time, having heroes is somewhat necessary as you get older. Because even as you realize the frailty and vulnerability of others, the passing years also bring you to the realization of how frail and vulnerable you are. You realize that you can’t do it all. You realize that in some situations, you can’t do anything at all. The more we become aware of our weaknesses, the more we become aware of how desperately we need a hero.

The people following Jesus were desperate for a hero. They wanted what Jesus had to offer, even if it meant hoofing it for miles to catch up to him.

People today are still looking to Jesus as their hero. They realize that Jesus offers them something they can find nowhere else. Perfect and unconditional love. Forgiveness. A clean conscience and the promise of eternal life.

Other heroes may fall by the wayside, but Jesus never will. He is a hero worth following.

Prayer:
O Lord Jesus, as I get older, I realize all the more how much I need you. Turn your heart to me, recognize my desperation and save me in my distress. Be my hero. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Hero Knows We Need Rest – July 27, 2021

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, [Jesus] said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Mark 6:31

Our Hero Knows We Need Rest


Daily Devotion – July 27, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:31

See series: Devotions

Every year, countless people buy planners to help them map out their days, weeks, and months. Whether it’s paper or digital, a planner helps to get us where we’re supposed to be, when we’re supposed to be there. One recent trend finds our daily planners with a section called “Self-Care” (or something similar). The designers recognize if you don’t pencil in a time for rest and refueling, you’re not going to be as effective in all your other tasks. Sometimes, you just need to rest.

Jesus understood that the constant stream of people demanding his time and the disciples’ time was going to take its toll on them, too. Yes, sharing God’s kingdom was their mission. But they couldn’t carry out that mission if they were exhausted, burnt out, or sick. So Jesus put a pause on the “demands” and penciled into their collective planner the gift of time.

We might say, “I sure wish Jesus would do that for me today.” But, of course, he does. It’s important for us to recognize those times when Jesus gifts us a Saturday morning with nothing to do or weekday evenings when the calendar is clear. Let’s embrace a week at the lake or a trip with the family for what they are: our God presenting us with the opportunity to get some rest.

But don’t forget that he invites us to get a little rest for our souls as well. Every Sunday morning, there’s a time for us to retreat from the world to a quiet place and get rest from the world in the sanctuary of a church. And every day, there’s a time to retreat to a quiet place and do the exact thing you’re doing right now—meditating on God’s Word! Jesus knows that we need rest. I pray that’s exactly what this time has been for you!

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, you give me rest. You are my rest. Continue to graciously present me with little retreats to quiet places, that I may find the rest I need for my body and soul. Amen.

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

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.
Mark 6:30

Our Hero Has Ears to Listen


Daily Devotion – July 26, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:30

See series: Devotions

If I were to ask a 4-year-old what a hero is like, he might mention that heroes are powerful, brave, and smart. I imagine he’d describe how a hero saves people—and usually does so in a dramatic fashion. We frequently see Jesus do “hero things” in the Bible: reaching down to pluck a drowning Simon Peter out of the water, calming a raging storm, raising Lazarus from the dead. Those events would be worthy of treatment on the silver screen, accompanied by dramatic orchestral music appropriate for such heroic acts.

Our Bible reading for today is not this kind of scene. No one is saved from immediate peril—no one dead becomes alive again. No miracle happens, no jaws drop in awed, wide-eyed wonder. And yet, when we look closer, we see Jesus still doing hero things—things that are perhaps less dramatic but no less heroic.

Take, for example, what he does with his ears. He listens when it would have been so much easier for him to talk. Jesus’ disciples had just returned from the mission trip Jesus had sent them on. You can easily picture the disciples going on at length about their work for the kingdom, telling stories about the challenges they faced and the successes they’d found. Of course, they were reporting their accomplishments to the One who is the master preacher and teacher. So this would be like me proudly reporting to Peyton Manning that I played high school football. Or excitedly telling Rachael Ray that I’m pretty proficient at making Kraft Mac and Cheese.

