Jesus Humbles Himself to Tears – November 30, 2021

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” As [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.
Luke 19:39-41

Jesus Humbles Himself to Tears

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Daily Devotion – November 30, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 19:39-41

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Throughout his ministry on earth, Jesus showed his power to control things: the wind, the waves, sickness, disease, evil spirits, and even Satan. He showed that power again on Palm Sunday when he was able to ride a colt that no one had ever ridden. A colt like that typically needs to be broken in. The first time a colt feels the uncomfortable weight of a human on its back, it typically reacts very aggressively, trying to throw that person off. But that’s not what happened. Jesus rode the colt into Jerusalem, and the colt cooperated. Jesus, again, on Palm Sunday, showed himself to be someone who has complete control over absolutely anything.

Remarkably, this all-powerful person was also sympathetic. Today’s Bible reading tells us that he wept when he saw the city of Jerusalem. Why? Because Jesus was well-aware that most of the people in that city would not sing his praises and worship him as their Lord and Savior. They refused to believe he was who he claimed to be. And they would, therefore, spend eternity without him and all the blessings he promises his followers in the life to come.

Jesus’ tears tell us how very much he cares about each and every soul he came to save. That includes you. He loved you enough to ride into Jerusalem, where he would die to pay the price for your sins so you can enjoy his blessings forever in the life to come. What a reason to rejoice! Spend this day celebrating what he has done for you and singing his praises.

Prayer:
Gracious Savior, hear my heartfelt cries for mercy and satisfy the deepest longings of my soul with your perfect love. 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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Jesus Humbles Himself to Serve – November 29, 2021

They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Luke 19:35-38

Jesus Humbles Himself to Serve

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Daily Devotion – November 29, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 19:35-38

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Bojana is the name of a woman who lives in Serbia, and her TV is upside down. So is her computer screen. And her computer keyboard. When she reads a newspaper, she holds it upside down. When people try to correct her, she doesn’t listen to them. When someone hands her a piece of paper to write on, she turns it upside down, starts writing from the right lower corner, and finishes in the upper left. As far as doctors know, there is no one else in the world who is like Bojana. They say she has a rare brain condition called “spatial orientation phenomenon,” which means that her eyes see things the right way, but for some reason, her brain changes them and turns things upside down. What she sees doesn’t exactly show her reality.

Something similar took place on Palm Sunday. God himself was coming into Jerusalem. But it didn’t look the way you might expect. God didn’t look majestic and glorious. He looked like just another human being. He wasn’t surrounded by armies of angels but instead by his very normal-looking disciples. He didn’t ride into town on an impressive stallion or in an expensive chariot. He was riding on a borrowed donkey. What the crowd saw that day with their eyes didn’t exactly show them the full reality of the God who was approaching them.

But what they saw certainly revealed the true nature of our God’s heart. Jesus came in humility. He came to serve. He came to give. He came to save us and forgive us by lowering himself under the full weight of the whole world’s sins. On Palm Sunday, we see our Savior who humbled himself to serve us.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you humbled yourself to serve us as our Savior. May I forever worship you with humility and thanks that properly honors your saving name. 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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Loved by God – November 28, 2021

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
1 Thessalonians 3:12

Loved by God

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Daily Devotion – November 28, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 3:12

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Early in this letter, the apostle Paul addressed the believers in Thessalonica as those who were “loved by God.” The message Paul preached centered on the love of God. As sinners, all people only deserved to be separated from God and condemned. But God had mercy on the people of this world and sent his only Son, Jesus, to rescue them from the curse of sin and the hold of eternal death. Jesus has taken away the guilt of sin and brought peace between God and people.

When the Holy Spirit uses this good news to work and strengthen faith in Jesus, and the love of God fills our hearts, it has an effect on the way we treat other people. Filled and thrilled with that love of God, Paul prays for the increase of God’s love in the hearts of people. The more our hearts hear the saving truths of God’s Word, the more they are conformed to live according to the love of God. In fact, Paul prays for God’s love to “overflow for each other.” Like a container that is filled to overflowing, so the love that God pours into our hearts is so measureless that it fills us with its goodness and overflows from us into the lives of others.

Filled with God’s kind of love, we are moved to love others the way he loves us: completely, unconditionally, selflessly. We love not only “each other”—those who share our faith and joy in Jesus, but also “everyone else”—even those who may make our life difficult. The love of God we show toward them can make such an impression that they might ask why we treat them so well. Then that’s an opportunity to tell them about the love of God in Jesus!

Prayer:
My God, increase my faith and fill me with your love in Jesus. Give me the ability to let your love generously overflow from my heart into the lives of people all around 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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He Knows What It is Like – November 27, 2021

We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Hebrews 4:15

He Knows What It is Like

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Daily Devotion – November 27, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 4:15

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The classic TV series M*A*S*H tells the story of an army field hospital located mere miles from the front lines during the Korean War. In one episode, the army chaplain, Father Mulcahy, cannot comfort a wounded soldier because he’s admitted that he’s never experienced what it’s like to be in battle. After some introspection, the chaplain makes a decision. He secretly stows himself away in a truck headed for the front. Upon his arrival he finds himself in the middle of a full-fledged firefight. When it’s finally over, he returns to the hospital where word of what he’s done has already spread through the ranks. The final scene of that episode is Father Mulcahy sitting down once again with the same soldier. The chaplain looks him in the eye and says, “Now, let’s talk.”

