The Savior You Need – April 1, 2020

“Yes, Lord,” [Martha] replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
John 11:27

The Savior You Need


Daily Devotion – April 1, 2020

Devotion based on John 11:27

See series: Devotions

In the midst of mourning the loss of her brother Lazarus, Martha answered life’s most important question: “Who is Jesus?” Knowing the answer to that question is the difference between eternal life and eternal death, and Martha’s beautiful confession is the correct answer.

It is sad, then, that most responses to that question are wrong. Ask people today who Jesus is and, at best, you will hear that Jesus is a wise teacher who met a tragic end. There are probably as many different versions of who Jesus is as there are people answering the question.

Isn’t that a good thing though? In an age where you can personalize everything from your smartphone to your happy meal, why should religion be any different? The modern take on religion is that it is impossible to know anything with certainty. Therefore, you make your own truth, and everyone’s beliefs are really just opinions. What you believe about Jesus is just as true as what anyone else does, even if your beliefs contradict each other.

But can there really be different opinions about who Jesus is? Not according to Martha. Jesus is the Messiah—a Hebrew word that means “the Anointed One.” This word tells us Jesus’ job. Jesus is the specific One, chosen by God, to cover sinners with his perfection and wash their sins away in his blood. His blood can do that only because he is the Son of God.

Jesus is both God and man in the same person. He has to be. The Messiah has to be fully human to live under God’s law, obey it perfectly in our place, and die the death we deserve. He has to be true God so that his life and his death count for all people of all time.

All that content is packed into Martha’s confession. Notice her use of the word “the.” Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. That is exclusive. Jesus is not one option among many; he is the One and the Only. Thank God! Jesus is the exact Savior you need.

Prayer:
Jesus, help me to always confess that you are the Messiah, the Son of God. 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 Resurrection and the Life – March 31, 2020

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” . . . Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”
John 11:21,25,26

The Resurrection and the Life


Daily Devotion – March 31, 2020

Devotion based on John 11:21,25,26

See series: Devotions

When someone you love dies, your first thought is probably of the hole it leaves in your life. You think about everything you went through together, and you want that person back. That is where Martha was at. Can you hear the frustration in her words? Martha knew that Jesus could have healed her brother but had not.

Doesn’t that make you wonder why? Whenever God does not fix things to our liking, we’re tempted to think that either God doesn’t have the power to help, or he doesn’t want to. Like Martha, it’s easy to want Jesus to immediately cure all our troubles.

So Jesus gently corrected her—and corrects us—with his promise: “I am the resurrection and the life.” You see, even more than he wanted Martha not to lose her brother, Jesus wanted her to know that he could do more than heal the sick.

Our biggest problem is death, and Jesus is the solution. Jesus came so that even if you get sick, even if your heart stops beating, you will never die. He came so that you can live forever with God in heaven. He came so that one day, even long after your body has been buried, it will rise and live again. He proved that he can do it by raising Lazarus from the dead.

That is why Jesus is the resurrection. He brings the dead back to life. In fact, Jesus is the life. He gave his life so that our place with God is alive and well. While you are on this earth, Jesus does not promise you a smooth ride, but he does promise you strength for the journey. As surely as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, those who believe in him will rise from the dead.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for being my resurrection and my 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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A Glorious Plan – March 30, 2020

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
John 11:17

A Glorious Plan


Daily Devotion – March 30, 2020

Devotion based on John 11:17

See series: Devotions

Wait, did you read that correctly? Jesus was late! His friend Lazarus was sick. Jesus is the Son of God, who heals the sick. But when he heard that the friend he loved was ill, he waited around for two days. Then, when he finally went to see him, Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days!

Why did Jesus let Lazarus die? The obvious answer is that he had a plan. Yet that seems like the kind of trite cliché we share when we don’t know what else to say. You’ve probably heard it. Whenever life takes a turn for the worse, people like to say, “God has a plan.” It’s true that he does, but often we can’t see God’s plan. Can you imagine the frustration of Martha and her sister, Mary, as they waited for Jesus and watched their brother die?

Perhaps you can, because you know what it’s like to experience pain and wait for God. When life is awful, God’s plan does not always make sense. The cancer that won’t go into remission. The spouse who dies slowly. The loved ones you bury. It all makes you ask, “Jesus, I know you can help. Where are you?”

He is exactly where he needs to be. He always is. In the case of Lazarus, Jesus’ plan was to glorify God by miraculously raising Lazarus from the dead. For that to happen, Jesus had to allow Lazarus to die.

Remember Lazarus the next time you are suffering and wonder why God is allowing it. Remember that he does love you and that he does have a plan. Remember that the one who had the power to raise Lazarus from the grave has the power to raise you out of whatever you are enduring.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me strength in my troubles and faith in your glorious plan. 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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Truly Unbreakable – March 29, 2020

…an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.
1 Peter 1:4

Truly Unbreakable


Daily Devotion – March 29, 2020

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:4

See series: Devotions

Everything breaks. Everything gets old. Everything wears out. Everything fades away.

The longer you live on this earth, the more you realize how true this is. That faded rust bucket you see on the highway was once pristine and spotless. The eyesore of a house you see in the old part of downtown once smelled of new wood and fresh paint. The arthritic, overweight coach was once a lightning-fast force of nature on the football field. The old woman in the Alzheimer’s unit was once a quick-witted life of the party.

But in this fallen world, everything goes away. Whatever is young, new, strong, and fast does not remain that way for long. It all spoils and fades, and then it disappears. Except for Jesus and absolutely everything that he promises.

