This Body is a Tent – June 19, 2018

For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:4-8

This Body is a Tent


Daily Devotion – June 19, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 5:4-8

See series: Devotions

Today I sit in the monochrome waiting room of the specialist doctor’s office to which I was referred. Last night I went to the funeral home full of bright flower arrangements to attend the visitation for a man loved by many, now departed from this life. Last week I spoke with an adolescent young man who has an appointment scheduled to scan his body for any cancerous cells left following surgery. Tomorrow there is a good chance I will be very sore after my morning workout. If you’ve lived, you have had similar experiences. You know one day your body will give out and give up.

There is a reason you sit in medical building waiting rooms and why your loved ones will one day gather for a visitation when you have passed. The bodies we have are tents for our souls. Tents are temporary dwellings, made from canvass, plastic, or fabric. They are set up for now, but soon they will be taken down. They rip and tear, and we groan through it.

Even if you groan, you can have confidence always. The God who has created you has also created a new dwelling place for you. He has created a heavenly dwelling—a permanent home. It is yours to occupy, because of Jesus.

Our current bodies struggle and fail, because our lives are filled with disobedience to our creator. If we were to stand before his judgment seat on our own, such disobedience would merit his disownment. Yet, God sent his Son, Jesus, to dwell in the earthly tent of a human body for a time. His death came before his body naturally gave out. His death was brought by the cross.

Jesus willingly gave his life up to death to be disowned by God in your place. He did this, so you could one day be at home with the Lord, with a perfect body that will never give out or give up. Trusting in Jesus as your Savior, that is your confidence.

Prayer:
Lord God, when I groan over the temporary nature of my earthly body, remind me that I can have complete confidence in the permanent home you have for me in heaven through Jesus Christ. 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.
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Is the Word working? – June 18, 2018

[Jesus] also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
Mark 4:26-34

Is the Word working?


Daily Devotion – June 18, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 4:26-34

See series: Devotions

The Word of God is certainly ink blotches laid down on a page. It is sound waves coming from ear buds or a voice. It is pixels on a screen of a device. Sometimes, though, God’s Word can seem like only that. At times, God’s Word may seem to be even less than that as it can look and sound like empty words.

Those Words may have seemed like mere words if we had been witnesses of Jesus’ ministry. His teaching made his own family think he was out of his mind. The Jewish religious elite thought he was demon-possessed. Was the Word working?

We also can find evidence of the Word seeming to be mere words in the present day. Though there are some churches which are large and attract many, there are many more which are small, seemingly insignificant, and on the verge of closing. Is the Word working? There are people who acknowledge the Word but live contrary to it. Is the Word working? What about in your own life? Have you seen a marked change in yourself from day to day?

In these two parables, however, Jesus helps us see what we cannot see with our eyes and hear what we cannot hear with our ears. Just as a seed is planted in the ground and we cannot see what is happing under the ground, so also is God’s Word. We cannot always see its power at work, yet it is at work to provide a rich harvest.

If we try to use our eyes and ears, the working of the Word might just look weak, insignificant, and ineffective—much like a small insignificant seed. But the Word has power to grow, much like that small seed grows into the mightiest of plants.

The Word of God is powerful, and it is at work among us today. It expands God’s kingdom around the world. It turns the rebellious into children of God. It renews you. It strengthens you. It is growing you into a mighty harvest which finally Jesus will come to gather to himself.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, give me eyes and ears of faith to trust that your Word is at work creating a harvest 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.
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When God Chose to Love Us – June 17, 2018

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

When God Chose to Love Us


Daily Devotion – June 17, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 5:8

See series: Devotions

Some years ago, actor Harrison Ford starred in a motion picture entitled, “Regarding Henry.” Ford portrays a man by the name of Henry Turner. Henry is a successful Manhattan lawyer. He is also callous, cruel, adulterous, unethical, and self-absorbed. His toxic personality made life miserable for his wife and daughter. The family is on the verge of collapse.

Then, something happens. Henry walks into a convenience store just as a robbery is about to take place. Bullets fly. Henry gets shot in the head. The trauma he sustains is severe. He nearly dies.

Many months pass. After much rehabilitation, Henry is able to walk, and talk, and function as before. But his memory of life before the shooting is still unclear. As he works to fit back into his old life, he slowly learns from others what kind of a man he had once been. The Henry who exists after the shooting discovers that he wants nothing to do with the Henry who existed before the shooting. He becomes a devoted husband, a caring father, a principled lawyer, a faithful friend.

Here’s a question: For which man would you rather die to save…the Henry who existed before the shooting, or the Henry who exists after the shooting?

Today’s Bible verse tells us that Christ died for us “while we were still sinners.” At a time when hearts of people contained nothing but the bitter bile of sin, at a time when we were all about us and wanted nothing to do with God—at that time God chose to become one of us, to take on himself the punishment for our toxic lives, to die on the cross to wash us clean.

That’s the kind of love God has for you in Jesus. It doesn’t depend on what you do for him. It doesn’t depend on what you did for him. God’s love for you in Jesus flows from himself.

That simple truth makes me want to be like the Henry who exists after the shooting. No doubt that simple truth makes you want to do the same.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, at a time when I was nothing but sin, you died for me. Now I’m yours by faith alone. Move me by your Spirit to live my life for you. 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.

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Live for the Lord – June 16, 2018

After the Israelites set out from Rephidim, they entered the Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the mountain. 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. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has said.”
Exodus 19:2-8a

Live for the Lord


Daily Devotion – June 16, 2018

Devotion based on Exodus 19:2-8a

See series: Devotions

One way to define the word “hypocrite” is to say one thing and then do another. Accordingly, we all have to admit that we are hypocrites because we have not fully followed through on every word we’ve spoken.