How easy it would have been for Jesus to smile and dismiss them in a patronizing or condescending way! But he didn’t do that. He took in every word and accepted their imperfect work gracefully. He listened because he cared. He cared about them and about what they were doing.

His ears remain attentive to our words today. He still listens to us because he cares about us. So don’t hesitate to share your joys and challenges, your frustrations and accomplishments with him in prayer. Our hero has ears to listen.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, friend and hero. You are never too distracted to listen or too busy to help me. Give me ears like yours that I also may patiently listen to those who need to talk. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Our Good Shepherd – July 25, 2021

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

Our Good Shepherd


Daily Devotion – July 25, 2021

Devotion based on Psalm 23:4

See series: Devotions

King David knew the life of a shepherd because he grew up tending his father’s flocks. He was well aware of the dangers his sheep faced. We read in the Bible that David bravely defended his sheep from the attack of a lion and a bear (1 Samuel 17:34,35). And his only weapons were a wooden rod and shepherd’s staff.

David reminded himself of this picture as he thought about the dangers he was facing in life. Though danger was all around him, he was not afraid. Why? Because he trusted that the Lord, his Good Shepherd, was always with him to defend, rescue, and protect him.

Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He rescued us from Satan and the jaws of eternal death. Jesus defeated Satan by laying down his life for us, and he won the victory over death with his resurrection. Neither Satan nor death could overcome him. And in Jesus, who is our defender and protector, we can be confident that neither Satan nor death can overcome us. He crushed the power of Satan! He swallowed up death in victory!

Take comfort in the salvation that your Good Shepherd has accomplished for you. And be assured that Jesus is always with you to defend you from danger and guide you through every difficulty of life.

Prayer:
Dear Good Shepherd, allow me to focus on you when troubles come my way. My challenges may seem great, but I know you are greater. And whether you take my troubles away, or give me the strength to endure them, I know you will be with me and always watch over me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Rest for Our Souls – July 24, 202

Then [Jesus] said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
Mark 2:27,28

Rest for Our Souls


Daily Devotion – July 24, 202

Devotion based on Mark 2:27,28

See series: Devotions

The word “Sabbath” means “rest.” When God created the world, he “worked” for six days, and on the seventh day he rested, he stopped his work of creation. Therefore, in the Old Testament church God commanded his people to work for six days, and on the seventh day (the Sabbath day), they were to rest. On that Sabbath day, they rested in the Word of God. Yes, even back then, it was a temptation to work nonstop and get so busy with earthly things that they would neglect the Word of God.

In Jesus’ day, the local teachers of the law had made the day of rest into a day of rule-following, not a day of rest in God’s Word. They had multiplied the requirements and rules, adding all kinds of details as to what defined “work” and what defined “rest.” If you kept the man-made rules, you were to be proud of yourself. If you failed to keep the rules, you lived in guilt.

Here’s the problem: Seeking rest through following rules is never restful!

Jesus set them straight. He said that he was the one in charge of the Sabbath, not human beings making up their own rules. And Jesus came to give us rest for our souls. We could never keep God’s law so well that we can find rest in what we have accomplished. But Jesus kept it in our place. Then he died in our place for our failures. And he promises that because he has done it all, we can confidently look forward to heavenly rest by faith in him.

That’s why we take time to rest in the Word—not to follow a rule, but to honor our Savior. Jesus invites us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We thank him for the rest we have now and look forward to the eternal rest that he has provided.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for the rest you have provided for my conscience. Give me peace as I look forward to the eternal rest that lies in the future, all thanks to you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Guarantee – July 23, 2021

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:13,14

A Guarantee


Daily Devotion – July 23, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:13,14

See series: Devotions

When a person agrees to purchase a home, it’s customary to put down a deposit. The seller wants to know that the buyer is really serious about closing the deal. A deposit serves as a kind of guarantee that the transaction will happen. If the buyer steps away from the deal, they lose their deposit.

We like promises to be kept. When reliable people give us their word, it provides a sense of certainty and peace about the future. If we know what’s going to happen, we can take a deep breath and relax.