When you talk to your Savior in prayer, you are not talking to someone who’s sitting back on his distant throne in detached serenity. Rather, you are talking to someone who has been exactly where you are. Jesus did not merely get a small taste of what the battles of the world are like. Instead, Jesus fully felt the very worst that this world can launch against us.

But remember, Jesus did this not only so he could feel what we feel. He did it to be our perfect substitute. He willingly took the punishment for our failures and paid for them completely at the cross.

Every day through his Word, Jesus sits down with you. Every day Jesus says, “Let’s talk.” When he does, think about where he’s been. Think about what he’s done for you. He knows what the battle is like. He’s the one to carry you through.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you know exactly what it’s like to do battle in this fallen world. Thank you for coming here to be my perfect substitute. When you sit down with me every day and speak to me through your Word, empower me to open up my heart to you in prayer. 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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He is Coming – November 26, 2021

“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
Revelation 1:7

He is Coming

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Daily Devotion – November 26, 2021

Devotion based on Revelation 1:7

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Our younger children love to stand by the window when they know someone is coming and to announce it when they arrive. They are so excited to welcome the guests to our home.

God wants us to be eager and ready for an even more important arrival—the coming of Jesus on the Last Day of the world. Centuries ago, Jesus was taken alive into heaven after he had risen from the dead to rule all things for our good.

One day Jesus will return. And “every eye will see him.” It won’t be a secret. No one is going to miss it. You will see him. I will see him.

Sadly, not everyone will be ready for him when he returns. Not everyone will welcome him. Our verse for today mentions “those who pierced him.” Jesus’ earthly enemies tried to get rid of him by nailing him to a cross. When Jesus comes again, they will see him alive with their own eyes. They will come face-to-face with the reality of their own sin and the judgment they deserve, and they will mourn. For them, that mourning will last forever; the tears of agony and regret and shame will stream down their faces eternally in hell.

In a way, we all pierced Jesus. It was because of our disobedience of God’s law that Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. But we know that he died to forgive that disobedience. We believe the Bible when it tells us that God loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.

When Jesus returns, we will welcome our King, grateful that his grace has removed our guilt and scattered every shadow of shame forever. Set free from sorrow and sin, we will live with our Lord forever in perfect peace and unending joy. What a day that will be! I can’t wait until he arrives!

Prayer:
Jesus, you are coming soon to take me home with you. Lead me to turn from my sins and trust in your forgiveness, so that I am ready to welcome you when you arrive. 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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Give Thanks for an Unchanging God – November 25, 2021

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Revelation 1:8

Give Thanks for an Unchanging God

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Daily Devotion – November 25, 2021

Devotion based on Revelation 1:8

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Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. If you are reading or listening in the morning, what are your plans for the day? If it is near the end of the day, what has your day been like?

Does the pandemic still leave you feeling isolated and alone? Do you long for how things used to be? Maybe there are other factors that leave you lamenting the things that have changed. A loved one has died. You or someone you love is sick. New financial strains overshadow your celebration if you can even call it that.

Thanksgiving or not, our world is constantly changing. And that can make it hard to be thankful.

For everything that changes, one thing always stays the same. And that is our God. In our Bible verse for today, God says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In English, we might say, “I am the A and the Z.” What he means is that he is the same from beginning to end. God never changes. He always was, is now, and always will be the same God.

That means he doesn’t change his standard of right and wrong. The sins that offended him in the past still offend him today and always will.

But it also means that his mercy and love don’t change. When the first people sinned against him, God promised them a Savior to forgive that sin and free them from the curse of death. God kept that promise of mercy and love. And that promise of mercy hasn’t changed. All who cling to Jesus in faith receive the free gift of God’s forgiveness. God won’t change his plan. He won’t add strings or conditions. Through Jesus, God’s Son, he counts us as his children and pours out his love on us each day as our perfect, loving Father.

So we give thanks today for a God who doesn’t change, who always loves, always provides, always forgives. And we look forward to the day we will feast with him in an eternal celebration of thanksgiving!

Prayer:
Loving God, I give thanks today that you never change. 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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Listen to the King – November 24, 2021

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
John 18:37

Listen to the King

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Daily Devotion – November 24, 2021

Devotion based on John 18:37

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What makes a good king? A powerful army? Royal blood? Political influence? Wise advisors? The approval of the people?

How about honesty, truthfulness? Although many might want leaders who always tell the truth, that isn’t always what we get; is it? Many make promises that they can’t keep and maybe never intended to keep. Many craft their words in a way that obscures what they really mean to gain support from those who wouldn’t stand behind the truth. What people want to hear often seems more important than the truth.

When Jesus came into this world as a king, he didn’t come with a powerful army. He came alone, and he even discouraged his allies from using their swords to fight for him. Jesus was a descendant of King David, but it had been centuries since anyone from David’s family had reigned. Jesus didn’t surround himself with the best and brightest. His closest followers were unschooled, ordinary men.

But Jesus rules with one powerful tool—the truth. Often, this isn’t what people want to hear. As the saying goes, “the truth hurts.” That’s especially the case when the truth reveals the darkest corners of our hearts, where selfish desires, envious and angry thoughts, and shameful lusts dwell. The truth of God’s law shines below the surface to reveal how often we fail to live up to God’s demands.

But the truth of Jesus reveals not just our hearts but the heart of God himself. God loves us unconditionally. In love, he punished his perfect Son, Jesus, for the evil in our lives so that he could pardon us fully and completely. In love, he continues to call us to leave behind our sinful thoughts and lives and to trust in his forgiveness and his promise of eternal life with him. That’s why he gives us his Word of Truth—the Bible. And through that message of truth, Jesus moves us to trust him in faith as he rules in our hearts as King.

