Replacing Doubt with Faith – April 24, 2017

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. … Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:19-20, 30-31

Replacing Doubt with Faith


Daily Devotion – April 24, 2017

Devotion based on John 20:19-20, 30-31

See series: Devotions

The following facts sound unlikely, but they are true.

• If you could fold a typical piece of paper in half 42 times, the folded paper would be thick enough to stretch to the moon.
• There is a species of jellyfish that does not die of age, it just reverts to a younger form.
• An average person will walk the equivalent of three times around the world in their lifetime.

These facts may sound unlikely, but they do fit in the realm of possibility. However, there are some things that seem not only unlikely, but outright impossible. There are some things that just seem too farfetched and too contrary to everything we know that it is easier to doubt than to believe them.

We can understand why the disciples doubted that Jesus was alive. Believing that a man is alive whom you know died is one of those things that is difficult to believe.

However, Jesus doesn’t leave the disciples in their doubt.

Jesus appears to them as they are locked in a room. He speaks to them. He invites them to touch his hands and side. He even eats in front of them. All this Jesus does because he wants to take away their doubt and assure them that he is really alive.

Jesus appears to you also. He doesn’t show up in a locked room and show you his hands and his side, but Jesus says you are blessed for believing even though you have not seen him. He has given you his Word that you may believe. As you read and study the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will take away your doubt and replace it with faith. That is why the Word was written—to take away your doubt and assure you that Jesus has done the impossible for you. “These Words are written that you may believe and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Prayer:
Father, take away my doubt and replace it with faith. Use your Word to assure me that Jesus is alive. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Keys – April 23, 2017

“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever. And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
Revelation 1:17-18

Keys


Daily Devotion – April 23, 2017

Devotion based on Revelation 1:17-18

See series: Devotions

In San Jose, California, there is a set of keys that will let you in to a strange and massive house. It’s called the Winchester Mansion, and there’s nothing like it anywhere. The person responsible for building it was Sarah Winchester, the widow of the man who invented the famous rifle. At a time when workmen earned 50 cents a day, the mansion cost 5 million dollars. The mansion has 160 rooms, 17 chimneys, 13 bathrooms, 47 fireplaces, and 10,000 window panes.

What makes the mansion unique, however, is not just the size. It’s the design. All throughout the house are stairs that lead nowhere, hallways that dead-end, doors that open to brick walls. And here’s why. Not long after her husband’s death, a spiritualist had convinced Mrs. Winchester that as long as she kept adding on to the house, she would never die. And so that’s what she did. With her vast fortune, Sarah Winchester kept construction crews working on her house non-stop for 38 years.

But her keys to the house were not the keys to eternal life. Sarah Winchester died in 1922.

There’s another set of keys. These keys are different. These keys are in the hand of Jesus. In our place Jesus died. He died for our every sin. Then he rose from death. In doing this he demonstrated who he is. He is death’s Master. Death must answer to him.

It’s true, each of us can still expect our bodies to wear out and die, as Sarah Winchester’s did. But remember. Jesus has the keys. He has unlocked the door of death. He’s pushed it wide open. And through that door lies eternal life.

Prayer:
Risen Lord, you are death’s Master. You hold its keys. It must answer to you. When death touches my life, bring me comfort and joy in who you are. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Strong or Weak – He Is My Strength – April 22, 2017

The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
Psalm 118:14

Strong or Weak – He Is My Strength


Daily Devotion – April 22, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 118:14

See series: Devotions

There are days when I feel strong. There are days when I feel weak. When I wake up after a great night of sleep, am feeling healthy and sunshine greets my day, I feel strong. When I’m tired, feeling sick and a canopy of clouds shuts out every bright beam of the sun, I feel weak.

I realize those lists are a bit simplistic. They don’t touch on the ups and downs of relationships, careers, or a huge list of other potential “strong-weak” factors.

But in the most basic and devastating way, we are weak spiritually. We don’t do the good things God tells us to do. How many times have we been too weak to share when we had plenty? Too weak to be kind when we saw someone hurting? Too weak to be patient when someone was struggling? How weak we are!

We are also weak because we cave in and do the things our God tells us not to do. How many times have we looked and lusted? How often have we dragged someone’s name through the mud? How many times have we rejected God’s offer and command to spend time in his Word? How weak we are! We are weak and incapable of doing what pleases God.

How strong! How strong is the LORD. In the Psalm for today, the author tells us: “The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” God is all-powerful! In his mercy and love, God uses his strength for our benefit. God provides for our daily needs – food, clothing, shelter and many more blessings.

God displayed his love and his strength in an even bigger way. He provided salvation for us. Just a few days ago, we had a beautiful opportunity to study and celebrate God’s love and strength in our Easter celebrations. In his strength, Jesus, true God, carried what only he could carry – the punishment of the sins of the whole world. He suffered and died on the cross. In his strength, he laid down his life and picked it up again as he rose in victorious life on Easter morning. In love, Jesus saved us.

God is strong. He is our strength. Whether the sun shines or hides, or our health soars or tanks, we have strength – the LORD’s strength. Sins forgiven and salvation won, God makes us strong and gives us a reason for singing: “The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.”

Prayer:
LORD God, I am weak, but you are strong. Thank you for forgiving my sins and saving me. Thank you for making me your child and giving me heaven as my eternal home. Make my whole life a song of joy and thanks to you for all that you’ve done for me. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Of First Importance – April 21, 2017

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Of First Importance


Daily Devotion – April 21, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

See series: Devotions

The real estate business is fairly simple, isn’t it? Location…location…location. Of course, if you have been out house shopping you know there’s a lot more to it. There is also price, size, floor plan and finishes like flooring, cabinetry and paint colors.

Because of this, homebuyers must create their own personal priority lists.

