Compassion for Spiritual Rest – July 23, 2024

But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Mark 6:33,34

Compassion for Spiritual Rest

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Daily Devotion – July 23, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 6:33,34

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Sheep are needy creatures. They require constant supervision and care. Sheep have no defense against predators like wolves, coyotes, and even birds of prey. They are susceptible to disease and parasites. Sheep must be shorn regularly to prevent overheating. They have to be shown where to eat so they don’t die of starvation and malnutrition. Sheep need a shepherd.

When Jesus saw the people, he compared them to sheep without a shepherd. Jesus had compassion for them because their spiritual needs were not being met. And like shepherdless sheep, they would be spiritually doomed. So Jesus graciously gave them what he and his disciples had come for—rest. He gave them that rest by teaching them many things. He shared his words with them.

Spiritually, we are much like sheep. We are needy. We are defenseless against our spiritual enemies and susceptible to false teaching. We carry the burden of our guilt and shame. We forget where to find spiritual food and rest that will sustain us. We need a Shepherd.

Only Jesus, our Good Shepherd, can give us what we spiritually need. When we come to worship, open our Bibles, and listen to a devotion, Jesus’ heart fills with compassion toward us. Just as he loved those people in that large crowd, Jesus loves us. He wants to be our Good Shepherd and to give us spiritual rest.

Jesus loves us so much that he laid down his life for us, dying for our sins so that we could live forever with him. So we can have the forgiveness of sins and the rest that comes through peace with God.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for caring about my spiritual rest. Forgive me for when I’ve looked for that rest anywhere besides you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Compassion for Physical Rest – July 22, 2024

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
Mark 6:30-32

Compassion for Physical Rest

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Daily Devotion – July 22, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 6:30-32

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You don’t have to look hard to find the benefits of rest. Psychologists and physicians agree that rest is vital for overall well-being. You don’t need an expert to tell you that. You have experienced it yourself. You know the difference a full night of sleep can make. When you’re trying to solve a problem, it can be beneficial to step away from the issue, take a rest, and come back refreshed. Even a five-minute break can make a big difference.

Because rest is so important, it’s not surprising to see Jesus have compassion for those who need physical rest. Jesus’ disciples are called apostles because he sent them out with a message on a mission. They had just returned from that work and needed rest. Jesus looked at them with compassion. He suggested they come with him to a quiet place to rest and recuperate.

Jesus cared about every aspect of the disciples’ lives. When they needed rest, Jesus looked for a way to provide it. Jesus cares about every aspect of your life. He sees you, all of you, body and soul together. He cares for the needs of the soul as well as the body. Jesus knows that you have limits. Jesus has not called you to work endlessly without rest.

Working without an end drains you. It leaves you empty. It gives no opportunity for prayer, meditation, and reflection. It wears you out. From the very beginning, God has given you an example of rest when God rested on the seventh day of creation.

Find your rest in Jesus, the one who cares about all of you. Jesus, who rested from his work of saving you on the day between Good Friday and Easter in a tomb, welcomes you to rest in him.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, when I am tired and worn, help me come to you for rest. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Take a Break with Jesus – July 21, 2024

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

Take a Break with Jesus

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Daily Devotion – July 21, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 6:30-34

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Everyone needs a break from people, even those who regularly serve people. A doctor cannot always be with patients. A teacher cannot always be with students. Even Jesus took time away from the crowds of people who were coming to see him. He did this to be with his disciples. He did this to show his closest followers some one-on-one attention. Jesus said, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Jesus makes the same invitation to you. Take some time to be alone with Jesus and his Word in your Bible. It will remind you that God loves you. It will remind you how Jesus died on the cross for you and rose from the dead to guarantee your forgiveness and a place in heaven with him. Go with Jesus and get some rest.

And then go back and serve the people God has brought into your life, just as Jesus did. “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”

May the moments you spend with Jesus in the Word strengthen you in your service to others.

Prayer:
Compassionate Lord, may the love and attention you have shown me, help me to show love and attention to those I meet today. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Bad News, Good News – July 20, 2024

Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. For this is what Amos is saying: “‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.’” Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’”
Amos 7:10-15

Bad News, Good News

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Daily Devotion – July 20, 2024

Devotion based on Amos 7:10-15

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No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. Yet, we sometimes find ourselves in that situation, and there’s nothing we can do about it. The prophet Amos found himself in that position. He was to bring a message of God’s judgment on the people of Israel and tell them that Israel would be conquered because the people rejected God. Amaziah, who served as the most important priest in Bethel, didn’t like the message either. He wanted Amos to stop proclaiming this bad news and to return to his own people. Yet, Amos did not stop. Instead, he pointed out that he must proclaim what the Lord says.

Often, we find ourselves in the same shoes as Amos. Someone we care about is saying or doing something God says they shouldn’t. And when we bring it to their attention, they are less than receptive.

Fortunately, the message of the Lord is not only bad news. He also proclaims the good news that he has saved us from our sin. He points us to Jesus. And in that news, we hear a message that surpasses any bad news we could possibly hear. We hear how he has rescued us from our condemnation through Jesus. What greater message can there be for us to share?

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, boldly allow me to go and proclaim your message of grace. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Faithful Pastors – July 19, 2024

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Titus 1:9

Faithful Pastors

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Daily Devotion – July 19, 2024

Devotion based on Titus 1:9

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If you could design the perfect pastor, what would he be like? He would probably be a man who was wise, eloquent, and clever. A go-getter who would run the church like an expert CEO. People would come from miles around to hear him speak. Because of him, members who hadn’t come to services in years would return by the truckload, and the church’s offerings would increase by two hundred fifty percent. He would be someone who could single-handedly save your church.