Prayer:
King Jesus, the truth of your law hurts, but the truth of your love heals. Rule in my heart by your truth. 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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Not of This World – November 23, 2021

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
John 18:36

Not of This World

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Daily Devotion – November 23, 2021

Devotion based on John 18:36

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Every four years, American citizens get to elect a President who will lead the country for the next four years. Many issues in those elections come down to wealth and health. Which candidate is going to promote policies that improve or preserve health and safety and put more money in my pocket?

People looked at Jesus and thought he would make the perfect political leader. He saw people in need and sought to help—often in powerful and miraculous ways. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, and even raised the dead! If Jesus were king, maybe their troubles would all go away. Money problems, relationship problems, and health problems would all be solved—if not for everyone, at least for his most loyal supporters!

But the reality is that Jesus doesn’t always bring outward success. He doesn’t build a following through the things that our selfish hearts crave. And that leads many to turn away from him.

Jesus was once put on trial before the political authorities of his day. One of the charges was that he claimed to be a king. But Pontius Pilate, who presided over the trial, didn’t think that Jesus looked or acted much like a king.

Jesus explained, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus, the Son of God, didn’t come to selfishly seek worldly wealth, political power, or personal gain. He came to give of himself and to serve the world. He came to conquer the devil and overcome sin and its curse. He came to fight for our souls. And he won that fight by overcoming temptation, enduring death and hell, and rising from the dead.

Because Jesus fought as our king, we have something far better than worldly wealth or success. We have been set free from sin and rescued from death. We are citizens of Jesus’ heavenly kingdom, where we will live with him in perfect joy forever! Hail, King Jesus!

Prayer:
King Jesus, thank you for fighting to set me free. Keep me from turning away from you, so that I may enjoy the eternal riches of your heavenly kingdom. 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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King Jesus Lives – November 22, 2021

Jesus Christ . . . is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Revelation 1:5

King Jesus Lives

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Daily Devotion – November 22, 2021

Devotion based on Revelation 1:5

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In ancient times, kings would often go into battle with their armies. And the king was one of the main targets for the opposing army. If they could kill the king, they could leave his army feeling demoralized and defeated.

Today’s Bible verse calls Jesus “the ruler of the kings of the earth.” To earn that title, you might assume that he never lost a single battle. Your assumption is correct. You might also assume that he never died in battle. But that is not true. Let me explain.

Jesus came to battle against the devil, who led the world into sin and disobedience. Jesus came to overcome death itself and strip it of its power. But to do that, he had to die. Death’s power is in its rightful claim on those who are guilty of sin. The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death.” The only way for death to lose its power was for someone to receive those wages. And that’s what Jesus came to do.

Jesus did battle with the devil by resisting every temptation the devil threw at him. He was perfect in every way. But then he willingly accepted the guilt for our failed battles against temptation. And he received the punishment of death and hell that we deserved for that guilt.

In the days before Jesus died, the devil was unleashing his entire arsenal. He thought that if he could turn Jesus’ friends and enemies against him and get them to kill him, Jesus would be defeated. But just the opposite happened. Jesus’ death was all part of God’s plan. By dying in our place, he destroyed death’s power over us. He proved that by being “the firstborn from the dead.” He rose from the dead to show that our sins were forgiven, and death had lost its power over us.

And so, Jesus not only rose from the dead himself, but he is “the firstborn from the dead.” When Jesus returns on the Last Day, all who have died trusting in Jesus’ victory over sin and death will be raised to live forever with him.

Prayer:
Jesus, my King, thank you for defeating death for me so that I will live forever 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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Prayers of Intensity – November 21, 2021

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
Hebrews 5:7

Prayers of Intensity

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Daily Devotion – November 21, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 5:7

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It’s said that early African converts to Christianity were fervent and intense when it came to their prayer life. Each would go to a private place in the thicket to pour out his heart to the Lord. Over time, each person’s path into the thicket became well-worn. It also was clear whenever someone’s prayer life began losing intensity. Whenever that happened, a fellow Christian would gently say, “Brother, the grass grows on your path.”

When it comes to the intensity of your prayer life, does the grass grow on your path? Think over the past seven days. Pinpoint specific moments when you talked to your Heavenly Father in prayer. Were many of them simply memorized mumbles at mealtimes and before bed? Were they automatic recitations in a worship service? Were they half-hearted daydreams while you listened to the traffic report on the way to work? Each of us must confess that all kinds of grass have grown on the intensity of our prayer life from time to time. And for that flippant act of neglect, each of us deserves to be ignored by God.

But consider Jesus. God’s Word in Hebrews chapter five gives us riveting visual footage. It pictures Jesus while he lived on this earth. It pictures him praying to his heavenly Father with such intensity that loud cries pour out of his mouth, and tears flow from his eyes. And because of Jesus’ perfect submission, God listened to the prayers of his Son.

And there’s the beauty: Jesus’ prayer life was one of perfect intensity and perfect submission on our behalf. And the blood he shed at Calvary’s cross has washed away our every sin of neglect.

Because of Jesus, the privilege of prayer is ours. Because of Jesus, we have a Lord who is ready to listen at any moment. And so beat a path to your prayer time with God. Make the grass on your path go away.

Prayer:
Thank you, Jesus, that because of your perfect prayer life in my place, I am forgiven for my imperfect life of prayer and now have the privilege of praying to my heavenly Father. 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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Victory – November 20, 2021

[Jesus said] “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”
John 5:28,29

Victory

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Daily Devotion – November 20, 2021

Devotion based on John 5:28,29

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It was a cold, Minnesota day. We stood in front of a casket that hovered over a newly dug grave. There was an ache in the pit of our stomachs, tears poised to flow from our eyes, and a sob was quick to leap into our voices. Our emotions felt as cold as that Minnesota wind, howling over the plain.

