A Victorious Struggle – July 25, 2017

I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
Romans 7:21-25

A Victorious Struggle


Daily Devotion – July 25, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 7:21-25

See series: Devotions

Have you ever found yourself wondering, “If God has redeemed me from my sin and filled me with the righteousness of his Son, why do I still struggle with the same sins again and again? Why do I still worry about my kids, or my spouse, or my job? Why am I still so fearful and reluctant to share Jesus with others? Why do I still lose my temper and say things that I regret? Why are my eyes so quick to wander and my tongue to gossip?”

Like the apostle Paul we want to cry out, “What a wretched person I am!” The struggle is real. It is exhausting. It is painful. Several years ago, after preaching at an outdoor revival service, a young man came up to the preacher and said, “You talk a lot about the burden of sin. I’ve never felt it. It doesn’t seem all that heavy!” The preacher paused for a moment and then looked directly at the young man and asked, “If you laid a 100-pound weight on a dead man, do you think he’d feel the load?” The youth sneered. “Of course not!” The preacher immediately responded, “And so the soul that doesn’t feel the load of sin is dead!” If you didn’t feel a struggle with sin, you wouldn’t be spiritually alive. The Spirit’s work in our hearts is what leads us to experience this battle.

But knowing that Christians struggle with sin, doesn’t necessarily help us with the outcome. How long will it last? Will there ever be a day that we don’t look back and regret something that we said or did? Will we ever be able to lay down at night and close our eyes in peace? “Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

Listen to Paul’s answer: Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! We can’t rescue ourselves; our past is proof of it. If left alone we would forever struggle in a losing battle. But…God delivers us through Jesus Christ our Lord! The answer to our struggle is found in God’s Son. Jesus didn’t feel a 100-pound weight on his chest, he felt the weight of humanity’s sin and bore it on the cross. His resurrection from the dead proves that he paid for every last sin.

Because of Jesus’ work in our lives, the sinful nature is nothing more than an unwanted invader. Our inner being, our new nature in Christ, finds delight in God’s law. So even though we will continue to struggle here on earth, we have the victory through faith in Jesus. The victory gives the power and the motivation to keep on fighting against sin.

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, as I continue to struggle with sin, focus my eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of my faith. Give me confidence knowing that he has won the victory for me and that my sinful flesh has no power over 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.

Children, find your rest in Jesus. – July 24, 2017

Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:25-30

Children, find your rest in Jesus.


Daily Devotion – July 24, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 11:25-30

See series: Devotions

Are there times when you long to just “sleep like a baby”? The expression conveys a sense of blissful rest. Who doesn’t want blissful rest?

What stops you? Do you worry over money? Do you suffer physical pain? Is there just too much for you to do? The fallen world is full of thieves—peace-stealers who keep us awake at night.

The solution…to sleep like a baby, you have to be a baby. The Lord has revealed his peace plan to those who believe like little children. They accept it because they are little children. It is a great description of Christian faith. Tell children that the world is round and they believe you. Tell them God is a good and gracious heavenly Father and they believe it. Tell them Jesus loves them and they believe it.

As grown-ups, we like to think we are supposed to do ridiculous things like “pull ourselves up by our boot straps”. We have absurd bumper stickers like “God is my co-pilot”. Sometimes, yes frequently, adults need to give up their “manly man” and “I am woman, hear me roar” attitudes and just let Jesus rock them to sleep.

Instead of “come to me…I will give you rest” do we think; “I’ve got this!”

Grow down, people of God! Believe like little children. God has revealed the rest of the forgiveness of sins to little children. God has revealed the rest of his providential protection and care to little children. God has revealed the glory of eternal life to little children.

“Learn from Jesus…and you will find rest for your souls.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, when I try to take control of my life and put the burden of life on my shoulders, please humble me and direct my thoughts as a little child to the loving care of my heavenly Father. Yoke me to yourself so that my burden is light. 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.

Reflect on God’s Love – July 23, 2017

“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. … As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.” When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD will be made known to his servants, but his fury will be shown to his foes.
Isaiah 66:10, 13-14

Reflect on God’s Love


Daily Devotion – July 23, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 66:10, 13-14

See series: Devotions

Moms just seem to have this special power, don’t they? There’s something about a mother’s touch, a mother’s comfort that no one else can replicate. The relationship between a mother and a child is about as close as we can come to describing the love that God has for us. It’s no surprise, then, that God uses the picture of mother and child to describe his relationship with us.

Jerusalem had been beaten and battered from all sides. She had suffered greatly because she had rejected God. She abandoned his promises. She threw away his Word. But God would not abandon his people. After a time of trouble, after years of standing in ruins, emptied of her people, God restored Jerusalem. He brought the people back. He brought joy and comfort like only a mother can give.

There are plenty of things in this world that cause us pain. Unfortunately, some of that pain is self-inflicted. We’re like the people of Jerusalem when we abandon God’s promises and throw away his Word. Yet God has not abandoned us. He invites us again and again to return to him. Each time we run away from him by sinning against his perfect will, he calls us back. He offers the sweet forgiveness for all of our sins because of Jesus.

Each time we stand before our God and admit our sins, he wraps his arms around us and comforts us even more than a hug from our mom ever could. He says to you and to me, “I love you and I forgive you for Jesus’ sake.” Those comforting words motivate us to reflect God’s love by doing what he asks us to do. Those comforting words cause rejoicing to burst forth in heaven and on earth!

Prayer:
Forgiving God, let the comfort of your love wash over me. Embrace me with your forgiveness so that I may serve you in joy. 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.