In the same way, we could call the Israelites hypocrites. They had just received God’s Word through Moses from the top of Mount Sinai. Just months earlier God had delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh as they passed safely through the Red Sea. They were ready to do whatever the Lord their God said. Their hearts of faith were burning in love, fear, and awe for the Lord. The Lord rescued them from slavery in Egypt and was leading them to the Promised Land! Yet, so many times thereafter they showed themselves to be unfaithful to the Lord. They said one thing, but did another.

Like the Israelites, I know the Lord. I know the wonderful, gracious, merciful things God has done for me by sending his Son Jesus to be my Savior. I certainly don’t deserve such compassion through Jesus who has freed me from slavery to sin, death, and the devil. On top of that he has given me the sure hope of the heavenly, eternal Promised Land. My heart of faith can’t help but respond: “I will live for and serve my God! I will do whatever he tells me in his Word!”

The reality for you and for me is that while we are on this side of heaven, we all have a sinful selfish nature that seeks not what God wants, but what WE want. This sinful nature, this old evil self, is why we continue to fall into sin, even when we’ve told God that we won’t do that anymore. We must recognize this enemy within us so that we learn there is only one source of help and rescue: God our Savior.

In humility we daily return to the Lord, the God of free and faithful grace, and confess our many sins. We confidently trust Jesus whose blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness. We gladly listen to God who holds open the door to the Promised Land of heaven. Then we rightly respond and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, strive daily to live according to his Word.

Prayer:
Lord, you alone know my many faults, sins, and shortcomings. Forgive me, O Lord, and renew my spirit each day that I may live for you more and more. 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.

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Placing Labels on People – June 15, 2018

[God] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:5

Placing Labels on People


Daily Devotion – June 15, 2018

Devotion based on Titus 3:5

See series: Devotions

Placing labels on people—that’s something the world loves to do. Some labels are encouraging: “You’re a winner…a natural leader…a hero.” Some hurt: “You’re a loser…ignorant…lazy.” In fact, labels can cause all sorts of problems by making some feel arrogant and others feel insecure. But those labels are based on someone else’s opinion, and it’s foolish to let the opinion of others determine how you feel about yourself.

However, when it comes to the opinion of God, that’s different. God our Savior has placed a label on you. “Mine,” he says. That’s not just an opinion, it’s a fact because he has done everything necessary to make it true. He has washed away your sin with his precious blood. He has wrapped you in his righteousness. He not only created you, he purchased and won you from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Even the faith you need to believe that saving message is something the Holy Spirit freely provided.

For those times when you wonder, “Could this really be true?” When the devil accuses, and your conscience agrees: “God could never love a sinner like you!” That’s when the Holy Spirit reminds you of a most precious blessing: baptism—the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. By the power of God’s Word, baptism connected you to Christ. God the Holy Spirit placed a “label” on you. “Mine,” he said. “You belong to me.”

Some labels should be ignored, but through baptism, the Holy Spirit has placed a label on you worth pondering every day. You are his own. There is nothing in this world more important and more comforting than knowing that you belong to God your Savior!

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, thank you for the priceless gift of baptism. Through this washing of rebirth and renewal, you have made me your own. Constantly remind me of this glorious truth. 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.
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Catching Your Spiritual Breath – June 14, 2018

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Job 33:4

Catching Your Spiritual Breath


Daily Devotion – June 14, 2018

Devotion based on Job 33:4

See series: Devotions

Did you ever get the wind knocked out of you? Whether as the result of playing a contact sport or just slipping on some ice and landing on your back, it can be a most anxious feeling. For a few moments you lie there, unable to breathe. Your lungs have been emptied by the jolt, and with your diaphragm temporarily paralyzed, you aren’t able to take in any air. When oxygen is in short supply, panic may set in. Fortunately, it usually isn’t long before your respiratory system begins working again the way it’s supposed to.

God created us in such a way that breathing in and out sustains our life. The Bible specifically records the moment the first human took his first breath. “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

More than just filling Adam’s lungs with air, God gave him the gift of spiritual life. In the original languages of the Bible, the words for spirit can also be translated as wind or air. What a beautiful reminder that just as the wind is all around us and yet invisible, so is the Holy Spirit of God. Just as the air we breathe keeps our bodies alive, so the Holy Spirit creates and strengthens spiritual life in us. The Spirit does this through the Word of God which he inspired (breathed into) the prophets and apostles to write about God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

Sometimes we can get the spiritual wind knocked out of us. Temptations and troubles, disasters and doubts, can leave us spiritually breathless. When Satan scores a blow to our spiritual breathing, it can unbalance our faith and cause us to become paralyzed with fear. In those moments, ask the Holy Spirit to help you catch your spiritual breath again. Don’t panic but listen as the Spirit points you to your Savior, Jesus who breathed his last on the cross, so that you might live forever with him.

Prayer:
Lord God, you created me through the power of the Holy Spirit. When I become winded in this weary world, send your Holy Spirit to breathe new life into me through the good news of my Savior, Jesus Christ. 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.
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I Am My Father’s Child – June 13, 2018

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Genesis 3:8-15

I Am My Father’s Child


Daily Devotion – June 13, 2018

Devotion based on Genesis 3:8-15

See series: Devotions

Sadly, I am my father’s child.

When my first father, Adam, heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden, he didn’t run to greet his loving Creator to spend quality time and perfect fellowship with him. Instead Adam ran and hid among the trees. It’s quite silly, really—running and hiding from the Almighty! But that’s what sinful people do. They do foolish things. When Adam was confronted with his sin, he tried deflecting. He tried making excuses. He tried shifting blame. That was foolish.