That’s how our heavenly Father wants his people to feel about his eternal choice to save them. He doesn’t want them to fret and stew. He doesn’t want them to wring their hands, wondering anxiously whether or not he’s going to follow through on his plan. He wants them to have certainty and peace about their eternal future, planned from eternity.

So what did he do? First, he revealed his perfect love, forgiveness, and salvation for all people in the person and work of his Son, Jesus Christ. But now he has also sent his “promised Holy Spirit” to his people through his Holy Word, written down in the Bible.

For what purpose? To reassure them. The Holy Spirit is “a deposit,” Paul tells us, “guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession.” In other words, while God’s people await Jesus’ return on the Last Day—when he will take them to life everlasting—their heavenly Father continually sends and plants his Holy Spirit deeper in their hearts through his Word of promise. And why? So that they can be certain, confident, joyful, and at peace that eternal life is theirs—guaranteed!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me daily to listen to your Word and to trust your promises without fail. Amen.

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

With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
Ephesians 1:8-10

A Perfect Mystery


Daily Devotion – July 22, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:8-10

See series: Devotions

“Are you going to be able to attend the surprise party that we’re throwing for you next Tuesday?” Oops, you just blew it! You ruined the surprise by revealing it too early.

We all know how surprise parties are supposed to work. You turn off the lights, hide behind the furniture, and wait for the honoree to walk in. Then you flip on the lights, jump up, and shout in unison, “Surprise!” It was a secret, a mystery, and then suddenly it’s not. Surprise!

That’s the way the apostle Paul describes God’s glorious work of saving the people of this world from their sins. It’s a mystery, unfathomable, hidden out of sight. The Bible teaches us repeatedly that salvation is often hidden behind what appears to be its opposite—suffering.

Paul learned that painful lesson from experience. In 2 Corinthians chapter 12, he describes a painful “thorn in the flesh” he was enduring. We don’t know what it was, but he asked Jesus to remove it from his life three different times. Paul was mystified. Why was Jesus allowing him to suffer so much?

But rather than removing his suffering immediately, Jesus provided a profound response. He said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words, Paul would need to be patient and trust Jesus to rescue him at just the right time.

The same is true when it comes to God’s work of eternal salvation. We can be certain that our eternal salvation is a guaranteed reality in Christ Jesus. But so often, we need to wait until “the times reach their fulfillment” for God’s perfect plan to be revealed to us. We walk through the door into the dark. He flips on the light, jumps up with a smile, and shouts, “Surprise!”

The perfect mystery is revealed at the perfect time. Relax and rejoice!

Prayer:
Jesus, help me to be patient and trust you always. Amen.

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

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
Ephesians 1:7,8

A Secret Choice


Daily Devotion – July 21, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:7,8

See series: Devotions

When you buy someone a special gift, you can hardly wait until they open it. When you know that you’ve made or purchased something your loved one has been longing to have, it makes the big reveal especially meaningful. You may have had and hidden it for weeks or months, but it doesn’t elicit the desired joy and excitement until it’s given, opened, and revealed.

When our heavenly Father chose to save the people of this world from their sins he made that choice secretly. But, of course, any gift that’s chosen and purchased in secret does the intended recipient absolutely no good if it’s not given and opened.

God knows this better than anyone. So what did he do with his gift of eternal life? He revealed his love and forgiveness for you and me through his Son, Jesus Christ. In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, it’s as if God has ripped off the wrapping paper to reveal his astonishing gift!

That’s the important point the apostle Paul is making in Ephesians chapter 1. “In (Jesus),” Paul writes, “we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” Yes, Jesus is our only redeemer, the one who has bought us back from sin and death, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

God’s choice was secret, but now the gift is revealed through Christ.

Enjoy! Rejoice!

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for revealing your eternal love and perfect salvation in Jesus. Amen.