Sometimes people shop for churches in a similar way. They look for location and a whole lot more. They care about denominational affiliation, worship styles, youth programs, worship times and even the pastor’s personality.

The apostle Paul was in the church building business and he offers exceptional advice to church shoppers today: For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance.

The Bible and the churches that proclaim the Bible have so much to offer to people today, but as Paul notes some things are more important than others.

For Paul it is not location, location, location, but Christ, Christ, Christ. Of first, and foremost importance is Christ who lived a perfect life in our place, who died a sacrificial death for the sins of the world and who was raised on the third day, as promised, to declare forgiveness of sins to the world.

If you are church shopping, look for Christ…Christ…Christ… Look for the clear message of Jesus, the perfect Son of God; Jesus, the perfect sacrifice for sin; Jesus, the perfect living Lord of all. By this gospel you are saved… When you find that church—buy in 100%—and take your stand.

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, lead me to a church that clearly proclaims you as the Christ, the Son of the Living God and if I am already there lead me to hold firmly to the Word that is preached to 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Jesus Has Removed Death’s Sting – April 20, 2017

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Jesus Has Removed Death’s Sting


Daily Devotion – April 20, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

See series: Devotions

The Australian box jellyfish is considered the most venomous creature in the ocean. It gets its name from the cube-like shape of its bell. As many as 60 tentacles grow from the bell and can reach 10 feet in length. Each tentacle has about 5,000 stinging cells. Its venom contains toxins that attack the heart, nervous system, and skin cells. It is so overpoweringly painful, human victims have been known to go into shock and drown or die of heart failure before even reaching shore. You do NOT want to bump into a box jellyfish.

Unless, of course, someone had removed every stinger from its tentacles. Without stingers, there would be nothing to fear from a box jellyfish. It would become as dangerous as the stuffed octopus your child won at the county fair. There would be no reason to fear this formerly frightening creature.

The Bible tells us about another formerly frightening creature we no longer need to fear. It is a creature we will all face. Unlike the box jellyfish, we cannot avoid this creature by staying out of the ocean. The creature is death.

But listen to what the Bible says about death: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Death is frightening because we know that when we die we will meet our Maker. And we know we have disobeyed him. But Jesus washed away our disobedience when he went to the cross. He removed our reason for being afraid of death. Because of Jesus, death is but the doorway to a far better, eternal existence in heaven.

If you are ever swimming off the northern coast of Australia, you have good reason to be afraid of box jellyfish. But you do not need to be afraid of death. Jesus has removed its sting.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you, thank you, thank you, for washing away my sin so that I do not need to fear my death. Grant that this truth comforts and calms me this day. Amen.

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

Salvation comes from the LORD – April 19, 2017

“In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.”
Jonah 2:2-9

Salvation comes from the LORD


Daily Devotion – April 19, 2017

Devotion based on Jonah 2:2-9

See series: Devotions

Have you ever been in a situation where you lost all control? Maybe you were driving down the highway and your car hit a very slippery spot and immediately began sliding and spinning. You quickly realize that no matter how much you pump the brakes or crank on the wheel, it doesn’t matter. The situation is out of your control. Or perhaps you’ve been dealing with a health issue, and it seems that no matter what you do, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. You faithfully take all your pills, eat a healthy diet, and even do your daily exercise. But the situation seems out of your control.

This must have been how Jonah felt. He was in the belly of a great fish, not knowing which way was up or down or how to get out. The situation was out of his control. So he did the only thing he could. He called out to the LORD in his distress, because he knew that “salvation comes from the LORD.” The LORD answered Jonah’s prayer and commanded the fish to vomit the prophet safely on dry land.

When the religious leaders of Jesus’ day asked him to prove that he was the promised Messiah, Jesus answered by saying, “For 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). Just as Jonah spent three days in the dark enclosed belly of a fish, so Jesus would spend three days in a tomb to prove once and for all that “salvation comes from the LORD.” But here’s a major difference: God used the fish to discipline Jonah as he fled from the mission that God had given him to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. Jesus never once wavered from the mission that God had given him, but he suffered death and the grave–not for his own rebellion, but for ours.

“Salvation come from the LORD.” In a miracle, far greater than being rescued from the belly of a fish, God raised his Son Jesus from the dead not only to save him, but to show that salvation for all people comes through Jesus.

Do you feel like your life is out of control? Like Jonah, cry out to the LORD in your distress, because the LORD loves you and promises to listen to the prayers of his children. If he answers your prayer and grants you salvation from your earthly problem, like Jonah you can offer a song of thanksgiving. But even if he doesn’t, you can still offer a song of thanksgiving because you can be confident that LORD God who raised Jesus from the dead has promised to work all things to bring you eternal salvation.

Prayer:
LORD, in my distress I call out to you. Hear my prayer and strengthen my faith in your promises. With shouts of grateful praise, I lift my voice, because salvation comes from you. Amen!

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

A Resurrected Life – April 18, 2017

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4

A Resurrected Life


Daily Devotion – April 18, 2017

Devotion based on Colossians 3:1-4

See series: Devotions

He had lived all his life on the streets. His skin was weathered. His hair a tangled mess. His clothes tattered and stained. He slept on cardboard and under garbage bags. He dined in alleyways from restaurant dumpsters. Days he spent squatting on sidewalks, begging from passersby.

One day someone stopped, lifted him up, cleaned him up, dressed him up, and gave him $10,000 a week to live on. But months later, the pauper turned prince was still living on the streets. Once a week, he’d clean up. Once a month, he’d dine in a restaurant. He was not taking advantage of his new-found life.

God’s Word says that through faith we have been raised with Christ. But are we living the resurrected life? Not if we only focus on Christ’s resurrection one day a year, Easter Sunday. The blessings of a resurrected life are life-changing. Take advantage of it!