While there is nothing wrong with eloquence and crack management skills, there is one characteristic that every pastor must have, and we often take for granted. In his letter to a young pastor named Titus, the apostle Paul makes it clear that the Lord wants pastors who firmly hold to the trustworthy message as it has been taught in the Bible. In other words, God doesn’t want men who single-handedly save the church. He wants men who proclaim the Savior of the Church.

Is there any other better characteristic to have? The Bible’s trustworthy message is centered on God’s incomprehensible love for us. It is beyond understanding that the Son of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:14). It’s even more beyond understanding that the enfleshed Son of God became obedient to death on a cross for your sins (Philippians 2:8). It is a mystery that he rose from the dead, and it is beyond our comprehension how he will raise us, too, but he will!

There’s no such thing as a perfect pastor. What we need are faithful pastors who use that trustworthy message to encourage those who need to hear it and refute those who oppose it. Christ answered for all our sins on the cross and rose from the dead, and faithful pastors deliver that sound doctrine to us so that we have no doubt where we stand with God.

Prayer:
Lord of the Church, help pastors stay faithful to their calling and to love your Word and your people. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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What’s Your Motivation? – July 18, 2024

Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there.” . . . Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’”
Amos 7:12,14,15

What’s Your Motivation?

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Daily Devotion – July 18, 2024

Devotion based on Amos 7:12,14,15

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It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book: ignore the message by discrediting the messenger. God had sent Amos to call his people to repentance, and Amaziah ignored Amos’ message by accusing him of being a professional who was only concerned about himself.

That kind of thing happens a lot. Christians speak the truth about sin and are called unloving for their trouble. That’s why staying quiet is often easier than confronting someone with their sin.

The problem is that God does not save people by your silence; he saves people by his truth. So what motivates you? Concern for yourself or concern for others?

God may not have called you to be a prophet, but prophets are not the only ones who share God’s truth. Every Christian gets to do that. And if you’re only concerned about yourself, that would be very difficult to do.

Amos made it clear that he was not a professional prophet. He was a shepherd who would still be at his farm if the Lord hadn’t said, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.” In other words, Amos didn’t ask to be a prophet; that’s what God made him.

Something similar happened with you. You didn’t ask God to declare Jesus guilty of every sin you’ve ever committed, nor did you ask him to punish Jesus for all those sins instead of you. But he did because he loves you.

He made you someone who listens to him, so listen to what he has to say: sin is serious and separates us from him, but Jesus is the solution to the sin problem. God grant that people will hear Jesus’ Word from your mouth so that they will see Jesus in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord, give me a genuine concern for the spiritual welfare of others. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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What They Need to Hear – July 17, 2024

Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. For this is what Amos is saying: ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go into exile.’”
Amos 7:10,11

What They Need to Hear

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Daily Devotion – July 17, 2024

Devotion based on Amos 7:10,11

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The Prophet Amos lived about 800 years before Christ. The twelve tribes of Israel had been a united country under their first three kings, but then there was a civil war, and they split into two separate countries: Israel in the north and Judah in the south.

By the time Amos came along, the divided kingdom had been going on for almost two hundred years. In the northern kingdom, things were going well. The economy was roaring, their territory was increasing, and the people of Israel appeared very religious.

But there was a problem: It was all fake. Yes, there was prosperity, but there was also social injustice and oppression. Their country had a veneer of piety, but it was not in service to the true God. They worshiped God in ways that he had forbidden, and they also worshiped false gods along with him.

Enter Amos. Amos was from the southern kingdom, but God sent him north to preach. He pointed out the nation’s sins and warned them that if they did not return to the Lord, they would be exiled to a foreign land.

His message was not well received. He was accused of being a political revolutionary and reported to the king. But what was Amos supposed to say? If they were sorry for their sin, God would tell Amos to forgive them. But they were not sorry, so he couldn’t. They needed to hear the consequences of their actions. God pleaded with them to stop walking down the road that led to hell.

It’s a lesson worth remembering: when it comes to sin, you may not always be able to tell people what they want to hear, but you can always tell them what they need to hear. Sin has serious consequences, and we have a serious Savior who took those consequences upon himself to forgive us. Like Amos, we can proclaim, “Repent and believe the good news!”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, give me strength when I tell people what they need to hear about their sin. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Unbelievable Trust – July 16, 2024

These were Jesus’ instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
Mark 6:8-11

Unbelievable Trust

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Daily Devotion – July 16, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 6:8-11

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Can you imagine going on a long business trip without taking along any luggage, food, or money? It would be unthinkable, right?

But that’s what Jesus told his twelve disciples to do. When he sent them out on a preaching trip in groups of two, he told them to take along nothing but a walking stick, the clothes on their back, and the sandals on their feet.

It’s unthinkable, right? Why would he make such a big demand of them? Because he was teaching them to trust God to provide. They were to have complete trust that God would provide the food, shelter, and protection they needed day by day.

He did this through the generosity of those who believed their message and opened their homes to them. This freed the disciples from worrying about the necessities of life so they could spend their time sharing the message of eternal life.

This message, however, would not be appreciated by everyone. Some would reject it. When that happened, the disciples were to shake that place’s dust off their feet as a warning that God would reject anyone who rejects the messengers of his Son. How could he not? God’s messengers are sent with his authority and rejecting them is tantamount to rejecting him (Luke 10:16).

And where do we fit into all this? You may not be one of the twelve original disciples, but Jesus also commands you to proclaim his Word and trust him to provide for your needs.

You can expect the same divine care the disciples received, as well as the same mixed reception. Like the disciples, you are responsible for speaking the Word, and God is responsible for the results. So anchor your trust in the Savior who sends you with his authority and rules all things for your good.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me trust your provision and care. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Are You Up to the Task? – July 15, 2024

Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. . . They went out and preached that people should repent.
Mark 6:7,12

Are You Up to the Task?