There was one message and one message alone that warmed us: death had been defeated! Jesus had gone into death’s bitter coldness and came out of his grave; he rose to life! By his death, he won forgiveness of sins for you, for me, for all. And most comfortingly for us, on that day in the cemetery, we were reminded that Jesus won forgiveness of sins for our loved one whose physical body was lying in that casket.

We may have felt like losers that day. The reality was we were huge winners. And the biggest winner of all was our loved one, a believer in Jesus, whose soul was even then in heaven, enjoying the full fruits of the victory which Jesus had won for him!

And someday, our loved one will hear the voice of Jesus say, “Come out!” And he WILL come out of the grave! He will rise from the dead with a glorious, glorified body to enjoy the fullness of the victory which Jesus won for him, and he’ll enjoy it for all eternity.

And with Jesus as your living Savior, you will, too!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, remind me that someday you will stand by my grave and call me out of it, raising me back to life to live with you forever. Use that message to dry my tears, to fill me with peace, and to focus me on the life which is to come. 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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While You Wait – November 19, 2021

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
Daniel 12:3

While You Wait

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Daily Devotion – November 19, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 12:3

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The Bible promises that faith in Jesus as Savior is the only qualification for getting to heaven. Whoever believes in him will not perish but will have everlasting life.

But then the Bible says things like, “those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens.” Is wisdom also necessary for getting to heaven? And it says, “those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars.” So, is telling people certain things another secret qualification for eternal life? Or are both of those things something you do to shine a little brighter in heaven?

There are not any extra secret qualifications for getting into heaven. It’s just that believing in Jesus as Savior is the wisest possible thing you can do. You may be foolish in a lot of other areas, but if you are wise in just this one area, you are wise for eternity. Jesus is your wisdom.

And there are not certain things you can do to shine a little brighter when you are with God for eternity. Leading people to righteousness does not mean telling them what is right and wrong. It means that Jesus’ perfect life is credited to you through faith, and when you lead people to Jesus, you are leading them to the only righteousness that will save them. Jesus is your righteousness.

So, while you wait to go to heaven, you can live a wise life of faith in Jesus, confident in his righteousness for yourself and for others.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for sending Jesus to be my wisdom, my righteousness, and my Savior. 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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Awakening on Judgement Day – November 18, 2021

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
Daniel 12:2

Awakening on Judgement Day

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Daily Devotion – November 18, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 12:2

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At the moment of death, some souls go to heaven, and some souls go to hell. There is no intermediate state in the realm of the dead. The ones that go to heaven are the souls of people who believe in Jesus as their Savior. The ones that go to hell are the souls of people who do not believe in Jesus as their Savior. This is the Bible’s clear teaching.

On judgment day, the souls of believers will return to earth with Jesus, and God will reunite those souls with their bodies. It doesn’t matter how long those bodies were in the dust of the earth or whether they had become the dust of the earth. God will raise them as glorified bodies, unable to be separated from their souls again.

What will happen to the souls of unbelievers on judgment day? They will also return to earth, but their bodies will not be glorified. Instead, the souls of unbelievers will join with bodies that are shamed, condemned to everlasting contempt, separated from the presence of God.

It’s not a pretty picture. God sent his Son, Jesus, to rescue people from that fate. Jesus suffered hell in our place on the cross so that our sins do not condemn us to shame and everlasting contempt. Instead, trusting in Jesus, we look forward to awakening on judgment day to everlasting life.

Prayer:
Dear God, when I rise from the dead on judgment day, lead me to everlasting life through Jesus Christ my Lord. 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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Jesus Return – November 17, 2021

At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
Mark 13:26,27

Jesus Return

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Daily Devotion – November 17, 2021

Devotion based on Mark 13:26,27

See series: Devotions

One of the remarkable promises Jesus made about the day he returns to judge this world is that when he returns, every eye will see him. How is that even possible?

The Bible is very clear about how that is possible. It says that the angels will pick up all believers in Jesus on judgment day and take them to the very place that Jesus is returning. It doesn’t matter where in the world you live or precisely where Jesus chooses to return. God will use his angels to get you there.

It’s kind of cool to think about this extra duty for the angels. Already taking care of you in more ways than you know, angels are also always ready to take you to the point of Jesus’ return on judgment day. It may be a bit scary on that day since Jesus is returning with great power and glory, so it will be nice to have the presence of angels who know what they are doing.

The earth as we know it will be destroyed on judgment day. But Jesus and his angels will bring you safely through that time to eternity. In the meantime, give thanks that God has it all figured out.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for providing Jesus as my Savior. Thank you for providing angels to take care of me. Bring me safely to heaven through Jesus Christ my Lord. 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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Souls Already in Heaven – November 16, 2021

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
1 Thessalonians 4:14

Souls Already in Heaven

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Daily Devotion – November 16, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 4:14

See series: Devotions

There are souls already in heaven. They trusted in Jesus for their salvation, and they have begun to enjoy eternity with him. Their bodies are still in the ground, but the souls are really enjoying paradise. It’s hard for us to picture the state of consciousness of a soul without a body, but the Bible encourages us to think of it like falling asleep.