I do that too; too often. When confronted with my sin I try to deflect the discussion to something else, something that isn’t the heart of the matter. I try to make excuses to justify my behavior, or at least make it a bit more understandable and therefore reasonable. When this fails, I try to shift the blame to someone else. Then, over time, shifting blame becomes a first resort rather than a last resort. Yes, they are quite silly—my foolish attempts to hide from the Almighty!

Thankfully, I am my Father’s child.

When the Lord God had exposed the wretched state of his first children, he went on to address the serpent. God pronounced a curse upon the serpent, and along with this curse he proclaimed a wonderful promise. One of the woman’s offspring—a Savior—would come. He would crush the devil. He would restore what had been broken. Centuries later that promise was fulfilled in Jesus.

Now, by the grace of God and by the working of the Holy Spirit, I am a child of God. No longer estranged. Not disowned. Never abandoned. Having been freed from foolishness, I have been embraced. I am loved. I am forgiven. And I can walk with my Lord God in the morning, at mid-day, in the cool of the day—in peace and living hope.

Dear friend in Jesus, acknowledge that you are a child of the fall, and confess that you too often want others to take the fall for your transgressions. Then, rejoice that you are a child of the promise, and live as a redeemed, restored, forgiven child of your Father in heaven.

Prayer:
O Lord, help me remember, today and every day, that I am my Heavenly Father’s child. 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.
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Young – June 12, 2018

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16

Young


Daily Devotion – June 12, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:16

See series: Devotions

Here’s a list you may or may not want to read. It’s an official list of signs you are growing older.

According to British researchers in the April 16 edition of Express magazine, the signs, on average, begin at age 41.

Ready? Here we go.

Number 21 on the list of signs that you are growing older: You do not know the names of any modern bands. Number 18: Having colleagues who don’t know what a cassette tape is. Number 12: Falling asleep in front of the TV.

Number 11: Choosing clothes and shoes for comfort instead of style. Number 9: Finding it hard to sit cross-legged on the floor. Number 7 is finding strange hairs growing out of your ears. Number 6 is misplacing your car keys.

Number 5 on the list of signs you are growing older: Not knowing any songs in the Top 10. Number 4 is giving out an involuntary groan when you bend down. Number 3 is talking about your ailments with others.

And according to researchers, the number 1 sign that you are growing older? Forgetting names.

We can smile at this list. In fact, we should. But as we do, there is also the quiet acknowledgement that, with each passing year, our bodies age. This reality is simply part of living in a world broken by sin—your sin and mine.

But here’s the good news. In Jesus, we are young. Through faith in his life and death and resurrection on our behalf, our inner self is being renewed day by day. As we bask in his full and complete forgiveness, all things are fresh and clean and new. There is purpose in our life. There is meaning. There is a vibrancy that no anti-aging product can ever produce. There is a spring in our step as we walk with our Savior, who is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

And as for these bodies of ours that keep getting older? When Jesus returns, even they will be young again. Better than ever. For all eternity.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, on those days when my body feels its age, remind me that even the aging of my body is temporary. Remind me that in you, all things are new. Forever. 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.
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The Right Conclusion – June 11, 2018

Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem, said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”
Mark 3:20-22

The Right Conclusion


Daily Devotion – June 11, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 3:20-22

See series: Devotions

There were many people who had their ideas about Jesus. Their conclusions were often based on what they observed, and sometimes what they assumed. These personal ideas often led to the wrong conclusion. This is why I need to rely on the testimony of Scriptures and the gift of faith.

Through these gracious gifts I can arrive at the right conclusion. This is important because during this life I will need to rely on Jesus. If I allow the world to influence me, I might come to the same conclusion his family did: Jesus is out of his mind … how can anyone promise or do what Jesus did! I might also be led to the same faulty conclusion the teachers of the law had: Jesus couldn’t possibly be God … he must be some kind of demon who masquerades as an agent of good.

Only the Scriptures lead me to the right conclusion. God’s Word reveals what I need to know and believe. In its inspired and error-free testimony I come to know the truth, and that truth is precious. Jesus came as my substitute to do what was impossible for me to accomplish. Jesus came as my Savior to rescue me from the judgment I deserved for my sin. Jesus came as the Son of God to secure my victory over death and hell.

It is only through the witness of the Scriptures that I can know the truth, and what a blessed truth it is. God’s Word leads me to the only right conclusion—Jesus is God’s Son and my Savior.

Prayer:
O gracious Father in heaven, I know I am easily confused and distracted. By your holy Word increase my faith to confess with confidence Jesus is my Lord and 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.
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Jesus Came to Call Sinners – June 10, 2018

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 9:10-13

Jesus Came to Call Sinners


Daily Devotion – June 10, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 9:10-13

See series: Devotions

The Pharisees did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. They didn’t accept him as the one God had promised to rescue them from sin’s curse and deliver them from their enemy Satan. As proof of their position, they pointed to Jesus’ activity of dining with people of ill-reputation (tax collectors) and eating with those whose lifestyle opposed God’s law (“sinners”). Their logic was that if Jesus is God, he would know what kind of people he was associating with and avoid them.

Jesus responded to his unbelieving critics, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” The Pharisees considered themselves spiritually healthy because they strived to live good and obedient lives before God. They didn’t think they needed Jesus for spiritual healing to save them. So Jesus told them that he couldn’t help them because they wouldn’t admit that they were sick with sin. However, Jesus made it clear that he was glad to minister to those who admit their guilt and look to him as their only hope for salvation.