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Daily Devotion – July 15, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 6:7,12

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It is easy for Christians to look at the world around them and become discouraged. Sin is spreading, hostility toward biblical truth is intensifying, and lies about the nature of God and humanity are spreading like wildfire. So many people unknowingly follow the devil, who wants only to devour them (1 Peter 3:8). What should we do about it?

To answer that question, look at what Jesus did. He had been teaching and preaching all over Galilee. Wherever he went, he encountered spreading sin, hostility to the truth, and lies about God. So, what did he do? He sent out the twelve apostles with special authority to tell lost sinners who were unknowingly following Satan to turn away from their sin and believe in Jesus as their Savior.

That is the task Jesus gave the Twelve, and it’s the same one he gives to you. It’s the only solution to the problem. Are you up to the task?

Maybe you’re thinking, “Absolutely not! The Twelve had special training from Jesus, but I’m just an ordinary person.” Jesus may not have given you authority over impure spirits, but he has given you the gospel, which is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

That good news is as powerful today as it was when Jesus first sent out the Twelve. The gospel declares that Jesus lived perfectly for you, sacrificed that perfection on the cross, and rose from the dead to declare you perfect in God’s sight. That message is the only thing that can stop sinners from following the devil and follow Christ instead.

It’s the solution to the problem, and every Christian has it! Every Christian has the authority to speak in Jesus’ name and to tell sinners to repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:15). Jesus does not send you without first equipping you, and he has already given you everything you need for this task.

Prayer:
Son of God, my Savior, thank you for entrusting me with the gospel that forgives me and equips me to serve you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Repent! – July 14, 2024

They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
Mark 6:12,13

Repent!

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Daily Devotion – July 14, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 6:12,13

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The message Jesus told his disciples to proclaim was simple. They were to tell people to repent. It’s a message that is still important for us to hear today.

Repentance is a change of mind about our sins and relationship with God. So, God applies his law to our lives. The law demands that our every thought, word, and action be perfect. Under that kind of scrutiny, we are crushed under the enormity of our sin. God leads us to realize how impossible it is to save ourselves. He makes it clear that, as sinners, we deserve to be eternally separated from him and his love.

God’s law is not the last word, though. He comforts us with news that our sins are forgiven through Jesus. This good news is the power of God that brings us to faith in the Savior Jesus and fills us with the joy of living forever with God.

Repentance is God’s saving activity that he does for us through his Word. It makes us sorry for sinning against God and grateful that he has saved us from those sins through our Savior. Thank God for his gift of repentance!

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me pay close attention to your law so I see my sin and its seriousness. Fill me with the joyous sounds of your gospel, which comfort me with salvation through faith in Jesus. Give me a hunger for your Word so I am eager to hear it often. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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No Confusion – July 13, 2024

“Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Mark 6:3

No Confusion

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Daily Devotion – July 13, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 6:3

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Many people today are confused about Jesus. Was he only a great man or really God? Did he have a family? Can we know anything about him for sure, with so many legends floating around?

If you’re confused, you have good company. The neighbors who watched Jesus grow up and the kids who played with him were confused. Was Jesus really a miracle worker? How could he be? He was just an ordinary man. Where did he get off claiming miracles? They were confused and offended by his claims.

Jesus wasn’t confused about who he was. He was the son of Mary. He was also the Son of God—not in a metaphysical or allegorical sense, but in a real, true sense. Jesus was man and God. The Bible makes this very clear.

Jesus wasn’t confused about what he came to do. He came specifically to live in our place and die in our place. He came to provide forgiveness of sins for all people—whether they accepted him or not, whether they recognized their sins or not. He had come to save the human race.

He included you in his plans. He is your God. He became a human being to live and die for you. God accepts you because of Jesus. One day, you will get to meet Jesus face-to-face. There won’t be any confusion. You’ll be looking at your God, who gave his life for you!

Prayer:
Jesus, don’t let me fall for any untruths that try to make me believe you’re only a human being or that your life is just a myth. While your free forgiveness sounds too good to be true, strengthen my faith to know it is reality until I can see you with my own eyes! Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Willing to Endure – July 12, 2024

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
2 Timothy 2:10

Willing to Endure

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Daily Devotion – July 12, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 2:10

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What would you be willing to endure if you knew, without a doubt, that you could change one person’s eternal fate? What comforts would you give up? What sacrifices would you make in order to make sure that person’s soul ends up in heaven with God?

God knows who the elect are. In other words, he knows those who will have faith in him and be in heaven one day. We can’t see people’s hearts. We’re not in charge of the results of what happens when we proclaim God’s Word to people. The Holy Spirit is in charge of those results. But we can be active and faithful in pointing people to God’s Word and the message of Christ.

Like Paul, we might face adversity or pushback to our message. It might not be comfortable to speak about our faith. We likely won’t get thrown in prison. But we may find that this world is still just as hostile to the Word of God as it was in Paul’s day. We may have to endure some hardships if we’re going to be disciples of Jesus.

Yet, Paul was willing to endure it all. If reaching someone with the salvation that is in Christ Jesus meant having to go through pain and discomfort in his own life, he considered that worth it. The other person’s eternal gain outweighed his temporary personal pain. Paul’s rock he could lean on to endure the hardships was knowing that he’d already obtained the eternal glory that is in Christ. No matter what happened to him, he was already a victor. He’d already won his race before actually crossing the finish line.

As a believer, you also already know the end of your story. Your eternal fate is sealed with the blood of Jesus shed for you on the cross. His empty tomb will become yours. So, let’s endure whatever we need to in order to make that end of the story a reality for others, too. Let’s run across the finish line into heaven with as many others as possible!

Prayer:
Dear gracious Lord, help me endure suffering and hardship on behalf of you and your gospel. Use me to bring your saving word to all. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God’s Word Unchained – July 11, 2024

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.
2 Timothy 2:8,9

God’s Word Unchained

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Daily Devotion – July 11, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 2:8,9

See series: Devotions

Joseph. Samson. Jeremiah. John the Baptist. Peter and John. Paul and Silas. What do all these figures from the Bible have in common?