All Things for Our Good – July 22, 2017

Elijah replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”
1 Kings 19:14-18

All Things for Our Good


Daily Devotion – July 22, 2017

Devotion based on 1 Kings 19:14-18

See series: Devotions

In her book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst describes a young boy who was having a bad day. She opens by writing, “Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in his hair. And it got worse…” That’s how I picture Elijah, talking with the Lord. He tried to do what was right. He tried to follow God’s will for his life. Yet, nothing seemed to go his way. Nothing he did seemed to work.

Have you ever felt frustrated with life like Elijah? Have you ever had one of those “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days?” I’m sure you have, since we all do. On those days, we’re tempted to question God. On those days, we’re tempted to wonder if God cares about us. We wonder if God is really in control. If he is, then why are all these bad things happening when I’m trying my best to do what is right?

Elijah felt this way. So God reminded him that he’s always in control. He gave Elijah a list of things to do that would demonstrate God’s control. God showed Elijah that though it seemed like the wicked were winning, there were still true and faithful believers in Israel. The wicked would not win in the end.

God does the same for you and me. He points us back into his Word to remind us how he guides all things for our good. He reminds us how he worked all things, even the events in the life of Elijah, so that his Son, our Savior Jesus, would come at just the right time, in just the right place, so he could live and die and rise for you and me. And if God can work all things for such an important promise as that, then he’ll certainly keep all of his promises to us.

Prayer:
Savior God, ever remind us of your loving care and guidance in our lives, especially on our worst days. 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.

Complete in Christ – July 21, 2017

In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
Colossians 2:9-10

Complete in Christ


Daily Devotion – July 21, 2017

Devotion based on Colossians 2:9-10

See series: Devotions

Is your life full? Is your life complete? If not, what would it take to make it so? A regular vacation to an exotic location? A boat? A nicer car? A bigger house? Maybe a better paying job or at least one that makes you feel like you are making a difference? Perhaps you feel a little empty because you have no one to share your life with, so your desire is for a husband or a wife. Would a child, or two, or four, make your life feel more complete?

We all have that deep desire for something more in life, something that we think would make our lives complete if we just had it. Sometimes the things we chase after are definitely sinful (the euphoric high that comes from drugs, alcohol, or sexual adventures). But many times they are not. Possessing nice things, getting married, or having children are not inherently sinful; these are wonderful blessings that God may grant us.

The truth is, however (and maybe this is something you have already figured out), none of these things will ever make life truly complete. Even when we get what we desire, something deep inside of us tells us that it is not enough. Our focus quickly switches to something else that we think will make our lives complete.

Nothing this world has to offer will ever make your life complete because it does not address the real problem with your life. That problem is sin and the resulting broken relationship with God.

The Bible has good news for you. Completeness of life has been given to you. God says in his Word, “You have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” In Jesus, your life is complete because he has taken away your sin with his death on the cross. With sin removed, your relationship with God has been made whole again. That is a relationship that will last eternally, much longer and better than anything else we desire for life in this world.

In Jesus, your life is made complete because he has authority over that which threatens ultimate emptiness—death. By his resurrection, he proved his authority over death and promises that all who believe in him will live even though they die. Talk about fullness! That fullness is yours through Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, my Savior, forgive me for the times when I have looked elsewhere for fullness in my life. Thank you for making me complete by your death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. Help me to rejoice in the wonderful relationship with God that you have given me. 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.

A Real God for Real Fear – July 20, 2017

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

A Real God for Real Fear


Daily Devotion – July 20, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 41:10

See series: Devotions

There are many real things in our lives that make us afraid and cause us stress. We may sometimes hide them, downplay them, even try to forget about them, but the fear is still there and it is real. Health, finances, guilt, relationships, and security are all things that can keep any person awake at night. These are not the paranoid fears of the few but real concerns that most of us have.

In a world of real fears and real concerns, how then can God say, “Do not fear” and “Do not be dismayed”? God tells us not to fear because he has real answers to our real problems.

He reminds us, first of all, that he is with us and he is our God. This section of Scripture was originally written to God’s Old Testament people, the Israelites. God had chosen Israel as a special people for himself from all the people in the world and he was really present with them in several special ways. God has also chosen you and promises to be with you in several special ways. He is with you when you read and hear his Word. He has made you his own in Baptism. He says that he is really present in Holy Communion. In these things, you find God’s presence with you still.

Secondly, he reminds us that he can help. God strengthened and helped his Old Testament people through mighty acts. He brought them through the Red Sea on dry land, provided food for them, and rescued them from their enemies. God continues to strengthen and help you. He daily provides all that you need. He continues to guide all the events of this world for your eternal good. Most importantly, he sent Jesus to take away all your sin and guilt so that you have life and salvation. In all of this, God still holds you with his righteous right hand.

You may have real fears but find your confidence in a real God. He is with you and he will help you.

Prayer:
God of mercy, you command us not to fear and in your love you equip us to obey that command. Remind us that you are the source of our help and are strong to save. 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.

Doom and Gloom – July 19, 2017

“From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.”
Jeremiah 28:8-9

Doom and Gloom


Daily Devotion – July 19, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 28:8-9

See series: Devotions

Many people associate the word “prophet” with two words: doom and gloom. Sometimes when they read the Old Testament part of the Bible they ask, “Why is there so much doom and gloom? Why did the prophets always seem to be harping on the people and speaking of awful things that were coming?”