Jesus quotes God’s word recorded in Hosea’s prophecy, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Salvation from the condemnation we deserve as sinners doesn’t come by sacrifices that we make—by good things that we strive to do and wrong things we seek to avoid. Not at all! Rather, rescue from the curse of sin comes only by everything Jesus has done for us. The “mercy” that God desires is to sincerely admit that we are sinners and trust Jesus alone for full forgiveness of sins and free salvation from eternal death.

Jesus came to call sinners. That’s me. That’s you. He is our Savior!

Prayer:
Help me realize, dear Jesus, that I am sick with sin. Open my eyes to see you as my Savior and my heart to put my complete trust in you for salvation. Then open up my mouth to speak your praises for all your great goodness. 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.

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Eyes of Love – June 9, 2018

[Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God … being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Romans 4:20-21

Eyes of Love


Daily Devotion – June 9, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 4:20-21

See series: Devotions

There’s a story about a nighttime fire that started in a family’s house. The entire family escaped except for one child—a young boy. The fire had forced him to keep climbing until he found himself on the roof. The boy was trapped. He could not go back downstairs—the heat was too intense. The smoke around him was so thick that it left him disoriented and confused. The thought of jumping off that roof paralyzed him with fear. So he stood, and time was running out.

But then below him, in the darkness, beyond the smoke, there came a voice. It was the voice of his father. “Jump, Son, jump!” the father cried out. “Just jump, and I will catch you.” But the boy could not see his father. On that terrible roof, all he could see were flames, sparks, darkness and smoke. In a choking voice the boy sobbed, “I’m afraid to jump, Daddy. I can’t see you.”

It was then that the father cried out the one thing that made all the difference. “I know you can’t see me, Son,” the father said. “But I can see you.” That’s all the boy needed to hear. He jumped. His father caught him, and all was well.

Because of your sin and mine, life in this broken world is often like standing on the roof of a burning house. So much smoke, so much chaos, so much confusion—it can paralyze us with fear.

But beyond the darkness comes the voice of our heavenly Father. Through the power of his Word he calls to us. He calls to us to trust him, to trust his promises, to trust his will for our lives. And trust him we can—not because we see through the smoke, but because he does.

Our heavenly Father sees us. And he will catch us. Every time. After all, he gave his own Son to wash us clean and make us his own. Since then, his eyes of love have never left us.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, through the darkness and smoke of this fallen world, you see us. By your Spirit, embrace us in this marvelous truth. Move us to trust your promises and your will for our lives. 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.

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I Need the Holy Spirit – June 8, 2018

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Psalm 51:11

I Need the Holy Spirit


Daily Devotion – June 8, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 51:11

See series: Devotions

“I trust him about as far as I can throw him. If I don’t keep my eye on him every second, there’s no telling what he will try to pull. I have to be vigilant 24-7. I simply can’t trust him a bit.”

King David didn’t write those words. But maybe he could have. David was recovering from a serious spiritual crisis. He had sinned against the Lord. He had taken another man’s wife for his own. He had murdered that other man through conspiracy and misuse of power. He had deceived a nation—God’s people. He had denied his sins.

But David was forgiven. The Lord took away his sin. The Lord had cleansed him and made him clean. The Lord had washed away all his iniquity and cleansed him of sin. (Read Psalm 51.) Now David was moving forward in repentant faith. He knew he was forgiven and a child of God. He knew God would not hold his sin against him. But David also knew that his only hope of remaining a child of God was the work of the Holy Spirit.

So he prayed: “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” As if to say, “Lord, I was born with a sinful nature. I trust that I have your forgiveness for that sinful nature and all that it does. But I don’t trust my sinful nature even as far as I can throw it. I need your help to keep that sinful nature from getting the best of me and taking me down. Be merciful to me and do not drive me away. Keep me close to you. If you should ever take your Holy Spirit from me, I’m a goner. So send the Holy Spirit to me again and again through your loving promises, that I may live and enjoy your love forever.”

We can pray the same thing. We have a sinful nature that we can’t trust. We have forgiveness through Christ, who died and rose again. We have received the gift of the Holy Spirit through Word and sacrament. We have the ongoing need and the gospel-born confidence to pray: “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”

Prayer:
Dear Lord, be merciful to me. As you have so richly forgiven me, so continue to send me your Holy Spirit, that I may not fall from faith, but remain your child forever. 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.
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Loneliness – June 7, 2018

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
Psalm 139:7-8

Loneliness


Daily Devotion – June 7, 2018

Devotion based on Psalm 139:7-8

See series: Devotions

A five-year-old boy had a terrible nightmare. He dreamt that his family had vanished and left him all alone. The boy woke up terrified in the middle of the night and began frantically searching the house in the darkness, looking for his parents. But it was to no avail, for in his confusion, he forgot to check their bedroom. What a relief when his bewildered father came downstairs and found him whimpering in the kitchen.

Loneliness is a terrible feeling and abandonment is even worse. Here’s where we discover the amazing comfort of God’s omnipresence, which means that God is present everywhere. Only God possesses this quality, so the psalm writer, King David, makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is truly God because he, too, is everywhere.

And what a comfort! A five-year-old child is terrified if he’s left all alone, but even for adults the world is a frightening place. How should we deal with financial ruin, terminal illness, or the death of someone we dearly love? How can we handle even just the stress of daily living and the endless stream of nagging problems? Most importantly, how can we face our own death? The problems of this world are too big for us to handle on our own. We know this. But we are not alone.

Make sure you know why this is true.