A resurrected life is a life that looks up. Guilt can’t consume us because we find daily rest in Christ’s payment for all our sins. The world can’t fool us because we have God’s wisdom for making good decisions. Bad days can’t stop us because we have confidence in a better eternal tomorrow. Happiness is never out of reach, because it’s already in hand as we imitate the humble servant-life of our victorious Savior, Jesus Christ.

A resurrected life is a life connected to Christ. Your conscience may condemn you and Satan may accuse you. Let them! You have been set free from the guilt of sin. You are a redeemed child of the Father, purchased by the blood of Christ.

A resurrected life is a life with a glorious future. You may be overcome by the world’s hatred and hardship. But remember, what is over your head is still under Jesus’ feet. And one day, you will reign with Christ forever.

Prayer: (Christian Worship – A Lutheran Hymnal: 405)
Lord, give us such a faith as this, and then whatever may come, we’ll taste even now the hallowed bliss of an eternal home. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

A New Relationship – April 17, 2017

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. … Suddenly Jesus met them “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Matthew 28:1, 9-10

A New Relationship


Daily Devotion – April 17, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 28:1, 9-10

See series: Devotions

It was “at dawn on the first day of the week”–the day Jesus rose from the dead. When Jesus last saw many of his disciples, they were falling asleep while he was going through his darkest moments alone. They were running away in fear as he was being arrested. Peter was denying that he even knew Jesus as Jesus was in a courtroom being spit upon and mocked. Yes, the last time Jesus saw his disciples, they were being anything but brotherly.

Despite all the disciples’ failures, Jesus choose to call them something he had never called them before. Previously Jesus had called the disciples his “children”. He had even called them his “friends”. However, this is the first time Jesus calls them “brothers”.

Easter meant something new for Jesus’ disciples. Easter meant that they were renewed with Jesus’ forgiveness and they had a new relationship with him. Easter meant that Jesus would not judge the disciples by what they had done but by the sacrifice he made for them.

Do you feel that you have failed God? Do you fear that you have let him down? Do you worry that your sins separate you from God? Easter means we do not have to fear God’s anger. Because Jesus defeated sin and death and rose from the grave, we are not judged by what we have done but by what Jesus has done for us. Trusting in him as our Savior, Jesus calls us his brothers and sisters—not because we deserve it but because he dearly loves us. Jesus renews us with his forgiveness and gives us a new relationship with him.

Your risen Savior calls you his brother; he calls you his sister.

Prayer:
Father, we give you praise and glory for raising your Son from the grave. We give you thanks that through his death and resurrection our Savior Jesus now calls us brothers and sisters. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Death Conquered – April 16, 2017

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: … “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation… Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy… Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?”
Exodus 15:1a,2a,6,11b

Death Conquered


Daily Devotion – April 16, 2017

Devotion based on Exodus 15:1a,2a,6,11b

See series: Devotions

They were as good as dead. The Red Sea was in front of them. The well-trained, well-equipped Egyptian army was behind them. There was nowhere to go; no way to escape. The Israelites were as good as dead, so it seemed.

It seemed the same to the women who went to the tomb Easter Sunday morning. The disciples of Jesus felt the same way. They all knew what happened. He was arrested and bound by the authorities. He was beaten and flogged within an inch of his life. Nails were driven into his hands and feet, and then he was raised on a vertical beam of torture called a cross. There was no escape. There was no mistake. He died.

But the stories didn’t end where they seemed to lead. The Lord opened up a path through the Red Sea. With walls of water standing miraculously on each side of them, the Israelites crossed through on dry land. Defeat and death didn’t touch a single one of them. But when the Egyptian forces tried to follow, their death and destruction was complete. Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation… Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy… Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?”

When the women went early to the tomb that first Easter, angels were there, but not Jesus. Could he really have defeated death? Could it be true? Two disciples ran to the grave to check it out. It was true. Jesus wasn’t there. Could he really have risen and shattered the power of death? That first Easter, they all discovered it was true. The enemy death was conquered. Jesus was alive. He had risen. Did Jesus’ followers sing, “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation… Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy… Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?”

Are there times when we feel dead? Worn out from work and daily struggle? Plagued by a terrible sin or just a past life of sin? Suffering from the increasing aches and pains of old age or the sudden battle of a dreadful disease? Then sing, believer! Yes, sing! The story won’t end where it seems to lead. Christ has changed the ending! His Easter resurrection is proof that our troubles are only temporary. His resurrection is proof that our sins have been forgiven, all of them, no matter how many or how awful they are. Jesus’ resurrection is proof that death has been defeated. Earthly death has been turned into an awesome blessing. It’s the entrance into a paradise of an eternal life of love and joy with Jesus. So sing, believer; sing!

Prayer:
“The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation… Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy… Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?”

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Lord is my Best Thing – April 15, 2017

Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.
Psalm 16:1-4

The Lord is my Best Thing


Daily Devotion – April 15, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 16:1-4

See series: Devotions

Have you ever seen pictures of families abandoning their homes to escape wild fires, hurricanes or other natural disasters? Often times these survivors are only able to escape with the clothes on their backs and whatever possessions they can carry. They cling to small but priceless things like photo albums, pets, family heirlooms and other items with strong sentimental value. Watching them makes me wonder, “What would I try to take with me? What is my most valuable possession?”

Jesus had a unique perspective on this question. He told people, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20).

Hearing Jesus’ words makes me realize that one day I will have everything taken from me. It might not be in a natural disaster, but one day death will separate me from all my earthly possessions. That is a sobering thought. So how can I hold onto anything of value in my life?

Psalm 16 offers hope for the future. King David wrote these words to describe the coming Savior, Jesus Christ. So the words of this song are at the same time David’s and Jesus’ words. In verse 2 David shares his most valuable possession. “I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” David valued his relationship with God more than any other thing in his life. Not even death could sever this eternal relationship.