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

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Ephesians 1:4-6

God Chose You


Daily Devotion – July 20, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:4-6

See series: Devotions

“I can’t believe it. I was chosen!” Have you ever been in a situation where you said that to yourself? Maybe you were the one who got the desirable promotion or the academic scholarship, even though the competition was stiff. Or maybe you were asked unexpectedly to attend the prom with that guy you had your eye on, even though you figured there were better candidates. When it’s something you desire, it feels good to be chosen.

That’s the wonderful news the apostle Paul shared with the Christians in Ephesians chapter 1 when he wrote that God “chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.”

Sometimes it may not feel to Christians like they are God’s special, chosen children. They may be going through a difficult time. Or, the guilt of their sins may be weighing on their hearts, and they wonder, “Why would God choose me?”

That’s why today’s Bible reading is so comforting for Christians. God’s choice is not based on who they are or what they have accomplished. His eternal choice to save them for eternity had everything to do with their perfect Savior, Jesus, and “his pleasure and will.” In other words, God desperately wanted to save them and takes great pleasure in freely doing so through the person and work of his perfect Son Jesus.

What a wonderful and merciful God! He chooses the undeserving and undesirable to be his!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, today I praise you for your love and mercy in saving those who did not deserve your salvation. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Not an Afterthought – July 19, 2021

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Ephesians 1:3,4

Not an Afterthought


Daily Devotion – July 19, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:3,4

See series: Devotions

Do you ever feel like an afterthought? You hear that a group of your friends is getting together for dinner. They’ve planned it for weeks. And then, at the last moment, they ask you to join them. “Sure, I guess,” you think to yourself, even though you’re not entirely sure they really want you there. If they did, they would’ve asked weeks ago. You feel like an afterthought.

It doesn’t feel good.

It’s natural to feel that way in our relationship with God, especially when we’re struggling with trouble, sorrow, disappointment, or pain. After all, God is busy. He has an entire creation to care for and billions of people to help. Why in the world would he ever think about you or me individually? How is it possible that we would be important to him? The psalmist put it well when he asked the LORD out loud, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:4). It’s natural to conclude that we must be an afterthought to God, and who could really blame him?

But, wonder of all wonders, we are not! The apostle Paul reveals to us in Ephesians chapter 1 that our heavenly Father was thinking about us individually even before he drew up plans for the creation of the world. And he wasn’t just thinking about us; he was planning our eternal salvation in Jesus, preparing an eternal home for us in heaven.

That astonishing reality is what prompted the apostle to sing the song of praise that he does in our Bible reading for today. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” And what is the prime spiritual blessing Paul has in mind? The fact that we are not an afterthought to God. You and I are his very first priority!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing me to know and believe that I am not an afterthought and that you have always loved me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Chosen – July 18, 2021

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Ephesians 1:3,4

Chosen


Daily Devotion – July 18, 2021

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:3,4

See series: Devotions

She drums her fingers nervously on the arm of the couch. Seated around the room are other young women, looking just as nervous as she feels. The sparsely furnished room looks like the dozens of others where she has waited and wondered. “Will they call my name?” is the question on every face in the room. This is not her first acting audition…but it might be her last. She cannot make ends meet for much longer. If her name is not called, she will have to head back to her hometown with her dreams of stardom left behind on the West Coast. “PLEASE,” she thinks, “Choose me!”

We have all been there. Perhaps not auditioning for an acting job, but we have all been in situations where we want to be chosen. It is thrilling when we are and devastating when we are not.

Every Christian can be certain that he or she has been chosen—not for a job, team, or promotion—but to be a child in God’s family. Unlike people being chosen for jobs, teams, or promotions, Christians were not chosen by God because they were better than others or more deserving than others. Quite the opposite. The Bible says that God chose us IN SPITE OF how undeserving we were. He chose us to show just how merciful and forgiving he is. Knowing that God has chosen to forgive us for Jesus’ sake, knowing that he has adopted us into his family, we can only marvel at how great God is.