Jesus died praying Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” God the Father abandoned his only Son while Jesus was on the cross. Jesus was plunged into darkness and indescribable suffering…alone. Why was Jesus torn from his Father? Why did he experience the terrible abandonment of God? He was getting what we deserved. He was suffering for our sins. He endured our punishment. Jesus cried out to his Heavenly Father, “Why have you forsaken me?” so we would never have to.

Through faith in Jesus God is present with you forever. No matter what you’re going through; no matter how dark things are, the Lord almighty is with you. He has you by the hand and he will never let you go. Never! Not even death can separate you from him.

The Lord almighty is with you and with him you are safe.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, I have nothing to fear because you are with me. Help me to ponder that truth 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.
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The Lord Gives Us Rest – June 6, 2018

“Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”
Deuteronomy 5:12-15

The Lord Gives Us Rest


Daily Devotion – June 6, 2018

Devotion based on Deuteronomy 5:12-15

See series: Devotions

Last month was a busy one for our family. With two birthdays, two graduations, Mother’s Day, and a wedding, we had plenty of happy occasions to celebrate. By the end of the month we were exhausted, running from one big event to the next. However, we often reminded ourselves how blessed we were that these were happy events that kept us so busy. Life could just as easily throw an equally large number of challenges and tragedies at us in a short period of time.

Whether we are overwhelmed with the good things of this world or with disasters, we can quickly forget that this world is not the only one. We get so caught up in the daily chores, weekly specials, monthly bills, and annual events that it seems that time will always just keep marching forward. We lose sight of Jesus’ promise to return one day soon and end the world as we know it. So in the Third Commandment, the Lord commanded his people to take a regular rest from their earthly routines.

When we gather for worship on a weekly basis, the Lord not only gives us momentary relief from the daily grind, he gives us true, eternal rest for our souls. Just as God had rescued his Old Testament people from slavery in Egypt, he rescued us from slavery to sin, death, and the devil by the work of his Son Jesus Christ. In our worship services, the Lord reminds us through his Word about everything that Christ has done for us. Confidently in Christ, we know that the sad times of life now will soon be a bygone experience, while the happy events of this world are a foretaste of unending heavenly joy we will have through Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord God, break through my focus on the busyness of this world to remind me of the blessedness of the world to come. 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.
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Something More – June 5, 2018

We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:7

Something More


Daily Devotion – June 5, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:7

See series: Devotions

In the 1930’s and ‘40’s, an actress by the name of Hedy Lamarr was one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood. Many called her, “the most beautiful woman in the world.” People flocked into the theaters to see her movies. The profits from her films were in the millions. She was one of the reigning queens of the silver screen.

But as the years went by, her outward beauty faded. Her box office popularity declined, and many dismissed her as an aging remnant from a bygone era. In her closing years she lived quietly, rarely leaving her home. She died in the year 2000.

A recent documentary entitled, “Bombshell” reveals that Hedy Lamarr had much more than just a pretty face for moviegoers to see. She also possessed scientific, inventive genius. Unknown to almost anyone at the time, Hedy Lamarr, in the days of World War II, created and patented a radio frequency system to benefit the U.S. Navy. This system is the basis for the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS technology that the world enjoys today.

People knew Hedy Lamarr for her physical beauty, even though she had much more to offer. For what do people know you? Perhaps some know you for what you do for a living. Perhaps others know you for your favorite hobby or a particular talent you have. Perhaps still others know you for your role as a parent or grandparent. And it’s likely that there are all kinds of people in your life who do not know you for anything specific at all.

Regardless whether people take note of us for anything, you and I have something to offer—something more significant than what we do for a living, how we look, or what abilities we have. Beyond all that, you and I possess the treasure of the gospel. You and I possess the extraordinary news that God has entered our world in the person of Jesus Christ, that he has washed away our every sinful failure through his death on the cross. You and I possess the history-changing message that, through faith in Jesus Christ, people receive forgiveness, peace, purpose, fulfillment, and life eternal in heaven.

What we have to offer outshines even the invention of Wi-Fi. Let’s share it.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for the treasure of the gospel. Give me opportunities this week to share my treasure with others. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Fatal Flaw – June 4, 2018

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”
Mark 2:23-24

Fatal Flaw


Daily Devotion – June 4, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 2:23-24

See series: Devotions

The Pharisees had a fatal flaw. They were always intent on finding fault with others. Their main target was Jesus. On this occasion, however, they directed their attention to Jesus’ disciples. It seemed the disciples provided their accusers with a golden opportunity. As they walked through a field, they picked some heads of grain to eat. According to the Pharisees this was work, harvesting on the Sabbath.

Their assault on the disciples might have worked if Jesus didn’t call attention to their fatal flaw. While he didn’t defend his disciples’ actions, he did reveal the Pharisees abuse of the other commandments. In their fervor to keep the Sabbath Day, they rejected the other commandments, especially the ones which required them to love others. This was their fatal flaw.

Jesus’ exposure of their sin is what I need on a daily basis. It is easy for me to compare myself with others. I especially like comparing myself with those whose decisions, choices and lives are what I consider worse than mine. I can easily point out their misdeeds, and quickly feel better about myself because I am not like them. When I embark upon this self-righteous comparison, I am no different than the Pharisees. My fatal flaw is theirs.

This is why I need Jesus to uncover my sin of arrogance and self-centeredness. I also need to hear his call to repent. As I acknowledge and sincerely confess my guilt, he leads me to the forgiveness he provides. He directs me to his sinless life—every commandment perfectly kept. He leads me to his cross—every act of disobedience completely washed away. He even opens my eyes to his undeserved love—every reason I need to serve him and others in love.

Here is the only way I can address my fatal flaw: In Jesus I receive forgiveness. In Jesus I receive new strength and hope. In Jesus I receive the love that leads me to be loving.