Because the almighty Son of God died for our sin and rose from death, he fills our cup to overflowing with gifts “that can never perish, spoil, or fade.” His forgiveness of our sins will never break. His promise of eternal life will never break. His friendship will never fade away.

Everything in this world breaks. Except for what we receive from Jesus Christ.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in this fallen world where everything seems to wear out, remind us that in you we possess what will never perish, spoil, or fade. 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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Prepare – March 28, 2020

This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'” John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
Matthew 3:3-6

Prepare


Daily Devotion – March 28, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 3:3-6

See series: Devotions

God gave John the Baptist the mission of being the forerunner for the Savior God had promised in the Old Testament. He prepared the way for the Lord’s first coming by preaching that people should “make straight paths for him.” Just as people in those days cleared and leveled their roads for the arrival of their ruling king, so people should clear the way in their hearts for the arrival and rule of their spiritual King, Jesus.

Prepare! That’s still a vitally important message for us today. We prepare ourselves for Christ’s reign in our hearts and for seeing him at his second coming by believing his Word. We prepare by daily repenting of our sin and battling against our sinful nature with the power that God gives us in his Word. We focus each and every day on Christ and are filled with the peace that he paid for our sins.

When people came out to hear John’s message, they were moved to confess their sins and they were baptized. The baptisms that John performed were “for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4). Baptism is a wonderful gift of God in which he connects the power of his saving Word to water and gives us the forgiveness of sins. The Bible says, “Be baptized and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16). Christians can look back on their baptisms and be assured that God has washed away their sins. They can be confident that they are members of God’s holy, eternal family. If you are not baptized, God wants to fill your heart with the peace that your sins are washed away and give you the blessed hope of eternal life. That’s how much he loves you in Christ.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for giving us your Son. Thank you for baptism through which you give us the forgiveness of sins. Preserve us as loved ones of your family and help us prepare our hearts every day for you to live there and bless us. 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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Came to Serve – March 27, 2020

[Jesus said] “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:26-28

Came to Serve


Daily Devotion – March 27, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 20:26-28

See series: Devotions

Have you seen the WWJD bracelets? WWJD stands for “What would Jesus do?” I wear one of these bracelets as a way of reminding myself that God has called me to follow Jesus, to try and imitate him in all that I do.

Unfortunately, just wearing a bracelet doesn’t mean I actually do what it says. Following Jesus, imitating him is hard for many reasons. For one, Jesus is perfect, while we are broken sinners, who are inclined towards selfishness. In addition, it can be hard to know what Jesus would actually do if he were in our situation.

But Jesus’ words to his disciples can lead us in the right direction. Jesus said that we are to be servants to others, just as he lived a life of service to all by giving up his life.

So what does that look like for you today? Maybe that means you look for ways to serve your spouse or children. Maybe you visit and care for your next-door neighbor. Maybe you see a need in your community that is not being met and do something about it. When you live a life of service, you are letting your light shine so that people might see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

When you make it your ambition to imitate Jesus, you will also immediately see how far short you fall from his example. That is why Jesus came to be more than just a good example. He came to be your substitute. He came to give his life as a ransom for your sins. Knowing that your sins of self-service are forgiven allows you to start fresh today and serve others rather than simply serving yourself. Not only will this be a blessing to them, but you will discover a joy and fulfillment that serving yourself could never bring.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for serving me by giving your life. Lead me to give my life in service towards 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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Not So With You – March 26, 2020

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:24-28

Not So With You


Daily Devotion – March 26, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 20:24-28

See series: Devotions

Government officials are a good gift of God, and God has called us to respect such leaders (Romans 13:1-7). But during an election year, it can be hard to watch all the backbiting and nastiness among politicians.

Jesus saw this same kind of attitude among his disciples. They were filled with envy, jockeying for positions of honor. He said that’s how the government officials of their day acted. They fought for places of power and control at any cost. But then he looked at his disciples and said, “Not so with you.”

You see, Jesus’ kingdom has different values than the kingdoms of this world. In the kingdoms of this world, it is all about power and prestige. It’s about lording control over others.

Jesus says that his kingdom is completely different. In Jesus’ kingdom, the first are last and the last are first. The greatest are those who are servants and slaves to all.

Jesus didn’t just preach these values, he lived them to the extreme. He did not take a throne of power, but he was lifted up on a cross in weakness. He did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life on the cross to buy our freedom from our sins.

Now Jesus calls us to live in his kingdom and spread the values of his kingdom to everyone. This means we protect and care for children and all the marginalized. It means we love those who have lost their way. It means we forgive others as we have been forgiven by Jesus. What a different, and wonderful, way to live!

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for the blessing of government to keep outward peace in society. Thank you for the even greater gift of my King, Jesus Christ, who rules in my heart with 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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Pride – March 25, 2020

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.
Matthew 20:20-22

Pride


Daily Devotion – March 25, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 20:20-22

See series: Devotions

Pride has been called the sin behind every other sin. Pride is thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. Pride keeps us from thinking we need God’s forgiveness. Pride is spiritually dangerous.

It was pride that led two disciples, James and John, to ask Jesus if they could sit in places of honor in his kingdom. They believed that they were worthy of places of honor and respect. They wanted to make sure they got those special seats before the other disciples did. Their pride even led them to believe they could drink the same cup of suffering that Jesus would drink. But Jesus graciously responded, “You don’t know what you are asking.” Their pride kept them from hearing how foolish they sounded.

It can be easy to point out pride in others, like the disciples, but our arrogance keeps us from seeing it in ourselves. Pride blinds us from our own pride. So, how do we know when we are falling into the sin of pride? If we are feeling entitled, if we are filled with anger or arrogance, we can assume that pride is lurking behind those feelings.