Although it is exciting to be chosen for a team, job, or the lead role in a movie, nothing can compare to being chosen as God’s child. It means we have the almighty God on our side. Nothing can separate us from him. When we leave this world, our Father will welcome us into his eternal home.

Prayer:
Thank you, Father, for choosing me to be your child. I know that I do not deserve to be a member of your family. But knowing this only makes me more thankful. Help me this day to live as your child and bring honor to your name. Amen.

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

But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9,10

Strength with God


Daily Devotion – July 17, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 12:9,10

See series: Devotions

People who want to be fit and strong will often include the lifting of weights in their exercise routine. Serious weightlifters follow proper lifting techniques, including having spotters nearby just in case the lifter can’t lift the bar up again. Nobody would be content to rely on a spotter to lift the bar up each time. That would be foolish! The spotter would get a better workout than the lifter.

The apostle Paul gives us a different picture in our Bible reading for today. He tells us that his strength and power did not come from his muscles, but from God’s power: [The Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We have a tendency to rely upon ourselves to make it through the difficulties of life. We might view dependency on someone else as a sign of weakness. But dependence on God for his help is not weakness but strength. The almighty God is capable of handling all of our problems and providing for all of our needs. By ourselves, we are weak. God is the strong one. Trusting his power and love, we are strong.

Prayer:
Lord God, humble me and make me strong in you and your love. For when I remember your strength and love for me, that’s when I know my true strength. You are my strength. Thanks be to you, God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Boasting In Weakness


Daily Devotion – July 16, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 12:9

See series: Devotions

The Bible is an unusual book in how it shows the weaknesses and failures of so many of its important people. It tells us about the adultery and murder committed by Israel’s greatest king. It tells us about Jesus’ disciples who were just too sleepy to stay awake with their teacher. It tells us about the greatest missionary of all time who spent the earlier part of his life putting Christians to death.

This isn’t an accident. God included these stories in the Bible to teach us that his grace is enough for us.

God doesn’t need the help of the powerful or the strong or the smart. He isn’t choosing a team based on who is the best because he doesn’t need the best. God doesn’t need our help or assistance, nor do we need to meet God halfway. His grace supplies more than anything we could ever contribute.

Instead of trying to hide our weaknesses, God invites us to boast about our weaknesses. Rather than our weaknesses being something that holds us back, our frailty and feebleness give God’s power a chance to shine through in powerful and amazing ways. Rather than being ashamed of our inabilities, God allows us to put them on full display so that his grace can better supply what we are lacking.

What is your story? It is probably a story with plenty of weaknesses and failures. It is also a story of God’s power being made perfect in those weaknesses and failures. Despite your inability to contribute, God has forgiven your sins. He is directing all things in this world for your benefit. He has given you an inheritance in heaven.

Boast in your weakness. God’s power is shown perfectly in it.

Prayer:
God of all power and might, by my own will and abilities I can do nothing. May I always find all of my worth, hope, and joy in your grace. Amen.

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

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
2 Corinthians 12:7

Blessings from God


Daily Devotion – July 15, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 12:7

See series: Devotions

Few had accomplished more for God than the apostle Paul. His passion and drive to do the work of God were without parallel. He spent most of his life traveling from town to town, sharing the message of God. His impact on growing the church had no equal. He started churches all across the Mediterranean, and countless people came to faith because of Paul’s efforts.

Few had received more blessings from God than the apostle Paul. God had given him signs and miracles to accompany his message. Paul had heard with his own ears the voice of the risen Jesus. Paul had even been so blessed that one time he was caught up to heaven and experienced “inexpressible” things.

There was one blessing Paul was given that he asked God to take back: a thorn in his flesh. We don’t know exactly what this thorn was. It may have been an illness of some type. Maybe a limitation or persecution that he had to experience. Regardless of what it might have been, its purpose was clear. Paul said it had been given to him “…in order to keep me from becoming conceited.”

Paul had accomplished so much that it would have been easy for someone of his caliber to become conceited. Therefore, God, in his perfect wisdom and love, granted one more blessing, a reminder to rely on God alone.