Prayer:
O dearest Savior, remove my self-righteous pride. Replace it with your undeserved and unselfish love, and lead me to live in love with others. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Going to Heaven – June 3, 2018

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7:21-23

Going to Heaven


Daily Devotion – June 3, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 7:21-23

See series: Devotions

Many people think being a Christian is all about treating people fairly, doing to others what you want them to do to you, always doing the right thing in your life. While those are all good things, none of them makes a person a Christian.

Jesus said there would be people who do miracles and preach in his name and still not go to heaven. Only those who do the will of God are going to heaven. If I keep the Ten Commandments then, does that make me a Christian?

No, because I can’t keep the Ten Commandments. For God requires that not only my actions be perfectly conformed to his holy will, he also commands the same for my words and even my thoughts! Don’t murder includes not yelling in anger at the crazy driver who cut me off in traffic. Don’t steal includes not complaining about the lack of things in my life that I see others having in theirs. Don’t commit adultery includes not doing anything that hurts my marriage—ignoring or criticizing my spouse.

Despite my many failures to obey God’s commands, I know I am going to heaven. I’m absolutely certain! How can I be sure?

Jesus gave his life for me. He kept all the Ten Commandments in my place. He offered his life as payment for all the sins I’ve done—the complaining and hurting and yelling and thousands of other sinful actions, words, and thoughts.

I’m going to heaven because of Jesus. Nothing I do. Nothing I can do. Jesus has done it all for me. Not because I founded an orphanage, or gave blood numerous times to the Red Cross, or did other “Christian works.” Jesus will welcome me home because he fulfilled God’s will perfectly as my substitute. Heaven is his gift to me.

Even better, heaven is Jesus’ gift to you also. Being a Christian is not about what you do. Being a Christian is trusting Jesus who has done everything for you. He has forgiven you at the cost of his own life.

Prayer:
Jesus, forgive me for taking false pride in the Christian things I do. Thanks for your unearned love and forgiveness, and the gift of heaven which you give to me by faith alone. Help me do the right things and treat people fairly as a simple way of thanking you for your gift of 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.

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A Different Way – June 2, 2018

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. … Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
Romans 3:21-25a, 27-28

A Different Way


Daily Devotion – June 2, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 3:21-25a, 27-28

See series: Devotions

A two-year-old boy stubbornly seeks to gain his independence. As he searches, he develops a favorite phrase that quickly becomes a refrain in his life: “Me do it! Me do it by myself!” He wants to tie his own shoes: “Me do it by myself!” He wants to buckle himself in his car seat: “Me do it by myself!” He wants to pour his own glass of milk: “Me do it by myself!” Independence is a wonderful thing for a child to seek, unless, of course, he has not yet developed the ability to complete such tasks by himself. If he can’t yet tie his own shoes or buckle his own car seat or pour his own milk, the end result will only be frustration and failure and puddles of milk on the floor.

We human beings, by our natures, want to operate exactly that same way when it comes to our relationship with God. Our grammar may be a little better, but the message remains the same: “I want to get right with God by myself!” And, by our very natures, we stubbornly think that we can.

We think God will be happy with us if we observe most of his laws most of the time or, at least, if we observe most of his laws better than most others do. But here’s the problem: Our holy God demands perfection from us. And not just most of the time. All of the time. Because none of us can claim that sort of perfection on our own, what the Bible says is true of all of us: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We have failed to meet our holy God’s holy standards. That failure to observe all of God’s laws absolutely perfectly leads to a much worse result than puddles of milk on the floor. Our sin should result in eternal death in hell.

This is why God planned a different way for us to be saved from hell. Because he knew we could not obtain righteousness (perfection) on our own, he planned to give it to us as a gift. He sent his Son Jesus into the world in order to live the righteous life we could not and to pay the price we owed for our sins through his death. Christ did all of that work in our place, as our substitute. And now, God offers Jesus’ perfectly righteous life to us as a free gift—a free gift that he gives to us through faith. God’s Word clearly says, “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”

“I want to get right with God by myself!” Faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior leads us to strike that stubborn phrase from our vocabulary—that stubborn attitude from our lives—forever! Faith in Jesus Christ leads us to cling instead to Christ and his righteousness as the only way to get right with God and as the only way to heaven.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, grant me a heart that despairs of myself and my own failed attempts to gain righteousness before God. In its place, grant me a heart that trusts only in you and the righteousness you won for me through your 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.

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My Body is a Temple – June 1, 2018

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16

My Body is a Temple


Daily Devotion – June 1, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 3:16

See series: Devotions

“My body is a temple.” Those could either be the prideful words of a fitness fanatic who is in shape and knows it… or a Christian. For some people, eating right, working out, and living a “healthy lifestyle” is a religion. They themselves become the idol. Their body is the temple. Their pride is their motivation.

Christians can say, “my body is a temple,” because they believe in the one true God. God’s temple used to be in a traveling tent in the desert wilderness. God’s temple used to be a magnificent stone edifice in Jerusalem. But since Jesus died, rose again, and ascended into heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit to his church on earth; God’s temple is in human hearts. The Holy Spirit takes up residence in the hearts of people.

What kind of people does he choose to dwell in? Good people? People who chose to let him in? People who don’t resist him as badly? We might be tempted to think that there was at least something different, better, or “easier” about us that made the Holy Spirit want to live in us. But it isn’t true.

The Holy Spirit comes to hard-hearted, unwilling souls lost in unbelief and dead in sin—hearts that don’t deserve him and would never ask for him on their own. And yet the Holy Spirit never forces anyone. He gently, powerfully turns those unwilling hearts into willing hearts by his gracious gospel of forgiveness, then dwells in those willing hearts. Yours. Mine. Ours.