At a certain point—only God knows when—those souls will return to earth to be reunited with their bodies. The Bible calls that the “second resurrection.” The first resurrection is when those souls came to faith in Jesus, but at the second resurrection, on Judgment Day, those souls will go back together with their original bodies. It doesn’t matter how much those bodies have disintegrated. God will raise them as glorified bodies.

Is that hard to believe? When we go to the graveyard, everything seems so permanent. But the soul of Jesus separated from his body, went to heaven, and then returned to his body. Jesus rose from the dead—body and soul—and appeared to many people to prove it. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, so we believe that we will die and rise again as well.

The resurrection of Jesus was dramatic, but the resurrection of people whose souls are already in heaven will be breathtaking. Jesus will be in the sky, and he will bring with him the souls of all of those people. They will reenter their glorified bodies. It’s going to be spectacular!

In the meantime, we wait with patience. We grieve the temporary loss of our loved ones in death, but we look forward to the resurrection of the dead.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I thank you that because of your promises of sins forgiven and eternal life I am able to look forward to your return with eager anticipation. 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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You Will Know – November 15, 2021

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

You Will Know

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Daily Devotion – November 15, 2021

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

See series: Devotions

Every couple of years, someone new claims to be Jesus returned to earth. They’re always lying.

When Jesus returns to earth, you will know it. First, you will hear it. There will be a loud command coming from heaven, the voice of an angel, and the amazing sound of a trumpet—louder than the amber alert on your phone—that can be heard everywhere in the world.

Then in the middle of all that sound, you will see it. The Lord himself will come down from heaven. He will not sneak up to you on the street and tap you on the shoulder. He will not suddenly reveal himself in a church service. You will look up the heavens, and you will see him.

If there is any doubt in your mind that it is really Jesus, that doubt will disappear. You yourself will be caught up to meet him in the clouds. Jesus does not mean that to be scary. He means it to be encouraging. Those who trust in him will be with the Lord forever.

It’s hard to picture exactly what heaven will be like, but we have the guarantee that we will be with the Lord forever, and that’s enough. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, take away my uncertainties, and lead me to trust that you are coming soon. 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 Perfect Cure – November 14, 2021

While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.”
Matthew 9:32-34

The Perfect Cure

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Daily Devotion – November 14, 2021

Devotion based on Matthew 9:32-34

See series: Devotions

In the Old Testament, there is only one mention of demon possession: “Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him” (1 Samuel 16:14). As God was allowing his people to be ruled by their first king, the devil threw some challenges at the man on the throne. King Saul proved unequal to the test.

In the New Testament, the devil pulls out every stop as Israel beholds the coming of the Heavenly King. It seems as if every kind of demon-possession imaginable fell across the path of Jesus, from the woman “who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years” (Luke 13:11) to the poor man in our text. Jesus showed himself to be up to every test.

Although some still doubted, such miracles showed Jesus’ power over what is unseen as well as what is seen. He is the absolute and perfect cure not only for demons and illnesses but for sin itself. He carried away what we could never hope to rid ourselves of.

Jesus showed his power over the devil with this miracle. And finally, with his perfect life and innocent death, Jesus won for us the ultimate victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, comfort me today with the reminder that you are all-powerful and can overcome every one of my enemies, even death itself. 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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Beautiful People – November 13, 2021

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.”
Jeremiah 23:5,6

Beautiful People


Daily Devotion – November 13, 2021

Devotion based on Jeremiah 23:5,6

See series: Devotions

In the days of Jeremiah, the prophet, about 600 years before the birth of Jesus, many people of God’s chosen nation had turned away from God into unbelief. They followed false teachers that led them into idolatry. However, there were some people who remained faithful to the true God. Through Jeremiah, God promised that he would gather all his faithful ones and bless them.

The Lord announced that glorious time, “The days are coming when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.” With the word “branch,” God wants us to think of a shoot or sprout which grows out of a dying stump or from the ground where a tree stump is decaying. With this imagery, God pointed to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. His roots or ancestry were from the line of King David. But by the time of his arrival, the grandeur of the Davidic kingdom had died and decayed under David’s godless successors. The Messiah, however, came to reestablish the glory of David’s throne, although not in the same way as before.

Jesus Christ is a King, but his kingdom is new and different. His is a spiritual kingdom in which he benevolently rules over his people forever by faith.

God cares for his people, and he saves them. He sent Jesus to do what is “just and right in the land.” In contrast to the people who rejected God and lived in disobedience to his will, Jesus lived in perfect obedience to the will of God and was guiltless of any sin. He lived this way for our benefit. God charged the perfect righteousness of his Son to us. He is: THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

Covered with the pure holiness of Jesus Christ, we are beautiful people in God’s eyes and blessed by him now and forever.

Prayer: (Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal – 376)
Jesus, your blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Mid flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head. 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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Two Judgment Days – November 12, 2021

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Hebrews 9:27,28

Two Judgment Days


Daily Devotion – November 12, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 9:27,28

See series: Devotions

The Bible shows that the universe is steadily marching toward one big event: the Last Day. Because this is the day on which Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, it is also called judgment day.

But if all of history is leading to this final judgment, how can today’s Bible passage say that people are judged by God after they die? Does that mean that there are two judgment days?

Yes, in a certain respect, there are. The day that you die is your own personal judgment day. Your eternal destiny is determined the moment you die. Whoever dies with faith in Christ is given eternal life, and whoever dies in unbelief is condemned to eternal death.

When Jesus returns on the Last Day, all the dead will rise and stand before him for judgment. The verdict that he gives on judgment day will not be different from the one he gave when they died. Those who died in unbelief and went to hell will receive the same verdict, as will those who died in faith and went to heaven.