David lists some of the great parts of a relationship with God. The Lord was David’s refuge. He could go to God in prayer at any challenging time or in any difficult situation. David was also part of a community. He enjoyed the company of others who shared a common faith and hope in God. And finally God protected David from false claims and empty promises of other phony gods. A relationship with God was all that David truly needed.

The Lord offers the same relationship with you. God valued you so much that he sent Jesus into the world. Jesus gave his life on the cross to restore God’s relationship with you and all of mankind. He also destroyed two of our biggest enemies, sin and death.

As you consider all the ways that God has blessed you in your life, remember only one of those blessings will be enjoyed in this world and in heaven. It is your relationship with God. Value it and enjoy it.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for giving me so many valuable things in my life. I love my family and enjoy all the comforts of life that you graciously give to me. Forgive me for the times I have valued these gifts more than you. Help me to treasure you and my relationship with you more than anything else in my life. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Power of the Cross – April 14, 2017

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18

The Power of the Cross


Daily Devotion – April 14, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 1:18

See series: Devotions

Christian musicians Keith Getty and Stuart Townend wrote a hymn called The Power of the Cross. The cross they are referring to is the most famous one in history, the one on which Jesus of Nazareth was crucified some 2,000 years ago. On this day, Good Friday, Christians around the globe gather to commemorate that event.

Roman crosses and the process of crucifixion are rightly described as powerful. The power to humiliate. The power to punish. The power to wound. The power to make grown men, even the most hardened criminals, cry out in pain. The power to kill, and that in a most horrific way. That power was certainly at work at the cross of Jesus.

However, Getty, Townend, and Christians who commemorate Good Friday understand something far different, far deeper, and far more beautiful when they talk about the power of Jesus’ cross. They are talking about the power of God at work in that crucifixion, accomplishing something that nobody else on earth could possibly do. They are talking of the power of Jesus’ death to wipe out guilt and sin and condemnation before the holy God.

Ponder the cross of Jesus in that same way. What seems foolish and weak to this world and to our human reason, God tells us is his most wonderful act of gracious wisdom and power. At the cross of Jesus, we see a man, who is also God, carrying the entire load of sinfulness and sin racked up by this world in rebellion against their Creator. At the cross of Jesus, we see the God-man completing his work as Savior of sinners, paying the penalty that sin deserves from the perfectly just Judge. At the cross of Jesus, we hear the powerful cry of Jesus, “It is finished!” He shouts for the world to hear that he accomplished what he was sent to do.

Your sins, my sins, the world’s sins are powerful…powerful enough to separate us from God and his love. But the power of Jesus’ cross and the forgiveness he earned there is more powerful by far. In his cross you are saved. In his cross you are forgiven. In his cross you are reunited with your heavenly Father. In his cross you have the ultimate proof that God loves you with an unfailing and unflinching, everlasting love. Find your power for living and your peace in dying just there, at the powerful cross of Jesus.

Prayer:
By your death on the cross, dear Jesus, you suffered the separation from God that I deserve for my sin. My heart is filled with the peace of forgiveness by the power of your cross. Strengthen my faith in you, my Savior, and empower me to live for you. Amen.

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

Demonstration of Love – April 13, 2017

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

Demonstration of Love


Daily Devotion – April 13, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 5:6-8

See series: Devotions

The late-season snowfall had produced six inches of wet and heavy white stuff. After clearing his own sidewalk, the kind-hearted man decided to keep going and take care of his neighbor’s as well. “After all,” he thought, “last time he cleared mine for me.”

After finishing his neighbor’s sidewalk, he had a decision to make. The next property was owned by the troublemaker who lived on the block. Late-night parties and frequent visits from the police filled his summer months. In the wintertime, his was the sidewalk that was rarely cleared of snow and ice. He certainly didn’t go out of his way to help his neighbors with their snow removal.

There wasn’t much time spent on the decision. The man with the shovel just kept going. After a couple of hours, this kind-hearted man had cleared the snow from all the sidewalks on his block.

Which was the more impressive act of kindness? Shoveling for his neighbor who had shoveled for him in the past, or clearing the snow from the property of the troublemaker?

There is another scene where the stakes were much higher. It wasn’t snow that needed to be cleared, or a sacrifice of time and energy that was needed to get it done. Your eternal relationship with God hung in the balance. Your sin, every mistake you have ever made either purposefully or unknowingly, stood in the way of that relationship. A sacrifice was needed to remove that barrier—the life of the Son of God himself.

That’s exactly what happened. Jesus gave his life for you, a sinner. The world has never seen a greater demonstration of love. The innocent Son of God died so that you might live.

There is no question that God’s love for you is real. When your world is falling apart around you and you feel helpless and alone, when your mind is filled with more questions than answers, look to the cross of Jesus. It is there that you will see the ultimate demonstration of love.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my Savior, thank you for proving your love for me by dying in my place. Continue to keep my eyes focused on your cross that I may see your love and know that I am forgiven. Help me to live a life of confidence and peace, knowing that you have given me an eternal relationship with God. In your name, I ask 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

See Your King – April 12, 2017

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9

See Your King


Daily Devotion – April 12, 2017

Devotion based on Zechariah 9:9

See series: Devotions

It was a very strange parade, a one-man procession into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. In today’s reading from God’s Word, we view that Palm Sunday parade through the eyes of a prophet who lived five hundred years before the event occurred, yet he writes as though it’s already happening. The prophet Zechariah says, See your king.

We need Zechariah’s encouragement. We would never have put this king first in our hearts. We would have paid attention only to the events and the people who make us feel good about ourselves. We would have done so without ever noticing that our preoccupation with the things of this world is false worship, the worship of created things rather than of the One who created them. We would have dedicated ourselves fully to the here and now and we would have forfeited the eternity God has in mind for us. In fact, even when we know Jesus, we still struggle to appreciate him.