The time of the Old Testament (before Jesus came) was not all doom and gloom. But it is true that often when God sent special prophets or messengers to the people it was with a message that warned of coming doom and gloom. That is what the prophet Jeremiah was talking about to a fellow “prophet” (really a false prophet named Hananiah). As he spoke to Hananiah, Jeremiah was telling the people that they’d be spending many years away from their homeland in captivity in Babylon. Hananiah said, “No. It will be only two years; then everything will be fine again.” Jeremiah responded essentially, “We’ll see if this peaceful promise of yours comes true, but I’m not counting on it!” The Lord revealed to Jeremiah that Hananiah was speaking a lie. His prediction would not come true. Instead the people would suffer a long exile from their land under foreign domination.

What is the reason for the doom and gloom throughout history? It is human sin. When people turn their back on their Creator, they can and should expect doom and gloom. When the people of Judah turned their back on the LORD, he sent prophets to warn them of the destruction they were bringing on themselves. He sent wars and plagues to wake up his spiritually slumbering people; he wanted to call them back to himself.

God acted always that they might see more clearly their need for saving; always that they might turn to him for forgiveness and life; always that they might focus on the one Prophet who could truly prophecy true and lasting peace. He is the one Jeremiah speaks of later in his book. He is the one we know as Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. He is the peace-making Savior who brought peace to the world by taking away the sin that causes God’s anger. He is the peace-speaking Prophet that we can truly trust. We have the Prophet who has made peace for us with God. We have Jesus who has removed our eternal doom and gloom. In him we have peace and life, now and always.

Prayer:
Lord God, we know that our sinfulness has only earned for us doom and gloom. We thank you, though, that you have had mercy on us and sent your Son, Jesus, to take on himself the doom and gloom we deserved. We thank you for graciously fulfilling your promise to send the peace-making Savior from sin. In his name we pray. Amen.

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

No Longer Slaves – July 18, 2017

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:1-7

No Longer Slaves


Daily Devotion – July 18, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 6:1-7

See series: Devotions

In these Bible verses, there is a certain logic behind the opening question that makes sense to our human way of thinking. If our sinning makes God’s grace abound, then why not keep on sinning to make God’s grace abound even more? While this logic might make sense to our sinful natures, it makes no sense when we remember how we have been united with Christ in his death and resurrection. God’s Word says, “We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:2).

There’s a story of a young slave girl who was up for auction by her owner because she was no longer strong enough to work in the fields. She was sobbing because she knew that if a harsh owner bought her, it would end in death. Despite her physical weakness, the price for her sale escalated rapidly because of her beauty. Finally, a wealthy landowner won the auction by offering double what anyone else had bid—the highest price of the day! When the auction was over, the clerk handed the girl a bill of sale which normally would have named her new legal owner. But to her surprise, the only thing written on it was her name with the word “FREE” in capital letters. At first, she didn’t know what to make of it. Was this a cruel joke of some kind? But when she realized that it wasn’t, when she realized what had happened, what this piece of paper meant—that she had been set free from slavery to death—she hurried back to the clerk and pleaded, “Where is the man that bought my freedom? Please help me find him. This man has set me free, I want to serve him the rest of my life.”

All of us who were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death. We have been united with Christ in his death and resurrection and freed from slavery to sin. This is why we can count ourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11). Yes, God’s grace abounds to cover all our sins, but why would we want to go back to our old slave owner? Why would we want to live a life that leads to hated service and death? We’ve been raised from death to life with our Savior, freed from slavery to sin. So “how can we live in it any longer?”

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, in your grace you have united me with your perfect Son and his death and resurrection through baptism. Send your Spirit into my heart to give me the desire to live a new life in the joy and peace of his resurrection. 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.

Keep your eyes on Jesus! – July 17, 2017

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
Matthew 10:34-42

Keep your eyes on Jesus!


Daily Devotion – July 17, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 10:34-42

See series: Devotions

How can the greatest peace-maker of all time declare that he did not “come to bring peace to the earth.”? Look no further than your own families. In the Christian Marriage service found in Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal page 141, the pastor reads: “God intended marriage to bring loving companionship to the people of his world. But because of sin, the joy of marriage was soon overcast with sorrow, and the harmony of family life was shattered by strife.”

Marriage and family values are under attack. Sin and along with it, misplaced priorities, have brought strife to many homes. We don’t share these words to cast a blanket of gloom over the newlyweds or to be pessimistic about their future together.

We share words of caution, because Jesus shared words of caution. His words warn that if his followers begin to love and then prioritize someone, something, anything more than him, then conflict is inevitable. “A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” Tragic, but avoidable.

Keep your eyes on Jesus. The one who took up the cross of salvation for us says, “Take up your cross.” The one who gave up his life in the glory and joy of heaven tells us to give up our life in the pettiness and selfishness of this fallen world.

Keep your eyes on Jesus who welcomes you into a new life of sacrifice and love. Keep your eyes on Jesus who welcomes you to the glory of heaven. In Jesus, you will find peace.

Prayer:
Lord God, in the trials of life, even those within my own family, keep my eyes on Jesus, my greatest love. Let nothing in this life keep me from the joys of the life to come through Jesus Christ my Savior. Amen.

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

God is Our Fortress – July 16, 2017

God alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:2

God is Our Fortress


Daily Devotion – July 16, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 62:2

See series: Devotions

The sound of sirens gave warning that a tornado was nearby. Quickly and calmly the family heads for the basement. There is some concern, but not too much because they’ve been through this before and everything was fine. Even if the tornado would hit their home, they are confident that the thick basement walls will keep them safe.

There are some storms in life that we just can’t hide from. You know the kind: the sudden illness, the financial mess, the unexpected death of a loved one, the heartbreaking betrayal of a friend.