We can look at the challenges in our lives the same way. We can see them as blessings from God. After all, he has promised to use everything in our lives for our ultimate good. It is not always easy to believe, but this is his promise. When the doctor brings a bad report, God is blessing you. When money is scarce, God is still blessing you. When people hurt, God is still blessing you. Regardless of your situation, God promises to bless you.

May we always see God’s hand of blessing in our lives.

Prayer:
Gracious Lord, when difficulties enter my life keep me close to you. Remind me that in all circumstances you promise to bless me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Hidden in Plain Sight – July 14, 2021

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Mark 6:2,3

Hidden in Plain Sight


Daily Devotion – July 14, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 6:2,3

See series: Devotions

The ancient city of Petra in the country of Jordan has been popular with archeologists and tourists for centuries. It was thought that all the ancient buildings there had been uncovered until just a few years ago when a woman from Alabama discovered one of the largest ancient buildings at the site. Using a camera on a drone, she noticed that hiding in plain sight was a very large, partially buried building that people had just been walking over without giving any notice for hundreds of years. The building was always there, but no one had noticed what was right under their own feet.

Those who lived and grew up with Jesus in his hometown of Nazareth didn’t realize what was hiding in plain sight. They knew Jesus as a carpenter. He was the son of Mary and Joseph, it seemed. He had brothers and sisters. They saw him in the streets and talked with him as they would talk with anyone else. When he started doing miracles and teaching the people as the Son of God, the people had questions and were offended. Could the Messiah that God promised be hiding in plain sight?

People are still offended by Jesus for the same reason today. They think he was nothing more than a moral man who had some helpful things to teach us.

But Jesus wasn’t just a moral man. Jesus was sent by God his Father. In plain sight, before all the world, he taught like no one else and did miracles like no one else to show that he was like no one else. While he grew up before the world with a mother and brother and sisters, he is God from all eternity come to do what no one else could do—save the world from its sin and reunite us to our heavenly Father. He is Jesus, the Son of God.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus. Help me to always see him as your Son and my Savior. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Not Just for the Good Guys – July 13, 2021

He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn.”
Ezekiel 2:3,4

Not Just for the Good Guys


Daily Devotion – July 13, 2021

Devotion based on Ezekiel 2:3,4

See series: Devotions

God doesn’t just love the “good guys.”

It is perhaps the greatest miracle in the entire Bible. Sure, the Bible tells us about people walking across seas, the blind receiving their sight, and empires brought to their knees. But the greatest miracle in the entire Bible might be that God loves the rebels and transgressors and the obstinate and stubborn.

Many years ago, God sent a man by the name of Ezekiel to speak to his people. These weren’t “good guys.” They had rebelled against God’s commands. They had transgressed his commands. When they were told to turn from their sin, they stubbornly refused to listen. Despite this, God still sent Ezekiel to the people of Israel to share his message that the people needed to turn from their sins that God might forgive their ways.

There are many days when we cannot describe ourselves as “good guys.” We have moments when we are selfish and uncaring. There are times when we are stubborn and disobedient to God. We have all rebelled against God and not obeyed what he commands. Yet God still calls us back through his servants. He sends pastors and teachers to instruct us in the Word. He uses the biblical encouragement of friends and family to call us to repentance.

God even sent his own Son, Jesus, to live and die for rebellious and stubborn people. He sent his Son to have us turn from our sins, to speak words of love and forgiveness, and to make us his people for all eternity. God didn’t send Jesus just for the “good guys,” but for you and me.

Prayer:
Dear Father, I thank you for sending Jesus for people like me. May I always hear your voice through those you have sent. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God Speaks Anyway – July 12, 2021

And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious people—they will know that a prophet has been among them.
Ezekiel 2:5

God Speaks Anyway


Daily Devotion – July 12, 2021

Devotion based on Ezekiel 2:5

See series: Devotions

It is frustrating when you are speaking, but no one is listening. My grade school teacher used to do something when the class was not listening. With two dozen kids making a lot of noise, she would stop talking. She would stand in front of the classroom and not say anything at all until, one by one, we all realized we weren’t listening, and we quieted down and gave her our attention once more.