So, what can a person do to extinguish pride? First, acknowledge it and confess it before God. Next, receive God’s forgiveness for your feelings of pride. Finally, fix your eyes on God. You see, when your eyes are turned upward towards your glorious, powerful, gracious God, it becomes much harder to look down on anyone else.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive me for my pride, for puffing myself up and looking down on others. Lead me to grasp your glory, power, and grace so that I walk in true humility. 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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Joseph – March 24, 2020

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Genesis 37:5-8

Joseph


Daily Devotion – March 24, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 37:5-8

See series: Devotions

One of the pleasures of growing up is discovering our capabilities. Maybe you found out that you could write well or speak well. Or maybe music has always come naturally to you. Or maybe you are a math whiz. It can be exciting to discover what we can do.

The problem comes when we forget how we receive our talents. We might forget that our talents are gifts of God to be used to serve others.

That’s what happened to a teenager named Joseph in the first book of the Bible. When Joseph was 17, God gave him a dream that one day he was going to be a great leader. In fact, God told him that even his own brothers would bow down to him. Instead of humbly thanking God for this gracious prophecy, Joseph bragged about it to his brothers.

Instead of self-promoting, Jesus showed us a different way to live. Although Jesus was God, he did not use his power to promote himself over people. As the apostle Paul wrote, Jesus made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, he became obedient to death, even death on the cross. (Philippians 2:6-11) It was on that cross that Jesus paid for all of our sins of self-promotion and self-service.

Now that we have seen Jesus’ willingness to serve us rather than be served, let’s follow Jesus’ example today, thanking God for the gifts and talents he has given us so that we may serve others.

Prayer:
Lord God, every good and perfect gift comes from you. Help me to use the gifts that you have given me for your glory and in service to my neighbor. 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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Favoritism to Love – March 23, 2020

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
Genesis 37:3,4

Favoritism to Love


Daily Devotion – March 23, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 37:3,4

See series: Devotions

When I see my kids act out, it feels like I’m looking into a mirror. Not only do my kids look like me, but they sin like me too. I wish I had just passed on my physical traits to the next generation. Unfortunately, I passed on my sinful, spiritual traits as well.

The same thing happened to a man named Abraham. God told Abraham that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him. Abraham passed this special promise on to his descendants. But that is not the only thing that he gave to the next generation. He passed on the sin of favoritism as well.

You see, Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Abraham favored Isaac over Ishmael, and it led to hostility. Isaac repeated the same sin. He also had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Isaac favored Esau over Jacob, and it led to hostility. By now, you would think that this family would have learned its lesson, but Jacob followed the same pattern. Jacob favored his son Joseph who was born from his favorite wife Rachel. And he wasn’t subtle about his preference. He made Joseph an ornate robe. And guess what? it led to hostility in the family.

Unfortunately, favoritism didn’t stop with Joseph. Favoritism continues to affect our families whenever we love one of our family members more than another.

Thankfully, we have a heavenly Father who does not show favoritism. He loves the people of this world equally—so much so that he sacrificed his son, Jesus, in order to save all of them from their sins, including their sins of favoritism. This means he has saved you, too. You are forgiven for every time you played favorites and hurt someone by doing so. Take comfort in that forgiveness today. And, thank your heavenly Father by refusing to play favorites.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, forgive me for repeating the sins of the past generations. And lead me to follow your ways. 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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Return to the Lord – March 22, 2020

Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.
Hosea 6:1,2

Return to the Lord


Daily Devotion – March 22, 2020

Devotion based on Hosea 6:1,2

See series: Devotions

What kind of relationship do you have with God? Do you wonder at times—especially when you feel the guilt of a certain sin? What does a person do at such a time? Some try to run away from God. But it doesn’t work to run away from guilt.

Far better is to follow the instruction of the prophet Hosea: “Come, let us return to the LORD.” Even though we have so often sinned against him, God wants us to come back to him. He sometimes even allows us to experience the consequences of our sins so that we wake up and realize we have gone in the wrong direction. His intent is that we wake up and return to him. When we do, he forgives us for the sake of his Son, Jesus, who lived and died to earn forgiveness for us.

His goal is, “That we may live in his presence.” Isn’t that something? The almighty, eternal God of the universe wants you with him. What joy! What comfort! It is wonderful to know that, through Jesus, you can spend this day with the Lord, and to know that he wants to and will spend his day with you. How could you have anything but a great day?

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you know that I struggle and sin every day. Amazingly you also forgive me every day. Impress this good news on my heart so that I remain faithful to you, even during the difficult times of my 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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Getting Back On Course – March 21, 2020

[Jesus] answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except for the sign of the prophet Jonah.”
Matthew 12:39

Getting Back On Course


Daily Devotion – March 21, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 12:39

See series: Devotions

In the fall of 1985 a 45-ton humpbacked whale, supposedly heading for the warmer ocean water to the south, made its way into the San Francisco Bay, swam up the Sacramento River, and “landed” in a slough. A great deal of effort was required to get it back to its original habitat.

Human beings also go off course at times. One who did so deliberately was the prophet, Jonah. God had called him to preach the Word in Nineveh, the pagan capital of the Assyrian Empire. But like the whale, he got into the wrong channel. Instead of going east to Nineveh, he boarded a freighter at Joppa and sailed west on a ship that was bound for Tarshish on the other end of the Mediterranean Sea. But God put Jonah back on course. During a severe storm, Jonah was cast overboard and was swallowed by a large fish. Preserved alive, the prophet heeded the second call from God and preached repentance in Nineveh.