These storms can sweep into our lives quickly and suddenly, or build up over time until they are raging all around us. When they come, they threaten to shake us to the core, and there is nowhere we can hide from them. Or is there?

The psalmist talks about a fortress in which we can hide. This fortress is so strong, so impenetrable that safely inside we cannot be shaken even by the fiercest storm.

God is our fortress. The powerful God who created this world and everything that exists, who has power even over death itself, is the fortress we can run to when the storms of life blow all around us.

We know that we can trust his power to protect us because he has proven his love. The same love that moved him to sacrifice his Son in our place on the cross moves him to use his power to guard and protect us in our lives.

When those storms blow in, and you know they will, find your security in the ultimate fortress. Hide yourself in the loving and all-powerful arms of God. Trust him to keep you safe and do not be shaken.

Prayer:
Almighty God, I cannot stand up to the storms of life on my own. I need courage. I need protection. Be my fortress that I may never be shaken. 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.

Rest in God’s Plan of Salvation – July 15, 2017

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.
Psalm 62:1

Rest in God’s Plan of Salvation


Daily Devotion – July 15, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 62:1

See series: Devotions

Short-tempered, unable to concentrate, unmotivated, and the general dark feeling that everything is worse than it really is–these are just a few of the effects a lack of rest have on us.

Our bodies need rest. Without it we have a difficult time fulfilling the responsibilities we have. If we deprive our bodies of rest for extended periods of time, it becomes increasingly difficult to function at all, and we may even become ill.

So we crawl into bed, sprawl out on the couch, recline in a chair, or simply lie down on the floor.

What about your soul? Where does it find rest? The psalmist proclaims that his “soul finds rest in God alone.” Why? Because “salvation comes from him.”

There is nothing that exhausts a soul like the guilt of sin. It weighs us down with a burden that threatens to crush us completely. Accompanying that guilt is the terror of punishment.

We know all too well how and where we have failed. We are painfully aware that God knows too. So the thought of facing him can be terrifying because he holds our eternal future in his hands.

How can I erase what I have done? How can I make up for it so God will grant me entrance into his eternal kingdom? The answer is “I can’t.” My salvation comes from God and only from God.

Jesus has erased my guilt through his death on the cross. The innocent blood of God himself was shed as the payment for all of my sins. That which I could never earn myself has been given to me as a gift of love from God: eternal life with him.

The blood of Jesus was shed for you as well. He took on your sin and guilt and was punished in your place so that you may never experience the punishment you deserve for your sins. May your soul find rest in God knowing that it is through him, and only him that you have salvation!

Prayer:
Lord, grant rest to my soul by lifting my eyes to see your cross and the forgiveness and salvation you won for me there. 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.

Ultimate Triumph – July 14, 2017

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.”
Jeremiah 32:17

Ultimate Triumph


Daily Devotion – July 14, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 32:17

See series: Devotions

Do you believe the world will ultimately end in tragedy or triumph? Based on the certainty of Jesus’ return in power and glory, and God’s promise of a new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:13), the answer is triumph.

But more specifically, do you think your life will ultimately end in tragedy or triumph? That might be a harder question to answer…especially if you are in a season of suffering. That’s why we need to know the history of a prophet named Jeremiah. He was an ordinary man like you and me. He didn’t call down fire from heaven or heal the sick, like Elijah. Or part waters like Moses. He spent most of his days in suffering. In fact, he was called the “weeping prophet”.

About 2600 years ago, Jeremiah was watching the Babylonian army build ramparts around the city of Jerusalem, preparing to pounce on God’s people. The likely outcome would be tragedy. And yet, in that moment, the Lord tells Jeremiah to go purchase a plot of land near Jerusalem, land that would one day be Jeremiah’s farm.

At that time, it must have sounded like the worst investment in history. But to Jeremiah, it was a deposit of hope. Hope that for him and for the people of Israel the ultimate outcome would be triumph. That is why he prayed, “Nothing is too hard for you!”

Yes, Jerusalem would be destroyed. Yes, most of the people would be taken into exile. But God would protect Jeremiah and he would stay in the land. And the exiles would one day return and rebuild the temple.

Even and especially in the midst of your pain and suffering, God has made a deposit of hope. He did it when Jesus’ cold body was placed in a damp tomb, only to rise again, fully alive. Jesus’ death and resurrection paid for your rescue, but also for your place in God’s new heaven and new earth. When Jesus returns, all of life’s suffering will be transformed into eternal joy.

Knowing that your life will end in triumph doesn’t immediately take away your pain, but it will give you hope that the best is yet to come.

Prayer:
Lord God, you often bless me with joy and happiness. Thank you! But you also allow times of tears. In those moments, lift up my eyes to see that my life will ultimately end in triumph because of your victory through your cross and resurrection. 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.

Count on Christ – July 13, 2017

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

Count on Christ


Daily Devotion – July 13, 2017

Devotion based on Philippians 1:6

See series: Devotions

I have a painting that is stored in my basement closet. I started working on the picture when my wife was pregnant with our second child. The canvas was to hang above the nursery room crib. Our child is now almost six years old. The painting is still unfinished. I’m not happy about it. Understandably, my wife isn’t exactly pleased either.

Life is filled with all kinds of frustrations like that. People let you down. You let yourself down. But you never have to be concerned about God letting you down. At some point in your life, God began a beautiful work in you. That beautiful work is your salvation.

From beginning to end, the certainty of salvation depends upon God alone. Before he created the world, God had sketched out a beautiful plan to save us. Then, over thousands of years, God wove together the perfect canvas upon which he would paint his masterplan. With one stroke of his brush, God became man and made his dwelling among us. Stroke after meticulous stroke revealed Jesus as our picture-perfect Savior. With his unblemished life and crimson blood, he flawlessly accomplished our salvation.