See! says Zechariah. Your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey. The approaching Savior rides a donkey, not a warhorse. He is gentle. He rides into Jerusalem to be betrayed and arrested and sentenced and crucified, all without putting up a fight. At the same time, he is righteous and having salvation. This gentle king is God’s Son from all eternity. With his death, he will take the rap for every sinner who has ever lived. This isn’t just a king on a donkey. This is the King on a donkey. This is the one who holds the universe in his hands, and he is at your service.

Rejoice greatly! Jesus has done what he came to do. By his death on the cross, Jesus has rescued you.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, by your death and resurrection you have rescued me from sin and death. Help me honor you with more than a palm branch. Lead me to praise you with everything that I am and with everything that I have. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Obedient – April 11, 2017

[Christ Jesus] humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:8

Obedient


Daily Devotion – April 11, 2017

Devotion based on Philippians 2:8

See series: Devotions

If you have a few moments, go to YouTube and pull up the opening scene from the movie Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe. The movie is set during the days of the Roman Empire. The opening scene depicts a battle between the Roman army and enemies threatening the Roman Empire’s frontier. Watch closely. One contrast between the two sides is striking. The enemies attacking the Roman soldiers are furious and aggressive in their fighting, but they are unorganized and scattered. The Roman soldiers, on the other hand, are just as aggressive, but they maintain their discipline, they keep themselves in order, they remain obedient to their commander. And it is their character of obedience and discipline that carries the day.

The verse of God’s Word for us today is from the apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Very likely, many of the individuals who initially read this letter knew battle scenes as pictured in the movie Gladiator. The town of Philippi, you see, was a place where Roman soldiers went to live in their retirement. From their own military careers, they knew all about the discipline of putting the needs of others before their own. And they knew all about obedience.

Along comes this letter from Paul—a letter they receive with joy as he talks to them about Jesus, their new-found Savior from sin. So great is Jesus’ love for them, Paul says, that even though he was in very nature God, Jesus chose to set aside the full use of his power and to live as one of them, to live and die as their perfect Substitute.

And to do this, Jesus knew that half-measures would not do. As their Substitute, he knew he could not demonstrate obedience to his Heavenly Father only to a certain point. His perfect obedience on their behalf would have to go all the way. It would have to go all the way to death—even death on a cross. And every retired Roman soldier reading Paul’s letter knew exactly what that entailed.

In this letter, Paul’s readers began to see the bottomless depth of God’s grace. They began to see the path of obedience that their Savior was willing to walk for them.

We can too.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, help me to see. Help me to see what you were willing to do to save me from sin and make me your 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

A Hero’s Welcome – April 10, 2017

A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of [Jesus] and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
Matthew 21:8-9

A Hero’s Welcome


Daily Devotion – April 10, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 21:8-9

See series: Devotions

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, there was a large crowd waiting to welcome him. They spread their cloaks and branches on the road. They shouted joyful praises. They gave him a hero’s welcome. Yet, the question needs to be asked, did they really understand why Jesus came?

It is a question worth asking. Do I see Jesus as a conquering hero? Do I see him as a long-desired king? Or, do I see him as something more?

Yes, Jesus did come as a conquering hero. The victory he came to secure was not over an earthly enemy, however. His battle was against the devil who sought complete dominion over me. His battle was against death which terrorized me. His battle was against the grave which desired to hold me in its gloomy darkness.

Jesus came as a hero to rescue me. He fought all my enemies that want to bring me to eternal destruction. And even though it meant giving up his own life, he secured the victory. Through Jesus’ precious work I am free from the devil’s control. I am free from the fear of death. I am free from the power of the grave.

Jesus deserves a hero’s welcome for what he accomplished. He deserves even more, for what he continues to do richly and daily. He also deserves my honor, love and praise as my Lord and King.

Jesus rightly earned this title as well. Not only did he secure my release, he also commits himself to my care. He strengthens me to remain faithful. He provides for all my needs. He guards me with his powerful presence. He always guides me with his undeserved and immeasurable love.

By faith I can acknowledge and live under his loving reign. By faith I can honor and praise him for his victory. By faith I can give him the hero’s welcome he deserves.

Prayer:
O blessed Jesus, I thank you for coming to rescue me. Fill me with love to trust you. Fill me with strength to follow you. Fill me with joy to praise you. Amen.

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

Peace – April 9, 2017

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem… As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Luke 19:28,36-38

Peace


Daily Devotion – April 9, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 19:28,36-38

See series: Devotions

Huge crowds lined the streets to welcome him. Cloaks and palm branches paved his way. As Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem on the Sunday afternoon described in the Scripture before us today, the people welcomed him as a king coming to bring peace to the world. And so they shouted, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” And, “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” Their praises were spot on, for Jesus is, indeed, a king who brings peace.

So are you at peace?

Maybe as you take an honest look at your life, you often question just how peaceful it is. The world you live in is filled with war and crime and poverty and pain. Your own personal life is too often filled with job insecurity, financial instability, stress, health problems, strained relationships…often the list is much longer than you would like it to be. Did King Jesus really bring the peace he promised?

It is when such questions arise that we remember the kind of kingdom and the kind of peace Jesus came to establish. His kingdom is not of this world. The peace he brings is not an earthly peace. His kingdom is in heaven and in our hearts, and so he came into this world to fix much bigger problems than just our physical problems. He came to fix our spiritual problem of sin. He came to restore peace between us and our God, opening the doors of the kingdom of heaven to a world of people whose sins had shut them.