Jesus referred to Jonah’s experience and applied it to himself: “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). By being crucified, buried, and raised from the dead, Jesus Christ put a lost and floundering humanity back on course—the course of salvation by faith in him.

Prayer: Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 433
Jesus Savior, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass come from thee:
Jesus, Savior, pilot 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 Gift of Sight – March 20, 2020

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
John 9:35-38

The Gift of Sight


Daily Devotion – March 20, 2020

Devotion based on John 9:35-38

See series: Devotions

What would it be like for an adult who was born blind suddenly to be able to see? They might look upon their family and friends for the first time but not even recognize them! They might struggle for a while to connect their newfound vision to the more familiar worlds of sound and touch. But what a wonderful challenge! How much fun they would have trying to make sense out of everything they could now see around them!

Jesus gave this gift to a man that we read about in the gospel of John. The Bible doesn’t tell us much about the man’s adjustment to being able to see but rather describes a different transition from blindness to sight. Through his encounter with Jesus, the formerly blind man also gained the gift of spiritual sight, which was faith in his Savior. His spiritual vision wasn’t perfect right away—he didn’t even recognize that God’s Son was standing right in front of him. But he was eager to learn and put his new sight into practice by worshiping the one who opened his eyes.

Whenever people are brought to faith by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, it is like helping them to see for the first time. They see God as he truly is—gracious, merciful, and powerful to save. They see themselves as God sees them—as sinners who are loved anyway for the sake of Jesus. They may not see everything clearly right away. It takes time to adjust to this new vision. But what a blessing to spend the rest of your life learning to see things the way God sees them!

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, don’t let me take my vision for granted—either physical or spiritual sight. Open my eyes to see people and things as you see them. Help me always to keep my eyes focused on Jesus as my one true 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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Work While It Is Day – March 19, 2020

[Jesus said] As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
John 9:4,5

Work While It Is Day


Daily Devotion – March 19, 2020

Devotion based on John 9:4,5

See series: Devotions

In the part of the world where I am privileged to serve, power outages are not uncommon. Backup batteries and power generators can buy extra time, but eventually, they also run out of charge or fuel. As soon as the power goes out, we know to quickly save any work we are doing on the computer or all may be lost once the battery dies. There may be other tasks to be done by candlelight, but any computer work is done for the day!

Missionaries and evangelists have been sent throughout the world with the life-saving, life-giving message of the gospel. Many people have been brought to faith in Jesus through their efforts, but there is much more work to be done. Sadly, in some countries, the open window of opportunity for evangelism may be rapidly closing. The gospel is still powerful to save, but anti-Christian governments and cultural movements increasingly hinder the work of those who preach Christ crucified. These missionaries know that they must “work while it is day.”

Jesus made the most of every opportunity he had while he was on earth. He accomplished everything his Father sent him to do, reaching out to the lost, comforting those who mourned, healing both bodies and souls. And then when the time came, he laid down his life for us so that we might live with him.

Do you know someone who still doesn’t know the peace of forgiveness in Jesus? Perhaps you have been waiting for just the right time to speak with them about our Savior. I want to encourage you not to wait any longer. Our time in this world is a lot shorter than any of us realize. The opportunity to speak today may no longer be there tomorrow. Keep in mind the hope and joy you have from knowing what Jesus Christ has done for you. Wouldn’t you want others to have those same blessings? And wouldn’t they appreciate having that peace sooner rather than later?

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, keep me focused on the opportunities you give me to serve you and others while I can. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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What We Did Not Deserve – March 18, 2020

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
John 9:1-3

What We Did Not Deserve


Daily Devotion – March 18, 2020

Devotion based on John 9:1-3

See series: Devotions

You are probably familiar with the concept of karma. Some people explain karma as: “What goes around comes around.” If you do good, good things will come your way. If you do evil, watch out! But is this truly the way things work? What have you observed in your life or the lives of others? Are people always rewarded for their good deeds? Do evildoers always suffer the consequences of their actions?

Jesus’ disciples didn’t believe in karma, but they did assume that suffering was the result of evil actions. They were puzzled, then, when they came across a man who was born blind. How could he have done something so bad in the womb as to deserve a life of blindness? But if his parents were the ones cursed with a blind son because of their sin, how was that fair to the child?

Jesus told his disciples that the blindness wasn’t the consequence for a specific sin committed by either the man or his parents. In reality, the consequences of sin are far worse. The Bible tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” The punishment for disobeying God is complete separation from the source of life for all eternity. This is what we all had coming to us. The Bible tells us, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But the Lord does not treat us according to what we have done. Instead, he shows mercy to all who repent. God’s works of love are displayed in us when he calls us to see that his Son, Jesus has already taken our punishment upon himself. God treats believers as his children, with love and care, even though we have not earned that status ourselves. His blessings to us are a gift. We may still suffer while we are in this fallen world, but the Lord will one day rescue us from it all and take us to himself in glory.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for treating me according to Jesus’ good deeds and not my own. 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 Hears Our Prayers – March 17, 2020

LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.
Psalm 143:1,2

God Hears Our Prayers


Daily Devotion – March 17, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 143:1,2

See series: Devotions

Ten-year-old Mason was feeling frustrated and a little desperate. The boy had been trying to get his father’s attention during breakfast to explain that he needed a parent to sign a permission slip for school. Today was the class field trip. And although Mason knew he had been misbehaving recently—and was even grounded all last week–he was still hopeful that dad would give him permission to go. Mason pleaded with his father, “Dad, please? I’ve done all my chores this week as Mom asked me to. I promise I’ll behave!” Dad, however, was distracted by an ongoing group text with his boss and a co-worker about an important project they were presenting that day. In his frustration, Mason almost shouted at his father: “Dad, did you hear what I said?!”