Answer: they were all imprisoned at some point. This seems to be a recurring theme in the Bible. God’s people keep ending up behind bars, chained up. By the time the apostle Paul wrote this letter, he’d been in prison numerous times. But Paul isn’t worried about his chains. Yes, the gospel message of Jesus’ resurrection had put him in chains. But the gospel freedom he had in Christ was greater than his chains. Paul knew that even though he was chained up, God’s Word was not chained. And it never would be.

Followers of Christ can be imprisoned and chained up. But God’s gracious promises can’t be snuffed out or chained up. His Word will never pass away. In fact, God’s Word has always tended to spread even faster when his followers were persecuted.

Imprisonment of God’s people may be a recurring theme in the Bible but so is the theme of freeing the captives. Jesus spoke these words from Isaiah chapter 61 in Nazareth, “the Lord has anointed me…to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Freeing prisoners and breaking chains are the Savior’s specialty. It’s what he came for. The world will never be able to chain up his Word of the gospel.

So, no matter what you’re facing right now or what situations leave you feeling imprisoned by sin or despair; remember that God’s Word is not chained. And the gospel of Jesus has the power to break you free of your chains too.

Prayer:
Chain-breaking Lord, I thank for proclaiming freedom for me and releasing me from the dungeon of darkness and sin by your Word of grace. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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A Pastor’s Death Row Wish – July 10, 2024

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.
2 Timothy 2:8,9

A Pastor’s Death Row Wish

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Daily Devotion – July 10, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 2:8,9

See series: Devotions

If your pastor knew he could only say one more thing to you from his deathbed, what do you think he would say?

When the apostle Paul wrote the book of 2 Timothy, he knew he would soon be put to death. Paul longed to see Timothy one more time. But he wrote as if he knew his time was too short for that to happen. Of all the final advice and encouragement Paul gave to Timothy, perhaps none of it is simpler and more important than this one phrase: “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.” He was saying, “Timothy, always remember what Jesus has done for you and who he is.”

This was the message that had put Paul in chains. But he wouldn’t have traded that gospel message for the world. Paul’s death-row wish for Timothy was that he would always remember Jesus, the Son of David, risen from the dead for him, too. This was the one thing that mattered most. If Timothy held to faith in the risen Christ, then he and Paul would certainly meet again in heaven.

I’ll bet your pastor would like to say the same thing to you if he only had one sentence left to give you. “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David.” Your Savior’s identity as the chosen Messiah and his work of rising from the dead for you has set you free from sin and death. Because of that, one day, you’ll be able to say it with the same confidence as Paul, “I have finished the race…Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness.”

Prayer:
Dear risen Savior, Son of David, go with me as I run my race and take me to life everlasting with you. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Be a Fellow Suffering Soldier – July 9, 2024

Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:3

Be a Fellow Suffering Soldier

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Daily Devotion – July 9, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 2:3

See series: Devotions

“Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.” That’s the first line of a hymn written in the 1800s. In that hymn, God’s Church on earth is compared with an army. Not an army bent on conquest and destruction, but an army bent on breaking down the gates of hell and freeing souls with the message of Jesus’ cross. God’s Church has a mission to advance with the gospel to every corner of the earth.

The apostle Paul also briefly takes on the imagery of an army and soldiers in today’s Bible reading from the book of 2 Timothy. He urges Timothy to join him as a fellow suffering soldier for Christ. Soldiers follow orders. Soldiers leave their quiet lives as a citizens behind to go on a mission. Soldiers on active duty may have to go hungry and sleepless as they engage the enemy.

This reminds us that our time as God’s people on earth isn’t a cakewalk. As followers of Christ, we take on this calling to be suffering soldiers for Christ. It’s not supposed to be easy if we’re following behind our commander, Jesus. He’s going to bring us into the places that are hardest hit by sin and despair. He puts us on the front lines in our communities, planting us among people who need hope and forgiveness. Taking on the ministry of God’s Church in the world will take a toll on us. It will likely leave us feeling like a discouraged soldier pinned down under enemy fire at times.

But God doesn’t leave us to be suffering soldiers alone. We have a commander who has gotten down into the front lines with his troops. God, in Jesus, made himself a fellow suffering soldier in our war against sin, death, and Satan. Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, fought on the front lines, led the charge, and took all the enemy fire away from us by going to the cross in our place.

The next line in that old hymn says, “Christ, the royal master, leads against the foe; forward into battle, see his banners go!” So now we can join in as suffering soldiers in God’s army along with Paul and Timothy and our leader, Jesus.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, help me bear up under suffering as I follow your mission to bring good news to the world. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Be Strong in Grace – July 8, 2024

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1

Be Strong in Grace

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Daily Devotion – July 8, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Timothy 2:1

See series: Devotions

Be strong in your faith. Be strong in your convictions. Be strong in times of hardship. Those are phrases you’d expect to hear if someone were trying to offer you life encouragement. But the apostle Paul had an even better phrase to share with his young friend and fellow pastor, Timothy. He said to Timothy, “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Paul wrote the book of 2 Timothy near the end of his life. These words were Paul’s last will and testament for Timothy. You’d expect Paul to tell Timothy to be strong in holding to the truth and strong and bold in his proclamation of the gospel. Paul does tell Timothy to be strong in those ways, but more importantly, he tells Timothy, “Be strong in the grace of Jesus.”

Strength is usually gained by going to the gym and working out. Strength is gained by doing something, like training and putting in hard work. But here, Paul was telling Timothy to find spiritual strength by simply resting in the strength of Christ. The undeserved love and grace that Jesus had given to Timothy would give him the ability to be strong in all the other ways. Because Timothy was wrapped up in the grace of Christ’s saving work for him, he would also have the strength to hold to his conviction and proclaim the gospel despite rejection and hardship.