But God is not done. He continues to work patiently, miraculously painting with the water of life. Look as he brings one face after another to life on his tapestry of salvation. There I am. And there you are! To the natural eye, we are cracked and blemished. But on this canvas, God has intricately and inseparably connected us to the risen Jesus. Through the filter of Christ, you can see yourself perfected and included among the host arrayed in white. See them? The countless faces of those now crowned with golden glory and cradled in Christ’s eternal embrace.

There are two, even three things you can expect in life. People will disappoint you. You will disappoint yourself. But you can count on Christ. He who began his saving work in you will see it through to completion.

Prayer:
(Psalm 69:13):
I pray to you, LORD, in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.

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.

You Cannot Lose with the LORD – July 12, 2017

O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long… But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten… Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.
Jeremiah 20:7,8,11,13

You Cannot Lose with the LORD


Daily Devotion – July 12, 2017

Devotion based on Jeremiah 20:7,8,11,13

See series: Devotions

Jeremiah was given a very difficult task. God sent him to preach to the people of Judah—God’s chosen people. He was to warn them that if they did not repent of their sin, God was going to send the Babylonians to conquer them and take them captive. So this is what Jeremiah proclaimed.

As you might imagine, his message was not well-received. People do not like being told they are doing wrong. One of the leaders of Judah even had Jeremiah arrested and put in stocks. It was a difficult time for Jeremiah.

So he complained. He poured his heart out to the LORD, saying this was not right and this was not fair. Why should God’s enemies seem so successful while his servant suffered?

You know how Jeremiah felt, don’t you? You know how frustrating it can be to follow the LORD and receive ridicule in return. It can seem so unfair. And it can appear that you are on the losing side.

But you are not. Neither was Jeremiah. He had the almighty God on his side. What he prophesied came to pass. He was vindicated.

Remember this the next time you are ridiculed for your faith. Remember this the next time it seems you are on the losing side. You have the almighty God with you. He is like a mighty warrior. When you are on his side, you cannot lose.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, sometimes it seems so unfair when I follow you. You know how frustrated I am at times. When I begin to lose heart, send your Holy Spirit to strengthen me with the reminder that you are on my side and will ultimately give me the victory. In your powerful and victorious name, I pray. Amen.

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

Final Word – July 11, 2017

The gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass…how much more did God’s grace…overflow to the many.
Romans 5:15

Final Word


Daily Devotion – July 11, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 5:15

See series: Devotions

This month, theaters around the world will feature a film about one of the most extraordinary stories of World War II. The title of the film is Dunkirk.

It is May of 1940. Nazi Germany has invaded France. The German advance has been overwhelming and unstoppable. As a result, 330,000 British and other allied soldiers find themselves trapped near the French coastal town of Dunkirk, with the Nazi war machine at their front and the waters of the English Channel at their back. Both sides presume that it’s now just a formality for Hitler’s forces to attack one more time and to swallow the British army whole.

Before that can happen, however, the extraordinary takes place. Word goes out to the citizens of England that their sons and grandsons are in trouble and that the British military needs their help. The people of England answer the call. From across the channel comes an entire fleet of boats—hundreds of them. They are fishing boats. They are cargo boats. They are boats from the merchant marine. They are pleasure boats. They are lifeboats. They are luxury yachts of the wealthy and the rusty hulks of the poor. All of them arrive to bring their sons and grandsons home. And by a miracle, they do.

Dunkirk, therefore, became a pivot point. It became a pivot point because, in that place, the greatness of the rescue had the final word, not a Nazi victory.

As you and I battle our way through the brokenness of this sinful world, it can often feel as if we are trapped. It can often feel as if the darkness, the despair and the grief of sin—yours and mine—will have the final word.

But that’s not the case. That’s not the case at all. Through the apostle Paul, God’s Word tells us that as great as our sins are, the Lord’s rescue from our sin is even greater. That’s why Jesus lived a perfect life on our behalf. That’s why Jesus went to the cross and paid for our every wrong. That’s why he rose from the dead.

And so fight the good fight. Do battle with your temptations. When you fall, come to repentance and get back up again, cleansed and empowered by God’s forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

For sin does not have the final word. The cross of Calvary does.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in those moments when it feels as if my sins are going to have the last word, remind me of your rescue. Remind me that you have the final 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

My Greatest Fear – July 10, 2017

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Matthew 10:28

My Greatest Fear


Daily Devotion – July 10, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 10:28

See series: Devotions

Franklin Roosevelt said during his first inaugural address, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The words inspired the American people during the darkest hours of the Depression. But what about today? Is our greatest fear simply fear?

It is hard to tell a person not to be afraid. There may be real, deep-seated, and identifiable reasons to be afraid. So what is the solution?

Jesus puts fear into the proper perspective. His words are to the point, “Don’t be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” Enemies of the faith, false teachers, persecutors, agents of the devil, none of these should cause me to fear. They may threaten. They may be relentless and furious in their attacks. Still they cannot rob me of my soul. Through the working of the Holy Spirit through the gospel message of Jesus, I remain the Lord’s. I am his, and his promise is that nothing will be able to separate me from his love (Romans 8:39). Since I belong to Jesus, I do not have to fear those who can take my physical life but cannot rob me of spiritual life.

My greatest fear should be that I might turn away from my God and Lord. He is the “One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” I need to be on my guard. While my enemies cannot tear me from his hands, I can leave. My actions and my choices may lead me away from him. The Scripture reminds me to go about my salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). God will never fail, but I might.