Unlike earthly parents, our heavenly Father is never too busy or distracted to hear our cries for help. But still, it so often seems that when we pray there is no answer—or at least, not the answer we hoped for. So how can we convince God to answer our requests for help? Can we, like young Mason, point to the good things we have done or offer promises to improve? Will our good deeds sway a holy God and move him to bless his obedient children? Sadly, no. We must confess with the psalm writer, “No one living is righteous before you.” As one pastor has warned, “Never pray for God to give you only what you deserve—you won’t like the result.”

Rather, listen to how the writer of this psalm appeals to God’s mercy. It is the Lord’s loving-kindness that moves him to rescue us. We have not been faithful to God, but he has kept his promises to us. He forgives us for the sake of his Son, Jesus Christ. So we pray in Jesus’ name, reminding the Lord of the sacrifice he made so that we might become his children.

Prayer:
Lord God, only you can rescue me from the many troubles in my life. I ask you to help me because you are a kind and loving Father and not because I have earned or deserved it. 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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You Are Light in the Lord – March 16, 2020

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Ephesians 5:8-10

You Are Light in the Lord


Daily Devotion – March 16, 2020

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:8-10

See series: Devotions

To be “in the dark” means that you are unaware of the truth about something. And if someone “sheds some light” on the subject, that means they helped you to understand what you didn’t know before.

But for the Christians in the city of Ephesus, the apostle Paul extended the metaphor to the extreme. Paul told those believers that in their past not only were they in the dark about God and his will for their lives, but they were the darkness! They had so deeply swallowed the lies of godlessness and the empty temptations of this world that they became a corrupting influence in the lives of others as well.

All of us were born in the same darkness of sin and unbelief. None of us came into this world knowing the truth about God’s love for us. And our sinful human nature actively works to try to keep us in that spiritual darkness. When we follow those self-destructive patterns in our lives, we can cause others around us to stumble too.

But the light of Christ shines brightly to scatter the darkness. Jesus Christ came to reveal the truth about God, about ourselves, and about how we have been made right with God through the sacrifice of his Son. The Holy Spirit enlightens our hearts through this good news and leads us to rejoice in what it means for us.

Just as those in the dark are darkness to others, so those in the light of Christ also become a source of light. Christians have learned what kind of living pleases God: a life full of love and compassion for others, a life that seeks to serve God and our neighbor, a life that revolves around the truth of our Savior, Jesus. When we walk according to the light of the Bible, our actions and attitudes serve as beacons for others, calling them to know the will of God for their lives and how true spiritual light is found in Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, shine in my heart with your love that I may reflect it 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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Light Up Your World – March 15, 2020

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Ephesians 5:8-14

Light Up Your World


Daily Devotion – March 15, 2020

Devotion based on Ephesians 5:8-14

See series: Devotions

Remember those miners in Chile who were trapped underground for 69 days back in 2010? Picture them before the first small drill broke through: running out of food, water, and light as batteries died… trapped in darkness so deep in the earth. It might be fun to visit and explore a cave, but it must be terrifying to be trapped in the dark, totally dependent upon someone else to rescue you.

Imagine being caught in an even worse never-ending darkness! That’s the darkness of being separated from God, of being trapped in sin and captive to eternal death. It is the darkness into which all of us were born, the Bible tells us.

But Jesus broke through that dense darkness with the bright light of salvation which he accomplished by his suffering and death for us all. Through his Word, God has called us out of the darkness of unbelief into the wonderful light of faith in Jesus. God has turned us from darkness into being “light in the Lord.”

Now he calls upon us to live in that light, to let our faith shine. In thanks to Jesus for rescuing us from the darkness of hell, we let the brightness of Christ shine through us and expose the darkness around us. Jesus has made us beacons of light to those still in spiritual darkness. For his sake, we will seek to live in ways that please our God, being as good, decent, and honest as we possibly can. And light up the world with the good news of Jesus.

As his believers, it’s time to shine!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for bringing the light of heaven into my life through your perfect life, death, and resurrection! Shine through me so that I can light up the world 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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Someone Is Watching – March 14, 2020

The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121:7,8

Someone Is Watching


Daily Devotion – March 14, 2020

Devotion based on Psalm 121:7,8

See series: Devotions

Someone is always watching you. Are you okay with that?

Many facilities, both public and private, are equipped with video surveillance systems. They see, and may even record, where and when you come in and go out. They watch what you are doing and how you are doing it. Are you okay with that?

As you use your mobile phone and data plan or surf the internet, where you go and what you do may be tracked and recorded for future reference and analysis. Websites track your patterns and habits. Retailers note when, how, where, and what you shop for.

Your cell phone use and your cell signal can be monitored. The methods and the technology for watching where you go and what you do continue to evolve. Are you okay with that?

Sometimes we don’t realize that things like video surveillance and online tracking are taking place. At other times we realize it is happening, but don’t give it much thought. Here’s a truth worth thinking about—all the time: The Lord is watching over your coming and going. He is watching over you right now, at every moment, all the time.

Whether you realize it or not, whether you think about it or not, the Lord is watching over your life. The God of faithful love is watching over you and keeping you from harm. The God who loves you does not slumber nor sleep. He is always looking to bless you.

What a wonderful comfort! While you are awake and when you are sleeping, when you are coming and when you are going, no matter where you are or what you are doing, the Lord is watching over you. The Maker of heaven and earth who has made you his child in Christ is there to help you every step of the way.