As Jesus hung on a cross dying just five days after triumphantly entering Jerusalem, he did just that. The King who came to bring us peace washed all of our sins away through his blood. The King who came to bring us peace restored peace between us and God. The King who came to bring us peace opened wide the doors of heaven.

We are, indeed, at peace. We have the peace of knowing that all our sins are forgiven–even the ones that bother us the most. We have the peace of knowing a greater glory awaits us–even when life’s earthly struggles continue. We have a place waiting for us in God’s heavenly kingdom for all time and eternity. And so today we shout with those crowds of Jerusalem: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my King, you have recognized my greatest need and met it. You have forgiven my sins through your blood and restored peace between me and God. May such love lead me to praise your holy name here on earth and forever in heaven. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Praise God for Our Salvation – April 8, 2017

This is what the LORD says–he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and the reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
Isaiah 43:16-21

Praise God for Our Salvation


Daily Devotion – April 8, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 43:16-21E

See series: Devotions

Isaiah is telling God’s people that he will send them a Savior, a Redeemer. He reminds them of the grand way that he rescued them in the past, the crossing of the Red Sea. This was the big event among Old Testament believers. It is mentioned again and again how God opened up the Red Sea and allowed the Israelites to escape the charging Egyptians on dry ground. And why not, this was a miracle that perhaps millions of people saw at one time. It was a miracle that was visually impressive. It was a miracle that saved a large number of people.

Now the Lord through Isaiah says, “Forget all that.” That was nothing. You think making dry ground in the middle of the sea is a big thing? Watch me make the dry ground a stream. The Lord says that the jackals and the owls will honor him. Jackals and owls are creatures of the desert. I guess you would expect them to be happy because the Lord is providing water in the desert. But that is not why they are happy. God says, “Because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland to give drink to my people.”

It is clear something else is happening here. God is rescuing his people by giving them the water of life. God is talking about the forgiveness and life that he brings to the world through Jesus Christ his Son. It is a far bigger miracle than he performed at the Red Sea. God sends a Savior not just for a few people but for the whole world. With his suffering and death, Jesus didn’t just provide for us a rescue from earthly death but saved us from eternal death. By faith in him he gives us eternal life with God. That is the water of life that God has provided for us. How glad we are to proclaim the praise of our God who has saved us!

Prayer:
Oh Lord my God, thank you for giving me new life through Jesus. Help me proclaim your praise in all that I do today. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Dying to Live – April 7, 2017

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Dying to Live


Daily Devotion – April 7, 2017

Devotion based on Galatians 2:20

See series: Devotions

A week from today Christians will celebrate Good Friday. A casual observer might deem it more appropriate to call it Gruesome Friday or Gory Friday. After all, the focus is on the death of a man who lived long ago. The death of a man in the prime of life. The death of a man who was innocent. The death of a man by an instrument of pain and torture. Death by crucifixion…gruesome and gory indeed.

If you aren’t already planning to do so, I would encourage you to muster up the courage to attend a Christian Good Friday service. Why? To make you more depressed and down on life and the cruelty of the human race? To fill you with dark and morbid thoughts? To make you feel more guilty than you already do when you hear the preacher tell you that it was your sin that caused all this? To scare you into living a better life for God and others? No. None of those things. Go so you can see why Christians call this “Good” Friday.

Someone who understood this was a man named Paul. In a letter called Galatians (found in the New Testament of the Bible) he gives us the deeper truth and meaning of Jesus’ crucifixion: See on the cross more than a man…he is the Son of God. See there a love that is willing to go to the ultimate extreme to rescue and redeem. See there a sacrifice by the innocent on behalf of the guilty…willingly and joyfully carried out that the guilty might be declared innocent. See there…you yourself! Jesus’ death is your death…a death that erases everything – the evil, the wicked, the perverse, the weakness, the guilt, the shame – all that can be counted against you as sin in God’s sight! Paul relates a profound truth: We (our natural selves) must die before we can truly live. He wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live.”

The account, that of Jesus and that of those who are connected to him through faith, does not end in death but in life! Don’t forget to attend a Christian Easter service too. The greatest day of the Christian calendar celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. He didn’t stay dead. His resurrection is a validation of the truth that sins, your sins, are forgiven. His resurrection ensures new life for his followers, now and forever. His life is your life…connected to Jesus’ resurrection by faith you have a new status before God: spiritually and eternally alive as his holy child! But you don’t even have to wait until next week to say joyfully and confidently with Paul, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me! I live [fully and forever] by faith in the Son of God who loves me!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I thank you for your sacrifice on my behalf. Let me find comfort and confidence in your life, crucifixion, and resurrection, trusting that my sin is forgiven and new life, real life, lasting life is mine through you. In your name, I pray this. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

How You know You are Loved – April 6, 2017

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
1 John 3:16

How You know You are Loved


Daily Devotion – April 6, 2017

Devotion based on 1 John 3:16

See series: Devotions

How do you know that someone loves you? They might speak the words to you: “I love you,” but how do you know they are telling the truth? The unfortunate reality is that people can say anything, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is true.

We look for proof, don’t we? How do people prove that they love you? They prove it through their actions. Sometimes gifts do the trick. It could be an expensive gift like pricy diamond earrings, but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes just a thoughtful gift, your favorite candy bar left in the perfect place for you to find in the middle of the day, can do the trick.

When it comes to love, the old saying “actions speak louder than words” is certainly true.

When someone makes a personal sacrifice for us, whether it is the sacrifice of money spent to purchase a gift, or the sacrifice of time and energy to do something nice for us, we know that we are loved. Generally speaking, the bigger the sacrifice, the more we know that love is real.

There is no bigger sacrifice than giving up one’s life. That is how we know that God loves us. He doesn’t just say the words; he proves it by giving up his life for us.