This is why I need to hold tightly to my Savior. In Jesus, I find courage. In Jesus, I find strength. In Jesus, I find faithfulness. Even more important, in Jesus I find forgiveness and peace. It is only through Jesus I can overcome all my fears, and even my greatest fear.

Prayer:
O blessed Lord, keep me safe through your holy Word. When I am afraid, remove that fear with your power and your presence. Then, strengthen me to live to your praise and glory. Amen.

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

Confess Jesus is Christ – July 9, 2017

Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.” “But what about you?” he asked, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
Luke 9:18-20

Confess Jesus is Christ


Daily Devotion – July 9, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 9:18-20

See series: Devotions

“I’m sorry. I thought you were someone else.” After a series of apologies, there is the promise, “I will never make that mistake again.” Even though the intentions may be good, the time will come again when those words will be repeated. “I’m sorry. I thought you were someone else.”

Cases of mistaken identity will happen, and they happened to Jesus regularly. People often thought and hoped he was someone else. This is why Jesus put the question to his disciples, “Who do you say I am?”

It is the same question I need to ask myself. “Who do I say Jesus is?” There are many things I would like Jesus to be. There are many things I would like to have him do for me. Still, he remains only one thing, and that, finally, is of the greatest importance to me.

Jesus is the Christ, the anointed one. He is the one sent from God the Father to be my Savior. He is the one who gave up his life to secure my forgiveness. He is the one who rose victorious from the grave to secure my freedom from death. He is the one who rules over all things for my peace, now and eternally.

Because of what Jesus has done and continues to do for me, I can never afford to mistake him for anyone or anything else. Like Peter, I confess that Jesus is the Christ of God, and my Savior.

Prayer:
O dearest Jesus, the Scriptures have revealed you to be the Savior from God. Give me the faith I need to confidently say, you are my Savior. 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.

Spiritual Refining – July 8, 2017

“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd!”…declares the LORD Almighty. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. … In the whole land,” declares the LORD, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”
Zechariah 13:7-9

Spiritual Refining


Daily Devotion – July 8, 2017

Devotion based on Zechariah 13:7-9

See series: Devotions

Refining sounds like such a positive procedure. I’ve never worked on an oil rig or witnessed an oil refinery in action, but I can guess some of the basics of that process. Crude oil in its naturally existing form is unusable. The dirt and impurities have to be removed before it can be turned into a product pure enough for us to use.

Refining takes on a different vibe if I’m the one who needs to be refined. It’s pretty easy to acknowledge that I’m not the kind of person God intended me to be. And my problems aren’t merely superficial. I have to admit the impurity of the desires in my heart. I’ve picked up spiritually contaminated habits from the sinful world around me. I know I am not pure.

That doesn’t mean I would look forward to a painful process of extracting all sorts of impurities from my soul. I can laugh when the disciples ran away in fear as Jesus was arrested the night before his crucifixion. But I have to acknowledge I don’t always react in faith to what I see are threats to me and my faith. I expect my good behavior will bring about more blessings from God’s hand. I would hope to see Christianity making the world a better place.

Actually, it’s when the sword strikes and the Good Shepherd is struck, that’s when God’s refinery really kicks into gear. God used the arrest of Jesus and his death on the cross to refine my definition of what is good and positive. God brought about ultimate victory for all souls through the betrayal and death of Jesus.

The refining my heart needs now is to see God’s victory even when my life doesn’t go my way. God wants all of his sheep to be purified from a dependence on the temporary glory of earthly living. Throughout the painful procedure of spiritual refining, God wants me to know I am still his child. When my life is filled with pain and surrounded by the impurities of sin, God invites me to trust confidently that he is still my God.

Prayer:
(Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal: 327)
Here we have a firm foundation, here the refuge of the lost; Christ’s the rock of our salvation, his the name of which we boast. Lamb of God, for sinners wounded, sacrifice to cancel guilt-none shall ever be confounded who on him their hope have built. 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.

Big Prayer – July 7, 2017

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

Big Prayer


Daily Devotion – July 7, 2017

Devotion based on Ephesians 3:20-21

See series: Devotions

I don’t know you, but it’s safe to say that your prayers are probably too small. Sure, you pray for health, a new job, and even children. And those are good prayers! But God is inviting you to make even bigger requests.

Martin Luther said: Imagine that the richest ruler in the world invited a poor beggar to ask for whatever he wanted. Suppose that beggar only asked for a ladle of soup. Wouldn’t the ruler be insulted by such a request? We also insult God when he promises us inexpressible riches and all we do is ask for a lousy piece of bread. (Paraphrase from the Large Catechism)

Luther is saying that most of our prayers are just “bread prayers”. It’s time we ask the King of the Universe for more. So, what is the big prayer that God is inviting us to ask? Paul gives us an example: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all of God’s people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:17-18).

Can you think of a bigger prayer than that? What could be better than completely grasping the love of God in Jesus? Imagine how you would speak to your spouse, if you could grasp the fullness of God’s love. Imagine how you would face debt or addiction, if you could grasp the fullness of God’s love. Imagine how you would face death if you could grasp the fullness of God’s love. This kind of prayer would radically change your life.

But how is this possible? How can we grasp the extensiveness of God’s love in Christ? Do we wonder how God could even answer such a big prayer? Read again Paul’s answer to those questions: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

God is able to do more than you ask or imagine, and he is at work within you! He is even able to give you the power to begin to grasp the greatness of his love for you in Christ. So, giving glory to God, pray that big prayer.