I’m absolutely okay with that. I hope you are too.

Prayer: (Christian Worship – A Lutheran Hymnal: 584)
Lord, bless and keep me as your own;
Lord, look in kindness from your throne;
Lord, let your favor rest on me,
And give me peace eternally. 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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Hard to Have Faith – March 13, 2020

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram left, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.
Genesis 12:1-4

Hard to Have Faith


Daily Devotion – March 13, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 12:1-4

See series: Devotions

People sometimes become frustrated with God because they don’t feel their faith is working in the way it should.

“I tried going to church and doing the right things. But life is still really hard, and God doesn’t seem to be changing anything.”

“I tried not to worry and to stop trying to control everything, but it seems that only left me with fewer answers and more questions. It’s not working, and I don’t think it should be so hard to follow him.” But sometimes it is. And if it ever is for you, then look at Abram.

Abram received many wonderful promises from God but saw precious few of those promises fulfilled during his lifetime. Abram’s family didn’t take possession of the land God promised him until 430 years later. Abram was long dead by then. And this “great nation” that he would make Abram to be; when Abram died, had exactly one son and two 15-year-old grandchildren; none of whom were the Savior of the world, which is exactly what God was talking about when he said that “all people on earth will be blessed through [him].”

Abram would never see, during his life on earth, most of the blessings God promised him. Yet he still went where God commanded him, even when it was hard because he trusted God to keep his word.

You can trust his word too. Even when things aren’t going the way you would like, even when God seems slow in keeping his promises to you, you can trust he will. After all, he kept his greatest promise when he sent his Son into the world to save you from your sins. If he was willing to keep that promise, you can be sure he will keep all the rest.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, strengthen my faith in you by keeping me focused on your faithfulness to me 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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Remarkable Promises – March 12, 2020

However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. … Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
Romans 4:5,16,17

Remarkable Promises


Daily Devotion – March 12, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 4:5,16,17

See series: Devotions

Consider some of the promises Abraham believed in, as repeated by the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans. Paul called Abraham’s God the “God who justifies the wicked.” To justify means to declare “not guilty.” And if God saw the wicked things Abraham did and called him not guilty of them, then Abraham had the right to walk through life believing that God was never going to punish him for anything.

Paul said that Abraham’s God is the one who “gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they are,” which means that Abraham had the right to look at death and expect life. He had the right to look at situations that aren’t good and expect that good will still come from them.

Paul also said that these promises are “guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring,” and he defines Abraham’s offspring not as those who are of the same bloodline as him, but as anyone who has the same faith Abraham did.

If you believe in the same God Abraham did, it means that whenever death claims your body, it won’t be the end since your God brings life from death. And since he calls things that are not as though they are, then you also have the right to look at situations that are not good and believe that some good will still come from them.

And remember, all of these promises are “guaranteed.” They were guaranteed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, who perfectly fulfilled every promise God made about him.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, help me to hold on to your remarkable promises so that I stand firm in my faith. 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 Gift – March 11, 2020

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
Romans 4:4,5

A Gift


Daily Devotion – March 11, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 4:4,5

See series: Devotions

There is a difference between a gift and an obligation.

If you have a job and put in your required hours, your boss has an obligation to give you a paycheck. The paycheck is earned. But a gift is given under no obligation. The recipient did not earn it.

This is the point the Bible makes about Abraham. God was not obligated to bless him. Abraham was “ungodly” in many of the same ways we are. He was imperfect, sinned, and fell short of doing all that God requires. God was under no obligation to bless Abraham, and he is under no obligation to bless us.

And yet he did bless Abraham. He gave him great wealth and fame. He made him the father of a great nation. And, most importantly, he made him the ancestor of Jesus, the Savior of the world.

God has done the same for us. Although he is under no obligation to bless us, he has. He has given us food and clothing and shelter, friends and family, and most importantly, someone to save us from our sins.

And now he simply says, “Trust me. Trust that all you have comes from me. Trust that I will provide all that you need for your body and soul. Trust that your sins are forgiven through Jesus and eternal life is yours.”

We did not earn any of these blessings. God was not obligated to give them. But he has, and he does. They are all his free gifts.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, thank you for the gift of my Savior, 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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Jesus Knows Your Thirst – March 10, 2020

Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”
John 4:6,7

Jesus Knows Your Thirst


Daily Devotion – March 10, 2020

Devotion based on John 4:6,7

See series: Devotions

In today’s Bible reading, we are told about Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at the well outside of the town in which she lived. It was just the two of them. No one else was there and it’s easy to understand why.

It was noon—not the typical time to get water from the town well. You see, to get water from the well, you had to carry your bucket from home, hope there was enough water in the 100-foot deep well, lower your bucket, lift it back up, and carry the heavy load home. This was not a job you wanted to do at the hottest time of the day!

But it is what this woman did because that was easier than going to the well when it was crowded with people, people who knew the kind of life she had lived, the kind of life she was now living. Everyone knew she was living a life of sin, which is why Jesus offered her a glass of spiritual water. He knew she was thirsty. Not for water but for forgiveness.

We are too. There are certain things about our lives and certain desires that creep into our hearts we would prefer to keep hidden from everyone. But just as Jesus knew this woman’s sin, he also already knows each of ours.

And he offers us the refreshing gift of forgiveness. Just as the woman didn’t ask Jesus for water that day, neither did we ask Jesus to offer his perfect life as the sacrifice to pay for all of our sins. Yet that’s exactly what he did.