What does God do when we are not listening? He speaks anyway.

Many people don’t want to listen to God. They don’t want to hear either his commands or his promises. They are more comfortable listening to themselves than their Creator. However, even though many people don’t want to listen to God, he speaks anyway.

Even our own hearts often don’t want to listen to God. We would rather find things to do other than hear God’s Word. We would set aside his commands in order to do what we think is best. We would rather find our own way forward than hear how God would have us live for him. Even though we don’t always want to listen, God speaks to us anyway.

Why? Because he loves us, and he knows how desperately we need to hear what he has to say. We need to hear about this love for us—especially the love that caused him to send Jesus to earn the forgiveness of our sins. We need to hear about his commands—the way he wants us to live our lives because he knows his way is always best for us.

What a wonder that God would continue to speak to us. May we always be eager to listen!

Prayer:
I thank and praise you, God, for continually speaking to me through your Word. Give me ears to hear your message, eyes to see your constant love for me, and a heart to believe what you have to say. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Thorn – July 11, 2021

To keep me from becoming conceited . . . there was given me a thorn in my flesh.
2 Corinthians 12:7

Thorn


Daily Devotion – July 11, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 12:7

See series: Devotions

The apostle Paul had a serious problem. There was something wrong in his body, and he suffered because of it. We have no idea what this physical problem was. Maybe he had to grapple with crippling pain, bad eyesight, severe arthritis, terrible digestive trouble, seizures, or heart disease. Maybe what vexed him was something completely different. All we know is that this physical problem was serious and the burden on him was profound. Paul simply described it as “a thorn in my flesh.”

It should come as no surprise that Paul prayed about this physical problem. Paul asked the Lord to remove his thorn in the flesh. And, in love, the Lord answered Paul’s prayer.

His answer was “No.”

In his perfect wisdom, the Lord knew that this debilitating physical problem was necessary for Paul and his ministry. It gave Paul perspective. It reminded Paul that, on his own, he was frail and weak. As a result, he never forgot that his real strength was in the Lord and in his gospel. With that thought in mind, Paul later concluded, “When I am weak, then I am strong.”

What is the thorn in your life? Perhaps it is chronic illness, chronic pain, a lifelong struggle with depression, or a deep emotional scar from an old wound. Perhaps it is a thorn only you and your Lord understand.

For the time being, if the Lord has chosen to leave that thorn in you, just remember—he does this in love. It may be to give you perspective or to nurture your compassion for others. It may be to keep your eyes fixed on the One who has washed your sins away at the cross, and who lives to fulfill his every promise to you. Whatever the reason, never forget that there is love in that thorn—God’s love for you in Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Lord, when you choose to let a painful thorn remain, remind me that even that thorn overflows with your love. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Amazing Love – July 10, 2021

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.
Lamentations 3:25

Amazing Love


Daily Devotion – July 10, 2021

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:25

See series: Devotions

Last summer, my brother put on a fireworks display for our family. He hardly lit more than a sparkler when his five-year-old daughter said to the rest of the family, “My daddy is amazing.”

There are few things more powerful than a child’s hope in a grown-up’s ability to do amazing things. Isn’t this the same attitude you want to have toward your heavenly Father? He has put on a display of his love when he put Jesus on the cross to die in your place. And he displayed his love again when he raised Jesus from the dead so that you too can live a new life. Isn’t our heavenly Father amazing!

As soon as my niece told the family that her daddy was amazing, she immediately turned to daddy and said, “Do it again!”

God has done the amazing for you through Jesus. Seek him and his goodness again and again. He promises that you will not be disappointed. May you be filled with his amazing love for you!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for your amazing love for me. Help me to help others see it too. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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He Became Poor – July 9, 2021

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

He Became Poor


Daily Devotion – July 9, 2021

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 8:9

See series: Devotions

In ancient Greece and Rome, there were rich people who would use their wealth for the good of the whole community. They would, for example, pay for public baths to be built since very few people had plumbing in their homes. Yes, the wealthy people might use those baths themselves, but they were mostly for other people.