Prayer:
Lord God, more than anything else we pray that you would give us the ability to grasp how wide, long, high and deep is your love for us in Jesus Christ. Dwell in us with that love, so that it may motivate everything we do. In Jesus’ 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 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Praise God in Time of Peril – July 6, 2017

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.
Psalm 33:12

Praise God in Time of Peril


Daily Devotion – July 6, 2017

Devotion based on Psalm 33:12

See series: Devotions

I am a citizen of the United States, but I did not grow up here. As we celebrate our independence this week, I give special praise to God for his blessings upon this country. Yet, this is not God’s special nation. This is not his special people. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

God’s nation is even more of a melting pot than this land of immigrants. God’s nation is people who live on every corner of the globe, everywhere in between, and in heaven. They trust that God loves them although they don’t deserve it. He loves them freely in Christ—without condition. He loves them faithfully in Christ—even when they are faithless. And so, they praise him, as did the author of this psalm.

They praise the Lord for his protection in times of peril. I confess, to my shame, that this is not my natural response. I will praise God after danger has past, but seldom during. I—we—should. The Lord is worthy of praise even in, especially in, times of trouble.

We walk in danger every day. Powers of evil relentlessly seek to ravage our souls. The siren song of life’s comforts lures us toward spiritual shipwreck. We aren’t even safe from ourselves! Because our sinful heart wants what it wants, it always attempts to veto our Spirit-filled mind.

Jesus is working relentlessly to protect us—God’s special people who believe in Jesus sent by God so that we “not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus is our fortress, shield and weapon against Satan, sin, and death. Seated now gloriously in heaven, with authority over all things, he is preparing for us an eternal country that is better by far.

With that confidence, put your trust in the Lord. In times of peril, don’t worry but wait. Be assured that he is shielding you from greater peril. And trust that he will deliver you.

Prayer:
O Lord, you are my God. And I am blessed to belong to you. In times of peace and in times of peril, I will 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.

You Are God’s Treasured Possession – July 5, 2017

Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.’”
Exodus 19:3-5

You Are God’s Treasured Possession


Daily Devotion – July 5, 2017

Devotion based on Exodus 19:3-5

See series: Devotions

What is your most treasured possession? For a child, it might be a bicycle or a Barbie Doll. For a teenager, it might be a pair of jeans or a phone. Perhaps for you, it is your wedding ring or a family heirloom.

Have you ever wondered what God treasures? He has a great deal to choose from since everything in creation is his. Every bird, every animal, every gemstone, every mountain…everything is his.

But what does God treasure most? You. He made you. He wanted you in his world. He has provided for you and protected you. And even though you have often strayed from him and gone against his commands, he treasured you so much that he came into this world in the person of Jesus Christ and rescued you from your own rebellion.

You may not believe that you are very valuable. It may seem like other people don’t consider you very valuable either. You may not think you matter. But the sacrifice God made when he went to the cross is your proof of how valuable you are to him. Let that be your comfort and peace this day, knowing that no matter what you are facing or how you might feel you are failing, by faith in Jesus you are God’s treasured possession. And he plans to keep you for the rest of eternity.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, you know there are times I do not feel very valuable. I think of the pain I have caused others and the pain my sins have caused you. But your Word tells me that through Jesus I am your treasured possession. I marvel at such a thought. May all I do this day be worthy of such an honor. 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.

Tremble Not – July 4, 2017

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Tremble Not


Daily Devotion – July 4, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 5:8

See series: Devotions

On the website of the National Archives in Washington, DC, there is a page where you can examine the Declaration of Independence. The document is faded, but you can still make out many of the signatures. The signature of John Hancock, of course, is famous. Zoom in, however, on the right-hand column. Find the signature of John Adams. Then look at the third name below his. There you will find the signature of Stephen Hopkins. In that signature there is a story.

The signature of Stephen Hopkins is unusually shaky. If you had been signing your name on that day, your signature may have been shaky too. In the same week that independence from England was declared, a British force landed—a force so massive that it was larger than the entire population of the largest American city. In signing this parchment, Stephen Hopkins knew that if the British military captured him, he would face the hangman’s noose.

His shaky signature, however, was not from fear. Rather, it was from a physical condition known as palsy. And Stephen Hopkins wanted everyone to understand this. For after writing his name, he declared to those present, “My hand trembles. But my heart does not.” And so in the signature of Stephen Hopkins—there is the story of his devotion to his new country.

Nevertheless, even this kind of devotion pales in comparison to God’s devotion to us.

There are all kinds of moments when we feel tempted to question whether God truly cares. When the stress is heating up at work, when there is too much month left at the end of the paycheck, when there is a health crisis, when someone we love is breaking our heart, when it seems as though loneliness is so thick we could suffocate—these and other episodes just like them can get us to wonder if God thinks about us at all.

It is for such moments, however, that the Word of God speaks. When the dark episodes arise, the apostle Paul reminds us how devoted to us our God really is. He says in Romans chapter 5, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God’s personal devotion to us is so passionate, so complete, so pure, that even when you and I cared nothing at all about God and cared only about ourselves—it was then that God chose to sacrifice his own Son to wash us clean, to make us family, to rescue us from hell.

His devotion for you is beyond question. Tremble not.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, sometimes I tremble in worry and fear. When I do, remind me of your devotion and love. Remind me what you did to 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.

The Answer Is – July 3, 2017

Then [Jesus] said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Matthew 9:37-10:1

The Answer Is


Daily Devotion – July 3, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 9:37-10:1

See series: Devotions

Jesus had great compassion for the lost. He saw them as sheep who were harassed and helpless. He also considered them a harvest ripe for gathering. Out of great love for them, he invited his disciples to pray for workers to go into this harvest field.