But if the verdict is the same, what is the point of judgement day? God wants to publicly announce the verdict that he has already given. Sinful humans have the nasty habit of questioning God’s justice and his love. So on the Last Day, God will assemble all people of all time and show them the justice of his judgments and the full extent of his love.

He will give evidence from the lives of unbelievers that they earned the judgment they have already received since their deaths. He will also show how those who died trusting in Jesus received enteral life as a gift, just like he promised. That is why Christ’s appearance on the Last Day is not something to be afraid of but to wait for!

Prayer:
Jesus Christ, give me faith to meet you when I die, and help me to wait expectantly for your salvation. 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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Once for Always – November 11, 2021

Nor did [Christ] enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Hebrews 9:25,26

Once for Always


Daily Devotion – November 11, 2021

Devotion based on Hebrews 9:25,26

See series: Devotions

God is just. He has an absolutely perfect standard of right and wrong, and he judges according to that standard. God’s justice means that sin must be punished, and everything must be made right.

In the centuries before Jesus came, God had his people celebrate the Day of Atonement to balance the scales. On that day, the High Priest walked into the innermost room of the temple and stood before God with blood from animal sacrifices. That blood atoned for (that is, covered up) the sins of him and his people.

And the scales were balanced for a time. But every year, there was another Day of Atonement, and the high priest did the exact same thing that he had done the year before, over and over again for over a thousand years.

Why the repetition? Because God’s justice was not satisfied by killing animals. So why did God tell them to do it? Because the Day of Atonement was a picture of the one sacrifice that would balance the scales.

It pointed ahead to what Jesus would do. Jesus is our High Priest. He appeared for us in God’s presence, not with an animal sacrifice, but with the sacrifice of himself. And Jesus did not offer that sacrifice over and over again. He only offered it once.

And after Christ offered himself on the cross, God gave his verdict on Jesus’ sacrifice by raising him from the dead three days later. That was a clear indication of God’s verdict: sin has been taken away, forever! We do not need the yearly sacrifices of the Day of Atonement. We have been saved, once for always!

Prayer:
Lord, it is impossible for the blood of animals to take away sins. But the blood of Jesus, your Son, purifies me from all sin. Thank 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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Good Works on the Last Day – November 10, 2021

[Jesus said] “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.”
John 5:28,29

Good Works on the Last Day


Daily Devotion – November 10, 2021

Devotion based on John 5:28,29

See series: Devotions

When the Lord Jesus returns on the Last Day, he will judge every single human being who has ever lived. Even the people who died before that day will come out of their graves and stand before him for judgment.

The Bible teaches that Jesus will judge people based on whether or not they have faith in him. The apostle Paul, for example, wrote, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).

This teaching is so clear that you have to wonder what Jesus meant in today’s Bible passage. Jesus made it sound like people’s good works will be the basis for judgment, with those who have done good receiving eternal life and those who have done evil being condemned to hell.

But before you assume that the Bible teaches two contradictory ways to heaven, remember what Jesus was talking about here: judgment. When someone is being judged in a courtroom, the best evidence is visible evidence.

Faith in Christ is a matter of the heart and therefore invisible. But faith in Christ produces good works that can be seen. Good works do not save people, but Jesus will point them out at the last judgment because they are visible proofs of invisible faith.

That is why “those who have done evil” have a lot to fear on the Last Day. There is no greater evil than rejecting the Savior in unbelief. But “those who have done good” have nothing to fear. Only believers in Jesus can do works that God considers good. And on the Last Day, Jesus will use their good works to show the whole world that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, empower me to live a life filled with good works while I wait for the Last Day. 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 Matter of Life and Death – November 9, 2021

[Jesus said] “Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”
John 5:25

A Matter of Life and Death


Daily Devotion – November 9, 2021

Devotion based on John 5:25

See series: Devotions

This is a strange Bible verse. Jesus said that the dead would hear his voice, but how could the dead hear? And how could the dead come to life from hearing? Was Jesus telling a joke?

No, Jesus was dead serious. He even said, “Very truly I tell you.” He was telling the truth. Jesus wanted to be heard by the dead. He still does because listening to Jesus is a matter of life and death.

To understand Jesus’ Words, you need to understand what the Bible teaches about death. According to the Bible, there are three kinds of death: spiritual death, physical death, and eternal death. Jesus was talking about spiritual death.

By nature, every human being enters this world alive physically but dead spiritually. You were, by nature, dead in sin. You were born a physically living, breathing baby. But spiritually, you were a corpse that had no faith in God.

Fixing this condition is not just a matter of making better choices or trying harder. A corpse cannot make a choice or do anything to improve itself.

A corpse must be raised to life by a power outside of itself. This is what the words of Jesus are able to do. His words are able to create faith in his listeners. This is what Jesus meant when he said that the dead would hear the voice of the Son of God and live.

How important it is, then, for us to hear Jesus’ words! They are powerful enough to give spiritual and eternal life. Thank you, Jesus, for your powerful voice!

Prayer:
Son of God, give me life through your Word. 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 Best Judge – November 8, 2021

[Jesus said] “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father.”
John 5:22,23

The Best Judge


Daily Devotion – November 8, 2021

Devotion based on John 5:22,23

See series: Devotions

Many people think that Christians make too big a deal out of Jesus. However, when it comes to Jesus, his importance cannot be emphasized enough. Why? Because Jesus is your judge.

Judges have the authority to decide if you are guilty or innocent, and they can punish the guilty. Jesus has the authority to do that for all people. His judgment determines where you spend eternity. There are only two possible outcomes—heaven or hell.