Whatever sin in your past is parching your soul, find refreshment in the fact that it is already forgiven.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, you know my heart and are aware of every sin. Let me never forget the gift of forgiveness already won for me by 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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Refreshment for Your Soul – March 9, 2020

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 4:13,14

Refreshment for Your Soul


Daily Devotion – March 9, 2020

Devotion based on John 4:13,14

See series: Devotions

Did you know there is a condition you can have that makes it impossible not to be thirsty? It’s called polydipsia. If you have polydipsia, you will feel thirsty most or all of the time, and will not be able to quench your thirst, no matter how much you drink. Polydipsia affects roughly 10 million Americans.

The spiritual form of polydipsia affects many more. “Polydipsia of the soul” isn’t a real medical diagnosis. Yet many individuals in the world feel less than satisfied in their souls. They feel unfulfilled, disgruntled, angry, unhappy, or guilty—believing that something or someone needs to change for them to feel satisfied again.

Jesus met a woman like this one day by a well of water, and he made her a remarkable promise. “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.” But Jesus wasn’t talking about physical water. He was talking about spiritual water. He wanted her to see the significant man standing right in front of her. He wanted her to see the Savior who refreshes guilty souls with the assurance of forgiveness, the God who refreshes tired hearts with the joy of knowing they have a Father in heaven who loves them, and the Friend who refreshes weary souls with the truth that heaven has already been won for them on the cross.

Come to Jesus. Satisfy your soul on his everlasting love and his gracious promises. Come, and you will find refreshment for your soul.

Prayer:
Father in heaven, satisfy our broken souls with all that you graciously give us through our Lord 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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A Gift from God – March 8, 2020

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
Romans 4:4,5

A Gift from God


Daily Devotion – March 8, 2020

Devotion based on Romans 4:4,5

See series: Devotions

Everyone who has a job looks forward to payday. After putting in all those hours of work, you receive your paycheck. It is something that is owed to you. You and your employer came to the agreement that you would work for an amount of time and, in return, your employer would give you an amount of money.

In this section of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he uses that same picture. If you work, you are owed something. However, he shows us that, when it comes to salvation and heaven, it is not something that we are owed, but comes as a gift from God.

Paul says elsewhere in this letter, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). We deserve to be punished by God for all eternity because of our sins. This includes every single time we have had thoughts that were wrong or said things that we shouldn’t have. If you want to talk about something we are owed, this is it! We deserve eternal death.

However, as Paul points out, when we are brought to believe in Jesus as our Savior, then we are in a right relationship with God. Even this faith that we have is not our own doing. We cannot choose to believe in Jesus. This only comes through the work of the Holy Spirit as we hear God’s Word.

God owes us nothing. Yet, he gives us everything. Isn’t it wonderful to know that God does not give us what we deserve!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for not giving me what I deserve. Thank you for giving me what Jesus earned 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 Sacrificial Lamb – March 7, 2020

Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and the wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
Genesis 22:7,8

The Sacrificial Lamb


Daily Devotion – March 7, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 22:7,8

See series: Devotions

The words must have pierced Abraham’s soul. Isaac didn’t mean to wound his father, and under most circumstances, his question wouldn’t have been wounding words. But these were not normal circumstances. God asked a father to offer his only son as an offering to him. It was a test. God wanted to see whom Abraham loved more—his child or his Lord.

Children can ask questions that get to the point and leave adults fumbling for an answer. That’s Isaac on that day with his father. He loved and trusted his dear father so much! With honest eyes and a gentle voice, he asked, “Father, where’s the lamb?”

What would Abraham tell his son? Out of love for his dear son, he couldn’t bluntly say, “Isaac, you’re the lamb this time.” He couldn’t lie and say, “I don’t know.” What would he say, and how would he say it? Holding his son close to him and the Lord’s promises even closer, Abraham breathed deeply and declared, “God himself will provide.”

That’s exactly what happened. God himself provided an offering that day—and the offering was not Isaac. Once God knew he had Abraham’s full trust, the Lord provided an animal instead of Isaac for the sacrifice.

That day pointed ahead to another day when another Father would offer his one and only Son as a sacrifice. His Son’s name is Jesus whose sacrifice on the cross paid for all sin. Don’t underestimate the Father’s love—and the Son’s trust—that you find on the cross! Don’t ever wonder if God loves you. He provided his own Son, the perfect Lamb of God, as an offering. He was willing to give up his Son so he would have you forever.

Prayer:
Thank you, O my Father, for giving your Son as a sacrifice in my place. Enrich me with a greater understanding of your love, love that spared not your own Son, but delivered him up on the cross for me and all people. 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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Be Ready for Battle – March 6, 2020

The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Matthew 4:3

Be Ready for Battle


Daily Devotion – March 6, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 4:3

See series: Devotions

The devil had Jesus right where he wanted him, or so it would seem. Matthew calls the devil, “the tempter.” That word tells us that Satan was intent on doing evil to Jesus. He wanted to lead Jesus to sin and rob the world of the Savior. Satan was attacking Jesus but he was really declaring war on all of us. His goal is to take away our salvation. If Jesus was not perfectly sinless, he could not give us his perfection. Make no mistake, Satan intended to destroy us that day. He was not playing around.

He is still not playing around today. Do we always realize that the stakes are so high? We often get caught up in life and forget just how serious the situation is. We aren’t always ready to fight temptation. We often don’t give a second thought to how Satan might attack us today. This lack of preparedness gets us into trouble. Too often we fall into sin simply because we are not ready for battle.