He didn’t have to do it. He could have just let you rot in your sins and perish forever apart from him, but he couldn’t stand to let that happen. He made the ultimate sacrifice, his innocent life, to pay the price that you owe for your sins. His greatest concern was not for himself, but for you. Jesus was willing to give up everything to save you.

As a result, you have been given incredible gifts. Forgiveness is yours. Freedom from guilt, peace with your holy Creator, confidence by his presence every day, and life eternal are all yours because of what he sacrificed for you.

Now you know what love is. As Jesus Christ loves you, go and love others.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my Savior, there have been many times when I have felt unloved. Thank you for proving your love for me by dying in my place. Help me to love others the way that you have loved me—through actions that put their needs first. In your holy name, I ask 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Dry Bones – April 5, 2017

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
Ezekiel 37:1-3

Dry Bones


Daily Devotion – April 5, 2017

Devotion based on Ezekiel 37:1-3

See series: Devotions

Ezekiel was prophet during some dark days for God’s Old Testament Israel. They had been worshiping false gods. Now they were living in exile far from home. Jerusalem’s temple lay in ruins. It appeared that all was lost, including the promise of the coming Savior. The people were like a pile of dry bones. They had no life, no future.

Without God’s blessing, there is no meaning to our life either. On our own, we’re the same as they were: guilty, helpless, and hopeless. In our sinful nature, each of us is like a pile of dry bones.

But even though they had given up on the LORD, he had not given up on them. The LORD said to Ezekiel, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.’” We don’t have to wonder which word of the LORD Ezekiel used. It’s the same word of the LORD that our dry bones long to hear every day, namely, that we have a flesh and blood Savior, a substitute, Jesus Christ. Unwrap those swaddling clothes and you’ll find a baby. When they crucified him, he bled. When he rose, his disciples could touch the nail prints in his hands. God’s Son, Jesus, has taken the hopelessness and death of all our sin on himself, so that we might have life with God now and forever.

Whenever we hear about our Savior and what he means for us, the LORD is at work in us. He provides hopeless sinners hope. He gives condemned sinners a bright future. He rattles our bones together, and breathes into us the breath of life.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, in whatever way my hope is dried up, be my resurrection from the dead. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Perspective – April 4, 2017

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Romans 8:18

Perspective


Daily Devotion – April 4, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 8:18

See series: Devotions

In 1996, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood received a heavy dose of perspective, if only for a moment. It was the 68th Annual Academy Awards. As usual, the pre-ceremony buzz was all about who would receive Oscars. Would Meryl Streep win for Best Actress, or Susan Sarandon? Would Nicolas Cage win for Best Actor, or Richard Dreyfuss? Would Braveheart win for Best Picture, or Apollo 13?

Then came the moment few people saw coming. One of the more obscure Oscars that night went to a short documentary about a woman who had survived the Holocaust. Gerda Weissmann Klein joined the director on-stage and almost did not get a chance to speak. But speak she did. And as she spoke, the auditorium fell silent.

To this room of tuxedos and gowns who were so concerned about who was going to win, Gerda Weissmann Klein reminded them what winning was to her. During her six years in a concentration camp, winning, in her words, was “a crust of bread and to live another day.” And ever since the gates of that camp had flown open and freedom was hers, she could now, for the rest of her life, experience what she described as “the magic of a boring evening at home.”

Perhaps you have a horrific period from your past that has given perspective on your present. But even if you don’t, the apostle Paul gives us perspective from a different source. He gives us perspective in light of what is yet to come.

He starts by acknowledging that this present life is often difficult, hard, full of suffering. We can expect no less. After all, it’s a world broken by sin—your sin and mine.

But then Paul goes on. He says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Paul is looking beyond the present. He is looking beyond all the temporary heartbreaks and hurts and depressions and disappointments—all the ways it’s possible for us to suffer. Beyond all that, Paul sees the permanent glory you and I will enjoy when we bask in the presence of Jesus Christ.

This coming glory is a certainty. It’s a certainty because Jesus himself has secured it through his perfect life and death in our place. And because it is a certainty, we now possess a perspective on the present sufferings of life—that nothing, nothing compares to what awaits us in Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in my moments of suffering, remind me that nothing compares to what I will receive in you. Amen.

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

Come Out! – April 3, 2017

Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
John 11:43

Come Out!


Daily Devotion – April 3, 2017

Devotion based on John 11:43

See series: Devotions

People were amazed when Jesus spoke those powerful words, “Lazarus, come out.” Even though he was dead and in the grave for four days, Lazarus responded to the Lord’s call. On that day Jesus revealed his power as true God, as well as his power over death and the grave. It is this power which is a comfort and blessing for me.

One of the greatest fears I have is death. Whether it is the finality or the uncertainty, I try to rid myself of the thought. No matter how hard I try, the fear of death always holds me captive. My only hope to be free from fear is to look to Jesus. He gives me the assurance death will not hold me in its grip. Once I leave this world, I can have every confidence he will speak the same words he spoke to Lazarus, “Come out!”

It is this reassurance which allays my fears and calms my troubled heart. Through faith in Jesus as the Son of God and my Savior, I know he will never abandon me to the grave. I can live every day knowing death becomes a new beginning. At the end of this earthly life I will receive a new life with my Lord in heaven. Still, this is not the only reassurance I receive.

Through the powerful working of the gospel, Jesus also expresses his will, “Come out of this dark world and live in the newness of life.” “Come out of sinful selfishness and live in selfless love.” “Come out of the hopelessness of death and live with confident joy.” Because of faith in what Jesus has done for me, I can come out of a life dominated by death’s control. I can come out of a life subjected to Satan’s dreadful tyranny. I can come out of a life of hopeless fear.

So much is mine for this life, and for the life to come, through faith in Jesus Christ. How blessed I am to hear my Savior’s call, “Come out!”