These words of life encouragement aren’t just for Timothy. They are for you, too. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Simply rest in the strength and work of your Savior.

Prayer:
Dear mighty Father, wrap me in the strength of your love for me. Keep me always in Christ, my strong rock and refuge. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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God, Please Talk to Me – July 7, 2024

The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’
Ezekiel 2:4

God, Please Talk to Me

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Daily Devotion – July 7, 2024

Devotion based on Ezekiel 2:4

See series: Devotions

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to talk with God? If we could only call him on the phone and hear his voice, or send him an e-mail and get a reply from [email protected]. He could give us answers to our questions. He could help us to know what to do and what direction to take in our lives. By hearing his voice, we would be assured he is with us and will help us. Yes, it would be wonderful for God to talk with us.

God is not so far removed from his world that he is out of touch with us. God does talk with his people. In times past, God talked directly to some of them. Ezekiel, a prophet who lived about 580 years before Jesus was born, heard the voice of God. Over a long period of time, God gave this man important messages to speak to the people. He faithfully repeated those messages and assured his audience that, “this is what the Sovereign LORD says.”

There were other prophets and specially chosen men to whom God also spoke in times past. They, too, heard the voice of God, and as they were moved by the power of the Holy Spirit, they wrote down God’s word. Through that written word, recorded in the Bible, God still speaks to us today. As we read it, we can be confident that this is what the Sovereign LORD says.

He’s not available on the phone or accessible with the computer. But you can open up your Bible, and God will talk to you today. He has some important things for you to hear.

Prayer:
God, speak to me through your Word. Assure me that you are my Savior from sin and Lord of my life. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Every Morning – July 6, 2024

Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22,23

Every Morning

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Daily Devotion – July 6, 2024

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:22,23

See series: Devotions

What’s your morning ritual? When does the blaring of the alarm clock burst your pleasant sleep? What can you “check off” your list before leaving the house for the day? Is receiving compassion one of those things?

You might not notice it, but God has already been busy before your alarm clock stirs you to action. God tells you that his love and compassion protect and greet you every morning.

Why would you and I need God’s love and compassion every morning? God tells us that we are sinners. There are so many times we have done, said, or thought things that God hates. Not only do we commit sins, but God also tells us that we have a sinful nature that hates what God loves and loves what God hates. Because of what we do and who we are by nature, we deserve to “be consumed”—punished by God.

But God promises to treat us differently than we deserve. In love, God decided to treat his Son differently than he deserved, too. Jesus was punished in our place and for all of our sins. He suffered in our place on the cross and died. In love, God let his Son, Jesus, be consumed because of our sins.

Now, God greets you each day with his love and compassion. For the sake of Jesus, God forgives your sins. You produce new sins every day. So, God gives you love and compassion every day—new every morning.

May God bless you with sleep that leaves you feeling “new” every morning. Whether or not your physical rest brings you into the new day feeling refreshed, God faithfully greets you each morning with his love and compassion through Jesus. May God’s great love and unfailing compassion refresh you every morning and propel you through each day.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I daily sin and deserve only your wrath and punishment. Thank you for your love and compassion—new every morning! In the peace and power of forgiveness, lead me to thank you with all that I do. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Trust Through the Tears – July 5, 2024

When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” So Jesus went with him. . . Some people came from the house . . . “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
Mark 5:22-24,35,36

Trust Through the Tears

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Daily Devotion – July 5, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 5:22-24,35,36

See series: Devotions

He lies in the dirt, clutching Jesus’ feet. Tears stream down his cheeks. “Please, Lord. It’s my daughter. I don’t want to lose her.” Jesus takes him by the hand and helps him up. “Let’s go.” But they don’t make it in time. Some of his friends meet them along the way: “It’s too late. She didn’t make it.”

Does your heart break with his? Have you been there? Overcome with pain, desperate for help. With the pain come the questions: Why? Why do I hurt so much? Why do I have to suffer? And where is God in all this?

Notice how Jesus answers that last question here. When this desperate man comes looking for help, Jesus goes with him. There is no “I don’t have time right now.” There is no questioning to see how deserving the man might be or what he has already done to try to help his daughter. Jesus just goes.

We don’t have to wonder where God is in our pain. When we come to Jesus with tears in our eyes and pains in our hearts, he gives us his undivided attention and care every single time. He shares our pain, and he cares deeply.

Now, some might think it’s foolish to ask Jesus for help. Do we sometimes even think that? He’s too busy. It’s no use. He won’t be able to do anything about it.

That’s what the messengers from that father’s house suggest. But Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Don’t fear that I can’t help. Don’t fear that I don’t care. Don’t fear that you’ve wasted your time. Trust me. Rely on me.

And Jesus goes to his house and raises his daughter from the dead. His trust was in the right place—in the only one who saves.

When life is filled with tears, trust him. You won’t be disappointed.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, help me to trust you in life and in death. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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The Freedom that Brings Life – July 4, 2024

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed . . . we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.
2 Corinthians 4:8,9,14

The Freedom that Brings Life

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Daily Devotion – July 4, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:8,9,14

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On July 4, 1776, the American Declaration of Independence was signed. In its prologue were these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

American politics is full of debates and arguments about the best ways to preserve those so-called unalienable rights. But governments and politicians can’t prevent death, nor can they make us truly free or create a path to uninhibited happiness.

Today’s Bible verse describes a life that doesn’t sound very happy: “hard pressed… perplexed… persecuted… struck down.” As he writes about the Christian life, the author doesn’t promise that life will be easy and carefree—exactly the opposite. But he does seem to give some hope. He writes that, even though all those things are true, we aren’t “crushed… in despair… abandoned… destroyed.”