How important it is, then, for us to focus on Jesus who has already done battle with Satan and won. Jesus has been where we are. He faced every temptation the devil threw at him. But there is a big difference between Jesus and us. The Bible says, “…we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” Our Savior never once caved in to Satan’s pressure. Never once gave into the devil’s temptations or was unprepared. He perfectly fought the battle. He was victorious, for us.

Jesus has given us victory over Satan. The devil can no longer harm us as we trust in Jesus. Satan’s plans to destroy our souls have been defeated by our Savior. In Jesus, we are forgiven and saved. In Jesus, we now have the tools to fend off Satan’s attacks. With faith in Jesus and depending on his Word, we can be ready for whatever Satan throws our way.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the victory over sin and the devil. Help me to trust you and to rely on your Word. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Remember Jesus – March 5, 2020

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Matthew 4:1,2

Remember Jesus


Daily Devotion – March 5, 2020

Devotion based on Matthew 4:1,2

See series: Devotions

Sometimes in life, we are just overmatched. Our opponent or enemy is just too strong, too big, too much for us to handle. The Alamo is certainly one such example. Fewer than 200 men stood fighting against an army of 1,500. They knew they were overmatched and could not win. They knew no reinforcements were coming.

It certainly seems like Jesus was overmatched in his battle against the devil. For one thing, he was in the wilderness—a place where he was isolated. Nobody was coming to his aid. There would be no reinforcements. He was on his own. He was on Satan’s turf. And while he was out there, he was fasting. Physically, he was drained.

You know how that feels, don’t you—to be spiritually overmatched? You feel like you are on your own and the devil keeps on coming. He tempts you with doubt: “If God really loved you, why did he let this happen to you?” “Doesn’t God want you to be happy? He must not really mean what he says in his Word. Go ahead, live the way you want.” And he keeps coming. Temptation after temptation.

Like the Texans at the Alamo, you can’t win. You may fight for a little while, but in the end, you are overrun by the devil’s temptations and defeated. You have lost too many battles and have fallen into sin over the same old familiar temptations.

“Remember the Alamo!” That was the rallying cry in the war following the famous battle. Our rallying cry is different: Remember Jesus! He went to battle for you. He crushed the devil and defeated all your enemies. Through his death on the cross, he forgives your sins and gives you the gift of heaven. He also gives you the weapons to defeat the devil in your daily life.

Thank God for sending Jesus. And get to know his Word, so that you can say no to temptation and remain on the way to heaven.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for defeating Satan for me. Equip me with your Word that I may fight temptation in your name. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Blame Game – March 4, 2020

The man said, “The woman you put here with me―she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Genesis 3:12

The Blame Game


Daily Devotion – March 4, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 3:12

See series: Devotions

The first man created by God had disobeyed him. He had eaten fruit God had forbidden. When God gave him an opportunity to confess what he had done, Adam said, “The woman you put here with me―she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” That’s not exactly a confession, is it? Sure, Adam begrudgingly admitted the sin. But he was also quick to blame both Eve and God for putting him in that situation.

I suppose we want to shake our heads at Adam’s attempt to blame his wife and his God for his own sin. But then we remember we aren’t any different. We too have played the blame game. As children, we point the finger at our sibling and shout: “He made me do it!” As adults, we blame society for our loose morals. We blame work and our social life for not getting to church. We blame the coworker’s attitude for our harsh thoughts and words in the workplace. We blame our busy lives for not spending enough time in God’s Word. We blame our upbringing for the sinful choices we continue to make. God calls out, “Where are you?” And, unfortunately, we are too often lost in sin and blaming others for it.

Would it surprise you to find out that God played his own version of the blame game? No, he didn’t blame someone else for what he had done wrong. He blamed someone else for what WE have done wrong. The Bible says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” God blamed Jesus for all our sins so that we could be forgiven and saved. On the cross, Jesus suffered the punishment our sins deserve and through him, we have eternal life.

Because of Jesus, you and I stand blameless before God.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for taking my place on the cross and paying for my sin. Help me to always take ownership of my sin and to trust in you for 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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No Need to Hide – March 3, 2020

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:8

No Need to Hide


Daily Devotion – March 3, 2020

Devotion based on Genesis 3:8

See series: Devotions

“Come out; come out, wherever you are!” Anyone who has ever played hide-and-seek has heard someone shout those words. Who would ever have imagined God saying those words in the Garden of Eden? But then again, this wasn’t a game, was it? Adam and Eve weren’t playing a fun game of hide-and-seek. They weren’t having any fun at all.

Something had gone terribly wrong in that perfect place of paradise. Adam and Eve had sinned. They had broken their relationship with God and had gone their own way and they knew it was a terrible mistake. Something that had once given them great joy now sent them running for the trees. Accustomed to walking and talking with God in the garden, Adam and Eve now felt guilt and fear and they hid from God.

Where are you hiding? Are you hiding from God at work? Maybe by working so many hours, you don’t have time to pray or confess to God. Where are you hiding? On a website? In the gym? During sleepless nights? What is it that you don’t want to bring out into the light of day? Secret thoughts or desires…selfish behavior…lack of love toward God. Sadly, like Adam, you and I are often not looking for God―even though he is waiting right there for us!

Note the love and grace of God. “But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’” God’s love caused him to seek and to find the sinner who was hiding. In love, God seeks us out too. He invites us to come to him. God sent Jesus to die in our place on the cross and to remove everything that would make us hide. In Jesus, our sins are forever washed away. We are clean. We don’t need to hide. We can come to our Father in heaven and know that in Jesus, we are safe.

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for seeking me out. Thank you for forgiveness in Jesus. Help me to run to you, trusting in your love 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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