Prayer:
O dearest Jesus, you have power over life and death. Come with your power to release me from death and the devil. Come with your power to give me new life and the hope of heaven. 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Don’t reject God’s Son – April 2, 2017

Jesus went on to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, rented it to some farmers and went away for a long time. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants so they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. He sent another servant, but that one also they beat and treated shamefully and sent away empty-handed. He sent still a third, and they wounded him and threw him out. “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When the people heard this, they said, “May this never be!”
Luke 20:9-17

Don’t reject God’s Son


Daily Devotion – April 2, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 20:9-17

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God had shown tremendous love to his people in the past. He had given them the promise of a Savior from sin. He had rescued them from slavery in Egypt. He had given them his very words in the Law, and even sent his messengers, the prophets, to warn the people of their sin and call them back to his love. But many behaved like the bad tenants in Jesus’ parable. They rejected, mistreated, and even killed some of the prophets. They refused to return to God the praise and devotion he deserved, and now were about to kill his Son. Jesus could not give a stronger warning–those who reject God’s Son will not escape judgment.

What’s the most staggering thing about this parable? Isn’t it the great lengths the owner took in dealing with his tenants? What father would send his son to such a violent and rotten group of people? Wouldn’t we consider this risky, and even reckless? Yet this is a picture of God’s great love for sinners. It goes far beyond our human imagination. Ponder God’s Son walking to his death for us. Here all the restraints on love are broken. He loves us, even though we are sinners.

God has shown tremendous love to us in the past. He has given his only Son to take away our sins. He has given us blessing after blessing in his Word and Sacraments. He forgives our sins, cares for us, and promises us a future with him in heaven. Don’t reject God’s Son! Instead welcome him joyfully as God’s gift to you and return to him the devotion he deserves.

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, continually send your Spirit into my heart so that I never stop marveling over your love for me. Keep me steadfast in the faith and focused on Jesus all the days of my life. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Do or Done? – April 1, 2017

Whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness that comes from the law but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Philippians 3:7-9

Do or Done?


Daily Devotion – April 1, 2017

Devotion based on Philippians 3:7-9

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There are many different religions in the world. They all try to explain how to get right with God. Sometimes, the deeper into the religion you get¸ the more confused you become.

However, it isn’t that confusing at all. Basically, there are only two religions in the world. One is “DO.” The other is “DONE.” In the first, you must DO something to get to heaven. You have to climb the ladder to get up to God. And really, is it a long climb! The pressure is on you! You’d better get moving! Other than Christianity, every religion in the world ever dreamed up by man…with all the twists and turns, rules and regulations, they boil down to DO.

The DO religion will always create one of two responses in people. Either they’ll be arrogant and say, “Look how great I am! Look at all the things I DO!” Or they will be desperate and say, “There is no hope for me! I’ll never DO enough.” They bounce between one or the other all their days on earth. Either way, the spotlight of their life is on themselves and not on God.

The apostle Paul knew the worthlessness of the DO religion. Before he became a Christian, he intensely tried doing quite a bit to get right with God–he did much more than most people. But then he heard about DONE. Jesus had DONE it all for Paul. Jesus had lived perfectly and died innocently. He had made Paul fully right with God and there was nothing left to do. It was all a gift by faith! No more arrogance; no more despair. The spotlight of his life was no longer on DO but on Jesus and DONE. Paul was inspired to live for him–because Jesus had DONE it all!

When he came to understand and believe the DONE of Christianity, what does Paul call the DO religion now? Look at the verse for today. He calls it “LOSS” and “RUBBISH.” In other words, it’s garbage, trash, waste, excrement. Who wants the DO when you have known what Jesus has DONE? Who wants to be restless when you can have peace? Who would trade in hope for despair?

That’s where we are too. We know what Jesus has done. We know he has washed us completely clean. We know we are already right with God in Christ–we don’t have to DO anything more. We can rest in Christ and rejoice!

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to steer clear of the DO religion and instead think all the time about what you have DONE. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Refreshment for the Thirsty Soul – March 31, 2017

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Refreshment for the Thirsty Soul


Daily Devotion – March 31, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 17:7-8

See series: Devotions

The oldest tree in the world is thought to be a bristlecone pine tree named Methuselah, located in California’s White Mountains. The estimated age of this tree is almost 5000 years, meaning that it has remained standing and living through many seasons of extreme California heat. Over this long period of time, the roots of this tree were consistently able to reach life-sustaining water.

The length of our days on earth will never reach 5000 years, but our experience with life on earth can be much the same as it has been for this tree. There are times we feel the heat of life: pressure at work, family demands, or daily troubles and challenges we did not see coming. There are times our souls feel withered and parched—thirsty for love that no one seems to be showing us, or longing for forgiveness that our guilty conscience convinces us is never coming. In other words, there are times when we might worry, wondering how much longer we will be able to stay standing through the unbearable heat and droughts of life.

Jesus knows how hard those moments are. He felt the heat of this world too. He walked its dry dirt. He felt its hurt and saw its pain. He knows what it’s like to be thirsty for love that many people did not show him. And though he didn’t need forgiveness for any sin, he still knows the hellish pain of being punished for every sin, as he offered his perfect life on a cross as a sacrifice, all to assure us that there is no heat or drought or sin on earth that will keep us from standing forever in the perfection of heaven.

So, you don’t need to worry. If you do from time to time, though, you always have a stream of Living Water to which you can go to satisfy your thirsty soul. You have the Word, which is where you will always find Jesus and his wonderful promises to be with you.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for giving us such perfect promises of love and forgiveness to trust as we walk through life. Let us never fail to refresh our thirsty souls with the truth of all that you have done to save us. Amen.

The devotions on Thursdays and Fridays in March reflect on Truths for Today.

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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.