When you look at the members of the congregation you attend, give thanks for them. Pray for them. Practice love toward them. Forgive them as Christ forgave you. Live at peace with them. Serve in unity with them, as God’s temple, together.

When Christians say, “my body is a temple,” it’s the very opposite of pride and self-centeredness. They say it together: “WE are God’s temple. The Holy Spirit lives in me and in you… in US, through faith in Christ.”

Prayer:
Dear Holy Spirit, thank you for coming to this dark, dead soul and giving me life through the gospel of Christ. Thank you for graciously living in me and joining me to my fellow Christians. Let us serve together as your temple. 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.
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Are you ready to be judged? – May 31, 2018

For [God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to men by raising him from the dead.
Acts 17:31
“From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.” (from The Apostles’ Creed)

Are you ready to be judged?


Daily Devotion – May 31, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 17:31

See series: Devotions

I recently attended a children’s art fair. Hundreds of pieces representing countless hours of work hung on the walls. The art was judged. White, red, blue, and “judges’ choice” ribbons were attached to some of the pieces. A majority of the art, though, did not receive a ribbon. I would not want my artwork to be judged.

Most people don’t like to be judged. They don’t look forward to job reviews, physical checkups, and relationship quizzes. What will their boss, doctor, or people close to them say? How will they be judged?

One day we will all be judged. In his Word, God says that he has set a day when Jesus will judge the world—every single one of us. Our Judge demands that we be perfect. Our sinful hearts, lying, cursing, hatred, and all of our sins testify against us. We are far from perfect.

Why does God tell us this? God does not want us to falsely hope in ourselves. He tells us this “so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” On our own, we are without excuse or defense. We cannot “try” our way out from under his judgment. “No one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law” (Romans 3).

Is all hope lost? If it were up to us, yes. But, thank God. In grace, God intervened on our behalf and provides what we could not. God gives us his righteousness. For us, Jesus lived a perfect life, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. In Christ, God declares us not guilty. Sinners like you and me are forgiven. Jesus has bought our freedom. God smiles on us. By faith in Jesus, he gives us heaven as our eternal home.

Through Jesus, you are ready to be judged. Jesus stands at your side. He points to his perfect life, his death in your place, and his resurrection. Then he points ahead as he leads you to your heavenly home with him.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, one day I will be judged. In humble repentance and confident joy, let me look forward to that great day. Sustain and increase my trust in you and all that you’ve done for my salvation. Until that day, let everything I say and do loudly shout that I love and trust 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.
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One with the Holy One – May 30, 2018

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” … “your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Isaiah 6:3,7,8

One with the Holy One


Daily Devotion – May 30, 2018

Devotion based on Isaiah 6:3,7,8

See series: Devotions

Relationships are rewarding. No relationship is more meaningful and important than the one I have with the Lord. My present and eternal life depend on that relationship.

Yet how can I be certain that such a relationship exists? And if it exists, how can I be sure it will endure? I can’t help but recognize the vast gulf between my nature and his. He is absolute perfection while my life reveals countless imperfections.

Before him the heavenly angels shield their faces and feet with their wings. They cry out in reverent awe, “Holy, holy, holy.” The holy Lord demands and deserves such holiness from me. Like Isaiah I humbly confess my own brokenness and inability to secure and sustain a relationship with the high and holy Lord.

Yet the Lord of matchless majesty is also the Lord of matchless mercy. He bridges the divide between his holiness and my sinfulness. The bridge he provides is Jesus. He takes my sins and bears them all upon the cross. My guilt is completely taken away, and in its place, he freely gives me his grace. Before the holy God I am holy, for Jesus’ holiness is mine.

The bond of the Savior’s love also spans the great gap between the holy God and an unholy world. The whole earth is full of his glory for Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Through unbelief and rejection of God’s promise this gift is lost. However, through faith worked by the Holy Spirit, this gift is secure. We have peace with God and the promise of an everlasting relationship with him.

In the freedom of God’s forgiveness, Isaiah confidently received God’s invitation to be his prophet. He boldly answered God’s call, “Here am I. Send me!” The Lord still sends out messengers to fearlessly confess his saving name with faith-driven courage. Our holy and gracious God draws even more people into a relationship with him as his saving word is proclaimed.

Prayer:
O heavenly Father, you are truly loving and holy. Through your holy Son you have provided healing and forgiveness to an unholy world. Send the Holy Spirit to create faith in you through your Holy 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.
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Fight Temptation – May 29, 2018

Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:14-17

Fight Temptation


Daily Devotion – May 29, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 8:14-17

See series: Devotions

Do you ever feel the temptation to do something that you know is wrong? How do you fight it?

One way to fight temptation is to remember who you are. By baptism, you are a member of God’s family. He has put the family name on you, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” the name of the only true God. When you pray the Lord’s Prayer, you call God your Father in heaven, and that is exactly right. You are not a slave to your passions and fears. You have been brought out of slavery into being a member of the family.

Another way to fight temptation is to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to you in the Word of God. You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Honor God with your body. The Spirit prompts you to repentance and faith, encouraging you with the promises of God when you fall. He renews your faith as you go through daily struggles.

Your baptism has connected you to the sufferings of Christ. He suffered for you, taking the punishment for your sins. God wants you to know that he has compassion on you because he sacrificed his one and only Son. He wants you to gain confidence in your everyday life from knowing and believing what he has done for you.

You are not alone. Your fellow Christian family members also struggle with temptation. They can be very helpful to you when you are struggling.