This is the judgment that God the Father has entrusted to his Son. So, do you understand why Christians make such a big deal out of Jesus? Everything hinges on him. He is the judge. The eternal destiny of all people who have lived, are living, or will live is bound up in their relationship to Jesus. Everyone will be judged by him.

That can be a scary thought. After all, like all people, you are guilty of breaking God’s law and deserve an eternity apart from God and his blessings.

But remember who your judge is! He is the judge who arranged for another trial, one where he stood in your place. One where he accepted the consequences of your actions—the nails, the cross, and a lot of shed blood. He endured the full wrath of God.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that the one who will judge you one day is the same one who already paid the price for all your sins? Because he did, you can be sure that on that day, he will look at you and say, “Not guilty.”

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for making your Son my judge. 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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They Had It All Wrong – November 7, 2021

The soldiers also came up and mocked [Jesus]. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
Luke 23:36,37

They Had It All Wrong


Daily Devotion – November 7, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 23:36,37

See series: Devotions

No one likes to admit they are wrong. It is embarrassing. It wounds our pride. Even worse is admitting that we have said or done something wrong. The truth is that we say and do what is wrong more than we want to admit. Our wrong words and actions violate the will of God, who demands that we never be wrong.

That is why the Bible says that we are not the perfect people that can join God in heaven eternally. By all our wrongs, we have separated ourselves from God and are unable to live up to his standard of perfection.

But oh, the wonderful love of God! He did for us what we could not do. He sent his Son, Jesus, to earth to live among us, to live the perfect life we could not. Jesus suffered and died, becoming our substitute, paying for the sins we committed against God’s perfect will. Because of Jesus’ perfection, God now sees us as perfect. Our eternal future is now with God because of Jesus.

So, when the Roman soldiers viewed the suffering Jesus on the cross and mockingly said, “save yourself,” they had it all wrong. Jesus wasn’t going to save himself from earthly death. He was saving us from eternal death!

Prayer:
Dear Lord, may your love in sending your Son to die for my sins be reflected in my love for 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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Our Most Precious Possession. – November 6, 2021

Then [Jesus] said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
Luke 12:15

Our Most Precious Possession.


Daily Devotion – November 6, 2021

Devotion based on Luke 12:15

See series: Devotions

Have you ever cleaned out your basement or garage and discovered many things that you forgot you had? While you may be amused at rediscovering something you forgot about, perhaps you ask yourself, “Why do I have all this stuff?”

God truly blesses us with many physical blessings. Everything we have comes from him. He provides all the necessary things for life and is generous to give us many more things than we need. His blessings abundantly fill our lives, and for these, we thank our God.

Yet we must be careful not to begin to love the gifts more than God who gives them. It is easy for our hearts to become greedy and not be happy with what we have. It is so easy to want MORE … money… toys… houses… boats… cars… without end.

Yet none of these things can ever satisfy us completely or fill the place in our life and heart that can only belong to Jesus Christ. Jesus warns us, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15). Jesus teaches us that there is more to life and more to us than earthly possessions. He is the source of all that we need spiritually and eternally.

Jesus is our most precious possession. He lived a perfect life for us. He suffered the death penalty for our sins that we deserved. Jesus rose from the dead and promises that we will live forever through faith in him alone. Wow! Nothing is more important than the gifts of forgiveness of sins and eternal life that Jesus gives us by faith in him.

If you want a possession that really satisfies, look to Jesus!

Prayer:
Dear heavenly Father, you bless me with many good things in my life, but most importantly, I am blessed through your Son, Jesus. Help me treasure the spiritual life that I have by faith in him and not let anything else matter more. 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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Perfect Salvation – November 5, 2021

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire . . . They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
Daniel 3:26,27

Perfect Salvation


Daily Devotion – November 5, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 3:26,27

See series: Devotions

“I think it can be salvaged.” In other words, it wasn’t a total loss. Maybe the damage came as the result of a fire or flood. Maybe there was an accident that was a bit more serious than your average fender bender. Maybe some bodily extremity found itself up against something sharp and lost the battle. Damage was most definitely done, but a person with the skills to repair the damage—at least somewhat—says, “I think it can be salvaged.” Whew!

Is that the situation in which Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found themselves after they were fished out of the fiery furnace? Did they survive the hellish blast, but just barely? Did they need to be rushed to the hospital with first, second, or third-degree burns? Did the doctors look at them after their ordeal and say with some hesitation, “I think their bodies can be salvaged”?

Nope.

The Old Testament prophet Daniel tells us what King Nebuchadnezzar, who had sentenced these men to the flames, and his officials witnessed. “They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.” It wasn’t that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had just barely managed to survive their fiery ordeal. They hadn’t even been touched by it.

What does it prove? It proves that Jesus isn’t only the world’s perfect Savior; he also provides perfect salvation. His saving work is more than a reclamation or restoration job. It goes way beyond a new paint job to spruce up appearances for the time being. He doesn’t simply perform reconstructive surgery.

No, Jesus heals us perfectly. He forgives us perfectly. He saves us perfectly, once and for all and forever. Indeed, as the apostle Paul once wrote, “we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:10).

Trust him. You won’t be disappointed. He guarantees it.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me to understand that perfect salvation is found in you alone. 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 Committee of One – November 4, 2021

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.” He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
Daniel 3:24,25

A Committee of One


Daily Devotion – November 4, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 3:24,25

See series: Devotions

Generally speaking, there is strength in numbers. The more people you have working together on a task, the more likely you are to be successful at completing that task, especially if it’s a big one. On the other hand, there are some tasks where the best way to accomplish them is by having a committee of one. No distractions. No wrong turns. No carrying someone else’s water. A single mind with a single-minded purpose. There are times when a committee of one is the perfect solution to a problem.