The word used for what those rich people did was “grace.” From their wealth, they did something they didn’t have to do, not really for their own benefit, but for the whole community. Even if people in the community didn’t deserve the gift, they still got to take advantage of it.

Jesus was rich. As God, he had every advantage. Jesus could have spent eternity being worshiped by the angels. Instead, he took on human flesh, put himself under the law, suffered ridicule, and even went to death on a cross. He chose not to use many of his advantages as God. He made himself poor.

Jesus didn’t do all of that for himself. He did it for the benefit of the whole world. And since you are in the world, you can rest assured that he did it for you. Don’t worry that you don’t deserve it. The point of grace is that he did it for you even though you don’t deserve it.

Now you are rich! You have forgiveness for all your sins and the promise of life after death. You have the comfort of knowing that the God of the universe cares about you.

And with all of your newfound wealth, you can afford to be generous.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for becoming poor to make me rich. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Perspective of Jesus – July 8, 2021

One of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. . . . When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old).
Mark 5:22-24,38-42

The Perspective of Jesus


Daily Devotion – July 8, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 5:22-24,38-42

See series: Devotions

The twelve-year-old was dying. Her father found Jesus and appealed to him for help. Jesus did not ignore or dismiss the girl’s father. Instead, he went to his home. He took action to help him.

When you appeal to Jesus for help, he will not ignore or dismiss you. Instead, he will be with you no matter where you are, and he will take action to help you.

As Jesus went to the house of that little girl, he encountered people who did not trust that he could do something for her. Jesus could tell that they thought death was the end. He encouraged them to think of death like sleep, but they only laughed at him.

You will encounter people who do not believe that Jesus can help you. You may even encounter that kind of doubt or fear in your own heart. But listen to Jesus. Nothing is too big for him to handle.

The little girl’s father had a mental picture of how he wanted Jesus to help, but Jesus didn’t quite follow that script. Instead of laying his hands on the girl, he spoke to her and touched her hand.

Jesus may not follow your mental script, but he knows precisely what to do. You can trust him to do the right thing for you no matter what.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, lead me to trust you in every part of my life. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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He Will Show Compassion – July 7, 2021

Though [the LORD] brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.
Lamentations 3:32,33

He Will Show Compassion


Daily Devotion – July 7, 2021

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:32,33

See series: Devotions

One internet meme of endless variety is parents sharing the reasons their children are crying. It’s usually a picture of a two-year-old in full-blown meltdown with a simple caption.

“I won’t let him run into the middle of the road.”

“She found out the Golden Gate Bridge isn’t actually golden.”

“The daffodils are gone, and I can’t bring them back.”

You can understand the dynamics of parents wanting the best for their children, arranging things for their children’s benefit, and the children not understanding why they can’t have what they want or expect. When it’s two-year-olds, it’s often a little funny and a little sad at the same time.

If you can understand that dynamic, you can begin to understand how “the Lord brings grief” and “he does not willingly bring grief.”

The Lord wants the best for you. His love is unfailing. Above all, he wants you and everyone else to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth in Jesus Christ.

So he arranges things for your benefit and the benefit of everyone else. He knows that how he arranges things may cause you grief. Grieving is not pleasant, and he does not want you to grieve like someone who has no hope, so he promises to comfort you in your grief.

When you cannot have something you want or expect, it’s not easy. It can seem like a pretty big affliction, and you may wonder why the Lord allows it. All of his reasons may not be perfectly clear, but he wants you to know that he has your best interests in mind, and he will show you compassion.

He has already shown you compassion by sending Jesus, and he will continue to show you compassion in many ways every day. Life can be funny, or sad, or exasperating, but through it all, the Lord’s great love is unfailing.

Prayer:
Lord, help me see past the grief to your love and compassion through Jesus Christ. Amen.

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