One can imagine the disciples praying like there was no tomorrow. In anticipation, they may have even wondered, “who will finally go?” In a remarkable twist Jesus said, “the answer is—you! You will go and gather the harvest.”

It is possible the disciples never considered they would be the answer to their divinely invited prayer. It is equally possible I don’t consider myself to be the answer either.

At my Savior’s invitation, I pray. I pray for the good news of forgiveness to be proclaimed. I pray for it to work effectively and powerfully. I pray that workers will always be there to do the work. I just don’t consider I might be the answer to my prayer.

Jesus helps me understand I am suited and equipped to tell people about his love. I know his love well, because I have experienced it firsthand. When I was lost, condemned under the burden of my sin, Jesus rescued me. When I was sentenced to eternal punishment because of my rebellion, through Jesus God declared me not guilty. When I deserved to be rejected and separated from him for all time, Jesus called me to be his own. Now as I go through life, his gospel assures me of the forgiveness of sins and helps me grow in my understanding and appreciation for his great love. Not only am I equipped to pray for workers, it is also clear I am equipped to be a worker.

This is why I earnestly pray for the Lord to send workers into the harvest field. It is also why I delight to know an answer to my prayer is me.

Prayer:
O gracious Savior, I rejoice to know your undeserved love for the lost. I also rejoice to know you have called and equipped me to share that love with others who are lost. 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.

Saving Faith – July 2, 2017

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Luke 7:36-50

Saving Faith


Daily Devotion – July 2, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 7:36-50

See series: Devotions

Quite a cast of characters: a Pharisee, a prostitute, and Jesus. The Pharisees were a religious/political party that emphasized the authority of the written Old Testament Scriptures. But they also believed that God had revealed additional details to Moses on Mt. Sinai about ways that various laws were to be applied in daily life. This they called “Oral Tradition.”

The Pharisees were known for their very strict observance of the nit-picky nuances that they added to God’s Law. They insisted that those who wanted to remain in good standing with God had to follow their regulations. As you can well imagine, Jesus and the Pharisees were often at odds. He frequently condemned their self-righteous hypocrisy, saving some of his sharpest rebukes for the way they burdened the souls of God’s people with rules that not even they were able to keep.

Jesus told a parable of the two debtors: one owed a moneylender 500 denarii and the other 50. A denarius was a day’s wages at the time. Neither had the money to pay him back, so he graciously forgave the debt of both.

“So, Simon . . .” Jesus asked, “which loved the man more?” “I suppose the one who was forgiven more,” he replied. He was clever enough to know where Jesus was about to go. You see, because Simon didn’t think he needed God’s forgiveness, he didn’t even extend the common courtesies of the day to Jesus, his invited guest. And Jesus called him on it.

But the woman knew what she had done and failed to do. She had lived an immoral life. Overwhelmed with guilt, overcome by her shame, she came. She wet Jesus’ feet with penitent tears, wiped them dry with her hair, kissed them in humble adoration and anointed them with fragrant perfume. She knew Jesus was her Savior–her only hope of pardon and peace! Jesus accepted her unassuming devotion, and told smug Simon: “I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little. Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’”

Jesus Christ is your Savior too! On the cross he secured your pardon and put you at peace with God. At Easter’s empty tomb he proved the point that because he lives heaven’s gates stand wide open for you! Believe it . . . or not. What’ll it be? Will you be like Simon, the hardened hypocrite? Or will you be like penitent woman who reverently worshipped at Jesus feet? Jesus told her, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Prayer:
Jesus, assure me of your forgiveness that I may live in peace with God. 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 Only Way to Heaven – July 1, 2017

“We…know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”
Galatians 2:15-16

The Only way to Heaven


Daily Devotion – July 1, 2017

Devotion based on Galatians 2:15-16

See series: Devotions

If you died and had to face God today, why would he let you into heaven? “Because I believe in Jesus and because I am a good person.” Is that a correct answer? Much of religion today teaches the idea that if we are all basically good people, we are going to get to heaven. Just don’t do anything too bad and you’ll be alright.

That line of thinking does not mesh with what the Bible teaches us. The Bible very clearly teaches that the ONLY way to heaven is through faith in Jesus as our Savior from sin. “But I’m a good person. Doesn’t that count for something to be saved?” The answer is a resounding, no. Galatians chapter 2 teaches us that we cannot be saved by the things we do. Let’s be honest. We are so quick to count up all of the good things we do, but that can’t begin to erase all of the wrong things we do. For each good deed or nice word, there are many selfish moments or lies spoken. For every generous action, we can think of handfuls of greedy thoughts. It does not matter how good we are. The point is we are not perfect as God’s law demands. If we rely on our own “goodness” to go to heaven, we are going to be horribly disappointed.

Thankfully there is one who was perfect–our Savior Jesus. The Bible tells us that Jesus had no sin even though he was tempted in every way that we are. Jesus lived a perfect life in our place and died an innocent death on our behalf. He is why we are saved. He is how we are forgiven. His blood washes away all of our sins.

Getting to heaven is not about what we do or don’t do. It is all about what Jesus has done for us. Put your faith in Jesus and trust in him alone as the way to heaven. When that day comes and we meet the Lord, he will let us into heaven only because we believe that Jesus is our Savior from sin. Trust in your Savior and learn to let go of your own “goodness.”

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, forgive me for thinking and believing that I am good enough for heaven on my own. Help me to always realize that you are my only way to heaven. Thank you for your sacrifice and help me to trust in you and you alone. 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.