It may sound like a never-say-die attitude. “Don’t give up. Look on the bright side. Make the best of it.” But our confidence doesn’t come from our own determination or efforts to fight back against what threatens us and overthrow our enemies.

It comes from knowing the one who has already done that for us. “The one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus.” Jesus fought for freedom from death itself. He won that fight by overturning the cause of death—mankind’s disobedience of God’s perfect laws. By living a perfect life and dying an innocent death, he paid the price for our sins once and for all. His rising from the dead was proof that death’s claim on us was ended because our guilt was gone.

Because Jesus rose from the dead, so will we. He gives us life that never ends, liberty from guilt and the grave, and perfect happiness that lasts forever.

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, for all who fight for human freedoms. But most of all, thank you for fighting to set me free from death. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Treasure in Jars of Clay – July 3, 2024

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

Treasure in Jars of Clay

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Daily Devotion – July 3, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:7

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Clay jars were very common in Bible times. They were also fragile. If they were dropped or knocked over, they would break, chip, or crack. There was no super glue, so the only thing to do with broken pottery was to throw it away.

Today’s Bible verse compares Christians to jars of clay. By ourselves, we are nothing special. We don’t live squeaky-clean lives. We have our faults and weaknesses, just like everyone else. We crack or break under pressure.

When the Bible describes us this way, here’s the point: It’s not about us. It’s not about our strength or success. It’s not about how good we look before other people. It’s what’s in the clay jars that matters, not the jars themselves.

What’s in us is a priceless treasure—the beautiful, powerful message called the gospel, the message of Jesus Christ as Lord, the message of light shattering the darkness of sin and life overcoming death because Jesus died and rose again for us sinners.

That amazing treasure makes clay jars anything but ordinary. The message of God’s forgiveness through Jesus repairs our cracks and chips and retouches our blemishes. In the treasure of Baptism, we are scrubbed clean inside and out. In the treasure of Holy Communion, we are filled with the body and blood of Jesus, along with the forgiveness that God promises that we receive with them. We, jars of clay, now stand perfect and beautiful before the heavenly potter who has formed us, lumps of clay, into works of art for his purposes.

Sometimes, people hide valuable things in plain cardboard boxes because no one would think to look there. But that’s not what God wants to happen with the treasure we have. He poured his precious message of life and love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ into clay pots like us so that we can pour it out into the lives of others. We hold the treasure, but we don’t hide it. We value the treasure, but we don’t keep it to ourselves. As ordinary as we are, we have an extraordinary purpose.

Prayer:
Jesus, pour out the treasure of your grace in me and through me. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Worth Waiting For – July 2, 2024

It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:26

Worth Waiting For

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Daily Devotion – July 2, 2024

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:26

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Waiting is hard. In a world in which everything moves faster and faster, we expect everything to come to us quickly. It is hard to wait. What if you know what you are waiting for is worth the wait? Does that make it easier? That wedding date you’ve had circled on your calendar for over a year. That vacation you’ve planned and saved up for. That visit from loved ones you haven’t seen for a long time.

Israel’s history was a history of waiting. When Adam and Eve sinned, God promised to send his Son to crush the devil’s head. But he wouldn’t come in their lifetime. They had to wait. From Abraham to David to Jeremiah and beyond, for centuries, the people waited and waited.

We live in a time of waiting, too. Waiting for Jesus to come back and be delivered from our sorrows and suffering once and for all. When will that day come? We don’t know. Since the day Jesus ascended into heaven, God’s people have been waiting and praying, “Deliver us from evil.”

But that waiting is hard.

You know how hard it is if your health is failing, your body is weakening, and you simply want to see your Savior. “Lord, deliver me.”

You know how hard it is if you’ve had to spend another night in a hospital bed or another day struggling to make ends meet. “Lord, deliver me.”

You know how hard it is if you’ve been mocked or bullied for confessing Christ at school or work. “Lord, deliver me.”

While we wait for the Lord’s deliverance, we are tempted to grow impatient, discouraged, frustrated, and even angry with him.

But the Bible says, “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” We can come before God in humility, saying, “Lord, I don’t have the answers to life’s problems. You do. I don’t need to be in control because you are. I don’t have to worry because you love me. Lord, forgive my fears and frustration, my impatience and anger. I wait in hope for you. Because you love me and are coming to deliver me, I know you are worth waiting for.”

Prayer:
Lord, help me wait patiently for your deliverance. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Unfailing Compassion – July 1, 2024

Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning.
Lamentations 3:22,23

Unfailing Compassion

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Daily Devotion – July 1, 2024

Devotion based on Lamentations 3:22,23

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In an abandoned city, Jeremiah the prophet can only stare in horror at what he sees. Ruin, destruction, death, and desolation. Nothing is left. Tears well up in his eyes. A numbness settles over his heart.

They deserved it. The people of Israel turned away from the Lord. They made their heathen neighbors their allies and worshiped their gods. God’s prophets warned them, but they didn’t listen. The Babylonian army attacked Jerusalem, broke down its walls, burned down its temple, and hauled many of its citizens off to Babylon.

But, staring at the judgment that he knows he and his people deserve, Jeremiah finds hope. His confession is so beautiful. He says: “Because of the LORD‘s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” The Lord has not given up on them. His love for them is that great.

When everything around us is destroyed, the Lord’s great love is not destroyed. Even when our rebellion comes between us and the Lord, the Lord’s great love is not destroyed. Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not destroyed. His love is a shield and refuge for us in life and death.

And his compassions never fail. Just as you can count on the sun coming up every day, so can you count on God’s love and compassion day after day. God’s compassion is new for you every morning. New to heal the new wounds in your heart and life that each day brings. New to remove the new guilt that burdens your soul. New to soothe the new pains as well as those aches that just won’t go away.