Your Savior, Jesus, was tempted in every way, just as you are, and yet was without sin. You can always approach him with confidence and ask for help. Because the perfect life of Jesus counts for you, you don’t have to worry that God the Father will give up on you. You will share in his glory.

Prayer:
Jesus, my sins alarm me, and my conscience grieves me. Let your cross disarm my fear and give me peace. 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.
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Back to Basics – May 28, 2018

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:14-17

Back to Basics


Daily Devotion – May 28, 2018

Devotion based on John 3:14-17

See series: Devotions

The candlelight flickered with the slight night breeze. A man named Nicodemus had come to speak with Jesus privately to learn more about him. Nicodemus had been raised in the school of work-righteousness—the belief that people earn favor and blessing from God by what they do. We can relate to that. Like Nicodemus, each of us has a voice inside of us which insists that if we are going to be right with God, we ourselves need to make that happen. To our natural selves, it only makes sense. So like Nicodemus, we need Jesus to take us back to the basics.

Jesus used a story Nicodemus knew. There was a time in the Old Testament when the Israelites rebelled against God. Because of that rebellion, the Israelites faced death at the fangs of venomous snakes God had sent. The wages of their sin was death. Yet God also instructed Moses to make a snake of bronze and put it up on a pole with the promise that all who looked to it would not die. God’s people sinned. They deserved death. He gave them life. With faith kindled by God’s promise, they trusted and lived.

Jesus said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” We all have the venom of sin coursing through us, and it kills both body and soul. The wages of our sin is death. Yet God has given us all the antidote: not a bronze snake lifted up on a pole, but his Son lifted up on a cross to pay for the sins of the world. The good news Jesus gave to Nicodemus is the same news given to us in likely the most famous passage of the Bible: John 3:16, “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.”

Jesus takes us back to the basics. We are sinful. We face death. Jesus paid for our sins. Through faith in him, we have life. So, when you are weighed down by your guilt or start to think that you have to earn your way into God’s good graces, listen to the lesson Jesus gave Nicodemus. Go back to the basics. In Jesus, you have life now and forever.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 304:5)
I, a sinner, come to you with a penitent confession. Savior, show me mercy, too; grant for all my sins remission. Let these words my soul relieve—Jesus sinners does receive. 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.
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Our Triune God Blesses Us – May 27, 2018

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
2 Corinthians 13:14

Our Triune God Blesses Us


Daily Devotion – May 27, 2018

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 13:14

See series: Devotions

As remarkable as the description of our Triune God is (he is three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and yet one undivided God), the blessings that we receive through our Triune God are perhaps even more remarkable. We see these blessings summarized so simply in this final verse of the apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. Our Triune God blesses us with: His grace. His love. His fellowship.

First, his grace. God’s grace, by its very definition, is a gift—something that he gives us even though we do not deserve it. What is that gift of God’s grace? It is himself! God himself took on flesh and came into our world to live the perfect life that we could not and then died the innocent death that we deserved to die because of our sins. Both Jesus’ perfect life and innocent death were done in our place in order to win for us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is what saves us. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is the reason those who believe in him will rejoice in heaven one day rather than suffer in hell.

Next, his love. God’s love is what drove him, what motivated him, what moved him to give us such a gift of his grace. If God did not love us, he would have left us to suffer for what our sins deserved. “Every man for himself!” would have been the cry from a God who did not love. But God did love, because God is love. His love moved him to send his Son to save us from eternal death in hell and give us life with him forever.

Finally, his fellowship. Fellowship with God is what we now have because of his grace and love. People who have fellowship are united. They share all good things with each other. No barriers separate them. How amazing it is to think that unholy sinners like we are could ever have fellowship with a holy God! But we do! And now we enjoy all the blessings of his fellowship: a new life in Christ, answered prayers, unity with fellow believers, the comfort of sins forgiven and life that will never end. We have fellowship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, both now and forever. We have fellowship with God because of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was driven by the love of God.

The grace, the love, the fellowship. This is who our God is. This is how our God blesses us. This is why we are saved. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Prayer:
O Triune God, we praise you for the remarkable blessings you have given to us—your grace, your love, your fellowship. Keep us in them always. 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.

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Everything We Need to Know – May 26, 2018

“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:7-8

Everything We Need to Know


Daily Devotion – May 26, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 1:7-8

See series: Devotions

How long do you think the line would be if God came down to earth to answer questions for a day? Maybe you’ve had a question someone couldn’t answer so they said, “You’ll have to ask God when you get to heaven.”

We all have questions. We question why things happened the way they did. We question why God didn’t tell us this or that; why didn’t he let us in on the secret. The disciples asked him one of those questions. And Jesus said, “It’s not for you to know…” Why Jesus wouldn’t answer the question we don’t know. We just know that there are some things that aren’t for us to know.

But there’s plenty that we do know. We know that we’re sinful and need a Savior. We know that God sent Jesus to be our Savior. We know that God sent Jesus to be born as a man, to stand in our place, to fulfill all of God’s Law perfectly. We know that God sent Jesus to endure the punishment we deserved by suffering and dying on the cross. We know that Jesus did exactly as God planned, and he rose from the dead on Easter Sunday to prove it. Everything Jesus did was just as God planned, just as God wanted, and just what we needed to be saved.

Everything we need to know for life with God, God has given us in his Word. And now that we know it, he wants us to share it. He wants us to start at home and work our way out—to our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, even to the ends of the earth. We don’t need to know the answers to all of life’s questions. What we know about God from his Word is all we need to know!

Prayer:
Gracious Lord, we thank you for telling us all we need to know for salvation. Help us to share that good news of Jesus’ living, dying, and rising with all those we know. 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.

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