The Old Testament believers—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—were facing a truly life-threatening problem. They had just been tossed into the fiery furnace prepared for them by the great Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. Death was beyond certain. Even the soldiers who had thrown them into the fire were immediately incinerated by the hellish blast. If they were to be saved, how many people would it take?

As it turns out, just one.

Three men had been cast into the fire, but when the king went to witness the demise of his doomed triplets, he “leaped to his feet in amazement. . . He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around the first, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.'” Whether it was an angel of the Lord or the Lord Jesus himself, we cannot know for certain. What we can know is that those men were saved that day by a committee of One. The Lord saves his people now and forever, and he does it all by himself.

We wouldn’t want it any other way. Only Jesus is perfect. Only Jesus is all-powerful. Only Jesus is the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). So, when it comes to our salvation now and forever, Jesus is a committee of One. He must do it, and he does it. Perfectly.

Prayer:
Jesus, help me to trust you alone for my salvation, now and always. 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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Turning Up the Heat – November 3, 2021

Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.
Daniel 3:19-21

Turning Up the Heat


Daily Devotion – November 3, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 3:19-21

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My wife and I love to engage in thermostat wars. She likes it warm. I like it cool. I won’t tell you who normally wins.

But there are times when it’s too hot for both of us—summertime in the kitchen, when the oven and all four stove burners are on. You can’t open the window; it’s 100 degrees outside. And the air conditioner can’t keep up. It’s gotten too hot in the kitchen. We agree!

The world loves to turn the heat up on God’s people, especially those who strive to remain faithful to his holy, saving Word. But that shouldn’t come as any particular surprise. Jesus promised it, and his promises are always perfectly fulfilled. The night before he died, he promised his disciples, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20).

In Matthew 24, he also promised that in the last days, the heat would become too much for some. “At that time,” he said, “many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” Why? Because the heat will get too hot in the kitchen.

Why does Jesus make such promises? So that when the world starts turning up the heat on his people, they’re not surprised. They’ll rejoice (Matthew 5:11,12; 1 Peter 4:12,13).

When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to obey King Nebuchadnezzar’s ungodly order, the king turned up the heat and ordered them into the furnace. They didn’t kick and scream. They didn’t deny their faith. They didn’t complain about unfairness. They put their trust in God, knowing that in Jesus, the victory was already theirs.

God’s people will feel the heat. But when they do, they rejoice. Because Jesus always keeps his promises. It’s true.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, thank you for graciously giving us confidence in you by always keeping your promises. 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 Bigger Picture – November 2, 2021

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Daniel 3:17,18

The Bigger Picture


Daily Devotion – November 2, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 3:17,18

See series: Devotions

Sometimes we get too caught up in life’s day-to-day hassles. We don’t keep an eye on the bigger picture.

The Bible teaches us, “Set your minds on things above, not only earthly things.” What we see in this world is transitory. It’s passing way. But what God promises to us in Jesus endures forever. In many ways, real life doesn’t begin until we finally see Jesus with our eyes.

Until then, the Christian life is lived under the cross. In other words, Christians expect to endure hatred and persecution when they remain faithful to Jesus and his Word. It’s no surprise. The Bible says, “Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18,19).

But Christians keep an eye on the bigger picture.

That’s what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did when they were facing the burning anger of King Nebuchadnezzar. While they were convinced that God would save them from the fiery furnace of the king’s fury, they were also prepared if God chose not to spare them in that moment. Indeed, they believed wholeheartedly, “the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Even when it may seem like the world defeats God’s people, God’s people keep an eye on the bigger picture. In the end, God wins forever, and he shares the spoils of his eternal victory with those who trust him, no matter what.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, help me to understand and trust that I will be victorious in you 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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The Defense Rests – November 1, 2021

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.”
Daniel 3:16,17

The Defense Rests


Daily Devotion – November 1, 2021

Devotion based on Daniel 3:16,17

See series: Devotions

I like TV courtroom dramas. But I also know enough about the world to know that what you see on TV often doesn’t happen in real life. Like when a defendant’s lawyers decide that it’s in their client’s best interest that they not offer a defense. They’re convinced the prosecution has not met their burden of proof. So instead of offering their own set of facts and expert witnesses, they simply tell the judge, “The defense rests.”

Though it happens rarely, the Old Testament prophet Daniel tells us how his Jewish compatriots, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, did just this when the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, accused them of treason. The king had commanded every one of his subjects to worship a ninety-foot image of gold he had built to honor himself. These three men refused. But instead of offering a single fact or argument as to why their refusal was lawful, they bravely told the king, “We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.” The defense rests.

Why rest? Because they were right. God commands his people not to worship anyone or anything other than him. They were more concerned with obeying God than obeying any human being, even a king. And they knew that their God was perfectly capable of rescuing them if he so chose. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace,” they told the king, “the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.”

The model of these three men is important for us to ponder. Sometimes we are tempted to “argue people” into believing the truth about Jesus. But why? There is certainly a time and place for defending God’s Word, but I need to remember that God’s Word first defends me. I don’t back God up; he and his Word back me up.

God tells us that he forgives all sinners in Jesus, the risen Savior. In Jesus, he gives eternal life freely. That includes you. It’s just the truth. The defense rests.

Prayer:
Dear Jesus, help me simply to listen to and trust your Word of salvation. 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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