Jeremiah’s mindset was not just a glass-half-full attitude that said, “It could be worse.” It was joy-filled confidence that rejoiced in a living and loving God. In his great love and unfailing compassion, God uses every trouble and tragedy to draw us back to him so that he can calm our hearts, dry our tears, and restore our relationship with him. And because God loved us enough to die for us, he has even overcome death so that we will experience his great love forever.

Prayer:
Lord, thank you for your great love and your unfailing compassion. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Don’t Judge a Package by Its Cover – June 30, 2024

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:6,7

Don’t Judge a Package by Its Cover

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Daily Devotion – June 30, 2024

Devotion based on 2 Corinthians 4:6,7

See series: Devotions

Have you ever given someone a present in plain paper wrapping? Why did you do it? Was it to surprise them? Did it work? To surprise someone with a special gift that they are not expecting can give an extra lift to the receiver.

Paul described a gift from God in plain paper wrapping (jars of clay) in our Bible passage. The gift was a treasure, the gospel, God’s plan of salvation for sinful mankind, which includes you and me. Ever since sin separated Adam and Eve from God, that separation has continued in all their descendants. And we can do nothing to bridge the gap between God and us. But God could, and he did! He sent his Son to live a perfect life, and then suffer and die in our place. Jesus has taken all our sins and paid for them, rising victoriously from the grave and defeating Satan for all time. This message is that treasure, the gospel, where God spells it all out for us.

And the plain paper wrapping, the jars of clay, as Paul described them? Paul was describing himself as a sinful, unworthy human, in need of the same salvation he was preaching. And that is true today. God still tells us the story of our salvation through sinful humans using the everyday language that we understand. That treasure is as powerful today as it was in Bible times. You and I have the same assurance of salvation as those who listened to Paul.

Don’t underestimate the power of what God has given us—our salvation through his Son, Jesus.

Prayer:
Thank you for gifting me the forgiveness of sins through my Savior, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Is Jesus Sleeping in Your Boat? – June 29, 2024

That day when evening came, [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. . . A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Mark 4:35-41

Is Jesus Sleeping in Your Boat?

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Daily Devotion – June 29, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:35-41

See series: Devotions

The disciples supposed that Jesus did not care if they drowned. They did not trust his love for them, nor did they have faith in his power to control wind and wave. Jesus exposed their lack of faith asking, “Why are you so afraid?”

Jesus exposes our lack of faith with the same question, “Why are we so afraid?” Do we think he is sleeping through the problems and troubles of our lives and doesn’t care? Do we think he cannot stand up in the middle of danger and disaster and say, “Be calm and be still!”

Yet there he is with his disciples in that boat on the lake in the middle of the storm. Sleeping on a pillow in back of the boat and believing God would take care of them. He spoke words filled with such power that the sea became calm and the winds stopped howling. Perfect calm.

This miracle helped the disciples learn the answer to the question, “Who is this Jesus?” “Even the wind and waves obey him.” This miracle displayed Jesus’ infinite power and teaches us how to respond to Jesus. We join the wind and waves in obeying his every word.

But this miracle also rebukes us when our weak faith wonders, “Does Jesus care?” This miracle demonstrates the boundless, limitless, and infinite love of Jesus. The quieted winds and the calmed waves testify, “Yes, he cares for you!”

Prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, help me wait patiently when you seem to sleep. Help me worship joyfully when you rise to save. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Thirst Quencher – June 28, 2024

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.
Psalm 42:1

Thirst Quencher

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Daily Devotion – June 28, 2024

Devotion based on Psalm 42:1

See series: Devotions

This pastoral passage doesn’t depict a deer drinking deeply from a meandering stream in a peaceful forest. Picture, rather, an antelope wandering aimlessly in the wilderness during a time of drought. There is nothing to ease its thirst, just the hope of the slow trickle of a desert stream. Nothing else will do.

This is not a peaceful image. As we read these words, we should feel the desperation and determination of this dear animal. It is the same desperation and determination we experience during difficult days.

Just as only water will do when we are dehydrated, so only God will do when we are desperate. Why? Because God created us for himself, so only a relationship with our source of life can satisfy us.

Are you looking for love? Are you longing for a relationship? Are you doubting your worth? Are you searching for a purpose? Are you lacking contentment? The Lord, your Shepherd, supplies all you need.

He satisfies your hunger. He quenches your thirst. He gives rest to the weary. He leads the lost. He defends those in danger. He laid down his life for you to save you from your greatest enemies. And he lives to lead you to waters that well up to eternal life.

Imagine if all your needs could be taken care of with one solution. Imagine if, in all our needs, we always desired God. Think of the freedom we would have. The joy. The peace. The energy. The enthusiasm. The excitement. That’s what God provides all the time. Because in him, we have forgiveness. In him, we are family. In him, we are cared for, provided for, and protected for time and eternity.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, my soul thirsts for you. Satisfy my desires with good things. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Don’t You Care? – June 27, 2024

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Mark 4:38

Don’t You Care?

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Daily Devotion – June 27, 2024

Devotion based on Mark 4:38

See series: Devotions

“Don’t you care?”

Jesus had spent all day caring for the needs of others. The disciples had watched him heal people who were diseased or demon-possessed. Even as night fell, people were still bringing their sicknesses to Jesus. Exhausted, Jesus told his disciples to take him across the lake where he could get some rest.

As they made their way across, a furious storm kicked up. In an instant, waves were threatening to capsize the boat. The situation was so bad that even the disciples, who were expert fishermen, feared for their lives. Jesus, however, was fast asleep.

Frantic, the disciples woke Jesus and asked, “Don’t you care about us? Save us.” They knew he could save them, but they wondered why he wasn’t.

It’s a question we easily ask, especially when we experience some sudden, unexplainable, seemingly insurmountable situation. We’ve seen others overcome similar circumstances. We expect that if God is good, he should be good to all in equal ways. But when relief doesn’t come, the frightened questions do. “God, don’t you care?”

Of course, he does. The Bible is filled, from the first page to the last, with examples of God’s loving heart and powerful hands. But nowhere is his care more evident than on the cross. Because Jesus is God, the Father counted Jesus’ death as the full payment for our sins. Jesus died to save us from death. Because he lives, he gives eternal life to all who believe in him. Just because bad things happen doesn’t mean God doesn’t care.

If God didn’t hesitate to sacrifice himself for us, is there anything he wouldn’t do for us? He will do anything to spend forever with us in the paradise he is preparing for his people. Whether in good times or bad, in plenty or want, healthy or sick, storms or calm, we are always in God’s constant, loving care. There is nothing to fear.

Prayer:
Dearest Jesus, I believe you saved me from death, help me believe that you will always care for me in life. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Take Courage – June 26, 2024

So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.
Acts 27:25

Take Courage

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Daily Devotion – June 26, 2024

Devotion based on Acts 27:25

See series: Devotions

Water is powerful. With enough mass and momentum, water topples buildings.

Water is persistent. A little water over a length of time erodes rock and rusts metal.

Water is petrifying. Although our bodies are waterproof, we can drown in one inch of water.

Combine power, persistence, and petrifying in the form of a storm, and even the most experienced sailors will be terrified.

That’s the situation Paul found himself in. He was on a ship bound for Rome. A fierce wind kicked up a terrible storm. The waves were so powerful the sailors were afraid they were going to sink. The clouds were so thick they couldn’t navigate by the sun or stars. For two weeks, they were driven along by the whim of the wind. The sailors were terrified, tired, and hungry.

Despite the odds, Paul told the crew, “Keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed” (Acts 27:22). How could Paul know? What gave him such confidence? One of God’s angels told him.

When life’s trials weigh us down, it is easy to lose hope and stop trusting God. But because of what Paul experienced in the storm, he could write, “In all things God works good to them that love him who have been called according to his purpose.”

God called Paul to proclaim the message of Jesus to the pagan world. He had promised that Paul would take the gospel to Rome. And he did. For two years, Paul proclaimed the kingdom of God. And many listened and believed.

God calls each of us for the same purpose. He gives each of us the same promise. He will never leave or forsake us. Because of Jesus’ saving work, nothing can separate us from God’s love. No one will snatch you out of his hands. Even in the most trying times, God will work good for you and through you.

So, keep up your courage.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, stay with me always, especially when I’m having a bad day. Give me courage, confidence, and good cheer because you are leading me safely through life’s challenges. Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Who Do You Think You Are? – June 25, 2024

Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?”
Job 38:1,2

Who Do You Think You Are?

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Daily Devotion – June 25, 2024

Devotion based on Job 38:1,2

See series: Devotions

“I can do it myself!” the toddler insists.

The teenager broods, “You have no idea what I’m going through.”

“I could do it better,” the twenty-something insists.

Maybe the toddler can grab food off the stove. But does he know the stove is hot? Maybe the teenager’s parent has never experienced what the teenager is going through. But does she have her parent’s knowledge that this too shall pass? Maybe the twenty-something could do the task better. But does he realize there is an important reason why it is done this way?

We all think we know better than those with more wisdom. And what you would like to say to those who question your wisdom probably sounds something like what the Lord said to Job. It’s what God would say if he answered us when we question his wisdom.

“Who do you think you are?”

God is not being a jerk. He’s lovingly helping us remember who he is, what he has done, what he is capable of, and what great and good plans he has in store for us that can only come by the storms through which we must sail.

God knows the plans he has for you. From eternity, he knew how to save us from sin. He laid out the details over thousands of years. And, when the time was right, when everything was in place, he sent his Son to fulfill all of God’s plans as proof that God knows what he is doing. And then he appointed the exact time and place where you should be to hear the good news and receive eternal life.

That’s his plan for you. So, you can be sure, even now, come what may, God knows what he’s doing. He is working all things for good to you who love him.

Prayer: (Romans 11:33,36)
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Daily Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Out of the Storm – June 24, 2024

Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm.
Job 38:1

Out of the Storm

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Daily Devotion – June 24, 2024

Devotion based on Job 38:1

See series: Devotions

Job was a good man—a man of integrity and honesty. Job had a great life. Fame. Fortune. Family. Friends. But, in a short span of time, he lost almost every earthly blessing. His wealth. His health. His children.

Job’s wife encouraged him to give up his relationship with God. Job’s friends insisted that God must be punishing him for something terrible he did. The more they insisted, the more Job pushed back. He demanded an audience with God. He would present his case and prove that God was not justified in allowing him to suffer.

Job’s response is a common one. Storms arise—a disturbing diagnosis, job loss, the death of a loved one—we struggle and suffer and make all kinds of assumptions. Maybe we did something to deserve it. God must be punishing us.

Yes, sometimes we must suffer the consequences of something sinful we have done. But more often, storms arise because we live in a sinful world. And, like Job, we cry out to God. We demand to know why. We say that it’s not fair and we have done nothing to deserve it.

And God answers. Maybe he doesn’t answer you personally. But we can all learn something from his response to Job. When storms arise in life, we imagine that God has turned his back on us and abandoned us. But the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm.

What does this short verse tell us? Even in those storms, God is there. The Lord is with you. He is the unchanging, eternal, faithful God of compassion and grace. He is your Redeemer who conquered death, forgives your sins, heals your diseases, and who saved your life from the pit. His love abounds. His mercy is more. He’s by your side and above the storms. If he brought you to it, he will bring you safely through it. Trust him. He’s in control.

Prayer:
Lord, you spoke, and everything came into being. You spoke, and storms were calmed. You spoke, and the dead were raised. Speak, O Lord, out of my storm. I am waiting on you. Amen.

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